The June issue of Beacon Lights will contain information about the Convention to be held this year in Fuller Avenue Church in Grand Rapids, thus I was informed.
Besides I was asked to write a short article giving reasons why the young people should attend the coming Convention. It seems to me it is not too difficult to find reasons why we as young people should attend. In fact if you stay away from the Convention you must have very good reasons.
But of course in order to attend a Convention plans have to be made in advance. For many of our young people it means that they will have to be away from home for about a week. We certainly can encourage our young people to plan their vacation so that they can be in Grand Rapids for a few days during the latter part of August. Perhaps some of our young folks never have been in Michigan, and even from that point of view it is worthwhile to attend the Convention. Grand Rapids is a very nice city, besides, most of our Protestant Reformed people live in or near Grand Rapids. Hence, why not make it a point to become acquainted with our people and churches out East?
Perhaps those that live in or near Grand Rapids will say: “We know the city and we know the people, is there any reason why we should go to the Convention?” There certainly is, in fact there are a good many reasons why you should attend this annual event.
Let me briefly enumerate a few of these reasons.
You young people should go to the Convention because it is your Convention. And all features of and activities of the Convention have you in mind. You vote for the Convention, you pay for it, you make up the Convention. Plan your vacation accordingly and be Convention bound in August.
You should attend the Convention for inspiration and edification. Conventions properly conducted are very inspirational and never to be forgotten experiences in your young life.
You should attend the Convention because of its educational value. Traveling itself, meeting people and attending meetings as we have them during Convention time is educational in itself. If you are really interested in the cause of your Societies and the truth of God as He has entrusted it unto us you cannot help but be strengthened in your convictions.
Attending a Convention also means meeting old friends and making new ones. I am well aware of the fact that it doesn’t happen to all of you but I know of at least one case where the Convention in Hull last year resulted in a cedar chest a few months later for one of the young ladies present. Two young people who were total strangers to each other became big friends in short order. But even if there is no cedar chest forthcoming what is nicer than to meet your friends, your own type of young people belonging to the same churches scattered over all of the United States. And the fact remains that quite a few couples met for the first time at a Convention.
Then of course Convention time is the big social event of the year. And now I am thinking of the banquet. Let me add, although a banquet is fine and wonderful I am afraid at times this is overdone. Some of our young people seem to think that the banquet is the whole Convention. And that’s wrong. To me the banquet can only come as a proper climax if we have first taken in all the other Convention activities.
However, my space is more than filled even though I could give several more reasons why you should attend our coming Convention. Let me briefly mention a few more without giving any comment. Encourage your host Society. Encourage your Federation Board by your presence and active interest. Be among your own and feel the bond of unity. Support the cause of your own Society. Show by your presence and active interest that you are backing up your own magazine and the men and ladies who so faithfully and unstintingly write for you and give you of their time and talents. You owe it to the young people who work so hard for you to make this annual event a success. You owe it to yourself, you are in need of this spiritual treat which is combined with fine Christian entertainment.
Don’t hesitate for a moment to make plans to go this summer. You will never regret it. It is for the welfare of you and the churches in which the Lord has given us a place.
The Convention is a must for a must for our young people who can possibly make it.
See you in Grand Rapids, D. V.?
Canada has opened its doors for immigrants. Many people from the Netherlands also have immigrated to Canada, or they desire to leave the old fatherland and seek a new home in the immensely large country of Canada, our next door neighbor. But although millions of people would like to settle in Canada, only a limited number are allowed. Besides, the prospective immigrants are a very select group of people and must pass an ever more stringent inspection before they are allowed to leave the old country and take up permanent residence in Canada.
Are you at all interested in this subject? You should be for a good many reasons which I will not enumerate at this time.
It was my privilege to spend a few weeks in Canada, first with the Rev. B. Kok and later with the Rev. W. Hofman, and visit some of the immigrants that have already arrived. I could tell you something about the immigration regulations as such. That alone would be an interesting subject. In fact, there is so much connected with my subject that I really don’t know where to start. But seeing my space is limited I will also limit myself in this article to a particular phase of the immigration in which all of you should be interested, because I intend to talk primarily about young people.
