“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. “And God made the beast of the earth…and everything that creepeth upon the earth…and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25. God created all things for himself. God saw what He created that it was good. God chose a people unto himself out of sovereign grace and according to His good pleasure for the praise of His own name. God placed that people He created in the midst of the world to enjoy His creation and to praise His holy name. That is our purpose, God’s covenant people, to praise His holy name.

But what purpose does God have for living creatures? He gave them to us as pictures. We can see and learn His way for us in the world of living creatures. Through His creation all men know God, that is, that there is a God. No man will be left without excuse. All men will have to admit that they saw Him in the created world. His works are all around us.

God’s creation is marvelously and intrinsically endowed with creatural organisms both great and small. From the giant Redwoods of the west coast to the microscopic, glass-housed idatoms of the sea; from the mammoth whales of the ocean to the smallest animalia that roam the most distant deserts; all of these organisms, some astonishingly large, as well as, the seemingly insignificant microscopically small, all have their place in His creation.

The diatoms, a brown algae form, provide food for virtually all the aquatic life in the oceans and seas. They also provide a very large percentage of the oxygen that we breathe. Tiny, but oh so important!

Solomon tells us in Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” Even the tiny, seemingly insignificant ant is a picture lesson for us.

Think of the ugly caterpillar, a picture of us in our sins. Now watch as it spins its chrysalis, rests for a while, later to emerge a beautiful winged butterfly, a picture of our resurrection.

The birds, those little winged creature, fly about without a burden of care. They trust their heavenly maker for all their needs. Do we? They also sing, sing praise to their heavenly maker. “Let the heavens and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moveth therein.” Psalm 69:34.

“O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches.” Psalm 104:24.

“The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.” Psalm 111:2.

Reading is one of the basic subjects in our curriculum, and its foundation is laid in the primary grades.  It is the task of the primary teachers to so equip a child with reading skills that he can go on using and applying these skills to his many other subjects.  It is so important for the child to acquire these skills that without them he will be a failure in his other work.  The foundation upon which all other learning is built is established in these grades.  It is here where the child develops all the skills necessary to get meaning from the printed page.  A reader of words alone is no reader at all, but rather to learn how to get meaning from these words is essential.  It is here where the child learns the many sounds which are represented by the symbols on the page.  He learns to use these sounds to unlock new words.  He also learns to analyze words, to see the various parts within a word and with these parts to build new words.

The classroom is a busy place during the reading period.  At this time the teacher does her best to work with each child according to his own ability. This usually results in teaching the children in small groups, each group using their talents to the utmost.  The groups progress at their own rate, and find reading to be fun and challenging.

To teach reading in this way requires a great deal of patience on the part of the teacher.  Patience which she receives from God.  Privileged indeed is the person whom God has chosen for this great task, for to be entrusted with the task of training God’s covenant children and to be responsible for their reading training is a great calling.  Precious are His children and great is the satisfaction when one sees progress, be it oh so little in some cases.

Pertinent indeed is this reading training in our Protestant Reformed Schools.  For our children deserve to have the best in teaching in this field.  It is a big field and there is much to be learned.  What we need is teachers!  Teachers who will feel the call and devote their time to this great task.  How great a calling it really is—to be used by God for this work.  His children will use these skills in reading to take their place in His church, as His workmen.  This is our real goal, and therein lies the purpose of this teaching.

Have you ever stopped to watch a little girl playing with her dolls, or a little boy playing with his trucks? My! how busy he is, putting himself wholeheartedly into his play. Yes, this is the nature of a child; what he does, he does wholeheartedly. It is for this reason that a child is such a joy to teach; he listens well, absorbs everything. Because a child is so easily led, we must be very careful what we impress upon his little mind.

These small children are entrusted to us by God, first as parents, and later as teachers and parents. It is our duty and calling to instruct these children, to train them. We often think this instruction begins after the child is old enough to understand or to reason. If you wait until the child is a year old to begin this instruction, I fear you have already wasted one precious year. Instruction begins immediately; a child soon knows his Mother, the touch of her hand, the sound of her voice. And very soon he knows that Mother and Dad mean what they say, or he may learn that if he cries they will give in. So we see the training process going on in the very small child.

