Condolences and Congratulations….
We recently received word from the Rev. G. Lubbers that he has been ill for the past four weeks. He has been unable to occupy his pulpit in Randolph, Wisconsin since December 7. He writes: “First it was ‘flu’—then it was ‘congestion in lungs’, but blood test shows undulant fever. I lost 18 pounds but have regained 8. Incessant fever, goes up to about 101-6 every day. Can rest in the Lord’s way.”
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to our brother in his affliction and join with him in the prayer that the Lord may give him grace sufficient for the way He leads.
Classis East, which met on January 7, also took cognizance of the illness of Brother Lubbers and decided to grant Randolph “liefde-beurten” during the incapacitation of their pastor.
On the other hand, we are happy to be able to report that the news from California concerning the Rev. H. Hoeksema is encouraging. In a recent letter, he wrote that he had walked about a half-mile without his cane and had twice walked down-town in Bellflower, a distance of about 3 miles, with his “aid”. The Rev. Hoeksema is enjoying and “soaking-up” the California sunshine at the home of his son-in-law, the Rev. L. Doezema. He expresses his confidence that the Lord is continuing to lead him in the way of recovery. We thank and praise our God, with our brother, for His goodness.
Christian greetings to both brethren and all the Lord’s sick and afflicted!
“Common Grace” and God’s Attitude Towards the Ungodly….
We continue with the transcription of the article by C. V. under the above title from the Reformatie of Nov. 22, 1947. We suggest that you refer briefly to the first part of this transcription which appeared in the Jan. 1 issue of the Standard Bearer. Prof. Veenhof continues as follows:
“In correlation to all that which has been said concerning “the beginning of judgment”, as it comes to the house of God, we can note the following concerning God’s goodness towards the ungodly:
“1. Taken by itself, all that which the wicked receive of good gifts in every respect, is a manifestation of God’s grace or favor: it is always completely undeserved; yea, forever forfeited.
“2. In the conferring of much good yet unto the ungodly (for example, in the offer of salvation) there is revealed that justice is not yet accomplished, has not yet become absolute. They still live in the ‘day of grace’.
“3. When God’s goodness is thus spoken of reference is not thereby made to the deepest motive of God’s dealing with the ungodly. The manner of God’s dealing with them, when thus expressed, is “according to its essential nature by itself’.
“4. So understood, this expression of goodness serves, in the final analysis, to increase their responsibility and hence, aggravates their judgment. This demonstration of goodness is subordinated, therefore, to the execution of God’s eternal judgment over all those who reject Him.
“5. This expression of goodness is only temporal. It is but the ‘beginning’ of goodness. Finally, the ungodly receive only greater punishment.
“6. Considering God’s deepest motive with it, and with an eye to the eventual effect of this expression of goodness, it cannot be spoken of as grace or mercy in the full and deep sense of the word. God links it up with the coming of His wrath. He hardens the ungodly through it, and so works in it, that the legitimacy of eternal punishment becomes very obvious.
“Front the above it becomes evident that we cannot conclude from God’s judgment over believers, a certain unfavorable attitude toward these believers. And just as well, we cannot conclude from God’s goodness to the ungodly, a certain favorable attitude toward these ungodly.
“It was no one less than Calvin who warned against this hasty and superficial judgment.
“In his exposition of Jer. 33:9 for example, he points out that the prophet exhorts the Jews to extol God for His grace (gratia) which is the first cause of their trust (priman fiduciae causam). “For the origin of all God’s blessings, or the fountain from which all good things flow, is the favor of God in being’ reconciled to us. He may, indeed, supply us bountifully with whatever we may wish, while yet he himself is alienated from us, as we see to be the case with the ungodly, who often abound in all good things; and hence they glory and boast as though they had God as it were, in a manner bound to them. But whatever God grants and bestows on the ungodly, cannot, properly speaking, (prorie loquendo) be deemed as an evidence of his favor and grace; (testimonium favoris et gratiae) but he thus renders them more inexcusable, while he treats them so indulgently. There is then no saving good, (salutare bonum) but what flows from the paternal love of God. We must now see how God becomes propitious to us. He becomes so, when he imputes not our sins to us. For except pardon goes before, he must necessarily be adverse to us; for as long as he looks on us as we are, he finds in us nothing but what deserves vengeance. We are therefore always accursed before God until he buries our sins.’
