In answer to an article written by Roger Kamphuis in the August-September issue of Beacon Lights, I would like to present a few suggestions on the subject of the war in Vietnam.
It was mentioned that “we as Protestant Reformed people must not support the war in Vietnam.” I would point out that we as individuals, whether Protestant Reformed or not, are entitled to our own opinions on the war. There is nothing in our Protestant Reformed doctrine either supporting or condemning the war in Vietnam. I would also emphasize, however, that the church institute has no calling in the matter. The calling of the church is to preach the Word, administer the sacraments, and exercise Christian discipline.
It was also presented as an argument by the writer that there “are too many problems in our own country to do something about.” Let us assume that one of the things to which the writer refers to is riots, since he mentions them in two different places in his article. I will concede that riots in the United States cities are a major problem today. But I would ask, which came first, the big riots or the big war in Vietnam? And even if I should concede that riots should be tended to first, along with other internal problems, how could the United States get out of Vietnam quickly enough without making a mess of the situation? This could not be an abrupt pull-out but a very slow, gradual process.
Mr. Kamphuis also mentioned that the war in Vietnam “is why there are so many riots going on today.” This is perfectly true, but this is no reason to condemn the war in Vietnam. Rather we should condemn the rioters who rebel against the authority placed over them by God by protesting the war through violence.
Finally, I would like to say that this war directly affects us as individuals because of the fact that many of our friends are fighting in Vietnam and we, too, may soon be fighting there. However we must not get so involved in our opinions that we become troubled as Christians and forget that these things must surely happen before Christ comes again.
Yours in Christ,
Charles Kregel, Jr.