When a bit if research us conducted in the past forty-nine volumes of the Standard Bearer for material commemorating the contributions this rubric has made to our magazine, one is reminded of the advertising slogan that you can’t eat just one potato chip. Even as a person continues to eat these salty slices until the available supply is gone, so the person who pages through these old volumes finds himself devouring article after article that has nothing to do with his purpose. And how the time flies! With a little self-discipline various discoveries were made of significance for this anniversary year. The department<=”” i=””>began, as far as its name is concerned, on October 1, 1945 (vol. 22) with an article entitled “Off to School” by Rev. R. Veldmen. Since that time the following editors have made contributions: Revs. J Dejong, M. Gritters, C. Hanko, J.A. Heys, H. C. Hoeksema, H. Veldmen, R. Veldmen, and since 1971 the undersigned. The bulk of this time Rev. Heys was the contributing editor, producing an article for most every issue from 1953 to 1971.
A HEAVY EMPHASIS ON CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION
Very likely in the minutes of some R.F.P.A. meeting there is an article stating that In His Fear ought to address itself to the question of Protestant Reformed Christian instruction. For many years prior to the establishing of this department articles appeared in the Standard Bearer on this important subject. With the beginning of this column a flurry of articles addressed themselves to all possible aspects of the question; indeed the very title chosen is a reminder that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 1:7) The early articles bemoaned the fact that after twenty years of church existence our children were still being instructed in the existing schools, they treated the Baptism Form exhaustively as the basis for training the child to the utmost of one’s power, and they gave specific content to the “way in which he should go.” Later articles dealt with the whole are of teacher training for those who would give distinctive instruction, and one fine series can even e found which developed principles for teaching Civics, Geography, Grammar, History, Psychology, and Reading. What is so impressive, as we look back, is the tremendous amount of work that went into these articles! These authors were ministers serving in congregations, without a formal teacher training; yet, they found in the Word of God the basics which underlie our school movement today. They developed these basics so that it became clear to more and more of the readership that our own schools were a must. It can fairly be said that the writings which appeared in these columns prior to 1947 were a significant factor in the opening of our schools.
So as our witness went out with each issue of theStandard Bearer this statement was also made: we believe in a thorough, Biblically-grounded education for our covenant children. We believe that the parent must supply that instruction. We believe that instruction must have the same emphasis and distinctiveness that we hold as a communion of believers. We are determined to do this because God has spoken! Such was the content of the early articles. We give a short list of titles to demonstrate this, and to whet the appetites of those who possess the early volumes.
1. Our School Issue
2. Principles of Teaching
3. Education, Instruction, Training
4. Training the Child in His Fear
5. Our Own School — An Injunction?
6. Reformation and Our School Movement
A CHANGE OF EMPHASIS
With the passing of the years articles began to appear which treated subjects that ranged far from the Christian school movement. Although articles continued to appear stressing the instructional demands of the covenant, these were liberally interspersed with essays which treated many other aspects of the Christian life. There are, perhaps, two good reasons for this: first, once our schools opened and our teachers began to develop a Christian philosophy and psychology of learning themselves, this load fell from the backs of our ministers to a large extent. The teachers began to hold seminars and, of late, institutes. Secondly, the doctrines for which we had been cast out of the Christian Reformed Church, and which had been clarified and developed over the years since 1924, demanded application to all areas of the believer’s life. Doctrine and life are one. “‘Faith” without works is dead, being alone. The believer does not live in an ivory palace but in a world of woe, and he needs answers daily to many pressing problems. Those answers were given. And by the grace of God those answers were Scriptural and clear. And after reading these articles no one has to sit and wonder what the man meant, as is true of so much literature today!
Again, as our witness went out through our magazine it was made unmistakably clear where we stood on the problem areas of the Christian life, what our world and life view was. Our churches became known as a denomination that held sound doctrine, and made the serious, sanctified attempt of living those doctrines. This turned a lot of people off perhaps. We were too strict for the diets of many. But since these were not cunningly devised tales, but Scripturally applied truths, we may know that our positions have been correct. The following titles will give some idea of the wide spectrum of subjects Treated from 1950 to the present:
My Brother’s Keeper
The Lucky Number Craze
Gaining Others to Christ
Virgins for Christ’s Sake
The Blessed Giver
Seeds of Violence
Freedom of Speech
A NOTE OF APPRECIATION
After eighteen years of contributing to In His Fear, Rev. Heys turned his attention to his first love, Old Testament History (The Day of Shadows). During these many years he wrote with a unique style that can best be called clever, in the good sense. He was not bound to archaic, “dominie” talk but spoke to us in clear, up-to-date language. He could hit the nail on the head without being offensive. He knows how to use examples. And running through his many articles was the obvious desire to help and build up. What got us to reading the articles, often times, were the catchy titles. Remember?
Holiday or Holyday
Spell It Greed
Handle with Care
The Whether of Our Weather
A White Christmas
Saintly But Faintly
A Check Up and a Check
Since very few of these well-written articles are time-conditioned or out of date, the board of R.F.P.A. ought to consider asking Rev. Heys to select a certain number of essays for publication. A paperback containing twenty-five or thirty of these essays, grouped under several general headings, would make fine devotional reading, especially for the young. There may even be use for such a little book on the mission field.
In the above I have tried to express my personal appreciation for these articles. Over the years they have meant much to me. I feel I may write in a complimentary vein since I have only recently begun to write under this heading. It is my resolve to continue in the same tradition.