All Around Us

The “Wiser” children of Men?

I find letters to editors often interesting, sometimes provocative. On occasion I’ve quoted such letters. This time I quote an interesting letter from a secular magazine, Changing Times, June, 1981. I have no idea who the writer of the letter is. There is no indication of the writer’s religion— if there is any at all. The arguments are not based on Scripture, but only upon human reasoning. Yet one must be struck by the fact that this human reasoning warns about the very thing that ought also to concern the child of God. We ought to show concern about the same subject for Scriptural, spiritual reasons. Sometimes, it seems, the children of men are “wiser” than those of the light. The writer is concerned about “jobs vs. motherhood”:

It is heartening to read in “Making the Switch From Job to Full-time Mother” (Apr. issue) that somewhere in this country there are women self-directed enough to thumb their noses at an acquisitive society and rear their children. 

A child is not getting much if he is not getting his parent’s presence. Talking about “quality time” has to be the ultimate cop-out. True quality time is when the child needs the parent and the parent is immediately available—not when the parent decides to schedule a few minutes to be attentive. 

And what about developing self-esteem? A mother who has to work will be understood subconsciously by the offspring, but a mother who makes a choice for something outside is telling the child that he is less important. She becomes a role model for neuroticism. 

As I read the article, I kept having flashes of the picture in psychology books showing the pitiful baby monkey hanging on to the wire and scrap of cloth, its surrogate mother. Is that what we are doing to our youngsters?

Far more important, of course, is what Scripture teaches. Children are an heritage of the Lord. Their training and direction is of importance not only for this life, but for that to come. There is no task, for man or woman, more important than the proper instruction of the covenant seed. The high calling of women as mothers within the home ought never to be degraded or mocked as some sort of inferior position. Nor is the acquisition of earthly possessions as important as the training of our children in the fear of God’s Name. If those within the world recognize the absolute necessity of the mother in the home, ought not we, believing the testimony of Scripture, emphasize this even more?

Evils of Gambling

Michigan is one of the states having a state-run lottery. And business has never been better. There is a recession in the country with Michigan hit hardest of all— but people have money to buy lottery tickets. TheGrand Rapids Press, Sept. 8, 1981, reports about this:

Despite the state’s dismal economic picture, officials say the Michigan lottery continues to bring in plenty of money.

By the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, sales are expected to top $500 million—by far the most profitable performance among the 14 states that run their own games, according to the Council of State Governments.

No matter what befalls the state, be it double-digit unemployment, a persistent business slump or nagging inflation, people continue to bet, state officials said.

“I think we’re going to see the state relying more and more (for revenue) on what I call ‘enterprise activities,’ like us the Liquor Control Commission,” says the sate Lottery Commissioner…

… Nearly half the daily game’s 1,400 sales computer terminals are in the Detroit area, state officials said. Lottery opponents note that in may of the communities with high concentrations of lottery terminals, the family incomes are lower than average.

That irks Rep. William Ryan, D-Detroit, who says the people who spend money on the lottery are those who can afford it the least…

The sin of gambling is supported by the state. The consequences of the sin are evident when those who can not afford to gamble, do so nevertheless. The state has taken advantage of the greed that is in natural man, and promotes this through its constant encouragement of citizens to gamble. Gambling, or taking of “chances” has increasingly become a part of advertising of products as well. The child of God must not succumb to the temptation of gambling. And we are called to warn and admonish all those who use their positions of authority to promote such sin.

And: the Evil of Abortion

Christian News, June 8, 1981, presents an editorial by Haven B. Gow on abortion:

Many supporters of abortion on demand maintain that abortions are required, for therapeutic reasons, like the threat to the psychological or physical well-being of the mother. In 1954, however, the late Dr. Alan Guttmacher, an avid pro-abortionist, conceded that, “…it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.”