Perhaps it is not at all amiss if I first tell you that among the immigrants that have arrived, and also among those that expect to cross the ocean in the near future, there are a great many who hail from Reformed circles. We as young people thought that the Dutch services for divine worship were almost a matter of the past. Here in the United States that may be true, but there are places in Canada where they just recently have started with Dutch services. In fact in several places they hold Dutch services exclusively, and I expect that in quite a few communities there will be Holland services for several years to come. I can hear you say already: “Not interested, we are through with the Dutch.” Just a little patience please, do not jump to conclusions too quickly but continue reading this article to the end.
A question frequently asked is: “Why do so many people want to leave the old country?” Some would answer this by saying: “Because they are so poor over there.” Now, that is not true at all! It is true, there are a lot of common laborers who seek a new home in Canada, but there are also a good many people coming to the shores of Canada who do not have to leave the old country because they are so poor. Among the immigrants you find many people who had a prosperous life on the farm in the Netherlands, or who held good positions. In fact the majority do not have to leave at all because of poverty. Most of the immigrants do not only pay their own way across but they also leave possessions behind in the form of land, real estate, money, bank accounts, etc. Why do they leave then? The great majority leave the old country because they believe that there are ever so many more opportunities in Canada than in the Netherlands. They all say: “There is no future in the Netherlands, our children cannot find a home to live in, they cannot find land to farm; even with a splendid education there are not enough jobs or positions available. The Netherlands is overcrowded, taxes are extremely high and the entire economic life is regimented.” And don’t forget either that there are many young married couples that leave for the shores of Canada. As one young man expressed it to us: “We wanted to get married but could not find a place to live anywhere. Perhaps we would have to wait fifty years before we would have found a place, and that is too long to suit us.” Can you blame them?
As I mentioned already, a lot of these people are of Reformed persuasion. And we might mention here, it is rather remarkable that the Reformed people in the Netherlands take the initiative as far as immigration is concerned. Thus it was also a hundred years ago, and even during the last hundred years many Reformed people came to the shores of America.
Let me also mention in this connection that with many there is an element of fear for Russian communism that prompts them to leave the place of their birth.
Have you ever thought about what a tremendous undertaking it is to immigrate to another country? Yes, indeed, it is quite an undertaking and not the least for young people. You must also take into consideration here that the people who emigrate from the Netherlands leave behind a beautiful little country which has a rich history and heritage.
Let me tell you a little about some of the problems of these young people. I know there is a certain type of young people who like adventure. Now, to emigrate certainly has adventures in it. But they are not all this superficial type of youth. Most of the young people coming across the sea belong to the average type of youth. They like a trip, they like to see new things, they love a sea voyage, but after all is said and done they love the home surroundings to which they are accustomed. Have you ever been away from home for a few months? Then you also know how much you appreciated to come home again and be amongst your own friends and surroundings which make up such a great share of our life. But even when you went away it was but for a little while and wherever you went you could use the English language. How altogether different with the young people who immigrate to Canada. They come here to stay and are strangers in a strange land where there is a mixture of nationalities and where the people speak a strange language. Their entire life is uprooted and they are literally transplanted. They leave their friends, their intimates, their church, societies, their work, habits of living, and now they must adjust themselves in a new world among people they don’t know and cannot even understand. Oft times embarrassing situations develop due to the fact that they cannot speak English and don’t know the customs of the land. They have to learn by trial and error, which is especially a hard grind for sensitive natures. I assure you, young people, that your “cousins” immigrating to a strange country must go through a tremendous period of adjustment. (That’s one of the reasons why old people are such poor immigration material, they are not pliable enough). To be and feel like a stranger in a strange land is not an easy matter, and I certainly sympathize with a good many of those immigrants. Perhaps you say: “But they’ll find work, they’ll earn money, eventually they’ll learn the language well, etc.” That is all true and well, but it is not easy and there are those who shed many tears in the new world. The past is irrevocably cut off, and they must in every way and in every sense of the word make a new beginning in a new world. They cannot continue their living as in the past, everything is new and strange. And all things, life itself, will never be the same again.
