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Originally the Beacon Lights staff asked me to write an article on the topic: “The Usefulness of Modern Bible Translations.” The more that I thought and read on this subject the more I became plagued with questions. They were: What is wrong with the Bible we use, the King James Version? What makes it the Word of God for thou­sands, if not millions, of Christians through­out the English speaking world? In a word, what makes it so durable? And there was my topic: ‘“The Durable King James.”

As is true of any fine work, a work of quality and worth, there lies behind that work an ancestry of quality. The King James Version of the Bible has an an­cestry — a lineage — of quality Biblical scholarship that extends back almost two hundred years before King James called the Conference at Hampton Court in 1604, which in 1611 produced the King James Version.

Although the lineage of the King James Version actually goes back to the Pre- Reformation period, the English Bibles translated during and after the Reformation are more familiar to us. A host of Bibles were translated at this time, but two of them stand out from all the rest. These are Tyndale’s Scriptures and the Geneva Bible. Tyndale’s Scriptures are outstanding because they were the first to be translated from the original languages. Also, Tyndale’s Scriptures were widely read by the common people. The Geneva Bible is outstanding because it was the most popular Bible in English history prior to the King James Version. Consider, then, these two Bibles.

William Tyndale’s life and works are fas­cinating. A few of the highlights of this man’s life will give some insight into his work of translating the Scriptures into English.

William Tyndale was born about 1494 in Gloucestershire. He attended Oxford, and, later, Cambridge Universities. While he was at Cambridge, he studied Greek and the Greek New Testament of Erasmus. After his stay at Cambridge he tutored the chil­dren of Sir John Walsh. Here he met many traveling church leaders of the day with whom he discussed the new ideas coming out of Germany. Often at the center of these discussions was the idea of the sole authority of the Scriptures in the life of the Christian. At one of these meetings Tyndale proclaimed to these church leaders these prophetic words:

If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scrip­ture than thou doest.1

From the Walsh family home he went to London. He presented some of his trans­lated work to the leading church officials. Their attitude was expressed as: “Room enough was there in the Lord’s House for belly cheer; but none to translate the New Testament.”’ In May of 1524, he left London for Germany, and little did he know that he left England for good. After he landed at Hamburg, his movements are uncertain and his journeyings hard to trace. His sole aim, however, remained the same; he went to Germany to search out Reforma­tion sympathizers who could help him print and publish his translated Scriptures (at this time he had already translated only parts of the New Testament). He had little suc­cess in Hamburg, so in June of 1525 he traveled to Cologne.

In Cologne he finally found a printer, but all did not go well here either. Cologne at that time was a hot-bed for an anti-Reformation movement. Tyndale translated in secret and a printer and his men printed the forbidden work behind closed and locked doors. Before the work was com­pleted, the operation was discovered, and Tyndale fled with the unfinished work to Worms. The city of Worms unlike Cologne was a stronghold of the Reformation. Here Martin Luther a few years before had made his famous stand before the Romish Diet. Now it provided Tyndale space, time, and security to do his translating un­hindered. Peter Schoeger printed the Testa­ments, and, in 1526, the first ones were smuggled into England.

Chased and hounded all of his life on the Continent, William Tyndale was finally caught. Through the instigation of the Eng­lish Romish Church authorities, John Dobneck (Cochlaeus) kidnapped him and turned him over to the officers of Emperor Charles V who were determined to rid the Pope of his enemies. He was taken to Vilvorde Castle near Brussels, and from May of 1535 until October of 1536 Tyndale suf­fered in a cold, dark, and damp dungeon. His work on the Old Testament was yet uncompleted; he wanted to finish it. Echo­ing the requests of the Apostle Paul im­prisoned in Rome, Tyndale requested his Hebrew Bible, his lexicon, warmer clothing for the winter, and a candle to light his work. He never stopped working until on October 6, 1536, with cord and fire, his enemies snuffed out his life. His dying prayer was: “Lord, open the King of Eng­land’s eyes.”

