FOUR HEADS TOGETHER:

Recently six editors of various magazines and papers from the Netherlands were touring the United States for the purpose of studying trends of thoughts in this country. One was a Roman Catholic, one a Social Democrat, one a liberal, one an editor of a former “underground” newspaper, one a Communist, and one was a “Calvinist”. They had luncheon also in Grand Rapids, sponsored by The Grand Rapids Press and the Rev. H. J. Kuiper, Editor of the Banner of the Christian Reformed Churches, states he had the privilege (?, L.V.) to be present at that luncheon. Various subjects were discussed such as the underground movement in Holland, the East Indies situation, the havoc wrought by the Germans in Holland and the present political trend in the old country. And now I will simply quote Rev. Kuiper from The Banner: “The day following the luncheon, Dr. H. Beets, Dr. Clarence Bouma and the undersigned (H. J. Kuiper) had a personal conference with Prof. H. J. Hellema (one of the six touring Editors and who is connected with the Free University of Amsterdam). This prominent Calvinist is a member of one of our Reformed Churches and since 1940 part time professor at the Free University of Amsterdam. (He is connected with the juridical department and teaches tax law. He is also a member of a well-known law firm and in this capacity has represented a number of Reformed churches in lawsuits, involving their property rights, which were jeopardized by the Schilder defection. Prof. Hellema gave us some illuminating information about the schism and answered a number of questions that were put to him. He was also eager to know about the reaction of our people to that movement. Though we are not quoting him, we can say that his evaluation of the situation did not all conflict with the slant his interviewers had on that situation. After listening, to him we personally were more convinced than ever that the personality of the central figure in the schismatic group was a very important factor in the tragic separation that has come in the Church with which our own denomination, has closer connections than any other ecclesiastical body.” Thus far we quote Rev. Kuiper in The Banner of February 22.

A few words of comment on the above information. Reading about this conference, we thought about the conference in the Pantlind Hotel in 1939 to which also Rev. H. J. Kuiper was invited. But Rev. H. J. Kuiper REFUSED to attend that conference. That 1939 conference was called together at the instigation of Dr. K. Schilder, who was at that time touring this country, and speaking and lecturing. That 1939 conference was for the purpose of discussing the issues that separated our Prot. Ref. Churches and the Chr. Ref. Churches, with a view to a possible rapprochement of the two groups. Dr. Schilder expressed the desire for a possible unity of the two church groups. That 1939 conference would certainly disprove any idea that Schilder loves separation or schism, but rather unity of all that belongs together.

But there is another remark that I am constrained to make. Notice Kuiper’s statement: “Though we are not quoting him, we can say that his evaluation of the situation did not at all conflict with the slant his interviewers had on that situation. After listening to him we personally were more convinced than .ever that the personality of the central figure in the schismatic group was a very important factor in the tragic separation that has come in the church with which our own church denomination has closer connection than any other ecclesiastical body”. No ! Kuiper does not want to literally quote the man they had a secret conference with, but he does want to let his readers know that all the conferees had the same slant on the situation. Kuiper, Beets and Bouma all agreed with LAWYER AND TAX-LAW TEACHER OF AMSTERDAM that the movement of Schilder, a.o. is SCHISMATIC, that is, SINFUL, because a schismatic is always the cause of the break in the churches. This is revealing. BEFORE Schilder was a so-called schismatic, when still in good standing in the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands, Rev. H. J. Kuiper condemned him even then. He warned the churches against even inviting Schilder to speak. He refused a conference with him and other brethren of our churches and his own. He turned the cold shoulder to Schilder, even before the latter was “put out” of the churches in the Netherlands. And now he wants his readers to believe that he evaluates the situation in Holland the same as all the conferees, including the one from Amsterdam. My evaluation is that Rev. Kuiper hates Dr. Schilder as he hates “the central figure” also in our group. I do not believe that Rev. Kuiper can give a proper evaluation of the situation in the Netherlands, with his biased and narrow-binded attitude. It is such a sinful attitude that causes schism in the churches. Rather than at least giving a man a hearing, Kuiper will condemn him, without a hearing. But he makes it appear as though he first consults authorities (?) and then evaluates the situation. Your evaluation Rev. Kuiper, Is not worth the paper it is written on. Besides it is very Unchristian.

