Cleaning The Spindle

Critique” is Twelve Years Old This Issue

“Mr. K” visits a ‘christian nation’” was the heading of the first article contributed by the undersigned to a new rubric in the BEACON LIGHTS in the October-November-1959-issue, and now Nikita Krushchev is dead. The introduction, “Ground Breaking,” indicated that the writer would be committed to the reporting of, and commenting on important events which occur in the world around us, in the church world, and more particularly in the Protestant Reformed Churches. During these years it has been the policy of this contributor to view and discuss all events and issues through the “spectacles of the Word of God.” When the rubric was conceived and born, the writer welcomed the suggestions of our young people for topics to be discussed in this rubric. BEACON LIGHTS was then, and still is the periodical of our young people.

Once again I solicit suggestions from our young people. What do you want discussed in the BEACON LIGHTS in this rubric, “Critique”? I am anxious to hear from you, young people of the 1970’s, who were not old enough to go to school twelve years ago.

About That Toynbee Series

I have been giving this series some serious thought, and I have not had the time to prepare an article in the series. A series as complex as this demands much time and preparation. Besides, I wonder whether the subject is pertinent to the needs and interests of the young people of the 70’s, and whether it deserves the efforts which I expend for this type of article? I firmly believe it is good for us to examine carefully the writings and interpretations of others so that we can understand the world and its ideas; we must always be ready to give an answer to any man for the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15).

Because there are several topics that I wish to discuss during the next several months, I am temporarily postponing any further articles in this series.

Knowledgeable Young People

The time to learn and the time to be taught is when we are young. This does not mean that we are never too old to learn. The adage is most true that one is never too old to learn, but it is likewise true that the time to learn and the time to form habits is in our youth. These are the years when we can memorize easily.

I teach Modern Church History in Covenant Christian High School. This is the high school which was part of the dream of those who have been Protestant Reformed for many years. It is a dream which makes possible the realization and fulfillment of parental, covenant obligations. Now Covenant Christian High School is beginning its fourth year of training Covenant youth. The youth that we train and instruct are members of various Reformed denominations and churches. Students in the school are members of the Protestant Reformed Church, the Christian Reformed Church, the American Reformed Church (Liberated), the Orthodox Reformed Church, and the Christian Reformation Church. Within that welter of denominational allegiances I must teach the history of the Christian Church in the Modern times.

This is the first year that Modern Church History is being taught in the school. During the past three years courses in Ancient and Medieval Church History have been taught, but a course as complex as Modern Church History has not previously been taught. Since the time of the Reformation when many denominations began to develop, the history of the church institute has become exceedingly involved and variegated.

This has been an interesting week for several of the students in this Modern Church History class. Jone Teitsma, a member of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, and Ron Cammenga, a member of the Holland Protestant Reformed Church, went to speak for a “comparative religions class” at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. They were provided an excellent, and providential opportunity to witness to Roman Catholic young people concerning the hope and the faith that lives in the hearts of our young people. God made this opportunity available so that these young people could testify and witness to Roman Catholic young people. Jone and Ron were surprised when they observed the evident lack of understanding that these Roman Catholic young people had for the doctrinal position of the Roman Catholic Church. There were very few of the young people who understood or even knew the meaning of the term “transubstantiation.” Could this doctrinal lethargy be one of the causes for the confusion which is now raging in the Roman Catholic Church? Jone and Ron came home to Covenant with an enthusiasm and a thankfulness for their own blessed privileges which we wish all the young people of our churches could have shared – an enthusiasm the rest of the Modern Church History class could only gain through the reports of these ambassadors.

Modern Church History classes must concern themselves with contemporary events in the Reformed, pseudo-Reformed, and liberal ecclesiastical communities. In order for the student to know contemporary events he must read the periodicals in the ecclesiastical community, which provide the medium to report the attitudes and opinions of the writers and leaders in other churches and denominations. It is at this point that I am appalled by the lack of knowledge which our Protestant Reformed young people possess.

Fridays will be the day at Covenant Christian in Modern Church History class when current events will be discussed. We began this activity on Friday, October 15. I was disappointed when I asked the question, “Who is the editor of the Standard Bearer?” and “Who is the editor of the BEACON LIGHTS?” that so many of the young people in the class did not know who these men are.

