The World that Perished by John C. Whitcomb Jr. Baker Book House, paperback, 1973
Uniformitarians are yet attacking the Word of God. However, the truths of creation and the global catastrophe of the Genesis Flood are still maintained by many Christian theologians and scientists around the world. We as members of the Protestant Reformed Churches also still hold to a world-wide flood even though we are continually bombarded by the arguments of those who wish to elevate human insight, human reasoning, and human philosophy above the glorious truths of scripture.
It is therefore refreshing to read a book such as The World That Perished. It is the purpose of the book to simply and concisely state the basic Biblical and scientific evidences of a great world-wide flood. The author also spends considerable time answering certain published objections which have been raised against the book The Genesis Flood authored by Dr. H. M. Morris and Dr. J. C. Whitcomb.
It is striking that the author always begins with scripture and uses scripture to prove his contentions. I was especially struck by a number of points which the author made. In the first place, he makes the point that even though it may be commendable to search for such archaeological data as Noah’s ark, such a find would not make the Bible any more trustworthy than it now stands; “Would people who now reject the authority of God’s Word truly acknowledge it, even if remains of the Ark were discovered?” (p. 51)
Second, the author argues that faith does not depend on archaeology: “Mature Christians, who are adequately taught in God’s Word, have no fear of historical, archaeological, or scientific discoveries which appear to nullify any portion or any statement of infallible Scripture, ‘For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished’ (Matt. 5:18). One hundred years of archaeological research in the Bible lands—and this represents only a scratching of the surface of potential discovery—has more than vindicated those who have placed their confidence in the historical and geographical statements of Scripture. True faith in the Word of God does not depend upon such confirmations, but they do provide a certain sense of intellectual satisfaction and they do help to provide background illumination for various places, persons, and events in the Bible.” (p. 97)
Third, the author takes special care to provide working hypotheses consistent with scripture to explain such things as:
- a) The transportation of kangaroos from Australia to Noah’s Ark.
- b) The fossilization of dinosaurs.
- c) The formation of high mountains.
- d) The formation of the Grand Canyon.
- e) The frozen remains of mammoths in Siberia and Alaska.
- f) The presence of great coal deposits.
- g) The presence of petrified logs.
The book should be read by all the young people as well as by others who are studying the Genesis Flood or are concerned with evolutionary hypotheses. The book reads easily and is not directed primarily to scientifically oriented readers.
Every living thing fears death. An animal instinctively runs from the hunter, perhaps to live only briefly away from the final bullet. Reprobate man fears death as a termination of any conscious life at the least, or at most, a time of judgment. A child of God quite understandably fears death too. This is not wrong.
It is no sin to be fearful of the indignity, pain and loneliness of death. It is not wrong to be afraid of dying. What the child of God all too often fails to remember, though, is that while dying may be very difficult, death itself is glorious. While we must summon all our faith and courage to fail and die, even though it may be a brief thing, we must look beyond dying to death, that is, to the last gentle sigh of a life slipping from earth to heaven. To shut our eyes to earth and open them in glory is a wonderful thing.
To watch a dear one die, no matter what the age, is a sad and painful thing. We ache hourly with the loss that is ours, we grieve ceaselessly in our hearts because, for us, there are only memories to hold. There are a thousand “If I had onlies” . . . If I had only said once more that I loved him …. If I had only been there …. If I had only had one more chance. There are a hundred unsaid, undone things to torture mind and soul. There are no tomorrows to set things right, there is only yesterday and that is forever gone. Death is a very painful thing for those who are left behind.
Death is very painful, but greatly wonderful. It is a glorious thing to know a dear parent is rejoicing in heaven, with no pain or tears. It is a wonderful thing to know a close friend has joined the church victorious. It is a particularly wonderful thing to know a loved child has escaped this world of sorrow and sin to rest peacefully in the bosom of the Master. We grieve, not for the dead, but for ourselves and too easily we forget the special joy of life in glory.
How marvelous to simply shut our eyes to open them again in glory. How wonderful to put off all corruption and live in constant consciousness of the glory of the Father. How utterly enthralling to be in the presence of Christ and His Church victorious.
Lest we forget …. How wonderful to know that a loved one has such joy. How glorious to realize that you share in the hourly approach of such glory. For a parent, how wonderful to know that God in you has created a soul for the Church in glory. How wonderful.
Dying is not a wonderful thing. It is the final struggle between mortality and immortality. Often it is a thing of fear. Yet, beyond dying is the moment of death, the hour of victorious passing from sadness to joy inexpressible, and this is wonderful. In death we stand on the portal of life, but a breath away. We can hear the trumpet of the angel sound, and for those who have gone before we can but say: We grieve, but the angels rejoice, another saint is come home. Truly death is a wonderful tiling, for the angels rejoice.
