All Around Us

What of the Hostages?

You have heard it again and again, in newspaper, magazine, on television and radio—Iran continues to hold hostage some 53 Americans. They have done this for over 200 days. Daily we are reminded about the fact. The rescue attempt which failed has been analyzed in detail. The whole sad event has proved frustrating and irritating. How can someone do that to our country? Perhaps each of us experiences a bit of the frustration too—since we are citizens of the United States. Nor can we condone that which was done. 

Yet one can not help but think of the hypocrisy of it all. Fifty-three lives become the deep concern of the whole nation. The security of fifty-three people is of pressing concern. Dire threats are spoken against the nation should any harm come to the hostages. But can this country claim such concern abut the safety and preservation of lives? All who are so concerned about 53 lives, where is the same concern for those million plus lives that are arbitrarily and evilly snuffed out each year? If 53 lives are so valuable, what of the more than a million which are simply destroyed at the whim of man? I speak of the evil of abortion. Voices are raised, but little is done. Mass murder is being practiced by our “Christian” nation—while Iran is threatened that should it hurt one of the 53 lives of the people imprisoned there, dire consequences will follow. 

There is also growing concern in this country about another evil becoming more prevalent: legalized euthanasia. The Outlook, June, 1980, presents an article on this disturbing subject by E.L. Hubden Taylor. He quotes a case where a man in Massachusetts (78 years old) was ordered “removed from the dialysis treatment, medication, and special diet necessary to his survival—so that he might ‘die with dignity.’ ” This, in spite of the fact that the man did not want to “die with dignity.” Only after a great amount of national and international pressure, was this decision reversed. The article maintains, however, that many elderly and sick are compelled to “die with dignity” in this country. How many? The author claims “probably as many Americans as have been aborted as yet unborn.” The writer quotes from a book written by Dr. Koop:

Our society, having lost its understanding of the sanctity of human life, is pushing the medical profession into assuming one of God’s prerogatives, namely deciding what life shall be born and when life shall end…. If there is not to be a Judeo-Christian ethic in the preservation of life in matters pertaining to euthanasia, what does the future hold? The day may come when a death selection committee may objectively consider my life not to be worth much…. Certainly the rights of individuals will disappear: depersonalization and dehumanization will reign…. Once the human-value ethic becomes weakened or tarnished, it doesn’t take long for human experimentation on human bodies to take place. Auschwitz could be in the offing.

So: perhaps a million and a half abortions a year; perhaps another million and a half quasi-legal “mercy-killings.” But woe to Iran if it dares to touch one of the 53 lives of United States citizens held hostage! What kind of country are we becoming? What ought we to day and do? How can all this be condoned? And: are we beginning to see even now the terrible judgments of God upon this country because of these awful and growing crimes?

“An Ounce of Mother” 

The Presbyterian Journal, May 14, 1980, in an article by Dick Hillis, makes some interesting comments about mothers. Some of the things recorded in the article need saying. I quote just the first and last part of the article:

“An ounce of mother can be worth more than a ton of clergy.” I don’t know the author of this quote but I am sure his purpose was not to down-grade the clergy but rather to promote true Christian motherhood. 

We know that most of the men ministering in foreign lands and in the pulpits of America come from Christian homes. Our missionaries speak of a deep sense of God’s direction in their lives. They tell of the inescapable conviction that they should serve Him abroad. They mention their awareness of the terrible lostness of men. These things influenced them to go to foreign lands as ambassadors of Jesus Christ. But they do not stop there. They readily acknowledge the deep influence of a godly mother….

Yes, “an ounce of mother” if that mother is a godly one, is of far more worth than a ton of jewels. So if you feel your duties as a busy Christian mother are preventing you from doing many of the things you would like to do for the Lord outside the home, remember that motherhood and your ministry in the home are very important to the Lord. 

A woman once wrote the great evangelist, Gypsy Smith, and told him she had been converted in one of his campaigns. She said, “I believe the Lord wants me to preach the Gospel, but the trouble is that I have twelve children to raise. What shall I do?’ 

The loving Gypsy wrote, “My dear lady, I am happy to hear that you have been saved and feel called to preach., But I am even more delighted to know that God has already provided you with a congregation of twelve.” The mother got the point. 

