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Harangues

(Editor’s Note: Although there appeared in the Open Forum of the April, 1964 issue of Beacon Lights a contribution1 which contained reflections and questions concerning the February, 1964 editorial entitled “The Need for Protestant Reformed High Schools”2, there was, nonetheless, no response to nor analysis of that contribution. Let the readers of Beacon Lights understand that the undersigned editor did not receive these comments and questions prior to the distribution of the April issue, nor did he receive that issue in sufficient time to submit these comments prior to the deadline for the May issue. Let that serve as reason for the undesirable tardiness of this response, as it appears now in our June issue. Without poetic preamble, therefore, here follow our comments and analysis of the questions and assertions of the contribution submitted last April. H.W.K.)

We are discussing, covenant youth, matters which involve the heritage which has been given to the Protestant Reformed Churches in America and particularly as that aspect of our modern age, called formal education in the high school years, bears on the perpetuation of that heritage according to the commands of God’s Word. You will concur at once (not that this has been contested) that Scripture is replete with instruction that the ministry of the Word as it is instituted and maintained by Christ and the parents of the covenant seed are His approved means of educating that seed in His ways. This is not man’s way. It is God’s commanded way. That is basic to our present discussion as well.

Concerning the writer’s first point, we affirm first of all that it is indeed a very daring thing to assert or express that it is the desire of one’s soul to establish, to have and to maintain our own Protestant Reformed Christian High Schools. It is, in fact, the daring and boldness of faith, rooted in the lucid instruction of the Scriptures and an unmistakable evidence of our sincerity in the solemn and sacred vow before the face of God which we made at our children’s baptism.

Secondly, the number of years, given by the writer, since the establishment of an elementary system of parental Christian education in a given area has no bearing whatever on the necessity or propriety of the expression of our soul’s desire for that which God commands us in His Word. There is no contingency existent here, whatever. That command is absolute and it is conditioned or dependent on nothing temporal. The statement in the editorial and also in the writer’s contribution speak, we would have you note, of the expression of the desire.

Finally, therefore, it is not in the least presumptuous for the children of God to strive diligently for those things that God Himself has commanded for us in His Word. Also, although this perhaps escaped the attention of the writer, prior to the establishment of either of the two Protestant Reformed elementary schools in her locale, there had been a movement or society in that area to establish education at the secondary level along the lines of Protestant Reformed principles and convictions.

Concerning her point 2, the writer’s impression that our lower case “g” means idol is not contested. That cannot be a troublesome consideration, when attacking heresy, for by nature “apart from the grace of God in Christ, we are all idolaters”.3 We must affirm that in that instant and to the measure that any rational moral creature asserts that God, the Sovereign of this whole universe and of everything that is, was or ever shall be, is graciously inclined to all men (and that includes the reprobate!), in that instant and to that measure he denies the GOD of Scripture and has, according to Q. and A. 95 of our Heidelberg Catechism, contrived another object in which he places his trust. We see this as idolatry. Let us hasten to add that this is indeed a hard saying. And yet, if by His grace we are to hold that the Scripture is revealed Truth, and based upon It, that our Confessions are indeed our confessions, it will behoove all of us to speak clearly and without camouflage use the lower case “g” as we did in the editorial.

In addition to this, we do well to remember that the infamous ouster of 1924 followed a clear and lucid exposition of the question concerning the recipients of God’s grace. Thus their confession is not the result of “accidentally” adopting an error without much study. Quite the contrary! It is a premeditated stand based on a lie against God!

Concerning her point 3, the writer proceeds on the supposition that they have diluted the truth. We assert that Truth cannot be diluted and yet remain Truth. The specious reasoning employed to put into the editorial the accusation of “false church” is obvious. But the writer’s point concerning “voluntarily” placing oneself under that (Christian Reformed) confession is certainly cogent. That illustrates a point, considered with the paragraph immediately above.