Douglas E. Miedema, Born: August 13, 1951 Died: October 7, 1972
“So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
Again the Grim Reaper has struck among us scything his death and destruction with unaccustomed viciousness. A family has suddenly lost another son, the Church on earth has lost another stalwart member. We cannot help but cry out why? Why another young man, the third in recent months, the sixth in just over two years? With such a senseless death?
Again the Grim Reaper has struck and we are smaller for it. We are one less, we are enmeshed in grief, our hearts are lacerated with pain, for though it is one family’s loss, it is very really a loss for us all, for we are all knit as one. The Grim Reaper has struck and we are bereft.
We are bereft, we grieve, but how we grieve and why we grieve is why we are knit as one. We have been touched, we have been hurt, but not senselessly. No nebulous Grim Reaper has mindlessly injured us. We have been touched by the hand of God, and He has not taken part of us; He has transferred part of us to glory. Part of the body of the Church is not earth-bound but heaven-freed. The Church is greater on earth because these young men were here. Though they have gone ahead to glory they have left great gifts behind, gifts which years and awareness can but heighten.
In grief the Church cannot help but think of Job. Job grieved with an unfathomable anguish. His pain was greater than mind or heart could bear. Job suffered immeasurably. He suffered —yet he survived. We too, suffer, yet we shall survive, for we suffer with courage.
As Job suffered with a courage born of knowledgeable faith, so must we. We know our loss was God’s will, in His eternal plan for His Church. We know that we were touched for a worthy purpose, for God’s glory, for our enrichment. God did not senselessly take unto himself lives that were at their peak, but lives whose purpose on earth was completed, whose battle was fought. God took unto Himself young men whose time was time no longer, but eternity. Our loss was God’s will; therefore, we face it with courage.
We face our loss, too, with something more than courage: Thankfulness. In death we must be thankful for life. Our Christ, their Christ, died on the cruel tree of the cross, went through and conquered hell so we might have life. In Christ’s death, we have life eternal, and the knowledge of this for those who have gone before must make us thankful. So we face our loss with thankfulness and courage born of faith. We weep, not as those who have no hope, but as earth-bound saints longing for the joys of those who have already the blessings of eternity.
Again, God has taken from us young men in what we thought was the fullness of life. We are hurt, we are bereft. God has taken young men from us when their lives were complete, and they have left us much. Through these young men we have glimpsed glory, and along with the joyous years of their presence among us, they have left us lessons in courage, lessons in thankfulness.
George Kamps: June 14. 1950—Nov. 8, 1972
William Kamps, Jr.: April 24, 1954—January 13, 1973
“Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; Blessed be the name of Jehovah” Job 1:21b
“Better Living Through Christ” by John H. Schaal. Published by Baker Book House, 128 pages.
Better Living Through Christ is a study in the book of Hebrews. Using the sixteen chapters as an instructive guide the inexperienced Bible scholar will find them useful. At the end of each chapter appears a series of questions directed for personal study or class discussion.
The author has written another Bible study book and Better Living Through Christ is the second in this series. Rev. Schaal has a very impressive list of accomplishments which more than qualify him for these authorships. Among them are: two pastorates, served in Michigan, association with the Reformed Bible Institute, where he is the Dean and also teaches, and others.
I found nothing offensive in this book and used it as a study guide for a sermon series in our church on “The Heroes of Faith.” I therefore would recommend this book along with other commentaries for those who wish to study the book of Hebrews.
We have often said that the future of our Churches in particular and the future of the Church of God in general is in the hands of our young people. We are training them daily to be the Church of tomorrow. This training is a momentous task of awesome difficulty, as every parent knows. Often we teach more by how we act rather than by what we say directly. We cannot hope that our children will be better than we are if we do not daily, by word and deed, conquer the old man in us. It is a grave responsibility.
Knowing this, let us consider briefly the responsibility we have placed in the hands of two men. If our young people are the future of our Church, how much more are our young ministers and seminarians. To them will we look for spiritual comfort and leadership. Upon these young men will we rely in time of crises. They must be more than educated, they must be dedicated; they must be taught the peculiar compassions and graces of a minister of the Word. Our young ministers are the shield and joy of the Church. We have given that training to mere men. It is unquestionably the largest burden our people give to any individuals.
We have virtually entrusted the future of our Churches to two men. It is true that they are mere men, not perfect, with no claims to perfection. Yet they are uniquely capable, uniquely called.