When did you last stop and thank God for the high calling of motherhood?

The point is, of course, that Mother has an extremely important place in the home. How foolish when some seem to think that it were better to be engaged in daily work, along with the father, in order to gain a bit more of the earthly possessions which so many esteem. How silly to regard this important position as “degrading” and “demeaning.” True it is, that if this “ounce of mother” is gone, then the “ton of clergy” will serve but poorly as well. 

“State-Owned Children” 

In an editorial in the Christian News, April 14, 1980, the editor reminds us of the direction the world and our country is headed with respect to the care and training of children. He writes:

The International Year of the Child has ended, but there will be no doubt repercussions of its influence for years to come. Certainly permissiveness and children’s rights have been given further impetus. 

In April, 1979, the Swedish Parliament, by an overwhelming vote, passed a law prohibiting parents from striking their children or treating them in any “humiliating” way. The law which went into effect July 1, clearly prohibits punishment as slapping, whacking or spanking children, but the area of “humiliating treatment” is more vague, possibly including such actions as sending them to bed without supper. 

In American a number of legal actions have leaned in the same direction so that possibly in the near future similar laws may be enacted here. 

The doctrine of state-owned children has in fact been with us for some time but in a subtle form. Compulsory education, a form of conscription, has for years been accepted as a fact of life, but there is good reason to believe that it would not stand the constitutional test if it were ever to be tested before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

This editor sat in the witness chair in a Seward County, Nebraska court room on January 19 in behalf of a young student, Ronald Troyer, who is being charged with truancy because he is attending a Christian Day School which employs teachers who are not certified by the state. Forty-four of the states do not require accreditation of teachers in private schools but Nebraska happens to be one of the six that does. There have been similar suits in several other cases involving Christian schools. 

It was part of my testimony to point out that children are not owned by the state but by the parents who have been given this prerogative by God. It was the doctrine of state-owned children that prevailed in Hitler’s Germany and in Mussolini’s Italy in their totalitarian regimes. It is a dangerous doctrine with wide ramifications, and by all indications, considering present trends; there may be some real tensions ahead for us between the state and the home in regard to child control. The Bible seems to predict such a time when children will rise up against parents in defense of their so-called rights.

The above editorial points out what we have long emphasized. The time may be at hand that parents are not allowed to instruct their own children. The “rights” of children would then be compromised. Children, so it will be said, have the right to determine for themselves if they will worship God—and how. No parent may impress his own religious views, at home or school or church, upon his children. We are rapidly headed in this direction of “rights” for the child. 

The GKN and the Homosexual

In the Banner, April 25, 1980, Rev. Haverkamp presents his translation of the decision of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands (GKN) with respect to the homosexual. I quote only the most pertinent part of that decision:

To direct a communication to the churches with the call to officebearers and church members to: 

a. let the mutual bond and service to one another also in the relationship between homosexual and heterosexual church members ever anew proceed from the acceptance of one another under the authority of the proclaimed gospel of grace and of service to the Lord Jesus;

b. also in the presence of the differing view of the Scriptural data involved, to keep in mind that—in reverence for one another’s life-secret, with respect for the individual responsibility over against God and in the light of Gods justification of the humanity of us all—it is not for us to condemn fellowmen in their homosexual disposition and the practice thereof; since the last word also concerning this belongs to the Lord. 

c. to let the mutual faith-bond in Christ between homosexual and heterosexual Christians again and again receive inspiring form in the united experience of the worship service, through administration and reminder of baptism, via participation in the Holy Supper. 

d. so to use the gifts unto service, also in the office granted to all, homosexuals and heterosexuals, that they function to the upbuilding of the congregation.

e. to promote mutual discussion between homosexual and heterosexual church members locally. 

f. to make use in this discussion of the report “concerning people who are homosexual”, which was brought to the attention of the church by the Synod of Dordrecht 1971/1972. 

g. to signalize the disdaining and slighting of the homosexual person in society and to help conquer these.

Haverkamp concludes that “the time has come to take steps to sever the existing relationship with the Gereformeerde Kerken in the Netherlands.”