Concerning her point 4, we must simply state that whatever the affinities of others are for heretical “mother church” is for each to assert and affirm for himself. Personally, undersigned is of the opinion that we are called to make continual “harangue” against such wickedness perpetrated in 1924’s heresies of doctrine as well as their unchristian procedures with brethren. And we strongly exhort all of our youth to procure for themselves for reading and study the book treating of that origin of our churches.4 Should you forget the basis and history of our genesis, very soon the lines of our distinction will be forever erased! The youth realizes that I make these statements at the risk of incurring more controversy. But the youth may be assured of this: If we see tigers in every bush, (it is only the unwise that will not be wary) we maintain: let them be identified as such!

But allow me to shout encouragement, nonetheless, to an old warrior, to an aged servant of God, whom it hath pleased God to equip and sustain in the defense of His truth, through year after year of strife, as he writes: “And let not…others with them camouflage or cover this up in order that, for the time being, at least, they may appear to be Reformed or even Scriptural, for it is neither! As long as God gives me life and breath, I will shout from the housetops: anyone that claims that God loves all men is neither Reformed nor Scriptural, but is simply a heretic and nothing else!”5

If that is harangue, then we say harangue is alright. No, it is necessary!

Concerning her point 5, the writer evidently misread the statements in this matter. It was not stated that such activities were or were not academic or silly, neither that they were comparable to idolatry or blasphemy. These activities were identified as being idolatrous and blasphemous. We are glad that the question mark remains for the writer behind the word “blasphemy”, for then it is not denied at least.

We have not had sufficient time for a thorough perusal of the types of writings throughout the history of the church to determine the accuracy of the parallel set forth, but we feel that the writer undermined all 5 of her points by the quote given concerning Antoine Marcourt. Calvin did not say, we note, that the placards were untrue and erroneous. He states that when they were printed and distributed that the faithful received great fury. We understand full well who it is that flares up furiously against the faithful, of course. And further, in whose sight the cause of the faithful was made odious ought also to be well understood. The cause of the faithful is always made odious (hateful) when there is a forthright confession by the faithful. We cannot believe that the cause of Protestant Reformed Christian High Schools was made odious to our people by the editorial. The possibility exists that it is odious already in the spheres of those who 40 years ago found the truth of Sovereign grace to be odious in their midst. Thus we will concede the application as valid.

And you as youth of the covenant realize that to the degree that we are faithful in heeding the commands of our God with respect to you and with respect to the generations which follow you, in your instruction according to the Word, “to that degree of intensity we defend ourselves against all those who corrupt that self revelation of our God”.6

Allow me to quote from one of our former ministers, in conclusion: “Our own schools are the only answer. Else, our churches are doomed, because we refuse to keep our pledge. Or should I say: our reluctance to want to keep our Baptismal Pledge is proof that we are lost already?”7

Strive for them, then, with your whole being and you shall not be put to shame!

1Lubbers, Mrs. Mary Beth 1964 Open Forum, Beacon Lights Vol. XXIV, No. 3, pp. 4-5.
2Kuiper, H. W. 1964 Editorial: “The Need for Protestant Reformed High Schools”. Beacon Lights Vol. XXIV, No. 1, pp. 1-2.
3Hoeksema, Rev. H. 1955, Love the Lord thy God: Worshipping the One God, An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism, Vol. 8, p. 151.
4Hoeksema, Rev. H. 1947, The Protestant Reformed Churches In America: Their Origin, Early History and Doctrine, pp. 1-410.
5Hoeksema, Rev. H. 1964, Editorial: De Jong-Dekker. The Standard Bearer, Vol. XL, No. 13, p. 293.
6Engelsma, Rev. D. J. 1964, Lecture: Protestant Reformed Education: The Calling. Given in Doon, Iowa. (March 17) From mimeographed copy.
7Veldman, Rev. R. 1945, Editorial: Our Own School—An Injunction? The Standard Bearer, Vol. XXI, No. 18, pp. 423-426.