Dear Mr. Editor:

May I reply to Mr. Edward J. Knott whose article appeared in the April issue of Beacon Lights: with its heading, Our Doctrine? A Way of Life.

The brother reminds his readers of the fact, that some years ago he wrote an oration in which he cited various things which he believed constituted dangers to our Christian schools.  The dangers were: alliance with the public school, dishonesty, and conformity.  But as time goes on, the brother is of the opinion that things become worse; for not only the school but also the church goes in the wrong direction.  It is the spirit of worldliness which seems to have invaded not only the school, but even the church.

At the school where the brother is student things go wrong.  Some of his classmates uphold the movies, profanity is common, and the general spirituality is low.  The only criterions seem to be: How can we enjoy ourselves?

Even the church has not escaped.  Knowledge of the truth and interest in the church is slight. People have other interests.  The church as a vital, living factor in their lives seems to be gone.  And the brother asks, what is the reason? Where can we put the blame? And he comes to the conclusion that the church itself must assume a good share of it.  For in the preaching, and otherwise, the emphasis has tended to be placed on a system of doctrine.

Now I fully agree with the writer; if the doctrine is wrong people go in the wrong direction.  It is an established fact that the church as a whole is worldly-minded.

However, the brother is of the opinion that also in our own church things go wrong; for we have this in common with other churches that in the preaching, and otherwise, the emphasis has tended to be placed on a system of doctrine; and under this systemization many of the deeper spiritually joys have been lost.  It is no anymore a vital living factor in the lives of the believers.
To be sure, the brother is not opposed to doctrinal preaching, but it must be practical doctrine and not too intellectual.

Now, it is my conviction that we receive just that, namely, practical doctrinal preaching:  the full rich gospel of salvation.  It is not man-made, but God centered.  It is not intellectually dry and dead, but living and full of action.  It is preached with holy zeal and enthusiasm.

It is the doctrine of God in Jesus Christ, who saves to the full.  It is a savor of life unto life, but also a savor of death unto death. It is a power of God unto salvation; and by the grace of God it is surely applied unto the hearts of believers.

It is not a Salvation Army talk or a Sunday-School lesson, or a good for nothing alter call.  It is not an offer, but the gift from the Triune God, the Alpha and the Omega, the I Am.

It is the gospel of Predestination and Reprobation; the gospel of the love of God, who in Sovereign Grace predestinated a people which should serve Him forever and ever.

It is not a nice 20 minute talk or a political speech; but the gospel that is preached amongst us is the Bread of Life; the only comfort in life and death for the people of God.

I feel quite confident that brother Knott finds it that way in our churches.

Let us as Protestant people live our confession and our homes will be dwellings of spiritual joy.

Thank you, Mr. Editor, for the space allowed me.

Mr. S. De Vries,

Grand Rapids, Michigan

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