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“The Battle for the Bible 

In a much-discussed book, Dr. Harold Lindsell writes of the trends within evangelical circles toward a denial of the inerrancy of the Bible. His book, The Battle for the Bible, has itself become the focus of considerable controversy. Articles have appeared in the Banner by the editor, L. De Koster, in which he condemns Lindsell’s book (“It is a highly incompetent work, at most a reservoir of unseemly gossip.”). Commenting on these editorials, John J. Mitchell, editor of the Presbyterian Guardian, writes:

In his final editorial on the subject, De Koster notes that many evangelical leaders are, “deploring the division among evangelicals being caused by Lindsell’s book.” And he adds, “Let us take care that such division does not invade us” (in the November 26 issue). But it already has. Dr. Walhout’s views of Scripture are not those of the great Reformed theologians of the past. Neither are Dr. Allen Verhey’s. Neither, apparently, are the views of the synodical committee that De Koster mentions whose report on women in church office was rejected by Synod. 

The division is already there—between those who believe the Scriptures to be the very word of God, infallible and inerrant in all that they teach, and those who say many fine things about Scripture but are willing to find errors in it. It is sad that this is so. But it is even sadder if the leaders of once sound churches are no longer willing to make a “battle for the Bible” in our day.

Some of this same “battle for the Bible” continues within the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. InLutherans Alert National, Feb., 1977, a report is given on Dr. Tietjen who was ousted from the Concordia Seminary of that church:

Liberalism is full of word perversion. To the liberal, Christ’s statement “as Moses spoke” doesn’t mean that Moses spoke; when He said: “As Jonah,” doesn’t mean there was a Jonah. Dr. Tietjen, leader of the Missouri revolt declares that “nothing new is being taught. The problems, he says, are only in the new ways of expressing old truths.” 

A Concordia Seminary Student Blue Book, dated January, 1971 cited some of the liberal teachings in the Seminary of that time under Dr. Tietjen’s presidency. The book cites many of the “new ways of expressing old truths.” One example: “The theory that John the Baptist did not wear camel’s hair, eat honey, and preach repentance in the Judean desert is a viable option.” (That is, you can choose what you want to believe.) “Instead, the desert was merely a ‘theological’ desert, and clothing merely ‘theological’ clothing. John, in fact, preached in Jerusalem, but a second Elijah was expected and therefore the church put Elijah trappings on the Baptist.” The fact that the church did not write the Bible is probably quite beside the point to a liberal. When the meaning of words is at the mercy of individuals and small groups of the intelligencia we can anticipate a veritable Babel. Is it any wonder that our mail, more and more, reflects the increasing confusion and frustration over the literature that is pouring out from our liberal official voices and their printing presses. 

As Athanasius declared: God’s Word is not like the word of man. The Word of God endureth forever—not changed, not before or after other, but existing the same always.

The above sounds all too much like that reported in the Outlook (Feb., 1976) concerning Dr. Allen Verhey who was examined by the Classis G.R. East of the Christian Reformed Church:

This fall a candidate in a preliminary examination had repeatedly told us that he intended to teach people to read the Bible critically. Questioned about this matter he stated that he did not believe that the serpent spoke to Eve as reported in

Genesis 3.

Questioned further about the earthquake mentioned in

Matthew 28:2,

he explained that whether or not this happened was a wrong question and the earthquake in the account should be understood as an apocalyptic literary symbol of the end. Some of the results of such a view of the Bible also were apparent in views he expressed on some moral questions. His view of abortion differed from that officially expressed by the church. The command, “Servants obey your masters” was no longer to be repeated in 1850, but the Bible taught a principle of equality under Christ which brought an end to slavery. The same principle, in his opinion, applied to the place of women in the church. Although it was plain that he held many orthodox opinions, regarding the Bible he was convinced that we cannot identify the words of biblical authors with the words of God in other times. What became apparent in the examination was that such views were not held only by him.

Or, how about this from Calvinist Contact, January 14, 1977, by Dr. Remkes Kooistra:

To me the three most discussed passages in connection with the possible ordination of women

I Cor. 11:2-11; I Cor. 14:26-36

and

I Tim. 2:8-15

do not exclude this possibility. If someone with some kind of “hermeneutics of obedience” would object: “But does not Scripture state plainly that Paul does not permit women to teach and that it is shameful for a woman to speak in church”, then, of course, who wants to take one verse literally must take every verse literally and so he must drink wine for stomach pains

I Tim. 5:23

or he may not pray in the company of unveiled women, since this disturbs even the angels

I Cor. 11:10

and, if he is married, he must demand that his wife addresses him as “My lord John or Peter” (following the example of the holy women of

I Peter 3:5, 6

. . . . 

. . . .In conclusion, what is the biblical teaching regarding women in office? In my understanding Scripture

Gal 3:28

says clearly: “yes”, but it is also scriptural wisdom that I must have patience with my brother who has not yet heard the “yes”. May the peace of the God of peace be with us both!

Ashamed of Being Dutch? 

An interesting little article appears in Calvinist Contact, Feb. 11, 1977, with the above title. It suggests that one ought not be too ashamed of his heritage. In part, the article states:

Fight for your native language till the death? No, people of Dutch heritage don’t do that and it is not necessary either. But don’t you think it is “kleinzielig” to deny other people the privilege to read or converse in Dutch once in a while? 

I have met some Dutch people who were a constant embarrassment to me, not because they were Dutch or spoke Dutch, but they tried to pretend to never having heard of the Dutch. They were “Canadians” you see. I suppose they thought they could fool the people around them into thinking that their accent was a carry over of a childhood speech impediment. 

But, here is some food for thought, if you meet someone with even the slightest trace of a foreign accent, whereas you have none, it most likely means that he or she is smarter than you are when it comes to language, since that person knows at least two languages against your one. . . . 

. . . The following story still does the rounds in Winnipeg about a Dutch immigrant who had been in Canada for a whole year, going to the airport to pick up the Minister. “Goeie dag, hoe gaat het er mee”, said the Minister. “Could you please talk a bit slow, Minister, because I have forgotten my Dutch” said our veteran of one year. “Hey, have you got a problem”, said the Minister, “already you forgot the Dutch and you can’t speak English yet”. . . .

The above rather humorous account could also serve to us as a reminder of that which we are so inclined to do in this world. Often we are ashamed of our spiritual heritage. We might rather appear to be like this world, than have any know we belong to Christ and are not our own. Scripture warns us not to be ashamed of our calling. 

Life Enrichment? 

Pine Rest Christian Hospital has a division known as “Life Enrichment Center.” In this section, people are invited to attend various courses in order to “enrich” their lives. One wonders, in reading of the various available “courses,” whether Pine Rest Hospital remembers its own Reformed heritage. It appears that there is an effort to imitate virtually every latest “fad” in the world of psychology. There is the “Alpha Group” where there are “action games, role playing, and sharing. . . . Some exercises are fun and playful; others are serious and involve risk taking and self-disclosure. . . .” Another “course” is “I’m OK—You’re OK” in which “Transactional Analysis will help you understand why you do what you do, and how to feel good about it. Basic concepts of TA will be covered and discussed, including ego states, games, strokes, positions, scripts, permissions. . . .” Or there is the “relaxation training” (an imitation of transcendental’ meditation?) which “involves a process of tensing and untensing your muscles systematically.” There is also an “Assertion Skills Workshop” which “utilizes a variety of techniques and methods in exploring and understanding the concepts of assertiveness. It begins with discussion of what assertive behavior is and the benefits of assertiveness. . . .” 

One does begin to wonder whether Pine Rest Hospital simply imitates every new thing—or seeks to be distinctively Reformed?