Tyndale’s work was finished, bhut the Lord was not finished with Tyndale’s work: for Bishop Wescott in his A General View of the History of the English Bible writes concerning Tyndale’s influence on the King James Version.

Not only did Tyndale contribute to it directly the substantial basis of half of the Old Testament (in all probability) and of the whole of the New, but he established a standard of Biblical translation which others followed. It is even of less moment that by far the greater part of his translation remains intact in our present Bibles, than that his spirit animates the whole …. His in­fluence decided that our Bible should be popular and not literary, speaking in a simple dialect.3

Space does not allow us to pursue the stories behind the Coverdale’s Bible (1535), the first printed English Bible; Matthew’s Bible (1539); The Great Bible (1539); or The Bishop’s Bible (1568). The latter was used as the basis for the King James Version, and all the rest, including Tyn­dale’s, Whitchurch’s, and The Geneva Bible, were used when they agreed better with the text than the Bishop’s Bible.

There is one more Bible that greatly in­fluenced the King James Version. This Bible was the Bible of William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, the Elizabethan sea dogs, and Cromwellian soldiers. This Bible was one of the first English Bibles to come to the New World. It was the first to contain versifications of the Psalms, chapter and verse divisions, and the use of italics. It was the first Bible that was easy to read and carry — the print was clear, the book was small. Prior to the King James Version this Bible was the mostly widely read Bible in all of the English speaking world; for from 1560 to 1644 this Bible went through no less than 140 editions. This highly un­usual and highly influential Bible was the Geneva Bible.

The Geneva Bible was unusual for yet another and more important reason. This Bible, that bore the name of the city in which John Calvin labored, was a Calvinistic Bible. Geneva was a haven for persecuted Calvinists from all over Europe. “Bloody” Mary, Queen of Scots, persecuted the Cal­vinists in England and Scotland. Many fled to this haven. In Geneva these people es­tablished their own English Church. John Knox was their first pastor. William Whittingham, John Calvin’s brother-in-law, suc­ceeded John Knox. Building upon the work of Tyndale and Coverdale, using the recent works of Theodore Beza and Pagninus, William Whittingham, Anthony Gilby, and Thomas Sampson, his helpers, produced this work.

The production of this Bible brings up a point that distinguishes the Reformation from almost any other major religious move­ment in history. The Reformation was not a religious upheaval in the sense that the people were looking for something new, but it was an upheaval that was a return to something that had been lost. It was a return to the basics. One of these basics was the sole authority of the Word of God. Coupled with this sole authority was the idea that everyone must bow to that author­ity — monarch, bishop, pope, and plow boy. In order to bow to that supreme author­ity everyone must know the Scriptures. All the Reformers adhere to this idea, and to assure that everyone knew the Scriptures, they made the Scriptures available to every­one in his own language. The number of vernacular Bibles printed during and im­mediately following the Reformation is simply phenomenal.

The English used the Geneva and for them it was a durable Bible, durable for the same reason the King James Version is dur­able today. Behind them both lay quality scholarship and a deep respect for the Word of God, but they are durable for yet another reason.

Biologists and physiologists maintain that the organs and muscles of man’s physical body are made to follow this simple rule: Use them or lose them. The same is true of Bible reading and Bible study. The Geneva Bible was widely read in the home, it was memorized, it was recited, and it was sung. It was used consistently in the home and the school. It was written upon the hearts of men, women, and children. The same is true of the King James. The fact that these Bibles are used in no small way contributed to their durability.

Young people, you have rich heritage in the King James Version. Many are predict­ing gleefully its doom to the musty archives of forgotten hooks. Use it, and their predic­tions are doomed.

 

  1. Margaret Hills, A Ready Reference His­tory of the English Bible, New York: American Bible Society, 1971, p. 5.
  2. Geddes Mac Gregor, A Literary History of the Bible, New York: Abingdon Press, 1968, p. 112.
  3. Margaret Hills, A Ready Reference His­tory of the English Bible, New York: American Bible Society, 1971, p. 7.

