In order to be proud of something in the true sense I will have to be thoroughly convinced that what I stand for is absolutely right and true. That means that no where in the world are there “truths” more in unity with Scripture than those that I believe in. I haven’t heard nor studied every religion but I think more important than head knowledge for you and I is the conviction of heart given us aside from book learning.
Being born and raised as PR all my life has made it difficult for me and you as young people to understand all we have to be proud of concerning our church. As youth, we have never encountered any opposition in the true sense that could make us stand up and take sides. Those men and women who were aware of the situation of 1924 and 1953 could more easily ay exactly what they have being PR over against any other denomination. They must understand what it means to be assured that the PR truths are the purest in the world. These people had to search for answers to questions and accusations and by God’s grace found them in our Protestant Reformed Churches.
As young people, we have to grow to realize that we don’t accept the teachings of parents and teachers to be true only because this is all we have encountered but remember that God in His infinite love and mercy placed us here so we of all young people might have a strong foundation to build on.
Take time to think of other denominations of churches. Look at the gross inconsistences in these churches with doctrine vs scriptures. We see from Scripture how we are saved of grace alone and that not of ourselves and in the preaching we hear how all have a calling to win the world for Christ. Within denominations you can observe division between conservative and liberal churches.
It is something wonderful to see our denomination preach exactly the same Scriptural truths in the same manner in each church no matter how far removed in traveling distance.
It’s a good feeling to know that by the grace of God the PR church seminary is still producing men that preach the same truths that brought us into existence. It’s assuring to know in these changing times that the Truth always stands secure and unchangeable.
As individuals from generation to generation we have changed. Some of us slide with the times, but for some reason our doctrine and preaching hasn’t slid with us. It has stood the years and proclaimed more forcibly what our calling is as Christians in the PR church. The doctrines of Calvin. The Netherlands Confession and the Canons have brought together and held a church and shown itself in complete unity with the Old and New Testament.
Our instruction is something of beauty. Teachers given to teach in our schools carry in all their subjects the fact that God is in all these studies no matter what the subject. Ministers and elders give of their time to teach their children week after week in catechism and societies until they know exactly what is to be understood with regard to our doctrine and walk in life. It’s on the strength of all this we can be proud of so rich a heritage in our church.
Not a truly unique idea is it? It seems that everything we do is connected with today’s energy crisis. Turn on the radio, read the newspaper, listen to the people around you and everyone you hear has something to say about our lack of energy. My concern has little to do however with petroleum, heat or the electricity problem.
Have you ever considered the fact that the church today faces a real energy crisis? Scripture always is a reminder of the battle for the child of God. Church history also has constantly taught that the church thru the ages has struggled against the powers of darkness.
It seems strange that where battle is raging the soldier has left off his clothing of armour, doesn’t it? But you say the battle has wearied us and our strength is weakening or more boldly we can say that the battle has lessened. Now is the time in history when we can enjoy a bit of the victories won by those who have toiled before us. After all the church has reached a time when her warfare has waned and persecution is a thing of the past. Now is the time to save our energy for the day when real power is necessary. If we relax now we can rest up to be ready to take our weapons when the need becomes apparent.
Let us be assured however that the Devil doesn’t wait until we are ready to be armed. He fires us with temptations and allurements when we are the least ready.
Further, if you think for a minute the Church has time to relax today consider a few things that present dangers to you and your young people today. Allow yourself to indulge in literature of any kind and you will learn all about adulterous sex. Sit in front of a television for about two programs and your knowledge of how a thief and murderer operates will increase at a surprising rate. If you let yourself be friends with anyone, you might find yourself agreeing with them that authority of state and government need cleaning up so let’s rebel and picket. The list is endless and you know just how long that list is to you personally.
Since the way of least resistance is always the way nature follows we too find ourselves guilty of relaxation and generally flowing with the line of traffic. In this position we find the least criticism and most companionship.
Obvious enough it is to the child of God that this line of traffic is not on the straight and narrow road, rather a finely decorated and tinseled highway that distracts us from looking further down the road to its utter destruction.
For the most godly person in the world it takes spiritual strength and energy to struggle to keep one’s foot from dancing out of the path and along with the unrestrained steps of the world.
Note that if we exert energy to take up our Bibles and bend our knees in prayer each day we would find a lot more strength within us desiring to fight against our old natures and the world around. Even as an athlete finds himself able to endure and run with daily practice so also our spiritual running becomes easier as with proper spiritual practices we fortify these weakened human natures.
“I’m OK-You’re OK” by Thomas A. Harris, M.D. published by Harper & Row
“I’m OK—You’re OK” is a study of Transactional Analysis or the structure of self in relationship to one’s future.
According to Dr. Harris each person has a conflicting nature, which he illustrates in using a Parent-Adult-Child structure. To give a little insight into what he means by the P-A-C we must understand what each position is based on.
Dr. Harris speaks of the Parent as that personality which acts and decides on the basis of ideas received simply by instruction. These ideas are those which were accepted without questioning.
The Child is that personality which is motivated naturally and acts without restriction.
The Adult examines his Parent and Child and uses this data as a stepping stone from demonstrated standards and fantasied life to life as he figures it out. This is the decisive position.
From these three positions Dr. Harris shows how a person applies his feeling in a situation to the esteem he has for himself. These feelings always manufacture some combination of I’m OK—You’re OK, or I’m not OK—You’re not OK. The Child’s position is usually that of I’m not OK— You’re OK, or an inferiority complex. The Parent position is I’m OK—You’re not OK, or superiority complex. The Adult position is the ultimate goal of every person supposedly. This position maintains that I’m OK—You’re OK, or equal balance to oneself and fellow human.
Harris goes on to show the different problems that arise and how each situation may affect various individuals. He contends that the “cause and effect” nature of situations will not solve problems but man’s ability to contemplate the future or estimate probabilities and thereby analyze a transaction. He goes on to show different transactions and analyzes each to show the weaknesses of most and the strength of others.
Dr. Harris also contends that often a person’s ability to face each life situation becomes impaired and psychiatric treatment becomes necessary. It is here he shows the advantages of group treatment over against individual treatment because it encourages the Child to relax and laugh, and in turn is supportive and considerate to the Parent while looking for new answers for the Adult.
Situations which the reader delves into with Harris are connected to our responsibility, values, morals, and social and religious obligations.
My attention was especially drawn to his look at theology. His theory is that one should not allow theology to limit a person to certain beliefs accepted on the fact that forefathers taught them. According to Dr. Harris religion should leave one with the feeling of I’m OK—You’re OK. He holds to rebirth — that of the natural Child.
A summary of the whole foundation for the betterment of society is found in Dr. Harris’ closing statements, where he states that science has changed things making it possible to do away with the problems causing personal upheaval. A direct quotation may be revealing to his whole philosophy. “In the beginning man’s mind grew and developed in service to his own survival. Can we now turn the brain to new tasks of the survival of all people of the world? Can the gift of life and our brief span of existence on this earth be enjoyed to the fullest of human spiritual capacities?……….We believe we have found an opening . . . .” The conclusion one might draw is that he believes the problem has been faced and worked on and now we are building a better society.
It is not my responsibility as of now to comment on these positions of Dr. Harris but Mr. Huisken will give his critique on this work in a later issue.
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