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Lost without the SB

I have just now read with great interest your editorial in the August 2002 issue of the Standard Bearer, which was very late in arriving (“He Shines in All That’s Fair,” #6).

It reminded me of comments I have heard recently from friends, the worst one being in print by a local woman columnist (Susan Lane) in the Times-News of 09.14.02 regarding 9/11.

I thought you might like to see what she wrote: “Where was God on Sept. 11? I believe he was right there where he was the day his own Son was murdered, and where he is every other day of our lives. Standing right there beside us, a knot in his stomach, hands tied behind his back. Weeping.”

I am grateful for the Scriptures you quoted. I am better prepared to answer my friends when they speak of a “god” who is “broken-hearted” and who “weeps.”

Thank you so very much for your editorial. I would truly be lost without the SB. Where have you been for the 80 years of my life before you came to my attention? The magazine has changed my life.

I appreciated also your answer to the letter from Mr. Rick Bell on the Jewish question.

Jean E. Chastain

Hendersonville, NC


Helpful Series on Common Grace

I am thrilled to read your present series of editorials in the Standard Bearer on Richard Mouw and common grace (“‘He Shines in All That’s Fair’ [and Curses All That’s Foul]”). Your reflections on separation (in the world, but not of it) need to be widely heard. My only disappointment is that you give no counsel on further reading on this subject. Do you recommend reading Mouw or your own book on a different aspect of grace?

Anthony Sistrom

Eureka, CA


The Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) has published a number of books setting forth the truth of particular grace. A catalog is available. The mailing address is: 4949 Ivanrest Ave. SW, Grandville, MI 49418. The e-mail address is: The RFPA website is:

Various evangelism committees in the Protestant Reformed Churches have published and produced helpful pamphlets, booklets, and tapes on the subject of the grace of God. I suggest that you get in contact with the Evangelism Committee of the South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, 16511 South Park Ave., South Holland, IL 60473. An evangelism committee in California that would be happy to help you with the materials you desire is: The Reformed Witness, 1307 E. Brockton Ave., Redlands, CA 92374. Its e-mail address is:

— Ed.

Mysterious? Yes! Extra-Confessional? No!

The letter “Saddened by a Synodical Decision” in the September 15, 2002 Standard Bearer seems to state that matters such as creationism, covenant theology, and eschatology are extra-confessional. I heartily disagree! Are these matters “mysterious”? Most emphatically, yes! Are they “extra-confessional”? Most emphatically, no!

One needs to page through the confessions for only a few minutes to find numerous articles on these very issues. I’m sure there are many more, but I list some here. Lord’s Day 9 of the Heidelberg Catechism and Article 12 of the Belgic Confession deal explicitly with creation. Canons III/IV, Article 12 deals somewhat more indirectly with creation in its treatment of our recreation in Christ. Eschatology is dealt with in the Belgic Confession, Article 37, and Lord’s Day 19 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Covenant theology is addressed in Canons I, Articles 6-8 and more extensively in our own “Declaration of Principles” (a binding document in the Protestant Reformed Churches).

Of course there is room for disagreement among brothers and sisters in the Lord, but only on matters of indifference. True unity in the catholic church of Christ is possible only if its members humble themselves before God’s Word and confess that Word clearly, boldly, and in opposition to the lie (Eph. 4).

Karen VanBaren

Lansing, IL