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A short but to-the-point contribution entitled “…..AND FAMILY”, signed by Bernard T. Haan, is found in the August, 1942 issue of the “Young Calvinist”.  It deals with a problem that is painfully evident in many of our church services.

To let the article speak for itself, we quote the following portions:

“What a contrary and paradoxical people we sometimes are! I have heard parents and teachers talk and speak about the unity of the family, and how the family is one, and that as a unit it should stand together.

But I have noticed that this unity is nowhere less in evidence than in some of our churches.  I have seen families come to church together, but once inside its portals, they scatter as sheep without a shepherd.  This sudden declaration of independence in worship seems to be characteristic of some of our young people.  Once in church they dismiss themselves from the rest of the family and proceed to the gallery or the back row. And usually…. farther removed the better.

This disintegration and separation of the family during worship is producing an unwholesome result.  Younger members of the family…. are being made to feel that worshipping with their parents and family is unmistakable and embarrassing evidence of their puerility…. Alas, the desire to sit alone…. is often but the expression of the juvenile yearning to unmistakably prove their maturity.  Now I fully realize that this does not apply in all cases, but I am sure that the majority of our boys (and girls as well) who desire the separation, do not do it because they can listen better or be more edified by the sermon.”

And the writer concludes: “What sight is more pleasant than to see a whole family come down the aisle and sit in the pew together? … Let us have the families of Israel not only come to Zion, but also worship Jehovah, together!”

            Perhaps the suggestion that our societies spend some after-recess session in discussion of this problem as it applies to the particular church to which they belong is in order.  Group action to counteract this evil might be undertaken.  And the reminder that our conduct should be reverent and pious especially during public worship would be beneficial for most of us, I’m sure.

           *          *          *          *

            I suppose that most of us have at one time or another heard of the famous theologian, Dr. Karl Barth.  In his department: “The World Today”, the Rev. E. J. Tanis tells us in “The Banner” for September 4, 1942, that from one of the two small areas in Europe that are yet free, Dr. Barth “still thunders” against Hitler and his Nazi philosophy and program, even though Switzerland is in imminent peril of German domination.

Included in this article is a short biography of this fearless person that will serve to introduce him to all of us.  We quote: “Dr. Karl Barth is 56 years, the son of a Reformed professor.  He studied at the universities of Berne, Berlin, Tubingen and Marburg.  For ten years he was pastor of a church.  At that time he was a liberal, a socialist and pacifist.  One Saturday he was preparing a sermon when the post-war misery of Germany and of his own people (this was about 1920) made him keenly aware of the emptiness of his preaching.  He began to study Paul’s great letter to the Romans, and from that day he became the most powerful preacher in Germany.  He was called to teach in Gottingen, Muster, and Bonn universities (in succession), but while teaching at the last named university he refused to promise unconditional allegiance to the dictator of Germany.  He was willing to take the oath of loyalty to the government with the understanding that he would have the right to criticize the government’s interference with the Church and with the education of German youth.  Thereupon he was requested to leave the university of Bonn.  Soon afterwards he was called to the chair of systematic theology in the famous university of Basle, Switzerland.”

*          *          *          *

R. G. LeTourneau is a name that is not so familiar amongst us, perhaps, but is nevertheless very well known amongst the Fundamentalist groups in our country and in Canada. Mr. LeTourneau is an industrialist, at the head of a large corporation devoted to the manufacture of heavy machinery, and related articles.  But, this is not the most peculiar feature of this man at all… it is rather that he is a confessing believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  As such he devotes much of his time travelling about the country, usually in his private plane, to speak to different groups.

Mr. LeTourneau’s convictions reveal themselves in his business practices also.  In each factory there is a “shop chapel”, to which various ministers and other prominent Christians are invited to speak to groups of employees.  The corporation has its own publication also, entitled “NOW”, because of the text found in II Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation”.  Besides the two pages devoted to “shop news” and to pictorial scenes of factory activities, Editor Tom M. Olson furnishes two pages of editorials that are most interesting and clever.  To illustrate, we quote the following from one of them found in the issue for September 18, 1942: …

HAS SURNAME

42 LETTERS LONG

“For many years a man named Gustantirus Papatheodorakoumanttourigiomichelak-apoulas has lived in Chicago.

His claim of being the long-name champion of the United States has never been successfully disputed.  It should be a great satisfaction to that champion –and to every other person with a long name- to know that the grand word “whosoever,” frequently mentioned in the Bible, takes them in!

There is no name too long, nor too difficult to spell, nor too hard to pronounce, to be entered in the Lamb’s Book of life.

The Lord advised His disciples to rejoice because their names were “written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).”

           *          *          *          *

            If true, the account given by Dr. Henry Beets, well-known editor of the “Missionary Monthly”, of the latest Geelkerken incident in the Netherlands is indeed shocking.  For a group of young people largely American by birth, Dr. J. S. Geelkerken does not signify very much. Perhaps our parents know more of him. Suffice it to say that he was a minister in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands from 1909 until 1926, when he was deposed because of his divergent views on the question of original sin.

Dr. Beets quotes the following paragraph in the August issue of his magazine from some paper evidently “Information”, as indicative of the attitude this former pastor in the Reformed Churches entertains toward the Nazi government.

