Under this heading, it was assigned to me by our Editor-in-chief to write a few articles in the Standard Bearer. Now, to write news from our churches for our paper is not an easy task; as the readers can easily understand. In the first place it is not easy for the simple reason that all the news from our churches is written in Our Church News, the small, weekly paper which is well liked by old and young, and whose Editor is a capable man. In the second place it is hard for this reason, church news in the Standard Bearer is necessarily old news.
The reader must also keep in mind the incapability of a common layman, to write in a paper like the Standard Bearer. And last, but not least, the Rev. H. Hoeksema made the statement in his outline remarks: (S.B., Aug. 1) “the success of the present scheme will depend entirely on the acceptance by each of us of the task assigned to him and on faithful and thorough work.”
Now, to be faithful in this respect is not so difficult, but to do thorough work is a different story.
Is it not also true that some men are born preachers; some born singers, or artists; and some are born writers ? But I have none of these qualifications, and above all, my inferiority complex also stands in the way to make these church news articles a success. However, it is also an honor to be in company with learned men, and I thank the Editor-in-chief that he has deemed me worthy to write a few articles in this our paper in this coming year.
The Third Annual Convention of the Protestant Reformed Young Peoples’ Federation was again held, and, as I read about it, it was with much success. The committee selected a beautiful and proper theme, (in the words of our Editor-in-chief) in the subject, “Thoroughly Equipped.”
The different speakers made it very plain that in the midst of this world our covenant youth must be thoroughly equipped indeed, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, and the rulers of darkness of this world. And II Tim. 3:16, 17 speaks of the man of God, that he must be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work, in order, that he may be a good soldier to fight Jehovah’s battles. This soldier must maintain the truth, and this means for a Protestant Reformed soldier that he must maintain the absolute sovereignty of God, over against the tendencies that deny the divinity of Christ. This youthful soldier must live an isolated Christian soldier life, and must never follow the blind leaders of the blind. He should not be seen in places of the world, in theaters or dancehalls, but must live an isolated Christian life. He must also be watchful in our peculiar times, and he must have knowledge to be a thoroughly equipped Christian. He must know that in the midst of the battle he has the victory.
Our R.F.P.A. again held their annual meeting, and judging by the attendance we are hopelessly lost, and should stop all our activities in connection with the publication of our S.B. The first meeting of this kind was attended by approximately 350, and at this meeting there were only 29. Where are the 300? They had various reasons for not being there, I suppose?
The Rev. M. Schipper spoke a good, well-chosen word. His theme was: Jehovah our Banner. In Exodus we read, as you know, that Moses, Aaron and Hur were upon a high mountain and Israel was in the valley fighting the battle of Jehovah against the Amalekites. Moses was instructed by the Lord to lift up His staff on high in order that Israel might win. With the help of Aaron and Hur he succeeded and Jehovah gave the victory. Under that Banner of Jehovah-nissi the battle was fought. We also, so the speaker goes on, must fight that battle of Jehovah our Banner, and our Standard Bearer as a banner of the truth must and does fight the warfare of our King.
I suppose all the readers of our S. B. know by this time that the consistory of the First Church decided to make a little change in our English services. Instead of the present doxology (“Praise God from whom all blessings flow”) we sing Psalter No. 197, both stanzas. The last doxology we now sing first, as soon as the minister rises and stands on the pulpit. Something new, you say, yes, but what of it? It is all to the glory of our Covenant God, and as I see it, for the betterment of our church services. Some say: We fall in line with the American churches round about us, and this is (so they say) the first step in a wrong direction. Now, we shall take notice in the future.
By the grace of God we are sound in doctrine however and have not deviated from the truth since 1921, the never-to-be-forgotten year, when we were expelled from the Christian Reformed Church; and are now named Protestant Reformed, and of that name we are proud, we like it, and love it, and fight for it, and if necessary die for it. The Christian Reformed Church does not fight anymore. You say, give proof? Here it is! In 1924 these churches deposed a minister (to mention only one) of whom they witnessed that he was Reformed. In 1941 these same churches gave an honorable discharge to a minister because of worldly-mindedness. The former was in a holy mood, and warned these churches not to depart from the Reformed truth. The latter felt at home in the movies of Hollywood. The former pleaded with them to abide by the truth and reconsider their actions. The latter ignored the assembly of the wise. The former did not want to leave. The latter boastingly sneers, “I resign!”
The Synod of 1924 at least made a sinful attempt to abide by the truth. In 1941 there is silence in the court.
Are there no more watchmen upon the walls of Christian Reformed Zion? You were warned brethren for the dogma of Common Grace! You never find a Holy God in sinful, ungodly Hollywood, operating with His Spirit, and an actor is not pleasing in His sight.
Why did not your Synod tell Dr. Pousma that his walk of life was a sinful walk? Because common grace stood in the way. Yes, that good-for-nothing grace is no good. With it you depose good reformed ministers of the gospel, and you have to keep worldly-minded doctors in your churches. In the dogma of common grace the fundamental principles of Reformed truth are done away with. Then God is no more God. Salvation is for everybody, which means nobody. 0 yes, it is very easy for the flesh, but God is dethroned, and man is king. God forbid that we as Protestant Reformed Churches should ever adhere to such a man-made dogma.
I am sure that you agree with me when I make the statement that it is good news for every Reformed thinker that the Rev. H. Hoeksema now speaks over the radio, and promised to do so, D.V. for a period of 39 weeks. Remember, the time—every Sunday afternoon from 4:15 until 5:00, over station WLAV, 1340 on your dial. This radio hour is sponsored by the Young Men’s Society of the First Protestant Reformed Church.
