Dear Friends:

In the first place, a blessed New Year to you all!

This issue, no doubt, will reach you when 1945 has already made its entrance, and therefore my wish to you may seem a little late.  However, it is just as sincere as if this wish had been extended to you on the very first day of this new year.

And what shall it bring us?  This question no doubt has arisen in the hearts of many of you.

This is especially true with a view to so many readers who are at present in military service, either stationed in camps at home, or fighting battles at the front, or at sea or in the air.  Our hearts are often filled with concern about you all.

Anxiously we often ask, “Will God bring them back to us during this year 1945?”  We do not know.  Oh, yes, our natural desires say, we hope so, and even our daily personal prayers and also our congregational prayers are sent to the throne of grace for their safe keeping and our petition is: O, dear Lord, could it be, bring them back healthy in body and mind and above all in Spirit, do not let their faith falter.  May God grant that they may return in 1945.  But also in this thing our desire must be, as God’s Will may be done.

As far as we know, at this writing, not many of our boys have been taken away.  We do not know what God’s purpose is with us and our boys.  It is possible that more lives will be taken before this terrible conflict will come to an end.  It is possible that some of us will have to be cast in the crucible of God’s trials; that our faith has to be tried.  When God takes away some of our dearest possessions, He is trying us.  In all events may our faith be strong.  We are so completely in His hands, that not a hair can fall from our head, nor even a sparrow fall from the housetop without His Divine Will.  Therefore, we take comfort and we enter through the door of the year of our Lord 1945 with courage looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith and say, come what may, God will give us strength according to the way.  Once more a blessed New Year to you all!

Everywhere around us we hear the war discussed.  The possibilities of victory for the allies are generally admitted.  Even we hear the statements “God will give the allies the victory” and in many churches or public gatherings prayers are offered for an allied victory.  There is a great danger in this attitude.  This was forcibly brought to my attention a few weeks ago when someone sent me a newspaper clipping.  This clipping was part of a daily newspaper article by columnist Dorothy Thompson.  She had been reading a book or pamphlet by President Abraham Lincoln dealing with a similar problem.  During the terrible Civil War, President Lincoln said: “that we should always strive for God’s will and should be wanting to do His will.  But it is not always easy to know what His will is.  In this great conflict we find that both the North and the South are praying for victory.  Either one of them might be wrong, and even the possibility is there that both might be wrong.  It is a question of God’s will.”

How true this is when we look at the conflict into which we as a nation have been plunged.  But where do we hear from men in authority and in high places language such as we find in President Lincoln’s statement.  Today man is glorified and a statement from God’s Word, such as “not by might or by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord” is not known or at least not heard or honored in our present day.  Our nation puts its confidence in strength of numbers and in abundance of material things.  And we as God’s people, if we are not careful, are so apt to at least in a degree or measure speak or think the same language.  May God give grace to see things in the light of His Word and always speak accordingly.

It is sometimes profitable to cast a glimpse into the past.  When Rev. W. Hofman spoke at the annual meeting of the Reformed Free Publishing Association, he reminded us of the twenty years that have passed by since the Standard Bearer was born.  He told of its struggles and its accomplishments and its influence.  And while reading his speech in the last few issues of the Standard Bearer, I was reminded that on November 19, 1944, it was twenty years ago that the wheels of the church discipline machinery were set in motion at a special Classical meeting in Neland Ave. Chr. Ref. Church.  Many meeting followed, with the result that the church of which we formerly were members by ecclesiastical decree, put us outside of the communion of the Chr. Ref. Church.  Much has happened during these twenty years.  Numerically we have grown to a denomination consisting of two Classis and several congregations.  Our membership has increased and so has our clergy.  We have convenient church buildings, etc. etc.

Often I think, what influence are we exacting upon American Church life and also upon the nation.  We are conducting a broadcasting program.  Are we making an impression?  Some time ago one of your members wrote in Beacon Lights, that our doctrine must be a way of life, or something to that effect.  Are there some latent talents among our young people?  Have we any that could enter into the field of literature?  What an opportunity.  All the trash that is put on the market as literature in our day is not worthy of the name.  And what is worse, the Godlessness and filth that fills the present day books is put in the hands of our young people and for that matter even in the hands of our children.  WE STRONGLY NEED AN ANTIDOTE.  True, there are some Christian books on the market, written by well meaning Christians, but they usually do not satisfy people of strong Reformed principles.  Is there not among us some one that can enter this field and write some real Christian books?  Books that are permeated with good Reformed thoughts?  Here is a chance to place our doctrine as a way of life before the reading public.  THINK IT OVER.

Have you read about the debate Rev. H. J. Kuiper, editor of The Banner, had with Dr. Hyman Appleman, a converted Jewish Missionary?  Appleman just finished an Evangelical campaign in Grand Rapids.  The strange ideas this Dr. Appleman is trying to peddle for Calvinism is amazing.

Spiritually, we may raise the familiar old railroad danger sign: STOP, LOOK, LISTEN.

Looking at all these things we sometimes ask, “Is the end at hand?”  Man says no.  For the world of today dreams of a wonderful Post War Period.  No more war.  Peace everywhere.  Freedom for all, etc.

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.”  Psalm 2:4.

What an Irony.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you for a few minutes.

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