This lack of ecclesiastical information of the very formal kind indicates either a basic lack of concern on the part of our young people for the church periodicals or else the source of the problem must be traced to some other improper kind of emphasis. Is the emphasis in the covenant home misplaced? Don’t parents and children sit down to discuss basic religious issues? Are the periodicals, which are published in the Protestant Reformed community, not pertinent to the needs of our young people? The answer to the last question is obviously an emphatic, NO, if the reader is but faintly aware of the contents of the Standard Bearer and the BEACON LIGHTS. The answer to the two previous questions I will not venture to answer for I cannot answer them with any degree of certainty. I know there are some homes in which parents and children obviously discuss issues and the people who write about these issues.

Is this your kind of home? It ought to be!

There Is No New Thing Under the Sun – or Gnosticism Revived

We live in a religiously bizarre and God-less age. Along with the proposed homosexual churches there arises an open espousal of the “Jesus Revolution” and open reports by adherents of the ascendancy of Satan worship. The occult Ophitic, Gnostic, religions of the ancient period of the church are bring resurrected with astonishing rapidity in today’s world by the same Gnostic, Christ-denying sorcerers.

The Grand Rapids Press, October 17, 1971, in an article entitled “Satanists’ world goes to the devil” reports: “No one knows how many good people there are and how seriously they go about it. “But the number of reported cases are increasing in every section of the country. There has been an outbreak of grave robberies and other strange events at Daytona Beach, Florida cemeteries. Six skulls have disappeared from the disinterred caskets, and in one a cowhorn with a leather thong was inserted. Evidence of a ceremonial fire was found near another grave, and dim figures were seen dancing around a tombstone at midnight.”

All this seems strangely similar to the mystique of “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving, or the allegorical “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, not to mention the three hags in Shakespeare’s memorable, Macbeth. Irrespective of this similarity, it is God-less and should provide an added incentive to us who look for the coming of our Lord and Saviour that we must see in all these events reported in the daily news periodicals that HE, our Lord and Christ, is coming again.

Time, the weekly news magazine, of September 6, 1971, reports that the Process Church of the Final Judgment has adherents who are hard to miss these days if one walks up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. The points of their collars are festooned with red three-horned goats’ heads; between the horns dangles a large silver Cross. Time asks: “Satan and Christ?”

The Process attitude is: “Christ said love your enemy. Christ’s enemy was Satan. Love Christ and Satan.”

The fundamental and blasphemous Christ denying dualism of all anti-Christian, syncretistic religions is evident in this form of Satan worship. The Process adherents espouse a Manichaean “Three Great Gods of the Universe” theory. These gods are jealous and are warring deities who battle among themselves an eternal “game” for the control of men’s souls. The three gods of this “bizarre tri-theistic theology” says Time magazine, represent “three basic patterbs of human reality.” One of them is Jehovah, a wrathful God of vengeance and retribution who demands discipline, courage, and ruthlessness from his followers. (This sounds strangely like the theories of Marcion the anti-Judaistic Gnostic.) The second is Lucifer, wrongly confused with Satan, say the Process people. They claim Lucifer is the “Light-Bearer” who urges humans “to enjoy life to the full, to value success, to be gentle and kind and loving.” The third of this tri-theistic arrangement is Satan, “the receiver of corrupted bodies and transcendent-souls,” who impels humans toward a subhuman life of asceticism. The Processeans see Christ as a transcendent “unifier” who ultimately reconciles all three of the competing gods. He is a sort of Gnostic “Paraclete” (comforter) who was the answer to all of the dilemmas of Ancient and Medieval syncretistic religious systems.

The Process, founded in London about eight years ago (it doesn’t exist there any longer), consists of about 500 members with chapters in Toronto, Chicago, New Orleans, and Cambridge, Massachusetts (the home of Harvard University), and soon in New York City. The Process adherents come from the drug-strewn, rootless backgrounds from which other “Jesus people” have fled. Processeans are strict in their ethical teachings. They do not deny adherents the right to marry, but the unmarried must remain chaste. One of the key practices of the “movement” is a weekly telepathy session in which contact and communication are emphasized in much the same way they are in encounter therapy.

Process people see Christ’s enmity with Satan to be soon overcome by Christ’s own dictum to “love thine enemy.” They believe in the imminent end of the world.

Christ says to us, “Believe them not. There will be many who will say here is Christ and lo there is Christ, but do not believe them. Stand fast in the liberty wherewith I have made you free and do not be deceived.”

The days will be shortened!

Come Lord Jesus, yea come quickly!

Originally Published in:

Vol. 31 No. 7 November 1971