“Dr. Johannes G. Geelkerken- one of the only two Netherlands Protestant ministers who have embraced Nazi principles- has been awarded an ornamental sword by Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, according to the ‘Amsterdam Algemeen Handelsblad.’  The 63-year-old Nazi displayed this ‘spiritual’ weapon while addressing a meeting of Dutch Youth Storm Troopers at Breda, in the province of North Brabant.”

Underneath this paragraph, Dr. Beets pens the following statement: “And this ‘ornamental sword’, in our mind, dishonors rather than honors the clergyman who received it”.

*          *          *          *

            In the “Moody Monthly” for September, 1942, under the caption: “What the Bible Needs Today”, Dr. Wm. Evans, internationally known as a student of the Bible, and a much-sought-after speaker for Fundamentalist conferences and special meetings, writes something that we might bear in mind as we approach our Society Bible lessons for another season.  Not that we haven’t heard anything like this before, but because we ought to practice it more diligently, do we quote the following from the above mentioned article:

“It is all right to read books on Bible study, but there is ever and continually the incipient danger that such books will be allowed to take the place of the Bible.  It is really wonderful to note what light the Bible itself throws on books that are written to throw light on the Bible.  This may seem like a jocular sentence, but it is unquestionably true.  Even a Bible full of notes may stand in the way of arriving at the teaching of the Bible.  Care must be exercised even in this respect- even with all its good points.

Let us read the Bible itself for itself.  Let us listen to its own witness.  Why be secondhand believers?  The Bible is of age- it can speak for itself… Jesus asked Pilate, “Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?”… We should come to it for firsthand information.

That is why it is good, at first, to read the Bible without a single note in it… Then, when you feel that you have earnestly come to an end of your own research into its treasuries, you may turn to notes and what God has said to us through scholarly and holy men…”

A short but to-the-point contribution entitled “…..AND FAMILY”, signed by Bernard T. Haan, is found in the August, 1942 issue of the “Young Calvinist”. It deals with a problem that is painfully evident in many of our church services.

To let the article speak for itself, we quote the following portions:

“What a contrary and paradoxical people we sometimes are! I have heard parents and teachers talk and speak about the unity of the family, and how the family is one, and that as a unit it should stand together.

But I have noticed that this unity is nowhere less in evidence than in some of our churches. I have seen families come to church together, but once inside its portals, they scatter as sheep without a shepherd. This sudden declaration of independence in worship seems to be characteristic of some of our young people. Once in church they dismiss themselves from the rest of the family and proceed to the gallery or the back row. And usually…. farther removed the better.

This disintegration and separation of the family during worship is producing an unwholesome result. Younger members of the family…. are being made to feel that worshipping with their parents and family is unmistakable and embarrassing evidence of their puerility…. Alas, the desire to sit alone…. is often but the expression of the juvenile yearning to unmistakably prove their maturity. Now I fully realize that this does not apply in all cases, but I am sure that the majority of our boys (and girls as well) who desire the separation, do not do it because they can listen better or be more edified by the sermon.”

And the writer concludes: “What sight is more pleasant than to see a whole family come down the aisle and sit in the pew together? … Let us have the families of Israel not only come to Zion, but also worship Jehovah, together!”

Perhaps the suggestion that our societies spend some after-recess session in discussion of this problem as it applies to the particular church to which they belong is in order. Group action to counteract this evil might be undertaken. And the reminder that our conduct should be reverent and pious especially during public worship would be beneficial for most of us, I’m sure.

* * * *

I suppose that most of us have at one time or another heard of the famous theologian, Dr. Karl Barth. In his department: “The World Today”, the Rev. E. J. Tanis tells us in “The Banner” for September 4, 1942, that from one of the two small areas in Europe that are yet free, Dr. Barth “still thunders” against Hitler and his Nazi philosophy and program, even though Switzerland is in imminent peril of German domination.

Included in this article is a short biography of this fearless person that will serve to introduce him to all of us. We quote: “Dr. Karl Barth is 56 years, the son of a Reformed professor. He studied at the universities of Berne, Berlin, Tubingen and Marburg. For ten years he was pastor of a church. At that time he was a liberal, a socialist and pacifist. One Saturday he was preparing a sermon when the post-war misery of Germany and of his own people (this was about 1920) made him keenly aware of the emptiness of his preaching. He began to study Paul’s great letter to the Romans, and from that day he became the most powerful preacher in Germany. He was called to teach in Gottingen, Muster, and Bonn universities (in succession), but while teaching at the last named university he refused to promise unconditional allegiance to the dictator of Germany. He was willing to take the oath of loyalty to the government with the understanding that he would have the right to criticize the government’s interference with the Church and with the education of German youth. Thereupon he was requested to leave the university of Bonn. Soon afterwards he was called to the chair of systematic theology in the famous university of Basle, Switzerland.”

* * * *

R. G. LeTourneau is a name that is not so familiar amongst us, perhaps, but is nevertheless very well known amongst the Fundamentalist groups in our country and in Canada. Mr. LeTourneau is an industrialist, at the head of a large corporation devoted to the manufacture of heavy machinery, and related articles. But, this is not the most peculiar feature of this man at all… it is rather that he is a confessing believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. As such he devotes much of his time travelling about the country, usually in his private plane, to speak to different groups.