You are wondering how they make out? That all depends, and there is a great difference. Some young people can rather easily adjust themselves. They look for new interests and new friends, and are able to find them. Others, for a long time, have that strange, isolated, lonesome feeling, and although they bear with the situation, something nice, something loved, something beautiful, is broken in their lives. Still others work hard to try and fill the gap as soon as possible with interests that approximate as nearly as possible the things they loved in the old country. But there are also those who seem to have broken loose and try to fill the vacuum of their life with worldly amusements and the like. There are even those who fall entirely by the wayside, and presently the word goes back to relatives and friends in old country: “He or she loves the present world.”
I really was to write about mission work in Canada but wandered away from my subject. Let me close with some mission thoughts.
It is my personal conviction that as churches we have a task to fulfill among those thousands of Reformed immigrants who are of the same blood and spiritual background as we are. We have a wonderful truth to preach to them. Let us get to work, let us try to draw them to us and instruct them in the doctrine so dear to all true Reformed people. It is our calling to also witness among them. And if the Lord gives us an open door it will be the distinguished privilege of our missionaries to also draw and lead and guide these young people in their new country. It will be their privilege to help them in their period of great adjustment, to advise and succor them in the trying time of transition. All this calls for faith, courage, love and sympathetic understanding. Just this morning I received a letter from a fine young fellow from the old country, a serious minded boy, asking for advice, for contact, for a visit from one of our ministers when he presently arrives in Canada (which will be in the month of August).
Will you help this cause along? Be sympathetic toward your, in many respects, less fortunate young fellow Christians. Pray for them and be interested in them. Why not talk these things over in your societies. There are many phases to this problem. If you show interest in this cause and in the welfare of these young people I have been writing about, you’ll find it instructive, enlightening and edifying to discuss the subject of immigration in your meetings. And your own life will be enriched; your horizon will be broadened.
Will you promise me to give this matter some thought? And if you can help some of these young people in any way at all with writing letters or by any other means, be sympathetic and do your share. Besides, appreciate your spiritual heritage and remember the struggle of your forebears who came to the shores of this country as pioneers and prepared for you and handed down to you the temporal abundance and the rich spiritual heritage which is yours today. Furthermore, remember also that the struggle of your newly arrived “cousins” is not first of all a question of material things and primitive conditions and surroundings, but theirs is a spiritual struggle to maintain themselves as Reformed people in a world which does its utmost to swallow them up spiritually and cause them to drift away from the God of their fathers.
Recently, I gave a little, informal talk in our Young People’s Society and at the request of our Editor-in-chief, who seems to hear about things, I will pass on a few of the thoughts which I expressed at that time to the readers of our Beacon Lights and especially to the members of our Societies.
Of course, you all wonder what that little, informal talk was about and whether it is worthy of being reproduced in Beacon Lights. Well, let me tell you the story. Not so long ago, we got a new constitution for our Young People’s Society. Naturally, we read this constitution and as Society we adopted it. There were, however, particularly three articles in the Constitution which I thought were worthy of some elucidation. This is for the benefit of all the members, but especially for the new members who had just joined our Society. It is always proper to know what is expected of us. The articles referred to are about the basis of the society, its purpose and the duty of the members.–From now on you listen in to the little talk.
Article 2 of our constitution reads: “The basis of this Society is the Word of God as officially interpreted by the Confessional standards of our Church”. This article tells us immediately what we are standing on. Our foundation is the Word of God. We proceed from the Word, we build upon the Word, we want to do all things in our Society in harmony with the Word of God. However, this second article tells us more than that. After all, there are a great many societies and organizations which claim that they have the Word of God as their basis. Hence, we state also in this second article as to where we stand confessionally. We are not Arminian, we are not Undenominational, we do not call ourselves Fundamentalists, although, fundamental we are. However, we are Reformed, more specifically Protestant Reformed. This fact we must at all times remember; we are a Protestant Reformed Young People’s Society. This binds us in our activities, this decides what things we can do and how we can do them. Naturally, if you do not want to stand with us on this basis, there is no room for you in our Society.
