By the time you receive this issue of Beacon Lights, the Heidelberg Catechism conference marking the 450th anniversary of this confession will be history.
As part of this celebration, the Protestant Reformed Theological School sponsored an essay contest on various aspects of the Catechism, which was divided into five categories: Junior High School (Grades 6–8); High School I (Grades 9–10); High School II (Grades 11–12); Post-high/College (Ages 18–25); and Adults. Each group was asked to write on the Catechism from a specific perspective. The length requirements for these essays increased in each category, and the top three submissions in each category carried with them some very respectable monetary prizes.
The response was overwhelming both in quality and quantity. Those in charge of judging these writings had a difficult time picking the top three (times five). This speaks well not just of the level of writing among us, but especially for the spiritual climate in the Protestant Reformed Churches. The Catechism is obviously not a dead letter among us, as it is in most allegedly Reformed churches, but is still known, valued, and loved. Especially the participation of our young people bodes well for the future.
Beacon Lights has been asked to publish the three winning essays in the first three categories mentioned above (the Standard Bearer will publish the essays in the last two categories). We are happy not only to comply with this request, but also to devote this entire issue to the subject. Only the Devotional, Little Lights, and Church News will appear as usual.
An observation: as in any type of contest, there are winners, and they have to be picked. That’s fine—there is nothing wrong with a little competition, and good performance deserves good results. This competition was no exception. I would like to think, however, that there were no losers. Everyone who participated was a winner just because he or she took the time and put forth the effort to contribute. Thanks to all!