Mr. LeTourneau’s convictions reveal themselves in his business practices also. In each factory there is a “shop chapel”, to which various ministers and other prominent Christians are invited to speak to groups of employees. The corporation has its own publication also, entitled “NOW”, because of the text found in II Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation”. Besides the two pages devoted to “shop news” and to pictorial scenes of factory activities, Editor Tom M. Olson furnishes two pages of editorials that are most interesting and clever. To illustrate, we quote the following from one of them found in the issue for September 18, 1942: …
HAS SURNAME
42 LETTERS LONG

“For many years a man named Gustantirus Papatheodorakoumanttourigiomichelak-apoulas has lived in Chicago.

His claim of being the long-name champion of the United States has never been successfully disputed. It should be a great satisfaction to that champion –and to every other person with a long name- to know that the grand word “whosoever,” frequently mentioned in the Bible, takes them in!

There is no name too long, nor too difficult to spell, nor too hard to pronounce, to be entered in the Lamb’s Book of life.

The Lord advised His disciples to rejoice because their names were “written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).”

* * * *

If true, the account given by Dr. Henry Beets, well-known editor of the “Missionary Monthly”, of the latest Geelkerken incident in the Netherlands is indeed shocking. For a group of young people largely American by birth, Dr. J. S. Geelkerken does not signify very much. Perhaps our parents know more of him. Suffice it to say that he was a minister in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands from 1909 until 1926, when he was deposed because of his divergent views on the question of original sin.

Dr. Beets quotes the following paragraph in the August issue of his magazine from some paper evidently “Information”, as indicative of the attitude this former pastor in the Reformed Churches entertains toward the Nazi government.

“Dr. Johannes G. Geelkerken- one of the only two Netherlands Protestant ministers who have embraced Nazi principles- has been awarded an ornamental sword by Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, according to the ‘Amsterdam Algemeen Handelsblad.’ The 63-year-old Nazi displayed this ‘spiritual’ weapon while addressing a meeting of Dutch Youth Storm Troopers at Breda, in the province of North Brabant.”

Underneath this paragraph, Dr. Beets pens the following statement: “And this ‘ornamental sword’, in our mind, dishonors rather than honors the clergyman who received it”.

* * * *

In the “Moody Monthly” for September, 1942, under the caption: “What the Bible Needs Today”, Dr. Wm. Evans, internationally known as a student of the Bible, and a much-sought-after speaker for Fundamentalist conferences and special meetings, writes something that we might bear in mind as we approach our Society Bible lessons for another season. Not that we haven’t heard anything like this before, but because we ought to practice it more diligently, do we quote the following from the above mentioned article:

“It is all right to read books on Bible study, but there is ever and continually the incipient danger that such books will be allowed to take the place of the Bible. It is really wonderful to note what light the Bible itself throws on books that are written to throw light on the Bible. This may seem like a jocular sentence, but it is unquestionably true. Even a Bible full of notes may stand in the way of arriving at the teaching of the Bible. Care must be exercised even in this respect- even with all its good points.

Let us read the Bible itself for itself. Let us listen to its own witness. Why be secondhand believers? The Bible is of age- it can speak for itself… Jesus asked Pilate, “Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?”… We should come to it for firsthand information.

That is why it is good, at first, to read the Bible without a single note in it… Then, when you feel that you have earnestly come to an end of your own research into its treasuries, you may turn to notes and what God has said to us through scholarly and holy men…”

Under this title one finds a brief article written by the Reverend Edwin H. Rian, a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian denomination, in “The Banner” for the week of Friday, February 13th, 1942. Out of fairness to the writer we must emphasize, as he also does, the fact that this article is not written by the Reverend Mr. Rian in an official capacity as representative of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but “simply as an individual who is keenly interested in a united testimony to the system of truth and world and life view contained in the Bible and expressed in such creeds as the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism”. Hence, the purpose of this contribution is to give expression to the writer’s “hope that these ideas informally stated will fire the imagination of the readers and eventually lead to a cooperative effort on the part of truly Calvinistic churches so that a real impact can be made upon American culture”.

The body of this article is devoted to the answering of four questions pertaining to the nature of the Federation itself, the membership of such a Federation, the projects this Federation could possibly undertake cooperatively, and a practical way for the bringing of such a Federation into existence. As to the nature of the proposed organization, it is suggested that “it would not be an organic union of churches”. That means, for example, that “the Federation would not be a super-denomination since it would not perform ecclesiastical functions in the technical sense nor bind the separate churches”. It also implies that each separate denomination maintains its own distinctiveness and independence, exercising “cooperative effort, based upon the Calvinistic confessions”.

Mr. Rian mentions four Presbyterian and Reformed Church denominations, which, in his opinion, might form such an organization. They are the Christian Reformed Church, The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod. These are suggested not as a complete list of denominations which could possibly enter, but because they “readily come to mind”.

Three projects are mentioned as possible of realization by way of cooperative effort. The first is perhaps the most noteworthy. It is the familiar reminder that we should establish an “American Christian University, based upon Calvinistic principles”. The writer believes that this project is a practical possibility upon the basis of such “cooperative effort” for the following reasons: first, “under the encouragement of a Federation and independent of all denominations with the board members and professors chosen from among the various Reformed groups” it would “make an appeal to students in every church as an American enterprise”, and second, it would “at the same time clearly state that the university’s doctrinal stand is that of the Reformed Faith”. The second project suggested is the formation of a Reformed Christian Literature Association. “Such a society could encourage the publication of scholarly and popular expositions of the Word of God which are not being published today due to lack of funds and stimulus”. This society’s function as far as the American world of culture is concerned is to rival the Tractarian movement conducted by various heretical groups. The third project the Federation might undertake is the sponsorship of a nation-wide radio broadcast. The reasons for this last suggestion are perfectly obvious.

