On occasion our readers submit material to theStandard Bearer or its individual writers which they consider of interest and perhaps usable in a rubric. (We deeply appreciate this.) One such article I received some time ago from a reader in Randolph, Wisc. He presented a quotation from Science Digest, Jan./Feb. 1981. The quote indicates the degree of confusion on the part of men who maintain the evolutionary theory yet can not reconcile acknowledged difficulties. These men appear to admit that on the basis of their theories, there ought to be no universe at all! Yet because the universe is here, they are determined to explain its existence on the basis of these theories. Allow me to quote:
“The fact that the Universe exists at all is unusual,” says Nobel physicist Arno Penzias. “But we are confronted with the fact that there is a Universe.”
The puzzle, scientists say, is that symmetrical laws of physics do not account for the formation of the Universe. At the moment of Creation, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have annihilated each other, leaving nothing to become galaxies, stars, planets, interstellar dust and us.
Astrophysicists have had to come up with explanations of the Big Bang that accept asymmetry as the heart of existence. They now say that a tiny excess of matter was produced at the very moment the Universe was born. Peering 13 billion years back in time, they are using “grand unification theories” (GUTS) to explain how this happened during the first nonillionth (10Ë‰³º) or a second of the Big Bang….
Why did asymmetry prevail at the very moment of Creation, though most other phenomena seem to be governed by symmetrical physical laws? The GUTS do not explain why; they only show how it could have happened. Penzias says scientists have a hard time explaining why nature chooses certain characteristics over others. Ultimately, he says, the question may be unanswerable.
Our correspondent “hits the nail on the head” when he writes, “I imagine that if this Big Bang paradox becomes any more contradictory (perhaps I should say absurd), that rather than reconsider the Genesis account, they’ll retract that first paragraph and announce to us that neither we nor the universe really exists after all!” (Thanks, Jim.)
I.R.S. and the Christian Schools
Another reader of, and writer in, the Standard Bearer, Rev. R.C. Harbach, forwards the following article fromSpotlight, Dec. 1, 1980:
More than 30 church-related schools in Mississippi have refused to answer Internal Revenue Service (IRS) questionnaires on the racial makeup of their schools.
Church opposition is so strong that it might spark the largest open confrontation between church and federal government this nation has seen since the days of the government’s assault against the Mormon Church in the 1800s.
Basing their opposition on Constitutional grounds, the churches’ boards refuse to cooperate with the IRS because they consider their schools to be ministries of their churches and thus protected by the First Amendment against federal meddling.
Though some IRS agents consider the church schools to be separate entities from the church and others consider the church schools to be the same entity as the church, the IRS is united in its belief that each school’s tax-exempt status is a “privilege,” which may be revoked.
But the church officials believe their tax exemption is a “right” and not a privilege.
Hart further ordered the IRS to search out those schools that do discriminate and revoke their exemptions. This would make it impossible for the schools to give tax-deductibility to donors.
At least 30 schools in Mississippi, and some estimate as many as 50, claim the government is interfering with the internal affairs of the churches. They will not fill out the questionnaires.
The IRS, in response, has informed the dissenting churches that it will send an IRS agent to look into each church’s books and records.
Church officials say they will not allow the IRS to examine their books, and the IRS has threatened to revoke immediately the tax exemption of the church. (Some believe, however, that the IRS will not take such drastic steps but will get a court summons to obtain the church’s books and records.)
These churches are not against the IRS non-discriminatory policies. What they fear is yielding to the government the authority to set the beliefs and practices of the church.
George Whitten, an elder of the dissenting Grace Bible Church in Greenwood, explained, “They are attempting to enforce a social policy on the church.”
Christianity Today, Nov. 21, 1980, reports on the same difficulty under the title: “Religious Schools Rev Up for New Round with IRS”:
Two years ago, the Internal Revenue Service thought it had a good idea: private schools desiring to keep their tax exempt status would prove they don’t discriminate by enrolling a quota of minority students, vigorously recruiting minority teachers, and through other measures. Since most of the nation’s 20,000 private schools have religious ties, church leaders across the country howled at this government intrusion. The IRS was buried in nasty letters, and Congress passed a law prohibiting the IRS from spending any money to activate the plan. It was shelved.