This brings me to Article 3, which deals with the “Purpose”, and reads: “This Society is organized for the purpose of developing the religious talents of the youth of the congregation, in order that they may obtain a more vivid insight into the Word of God. To accomplish this aim the Society will study ‘Scripture’, the problems of our age and the Confessions of our Church”. It seems to me that there is something vague about the first part of this article. It is e.g., a little difficult for me to understand as to what is meant by the “religious talents of the youth”. Perhaps it is not so vague at that. The way I understand this article, it goes out from the assumption that as covenant youth, all the members of our society have religious talents; perhaps “spiritual gifts” would be a better expression. Now, these religious talents or spiritual gifts must be used, exercised, developed. We must grow; increase, both for our own wellbeing and the edification of our fellow members. And now our Society is the means, one of the means, to help us develop, grow, increase spiritually. And if we do develop religiously, spiritually, we will obtain a more vivid insight into the Word of God. What a splendid purpose we have in mind. Of course, our very purpose determines what we shall do in our Society to accomplish this aim. We will study Scripture, the problems of our age (in the light of Scripture, of course) and the Confessions of our Church. Don’t you think that as a Society we have high ideals? And it certainly is worthwhile for us as Protestant Reformed youth to be a member of such a Society. On the other hand, the purpose of our Society also, and that naturally, limits us in our activities. We are not in politics, we are no “mission” society, we are no “gossip Club”, we don’t come together to “rake each other over the coals”. We are not a society for sports either. The foregoing does not mean that we condemn all sports, but it simply implies that this is not the purpose of our Society. If e.g. we want to belong to a baseball team, we must not expect that we can change our Society into a baseball club. That would be in conflict with our very purpose. Hence, if you want to be a member of our Society, you must agree with our purpose. If you don’t, that is too bad and we feel sorry for you, but we cannot use you. And if you consider our Young People’s Society to be an “entertainment club” or a “house of fun”, please don’t apply for membership. We have no place for you in our midst. We like to have you be a member and it is our goal that every Protestant Reformed youth be a member of our Society, but you must agree with our basis and our purpose and both are clearly defined in our Constitution.
That brings me to article 4 of our by-laws, which reads (abbreviated): “It shall be the duty of each member to attend Society regularly and come to the meeting fully prepared”. I think that also this article is very plain and speaks for itself. With such a high purpose in mind, we certainly need to come regularly and we must prepare for the meeting. “Prepare”, you say? Yes, exactly that. And that means that particularly with Scripture study and with the discussion of our Confession, we study the matter before we come to the meeting. In the old country, we called this “voorstudy”, “study before”. Perhaps you say: “I thought that we came to listen and that the only one who needs to be prepared is the one who has the introduction”. If that is what you think, you are entirely wrong on this score. If you want to take part in the discussion, you must acquaint yourself with the portion that is to be discussed. If you don’t, you will get little out of it. Fill your mind and soul with the contents of Scripture and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to follow the introduction and to ask intelligent questions or to give the proper answer to questions that may be raised by your fellow members.
Did I hear you say that you never prepare? How is it possible! Is that perhaps the reason why you don’t like Society very well and why you never have anything to say? I take it that from now on you will come to Society prepared. The very purpose of our Society calls for this; you cannot afford to waste time, and the Word of God requires it.
Along these lines was my “little talk”. I said more, but there is no space for a longer article. I hope that I have given you a little “food for thought”. Always remember the basis and the purpose of your Society and always come prepared to the meeting. If you do the latter, you will like your Society, be an active member and you will benefit from the Society and the Society from you. Your Society is what you make it and you get out of it what you put into it.
Perhaps some of you young people will be rather surprised to find an article in our Beacon Lights under the heading: Our Synod. There are several reasons for this, reasons which I need not enumerate at present. However, one of the main reasons is that I just attended our Synodical meeting, and finding no time before to write a requested article, I decided to write about our Synod. This is at least a timely topic as far as our churches is concerned, and it will do you no harm to become a little better acquainted with our Synodical work. I know that there are a good many young people, and older ones, too, who know little or next to nothing about the purpose and functioning of a Synod. Still, you have a greater interest in our Synod than most of you think. And I feel confident that you will agree with me after having read this article.