Mr. Rian’s article is not merely theoretical. It contains more than suggestion as to what should be done. Included is a concrete, practical plan for the launching of this Federation. “Let each General Assembly and Synod of the above-mentioned churches at least, appoint committees to consider and explore the possibilities of such a Federation and then report back to their respective churches in 1943”, he submits. It certainly goes without saying that every wide-awake young member of any of our churches should watch with interest the growth or death of this plea.

It is not easy, I find, to express one’s opinion in respect to these things. We will be forgiven, I am sure, if we admit a bit of skepticism as far as the possibility of the realization of these things is concerned.

Nevertheless, these are worthy ideals. And who knows, but that the effort aroused will at least clarify the meaning of such terms as “Reformed” and “Calvinistic” when used by men of these denominations.

The following story is quoted from the department entitled “The World Today”, prepared each week by the Rev. E. J. Tanis of Chicago, Illinois, for “The Banner”. It appeared in the issue for the week of Friday, January 9th, 1942, as an example of the deceitfulness of men.

“The Japanese building in the New York World’s Fair cost $250,000. When the fair was closed it was decided that this beautiful building should remain standing. Perhaps it was left standing as a symbol of peace between Japan and America.

When Major LaGuardia accepted the building from the Japanese, in 1940, at the opening of the fair, the Japanese consul general made a speech including these felicitous words:

“In such a world of turmoil and unrest as we are confronted with these days, all the more precious are peace and goodwill among nations. May this beautiful pavilion and garden stand in this park forever as a monument of our sincere aspirations for peace and good will between our two great nations across the Pacific.”

“Forever,” said the Japanese speaker.

And in less than two years “peace and good will” made way for war and ill feeling.

“For we are but of yesterday and know nothing” Job 8:9. Therefore: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, In whom there is no help”, Psalm 146.

Now that war has been declared by our government we are again faced with the difficult problem of finding out just what we may be­lieve of all the reports that circu­late amongst us. Certain we are that much of that which appears in print and is heard by way of the radio as “war-news” is often the victim of propagandizing in­fluences.

A very good paragraph on this subject appears in the January, 1942, issue of the Young Calvinist, which, as you undoubtedly know, is the official organ of the Ameri­can Federation of Reformed Young Men’s Societies and the American Federation of Reformed Young- Women’s Societies. Under the heading “We Face ’42”, Mr. Earl Strikwerda, a teacher of history in the Grand Rapids Christian High School, looks at this problem from the point of view of “Censorship”. He writes:

“As we go into ’42 we should learn to refrain from snap judg­ments. and to aid ourselves in that discipline let’s accept as truth very few of the items that are passed off as such, in print or via the radio. One day we are informed that Midway and Wake have been taken from us. A day or two later we are told that those islands are still ours. Because censorship is in force, it behooves civilians to accept with reservation. Even democracies must institute censorship, because civilian reaction to untoward events can seriously compromise govern­ments or administrations in their conduct of the war effort and for­eign policy. Such departments as State, War, Navy necessarily be­come vastly more managerial. They cannot afford to lay the facts on the table. Moreover, outright cen­sorship has a helpmate in distor­tion. An example of this is easy to find: Recently one of our Michi­gan papers gave headline promin­ence to the fact that a German con- verted-merchantman had been sunk by the British, but the far more significant fact that German “sea-wolves” had stripped a British con­voy of five vessels was recorded in fine print. Such things are done for obvious reasons, and hence such pawns as we stand to benefit more by sober reflection on the larger outlines of events than by cock­sure judgments based on a kaleido­scopic array of necessarily “doc­tored” and confused facts. Were it not for the fact that the Com­munists tore open the Russian archives in 1917. we would know very little of the background of that struggle. Great Britain, we are told, opens her foreign office records on a given event only after fifty years has elapsed. So how can we presume to know anything really significant on the back­ground and struggles of our pre­sent-day catastrophe?”

**********

Rev. Harry Dykstra interprets. . . .

In the November issue of the Young Calvinist we notice that the department entitled: “After-recess Program Topics” has been assign­ed to a former missionary to China, the Reverend Harry A. Dykstra. Missionary Dykstra has been labor­ing under the auspices of the Chris­tian Reformed Denomination, but due to the extenuating circum­stances existing in the Orient, has returned to this country.

Under the general heading “Christian (Reformed) Missions” Reverend Dykstra has been asked to consider the case for Christian missionary activity. And the very first article, more or less intro­ductory, bears out the fact that this is a most interesting subject. If some of our own young people’s organizations are looking for a good topic for a lively after-recess discussion, try this one.

The question asked in this first article is: “Are Christian Missions Presumptuous?” The writer para­phrases this question in the very first sentence by saying that “stated in plain words, we should face the question whether it is not “nervy” on our part to carry on missionary work in the world”.

Then, on the basis of a few inci­dents drawn from the writer’s per­sonal experience and an analysis of conditions within our “so-called Christian countries”, the author seeks to establish the propriety of this question.

