Gise J. Van Baren is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
The book, The Fourth Day by Dr. H. Van Till, continues to draw attention and strong condemnation from the “conservatives” in the Christian Reformed Church. Anyone reading the book can understand why. A recent issue of Christian Renewal, March 9, 1987, contained several articles again on the issues raised in the book. Editor John Hultink presents a strong condemnation, stating among other things:
Calvin College professor Howard Van Till does not think there is anything unbiblical about believing that the world and life came into being as a result of the process of evolution.
Satan is the father of lies. More than anything else he would like to convince Christians that God did not create the world. That the world is a product of the sum total of millions of mutations. That Satan wants us to believe this is understandable. And that those who are the children of Satan and not the sons of God wish to believe this is also understandable. But how is it possible that Christian professors at Christian institutions of higher learning teach this blasphemous view of the origin of the universe to Christian students? And are defended for doing so in the pages of our denominational paper.
God’s good creation did not come into being as a result of millions of accidents and mutations. Evolution accounts for nothing except man’s unwillingness to take God at His Word.
Is it not blasphemy to suggest that Holy and Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, directed: that godless process known to us as evolution?
From the very beginning man was a creature capable of communicating with His God. Adam named the animals. He did not grunt and groan. Satan would have us believe otherwise.
As the first day passed into the second and the second into the third until God reached the sixth day, he said, “And behold it was very good.”
Dear reader, can you imagine God saying of man in his so-called primitive state, as he grunted and groaned and heaved his club to smash in the skull of his fellow primitive (to steal his mate), “And behold God saw what he had made (evolved) and it was good?”
That is blasphemy. It is an assault on the sovereignty and the, holiness of God to suggest that God is the great evolutionist. It contradicts both testaments, old and new.
There are two honest ways of confessing the origin of the universe. One is that God spoke the universe into being. The other that the universe is the result of a big bang and that human life is the result of millions of mutations. There is no third alternative. At least not for Christians who take God at His Word.
One can emphatically agree with the comments. There is, however, a great problem for Hultink, one would think. He speaks of one within his own denomination, of one who could sit down at the same communion table with him, of one who has signed the formula of subscription, even as has Hultink. Yet Hultink has spoken of “blasphemy” in assaulting the sovereignty and holiness of God, of contradicting the old and new testaments, and of dishonesty in presentation.
Granted that the charges are all true, still one of two things must happen. Either Hultink retracts all such kind of charges, or he follows through on them. Then, either Van Till must be disciplined because of these sins of which he is accused, or otherwise Hultink surely can find no more place in. the same church where such sins are condoned. To withhold financial support, while still sitting at the same communion table, is not the answer.
Christianity Today, Mar. 20, 1987, contains a report concerning the attitude of those in Sweden towards the Bible. The report indicates that within “Christian” lands, the Bible is no longer held in very high regard—nor is it often used even by those who claim to recognize its divine origin. But also, there is a reminder to each of us. We confess the Bible to be the infallible, inspired Word of God. Yet, how often is it being used by us? Do we regularly read and study it? Or are we content to hear it read in church on Sunday—but then read only a little from it through the week? May the following survey serve as warning also to us.
Research conducted by the Institute for Religious and Sociological Studies found that 10 percent of Sweden’s population do not own a Bible and two-thirds of the Swedish people never read the Bible. Sweden’s population is 97 percent Protestant.
The study indicates that only 8 percent of the Swedish people read the Bible regularly, compared with 12 percent who attend worship services and 25 percent who pray. A modern Swedish translation of the New Testament has sold 2.5 million copies in a country with a population of 8.3 million. The translation is more popular among youths than adults.
The report says about half of the Swedish population think the Bible is an important book. But one-third view the Bible as “more or less” inspired by God; one-third rank it on a par with other good books containing wisdom for life; and one-third hold a variety of other views of Scripture.
The Presbyterian Church in America, a few years ago, sent an invitation to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church to join the former. That invitation was narrowly declined by the O.P.C. However, many within both denominations would still desire a consummation of such a union. There was an attempt to present another invitation from the P.C.A. to the O.P.C. However, theR.E.S. News Exchange, Mar. 10, 1987, indicates that this invitation will not be forthcoming:
The Presbyterian Journal, reports that at least 11 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) have voted to reject a proposal to send a second invitation to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) to become a part of the PCA. Last year a virtually identical invitation extended by an earlier PCA general assembly garnered a majority acceptance in the OPC but failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority. The first rejected offer will not be followed at this time by a second offer.
One is ever amazed at what people will believe. The lie is prevalent throughout the land. Many even pay large sums of money to do what sound reason would say can not be done. And so many do these things in place of any obedience to God’s Word. Church and State, Mar. 1987, reports:
A Philadelphia man has been awarded $138,000 for psychological damages he claims to have suffered while practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM). Robert Kropinski, 36, claimed his 11 years of participation in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Hindu-based movement had left him with a range of mental problems. Contrary to TM promises, he said he did not learn to levitate, improve his memory, relieve stress or reverse the aging process. Instead, he asserted that TM caused “headaches, anxiety, impulses toward violence, hallucinations, confusion, loss of memory, screaming fits, lack of focus, paranoia, social withdrawal.” He also claimed to have been induced to convert from Christianity to Hinduism.
Attorneys for TM’s World Plan Executive Council produced witnesses—including a Roman Catholic priest—who vouched for the meditation technique’s benefits. They also charged that Kropinski had brought similar claims of mental damages when he filed suit against Gimbel’s department store after a fall there.
A physicist from Maharishi International University took the stand to assert that he believes levitation is a physical possibility. Kropinski claimed that TM devotees cannot fly at all, but only hop.
Although he had originally sought damages of $9 million, Kropinski said he is “enormously happy” about the case’s outcome.