As To The Signs Of The Times
Dear Editor: About a year ago already, our editor-in-chief started one of his editorials as follows: “To the observant Christian whose sanctified judgment is guided by the infallible rule of the word of God and whose discernment is sensitized by the Spirit of Christ Whose testimony that Word is, there are many phenomena of our times which remind him that the Scriptures are being fulfilled before his very eyes, that the end of all things is at hand, and that the signs of the coming of the Lord, the precursory signs, are multiplying as we approach that end.”
About one of these signs I would like to make a few brief remarks. Some time ago one could read in the D.A.R. magazine, “Today the American people can no longer afford to ignore the signs or storm signals being hoisted on many fronts.” And to confirm this, about the same time U.P.I. gave the following report from Washington: Defense Secretary Melvin Laird cautioned Congress that the Soviet Union at its present rate of military development could downgrade the U.S. to a second rate power by the mid-1970’s. Laird said further, “It is clear that the Soviet Union is embarked on an ambitious program to achieve a global military capability.” About the Soviet threatNational Defender stated: “The Soviets . . . can win the strategic struggle without the necessity of any nuclear exchange whatsoever. All that is required is a strategic situation in which all the elements of the American retaliatory force have ceased to become invulnerable to a Soviet first-strike. At that point the Soviet planners can be reasonably certain that the American will to resist them any further will collapse,” because, and then I quote the D.A.R. magazine again: “We have been disarmed morally by the failure of our churches to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is this nation’s tragedy that many of our churches wittingly or unwittingly support the communist goal of disarming America. Many of our churches, for instance, come out strongly in opposition to the antiballistic missile system, whose sole purpose is to protect the American people. If we disarm, if we fail to protect ourselves, one day the Soviet Union will issue an ultimatum—either surrender and turn over your industrial and economic complex intact, or be bombed off the face of the earth.”
America is the bulwark and defender of the free nations. Today we may still serve the Lord in public worship service. But when the Godless and atheistic communism of the Soviet Union will take over the world supremacy, then it is possible that we havealmost reached that point in history of the final manifestation of the Antichrist. The Kingdom of Antichrist shall combine the forces of the ungodly world-power and the false church pictured in Rev. 13. We know from Scripture that upon us are the ends of the ages come. We better listen to Christ Himself when He was on this earth and said, “Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is there, Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
But Christ gave us some other very comforting words too. “And when all these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.
As To Changes In Order of Worship
Dear Editor: Congratulations on your recent editorial entitled, “Why not confess with the mouth?” As a layman, I have been a proponent of this “change” for the last few years, however, I think the opposition to such a “change” was partly due to the fear that the clamor for change was considered to be a product of the influence of our fast changing society, particularly in the church realm; therefore it was considered not for its positive value but at the outset more or less negatively. In fact, the opinion of some is that it wouldn’t necessarily produce a greater or more meaningful effect and it wouldn’t be long before the novelty would wear off and it might become a mechanical utterance of words only. (If this is true wouldn’t our whole worship be a mere sham by now?) This may be the case for a few, however this attitude doesn’t display the positive faith which was typical of most of the past changes brought about by great reformers in the church. And the issue really isn’t whether it would have a more meaningful effect, but as your editorial states, “the proper idea of confession is exactly that of speaking with the mouth, not merely speaking in our hearts.” There are times when one finds it difficult to be silent while the Creed is being read. The Creed is a personal confession but it is also the confession of the Christian church of all ages. It is the one statement of faith which all Christians everywhere can embrace; this Creed should constantly remind us as to the proper perspective of our place in the universal church of all ages. Two points to ponder are: Are we (collectively as churches) wrong in not permitting the laity to speak out in this confession? or Are we guilty of suppressing a proper outlet of our expression of faith in our worship to God, if we don’t confess with the mouth? I would answer, No, certainly not intentionally.
Furthermore, I feel every sincere Christian by being able to share with one another by confession with the mouth the truths concerning our God and His salvation, we are going to be able to walk into the world with a new courage to declare the same faith which we uttered in church. I’m for change, “Not change, for change’s sake” but for sake of “Spiritual Renewal.” It’s high time that we as Christians express to others that faith which unites us (Apostles Creed) rather than looking or picking the issues which constantly seem to separate us from other Christians.
My personal feeling is that given the opportunity to join audibly in the confession of the Creed it would have the effect upon each confessing member of becoming more alert—spiritually, more attentive and the Creed itself will become more meaningful in our worship.
In conclusion, we shouldn’t even regard mere changes in order or form of worship or even innovations such as introduction of choral singing in the service, as serious threats to change or corrupt the church (establishment). Instead of demanding to make thingsearn our personal approval (Consistories approval), I think we should in faith test them, try them out to see if they can be disproven. We must believe that the truth of God will endure even though the outward form of worship has changed in the past and should change occasionally. I believe the hand of God caused one of our youngest congregations, namely: Loveland, to take the initiative in this small but important “change”. They are speaking louder than they think!!
Fraternally in Christ,
Jacob Kuiper, Jr.
P.S. In regards to the Lord Supper form, I think it would be appropriate also if the entire congregation would join in with the minister during the final utterance of Thanksgiving, in speaking the “Lords Prayer”.
As To Billy Graham and Verbal Inspiration
One of those new pamphlets of ours entitled, The Infallibility of Holy Scripture contains this statement on its page 2, “‘Verbal inspiration of Scripture is only a theory and not a matter of great importance for the Christian faith.’ This statement was not made by Karl Barth, Martin Luther King, James A. Pike, or some similar free-thinker enemy of Scripture. It was uttered by none other than Billy Graham, ostensible champion of the cause of orthodox, evangelical Christianity.” This is what you read in this pamphlet. You read the same in Billy Graham’s Ministry of Error (The Standard Bearer, Vol. 42, page 4 18), where some documentation was given. But in the pamphlet the writer neglected to furnish any documentation. Many of the readers of the pamphlet do not question the statement, are not really surprised at it, but would like to have documentation on it, to which they are in every way entitled. The source of the statement is from a Washington, D.C., newspaper. In the Christian Beacon of May 10, 1962, page 4, (Vol. 27, No. 13), there appears a photographically reproduced article from The Washington Post, April 28, 1962. The Article is one of the religious editor’s, Kenneth Dole, who wrote, “Fundamentalists say they are angry because he (Graham, RCH) says verbal inspiration is only a theory and not a matter of great importance for Christian faith. The ground for Christian fellowship, he says, is ‘not the inspiration of Scripture, but the deity of Christ.'” It is exactly on the question of the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture that true Christians long for a clear-cut, unequivocal statement from Billy Graham. Rarely does he answer questions. Once 26 questions were put to him. Two he did not answer. One of those two was the question, from liberal churchmen, “Do you believe that we who teach that Christ is the word of God and that the Bible bears witness to God’s revelation in him—but that the Bible is full of parable, myth, allegory and is often quite unhistoric and inexact—are ‘false teachers’?” The question went unanswered. But the question of plenary inspiration and the infallibility of Scripture still remains and is still pressing. What servant of the Lord can leave such matters hanging in the air? Let’s have an answer, Billy!
Rev. Robt. C. Harbach