In a recent poll of High School students a rather large cross section was asked if they should like more help in solving their personal problems, and where they would look for this help. Fifty percent of them said they wanted the help of their parents. Only eight percent wanted the advice of teachers and a still smaller percentage would seek this advice from the ministers.
Again, concerning sex education, sixty-six percent stated a desire that such education should be given in the home, a smaller percentage desired it through the schools, a still smaller percentage sought it from the doctors and a negligibly small number would seek it from the churches and the ministers.
This perhaps does not make us ministers feel too important. Our advice, at least among them, seems not needed, and not sought. Whether this reflects upon the students or upon the ministry is a question you may decide if you please.
But the striking thing is that, even among these high school students, worldly perhaps, (although mostly church members) the majority of them feel that the HOME is the chief center of education and counsel.
This is true. We do not care who says it, it is true. The Home is the place where personal problems ‘ought to be aired, advised and treated. The home should give the sons and daughters sex education. Even the modern world understands how signally important is the home, at least they think back on what the home used to be, and they wish it would be that again. But. . . . if salt have lost its savor and its quality, how shall it be restored?
May our homes stand out prominently as the chief centers for advice, consolation and instruction of the next generation, and let our young people be able to answer that they have and have had such homes.
“The Movies Go To Church” is flashed across our newspaper. And this country has a ready-made audience of sixty million people, and, “that doesn’t include the Sunday Schools, which have the most avid movie fans of all”. James Kempe Friedrich has proved that “the Bible and the box office” will mix. Several hundred religious films have been made, but “the boom is just beginning”.
I suppose the boom is just beginning.
Another flash—“Sunday Schools begin to teach religion by comics”. It was hailed as a great success by the general board of education of the Methodist Church at its three day conference. Seven hundred thousand comic picture texts were published each week. Ten other denominations were granted permission to use the same material.
Quite what you might expect in a generation brought up on pictures, movies and comics, but nevertheless a generation which lives in a so-called Christian country.
Cause: A generation brought up on the notion that it needs to be entertained; a generation which has gone entertainment-mad and play-crazy.
Procedure: Make their instruction a matter of entertainment. A play and picture-crazy generation refuses to think or meditate. Give them religion, by all means they need religion, but by pictures.
If we rear a play- and picture-mad generation, we, too, will find ourselves confronted with the problem of how to instruct them in the Word of God. . . .because it’s so dry the way the Bible gives it.
The radio has its dramatized, “Light of the World”, the Roman Catholics are making “spiritual movies”, now come the scriptural comics. . . .
Alas; alas; the foolishness of the preaching.
But does this not agree well with what Paul has told us, namely that the preaching of the cross is foolishness to the world. They not only call it foolishness, it IS foolishness to the world-wise.
A WEEK AT OUR SCHOOL:
How would you like to visit our Protestant Reformed Seminary for a week. Come along. We’ll go from class to class, day to day. Courses change from semester to semester and this week we find as follows:—
Monday: No school. An old custom. Students often out preaching and cannot get back on time for Monday sessions. A day of rest after a busy Sabbath.
Tuesday: Eight o’clock finds the students at school. Strictly at eight o’clock in comes Rev. (Prof.) H. Hoeksema. It was rumored about that he was once a minute late for his class, but I doubt whether this was more than a rumor. I do recall be was once a half minute late—and we chided him for it. Later he convinced us that the school clock was thirty seconds fast.
The first thing Tuesday morning is chapel exercises. The professor reads, in Greek, from the book of James this morning, explaining various words and passages as he goes. He then opens with prayer. Dogmatics is next. Today the class is busy with Ecclesiology (study about the Church). The Professor asks questions, the students answering them (or not) and discussion follows. At about nine-forty-five comes Exegesis, that is, reading the Bible and giving the meaning from the original text. Each student has to exegete one verse each week. In class one of the students reads the exegesis after which follows criticism and comments from the class and from the professor. After this the instructor gives them the exegesis of his own, thus teaching the class to interpret the Bible. At ten o’clock comes a few minutes of recess, current events are discussed, debates are begun, lunches are consumed etc. At eleven o’clock History of Dogma, how we got the Apostle’s Creed, dogmas, principles of religion etc. Then follows a study of Latin during which the class reads from St. Augustine’s Confessions and this continues until noon. One of the students closes with prayer. Afternoon—no school. The student is in his room, getting his assignments finished. The professor is in his room, making more.
Wednesday: Behind the instructor’s desk stands the Rev. (Professor) G. M. Ophoff, and at eight o’clock the students are all in their places. Opening exercises. A full schedule waits, there is no time to lose. Church Polity, first thing after opening. In the back of our Psalters you find it called the Church Manual. Prospective ministers ought to know what rules of order are necessary in the Church and the professor can tell them that. At about mine o’clock commences the study of Church History. Today the lesson Is about the Reformation, dangers, trials and troubles of the Church in years gone by. This is followed by Bible History and then comes a short but welcome recess. Next comes Typology and the professor finds out whether the students know what feasts Israel observed and what these feasts meant. What is the Passover? What is the Sabbath? The: students are answering well this morning and the professor is delighted. Now comes Hebrew reading, that is, reading the Bible in the Hebrew language. Sometimes one of the students has to write some Hebrew on the blackboard. To the visitor it looks like a board full of dots, dashes, scratches and chicken tracks. This over, one of the students closes with prayer and school closes for the day.
Thursday: Prof. Hoeksema at the desk. School starts at eight o’clock. The instructor reads, in Greek, from the book of James, commenting as he goes. He then opens with prayer. Dogmatics is the next subject and today the lesson is about Baptism and the Covenant. A general discussion follows and the Netherlands controversy is brought up for discussion.
Recess happens to be at nine-thirty this morning instead of at ten, but only five minutes of it. Then the class turns its attention to the New Testament History, having just finished the period of four hundred years before Christ. At about ten-thirty the subject is Confessions, briefly going over the various Confessions and studying what the Church before us confessed. Finally they have Dutch, when one of the students renders a short essay in what is commonly called Dutch (although the professor often reminds them that it isn’t Dutch). Again one of the students closes with prayer and school is out for today.
Friday: Professor Ophoff conducting class again starts at eight o’clock. First today the professor finds out how well the students have studied their Church History. Then comes Bible History in which the professor hands out typed sheets of his explanation and interpretation. Ten o’clock, and that welcome recess. Next is Isagogics (look it up in the dictionary) and exegesis and that day they were treating the book of Hosea. The last half hour is spent on Hebrew vocabulary study and the students, repeating the vocabulary, sound like They are stuttering or hiccoughing—but it’s Hebrew.
Thanks to my reporter for this Periscope.
I hope you enjoyed this week at our School. Perhaps we will soon see some of you young men there, taking the lessons.