CHURCH ETIQUETTE:

We read the following item that should be of interest also in our churches which often suffer from, a lack of proper church manners. We quote: “This is the time of the year when much coughing is a disturbing factor in public worship. How strange that so few of us use our hanker chiefs to muffle our barks. We do not seem to realize that every time we emit a loud explosion those who sit near us lose the sound of the words spoken at that moment. They may be the key words in the sentence. In most cases the cough is not necessary; we cough because others do. The other day we told our physician, who happens to be our neighbor and stepped into our home, that we had been coughing for several weeks and nothing we had tried for relief would stop it. He said: “What do you raise?” We answered: “Nothing”. He replied, “Then stop coughing. That membrane is irritated and every time you cough you make it worse.” We stopped then and there, with an occasional lapse, and the inclination to cough was practically gone in a day. This may not be applicable to all who cough in church but we are persuaded that it does apply to many”. Any unnecessary noise in church and during services should be avoided. Putting on our wraps during any part of the services or while singing the doxology should be taboo. If one is late for services such a one should not look around, for a seat while the minister is reading Scripture. Wait quietly until the reading is finished. If you don’t, you disturb others who are following the reading of the Word of God. If there is a disturbance such as the crying of a baby in church, don’t look around to see whose baby it is and who or what is the cause of the disturbance. First you embarrass the mother of such a baby, secondly you are missing part of the service yourself and thirdly you disturb the minister who likes to have the people looking at him and not looking in all directions of the auditorium. And above all don’t sleep during the service, for then you might as well stay home and go to bed, seeing you get nothing out of the services and you are a constant source of irritation to others.

THE NONPROFESSIONAL MISSIONARY:

In an article written by R. C. Van Kampen of Chicago, Il., on the “Non-professional” Missionary, we came across some ideas that are worthy to pass along to our own reading public, especially in view of the fact that the Mission Committee of our churches has also asked us to write on Mission work for the purpose of awakening interest in this cause among our people. “A non-professional missionary is a layman, a business man, a doctor, a farmer, housewife, or a mechanic, who uses every opportunity to witness” and testify to the truth. The Christian layman has a responsibility as great as that of any preacher. In fact a layman’s testimony often carries a greater weight with his neighbors because they realize the layman speaks from conviction rattier than: by reason of position. Further states Mr. Van Kampen: “We send missionaries to the four corners of the world to preach the gospel and set up mission stations, and we send missionaries to the slums of our great cities to deal with the outcasts of society—men and women who have squandered their entire lives in sin. . . . but the average man, your neighbor and my neighbor, one who leads a normal life, who is an asset to society, who raises a fine family, minds his own business, and possibly has a responsible position, we shun like a leper when it comes to giving him the gospel.” We quote further a few of the qualifications in order to be an effective non-professional missionary, “(1) Live a Christian testimony. In other words, others should see Christ in you and realize you have a peace and joy they do not understand or have. (2) Emphasize the positive in your Christian life. Others are interested in what you get out of being a Christian, not in what you do without, (3) Use every opportunity of witnessing when the opportunity presents itself. (4) Study God’s Word prayerfully; know the reason for the hope that lies within you.”

We need not quote more. Certainly these few pointers may be read and re-read and made part and parcel of us all, if we would be consumed by the zeal of God’s house and witness of the truth of that house of God. “Ye are my witnesses” said the Lord before He departed to heaven’s glory at the Father’s right hand. And as the church must certainly desire to go out into the whole world and preach the gospel, so must each individual member of the church, be a true officebearer in that Church, and carry the message of truth to whomever we come in contact with. Thus we are LIVING members of the church of Jesus Christ in the world.

INTERESTING NEWS ITEMS:

“The American Bible Society is busily engaged since the war with Japan came to a conclusion, to print Christian literature and Bibles for Japan. One million copies of the New Testament will be printed in Japanese by this Bible Society, as a result of a recent request by Japan’s Christian leaders for religious literature. There have already been sent 60,000 of these New Testaments.” We wonder why they print and send but half of the Bible and not the whole Bible, including both Old and New Testament.

Another item of interest is that the Southern Baptists of our country, have purchased a site in Anchorage, Alaska, for the purpose of erecting a Baptist College there. The Rev. Bill Petty of Little Rock, Ark. who is a pioneer in the Baptist mission work in the great northern country of Alaska, has reported that there are about 15 denominations and sects represented in Alaska, but, “that none of the churches are very well attended and most of the people seem neither church conscious nor God-conscious”. Of course one need not go to Alaska to find people “neither church conscious nor God conscious”. No people is that by nature. All the more reason however for bringing the gospel also there. “The field is the world”, said our Lord. And we need not go all the way to China, either.

A statement issued by the provisional committee of the World Council of Churches, at the conclusion of a week’s conference Monday, said: “the time is short, and unless man’s whole outlook is changed, our civilization will perish.” This committee represents 87 Protestant Church bodies. Comment: then civilization will perish, for we can assure all those Protestant Church bodies, that man’s outlook will not change. Besides we are not interested in civilization, but in the Kingdom of God, and that Kingdom is not of this world. And unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Also, there is not much to boast about in the “civilization” that will perish. When it does perish, nothing is lost to the Christian, except a world of sin and darkness. And THAT world MUST perish.