Both professors were first called by God to the ministry of the Word. They were given the heritage of generations of Christians as expressed in the Protestant Reformed Churches. They were raised in distinctively Christian homes. We cannot judge them by their works, for they are sinful men as we are, yet we can recognize their Christianity in the results of their labor:
The continuing line of young men entering tile ministry;
The growth of the seminary and continuing desire of young men to enter it;
The erudition and dedication of the young men both graduates and students.
Our professors have truly done a fine job, for they are called by God. We have chosen them for a most difficult task, and they have served us well. They deserve the best we can give them.
As each of our pastors and teachers deserves the best we can give, both spiritually and physically, so do our professors. We trust our soul’s life and growth in large measure to our ministers; we trust the souls and education of our children to our teachers; we trust the Church to our professors.
We ask for ourselves the best homes, the greatest vacations, the fanciest cars. What do we ask for the Church? We expect our teachers and professors and pastors to do jobs that we ourselves couldn’t and wouldn’t do. Again, we must ask what do we ask for the Church? Our professors are sincere, dedicated, called men. We are not poor. What do we ask of ourselves for the Church? We are able to give the Church the best of teachers, we are also able to give our teachers and students the best of teaching environments. We give these two men the burden of educating our ministers, and while it is true that their reward is not of this world, we owe them the tangible gratitude our worldly goods can provide.
The question has been asked: Is the best what has been asked? Frankly, it is not our place to answer that question for you, particularly since certain parts of the decision for a new seminary building are under protest at this writing. Nevertheless, there are certain things we ought to remember:
Let us not forget that our position must be considered prayerfully. We must not endeavor to make any position apart from God’s council — too often we decide in haste, without prayerful thought.
We must decide with the recommendation of Synod in mind. With due consideration, these men chosen to govern us have decided that new seminary quarters are necessary. We cannot ignore this decision.
Our consideration must be subjective — we must give out of love for the Church, willingly and with joy.
Finally, we must not consider the needs of the seminary colored by personal feelings or ridiculous gossip. Too many tongues wag under the best of circumstances and more still when opinions are divided.
Should you give of sour hard-earned wages for the proposed new seminary building? The decision is yours, personally. We cannot tell you more than to urge your prayerful consideration. No matter what your decision, it must be an honest one.
We have virtually given the future of our Churches into the hands of two men. Regardless of all else, they deserve our respect, our prayers, and honest concern for their needs.
“Successful Church Libraries” By Elmer L. Towns and Cyril J. Barber. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971.
Elmer Towns is professor of Christian education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. It is therefore understandable that the book stresses the church library as an educational center.
Cyril Barber is librarian at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and former librarian at Winipeg Bible College, Canada.
The authors state in the Preface “The church library, we believe, can play a significant part in revitalizing a church to meet today’s challenges.” This statement indicates a philosophy and a church function which is very different than ours. It indicates that the church should be involved in social, economic affairs of the community.
Although the philosophy is inconsistent with ours, the book could be very valuable to any church group or with modification to any organization planning a library. The book is divided into thirteen chapters each giving useful hints on such topics as “Financing the Library’,” “Rules for the Library,” “Preparation of Materials,” and “Dewey Subject Guide for Easy Classification.”
In the recent past it has often been said of our consistories that they threw out faithful members for nothing more than personal animosities. It is not the purpose of this article to go into the issues involved in past troubles, they are utterly closed, and should remain so, but rather, a clarification of the basic issue, Christian charity, is here-in intended.
Charity, Christian charity, has broad implications in our lives today. It involves a great deal more than the outward manifestation of Love toward one another. There are two sides to the coin of charity: One side is Love, the other obedience. One cannot be claimed with the other not given. As the church, we are united in faith and life through common love: Love toward and emanating from God to Him and to each other. In His infinite wisdom, God chose to rule his Church through men of wisdom, called to the office of Elder. To them He gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, through them the church grows in strength and purity. When, in the course of spiritual growth, we make confession of our faith, we pledge before God and His church to submit to church government and discipline. Before God, we must obey our consistories as long as we are of like faith as they. If we cannot be of like faith we must separate ourselves from them before becoming cause for discipline. Quite simply, to say we are of like faith with those God has placed over us and then to disobey is not only sin, it is patently ridiculous.
Yet, Christian charity requires us to love our brethren in Christ. With all this love (and discipline is a form of love, Hebrews 12:6) why is there continual church infighting and split?