To begin with, a number of years ago we adopted a Church Order. I can even hear someone ask the question: “What is a church order?” Perhaps by quoting article 1 of our church order you will get a rather clear idea as to what it is and what is its purpose. This article reads as follows: “For the maintenance of good order in the Church of Jesus Christ it is necessary that there should be: offices, assemblies, supervision of doctrine, sacraments and ceremonies and Christian discipline; of which matters the following articles treat in due order.” In other words we have a church order to maintain good order in our churches. We might call our church order the Constitutional Law governing the life of our Protestant Reformed Churches.
I would like to tell you a little more about our church order in general, its main divisions, etc., but my space is limited. Let it suffice to state that our Church Order contains a total of 86 articles. Added to these 86 articles are a number of by-laws, decisions, usages, etc., which have been adopted by our churches and deal with the execution of various articles and the common custom and practice in our churches. Next year, perhaps, our churches will publish a little booklet containing the church order proper, the various decisions and usages guiding the policy of our churches, a number of constitutions and some other related material. When this booklet comes out you would do well to buy a copy and peruse its contents. It will contain a lot of valuable information as far as the proper order is concerned which governs church life, both locally and as a denomination.
But I was to say a little about the Synod. Before I can do this I must answer the question: “But what is a Synod?” It is the broadest gathering of our churches, representing the Classis. We are of course but a small denomination and you know undoubtedly that we have but two Classis: Classis East and West. These two Classis elect four ministers and four elders to represent their Classis at Synod. In other words our Synod is composed of 16 delegates in all. It meets annually in the month of June and its regular sessions are open to the public, although usually there are very few visitors. Synod regulates primarily the matters that are of interest to our churches in general. That’s why at every synodical meeting there is quite a little routine work as e.g. matters pertaining to the welfare and interest of our Theological School, Missions, examining students that have finished their theological course at our Seminary, deciding the assessments for the various denominational funds as: Needy Churches, Student Fund, Mission Fund, etc. etc. All this routine work which comes annually was also dealt with at our last Synod.
And now let me tell you a little about our Synodical meeting of this year. The first session of Synod was held on Wednesday morning, June 6, in one of the rooms of the Fuller Ave. Church. Although, as is always the custom, so also this year, there was a pre-synodical service held in our Fuller Church. At this service, which is valuable as a fitting preparation and as the keynote for the Synodical work proper (it is an hour of prayer and instruction) the president of the previous Synod preaches the sermon. This year that was the task of the Rev. A. Cammenga, who preached on I Cor. 3:9: “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Rev. Cammenga had a fitting and appropriate sermon for the occasion.
When the first session of Synod was held the officers were selected. Rev. R. Veldman was elected as president, and Rev. C. Hanko as secretary. It is not at all my purpose to enter into details with respect to the various matters discussed at the Synod. You would not expect this of me, there is no space for it, you are not interested in it, and besides all the material of Synod will be published in the Acts of the Synod of 1945. However, let me mention some of the highlights.
A couple of years ago our churches decided to have the Psalter reprinted at some future date. At the same time the Psalter will be somewhat revised, other tunes will be added, etc. We had a report of this work at our Synod. From this report it became plain that some real progress has been made. However, there is a lot more work to be done before the Psalter is ready for reprinting in its revised form. The Committee for this work was continued and will report again at our next Synod. More definite steps were also taken toward publishing our Church Order with all decisions, etc. pertaining thereto. I have already referred to this matter. A committee was appointed to report next year and have all the material ready for publication. Finally, if you read our church papers faithfully, you must have read several times about a group of Reformed people, mostly in South Dakota, with whom we have established some unofficial contact. Well, these people, mostly German, have recently organized under the name “Reformed Church of the U. S.” Some time ago one of their leaders, Rev. W. Korn wrote an article in Beacon Lights. It may interest you to know that we had two ministers of the above mentioned group at our Synod. One of the ministers, Rev. W. Krieger, briefly addressed the delegates of Synod, and the group also came to our Synod seeking closer ecclesiastical intercourse. Our Synod took steps in that direction. We do not know what will grow out of this but from both sides we like to become better acquainted. The Synod also granted the request of these Reformed brethren to send young men to our Seminary to study the ministry in their denomination. And that’s about all I can tell you at this time and in the allotted space. I am happy to report that a spirit of brotherly love, mutual esteem and goodwill prevailed at our Synodical meetings. The final session was held on Friday afternoon, June 8.
