Candidate Michael DeVries has accepted his call from our Southwest Church. All of the June graduates of our Seminary have now received and accepted calls to serve in our churches. Candidate Flikkema accepted his call to serve as pastor of our church in Isabel, South Dakota. Candidate Bruinsma accepted the call from our Faith congregation in Jenison, Michigan.
As in other years, we also this year received visitors from our churches. There were brethren and sisters from: Victoria, BC; Isabel, SD; Lynden, WA; Loveland, CO; South Holland, IL; and Hudsonville, MI. It is good to visit with these brethren and sisters, and experience the real, communion of the saints. And it is with pleasure that we bring into practice the admonition of the Lord from I Peter 4:9.
We say that the Reformation was a return to preaching, and so it was; but that is true because God used the preaching to effect the Reformation. Often we think that the Reformation began on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95,Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. But the foundation was already laid, for Luther had been preaching the Word for seven years in Wittenberg. Luther was above all a preacher.
We are that. By God’s grace we are a providentially protected people. For the God Who called us to be His people cares for us as His people. And His hand that takes away from us gives us better treasures than those which He snatches away from us. What is more, He takes away in order that He may give. And He gives in order that He may take away that which must for our own good be removed.
In the next few installments of this department I would like to deal with the subject of the FEAR OF GOD. This subject has been dealt with before, both directly and indirectly, in this department. Furthermore, according to the title of this rubric, all the articles of this department are meant to deal with an aspect of the FEAR OF GOD. Yet I believe that is would be very worthwhile to direct our attention in some detail again to this mot important theme itself of the Word of God, the FEAR OF GOD.
Family worship is part of our Reformed heritage. Some might be inclined to call it Reformed tradition. In a sense this is true. The problem with using the word tradition is that it rings with empty formality. If we speak of heritage, it conveys the idea of something precious and worthwhile. Family worship is something blessed that has been handed down to us from our forefathers.
R.C.A. and Women in Office Most of the main line denominations in this land have accepted women as elders and deacons and ministers of the gospel. As the emphasis upon the infallibility of the Bible declines, so also grow practices which clearly are condemned in Scripture. The Reformed Church in America has been undergoing a struggle in this regard too. Officially, the church does not allow women in the office of ministry—though they have served as elders and deacons for some time already. However, the R.C.A.
“We believe, that our gracious God, on account of our weakness and infirmities hath ordained the sacraments for us, thereby to seal unto us his promises, and to be pledges of the good will ,and grace of God toward us, and also to nourish and strengthen our faith; which he hath joined to the Word of the gospel, the better to present to our senses, both that which he signifies to us by His Word, and that which he works inwardly in our hearts, thereby assuring and confirming in us the salvation which he imparts to us.
Often when we consider the great Reformation of the sixteenth century we confine our thinking to those two great principles of the Reformation, that of the sole authority of Holy Scripture (the formal principle) and that of justification by faith only (the material principle). And while it is certainly correct to recognize these as the principles of the Reformation—and even highly necessary and profitable to call attention to them and re-emphasize them in our time—it is a mistake toconfine our thinking to them.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5