Often, charity is forgotten by both parties in a dispute. Each side is so sure of being right, that they forget to love each other. Many a dispute could be easily settled if the people involved would all be forgiving. Even when one person or group is clearly at fault, forgiveness on both sides is required. However, when the matter is passed into the jurisdiction of the consistory, things change. When a person refuses to obey the rule of God through the consistory, the sin becomes disobedience. No person is excommunicated for a specific sin alone, for all of us sin constantly, but people are properly separated for obduracy. The concern of the Church in general must be the members’ hardness of heart; the issue involved is not the concern of the members in general. We are all bound to obedience in love.
Still, discipline is a painful thing, when it is done in love particularly. It hurts when there is discord within the church, just as illness is painful to the body. Why then, does God cause the church to suffer?
As in bodily sickness, disease must either be cured or cut out. If disease is left unchecked with whole body will perish. So it is with the church, the body of Christ. Often the churches with the most outward manifestation of live and unity are the churches who have nothing more than just that: outward unity. They hang together for social appearances, from a psychological need, for any reason but the real one: a desire to maintain the truth. Buffet them with any storm of doctrine and these churches fall, rotted from within.
The unique strength of the Church of God is not to be found in outward unity, but in inward cohesiveness. To outward appearances the Church seems really good at only one thing: In-fighting. Reality, though, is far different. It is very true that much of the arguing within the Church is personality clash. Any group of sinners so closely bound are going to have differences of opinion. This is not where the real problems occur. Often when disagreements reach the stage of consistorial admonition, the real fight begins. Discipline is a two-edged sword; it brings the erring brother home, while cutting a diseased “member” from the church.
Thus the church remains healthy through disciplines’ cure, even though it hurts. A member who is so sure he is right over against God’s appointed consistory, so sure that he will sever himself from the body of the Church, is a diseased member, and does not belong with the Church until he is whole, if that can be.
The purpose of discipline in charity is not to hurt the individual, but to keep the Church pure: it is not to punish, but to restore. It hurts, oh how it hurts! It embarrasses, it cuts down pride, it separates families. Many tears have been shed over the two-edged sword of discipline. It hurts.
It hurts, but oh how wonderful it is! The active sword of discipline is a sign of the true Church. It cleanses, it heals, it keeps us truly whole. For remember, the other side of the sword of discipline is love, love no more wonderfully shown than when a brother is admonished. “For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth,” Heb. 12:6. Throughout the ages the love-sword of discipline has held us intact, and this because it is two-edged. Discipline is ever an act of love.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 8 December 1971
Dear Brethren and Sisters in the Lord,
A Stuffy little, eh? Just like that old school teacher being very white-shirt again? Well, maybe a little – we are of different generations, and putting myself into your vernacular isn’t always easy or, for that matter, wise either.
In the last couple of editorials I’ve written (I’m even using ‘I’ instead of the editorial ‘we’) I’ve been trying to help you over some of the humps of being “P.R.” in a liberal, so-called Christian world. You see, I haven’t forgotten what it was like, and I don’t want to forget, because I care about you. That is why the address: “Brethren and Sisters in the Lord.”
Too often it’s easy for those of us who are older to forget the fact that all of you are indeed soul brothers – in the Lord. The fact of confession of faith binds you closer to us it’s true, but still you are a part of us, that is, the Church, a very vital, viable part of us. After all, in a few short years, shorter than you even realize, you will be the ruling Church. That’s a heavy burden to bear!
It’s with that thought in mind that your school teachers constantly try to make you learn (You’ll need it, we know, we’ve been there!). More than facts and figures, we’ve been trying to teach you to be self-sufficient, to be knowledge-prone, to be inquisitive for truth, to be discriminating, to be more receptive to God’s glories, and to understand Him better.
Because you will be the ruling Church soon – oh so soon – we try to teach you to be a separate people. If you don’t know why you’re separate, read Rev. Ban Baren’s articles in the BEACON LIGHTS (June-July issue) and Standard Bearer (May fifteenth issue). These will help you put it all together.
I know it’s hard to stand separate! It’s always difficult to be different, to be unique. Remember when you falter, how much more different Christ had to be – and the milieu in which he moved was outwardly God-centered, too! Sure, our Churches have a reputation for being extraordinarily strait laced, and it can be embarrassing at times, but has it ever occurred to you that that’s a good sign? Take a good, hard look at the churches around you sometime. Look at what they believe, listen to the sweet words they mouth, and then look at what they produce. Are their children different from the world’s children? Are they spreading the Truth, or has the Lie infiltrated them so much that they just can’t tell the difference? If those churches are large, and look the same as the majority of those around them, the fact is that the Lie is more in them than the Truth in the world around them. The Word of God is always selective, and you won’t find universal acceptance and the Truth together.
