These days I read one report and one advertisement.
The report was incorporated in an editorial written by the Rev. Peter De Boer of Edgerton, Minn., in our church paper Concordia of August 19, 1948; and the advertisement is found on page 1023 in The Banner of August 27, 1948.
The Rev. De Boer noted a quotation from an address delivered by J. A. Van Bruggen, appearing in the Christian School annual of 1947, which quotation, in its turn, was taken from Mr. Fakkema’s report on the church affiliation of the children that attend the Christian Schools in America, that is, the Christian Schools that are supported by the Reformed groups.
In that report of Mr. Fakkema we note that 80% of the Protestant Reformed people having children of school age make use of the Christian School, while 50% of the Christian Reformed, 10% of the Orthodox Presbyterian, and 5% of the Reformed people send their children to the Christian School.
It is not my intention at this time to write about this report in the vein of the Rev. De Boer’s remarks, although I fully agree with his observations. I would like to add to his remarks that it seems as though we are slipping. I say “it seems”, for I do not know whether the statistics of Mr. Fakkema are correct. If, however, they are correct, we must say that the Protestant Reformed people having children of school age are slipping, for I remember distinctly that in a report of Mr. Fakkema of about ten or more years ago, the percentage of children of the Protestant Reformed churches was higher than the more recent one. I do not remember whether the percentage was 90% or 95%, but I do know that it was in the nineties; while now it is 80%.
But, as was said, it is not my intention to write about the comparative percentage of Mr. Fakkema’s report as such.
The advertisement to which I alluded states, under the heading Teachers Wanted, as follows: “ILLIANA Christian High School, Lansing, Il.—Teacher for September with social science major and English minor; member of Reformed or Christian Reformed church (I underscore, G.V.). Correspond with C. Van Beek, Lansing, Illinois.”
I do not know whether we still follow the approved custom to send a copy of the Standard Bearer to persons whose acts or writings are criticized in our paper. Perhaps our Chicago people will be so kind as to give Mr. C. Van Beek a copy of this issue. I think that certainly Mr. Fakkema ought to have a copy of this issue.
And the reason is obvious.
Just compare the report of Mr. Fakkema with the advertisement of the Illiana Christian High School, and all that is just and true in you that are Protestant Reformed feels itself outraged. Yes, and we may say more. All that is just and true in the Christian Reformed brethren, the Orthodox Presbyterians, and of the Reformed Church in America will feel itself outraged.
Mr. Fakkema risked a great deal in his outspoken conclusions following the report of percentages in the Nineteen Hundred Thirties, when he said something like this: “Note that the Protestant Reformed people have a 90 (or more, G.V.) percentage of children attending our schools, while the Christian Reformed only have a 50 percentage. There is something wrong here with our churches.”
What will Mr. Fakkema say regarding this action of the Illiana High School?
It is a matter of public record that the Reformed Church of America is lukewarm, if not antagonistic to our Christian School system. Merely consider the matter of statistics: 5% of their children attend the Christian School, so that 95 of every 100 children of that denomination go to the Public School.
Place over against this the fact that 80% of the children of our Protestant Reformed Churches do attend the Christian Schools.
And now make your own conclusions.
Every right thinking man or woman will at once conclude: the Protestant Reformed people are much more Christian School minded than the Reformed people. Conclusion two: It is entirely desirable to have a Protestant Reformed teacher for your children, rather than a Reformed man.
The Illiana High School prefers a Christian Reformed man above a Protestant Reformed man for teaching in that institution. It is anomalous, illogical, partakes of the blindness of prejudice, a closing of the eyes for revealed truth, but—we can understand it. After all, the Boards of all our Christian Schools are composed of Christian Reformed men, that is, they are surely in the majority. So, even though the record of the Protestant Reformed Churches in their practices and writings, prove conclusively that we are more Christian Education-minded than they are, we can understand their action in preferring Christian Reformed teachers over teachers of our churches.
But what must be said of the action of the Illiana High School with regard to their preference of a Reformed teacher over a Protestant Reformed teacher?
The matter at stake is the love of Christian Education. Well, the Board of the Illiana High School proclaims to the whole world: We would rather have one-twentieth then four-fifths!
It is more than anomalous: that is only a departure from the accepted order and rule.
It goes deeper than illogical behavior: it is not a mere mistake, a mere quirk of faulty thinking.
It is the expression of enmity: geography plays a part in it. They know us in Illiana!
That they would reject us, we knew. It is grievous. We have tasted this grief for 24 years.
For all of these 24 years they said: we maintain ourselves in our errors and in our heresies, our mal- conduct in throwing you out and in our perpetuating the breach that separates us!
We knew all this, and have borne it, even though it was bitter. Especially so, when you consider that as far as the principle is concerned we obtained hatred for our love.
But this action is much more shameful, and it really adds insult to injury: they said, we prefer the 5% of the Reformed Churches to the 80% of the Protestant Reformed Churches!
And do not forget that the percentages are a matter of love for Covenant Education.