[Editor’s Note. This brief article was also sent to the Reformed Guardian, official publication of the newly organized Reformed and Presbyterian Fellowship of Australia and New Zealand. It is in protest to an article written by Dr. K Runia of the Theological College of Geelong, entitled “Barth’s Place in History,” which appeared in the Dec. 5, 1969 issue of Christianity Today.]
As we together face another new year and decade it is well for us to review our sights and consider what our objectives are. As Reformed and Presbyterian Christians, devoted to the maintenance of our sacred doctrinal heritage, we must make sure that our defenses are in order, so as to withstand the increasing assaults of the enemies of the faith. Also if there be Achans in the camp, who are more interested in seeking good relations with the enemy than in fighting him, these should be removed from positions in the church where they will do more harm than good. Self-preservation is still the first law of liberty. Let there be no neutrality in this war. There is no such thing as peaceful coexistence with apostasy!
To clear the atmosphere on this question let every pastor, teacher, editor, and layman in position of church authority ask himself whether each decision or pronouncement he makes individually or collectively will strengthen the cause of helping and expanding our Reformed inheritance. As stewards of the household of faith, how are we investing the talents and opportunities God has given us? Martin Luther once said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are attacking at that moment, then I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him! Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is merely flight and disgrace, if he flinches at that point.” Measured by this criterion there are only too many who are in dire need of reconsidering their perspective, particularly those who value external unity above doctrinal purity and seek peace at any price, succumbing to the lukewarm spirit of Laodicean compromise. In this day of world-wide falling away from the faith there is altogether too much fraternizing with the enemy and muzzling the voices of those who would “cry aloud and spare not,” as Scripture commands. Such tactics are the result of a distorted perspective.
As an example of such an unfortunate point of view, Christianity Today (Dec. 5, 1969) contains an article by Dr. Klaas Runia entitled “Barth’s Place in History.” In his final appraisal Dr. Runia states that in his opinion Barth “is one of the giants in the history of theology . . . on the level with Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Schleiermacher . . . and when the period of existential theology is past, Barth will still be with us.” What an insult to downgrade Augustine, Luther, and Calvin to the same level as heretics! And what a deferential status is here accorded to this Reformed church renegade, Karl Barth, one of the arch r deceivers of our age and the evil genius behind the infamous Presbyterian Confession of 1967 and the subversive ideology of the World Council of Churches, who has done more than any other to lead present day Protestantism away from faith in the infallibility of Scripture! Dr. Runia’s silence on this score’is deafening and is characteristic of his entire sympathetic approach to the unbelievers of our age. With scholarly detachment he may point out certain of their errors, but not once does he excoriate them for the deadly soul killers they really are. This is utterly inexcusable! As an appointed watchman on Zion’s walls he is responsible for failing to sound the warning signal. The tragic fact is that Dr. Runia has played around so much with the poisonous infections of heresy that he seems to have become insensible to the frightful dangers they pose to the sheep God has entrusted to his care, even the destruction of their souls for the eternities. And when a pastor loses this perspective, his usefulness is open to serious question. In the Christian warfare God’s warriors are commanded to fight the good fight of faith and not be neutralist in their dealings with the enemy!
—William A. De Jonge
Montclair, New Jersey