As children get a little older their learning capacity becomes greater. A mother doesn’t have to say, “Well, today I’ll sit down and teach Johnnie his Sunday School verse.” No, learning comes gradually through repetition, and a mother can teach her child as she goes about her work each day. She can talk to her child, sing to him and with him, look at picture books, and later read to him. She can show him the way of a Christian in her daily life. Children learn by doing, so help your child to do the right things and to do things right. Teach him obedience for God’s sake, and respect for adults. Teach your child to observe God’s creation round about him. Tell him who makes the seed grow, the flowers to bloom, the sun to shine, the snow to fall, etc. Give to your child all you can.

Oh, but you say, that takes time; we just don’t have that much time. Our calling is to train our children in the way that they should go, and that way is the way of God’s people. Yes, it certainly does take time, but first things first. For the very reason that this is a time‑consuming thing and a real necessity, Mothers should he at home all the time and should not feel compelled to work out. You have a great and wonderful responsibility; don’t underestimate the ability of your child by thinking he is too young to learn these things; but rather teach him all his little mind is able to absorb.

With a training of this nature at home, the five year old child will be well prepared to enter school. You will have laid the foundation not only for school days but for life. Upon this firm foundation we teachers can build; we can instruct your child, to the best of our ability, in the ways of our God. Indeed, we count it a privilege to train these covenant children to be stalwart sons and daughters of Christ. To quote John Ruskin: “It is a painful, continual, and difficult work to be done by kindness, by watching, by warning, by precept, and by praise, but above all – by example.”

Rev. G. Van Baren spoke to us Thursday morning on the topic: “Fighting the Battle of Faith.” He pointed out, that the fact that we must hold fast to the truth which we have, implies that there is a battle.

In his first point, the battle as such, Rev. Van Baren said that in our day the emphasis is net on battle or fighting, but rather on peace. This idea of peace rather than battle is permeated in the so-called church also. The devil always tries to destroy the Church of God. There is overagainst the Church of God the world. The world offers unto you its pleasures, she tries to seduce the Church, persecute her. Our flesh would go along with the world, for it stands opposed to the truth. When the world comes with its temptations, the flesh says: “It doesn’t make any difference,” or “I don’t see any danger in doing that, or going in that way.” Our flesh would lead us into sin.

Rev. Van Baren went on in his second point, the necessity of the battle, to say that the truth is the issue of battle. You let the truth go and there is no battle. The truth concerns us every step of the way. As young people you will face many problems in finding your life’s work, the union for one. If you maintain the troth, it means you cannot go along with the world. You must maintain this truth in choosing your life’s partner also.

We sometimes become discouraged and disheartened; it seems as if this battle is impossible, too much for the Church. Against this we are admonished; do not be discouraged, God is faithful. This battle is not fought with physical strength; apart from God you have no strength.

And finally, in his third point, preparation unto battle, Rev. Van Baren said, stand fast, young people, and face that battle in the midst of the world, with the shield of faith. With that shield of faith we stand fast, and can stand fast – all this is from God, through His gifts. We must pray without ceasing, live in prayer, our strength relies in Him alone. With the strength of God we alone can fight the battle of faith.

Your Federation Board has held three meetings since our last convention. In our Septemher meeting a committee was appointed to draw up a list of topics from our library file for society after-recess programs. This list was completed and is now in the hands of the secretaries of our various societies. It is the hope of the Board that, since the organization of the library is now completed, the young people make use of it.

Once again the Board planned a Reformation Day Mass Meeting for the societies in and around Grand Rapids. Rev. McCollam gave a very interesting and informative speech. Arn. Dykstra from our Hudsonville Church favored us with a vocal solo and Jim Jonker and Mary Pastoor favored us with an organ and piano duet. The after recess section of the program was climaxed with a debate on the topic: Resolved, that revolution under tyrannical government is principally right. Cornie Bykerk and Lam Lubbers debated on the affirmative with Bob Decker and Jake Kuiper on the negative. The judges announced that the negative won the debate.

The Board also decided to have our copies of The Standard Bearer bound for use in the library.