“‘How is it, then, that God not only maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,’—so Calvin asks in his Institutes, III, XXV, 9—‘but that, for the accommodations of the present life, his inestimable liberality is diffused in the most copious abundance? Hence we see, that things which properly belong to Christ and his members, are also extended to the impious; not to become their legitimate possession, but to render them more inexcusable. Thus impious men frequently experience God’s beneficence in remarkable instances, which sometimes exceed all the blessings of the pious, but which, nevertheless, are the means of aggravating their condemnation.’
“It is evident from the above that in the last analysis one can hardly speak of a two-fold attitude of God towards specific individuals.
“There is in God an attitude of grace towards the elect. This attitude governs all dealings and orderings with the elect. All of God’s work for and in them is designed and determined by this gracious attitude. Also the evil and the suffering which God so often allows to come to his own. And all of God’s dealing with the elect serves to enhance God’s greatness in the wonderful, everlasting glorious manifestation of grace to sinners.
“But besides, there is in God an attitude of wrath against all the reprobate. And that disposition permeates all of God’s speech and dealing with the reprobate. It directs and motivates all His deeds for and in them. Also the goodness which God manifests to them in this dispensation is finally governed by this disposition of wrath. Through this manifestation of goodness also, God’s wrath comes to its final full disclosure. And the end of all God’s work with and in the demand shall be the reflection of His greatness and righteousness in the complete bursting forth of wrath over the damned in the eternal fire.”
N.B.: As we wrote at the beginning of the first installment of the above translation which appeared in the last issue, this subject is one of especial interest to us in this country. We hope to hear and read more of the discussion of “common grace” from the Netherlands. In the meantime, we will refrain from commenting on the above. We are motivated by several considerations. In the first place, we expect and look for further discussion and development of this subject from the Netherlands. In the second place, as we have also found in the controversy regarding the covenant, hasty judgment and criticism of our brethren from across the sea often leads to unwarranted conclusions and stifles friendly and fruitful discussion. Finally, so much has been written in the past, both in the Standard Bearer and elsewhere, that it should not be difficult for the brethren in the Netherlands to determine the position of our Churches in respect to the theory of “common grace”. Hence, we expectantly await to hear more.
Signs of the Times….
NEW DUTCH DRIVE SEEN
Demanded in Java
Killed in China
Two Escape “Certain Death”
As Blast Levels Home Here
PLANE CRASH TOLL IS 17
Two Federal Aides Die in Georgia
Crash in Algiers
Takes Lives of 9
Two Are Killed
In Flint Crash
FEARS LACK OF INSULIN
Argentinian Sees Rise in
NOME FIRE LOSS $40,000
Ex-Policeman Owns Killing
YOUNG KILLER GIVEN DEATH
Reno Seeks “Example” for Hoodlums
FLOODS PERIL DUTCH AREAS
Waal and Yssel Rivers Over Banks
Corn Borers May Slice 1948 Crop
Red Measles Sweep Ottawa
New York Police Charge
Woman Held Up 2 Hotels
FLOODS WIDEN IN 3 STATES
Hit Oregon, Washington, Idaho Areas
The above are just a few of the many headlines that could be quoted. They are all taken from a single issue of the Grand Rapids Press which appeared on Thursday, January 8, 1948. The same could be duplicated any day, from any daily newspaper, anywhere in the world. In fact, these which we quoted might be termed “mild” in comparison to those which appear quite generally; the Press is a very conservative journal.
These headlines literally scream at us: “Watch and Pray, for the time is at hand”. How real and vital the words of Christ become for us in the days in which we live: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows,”
And how comforting for the child of God, in the midst of it all, to remember the Word of Christ: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
The following article by Prof. S. Greydanus appeared in De Reformatie of Nov. 15, 1947. We believe it timely and practical character makes it of value for our readers. We had originally intended to condense and translate it but lack of time forbade. Many of us can still read the Holland and all should be able to pr lit something from it.