One of the evidences cited to warrant the asking of the question concerning the presumptuousness of Christian missions comes very close to all of us as members of Protestant Reformed Churches. For, after a consideration of the fact of war and its development as it reveals itself among the “Chris­tian” nations as well as the pagan nations today, and noting the “materialistic conceptions and striv­ings” permeating our institutions, Reverend Dykstra turns his gaze inward to a scene close to his own place of abode. In my imagination, I can see him looking out of the window of his Redlands, California home. Then, taking his pen in hand again, these words appear:

“Lastly, note the confusion in the religious world of our own land. Here in Redlands the dis­tance between the Christian Re­formed Church and the Protestant Reformed Church is but a few blocks but how vast is the separa­tion which un-Christlike controver­sy motivated by selfish pride and pettiness has brought about.”

That this statement is not in­consequential is evident from the statement immediately following: “In view of the above does not Christian missions to pagan lands appear somewhat presumptuous?” Together with the other facts that picture the sad situation in so-called “Christian” lands, this is brought to us a true interpretation of the cause for the existence of a Protestant and a Christian Re­formed Church in Redlands, Cali­fornia, and as such good reason to ask the above question as to the presumptuousness of Christian missions.

Two issues of the Young Calvin­ist have appeared since these words were published. In neither of them has this interpretation been brand­ed as false, nor upheld as true.

This column at this time makes no deductions, nor draws any con­clusions.

It only extends an invitation. It is directed to the young people of the Redlands Protestant Re­formed Church. The invitation requests that they take cognizance of this interpretation of their fel­low-citizen, and then appoint one or more than one to favor “Beacon Lights” with an article containing their reactions. Please. . . .

*********

“Will Our Schools Also Be Liquidated?”. . . .

Under this question the Reverend Leonard Verduin, pastor of the church for students at the Uni­versity of Michigan at Ann Arbor, expresses his well-founded concern for the future of our private Chris­tian Schools. Certainly, the funda­mental reason adduced by the writ­er as basis for alarm is correct. He writes: “Let no one think that it speaks for itself that private, positively Christian schools will be welcome in society. Let no one suppose that it is self-evident that they will always be tolerated in our good United States. For the Chris­tian School is too intimately con­nected with a life and world view that the natural man detests; it is too closely tied to an offence-giving cross to be sure of a place for the hollow of its foot.”

Reverend Verduin then goes on to show that the decline of reli­gious liberty in Germany has taken place in a way that could be dupli­cated in these United States. Re­ligious freedom and Christian edu­cation may have the support of various laws and a few court de­cisions here at present, but such was also the case in Germany and the other similarly totalitarian countries. This type of legislation is very easily discarded if a certain issue must be faced, if “a real na­tional emergency should make the realization of the democratic ideal” attainable only at the sacri­fice of those bowing beneath the “offence-giving Cross” of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reverend Verduin quotes from the writings of Dr. Wilhelm Hauer,(Christian Home and School Magazine, November, 1941, page 7),a spokesman for the Nazi party, to show that the fact that “ortho­dox Christianity and confessional schools are said to be derisive” has made them unwelcome. “Our child­ren are introduced to the conflict of faiths on the first day at school and a yawning chasm begins to divide German hearts in the earli­est days of youth. Therefore, the German nation feels the Protestant and Catholic schools to be an un­bearable yoke and the most deadly peril to the German will to unity. We want our children to experi­ence together first and foremost that they are Germans.” This quo­tation is taken from the book en­titled Germany’s New Religion, a translation by T.S.K. Scott-Craig and H. E. Davies, published by Abingdon Press. You know, per­haps. that the originator of the “prevailing philosophy of educa­tion” today is Dr. John Dewey of Columbia University. And, as the Reverend Verduin proves, “John Dewey is just as much out of sym­pathy with the ideology of historic Christianity as is the Nazi theo­logian”. For he writes: “Faith in God and in authority, ideas of soul and immortality, belief in divine grace. . . . have been made im­possible for the educated mind of today. (Woerful, Maiders of the American Mind, Columbia Uni­versity, p. 119). And in Dewey’s A Common Faith (New Haven, Yale University, p. 81) we read: ‘Historic Christianity has been committed to a separation of sheep and goats, the saved and the lost, the elect and the mass. . . . those outside of the fold of the church and those who do not rely upon belief in the supernatural have been regarded as only potential brothers, still requiring adoption into the family. And then follows immediately this awful sentence: “I cannot understand how any re­alization of the democratic ideal as a vital moral and spiritual ideal in human affairs is possible without surrender of the conception of the basic division to which supernatur­al Christianity is committed’.” The author of this article is correct when he concludes that “Dewey sounds too much like Hauer for comfort!”

Let us watch and pray. . . .

*********

Worthy of Imitation. . . .

Often the very idea of imitation is looked upon with scorn by hu­man beings. The fact that there is in reality “nothing new under the sun” seems to make no differ­ence. Disparaging criticisms are cast upon the one that has obvious­ly “copied” from someone else.

Nevertheless, this column is ad­vising the Board and Editorial Staff of Beacon Lights to deliber­ately copy something from another paper of a similar character. The other publication is the aforemen­tioned Young Calvinist. The thing to be copied, as we see it, is its new “soldiers and sailors depart­ment”.

The November, 1941 issue an­nounced this new feature as fol­lows:

“Beginning with the next issue, “The Young Calvinist” will publish four pages each month devoted to our soldiers and sailors. These pages will be filled with stories, pictures, articles, letters from and to our boys. In cooperation with the Board of Home Missions we hope to make these pages of great interest to the boys in the camps and to the folks at home. Your interest and assistance is request­ed.”