We are looking for any proposals which you might wish to present at the coming convention. Proposals should be in the hands of the secretary not later than the first of April.

Originally Published In:

Vol. 18 No. 2 March 1958

You may be surprised to find an article on this topic in our Young People’s magazine, but the question: Can we as Christian young people participate in some forms of dancing for recreation? is in the minds of many people today. For this reason, dear reader, we have decided to discuss the problem.

I had the opportunity to listen to a pro-con discussion on this question. I will tell you in part what was said there and perhaps we can come to some conclusion on the matter.

Those speaking in favor of the question pointed out: 1) that according to Phil. 4:5 we can engage in dancing to a moderate degree, just as we show moderation in other things. 2) Dancing is something we, as Christians, have been afraid to indulge in, but by doing so would be a good way to squelch the curiosity young people have concerning this activity. 3) Dancing would be a means to fulfill the recreational needs of young people – inactivity isn’t good. 4) Dancing serves to develop the whole person, the physical as well as the mental.

5) Dancing, when kept in proper bounds, and channeled in the proper direction can be a very worthwhile recreation.

The affirmative also raised some questions: 1) What does it really mean to be a separate people? 2) What does it mean to be in the world, but not of the world? 3) Is there perhaps just a stigma connected with the word dancing which makes us think it so evil?

The negative set out to prove the wrong in engaging in such recreation. I believe their strongest point was that the so-called harmless dance definitely leads to other forms of dancing which in the end would find us walking hand and hand with the world. They also pointed out that dancing is intoxicating; once you indulge in it, it may be difficult to stop, and so becomes habitual. The physical advantages derived from dancing can be obtained by the Christian in other, more healthy forms of exercise and recreation. The Christian is in the world, but not of it; he cannot engage in this activity and think it right merely because it is performed by a Christian. These actions are sinful for the Christian also.

Now, dear reader, let us ask ourselves the question. To find our answer let us turn to the Word of God – the Scriptures. Are not these given to us of God and do we not find a guide for our walk of life therein? In II Cor. 6:16b and, 17 we read: “. . .will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and he ye separate, saith the Lord…” And in Eph. 5:1, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” Also verse 8: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord, walk as children of light.”

Can we do both? Can we walk as children of light, and also on the other hand join with the world in their recreation? Can we serve God and mammon?

What do you think, dear reader? Can some form of dancing serve a legitimate place in the Christian’s recreation?

Originally published in:

Vol. 18 No. 1 February 1958

Kindergarten is a community of five and six-year old people. These people are very special people, spontaneous, warm, friendly, and eager. Although still firmly attached to home and family, they are beginning to discover the world of people and the things about them. They lavish their love and affection upon that fortunate individual, the kindergarten teacher, and share with her their most important secrets.

The Christian Kindergarten has a real purpose. Its purpose is to train these children, God’s covenant children, in the way that they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from it. It is in the Kindergarten where the foundation is laid upon which all future education is built; therefore, it is extremely important that a firm foundation is laid.

An important function of the Kindergarten will be the bridging of the gap between the home and the school. A small child must step out of the home into a new and unfamiliar environment. The informal atmosphere saturated with a Christian understanding of, and attitude toward, little children will make it easier for the small child to adjust slowly and happily to the formal school situation.

A Christian Kindergarten is an ideal place for a child to make his entrance into the big world in which he is to live. The transition from home to school can be a happy one. Success here often has a great bearing upon the emotional stability of the child throughout his school life. This is important, for emotional stability is one of the factors that is required before a child can react intelligently and efficiently to any new problem. Thus the Kindergarten will aim to stabilize the child’s emotional status by adjusting him slowly to situations that he will meet. The Kindergarten gradually gets the children ready for the step into the grades.

What is taught and practiced in the Kindergarten must also be accepted in the home if there is to be a lasting effect or a permanent impression. The Christian Kindergarten teacher will try to bring about a close cooperation between the school and the homes of the children.

Teachers will be able to contribute more to the growth of children if they sincerely study them, and through their study try to understand them, their abilities, their potentialities, and their needs.