A Handbook of Contemporary Theology, By Bernard Ramm, Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

Dr. Ramm is a Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics at Cali­fornia Baptist Theological Seminary. He has studied abroad at the University of Basel, Switzerland, under Karl Barth.

In the preface of his book Dr. Ramm states the purpose of this Handbook:

The purpose of this handbook is to provide the minister with a ready guide to leading concepts of the major con­temporary thinkers in theology. The center of attention is focused upon Kierkegaard, Barth, Brunner, Reinhold Niebuhr, Tillich and Bultmann. Al­though Kierkegaard lived in the nine­teenth century, his thought did not catch fire until the twentieth.

As a Reformed and biblically oriented Christian reads the various entries in this book, he will realize most clearly that the so-called great theologians in our century have perverted, corrupted, and blasphemed the truth of the Word of God. It is stated very clearly from representative works of these neo-orthodox theologians that Genesis 1-3 is a myth, a saga, or a legend (take your pick; it has no bearing on modern man anyway, they contend). The cardinal truths of inspiration, infallibility, election, and reprobation are drained of their Reformed contents and are left empty of meaning. These entries are not vague and general but are filled almost entirely with quotations from the most representative works of the modem theologians.

Although this book would be extremely valuable for a minister, it can easily be used by high school and college students, especially those studying philosophy, his­tory, and literature. Read and use this book with discretion, young people, and learn how far the theology of the modem era has de­parted from the truth of God.

Mouths open and close with hippopotamus-like yawns as another day of school begins.

Eyes are heavy with sleep: minds are dull with the thought of another day in school. When the mouths are not open yawning and sighing, they are moving incessantly chattering about last night’s television programs, the latest hits in pop music, or the latest sports spectaculars.

The teacher enters the room and prepares to begin the lesson, but for all the jabber he remains for a time inaudible. He begins by asking, “Let me see the hands of all those who have completed their assignments?”

Out of a class of thirty, ten hands are raised: the remainder showed not a sign of remorse.

As the teacher walks to the seat of one who has not completed his assignment, the minds of others start to whirl in with futile attempts to concoct excuses and alibis.

“Well, Jerry,” the teacher begins,” where is your assignment.”

Nonchalantly Jerry replies, “My ma forgot to put it with my lunch.”

“Well, you are fifteen now and your mother still must pack up your things for school,” the teacher explodes.

Jerry shrugs his shoulders and smiles sheepishly. The teacher moves this time to a young lady.

“Pat, did you finish your assignment?”

“No,” Pat replies, “I went to a birthday party for my uncle last night, and I didn’t get to bed ’til after twelve o’clock.”

“It is more important to attend birthday parties than to finish the work you are supposed to do.” The teacher peevishly retorts.

Sweet excuse, finding apathy; deadly apathy.

Another week of school is over and now it is Sunday. From the back of the church auditorium people appear very attentive, but off to the side heads are nodding hypnotically as if agreeing with the preacher one hundred and fifty per cent. Another look reveals that these are young people set to sleep, i.e., knees propped against the bench in front of them. Three things throughout the sermon disturb them: a peppermint from a neighbor, the collection basket, and the doxology (and this not quite). Apathetic? Yes. Pathetic? Indeed.

When the incessant chatter of young voices stops, Young People’s Society begins. Prayer is offered; prayer is ended; talking begins. The president calls for the meeting to come to order so that the lessons from the Word of God may begin. He begins by asking very frankly, “How many of you have prepared for the lesson?” A few hands, precious few, are raised.

A bit peeved the president retorts, “How do you expect to learn God’s Word if you do not study it? I must prepare, I must study, and I must work. Why can’t you?” Silence, absolute apathetic silence follows. The Sunday evening was cold and clear. In the distance the windows of church shone brightly on the newly fallen snow. The evening service was over and a singspiration sponsored by the young people’s society followed. Sponsored by the young people? The audience was made up of primarily older people and young children. Where were the young people?

Ask them and the answers are varied:

“I had a special date, and I didn’t want to take her to our little, or’, small singspiration.” or “I really don’t like to sing.” or “I had to go home and study because I didn’t study Friday or Saturday night; saw two basketball games instead.” Or “If my girl and I go to the singspiration, we less time to park.” Or “I just didn’t feel like it.”

