The Memorial Library
At the anniversary celebration last summer of Rev. H. Hoeksema’s 45 years in the ministry, a collection was taken amounting to approximately $275.00. This money was set aside to establish a “Hoeksema Memorial Library” for the seminary of our Churches. The Library Committee of the Theological School Committee was given the task of starting this Library and purchasing the books for it. However, rather than see this money spent immediately for books to start the library, the committee decided that it would be more valuable to make this a permanent fund kept alive by collections, donations, bequests, etc. If this were clone, the library could constantly be strengthened and enlarged, and would not remain a small collection of books without any possibility of growth and improvement.
For this reason this brief article appears in “All Around Us.” We would like to have our people bear this in mind in time to come. The Churches in the West, and many of our people in the East have not had an opportunity to contribute to this fund, and would perhaps like to do this now. Our societies could remember this fund which has been established when annually they distribute the money they have collected throughout the year. Our people could very well remember this library and what it will mean in the future to our Churches through our seminary activities in donations to it.
Although the Synod of our Churches has appropriated this year a certain amount of money to be spent on the general library of the Seminary, and although they will undoubtedly continue to do this in the future, this “Memorial Library” is td be kept separate from the rest of the books and is to be a library that contains books that otherwise would not be purchased, but which would nevertheless be important and valuable contributions to the studies of our professors and students. This fund is therefore called to your attention with the heartiest recommendation of this column inThe Standard Bearer.
In the November 25 issue of the Reformed Guardian, Rev. De Wolf writes an article in which he offers an analysis of the recent “early Synod” held by the Churches of his group. The gist of this article is that in his opinion their Synod was a failure. He says in conclusion, “Be this as it may, the fact remains that the special synod of October, 1960 failed to serve the purpose for which it was called. The Synod is past. Only its epitaph remains: Mission not accomplished!”
The reason why the author comes to this conclusion are mainly two: 1) The Synod adjourned without doing anything more than the sending of a letter to the Christian Reformed Church for reunion on the basis of Scripture and the Three Forms of Unity. The Synod of the Christian Reformed Church had refused this request in substance and had emphasized the importance of the Three Points of 1924. Now the Synod of October 1960 merely asks the same thing once again, De Wolf remarks that this could just as well have waited till the regular Synod of next year, and in fact that there is very little reason to expect that the Christian Reformed Church will change its stand. By next July no progress whatsoever will have been made.
In connection with this request De Wolf offers his own personal opinion that “as far as I am concerned it (the Synod of the C.R. Church) does not have to go any farther than it has gone in its letter to us in 1960. We need no more than that to live together.”
2) The second reason given for the failure of the Synod is that the grounds originally offered in the overture of Gritters were ignored. These grounds were: “a. There is an urgent need to shorten the time between sessions, and Article 50 provides for this. b. There is such an urgent need because of the situation in our churches due to declining membership, etc. c. An early synod is needed in order that we might act on this matter of contact unitedly and in an orderly way.” De Wolf feels that the urgency of the situation was not fully recognized by the Synod, and that Synod did nothing to solve the problems of falling apart as Churches which warranted such urgency.
Undoubtedly it is true that their Synod failed to accomplish anything constructive and to reach the purpose for which it was called together. The attempt on the part of some to return to the Christian Reformed Church as a denomination failed completely. And it seems, as their history develops, that this was the last opportunity they will have had. For by the time the next Synod meets, it appears as if there will not be sufficient Churches left to constitute a full Synod. And when congregations return independently, or ministers leave, any future attempts Synodically will only be a mockery of their original intentions.
These Churches are making history fast. But it is such strange history that one has to search far to find anything similar; there seems to be nothing like it in all the annals of the Church of the past. Whether the failure of their Synod will be the means of stirring more people to take a firm stand against returning to the Christian Reformed Church only time will tell. But when such a mockery is made of Church Polity and ecclesiastical purity, one cannot help but wonder whether the people there who are faithful and wish to be faithful in the future are going to put up with it, or whether they will see that the only hope for them is to come back to the Protestant Reformed Churches.