There are many things that our Church should be better about. We should be more prayerful, we should be more open toward one another, we should love one another more. You’re right, of course, in many of your criticisms, but remember, Brethren and Sisters, you’re the Church too. Why don’t you do something about it? The problems we have are not so much collective problems, as individual ones – keep it in mind!
Brethren and Sisters in the Lord. Yes, it’s quite an old-fashioned addressed, but meaningful for all that. For generations it has been indicative of belonging, of being loved and needed. As you get older, those words will come to mean a great deal more to you, but for now, remember that you do belong, and you bear the joys and the responsibilities of belonging. To be understood you must understand, to be loved, you must love.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 5 August/September 1971
It has become fashionable nowadays to use the term “love thy neighbor” as an advertising pitch for all sorts of socially oriented organizations, from conservation groups to social welfare organizations. It is supposedly the duty of all men to love one another, better their economic condition and their earthly environment, thus making it a “better” world.
Christ also sought to lead His people to a better world, a world not of this present evil world, and thus reiterated the Old Testament commandment to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” So can the same words be used for the building of the Church and for the workings of the Devil.
Harsh judgment, you say? Harsh, yes, but necessarily true, for the love of a Christian must be uniquely parochial to insure the particular purity of the Church of God. Indeed, we must love only God or be forever compromised.
Who then, must a Christian love, that is, who is our neighbor? Webster states that a neighbor is a fellow man . . . a handy definition. Is it then our duty to love our fellow man? A good thumb-rule of judgment is to ask ourselves the question, Does God? By evidence of many passages of Scripture, God hates the sinner, and expects His servants to hate the reprobate also. As the Psalmist states: “Do I not hate them O Lord, that hate Thee?” Ps. 139:21. The love of a Christian is limited to those who love God as we do, for do we not love our neighbor as ourselves? Because we love God (For the second commandment is like unto the first) we love ourselves, and our neighbor with that same love. All love begins and ends with God, and cannot be separated from Him, nor can faith function outside of love (Gal. 5:6). Therefore is our love parochial in scope, while being simultaneously unlimited in depth.
As a result of the parochial nature of our love, we work primarily through the institution of the church, and for this end was the merciful office of the deacon ordained. This does not mean that we should limit our acts of love to the benevolent collection. It is our duty to provide physical and spiritually for one another in every way possible, for the love of one Christian for another knows no limit to its depth. As we all promise each other during the act of baptism, each child is the congregation’s to raise in the paths of holiness, for were we to limit our love and concern to our own families, the church would be barren and divided place indeed.
If, then, we do limit our love and concern to our fellow Christian in the name of God, what is our posture toward the non-Christian world around us?
Our duty to those around us is primarily spiritual. Through our words and deeds, and through the operation of the church, it is our responsibility to preach Christ crucified for His own. To a starving world we can do no more than preach Christ . . . and this is greater than any amount of free food could ever be. We cannot, we should not offer Christ in a loaf of bread. Bribery never saved one soul, never opened the path of salvation to one reprobate. We are placed here not to preach this life, but the life hereafter.
Does this mean that we let our fellow man starve, even though he has no desire to see God’s greatness? On the contrary it is our duty to act toward all men in an exemplary fashion, knowing that a loaf of bread to a starving Christian is as to Christ, while a similar loaf to a reprobate is as coals of fire unto damnation. We cannot always judge man by his outward appearance. Nevertheless, if there is no doubt of his reprobation and his excommunication before the face of God, we may offer him no succor, save upon his repentance.
This does not mean to imply that the Christian has a place in the do-good societies of this world. We are here to proclaim the glorious truths of Christ, and membership in any group organized around the betterment of this world is folly. There is a group established for the better world hereafter, founded upon the truths of Holy Writ. Are you an active member of this group, or do you spend time crying for relevance, for social action, for reform? There is an effective and vital tool of Christ on this earth: The Church. This is where you belong, child of the Covenant. Are you living in and through it? Don’t complain unless you are making it alive through Christ in you.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 2 April 1971
The Creation vs. Evolution Handbook
By Thomas F. Heinze, Bake Book House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1970; 79 pages,
Mr. Heinze is a missionary in Italy for the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society and formerly taught subjects related to the field of Science and Religion.
As the title indicates the book is only a handbook or guide for use by those not trained in the biological sciences. Of necessity then it does not consider all the ramifications of the theory of evolution nor does it give complex refutations against all the so called “proofs” of evolution. Even at times it appears to me that the author’s arguments are too weak to represent good scientific investigation.
The author’s purpose simply stated is to show that the observations made by scientists do not contradict the word of God as presented in the Bible. Within the limitations mentioned above, I believe that this objective is realized; and therefore, recommend this volume to all who with further information concerning this topic.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 31 No. 2 April 1971
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