Dangerous apathy? Yes. The devil’s subtle tool? It most certainly is! Is apathy- destroying your spiritual life, covenant young people?

 

Son of Tears” by Henry Corey Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

 

Rev. Mr. Corey, an author of several other books, is a pastor in Orthodox Presbyterian Church in California. He was educated at Wheaton College, Westminster Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. His life has been dedicated to the work of the Lord, and especially, the writing of Christian novels for the youth of today’s world.

This novel centers on the life of Saint Augustine. Augustine’s mother, Monica, definitely did bare a “son of tears,” for his youth would have caused any Christian mother to weep bitterly. Monica wept when Augustine went to school in Carthage, and wept bitterly when he returned a Manichaeism student and teacher. More tears flowed when she discovered that Augustine had a mistress, Melanie, and had born him one son. But great was her rejoicing when she heard that he had repented of sins of youth, and now became a church leader of the first order. Her son of tears became a son of righteousness.

Although this novel is fictionalized biography, it is well documented from the Confessions of Saint Augustine, his City of God, and The Sermons of Saint Augustine, not only, but from the various histories of the Early Christian Church. Each chapter heading is a direct quotation from The Confessions, and the idea contained therein is expounded in the chapter.

Young people, this book should be in your personal library because, first of all, it is Christian; secondly, it is good literature in that it presents life realistically, that is, by the way of sin and grace.  Augustine repented of his sins by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, as an introduction to the study of the Early Christian Church, this book is excellent. Books of this scope and quality are hard to find.

Faith on Trial” by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones is the preacher at the Westminster Chapel in London. He is the author of several books which include: The Basis of Christian Unity; Studies in the Sermon on the Mount; Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures; and The Flight of Man and the Power of God.

This book is collection of sermons on Psalm 73. In the Preface M. Lloyd-Jones states the problem and its resolution as follows:

The 73rd Psalm deals with a problem that has often perplexed and discouraged God’s people. It is a double problem. Why should the Godly frequently have to suffer, especially in view of the fact that the ungodly frequently appear to be most prosperous?

It is a classic statement of the Bible’s way of dealing with that problem. The Psalmist relates his own experience, exposes his soul to our gaze in a most dramatic manner, and leads us step by step from near-despair to final triumph and assurance. It is at the same time a grand theodicy. For these reasons it has always appealed to preachers and spiritual guides and counselors. Throughout the book he presents this great Psalm lucidly and simply. Even you young people can understand this book. For he writes in the second chapter, “Getting A Foot-Hold”:

Let us get our absolutes fixed, let us get certain things established irrevocably. Young people although it does not apply to you more than to anybody else, yet while you are young and are not guilty in these things put down your absolutes. If you cannot be helpful, say nothing. Never do God’s cause or your spiritual family any harm, page 30. Also in chapter three “Facing All The Facts” Mr. Lloyd-Jones addresses himself to young people as follows:

“The end of one is destruction, of the other, life. The trouble in life today is that people look only at the beginning. Their view of life is what we may call the cinema or film star view of life. It always attracts, and all those who live this life are apparently having a marvelous time. Alas that so many young people are brought up to think that that is life, and that always to live like that must be supreme happiness, page 51.” These are just two examples from a book that is filled with similar passages. From these you can readily see that Lloyd-Jones is not a vague, verbose, or confusing writer; he is the opposite. And he has his absolutes clearly spelled out for you.

Without a doubt, young people, you may add this book to your personal library.

 

A practice which is common in our churches, and, especially among our young people must be complimented. The practice is that of young people’s societies meeting together in joint sessions. There is no better way for young people; to meet and become acquainted with other members in our churches. And what a noble, lofty, and blessed way to meet ,studying, discussing, and meditating upon the truths of God’s Holy Word. This practice should continue not only, but it should be expanded.

