Dear Rev. Hoeksema,
The undersigned would greatly appreciate to have you place this article in The Standard Bearer.
It is rather inconceivable that there are among our people those who do not subscribe to nor read The Standard Bearer. And yet, from the various comments read in this paper of late, and from the verbal comments as I heard them, it is no doubt true that this condition is a horrible reality. And then to note the excuses offered. One of the most common ones is: “I cannot afford it.” Now it seems that this is an alibi, entirely unfounded.
The Standard Bearer is either one of two things: either a luxury or a necessity. Is The Standard Bearer a luxury, or is it a spiritual necessity for the Protestant Reformed home and heritage? If we place The Standard Bearer on the same level with automobiles, electric refrigerators, radios and what have you, then, to be sure, we can relegate it to the group of non-essentials. If, on the other hand, The Standard Bearer means to enhance, to foster (which it does purpose) the intellectual and spiritual growth of the individual, the family, the church and God’s Kingdom in general, then it would become very evident that the paper is essential. As long as folks can afford to drive a car, which is a luxury, they certainly should be able to subscribe for The Standard Bearer which is a spiritual necessity. Not to provide for the necessities first before purchasing luxuries is poor economics. Not to secure for oneself and his family things which have eternal value means an underestimation of spiritual things. Such a condition speaks volumes. . . . A subscription to The Standard Bearer, it appears to me, is on the same level as our children attending schools for Christian instruction.
Possibly there are those who don’t subscribe because they have already reached the apex or the zenith of Reformed thinking and are satisfied with, themselves. This would be assuming an attitude of spiritual and intellectual complacency. Or there may be some, who are so superficial in their thinking and in their spiritual aptitudes that the content of The Standard Bearer is far beyond them.
After all there must be some reason for the positive attitude of disinterest, or indifference.
The “Meditations” found in this paper are spiritual gold-mines. Facts are that these are worthy of more extensive publication. They are better than any found in any other religious periodical, whether here or in the old country. If there is no desire to read and to enjoy these, then we have already reached the state of spiritual lethargy.
The “Editorials” are pointed, pithy, scholarly, inspiring, refreshing and up-to-date. All your articles are upon such a delightful, instructive, inspirational, and intellectually high level, that they are a joy to read. The language used certainly is not above the level of the common people, unless their intellectual ability to grasp and to grapple with fundamental truths is about as superficial as we find it generally in other church periodicals.
God forbid, that The Standard Bearer should ever have to stoop to the intellectual and the spiritual level of those who hide behind such a screen of alibis, and of those who desire superficial things in a superficial manner. We are confident however that such a catering to the masses will never occur.
However, Mr. Editor, I believe that this paper for its own betterment should assume a different garb. A garb in harmony with its ideals and standards. Much constructive work can and should be done. Many talents, now inactive, could be utilized. It is obvious that you yourself should and ought to remain not only the editor-in-chief, but also its guiding spirit. Your ideals can and may then be realized if you remain at the helm. If this paper would be put into departments with regular editors and contributors, many now dormant talents could be used and stimulated into action. If you could combine all these powers and talents which are now idle to do some constructive studying and thinking, its result would not only be for the intellectual and spiritual growth of young and old in our denominational life, but would extend, I am sure, far beyond the limits of our denominational sphere. The Standard Bearer would realize its objective more efficiently; its high standards would be maintained and possibly realized to a greater degree; its future from a financial point of view would become more secure, and the spiritual level of our denomination would be raised.
A. C. Boerkoel