Rev. VanBaren has declined the call extended to him from Southwest Church, and Rev. Schipper has declined from Grand Rapids Hope Church.
Our Kalamazoo congregation has taken upon itself to print 1,000 copies of the booklet, “The Three Forms of Unity.” According to its Sunday bulletin, only about 200 copies remain—the rest having been “sold and/or distributed.” The little booklet has gone in largest quantities to Jamaica, but copies have also ended up in New Jersey (“next greatest distribution”), Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio: Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Illinois, Colorado, the Dakotas, and to London.
That booklet, incidentally, is only one of many booklets, pamphlets, books, brochures, and periodicals that have long been available from various organizations in the Protestant Reformed Churches—available that is, to anyone who happened to know what to ask for and who to ask. The Reformed Free Publishing Association has recently printed a little yellow folder which lists and describes much of the literature available from our churches. Perhaps you’ve already seen it. It includes such items as the “Beacon Lights,” Sunday School papers and pamphlets, catechism materials, and books by Rev. Hoeksema. The RFPA is also acting as central distributors for this literature. Thanks to this little folder, much more effective use will certainly be put to what it describes as our “veritable gold mine of worthwhile and instructive reading.” Mr. H. Vander Wal, RFPA business manager, who has done much to prepare the catalog, reports that results are already impressive.
If you have already read the insides of this issue of theStandard Bearer, you know that Rev. VanBaren was asked by the Association of Christian Reformed Laymen to present a lecture in Kalamazoo. The bulletin of our Holland church had the following interesting information concerning that speech: “One of the striking aspects of this lecture, which dealt with the antithesis, is the fact that it was delivered in the very church where the three points of ‘Common Grace’ were drawn up and adopted in 1924 and which led to the separation of our churches because we refused to accept these three points and rejected them upon the basis of Scripture and the Confessions. This First Christian Reformed Church is the one in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where the 1924 Synod met.”
The audience at this particular meeting was rather small, but apparently appreciative. The chairman, in his opening remarks, mentioned that the A.C.R.L. had come into being because “disturbing voices are heard in our churches.” He drew attention to, among other things, doubts concerning the historicity of Gen. 1, and the growing attraction of the social gospel for some of the leaders. He stressed also the “educational function of the organization,” pointing out that they were not an ecclesiastical power and that their only intention was to defend from error.
After Rev. VanBaren’s fine lecture, the chairman stated that, though hardly the customary thing in our circles, “I would like to hear an ‘Amen’ from this audience.” The result was rather meager, of course, but that’s hardly surprising from an audience made up of people who, under such circumstances, are typically reserved and hesitant to give that sort of vocal response to the words of a speaker. But the attempt itself was an indication of deep appreciation for what Rev. Van Baren had to say. According to the chairman, “God has been speaking to us through the voice of his servant.”
In looking back over some old school news, we discovered some material that should, perhaps, have found its way into this column several months ago. It’s from the Northwest Iowa Protestant Reformed Christian School, from the pen of the administrator, Mr. John Kalsbeek. You perhaps recall that the teachers of Doon, Edgerton, and Loveland met in convention last, November. The remarks of Mr. Kalsbeek concerning that convention give some insight into the state of Protestant Reformed Education in our western schools—”small but . . . .”
“A small group—only six teachers plus three ministers—quietly met together Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7, in Edgerton, Minnesota.
“An insignificant gathering of no account in the eyes of the world. Had the world known or paid any attention it would have mocked and ridiculed. Scornfully they would have derided such a ridiculous gathering.
“However, it is not numbers that count, for our Lord says that where two or three are gathered in my name there will I be. God was present at this meeting. We met in accordance with His good pleasure. Small—yes—but significant in the eyes of Almighty God.
“The central issue through out the meetings dealt with covenant instruction. . . . Together, in the unity of one faith and one doctrine, we enjoyed the wonderful sensation of covenant fellowship.
“All returned to their work renewed in body and spirit, thankful that we could meet together as Protestant Reformed Teachers.”
From the Loveland “Ledger,” we notice that the students were not at all unhappy about that teachers’ convention, either. Miss Beverly Hoekstra, the principal, usually includes some contributions of the students in the “Ledger.” A seventh grader wrote, “We enjoyed the nice vacation we received when the teachers went to the teachers’ convention.” And then, as if as an afterthought, “We also hope that the teachers enjoyed it.”