Now the IRS has begun—but only in Mississippi—to do almost exactly the same thing. This time, however, the IRS is armed with something with more force than its own regulation. It has a District of Columbia federal court order. The order requiring the IRS to act resulted from a Mississippi discrimination suit, Green v. Connally, filed in the early seventies and finally settled by the June court order. The IRS intends to obey the order rather than appeal it, Congress and public opinion notwithstanding.
The problem, as I see this, is not so much whether or not the government allows donations to Christian Schools to be tax-exempt. To lose tax exemption would not be all that serious. Some schools might have to close their doors as a result—but those established on the basis of principle would surely continue. However, the ground for loss of tax-exemption is a serious matter: the claim that there is discrimination. Perhaps some schools began and continue today solely on the ground that they wish to discriminate. The vast majority of Christian Schools surely do not. If tax-exemption can be lost on the “ground” of discrimination, and if discrimination is determined simply on the basis that there are no black students or teachers, then on the same “ground” the entire school could ultimately be closed. Fact is, the time might soon come then when churches are closed for the same reason. Then schools and churches could exist not on the basis of religious conviction, but only on the basis of a willingness to admit a percentage of each race and each belief. That is the road to the establishment of the antichristian kingdom where there is religious freedom only for those who bow before the antichrist. I would predict, on the basis of the testimony of Scripture, that the time for all of this may well be at hand.
“Dutch Churches on Homosexuals”
The above title comes from an editorial in the Banner, Dec. 29, 1980 in which the editor, now Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven, writes:
Last year the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (GKN) made a statement on homosexuality that caused concern and criticism in the worldwide family of Reformed churches. The Dutch synod said that we may not judge “fellow human beings in their homosexual nature and practice,” since the word of judgment belongs to the Lord. Rather than judging one another, homosexual and heterosexual Christians ought to express their common faith in worship and joint participation in the Lord’s supper. That was the pastoral admonition in 1979.
The CRC reacted more cautiously than some other Reformed churches. Our synod observed that the Dutch had “seemingly” spoken of homosexual behavior within the church, and we asked for “clarification of the language and implication of the decision.”
Now the Dutch synod has rendered its clarification. Yes, the GKN said, when we encourage a pastoral approach to this problem, we mean that practicing homosexuals must be accepted within the fellowship of the Christian church. Let us respect the way homosexuals express their sexuality. We must leave the judgment to God.
The statement containing this thought was accepted by the synod of the GKN in November, 1980. The main motion passed with thirty-seven against thirty-three votes.
The editor goes on to deplore the decision and to emphasize that it complicates the relationship between GKN and the CRC. However, a later Bannerreveals in letters to the editor, that the CRC has its own unresolved problems on this score. Not only does the CRC itself have its practicing homosexuals according to these letters, but these openly advocate their position. The situation is deplorable —and one wonders if anything is done about it. In the Banner of Jan. 26, 1981, one writes, “As a gay Christian and member of the CRC, I was hurt and angered by your editorial. I applaud the decision of the GKN to lovingly accept homosexuals into the full fellowship of God’s church. As a member of Christ’s body for whom He suffered and died, do I deserve anything less?. . . .” Another individual writes, “I was sorry to read that the open-mindedness and insight that has characterized the “new” Banner does not apply to homosexuality. To accept the condition without accepting the practice is ridiculous When does a homosexual become a practicing homosexual?. . . The ignorance and closed-mindedness surrounding this issue in the CRC is appalling. There are practicing Christian homosexuals taking communion in our churches and teaching in our schools. They do not want our pity or our compassion; they want to be treated like human beings. Scripture isnot clear on this very complex issue… ”
One can but deplore the state of affairs when this sin, so obviously condemned in Scripture (see Romans 1), is now so openly approved within the churches—and Reformed churches as well.