Christian teachers realize fully that children, even the best of them, are sinful beings, inclined to evil, but also heirs and recipients of the full grace and love of God. They are redeemed by Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Little children will have to be taught what is right and what is wrong, and much patience will have to be exercised on the part of the teacher during the early period of learning, when many mistakes will be repeated, sometimes quite unconsciously and sometimes willingly. A teacher will have to learn to discriminate between actual sinful actions and mere forgetfulness, over-exuberance, or immaturity on the part of the child, and will have to administer corrective measures accordingly.

The Kindergarten curriculum is composed of a variety of activities through which the goals of the Kindergarten are attained. The day in the Christian Kindergarten is always begun with prayer and songs of praise to our Heavenly Father. The Bible story follows which is a constructive way of instructing these little children in the truths of God’s Word.

Growing through social experiences is a part of the curriculum. The social growth of the child is essential for his well-being. The child is influenced by all things in his environment, and he reacts to them as a whole person. Teachers in Christian Kindergartens have the responsibility of providing an environment which exerts a wholesome Christian influence.

Another part of the Kindergarten curriculum is exploring the world. In order to learn, the children must experiment and experience rather than be told.

Art is an important means of expression. Children learn quite early to express their ideas by this means. And little boys and girls have ideas! They love to express them, but since they are not yet able to write them down, they express themselves very ably and willingly in the form of art. They can write down their thoughts with crayons, paints, and charcoal, and can also give expression to their feelings and ideals with clay, papier-mache, and other art media.

Getting ready to read is an important phase in the curriculum. Through the many exercises, experiences, and activities provided the child should attain this reading readiness by the end of the Kindergarten year. It is of great importance that each child be ready for reading before he is put into the reading program.
The children’s daily language reveals how much they know about numbers in general. Their desire to use numbers is a good indication that they are ready to enlarge their concepts and learn even better how numbers may function in their daily lives. Number work, therefore, cannot be kept out of the Kindergarten.

Play is natural.
Girls and boys are bright and gay!
Life for them is mostly play —
And they think it’s so much fun,
Just to jump, and skip, and run.

The play period should be a period of good fun and comradeship, to which the teacher lends added enjoyment by joining wholeheartedly in the activities. Any play period must be under the careful and skillful planning and execution of the teacher. Uncontrolled, boisterous, disorderly play has no place in a Kindergarten, where children are learning the first courtesies of Christian living together. It should not be forgotten that also the play period is a training period.
Rest and refreshment are important factors in the Kindergarten program. The rest period is often accompanied by soft music, or perhaps a story.

What sort of person should the Kindergarten teacher be? We may say that in selecting a teacher for young children, we want the very finest person we can get, a person who would still be a fine person if for one reason or another she gave up her teaching. Probably the best teachers for young children are women. The teacher of young children needs to be alert physically as well as mentally. She needs to have the spirit of the explorer. She needs to have eyes in the back of her head. The children in the Kindergarten are not arranged in neat rows before their teacher as they so often are in the upper grades.

Privileged indeed is the person whom the Lord has called for such a task. How wonderful for her to know that it has pleased God to use her in the instruction of His covenant youth — used her to lay that firm foundation upon which all later instruction is built.

The young people of our Creston Church held a Singspiration in their church for the purpose of getting funds to cover the cost of a recorder which they hoped to purchase. This recorder is to be used to bring sermons to the shut-ins and other uses. We were led in singing by Chuck Westra, a most capable director.

During the course of the evening we were favored with various special numbers. The “King’s Ambassadors,” which consists of: Chuck Westra, Jim Schipper, John Bult, and Don Faber, sang for us, accompanied by Jim Jonker. Also the Male Quartet from our Hope Church sang. There was an instrumental duet by Henrietta DenBesten and Jane Timmerman of our Second Church.

The collection taken gave our Creston young people a big help in their efforts, and I am sure we all spent a very enjoyable Sunday evening singing praises to our Maker.

+ + + + +

            Our annual Reformation Day Mass Meeting was held this year at our Hope Prot. Ref. Church. Jim Schipper opened the meeting with prayer, and led us in the singing of a few numbers from our Psalter. We were then favored with a number from the “King’s Ambassadors” and the Hope Male Quartet combined; they were accompanied by Jim Jonker.