The two issues that have follow­ed this announcement have reveal­ed the truth of the fact that this material is interesting at least for those “folks at home”. Naturally, we are most interested in the af­fairs of our brothers in the ser­vice.

But this idea is worthy of imi­tation not so much from the point of view that it provides interest­ing reading material as that it is a way for us to assist our boys in their new surroundings. All of us agree that we should do all we can to maintain an effective and vital point of contact with those that have left us for the time be­ing.

To the extent Beacon Lights can copy this idea is a question. Our means are limited. To men­tion just a few examples, under the present set-up we are not in a fin­ancial position to have the neces­sary cuts made so that we can re­produce pictures of our boys in the military service. Nor would we be able to add any number of pages to our format.

But, be those limitations as they may, the idea itself can be imitated to a large extent, even if it would be necessary to do so unaided by any other agency of our own de­nomination. And if our own Home Mission Committee should see fit to offer Beacon Lights aid finan­cially and otherwise, who knows but that we could also create a department “of great interest to the boys in the camps” not only, but also one through which they may be encouraged and strengthen­ed to fight a double battle.

I am saying this strictly on my own responsibility, yet I feel quite secure when I say: Watch this paper for further developments!

Much space has been devoted in various publications of late con­cerning the problem of the morale of our armed forces. All of us realize the importance of this fac­tor in an organization like our Army. Courage, enthusiasm, and zeal are extremely necessary to military success.

In the issue of August 18th, last, “Life“, famous pictorial weekly, published an article entitled: “This is What the Soldiers Complain About”. In it are recorded the findings of a staff reporter, after his investigation of conditions in a sample Army division. Based upon interviews with some four hundred privates from five different regi­ments, this staff member concluded that due to dissatisfaction with officers, lack of equipment, and a shortage of proper recreational facilities, the average soldier in the Army was not enjoying him­self at all.

Perhaps these things are true. It remains a question, of course, whether this survey of one division can serve as a proper basis for an opinion concerning the morale of the entire Army. “Life” admits this in its editorial comment, when it says: “Whether the morale situ­ation ‘Life’s” reporter found is typical of all the new soldiers, “Life” does not attempt to say.” Personally, we agree with the edi­tor of the “Standard Bearer” that if the situation is as described, it is “perfectly understandable”.

However, it is not in the fact as such that we find so much interest as far as “Beacon Lights” is con­cerned. Here we would rather be informed as to the attitude Chris­tian Youth must assume toward the situation. May we be discour­aged and disheartened by the seem­ing futility of things, whether mili­tary or otherwise? To this ques­tion the Reverend H. Hoeksema replies as follows in the “Standard Bearer”, issue of September 1st, 1911:

“However, I do not write this to justify the attitude of the men in the camps as expressed in the report of “Life’s” staff member.

Certainly, it may not be the atti­tude of the Christian. He may be depressed and dis­couraged, especially with a view to the prospect of spending two and a half years of his young life in the army. He, too, may lack en­thusiasm for our part in the pre­sent war. He may long for the day that he will be discharged and may return home. He may hate the idea of an alliance with Russia. We can understand this. We feel for him and pray for him.

But he does not rebel, nor talk in a spirit of rebellion, nor sug­gest that he will “go over the hill”. His morale may be affected by circumstances, it cannot be de­stroyed by them. It is rooted in principle. There­fore, it is fundamentally steadfast.

And the principle is that he must be and is willing to be in sub­jection to authority, to the powers that are placed over him, for they are of God. And for God’s sake he respects authority and obeys.

The responsibility he leaves to the government. He cannot be held accountable before God for whatever part our government may take in the war. They, too, are accountable before God.

But he may look upon his place in the army as assigned to him by his God. And in that position he is called to serve his God by being in subjection to the higher powers.

He walks in faith, even in the army. And the morale of faith is al­ways good.”

God forbid that we try to solace our brethren in the service with any other message!

* * * * * * * * * *

Editor De Jong on State Sup­port for Our Christian Schools:

In the September, 1941 issue of the ‘’Christian Home and School Magazine”, Editor A. S. De Jong presents an editorial under the title, “Sphere Sovereignty — or State Support”. The editorial per­tains to the subject of the support of our Christian day schools, with a view to the present system of public, state supported schools of our land. It seems that a certain Mr. Alger Paauw in a recent issue of this magazine championed the idea that our schools should also share in the funds collected by our government for the education of children. According to Mr. Paauw “the present situation is unfair, un-American, since ‘all citizens are not equal beneficiaries of the pub­lic funds collected under compul­sion’.”

Mr. Harold Tilma, a Grand Rapids merchant, makes an objec­tion to this stand. His claim is that any “system of state aid for our Christian schools violates the principle that parents are respon­sible for the education of their children”. He advocates the separa­tion of all schools from the govern­ment, and would “allow our citi­zens to support the school in which they desire to have their children educated or with whose ideals they are in accord.”

The editorial in question is a commentary on these conflicting theories. In reality. Mr. De Jong takes up the cudgel for the latter idea, which he labels “sphere sovereignty”. This is evident from the following excerpts:

“That the parents are respon­sible to God for the training of their children may be taken for granted by us, since this is taught by God’s general and special revela­tion in unmistakable terms. To the fathers, as heads of the family, the Lord gives command to train the children in the fear of the Lord: to the government He gives command to execute justice and equity. The Lord does not em­power the government with totali­tarian authority over the lives of those over whom they rule.