More Tendencies Towards Evolutionism
In the December issue of Torch and Trumpet there is a review of a book entitled “Evolution and Christian Thought Today.” The book is a symposium of thirteen members of the American Scientific Affiliation, a group of some eight hundred evangelical scientists committed to Biblical Christianity. It was written in connection with the one hundredth anniversary of Charles Darwin’s “Origin Of Species.” The book purports to be an evaluation of the theory of evolution from the Christian viewpoint. The reviewer of this book is a certain Henry M. Morris who is now professor and head of the Civil Engineering Department at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
The reviewer is rather critical of the book because it makes too many concessions to evolutionism. He points out that the book supports such views as: “The geologic ages are accepted in their entirety, implying an age for the earth of perhaps some five billion years, and age for life on the earth of perhaps a billion years, and an age for man himself of at least several hundred thousand years.” The book suggests the very real possibility of an evolutionistic development of life—giving matter evolving from non-living matter. Almost all the scientific arguments in various sciences in support of evolution are admitted by the authors. The reviewer points out that the flood is completely ignored, that the genuine historical validity of the Genesis account of creation is denied, and that there is a complete rejection of the importance of the curse of God upon the world.
One gets the impression from the reviewer that he is one of the few that still maintains a creation taking place in six days of twenty-four hours. If this is true, it is good to know that there are still those who will not bow to the idol of science and allow their worship of science to distort their interpretation of God’s Word.
But that the authors of this book could claim to be representative of an organization dedicated to Biblical Christianity, and that they have the presumption to claim their book as a Christian evaluation of evolutionism is almost beyond credibility.
It is becoming more and more apparent that once one has committed himself to interpreting Scripture in the light of science, and re-interpreting Scripture so that the days of Genesis 1 are changed to long periods of time, one must go all the way and capitulate completely to evolutionism. And this is not at all surprising. For the question of whether the days ofGenesis 1 are long periods of time is not simply a question of the age of the earth, but it is also a question which involves the nature and character of God’s work of creation. And those who claim an old earth and periods instead of days do so simply to make room for a creation developed through evolutionary processes, ignoring a creation formed by the Almighty Word of God.
It has come to a point where there are only two alternatives: Capitulate to science and lose the Word of God; or: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that things which are seen were not made from things which do appear.”
I was pleased to see in the article of the reviewer this statement: “Thus, the Creation was not accomplished by means of the natural processes prevailing at the present time . . . These processes . . . could not have been in operation in their present form in the period of the Creation.” If I understand this correctly, it means that one cannot learn the nature of God’s work of creation from a study of the world as it is now. Any knowledge which we have now of the creation cannot possibly be a clue to help us understand how the worlds were formed. It is only by faith that we not only believe, but even understand the work of creation.
The Religious Issue In Puerto Rico
Although the religious issue in the latest presidential campaign in our country has aroused considerable comment and has been the occasion for many articles in religious periodicals, this issue was not limited to the United States alone. In Puerto Rico the issue was sharply raised by the Catholic Church itself in connection with the election of Governor Munoz Marin. Before the elections were held there, the Roman Catholic hierarchy had instructed its members not to vote for this man or his party since the Church was opposed to his policies—policies which opposed the allowing of time off for public school children from their studies to obtain religious instruction from the Romish Church, and policies permitting the teaching of birth control. The hierarchy warned that to vote for this man or his party would be a sin sufficiently serious to prevent those who did from participating in the sacraments, and would require full confession.
Because of the fact that Marin was re-elected by a huge majority, it soon became obvious that many Roman Catholic people had defied their bishops and priests. The result was a showdown in which some of the hierarchy tried to enforce their original stand. However, the archbishop of San Juan criticized strongly the clergy of Puerto Rico and told them they might not subject their people to any penalties no matter how they voted. The end of the matter has not come yet.
This whole question raised here and in our own country concerning the relation of Church and state is not only very interesting, but also quite difficult. After all, Article XXXVI of the Belgic Confession takes the position that the State has the calling to enforce the first table of the law as well as the second, which includes the promotion of the true religion. And although the footnote added later by the Synod of 1910 defines once again the separation of Church and state and raises its objections against a State Church, nevertheless the principle of Article XXXVI still stands. Of course, the problem is compounded by the fact that it has never happened in America and probably never will that a man of the Reformed faith becomes president. But we would certainly maintain at the very least that if such had ever happened, one would be obligated to function in this highest executive office of our country according to his convictions and principles. One cannot become neutral in public office. And certainly, according to our Confession, he would be obligated to promote the Reformed faith.
The last word has not yet been said on this whole question. There are many aspects to the problem; and it is not at all easy to come to any definite conclusions. It is, no doubt, a profitable subject for discussion in our societies, and perhaps in our Church papers.