Our speaker for the evening was student A. Mulder, who spoke to us on the topic: “God’s Promises of Truth: Its Testimony in History.” His speech was both interesting and beneficial to us as young people. This is a short summary of the things he said:

“Tonight we are concerned with a portion of history, in fact, the newest portion there is as of right now. And history, we know, is the unfolding of the counsel of Jehovah. This does not unfold arbitrarily but rather purposefully. That purpose is to lead His Church with Christ as Head into all Truth so that God is glorified forever.”

“The most tremendous comfort to us is that we know that the knowledge of Truth not only lived, and lives, but that it shall always continue to live in us. Hence, we celebrate reform. It is the Church’s possession – the gift of God. The Church and she alone owns it, understands it, and experiences it. She alone celebrates it; and she alone connects it with history.”

“Knowledge of the Truth is the knowing and experiencing of the beautiful Scriptural truths and then seeing clearly the story of God as He reveals it to His church in history.”

“Why is there this knowledge? Simply by Promise, and this is essentially the entire purpose and plan revealed to the Church.”

“How is there a knowledge of Truth? Simply by fulfillment of that promise. So it is with the Reformation. An event in the Counsel of God wherein unrighteousness strove to corrupt Truth, and made itself guilty before God, yea, inexcusable unto death, and died – given as a ransom for truth; then truth enveloped forth much more clearly developed, shining in beauty, for the Church of all ages to see that the promise of God still operates and will continue so to operate by His word and spirit for His church.”

Mr. Mulder went on to explain the historical divisions of the Reformation, the conflicts involved, and the testimony of truth in Luther. “The promise of God, as He speaks it in the hearts of His people of all ages, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and by His Spirit, led Luther. And so too He will guide us into all truth and show it unto us. God’s promise concerning Truth remains upheld by Him and carried out by Him. And its testimony stands as a beacon for His church.”

We were then favored with a piano solo by Mary Pastoor from our First Church. After recess we enjoyed an instrumental number by Bob and Mary Decker, both from our First Church. Then followed an exciting debate on the topic: Resolved, that physical contact sports are morally wrong. Agatha Lubbers and Fran Flikkema took the affirmative and Dwight Monsma and Rich Van Baren the negative. The negative won the debate according to the decision of the judges.

Rev. McCollam closed our meeting with prayer. As usual, the real debate took place outside after the meeting was over, but we young people always enjoy each other’s company and arguments. We all enjoyed this Mass Meeting and are looking forward to our next one.

On a beautiful afternoon in September, as many of our people as possible were gathered together to celebrate the 40th anniversary in the ministry of our beloved pastor, Rev. H. Hoeksema. The celebration was held on Sept. 16, at the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds. We spent an enjoyable afternoon talking with old friends and meeting many new friends. The first speaker of the afternoon was Rev. G. M. Ophoff. Here follows some of the things he said:

“We are assembled here to commemorate that our brother, Rev. Hoeksema, has completed 40 years in the ministry. We hope that the Lord may sustain him several years, and that is our prayer, and I hope it is a permissible prayer. His physical condition is not that one gets the impression that he may go any time, for he can do a lot of walking, swimming, etc. His sermons have that characteristic that makes them enjoyable to listen to. His writings are clear and easy to understand. At one time he was sick, and could not walk, but the Lord preserved him. Thus, I would like to utter this prayer. Our desire is that the Lord may preserve him.

Let me delve into the past. I first knew him as a student at Calvin; we had no contact, except for one year he was my teacher in English Literature.

It was while I was in seminary that the Johnson trouble arose. During this time, I had no contact with Rev. Hoeksema, but viewed him at a distance as the only one of all the ministers including the professors who had the truth. From that time on he was my man.

The friends and supporters of Johnson were friends with Rev. Hoeksema, but when they succeeded with their three points, they even gained the will of all those who had stood shoulder to shoulder with him. Rev. Hoeksema was cast out because he would not do what before God he could not do; subscribe and defend the doctrine of the three points, for these three points are heretical. So through the use of these three points, the Christian Reformed Church became heretical, and we were deposed because we would not adhere to what before God we could not adhere to.