To the government God gave charge to see to it that within the nation all the variegated spheres of life, operating by means of the indispensable authority required for the unmolested performance of their God-given functions, shall be protected against obstructive inter­ference on the part of antagonistic forces. To preserve equity in the functioning of the principle of sphere sovereignty so that each sphere may work unmolested, and at the same time respect the sover­eignty of all those that function in other fields of activity after the ordinance of God, the Ruler of all —that is the divinely ordained business of the state.

This fundamental idea being ac­cepted, it follows that a govern­ment which takes charge of the school-education of the children of the nation, thereby oversteps its own God-given boundary of author­ity. Only in case parents prove to be willfully neglectful, when they refuse to provide for their children the required school-education, has the state authority to compel these children to a state school.

Since in our country the state has taken it upon itself to provide public education for all children, leaving room for education by means of private schools, and does demand that all citizens pay tax to cover the expense involved, it ap­pears that our government violates the principle of democratic equali­ty: of equal rights to all and special privileges to none. The citi­zens who desire for their children an education different from that provided by the so-called “neutral” school, and who take the trouble, and go to the expense of building and maintaining private schools for their children, have a perfect right to ask that the state allocate from the public school fund, in the name of democracy, a proportion­ate share of them. Or, they may insist that the state cease to operate public schools, and instead of that, demand that parents them­selves must provide schools for own ideals and principles. In this their children in accord with their case the state would be obliged to provide public education only to such children whose parents, for one reason or another, failed to comply with the state’s command in this respect.

From a practical standpoint, the first course might prove to be more expedient. But would this course not favor the tendency to leave things pertaining to the character of the work of the subsidized schools: their courses of study, ad­ministration, discipline, etc., into the hands of a government whose ever increasing tendency to regu­late all their business after the cur­rent political instinct of totalitar­ian uniformity, would frustrate the thorough application of the very principles which prompted the establishment of our Christian schools?

The second proposed plan to cor­rect the present unjust policy of forcing citizens that feel duty-bound to provide Christian schools for their children to pay also for the public schools, is that the state demands of its citizens to teach their children on their own private initiative, in schools that must meet general standards set by the government. This plan appears to be in accord with the Biblical prin­ciple that requires respect for the sphere sovereignty of the parents in regard to the education of their children, on the part of the govern­ment.

Will it not be advisable to strive for this ideal, even though the first- mentioned method appears to be more practical, i.e., more likely, to obtain the consent of a majority to our people?

This column reserves further comment, in the hope that our so­cieties will consider this a good topic for an “after-recess” discus­sion. It is imperative that we in­terest ourselves in the problems of Christian education. May we look for further comment?

* * * * * * * * * *

“American Council of Christian Churches” Organized:

With large headlines the “Chris­tian Beacon”, fundamentalist week­ly, announces the organization of a new church federation. No doubt you are aware of the fact that an organization of this type has been in existence for some time. It is known as the Federal Council of Churches, and is composed of the larger “Protestant” bodies in this country. Needless to say, the em­phasis has been along the lines of the “New Theology”, or Modern­ism.

Wednesday, September 17, 1941 saw the formation of a new group under the name of the American Council of Christian Churches. As a protest against the Federal Coun­cil, its desire is to rally all those believing in the Gospel of redemp­tion in the blood of Jesus Christ under a common banner. The new council was formed by concurrent action of the Bible Protestant and Bible Presbyterian denominations.

The opening paragraph of the statement issued by the Council at the time of its formation is indica­tive of its true character. It reads:

“We are thankful that we live in free America. Too long the Fed­eral Council of Churches of Christ in America has assumed to speak for all Protestants. It has, in fact, been a general instrument of soul-destroying Modernism. Its ‘social gospel’ is actually ‘another gospel’, sometimes hardly to be distinguished from outright com­munistic propaganda. It has gone far afield into political and economic activity. America needs spiritual leadership. She needs Jesus Christ as never before, not theories of social welfare. The shed blood of Jesus Christ alone can wash away sin. We need a revival desperately, but it can never come until men confess their sins, repent, and put their trust in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Scriptures, can give the blessing, security, and comfort for which men’s souls cry.”

We wonder if this new council will presume to speak for all “Pro­testants” outside of the fold of the Federal Council of Churches. Cer­tainly we cannot be presented as in any way sympathetic with its desire to present “Jesus Christ” to the nation as the panacea for her ills.

This would also make an inter­esting discussion for some societies. Further analysis of the Constitu­tion of this organization reveals even more interesting things. If anyone desires this document for further study, he can obtain the same by addressing his request to the Managing Editor of “Beacon Lights”.

This article is for readers who cannot read.

That statement may arouse various reactions. To some it may sound rude, but rest assured that it is not meant to be. To others it may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it is not. To still others it may arouse disgust that the editors of this paper allow such an article to appear. After all, most everyone has been educated sufficiently to read at least, especially in this wonderful age of compulsory schooling. However, the appearance of rudeness and contradiction and impropriety arises only because of the variety of senses in which the term “reading” can be used.

Of course, anyone who has read this far can read in some sense of the word. You can guess now, therefore, what I must mean. It is simply that there are those who can read in some sense but not in others. And for these people this ama­teurish contribution is intended. It is for those who can read in a certain sense, but who desire to read better or in some other way than they are now able. That also implies that there are two classes of people for whom it is not intended, namely, those who cannot read at all: such as in­fants, imbeciles, etc., and those who are masters of the art of reading, such people who can do every sort of reading and do it well. For more reasons than one the author of these lines cannot expect attention from the already expert.

