“C.A.F.” stands for “Christian Action Foundation,” a rather new organization which claims to be dedicated to Christian communal action in the areas of education, scholarship, labor, politics, amusement, communications, etc., an organization which was formed in Sioux Center, Iowa, but which has membership throughout the country. Those of our readers who have access to “Torch and Trumpet” magazine will know that there has been a kind of marriage between the two organizations, at least in so far as “Torch and Trumpet” has lent itself to being a propaganda outlet to C.A.F., with the result that in recent issues there have been several articles devoted to the purposes and aims of said Christian Action Foundation.
It is not my intention at this time to offer a thorough going critique of this Christian Action Foundation. Perhaps at a later date the Standard Bearer will do so. Nevertheless, I have some questions which in a way go to the heart of the issue of the validity or lack of validity of this organization, questions which surely would be of fundamental importance to any Protestant Reformed person who would ever consider having a part in the Christian Action Foundation, and questions which probably will not, but nevertheless ought to, give pause to the spokesmen of C.A.F.
In part, these questions are occasioned by a question with which I was confronted some time ago. The question was: why cannot you Protestant Reformed people cooperate with the rest of the Reformed community? At first, thinking that the question had to do with ecclesiastical cooperation, I replied that our Protestant Reformed Churches have always been willing to discuss the matters which have caused and still do cause separation between us and the Christian Reformed Churches, but that the Christian Reformed Churches at every occasion when we expressed readiness for such discussion have steadfastly refused it. That, of course, is a matter of record. And my questioner (who is one of the spokesmen of C.A.F.) conceded the truth of this. However, he then made it clear that he did not have in mind cooperation in the ecclesiastical sphere, but in other, non ecclesiastical spheres. My reply,—and I think these were my literal words,—was: “We are willing to cooperate in any Reformed movement; but the trouble is that every time we think there is a movement or an organization in which we might be able to cooperate, it isn’t long before we run ‘smack dab’ into the common grace theory, which makes it impossible for us to cooperate.”
This, it appears to me, is the case with C.A.F.
I ask, therefore, in the first place, whether or not it is true that common grace is an operating principle of C.A.F., even though, perhaps, it is not specifically enunciated in the official principles or constitution of the C.A.F. I ask this question because on more than one occasion I have observed that spokesmen of C.A.F. in their writings in “Torch and Trumpet” have made references to common grace at rather key junctures in their writings.
In the second place, I ask the question,—one which has been asked many times previously, but never satisfactorily answered: what grace do the reprobate wicked receive? I would like an answer to that question in the light of Scripture and the confessions, not a philosophical answer.
In the third place, I have this question: what becomes of the antithesis, which must needs lie at the basis of any Christian communal action, if common grace is a fact and must serve as an operating principle in Christian communal action such as that proposed by C.A.F.? If God’s grace, favor, is upon the wicked as well as upon the righteous, where is the fundamental cleavage and where the possibility of confrontation of “an apostate world, under the grip of a false world-and life view and moving in the wrong direction” (Rev. B.J. Haan in “Torch and Trumpet,” May, 1969, p. 2)?
These are old, familiar questions. But they are fundamental ones. And in the interest of a clear understanding of the C.A.F. movement, as well as inthe interest of a clear understanding of the reasons for any cooperation or non-cooperation on the part of Protestant Reformed people in a movement such as this, I would like to see any spokesman of C.A.F. give some clear and straight-forward answers to these questions.