We were to furnish some examples of the teaching that is tolerated in the merged church known as the E. and R.
As early as 1937 a complaint against the nature and contents of Sunday School literature published by the Board of Christian Education of the E. and R. was registered with the Synod of the Northwest by the Revs. Pfeiffer and Hauser. A committee was appointed to investigate this matter, and this committee reported to the Synod of the Northwest in 1938. From this report we learn that the “Junior Uniform Lesson Guide,” in an explanation of a passage from the book of Judges, tried to inculcate into the minds of the youth of the Church the following:
“In the time when much of the Old Testament was written, people did not understand what God is like. They thought that he was much like them and would get angry and punish people when they did what was wrong. Later on people began to realize that God is like a kind father or mother; that he is sad to see people do what is wrong but ready to forgive when they are sorry for their wrong.”
Needless to offer comment on this modernistic distinction between the Old and the New Testament, and on this unbiblical presentation of the love and forgiving mercy of God as in conflict with His righteous anger and punitive justice. The implication is, of course, a denial of the atoning blood of Christ. Similarly:
“In the days of the judges people thought you should love God and hate your enemy. When Jesus came to live on this earth to show people what God. was like, he taught not only that we must love God but also love and help our enemies, or those people who are unkind to us and do not show love to us. What things would be changed if people kept Jesus’ Law?”
The committee recommended “that the Synod of the Northwest disapproves of such denials of the Faith of the Church and insists that all Church School materials published by an agency of the Church should conform to the Constitution and creed of the Church.” This was adopted by the Synod, and it was resolved that “this action shall be submitted to the Board of Education of General Synod and to the General Council of the Evangelical and Reformed Church.”
What action was taken by these bodies we are not in a position to state.
Nor, it seems to me, does it make much difference. What can be expected from a creedless church? Or what good can any synodical legislation do in a church that has advanced on the road of Modernism to the extent revealed in the above quotations?
When we were in South Dakota last fall, we visited one of the church buildings of the E. and R., and seeing some literature in the Bulletin Box, we took a sample of it along. It is called “Evangelical and Reformed Church Bulletin,” and from it are made the following quotations:
“It is the responsibility of religion to bring us into such a relationship with God that He can open up our life. We shall lack the spirit of service and consecration until our life is so opened. . . . However God can do nothing for us unless we realize our dependence upon Him. A great number of people in these difficult days are finding their lives opened because they are throwing themselves upon God. Numerous examples of this are to be found among people, who as Moffatt translates the passage, ‘are at their wit’s end’ and who say, ‘It’s up to you now God; there is nothing more I can do’. . . . In these days of desperate need, let us permit God to open our lives. Then we too shall obey Him, and life will be meaningful, whatever may come.” From an article entitled “The Path of Peace,” in the same Bulletin, we quote the following:
“Man has done much to master the natural sciences. Is it too altruistic to believe him capable of mastering himself? Is the undertaking any more prodigious than the campaign of destruction and the fanatical devotion to the cause of self-extermination? The answer to both these questions is an unqualified ‘No!’”
“Finally, and equally important to peace, men’s hearts must be indoctrinated from birth with a higher spiritual motivation. The moral sin of war, the basic respect for the thoughts and opinions of his fellowman, and the great truth that man’s prayers should be answered here on earth by man—these are the precepts of peace. Heaven on earth is not as much God’s problem as it is man’s.”
We refrain from comment.
But how is it possible for any man, minister or layman, who knows and loves the truth of the gospel, not to speak of the Reformed faith, to remain in a Church in which he is powerless to prevent the dissemination of such modernistic principles as are expressed in the above quotations?
My answer is: that is impossible!