You have expanded it somewhat already in that during the Christmas season Prof. H. C. Hoeksema spoke to the Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies of the Grand Rapids area. What a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus Christ; what a worthwhile activity for a Sunday afternoon. For that reason the Sabbath was set aside to rest in the Lord and thank Him for His greatest Gift. This is a start.

I would, personally, like to see this type of meeting on every one of our Christian and Reformed holidays. For example, Easter will soon be here. Plan a mass meeting for this great event in the life of the church. Then, comes the Ascension of our Lord a most joyous occasion in the life of the Christian, even the young Christian! Next, the forgotten holiday in the church world today, Pentecost. What a program could be planned in commemoration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit!

Our churches already have a traditional Reformation Day Rally; you young people are actively engaged in it also. But you should feel free to sponsor a Reformation Day singspiration on the Sunday preceding or following Reformation Day. Our churches in Doon, Hull, and Edgerton already have this practice.

And as a footnote to the above, Protestant Reformed Y.P. Societies and/or the Beacon Lights Staff ought to sponsor at least one singspiration a month. A more beneficial Sunday evening cannot be found. And when they are sponsored, these not only older people but the youth should attend. Plan them and cause them to abound among us. Continue the work of gather together as joint societies, and give these mass meetings some serious thought. Let this song be heard in our midst:   Psalter #370 – Psalm 133,

 

“How good and pleasant in the sight

 When brethren make it their delight

 To dwell in blest accord;

 Such love is like anointing oil

 That consecrates for holy toil

 The servants of the Lord.

 Such love in peace and joy distils,

 As o’er the slopes of Herman’s hills

 Refreshing dew descends;

 The Lord commands His blessing there,

 And they that walk in love shall share

 In life that never ends.”

 

“Hymns for Youth”, Published by The National Union of Christian Schools and William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

If one is looking for a song book filled with catchy tunes, jazzy rhythms, and finger snapping lyrics,” Hymns For Youth” is not the answer. But if one is searching for a hymnal that is abundantly filled with solemn worshipful music, Christian lyrics, and biblical illustrations; this work is the answer.

The music and accompanying songs, although unfamiliar to most, are not too difficult for the youth to master. Many of the pieces have been resurrected from the old Geneva Psalter of 1551 and other substantial hymnals and song books since then. Versifications of Scripture are prevalent throughout the book. When the songs are versified, they are biblically sound. But those that are not versified can be misleading or just plain false. The List of verses of Hymn # 67, “.Shepherds Left Their Flocks A-straying” is simply not true. Put on Biblically Reformed spectacles and read this verse:

“Let us now in every situation sing His praise with exultation.

All the world shall find salvation In the birth of Mary’s son.”

All the world shall not find salvation because salvation is bestowed and not found. If the world can find salvation, then, man not God is first in the redemptive process. That could never be!

Adding to the value of this work are E. Boeve’s symbolistic illustrations. On page 48 is pictured the parable of the sower and on the opposite page this explanation is given:

THE SEED   “The seed is the word of God”

In the parable of the sower (Luke 8:5-15) the Lord Jesus used several word pictures to teach the lesson that we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). Seed well planted, grown, and ripened to harvest is a symbol of the faith that takes hold in the heart of the righteous, grows, and bears fruits (good works) which glorify God.

The illustrations fulfill three purposes in that they enhance the beauty of the book; they can be used as studies in art education; and they express in a Christian way that which mouth cannot express.

The general construction and quality of materials used reflect the fine craftsmanship of the Eerdmans Publishing Company. It is built for much use and abuse in home and school. Format and indexes reflect excellent compiling and editing. The indexes include: Metrical Index of Tunes; Alphabetical Listing of Tunes; Topical Index; Biblical Index; and Index of Titles.

Because of Hymns For Youth is, for the most part, scripturally sound, and because it fulfills a need for good songs for youth; it is highly recommended to you, young people.

A Definition of Literature:

Very simply literature is talk written down. In the early history of mankind the best stories and most important legends, myths, and tales were handed down from one generation to another by word-of- mouth. Later when writing came into vogue these stories were written down for all posterity to read and enjoy. Many of the earliest writings are still with us today.

