Thank you for your informative and encouraging magazine. We are grateful for the one-year gift subscription we received from a friend and are glad to become regular subscribers.
Living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan sometimes means remoteness, but your magazine finds us here and has been such an encouragement to us. We read many articles aloud as a family and have interesting discussions with our children.
Thank you for keeping a standard high in our fallen world.
(Mrs.) Kame Moore
In your editorial reflecting on Dr. Mouw’s support of common grace (“He Shines in All That’s Fair,” Standard Bearer, April 1, 2002) you write, “In basing the theory of common grace upon his own seeing, feeling, and thinking, rather than upon the Word of God, Dr. Mouw is not unique.” How true!
During the summer of 1973 my family and I spent a month in the northeastern part of Philadelphia preaching for a group of interested people there, as did several other of our ministers. We became acquainted with several students from Westminster Seminary, two of whom arranged a meeting for us with Dr. Cornelius VanTil. He was semi-retired at the time, and mentioned the great respect he had for Herman Hoeksema. In the olden days he visited First Church to hear Hoeksema preach every opportunity he had, and at the present time he was reading Behold, He Cometh to his invalid wife. Naturally, Dr. VanTil also spoke of the differences he had with Hoeksema and the Protestant Reformed Churches on the nature of God’s grace. After discussing this a bit, I asked the professor, “Dr. VanTil, isn’t it true that every time the Scriptures use the word grace they do so in the redemptive sense?” I expected him to respond in the negative, and perhaps trot out a supposed example of common grace from the Bible. But his answer to the question was “Yes, but we have so much more than the Bible. We have history and what we see round about us.” Doing theology on the corner of Monroe and Division, indeed!
May our churches continue to maintain, always, the Reformational principle that Scripture is the only rule for faith and life. And we encourage you to continue to instruct the readers of the Standard Bearer in the truth of particular grace and the absolute, spiritual antithesis between the church and the world.
(Rev.) D.H. Kuiper
Protestant Reformed Church
Grand Rapids, Michigan
I refer to Rev. Key’s article “Saving Faith—a Certain Knowledge” (Standard Bearer, April 1, 2002) wherein he falls into an error which is, sadly, common even in the PRC. The error of contrasting “heart” knowledge with “intellectual,” or “head” knowledge.
The late Dr. Gordon H. Clark (whose works should be required reading for PR pastors) has shown, irrefutably, that the contrast is not a scriptural one. When the term “heart” is used in Scripture it refers, in the majority (at least 70%) of cases, to the “mind,” the “thoughts,” the “understanding,” etc. That is, most references to “heart” have strong intellectual connotations. Contrasting heart and intellect can only bring confusion.
Scripture does contrast “heart” and “lips”—uttering what one does not believe—hypocrisy in speech.
There is, of course, a difference between being able to quote Scriptures and actually believing them and endeavoring to live by them. But the problem lies not with the type of knowledge or where it is (heart or head) but in the presence of sin and the absence or weakness of faith. “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb. 4:2).
The article “Saving Faith—a Certain Knowledge” did not mark a contrast between the intellectual and spiritual (or heart) knowledge when it comes to saving faith. The two elements are inseparably one. There is no true faith without mind and heart functioning together. Nevertheless, the distinction I made, and which Reformed theologians have made historically, is one that must be maintained. It must also be emphasized. It must be emphasized in preaching. It must be emphasized in catechism teaching. To know about God is not to be identified with knowing Him with the knowledge of faith. That the devils know and believe that there is only one God (James 2:19) is not the same knowledge confessed by the apostle in II Timothy 1:12. God grant that we know Him with the knowledge of true faith!
(Rev.) Steven R. Key
I’m glad Rev. Dick dared risk upsetting some on the dating issue. For he said needed things, well and bravely and yet conciliatingly. He did not say dating was a show of materialistic finery and worldly prowess, which he could have done. Someday his detractors may realize he was more moderate than they knew. Still, he did his part to arrest creeping worldliness of our era.
Dating is gambling, gambling that a few hours serving Satan won’t hurt. It’s done in the devil’s territory, by his rules or non-rules, with rewards to whoever most charmingly poses, crudely or with class. Dating may be one of the stronger evidences of human depravity. It presents Satan fine opportunities to shipwreck souls for life. Too many daters have stars in their eyes, fire in their clothes, or desperation in their hearts. Fine cars or clothes are usually brought, with faith and teachings left at home.
Couldn’t someone suggest a safer, wiser, godlier program for mate selection? Couldn’t the worldliness and hypocrisy requirements for mate candidacy be scrapped? Must godly homes go on being based on witty talk, well-set hair, and gaieties?
I’m with Rev. Dick that dating is worldly and must stop trumping Christian valiance.
Just a short note to let you know how much I appreciate your magazine. I may not always agree with everything in it, but I find so much of value.
I have found the articles of Rev. Douglas Kuiper on the qualifications of deacons to be very relevant, especially in this day and age.
I would like to pay a tribute to Mr. B. VanHerk, who has faithfully sent me my copy of the Standard Bearer for more years than I care to remember!
Thank you again for your faithful ministry through your excellent magazine.
Levin, New Zealand