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A True Confession

Young people – as well as adults – like to read newspapers and magazines in order to keep up with the news of the day. Some schools distribute to its students small leaflets that contain articles about current events, in order to encourage students to read news items of the day; other schools make it possible for its students to purchase major, well-known news magazines at greatly reduced subscription prices, in order to stimulate, amongst its youthful readers, a habit of continuing news interest. In this way, and in many other ways, young people grow up with an interest in the news of the day.

So that this interest does not lag, the news magazines cater to their readers’ appetites, by providing many and varied articles, editorials, and picture stories about the news of the day, and the major news personalities of the current scene. Hence, a partial list of topics covered would include news about: war and peace, government, industry, agriculture, and education. The entertainment world receives widespread coverage, with emphasis on news that revolves around the two names (with all that these names imply): Broadway and Hollywood. Even the contemporary religious scene receives its share of attention. Not news concerning the history that the Protestant Reformed Churches is making, obviously, makes the columns of the major news magazines of the American press, for news about our churches has an appeal only to a limited number of readers. It is limited to people who are interested in news about the Reformed church world. Hence, news about our churches receives attention only in a small trickle of the printed word that flows like a torrential stream from the press.

To the young people who read articles about current events in the newspapers and news magazines of the day, we suggest: Notice what is the basic attitude, or philosophy, of this press. It may be summed up as follows: All is of Men; of Man, through Man, and unto Man are all things. Another way of saying the same idea is this: the world is not passing away; it will continue forever. These are the basic attitudes, the foundation stones of the world – and – life building that news editors would have us construct. Even if the alarming cries of the reports of the “scientists-who-have-turned-“evangelists” of the atom, who bring a message of doom by destruction – even if these reports are discounted, the basic belief and attitude of the world, is that Man, to be saved, must save himself. Indirectly, if not directly, news of this Atomic Age speaks of unprecedented progress and enlightenment, in which the civilization of our day – even with the constant threat of war – will reach new heights of achievement. Thus may be summed up the world and life view of the present world in which we live as it is reflected in the news periodicals of the day.

Now the question arises: What does the Christian young man or woman of our Protestant Reformed Churches say to this view, as he or she meets it, wherever it is found? The answer to this question has two parts: a negative and a positive part.

Negatively, the Christian says that the view of the world that all is of, through, and unto Man is a denial of the truth that man is totally depraved, and cannot save himself one bit. He is ethically and spiritually dead – a corpse. Secondly, this same view under consideration denies the truth of God’s absolute and divine predestination. Further, it rejects the truth that God is the Lord – the only Lord of heaven and earth.

Positively, the Christian young person avers and affirms the truth of God’s predestination: that God has sovereignly determined whatsoever comes to pass, in all the things, in all the world around us – concerning all men, angels, and events. This work is the divine and absolute predestination of God. Therefore, we say that in the world of economics, government, agriculture, industry, business – in fact, in every sphere of life, God is the Sovereign Disposer of moral beings and events. Thus it is, that in the religious scene, God is the Sovereign over all that takes place, even in the present disruption of our denominational church life. In this truth is our only comfort, in life or in death, in prosperity or adversity, for time and eternity. As Protestant Reformed young people, we maintain and confess, as the truth of God’s Holy Word, the Bible, the absolute, divine predestination of God.

Nor is this all we may say. If it were, we would not be Protestant Reformed. In distinction from some other Christians who agree to a divine predestination of God, we say: “Yes, that is so. God does determine all things, whatsoever comes to pass.” But, in addition, we add this thought: all things that come to pass – even God’s reprobation of the wicked and the ungodly in the way of their sins – must and does serve the election of God’s Church, the body of believers of which Christ is the Head. Therefore, Protestant Reformed young people confess that the wicked deeds of the wicked men do not hinder the counsel of God, but are according to His counsel, and thereby serve the salvation of God’s Church. This truth is the strength and the hope of God’s young people, and all God’s people. God’s people know this truth, too. And they confess it in the midst of the world, the world that lieth in darkness, that is fast hurling itself to its own destruction.

Now we ask: How is this? How is it that God’s young people are able, and do confess this truth? Especially when the world mocks and derides the truth of God’s predestination, calling it, falsely, “fatalism.” Obviously, to make such a confession takes spiritual courage, which could never arise in the heart of a man, as a prerequisite. What is the answer to the question of this paragraph?

There is only one answer to the question, and that is this: Christ, in His people, through His Spirit and Word, does it. It is all of Christ; nothing of sinful man. We belong to sinful Man; therefore we do not do it; we never could – apart from Christ. Christ does it in His people. By nature, all we do is sin. Such a confession, of the sovereign and absolute predestination of God, is a spiritual work; it is a work of Christ, unconditionally realized in the hearts of His people. Because God’s people confess the predestination of God concerning all things, it is God’s work in them. In this truth God’s young people stand out, by His grace. Therefore they say: “Not of, through, or unto Man,” but they say, in praise: “Of God, in Christ; through God, in Christ; unto God, in Christ, are all things.”