But what do we of the twentieth century do with our large inheritance of literature. How do we judge what is really good literature and what is bad? Although selec­tion of books is primarily an individual matter, we all must have a concrete and ab­solute standard by which we can judge all literature. This standard is God’s most Holy Word. God’s Word is the standard because it is reality from the beginning to the end. This reality has as its heart the spiritual death of man and his unconditional re­demption through the way of grace, viz., the incarnation, crucifixion, and ascension of Jesus Christ our Lord. Any literature that presents reality in any other light or by any other standard is not real, but is most blatantly false!

Therefore, a word of warning must be sounded against all worldly literature, of course, but also against literature which purports to be Christian and simply is not. That which is worldly has a peculiar and often easily detectable error, but this pseudo-Christian “fundamentalist” tripe is misleading, subtle, and confusing. For ex­ample, in all these “fundamentalist” books rely heavily on coincidence. A hard drinking, hard driving, and cursing young man meets a sweet, sentimental, Christian young woman who wants him to become a Chris­tian. He decides to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and, lo and behold, he now wants to be a preacher, too. All this better for the young lady. By the time one reaches the end of book the young hoodlum turned saint is converting others to accept Jesus Christ as he did. Not only do these books rely on coincidence, but they also present redemption in an Arminian frame­work.

 

Values of literature:

What value does literature have in the life of the Christian? All reading in every field broadens our experience. For example, we do not have neither the time nor the money to travel to Europe; therefore, we read a book about it. Books carry us miles away. We did not live during the age of the Mississippi River steamboats, but now we can visit that age through the books written by Mark Twain. We did not live under the rule of an insane Hitler, but we can read about those who did in The Diary of Anne Frank. Books augment, buttress, and enlighten our experience. But there are some things that a Christian may not experience either actually or vicarious­ly. We may not revel in the sins of Richard Fielding’s Tom Jones, or indulge in the sins of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley Lover, or enjoy the sins committed in James Joyce’s Ulysses. In his Principles of Education Prof. Hanko states that:

“3) Let a note of warning be sounded, a) It is extremely difficult to read a worldly novel or piece of literature which communicates the lie without being affected by it for evil. Only a mature Christian, faithful in his pursuit of knowledge of God should read these things, and then always critically (page 3)”

Thus, the Christian must learn to detect what is good and what is bad literature by faithfully studying and reading the Word of God. It is not only paramount literature, but also an absolute guide to all the reality which is presented in all the literature of the world. If we as Christians know the Word of God. we will automatically know if any literature is not in harmony with that Word. Judge all that you read in the light of God’s Word take the best and disdain and expel all that is bad, and in the study of literature you shall be blessed.

Young people, another year has drawn to a close.  Closed forever is the Book of 1966 and soon it will become part of the hoary past and be for the most part forgotten. Another year, however, is ready to open itself. Does this passing from one year into another fill you with joy, with horror, or with apathy?

If you are filled with joy, you, perhaps, accomplished something this past year. Joy and accomplishment are twins, and they walk hand-in-hand. What did you accom­plish? Some of you “made it through” an­other year of school. For some “making it through” is sheer joy, and it is an accomplish­ment. Others, however, made it through with honest effort, diligent study, and rigorous discipline. But how about the joy outside of school? How many of you find joy in obeying your parents? How many of you find real joy in going to Young People’s Society?

For many of you do you find real joy in attending God’s House on Sunday? Where are your joys, then? Are they out in the fun-crazy world with its high emotion and shallow morals? Are your joys in things? In cars, movies, television? Where do you find real joy? One answer: God’s Holy Word. Jesus Christ, God’s Word made flesh spoke the answer:  “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Or maybe you have reached this point in time in which you are filled with unspeak­able horror. Yes, the horror one feels when he has lost something very dear to him. Human beings are strange that way. As soon as they lose grasp of something, they want it back. For example, a young man quits his best girlfriend, then, soon he wants her back. Or, as soon as you leave home for good, you want to go back. A year has come and gone, and, now, you want it back. But you can’t have it back.  It is all finished, wrapped up, closed.  It’s history now.