Synodical meetings are, of course, no ‘picnics’. There is something ‘dry’ about them due to the nature of the meetings and the matters that have to be discussed. (You can perhaps gain that much from this article). On the other hand they are valuable. If all is well they strengthen the tie that binds us together as churches. They are necessary for the welfare and the proper government of our churches. Synod is not the ‘highest judicial’ court but the ‘broadest gathering’ of our Churches. Naturally, the foregoing does not mean that Synod has no authority whatever. As churches we are bound to the decisions and regulations of the Synod by mutual agreement. And as a local consistory looks after the welfare of the congregation, so a Synod looks after the welfare of the churches at large, the churches as they form a denomination.
I would like to continue discussing these matters with you for a little while and broaden out on many things I mentioned, but space does not permit. If this short article has aroused your interest in our churches as a denomination and if it has impressed you with the value and significance of our synodical meetings, I have reached my purpose. And if you want to know more about these things, your local pastor will gladly give you all the desired information. As young people we are members of a local church but the local church belongs to the Protestant Reformed denomination. And because we have a denominational life we can have our Beacon Lights, our Federation, our Conferences, etc.
May God bless the work which Synod performed, may His blessing rest upon our churches. The true, spiritual prosperity of the cause of our Protestant Reformed Youth is very closely related to the true wellbeing of our churches.
The Attention of Youth is Demanded……..
We are rapidly becoming accustomed to the fact that war rages in the world today. Technically we are not at war with any nation, and, consequently we are able to avoid for the present, at least, the pain, the sorrow and the distress that direct, armed participation carries with it. This latter also explains the possibility of our indifference. Nevertheless, we are forced to take cognizance of this struggle. Both the character and the scope of this conflict prevent us from ignoring its reality and its implications.
The character of this war can be determined somewhat from the sentiment expressed by Adolph Hitler in a recent speech. He said in effect that “at present there are two worlds that stand opposed to each other, the world of the “have-nots” and the “haves”, the totalitarian world and the world of the democracies. With the democratic world, we can never reconcile ourselves.” It is therefore plain that more than territorial ambition is at stake in this conflict. It is also a conflict of principles, basic ideas. And as Reformed Youth you can never ignore a battle of opposed ideologies.
Still more concrete is the scope and extent of this war. Geographically it is reaching into Asia, Asia Minor, Africa and Europe. From our American point of view the main contestants are Great Britain and Germany. We are more concerned with happenings in these two countries than we are with the events taking place in Italy and Greece, in China and Japan, or in and around Egypt and Ethiopia. This gigantic struggle approaches us in various ways. In our modern, interdependent world the parts very definitely affect the whole.
The increasing severity of this international, world-wide conflict renders this situation still more acute. All “experts” agree that an “all-out” Spring offensive is to be expected in Europe wherein Germany and her allies will exert themselves to the limit to crush the British empire. In fact, it is possible that this Spring offensive is well under way when these lines appear in print. We have heard rumblings from the Orient of late, causing us no little concern as to the security of our position in the Pacific. Our President, Mr. F. D. Roosevelt, summed up his view of the danger of the present day for America when he said, “Never before, since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock, has our American civilization been in such danger as now. . . . This unholy alliance of the axis rowers aims at a program of world control.”
Certainly, we as American youth must be concerned about this war. On the basis of the above we cannot pursue an ostrich-like policy, hiding our heads in the sand to avoid reality. Our attention is demanded!
Youth is Affected in Many Respects….
Our thinking is perhaps first of all affected by this war. By means of radio, press, and pulpit this thing is constantly brought before our attention. The chief topic of conversation has shifted from a consideration of the weather and its consequences to a discussion about some phase of the war. Meanwhile we are besieged with pro-British propaganda, all of which colors our opinions to a large extent. Sympathy and antipathy is aroused. Our atmosphere is charged with the currents and cross-currents of inter¬national strife.
Youth is affected still more particularly, however, by our own national program for defense. Now that we are awakening out of our lethargy, millions upon millions of dollars are being spent to prepare ourselves in the event of actual combat. This program calls for an enlarged army and navy, and increased production of war materials. Both of these phases of our national defense directly involve our youth. Our young men and women are called upon to work in our large industries. Our young men are commanded to shoulder arms for their country. Then there is the unpleasant truth that if war should actually mean armed participation by soldiers of America, our young men, the “flower of the nation”, will be obligated to sacrifice their very lives if need be, on the battle-fields. War means exactly that.
