From several correspondents I have received reminders that in the new law concerning Social Security coverage of clergymen there is also an exemption provision. I was aware of this at the time I wrote my editorial on the subject, but the available information on this was so scanty that I elected to wait until I could gain more complete information. As yet I do not have much more information, but I will continue trying to obtain it. At the moment, the following will have to suffice: 1) “For taxable years ending after December 1967, income from the ministry will be covered unless the clergyman files an application for exemption and a statement that he is opposed to receiving social security benefits (or other public insurance), based on services as a clergyman, by reason of religious principle or conscience.” (Quoted from a bulletin received from Congressman Gerald R. Ford)
2) It is not yet clear what would constitute a legitimate ground for exemption. There is some question, for example, whether Article 13 of the Church Order, which makes it the duty of the churches to “provide honorably for them (retired ministers) in their need,” would be legitimate ground. Investigation is being made on this score.
3) In case exemption is not possible, the following information is also pertinent: a) For purposes of Social Security, rental allowances or the rental value of a parsonage must also be included under earnings. b) The rate for self-employed people (under which clergymen are included) is 6.4 per cent for 1967-68, and 6.9 per cent for 1969-70; and this rate is supposed to increase gradually until 1987 to 7.9 per cent.
4) I have also been told that there is still ample time to file an application for exemption should such be legitimate.
For the time being, at least, the department “The Church At Worship” will not be appearing in our magazine, due to a resignation-with-immediate-effect by contributing editor Rev. G. Vanden Berg. Disappointment over this resignation does not preclude our expression of thanks for the many faithful labors of the brother in behalf of our Standard Bearer.
We welcome as a special feature in this issue the text of a recent address by Rev. J.A. Heys at a Young People’s Mass Meeting. Perhaps it is superfluous to add that we did not intentionally “scoop” Beacon Lights on this. The author graciously offered this article for publication in the Standard Bearer, and we publish it on the assumption that both young and old may indeed benefit from it.
Beginning in this issue under the department “Pages From The Past” there will appear my translation of a very valuable Dutch brochure by the late Rev. Herman Hoeksema entitled, “De Geloovigen en Hun Zaad,” (“Believers And Their Seed”). This brochure, though somewhat “dated” and though, as might be expected, also polemical, offers a clear exposition of the entire concept of the covenant and of the place of the children of believers in the covenant. We hope that many readers who can no longer read Dutch will benefit from this translation of a booklet which has already gone through two editions in the Dutch language. With the exception of the addition of chapter headings, and certain changes necessary to the production of smooth but accurate translation, the material is presented unchanged. I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness in this translation to an earlier manuscript-translation of the Rev. G. Lubbers, from which I gained much valuable assistance.
Though a bit later than originally planned, my pamphlet entitled “A Testimony and Appeal concerning the ‘Dekker Case’ Decisions of the Christian Reformed Synod of 1967” has now come from the press. Copies may be obtained by writing to Rev. M. Schipper, 1543 Cambridge Ave., SE., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506.