It is in place here to thank the Rev. Hoeksema for his willingness to cooperate with the Young Men’s Society in this worthy cause, and also to thank the Young Men’s Society for their many labors connected with this work. Also those who contributed have done well. But above all, our Covenant God must receive the honor and the glory that, as Protestant Reformed Churches, we may be co-workers with Him in the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is found in the Scriptures which speak of a sovereign God and of totally depraved men.
Our second Pastor, the Rev. R. Veldman was willing to give up his evening services, and he did this in full accord with the consistory. The Rev. Hoeksema preaches every Sunday evening and Rev. Veldman every Sunday afternoon.
If I may do so, I would advise the Rev. Hoeksema to be clear in his speech, explain the truth thoroughly; for, remember, your audience is not used to Protestant Reformed speaking, outside of our churches.
I would also, and first of all, advise the Christian Reformed people, with their leaders, .to tune in and listen attentively. After all, for this truth, this speaker was expelled from your churches, and it left a scar which is painful and sorely felt even today.
We also consider this to be Mission work. Your churches do not like our Missionary, and consequently not this kind of work, although we are glad that at last the day and the hour arrived for the Prot. Ref. Radio Hour, and according to my opinion, it will be of great importance for those who love the Reformed truth.
At the appointed time, in a clear voice, the announcer, Mr. W. Hoffman, introduced the Rev. H. Hoeksema, after the Choir in harmonious unison had sung No. 308 of the Psalter: ‘‘Not unto us, O Lord of heaven, but unto Thee be glory given”. . . .
As the last tones of the singers faded away: a convincing voice was heard in the words, “God is God!”
What a difference! Usually we hear of man, and of his mighty deeds. The speaker made it very plain in his entire speech, that God is God indeed. And that ‘He is God and God alone means salvation for His people. Much is heard in our days about man, about his goodness, about man’s salvation, a salvation after his own heart. They speak of God who is good and gracious, but they forget that He is also the God of wrath, according to Scripture.
The Church must speak God’s Word, and that Word speaks: I am God. God is not the God of our imagination.
It was made very plain: that the Church is God’s witness, and she does not speak of herself. She hears the Word of God, wonderful in power, and proclaims that God cannot be likened unto us, for we are mere man. He is the Creator and we are creatures. He is light, and we are darkness, and no one can show us the way out of that darkness and death. The Church speaks a testimony. She has no choice in the matter, and she always must and does say: God is God. It becomes a fire in her bones. She witnesses of the Word she hears. The Church speaks through revelation. The word that diminishes that God is God, is dangerous.
The speaker closed his speech by saying, that the people who know that God is God indeed; and knowing Him as their God, that people is blessed. Then they talk with Him, and walk with Him, and in that sweet communion taste that He is good and so have life eternal.
As it always is, some liked the speech, and others did not. There were also some who did not understand it, others complained that prayer was lacking.
Now, what shall we say about this. As a Protestant people we are very distinctive, and that holds also in this matter. I would like to ask this question: Does the audience as a whole bow their heads in prayer? You know better. The one laughs, some talk, and others pay no attention whatsoever. So you see, it is not so unwise after all to omit it.
Well, the Word was spoken, and we leave it to our Covenant God, and we feel at ease, knowing that He will do His work through us, in order that His Name may receive the honor and the glory for ever and ever.
One more item in connection with “News of our Churches,” and then I will close. It is about the League of our Men’s Societies which was held in Fuller Ave. Church. That evening the Rev. H. Veldman of Kalamazoo spoke for us on the subject: “Society Life.”
Now if we must judge according to the small group present, then we come to the conclusion, that there is not much life in our Societies. However, there was much life in the speech of the speaker. He treated his subject in distinction from the Church.
Society life is different from church life. The church is a living body with living members, and she must preach the living Word by ordained preachers, chosen of God, and by the Church.. That minister must know the truth as it is revealed and given to the church, in order that His people may grow in grace and knowledge of Him.
A Society is a group of members out of that living body, and they come together from week to week, in order to have mutual fellowship with each other, and study the Word of God; and that Word must be studied prayerfully. We must also take time to study, and never forget to read it in the context and in its entirety.
Scripture explains itself. However, this does not mean that we may not use commentaries; for God also gave us men in the past who were mighty in the Scriptures. And also in books and in magazines we find much what is beneficial for our Society life, and our Standard Bearer cannot be missed.
The Reverend believes in a literal inspiration. This was made very clear in the after recess discussion. God inspired the writers of Holy Writ that they wrote exactly word for word what tie spoke and thus the Bible became a harmonious whole.
It was made very plain: that God had the beginning and the end of (His plan in His eternal mind and He made known that plan unto men who were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Now, God created these men at the appointed time, and made them ready for the task to the which they were appointed. A Jeremiah was chosen to be the weeping preacher of Israel, and had no choice in the matter, but also so that he was a willing instrument. A Peter could not take the place of the Apostle Paul, and David was given the God-ordained place to become Israel’s battling King.
I thought by myself: so it is. Looking at it in this light, we see that little David leading the sheep to the green pastures and thus he was made ready to lead Israel in due time, and fought their battles in Jehovah’s Name. He fell in sin, and became a penitent confessor, in order that he could write the Psalms, so comforting for the people of God in all circumstances of life.
Also a Moses was prepared to lead God’s people out of the house of bondage to the Canaan of rest. He was their intercessor. It became evident that he was only a type of that true Mediator Jesus Christ.
Well, I have tried my best to write a few lines, and I leave it to the readers to judge if the writing was according to the plan assigned to me by our Editor.