Write Your Congressmen!!! ….
Important labor legislation is, or will soon be, before both houses of Congress. Among the provisions of the bill before the House of Representatives will be a clause to ban the “closed shop”. It is expected that the Senate Committee will report its measure soon and also include this provision. We believe that all of our readers are or should be, directly or indirectly, interested and concerned in this matter. Therefore, we urge you to write to your Representatives and Senators to encourage them to support these measures; particularly the provision to ban the “closed shop”. We believe it is not necessary to point out the evils of this anti-Christian and un-American practice. Our only purpose now is to emphasize the necessity of letting our voice be heard as we have opportunity. A personal letter to your Congressmen stating briefly and precisely the reasons why you favor passage of such legislation is more effective than an hundred form letters. Our Classis and Synods have written; but again, a personal note to your particular Representatives and Senators means a great deal more to them than this formal action of our combined Churches.
At the time of this writing we are not informed as to the number or names of the bills, nor of their detailed provisions. If at all possible mention them by number and name when writing; but the important thing is to WRITE—NOW! Do it individually; in your own words. It need not be a long and forma] affair but a simple statement of your views and reasons. This individual approach has been proven to be the most effective. Remember these men are our representatives and do take heed to the voice of their constituency. Again, the important thing is to WRITE!
A New Publication. . . .
We recently received a little booklet (handy pocket-size) published by our Churches and entitled “The Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches”. Here follows the brief preface of the booklet which declares its history and purpose:
“In harmony with our mandate of Synod of 1946, we hereby publish “The Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches” which name is (was, W.H.) officially adopted by our Synod of 1944.
“As to the contents of this little book, you will see that it contains more than the title indicates. In harmony with the decisions of the Synods of 1943-1946, and according to usage in the Reformed Churches, we have also included, first, decisions by our Classis (before we had Synods) and Synods, relative to some articles of the Church Order, which decisions we have placed under the articles to which they refer; second, the Constitutions of the standing committees of Synod; third, Rules and Regulations adopted by Classis and Synods; and, finally, Formulas in use by our churches for various purposes.
“In the beginning of our existence as separate Churches, when the consistories of our churches met under the name of The Combined Consistories, the Church Order of Dordrecht, edition Keegstra and Van Dellen of 1915 (adopted by the Christian Reformed Church in 1914) was adopted. In 1920 the Christian Reformed Church adopted an English translation of the Church Order, which translation was adopted by our Synod of 1944. At our last Synod (1946) however, changes were made as follows: the word “church” was changed to “churches” in article 86, second instance; and the word “consent” was changed to “advice” in articles 76 and 77. The ground for this change was given as follows: The choice of the words indicated (that is, the singular “church” and the word “consent”) reveals a hierarchical church polity’. We might have added to this ground the observation that, namely, the translation indicated was a corruption of the original Holland edition, instead of a faithful translation.
“And so we have our own published edition of the priceless Church Order of Dordrecht!
“It is our humble prayer that the only King of the Church, our Lord Jesus Christ, bless our use of it unto obedience of love in the praises and adoration of His and our Father above, whose injunction resounds in the churches from age to age: ‘Let all things be done decently and in order’. I Cor. 14:40.”
THE COMMITTE OF SYNODS 1945 and 1946:
Rev. Andrew Cammenga Rev. Gerrit Vos.
We were very much pleased with this little handbook of 83 pages and believe it to be indispensable to all our ministers and consistory members. Nor is its value limited to this particular group but it should find a wide circulation among our people generally. The price of $1 is within the reach of all—and a bargain for everybody.
We wish to congratulate the committee for its efficient and splendid work. A detailed index to the whole adds immeasurably to the little volume’s value. Copies may be procured by writing to the Rev. G. Vos, Edgerton, Minnesota. We have no idea how many have been printed but, undoubtedly, the supply is limited. We would urge you to act soon to assure procuring your copy; bargains such as this are not to be had every day. Please include remittance with your order.
One closing remark. If our memory serves us correctly, it was suggested at the last Synod that this work might be bound in some loose-leaf form to facilitate the addition and inclusion of decisions and supplements as they arise. We believe that this added feature would have been worth the extra cost.
Russia. . . .or. . . .The Subtlety of the Devil. . . .
A Religious News Service dispatch from Moscow contained the following: “The Communish Party must be ‘patient’ with church-going members, but it must not cease to ‘proclaim itself against religion.’ The Young Bolshevik, organ of the Central Committee of the Young Communist League, declared here in answer to a local group which asked how it should deal with churchgoers in its ranks.
“The magazine chided the group for having prohibited members from going to church, and said that instead ‘it should have patiently explained the harmfulness of religious superstition and helped them to develop a scientific outlook’.”
v. S. Views U. s. (Continued from last issue)
“It indeed strikes a Netherlander, that in our own circles, I mean thereby the circles of the reformed people in America, the use of cheek and lip rouge is very general. One finds this to be true not only in Grand Rapids and in other cities but also in the smaller and country areas. It is an almost general and common practice. I interpret this very unsavory habit, as another expression of the American passion for uniformity. Young girls, still children, of 13 and 14-years old already begin to use it, and they consider themselves very unfortunate if their parents forbid it, since all their young friends use it. It is the almost unlimited power of the daily press that governs also in this instance.