When a Church tramples under the truth of God, it becomes as salt which has lost its savor, and becomes accepted by the world.

Rev. Hoeksema’s years have been filled with a fight for the truth, and the Lord has sustained him, even during our recent controversy. We have a great deal of Protestant Reformed literature, the bulk of which is from his pen.

Our beginning was small, we were but three churches, but we prospered, and now again we are small, but not quite as small. If we are spiritual we will not think of our smallness. We are the very heart of all that calls itself church today. Let us not mourn just because we are small, but by God’s mercy abide in the truth no matter how small we continue to be. May God give us grace to walk in His ways. To God above, therefore, is all the glory.”

Our next speaker for the afternoon was the Rev. C. Hanko. His speech was interesting for he could speak of experiences since childhood which he had with Rev. Hoeksema, as you can see from his speech:

“It’s 40 years ago that Rev. Hoeksema became minister; of those, I knew him 35 years. In Eastern Avenue he was my catechism teacher and pastor. In seminary he was my professor. Still later, I knew him as fellow pastor. He and I will remember visits to each other’s homes. It was in Randolph that he became a real friend. Then we became fellow pastors in First Church. Nearly all that I know I have learned from him. To me, he is my spiritual father.

In 1924, we were told that our church had no future; all we stood on was the denial of common grace. Our history has denied that many times. We learned to see that, in the covenant, Christ has the pre-eminence, the first begotten of the Father.

At an occasion like this, there is always a certain note of joy, but also a note of sadness. Our people remarked that we are not going to use this occasion to eulogize a man, but the Lord has given him certain gifts and has prepared him for his unique position. His enemies like to talk about his faults, and he certainly has faults, we all do; of course it’s true, and he knows it. But shame on anyone who is so proud and haughty as to point a finger at him. Of course, Rev. Hoeksema has nothing of himself; that is what he has preached for 40 years; he knows it too, and would be deeply insulted if we didn’t mention it today.

We thank our God and can sincerely say: “Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercies toward us,” and also: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits toward us.”

The sad note is that the journey ends. Some say, what then? Others think that will be our end. They point to the fact that we are small. Beloved, if that is true, then the sooner we give up our existence, the better. If we cherish that thought, we have no right to exist. But we know that the Word of God abides forever. We have that Word and it abides forever. We have it and cherish it. Many have turned their backs to us who were once with us, but many never had the truth; they served a man, and when he proved to be a mortal man they cast him down to seek another idol.

We know that our God is faithful, we confidently commit the future to Him. Hitherto the Lord hath blessed us and He will continue to provide and we will pass it on to our children and our church will not perish. We can confidently hold on and He will be with us. “All flesh is grass, but the word of the Lord lives forever.”

After these two speeches, we all enjoyed our supper out of doors. We then gathered once more in the Conference Grounds Chapel to enjoy more speeches. The first speaker in the evening was Mr. John Faber, clerk of First Church Consistory. The following are a few of the remarks he made:

“Rev. Hoeksema’s life can be described as stormy. Just as God used parents to produce a Martin Luther to lead His church, so the Lord, the King of His church, used parents to produce a Rev. Hoeksema to lead His people, to be a fighter. He is our spiritual father.

When he was one year old, they moved to Groningen. The family was poor. At the age of 12 he graduated from grade school and from trade school at the age of 15. He learned the blacksmith trade, and worked hard to earn money for the family. At 18 he went to America, and immediately got a blacksmith job which didn’t last long. After two years he sent for his family. His lifelong desire was to be a minister. He met a girl in Chicago, Nellie Kuiper, and after a few months she was promised to him. They were engaged for 7 years. She stood by him and spurred him on when discouraged.

Rev. Hoeksema doesn’t always work; he likes to vacation in Maine and swim every day in the cold, salty water of the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ll never forget his one argument which is: “That’s Scripture, that’s Reformed. God be praised.”

Mr. Faber’s speech was followed by Rev. G. Vos, pastor of our Hudsonville Church. These are a few of the things he said:

“I can be rather careless tonight because no matter what I say, I could not hurt Rev. Hoeksema. And you know why. I suppose you know how much he is slandered, but no matter how much they slander him, it does not hurt him; they could not hurt him. He has his statutes, God has given them to him. It used to hurt him at first, but not anymore. I could say all manner of things against him falsely, but I wouldn’t. The reason is, because God is in this audience and God is in my heart, and I certainly will endeavor to be true, for God’s sake.

