After having read the letter “Not Appropriate” (Stnndard Bearer, Dec. 1, 1996) by Mr. Marc Carpenter, and having reread the article entitled “The Reformed Family: Teachers” (SB, Sept. 15, ,1996) by Mrs. Lubbers, I am somewhat confused as to the nature of Mr. Carpenter’s objection.

His letter reads, “my wife and I were offended at the lack of personal purity that some parts of the article endorsed.” I am left wondering, to whose lack of purity does he refer? Mrs. Lubbers’ or Miss Reitsma’s? Indeed, in the record of Mrs. Lubbers’ memory, a portion is given to the physical appearance of Miss Reitsma. Her recollection is that of an eighth grade girl, with the accompanying sights and understandings. She recalls this particular teacher as being attractive and describes it in that manner. Nowhere does she suggest that Miss Reitsma acted inappropriately with the beauty God bestowed upon her. There is no lack of purity in being beautiful; there is no lack of purity in seeing it.

Complaint is given that “no mention is made that any heads that turned were turned in wickedness.” It is not necessary nor judicious to state the intent of the heart with respect to heads turned some years ago. I was struck with the description of a memory that indicated a particular teacher to have a spiritual, youthful, vivacious, and attractive approach to the calling God gave her. While some may have turned in wickedness, it is equally possible that they turned in awe of the godly attitude with which she apparently carried herself.

Mr. Carpenter also asks, with respect to the showing of a movie and Miss Reitsma’s covering of the lens at a bedroom scene (of husband and wife), “Were these protests sinful? Why were her eyes dancing with mischief?” I can only assume that since she covered the lens, she was fully aware of the sinful nature of eighth graders to interpret such a scene wrongly and improperly. “Mischief in her eyes” is the subjective analysis of an eighth grader, remembered over the passage of many years. To judge the purpose or intent of such a thing at this point in time would be pointless and far beyond the nature of an article which merely reports that memory.

Finally, Mr. Carpenter points out the lack of emphasis on personal holiness in Reformed circles. While this is always to be a matter of great concern, I do not see this as a fault of articles like Mrs. Lubbers’. Seeing physical beauty and reporting its existence are never sinful, but placing an importance on it above or before spiritual beauty is at fault, for the physical is but a picture (poor and sin-filled) of the spiritual. I understood Mrs. Lubbers’ descriptions in that light, as seeing and reporting that physical beauty in Miss Reitsma: not more important, not necessary to and not above that spiritual beauty which God wrought in her, which resulted in a portion of the godly training of Mrs. Lubbers and many others.

According to the memory of Mrs. Lubbers, Miss Reitsma considered the following worthy of her daily labors for God’s covenant children: memorizing poetry and Psalters; singing spirituals; encouraging skills of logic and rhetoric; preparing students to live without a teacher; enthusiasm for, her calling regardless of personal struggle; respect for and necessity of godly ministers in the school; regular chapels; school programs in the way of music and Scripture; motivating kids to think; and several more.

If I had thought there were any possibility that Mrs. Lubbers considered the physical beauty of Miss Reitsma to be essential or necessary to the making of a godly teacher, my doubts would have been dispelled when reading the following: “this vibrant, energetic teacher lay weak and wasted, her pallor at one with the white, crisp sheets. Even those wonderful green eyes were robbed of vitality.” Having seen her beloved teacher in the ugliness of death, Mrs. Lubbers goes on to recount the permanent written record of Miss Reitsma’s last letters to her students. Her words (Miss Reitsma’s) are a lasting, beautiful, and very spiritual confession. For Mrs. Lubbers, her teacher’s physical beauty is wasted and gone, but the spiritual beauty of that confession, which Miss Reitsma was used of God to impart, has .remained. When I read that beautiful confession, I wept for the covenant children who do not have the benefit of such teachers, with or without physical beauty.

Thank you, Mrs. Lubbers, for reminding us of the importance of godly, Reformed teachers. If God is merciful to provide them, it is of no consequence whether they remain in our children’s memories as physically beautiful, ugly, or otherwise, so long as they recall and live that godly and Reformed way of thinking that Miss Reitsma apparently taught and lived.

(Mrs.) Deborah Benson

Elgin, IL


I wish to express my appreciation for two reasons.

First, I am thoroughly pleased by your frequent inclusion of meditations by Rev. Herman Hoeksema. His piercing insight into God’s Word, and His simple, straightforward style of exposition always strengthens my faith and sends new rays of God’s light streaming into my heart.

Secondly, Rev. Moore’s enthusiasm for the mission work in Ghana should be an encouragement for us all to join together in promoting this work “with prayers, gifts, letters, visits, etc.,” as he suggests. Our churches have made the decision (guided, we trust, by the Holy Spirit), to pursue this mission endeavor. May our Lord raise up the right man for missionary, with a willing team of helpers; and may He work powerfully to gather His own in that place.

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious” (Ps. 66:1, 2).

John Hilton

Edgerton, MN