Between these two extremes is the average reader. We have learned our ABC’s in childhood. We can make sense out of certain types of reading material, especially if it is not too abstract, nor too closely reasoned. Local “news”, the sport page, the “funnies” perhaps, all of these things are not beyond us. And yet we are well aware of the fact that we are not able to read well. We know this in many ways, but most obviously when we at­tempt to read certain articles or books and find them too difficult to grasp, or when we read some­thing that someone else has also read, and find out that he or she has discovered so much more or that we have misunderstood. Our embarrass­ment is increased by the fact that in our circles we are continually urged to read so that we may as men of God become “perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works‘.

I suppose that most of us have had experiences of this sort, without knowing what to do about the situation. If we knew ourselves to belong to the common herd anyway perhaps we were content to satisfy ourselves with the explanation that we are “too dumb anyway” to hope to understand the deeper things. On the other hand, if we were presidents of societies or Sunday School teachers, or students, maybe, we just went on hoping that after all we could have done better if circum­stances had only been different.

Right at the outset I believe it should be said that the trouble might very well lie in the fact that we are inclined to assume that reading is not a complicated, difficult activity. We are often vic­tims of the common opinion that reading is after all something very simple and natural, a good deal like walking, for example. It is very well possible that we might be totally unaware of the many dif­ferent steps involved, each of which can be devel­oped and made less difficult through practice. Reading in that respect is no different than tennis, baseball, or music. If one wrote a book on how to play baseball it would contain many rules for each of the various offensive and defensive moves of the game. There would be rules for hitting, including rules for long distance, extra-base hits as well as for bunting and place hitting. There would be rules for base running, stealing bases, tagging up for the catch of the fly-ball. There would be the rules for playing each of the different position, from catching and pitching to the duties of the outfielder. The same is true for music, painting, and any other “art”.

These things also pertain to reading. There are rules and more rules, which must be assimil­ated to form correct habits. Two things are re­quired, first that we are possessed with the will to learn, and second, that we foster patience in the process. That excludes any of us from thinking that this is not for us because we are not able. True it is that we are not possessed of equal abili­ties in any one respect. But that is not the ques­tion here. The question is: are you getting out of your ability that which lies in it, whether it be small or great? If we are truly sincere, the pros­pect of having those fearful words once spoken to the Unprofitable Servant applied to us in that day will arouse us to action.

By this time, you will very likely realize that the scope of this article is not sufficient to treat this subject in its entirety. There is not room for an exposition of “rules, and more rules” in one short composition. Believe it or not, I was aware of that before I began writing. I continued never­theless because I believe that certain rules inevit­ably form a basis for good reading, and if they are followed will result in the development of the skill in the reader. What are these basic rules?

Naturally, the rules that require first atten­tion are the rules of analysis. It is self-evident that we must give an author the benefit of careful analysis before we seek to evaluate this product. Under this heading I would list two requirements. First, it is necessary that we determine what the book or article is about with utmost brevity. What is the author trying to do? What problem is he trying to solve? What particular phase of which field of study or human life is he trying to cover? Questions of this nature should be asked and answered first of all. You might ask, how does one go about finding the correct answers to these questions? In books the answer is almost invariably found in the author’s preface. It is said that book-reviewers for large papers and magazines can review a book by reading its pre­face alone. That ought to give us some idea of the value of the preface. In it you can most always find the intentions of the author stated in brief and concise form. In articles as well as books, the contents can be determined frequently by the title. And, in many cases, much information can be gleaned from the list of chapter headings. There are more ways than these mentioned. The main thing is that we look for the nature of the book or article, and, having found it, seek to summarize its contents in the shortest possible manner. In the second place, we ought to look for the outline of the composition. That means that we determine the major parts in their order and relation, and analyze each one of them in turn, as we have done with the whole. No more need be said. Having done this, you will have a good hold on the struc­ture of the book or article. The next problem is that of interpretation. Now that the purpose of the book has been ascertained, and its main parts discovered, how are we to grasp the meaning of the author? The most fundamental rule under this head is the rule that calls for a clear concep­tion of the basic words the author is using. That means that you must come to terms with the author, you must agree with him as to the mean­ing of a certain word in his book or article. For example, in the early part of this article we spent a little time discussing the fact that the word “reading” has various meanings. Well, if you take the word to mean one thing, and I take it to mean another, how are we ever to get anywhere? Find the basic words and determine their meaning is the first rule of interpretation. The next step is obvious. Having determined the meaning of the more important words, you should proceed to the more important sentences. And still more closely related stands the third rule of interpretation: find the author’s main arguments, by locating them in certain paragraphs, or by constructing paragraphs of connected sentences. There are many words and combinations of words that will tell you when you have to deal with these sentences and arguments. “Because”, “if. . .then”, “since” this, “therefore” that, “it follows from this” are a few of the earmarks to be noticed.

None of us are discouraged now, I’m sure. It is true that this article has not minimized the difficulty of reading, that is, of reading for in­struction and increased understanding. If we weren’t Christians I would despair of hoping that any of us might desire to follow after wisdom and understanding, knowing that it is difficult and arduous work. Besides, the ethical nature of true wisdom and understanding would eliminate all possibility that we might spend time and effort in pursuit of these things. But, the love of Christ constraineth us to exert ourselves to the limit for the glory of our King.

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