Another year, however, lies ahead. If you do not want to feel remorse this same time next year, plan your life to make it meaningful, worthwhile, and blessed. You find our answer in the Book of Books. The most spiritually productive, meaningful, and blessed life is rewarded to those who in faith study diligently the Word of God. Not only will your life be worthwhile, but you will also be better equipped to deal with the wicked world in which we live. Armed with the sword of the spirit which is the word of God, you will vanquish your most formidable opponent.

Do some of you reach this point in time apathetic? Do you have an “I really don’t care” attitude toward the passage of precious time? Are you lukewarm? Many today like this  approach to life because they feel that it is objective, transcendent, and comfort­able. In the modem day idiom they are labeled “cool.” Or they do not let things “bug” them. The truth is, however, that these people are on the ocean of life in a rudderless, mast less, helmless ship of fools. God’s Word speaks out simply against any­one that is apathetic, lukewarm, and lazy. Through the mouth of the Seer of Patmos, he spoke: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art luke­warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15 and 16). Do not be “cool” fools, but be, rather, warm, fervent, zealous, and wise followers of Jesus Chris

A year has passed, and another is fast approaching. Let us leave the one and enter the other with the right perspective. Where do we get that perspective? We get it by faith through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ has come, and he has gone, but his Spirit is still with us. Operating in our hearts he turns us to His Word. His Word governs, directs, guides, and sustains us on our way. It causes us to say: “But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.” (Ps. 115:18)

Angular rain and sleet fell like little crystals of glass against his already frost-bitten face and neck.  After he had heard from a friend that the fierce People’s Iron Guard was bent on killing him, he had to flee from his home.  Time did not even permit him to get properly dressed for this November weather.  Now, however, he forgot his physical state, and began to think, meditate, and pray.

He thought how strange it is that one should be driven from his warm home on this Thanksgiving Day.  Isn’t this the day upon which every good American gave thanks for the bounties he enjoyed? Isn’t this the day that everyone ate and drank themselves sick giving thanks? Isn’t this the time of year to look back with patriotic awe upon those who established this day? And isn’t this the time of the year to utter phrases as, “We must be thankful in prosperity and thankful in adversity”?

The sleet turned to snow, and the strong northwesterly wind pierced his scant clothing.  Along the road behind tuffs of grass and fence posts, small drifts began to pile up.  Through these drifts he plodded although his feet and legs were numb. As long as I walk, he thought, I’ll not freeze.  Fatigue and dull sleepiness began to pervade his mind and body, but his will drove him on. The intervals between footfalls became less frequent and shuffling.  Huge black clouds from the west continued to dump more snow on the bleak land.  On he plodded.  All he could think about was sleep, but his will turned his thoughts to God. He began to meditate.

Through this experience he was to be brought face-to-face with Almighty God. Immediately he thought back to the days of youth.  Portions of God’s Word which he had memorized while on his mothers knee came back to him fist.  He recited “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He meditated upon this.  God not only created the heavens and earth, but He created man to live in them, to be persecuted in them, and to die in them.  Now sheer exhaustion overcame him, his knees buckled under him, in this position he recited the Twenty-Third Psalm as he had learned it in the local Christian School.  God had not forgotten him.  Had God not promised, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

As the snow swirled wildly around him in blinding fury, he bowed his head low and thought, “though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.” He could go no further; he began to pray.

For a few moments he would pray, and then he would sleep.  Earnestly, sincerely, believingly he prayed the Lord’s Prayer—the first prayer he had learned.  His body was now completely numb only his lips moved as he formulated a prayer of his own.  Whispering and gasping for breath he prayed: “Father on High, Thanksgiving Day in this world for me is over.  All the thanks I give to thee. Precious in thy sight is my death.  Glorify thyself through it. Amen.”

After the storm had blown itself out, a squadron of the People’s Iron Guard continued their search for him.  Within a few hours word came back to headquarters that his body had been found buried under a heap of snow. Mission accomplished!

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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