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To the Editor of Beacon Lights,

In the February issue of Beacon Lights there appeared an article written under the heading “A Christian’s Responsibility toward the Environment” by Neva Doezema.

The title alone made us curious to read. It sounded familiar language. After reading it, we wondered how an article like this could appear in a so-called Protestant Reformed magazine because, after reading it, we came to the conclusion that this must be taught somewhere. We are sure that the foundation for this article is the view of the so-called Reformed World and Life View. But far removed from a true Reformed view. When in the so-called Reformed World is written or talked about the “Reformed World and Life View” the word “Reformed” mislead many-as it did us- because it is not Reformed but Arminian.

To give an example taken from the Banner, March 16, 1979, page 18: there Rev. H. Van der Kam in “Reflections” writes the following: “It may not be correct to equate a Reformed World and Life View with the whole Counsel of God, but it certainly is an attempt to do justice to all the teaching of the Word of God, etc.” –Let the reader look it up. To explain this mystery, we could also say: The whole counsel of God (which we confess in the three forms of unity) – The Reformed World and Life View (confessed in the three points of 1924). With other words: God’s Sovereignty over against man’s responsibility.

But do we believe that man’s responsibility stands over against God’s Counsel? We certainly believe in man’s responsibility but that is included in God’s Counsel. That is the responsibility for our sin. Are we still Protestant Reformed people when we make that Reformed World and Life View our confession? Is it possible to sign the declaration of principles and at the same time confess the Reformed World and Life View? Let us not be fooled! We should not let A.A.C.S. men be the example for our learning. If Dr. A. Kuiper, Dr. Bouma, Dr. Waterink, Dr. Brillenburg-Wirth, Groen van Prinsterer, etc. were Reformed in their teaching, why was there the split in 1924? Because these men were Neo-Calvinists and according to our Protestant belief, not Biblical. Do we really forget the past and go back to the same old error?

Salvation is never through the good service of man, but is only and alone through the suffering and death on the cross of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, which He accomplished for His people and which He also applies by His Spirit through the Word. The Word alone-not through the service of man. When God’s children live in this world they know that God is Sovereign and that the whole creation must serve to bring the church to glory (not the other way around-like in the article) and at the same time, that also creation will be delivered from sin. These are interwoven and not two separate covenants.

If so, we fall into error. When we do not discern rightly between common revelation and special revelation we do not have a right view. To quote a little part of the last part of the article, “We are here for a short time and have been called by God to care for His creation. God reveals Himself to us through His creation (Psalm 19: l) and we must not make a mockery of that special revelation. God has made us kings over creation and we must use, not desecrate the honor He has bestowed on us.” Here creation is called “that special revelation.” We call that common revelation. But in God’s special revelation the Word is only salvation. Psalm 19 and all the rest of Scripture is special revelation. And out of the Word we understand creation, not what we see before our eyes. Compare Calvin Inst, Book II, Chapter 11, paragraph 19: “But since we are intoxicated with a false opinion of our own discernment and can scarcely be persuaded that in divine things it is altogether stupid and blind. I believe the best course will be to establish the fact not by argument but by Scripture. ”

Interesting and worthwhile for all young people to study this. When we believe the Reformed World and Life View, we make common revelation a common grace. Let us search the Scriptures and say with the psalmist: “Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord even they salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproached me for I trust in thy word.” Psalm 119:41 & 42.

 

Reply by Neva Doezema

 

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… And God saw everything that He had made and, behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1: 1, 31. In the beginning God’s creation was very beautiful, majestic, and perfect. God looked at it and saw that it was good and perfect.

With the fall, however, came sin. Man fell and creation suffered and still is suffering under the effects of man’s sin. Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Creation is marred with smog and filth produced from industries made by sinful men.

A Christian has a calling to live in this world to God’s glory and honor. A Christian also has the ability to appreciate God’s power and might in creation. Psalm 19: 1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”

God reveals His glory and greatness through creation and this fact alone means that we as Christians should honor God’s creation. This revelation however is not a saving revelation. Romans 1:20 “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made even His eternal power and God head; so, that they are without excuse. ”

Anyone, even the wicked, viewing creation cannot help but be amazed at the wonder, order, and majesty of it. Creation, though it speaks of God’s glory and greatness, does not reveal or show to man salvation. God’s saving grace revealed in the preaching of the Word is the only means of salvation. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which ye have done, but according to his mercy he saved, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

We as Christians may take heart from Paul’s words in Ephesians 1: 10 & 11 “That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Our inheritance as Christians is the new heaven and earth. Revelation 2 1: 1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

Jesus says in John 14:2 “In my Father’s home are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” We are here on this earth for only a short time. We know that our eternal resting place will be much more beautiful and holy. We may look forward to that with joy and anticipation.

For the time we are here, however, we are called to do good works. We do not do this to merit our salvation, but as fruit of God’s saving grace in us. Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” The regenerated Christian by grace will seek to keep God’s commands while on his pilgrimage here on earth.

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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