In April of this year, the Rhode Island State legislature heard testimony concerning a bill to prohibit public funding of abortions. According to one physician, Dr. Joseph DiZoglio, he had questioned a number of physicians who performed abortions and all had informed him that “they have never performed an abortion for medical reasons.” Dr. DiZoglio also pointed out that one abortionist (who had performed between 15 and 20 thousand abortions) openly and candidly confessed that not one of the abortions he performed was ever performed because it was “absolutely necessary.” 

…If most abortions are not performed for therapeutic reasons, then what are the reasons that motivate so many women to procure abortions? 

One explanation for abortion is a lifestyle that, as author L. Brent Bozell observed, reduces moral choices to economic choices. Since it is cheaper to procure an abortion than to rear a child, many would rather kill an unborn baby than accept an economic burden. Many would rather have a new swimming pool or a trip to Europe than a new baby.

…Many crave sexual “freedom” but do not want to accept responsibility for their deeds. Abortion becomes an easy, quick, cheap and convenient “solution” for a tragic and embarrassing problem and what results is the destruction of unborn human lives.

Abortion is, of course, murder. The sin is terrible in the sight of God Who has condemned murder in His commands. Yet the evil continues to grow. We must also unceasingly condemn this terrible sin which is officially and legally approved within our nation.

“Biblical Universalism”?

The R.E.S. News Exchange, July 7, 1981, contains a review of a very controversial book, Unconditional Good News, by Rev. Neal Punt. The review is by Dr. Sierd Woudstra:

The writer of this provocatively stimulating book, the Rev. Neal Punt, is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America…. 

Punt bases his perspective on what he calls “A fresh approach to the universalistic texts” (heading of chapter V). He contends that these “passages should be approached with the assumption that there is a sense in which the Bible can say ‘all persons are saved’, or ‘all persons are elect in Christ’ ” (32). In Punt’s judgment “these texts (which he discusses individually in chapter VI) speak of an actual salvation and not merely of a potential or provisional salvation” (33). That is why Punt confidently asserts that “all are elect in Christ except those who the Scripture declares will be lost” (73), namely, “all and only those who persistently and ultimately refuse to respond to the call of the gospel.” (27). 

Punt’s approach has an undeniable pastoral attractiveness to it. Everlasting damnation is almost too fearful to contemplate. It would also account for the possibility of salvation for the millions who lived before Christ and were never part of Old Testament Israel as well as those millions whom the church failed to reach with the saving Gospel. God Himself is a “universalist”

Ezek. 33:11I Tim 2:4

and those who profess His name should be nothing less. This reviewer deeply appreciates what Punt aims to do in this study: to make it possible on Scriptural grounds to say to everyone, “Christ died for you.” I was happy to read Punt’s insistence that all children who died in infancy are saved (see chapter XI). Punt is to be commended for this study and for his courage in publishing it.

I guess that not much need be said of the above. Neither the reviewer nor the writer of the book gives much indication for a love of and appreciation for the old Reformed confessions. One can truly wonder how any can remain within the circle of the Reformed camp while holding to the above positions. Notice two things: there is expressed the desire to find Scriptural grounds to say to everyone, “Christ died for you.” This is an attempt to deny the truth of “Limited” atonement. One can understand such a contention from the Arminian, but hardly from one who claims to hold to the Canons of Dordt. Notice too that there is the attempt made to say that those who never heard the gospel (in the Old Testament age when Israel was God’s people, and in the New Testament age where some have never heard the gospel) can also be saved. Woudstra claims that Punt also insists that all children who die in infancy are saved. (One might ask about the babies who drowned at the time of the flood—and their ultimate destiny. If these were all saved, and God did not deem it necessary to bring them into the ark, the flood was of real advantage to millions besides Noah and his family.) One might also be inclined to follow such teaching with the thought that it is better that the heathen never heard the preaching and that all babies (also ours) were to die in infancy. But Scripture knows of no such nonsense. God saves His elect people in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4). Punt’s position represents, perhaps, the ultimate conclusion to the teaching of the free offer of the gospel. The Reformed churches must steadfastly maintain the scriptural teachingwhich is expressed in our Canons so emphatically.