Now that my tour in the military service is near completion, I would like to have a little space in the Beacon Lights to give the readers a glimpse of the experiences of a serviceman. Although these experiences will not be new to everyone, perhaps they will be of some instruction to our readers.
After spending approximately two months in Kentucky and ten months in Georgia, military authorities decided to send me to Orleans, France, where I have been stationed for ten months. Although my wife and I have undergone some unusual living conditions in France, we have enjoyed our travels through much of Europe and these experiences will be long remembered.
As far as being attached to a military installation in a foreign country is concerned, it is a very unusual position for the child of God. He is faced with the problem of selecting associates who have had Christian instruction and who seek to walk a Christian life. This is often difficult if not impossible; nevertheless, the Christian must walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom. 8:1. It is necessary for a soldier to attend chapel services where a chaplain speaks for approximately fifteen minutes attempting to satisfy the spiritual needs of all military personnel representing all Protestant church organizations — something that is impossible. All efforts are made to increase the size of the audience. The result is that the distinctiveness of the Reformed truth is never proclaimed but morality issues which associate the individual to society are preached. More emphasis is put on the customs of the church rather than the defense and propagation of the truth of the Scriptures. These have been our experiences in military chapels.
The result is that the Protestant Reformed serviceman is entirely dependent upon the written pamphlets and church publications for spiritual edification. Although we have a broadcast on Trans World Radio, a shortwave radio is necessary for reception.
Because of this unique position which a serviceman is forced to take, it is indeed the calling of the church to remember her servicemen and to pray for them, that the serviceman, by the operation of the Holy Spirit within his heart, may ever profess: “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.” Psalm 40:11.
We sincerely appreciate this contribution from Mr. Van Baren. May it be an encour-agement to our young men in the service, not only to write such material which we gladly print, but also an encouragement to walk antithetically in the midst of an evil world.