But, you say, at present we are not required to fight, nor to suffer and die as if we were actually participating. And what is more, our government promises to do all in its power to avoid bloodshed. Yes, that much is true. Nevertheless, we all must agree that our present “aid-to-Britain” policy is extremely dangerous. Reality is that war may be entered upon at any moment. Of course, we all hope that this may never happen, yet we must not comfort ourselves with false illusions. This present struggle is of such a character and so tremendous in scope that we cannot help but be affected in many ways. Let us then be wide awake to the implications and possibilities of this war.
Youth will Share in the Aftermath of the It. . .
That this war will produce great changes in the world as we know it today is quite generally maintained by students of political and economic science. In event of a totalitarian victory the results that will follow are easy to imagine. Germany and Russia under Hitler and Stalin furnish us with excellent examples upon the basis of which we can readily visualize the changes that will take place in countries conquered by these powers. Should Britain survive, the old order will nevertheless suffer change. Democracy and capitalism as exemplified by the English is believed to have seen its day. Far reaching changes are in store, and these changes will affect youth. New problems will have to be faced, in a certain sense a new world will make its appearance, and a new period in the history of mankind will be realized. And although these changes may begin in Europe or in any other part of the world. America will certainly be affected.
This aftermath will also carry disease, famine, depression, both physical and financial, and other dire consequences along with it. These things invariably accompany war. And they too will embrace America, even though we should be able to avoid actual combat.
These consequences are of tremendous importance for youth. They will affect youth in respect to their jobs and their conceptions: they will change the picture of their entire life. The old generation will die out, but it remains for youth to carry on.
Our Youth should View this all as a Sign of the Times. . . .
Whatever the future may have in store for us as Christian, Reformed youth we must view this war as one more “sign of the times”. For us the future is not an unknown quantity. We know that the Lord will bring judgment upon the nations by means of wars and rumors of wars. And even though the purpose in the minds of the warring nations is to establish, their way of thinking and their way of life by means of force, God uses such means to realize the purposes of His sovereign good pleasure.
Youth is idealistic. Nevertheless, in times such as these it is well that we take a realistic view of the facts in the present situation. For one thing, it is increasingly evident that the world is being swept along toward that new order termed in Scripture as “the kingdom of Anti-Christ’. Also, the fact that peace will erelong be established between the nations does not mean that peace is in store for the Church of Jesus Christ on earth. Let us not entertain false, deceptive notions unawares. The concentration camps, the secret police or “Gestapo” as they are called, as existing today in Germany and Russia, are only beginnings of worse things to come. For it is the plain testimony of Scripture that the last
days before the end will be filled with tribulation for the people of God.
Shall we stand? Only if we heed the call to equip ourselves with the whole armor of God, preparing ourselves spiritually to wage that spiritual warfare that can only result in victory. That demands recognition of the seriousness of our calling. Still more, that demands that we always remember that our God rules over all. that His counsel must be fulfilled, and that the final climax of all things will take place at the glorious return of Christ to redeem us forever from the powers of iniquity. On the basis of such faith we can be optimistic in the midst of a chaotic world, knowing that we are of Christ, and that Christ is King forevermore.
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 […]
As we examined the first eleven chapters of Genesis last month, we took note of the fact that the book of Genesis is theological, meaning it helps us to grow in our knowledge of God. In addition, we noted that the book of Genesis is historical, meaning that the events chronicled in it are the […]
Who am I? What is my purpose on this earth? Why is everything the way that it is? These are the kinds of questions that often trouble young people as they become more independent from their parents, enter the world of college or career, and make major life decisions such as choosing a spouse, a […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Although it’s been a couple of months since we’ve been immersed in news coming from Japan about the 2020/2021 Olympic games, it’s still worth considering how these events are understood in the modern worldview of our country. The “Top Story of the Day” on Monday, August 9 (at least according to my newsfeed), was how […]
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 […]
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 […]
The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]