I wish to express my appreciation to Rev. Mulder and Professor Hoeksema for presenting their respective convictions concerning missionary activity and its position in the Protestant Reformed Churches. This is an important timely topic and discussion and action on it is and will be profitable.
However, it is distressing to note the manner in which the authors evaluate each other’s articles. There is a lack of both Christian love toward fellow saints and common courtesy to other writers. It seems that we could use a great improvement in these areas. In the effort to maintain our orthodoxy, we would do well to bear in mind I Corinthians 13. Here we find that greater than both faith and hope is Christian love.
Perhaps the advice of John Calvin is pertinent here. When a colleague was attacked for mistranslating Scripture Calvin says: “I invite the readers if they meet with passages of this nature not to bite a man who is a worthy servant of the sacred Word, not to attack him, but rather to inform him of his lapses in moderate language. This simplicity is suited both to Christian piety and to a doctrine of liberty.”
Let’s apply this to our present situation.
And when we write, let’s remember throughout our entire article that “cutting charges and wild accusations will simply antagonize fellow saints, and justly so.”
Dear Mr. Editor:
Much as I deplore some of that which was written in the January issue of Beacon Lights concerning missions and related matters, I am going to refrain from making any comments — there will probably be comments enough without mine.
Rather, so that the readers may discuss something very positive and concrete, I would like to explain briefly what the Society for Protestant Reformed Action is doing in this vicinity. Although our beginning is small, we believe we are certainly “going forward.” If any of our churches or any individuals are interested in further information, or desire to be placed on our mailing list, let them write to: The Reformed Witness, Box 18, Doon, Iowa.
Our Society has done the following:
- Periodically we sponsor lectures or speeches which treat the basis and need of active witness to the truth.
- By means of directed advertising, more than 200 Reformed, Christian Reformed, and other families have personally requested over 2000 pamphlets published by the Sunday School of First Church.
- Those who have responded continue to receive, at regular intervals, materials dealing with various aspects of the truth as we maintain it.
- We print and distribute once a month a total of over 3,300 copies of a particular pamphlet which is called the “Reformed Witness.” These pamphlets treat various truths of doctrines which we maintain as churches. Each pamphlet contains approximately the same amount of material contained in an article of the Standard Bearer. Because much labor is donated, we are able to both print and mail out each 250 pamphlets at a cost of approximately $5.00, or, for 2 cents a piece!
- Besides sending these pamphlets to individual addresses, we distribute diem by bulk mail to every post office box and rural route box of certain communities. Up until the present, we have been distributing this material to six different communities – giving total mail coverage of these areas. After these pamphlets have been distributed for a length of time, we intend to sponsor lectures in the various areas — and advertise them prominently.
- Pamphlets distributed in certain localities contain regular information concerning the “Reformed Witness Hour” broadcast, and sermons or lectures which are being given.
- In connection with the above work, we have also sent out copies of the Standard Bearer and a few copies of the book: “Protestant Reformed Churches in America” to those who have requested them.
May I state finally that I believe that the entire cause of “missions” in our midst would be greatly served if:
- Other local churches also inform the readers of Beacon Lights what they are doing in their own area. Possibly this can guide others to initiate similar projects.
- Definite proposals for more effective mission labors on a denominational level be set forth. Then we have something to discuss.
May God continue to bless our churches and grant that we may faithfully present a united testimony — also to those without our churches — of die glorious truth which God has so graciously given to us.
Your brother in Christ,
Rev. G. Van Barer:
Beacon Lights welcomes the suggestion of Rev. Van Baren and invites the churches to inform its readers of the local missionary efforts. – ed.
I have just completed my reading of the latest issue of the Beacon Lights and now feel compelled to make a few comments concerning the “flavor” of the articles on our mission mindedness.
Certainly, all would agree that this is a topic of vital importance to everyone interested in the future of our Protestant Reformed Churches. I feel, however, that the present approach used to “discuss” the matter is far from desirable. When any articles must prompt some cutting charges and wild accusations, I am sure that our people will be antagonized then also, and justly so. Not only will the people be set at odds with each other, but also the ministers. Then instead of a closely knit, unified clergy, we have instead a rift formed which may take months, or maybe even years to repair. Are those the conditions under which our churches must function? I certainly hope not!
Now I am not trying to say that we should not have any discussion on these matters, but then let it remain a discussion with longsuffering and brotherly love emanating continually from all sides. Never should the fight for THE Truth develop into a fight for MY “truth,” for that can only lead to much bitterness and hard feelings which, I am sure, should be entirely unnecessary between fellow Christians.
Therefore, Mr. Editor, 1 sincerely hope that the forthcoming articles will be written in such a manner that a good, wholesome attitude is quite evident.
It is our opinion that certain articles appearing in the past issue of Beacon Lights lack a sufficient measure of what is commonly known as Christian Charity. This charity is defined in I Corinthians 13, especially verses 17 where we read: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind … Charity vaunteth not itself… (charity) is not easily provoked… (charity) endureth all things.”
We believe that Beacon Lights, as the magazine of our young people should reflect the spirit of Christian love. In order to accomplish this purpose, more serious thought and consideration must be given to opinions of our fellow Christians.
Therefore, we appeal to writers and readers alike, that this lack of Christian Charity may not lower the excellent Standards of our publication, Beacon Lights.
Yours in Christ,
Gerald Kuiper & Harry Langerak