God has given scouts to the Church throughout the ages. The Church needs guides, and so there was Moses, Luther, Calvin, and Rev. Hoeksema is a gift of the Lord God also. Heroism? Perish the thought!

The question is, who shall tell us who the scouts are in the desert land, amidst the snakes? Those who have spoken the complete Word of God, God speaks, and that will tell you who is a real scout. Wherever you find a true Church, you find the scouts of God. I have imitated them for 38 years. In spite of the devil and his host, we are here tonight. How nice it is that it came now after we have been separated. Now we are gathered in joy, but if it had been three years ago, I also would stand here with oppressed soul.

I will not glory in man, but Jesus Christ, the same today, yesterday, and always.  Jesus Christ is the scout to which we cannot compare ourselves.

Rev. Hoeksema once said, “I’m a lone wolf,” but there has always been a man in your shadow, that is the Rev. Ophoff; he has loved you, followed you, has been your strong arm, standing by you. May the Lord spare you and Rev. Ophoff, is our hope and prayer.”

We also had a voice from the West, a speech on recording by the Rev. H. Veldman, pastor of our church in Edgerton, Minn. Here are but a few of his remarks:

“Today the West joins with the East in singing God’s praises. Rev. Hoeksema has led us in the sovereign mystery of God’s Word. His entire ministry has been devoted to the preaching of God’s truth. Willing and ready he was to take the slander of those who used to be with us.

The Lord has used Rev. Hoeksema in the bringing of His truth. The truth that he has been privileged to preach is indeed the true Word of God.

We are grateful for all that he has done for us, but soon he will go the way of all flesh. We are also thankful for all that God has done for us; He will remain with us forever and bring us some day to glory.

This is a voice from the West. Rev. Hoeksema, we want to congratulate you. Men come and go, but the Word of the Lord shall live forever. May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His blessing be upon us.”

Rev. Veldman was the last of our speakers, and during the course of the evening we were also favored with numbers from our Hope Prot. Ref. and Adams Prot. Ref. School choirs. Rev. Hoeksema then received his gift from all our churches, which was given to him in appreciation, and also to express, in a little way, our love to him. He then closed with a few remarks:

“I think I need a day or two to appreciate everything that has been said, and to let it soak in. This is not a day to glorify a man and of that I am glad. There is not a doubt in my mind or an inkling in my heart that you really mean these things. I am not proud, I am fully aware that I am an instrument in the hand of God. All my writings are for me a privilege from the Lord, of which I am thankful. I am thankful that I was an instrument in the building of our church. I am glad that Rev. Ophoff was mentioned. I feel no reason to be proud or puffed up.

People often say, where has 40 years gone to! How fast time flies! This is not my feeling; these years were so crowded that when I look back I do not say where have these 40 years gone, but how was it possible, that so much could happen in 40 years.

Of course, beloved, I have my sins, my faults, and made my mistakes. But these 40 years were in God’s counsel even before they were.

As far as my ministry is concerned, I’m absolutely convinced that my ministry was in detail very evidently determined by God’s good pleasure, not by me.

Now I think back and see very plainly that our recent history was in the counsel of God. It was in God’s counsel that I was sick and couldn’t preach. The enemies put up their heads; the Lord made me sick to give them the chance to stick up their heads. They sold our church to the Liberated. They thought I would never preach again.

I am before God convinced and here testify that I have always striven to bring you the true manifestation of God’s Word. It is because of that truth that all the troubles occurred in my life.

I wish to thank you for this day. May you continue to walk in this truth in which you are instructed and have been instructed.”

We are grateful to God for this day that He has given us, and for our beloved pastor. Yet we know in our hearts that although Rev. Hoeksema will not last forever, our God will be with us forever and ever. And we know too, Rev. Hoeksema, that the Lord will grant us grace to continue in the truth, wherein He has given you the privilege to instruct us.

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

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 […]

Continue reading