“The advertisements are filled with suggestive propaganda, no romances or unfortunate love affairs, if the lipstick is not of the correct brand or the nail polish is not exactly the right shade. The whole of America is enslaved by the press and its propaganda. A large firm, for example, may picture a whole suite of furniture, include a powerful sales talk, and no one is satisfied until he also is in possession of this mass product. That again indicates the craving for uniformity that reveals itself in all things. We, in the Netherlands, are just the opposite in this respect. Whenever my neighbor builds a house of a particular style, that alone is reason enough for me to choose a radically different architectural form. Our women never enjoy (vinden het nooit leuk) to wear exactly the same dress as their friends, and when, perchance, one of our floor-lamps looks like that of one of our friends, it is sufficient reason to immediately put a different shade on ours, in order to suggest a bit of difference at least. (Brother, you still don’t know our American women! W.H.). One can understand that this only concerns externalities but it bears deeper results.
Whenever one penetrates a bit deeper into this Americanism, one comes to the conclusion that this spirit of being alike, this craving for uniformity, governs the whole of American life in America. A danger, that is also creeping into the reformed churches. And especially so since the Holland language is definitely being discarded and is no longer understood, read or written by the younger generation.
“There are already churches in the Christian Reformed denomination which, both in respect to liturgy and preaching, are governed entirely by this Americanism. I visited one of these Churches in Grand Rapids. There was found what might be called ‘deftige devotie’. (Here follows a description of the order of worship with which most of us are familiar and need not be included, also, since he returns to it again in a later article and in greater detail. W.H.) All of these things would finally be made up for if the sermon were only reformed. In order was an exposition of the Catechism: ‘What do you understand by the Communion of Saints?’ Beyond this mere statement there was not much said out of, or about the Catechism. The minister made a distinction between ‘our’ Church and ‘the Church’. Our Church is the institute composed of this congregation but ‘the Church’ was the invisible church. And according to him, the communion of saints meant that latter church. To illustrate this, an emotional picture was drawn of nuns who sat praying in a hospital before a Protestant minister, and more such examples.
“It was on the first Sunday that I heard this ‘sermon’. Not until later did I find how broadly and deeply almost the whole Christian Reformed Church in America is infested with this distorted idea of the Church (kerkbegrip). The reasoning is as follows: each denomination has a portion of the truth, also among the Baptists and among the Methodists and the Presbyterians, there are many pious Christians. According to this same aspect the expulsion of Rev. Hoeksema and his followers is regarded. Whenever one would argue that in that case, actually however, the keys of the kingdom were applied, one received a look as though the hearer saw the waters of Niagara streaming from below upward rather than from above downward. Various ministers of the Christian Reformed Church with whom I spoke concerning it, declared without hesitation that they had great respect for Rev. Hoeksema and were sorry that he was expelled, but the action itself they did not consider so serious, (erg-bad, evil, W.H.). Rev. Hoeksema was a child of God and did what he felt he must do; he now has his own church group among the many hundreds of other groups in America, and that’s one’s privilege (en daar heeft men vrede mee—the end of the matter, peace for all! How true that they so desire to explain it all. But there is no peace in wickedness. W.H.) And the article of the Apostle’s Creed: ‘I believe in the Communion of Saints’ is in this way become a dead letter; having been drafted to meet the desires of selfish flesh. (We hope we caught the sense of the idiomatic expression here. The Holland is as follows: naar de begeerte van eigen vleesch getroken wissel, op dood spoor gereden. WJH.) This complete article of our confession of faith, which is still read each Sunday in the Christian Reformed Church in America, and to which the entire congregation very piously stands to answer, has in this manner become an abstraction, which is, practically, worthless. For one may well say, and well preach with stirring stories, that the communion of saints embraces all denominations, but in practice they consider all churches as so many grocery shops and each group seeks to win the customers for ‘his’ church. At the place where I stay the Christian Reformed Church stands next to the Reformed Church; which has an orthodox minister and a Holland congregation. But I have not yet seen any exercise of communion of saints between the two groups.
“One can understand to what a resultant depletion of Church life this must lead. In practice one tears out the most important commandments from the law. That each one, who does not unite himself to the purest manifestation of the Church, perpetrates and serves idolatry (afgodsdienst pleegt), is not understood in America. Each one, may, after all, be saved in his own church. This leads to a lethargy in the church life that works deformation. I see this very clearly in connection with the question of Rev. Hoeksema and his followers. The decrees of the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church regarding the expulsion of this minister, so far as I have been able to go into it, (and I have already asked very many, because I was especially interested in this case), find no response (geen resonans-harmony, W.H.) among the general membership (and not even among various ministers). Men shrug their shoulders about it all and say: ‘Too bad that it happened, Rev. Hoeksema is as reformed as can be, what jealousy among our professors and ministers, etc.’ No one considers, however, that this expulsion was an application of the key power.”
(To be continued)