May I have a little space in Beacon Lights?
When I read Rev. H. Hanko’s article in the March edition that “our doctrine is outdated and our life and walk is too narrow and severe to be real in these days,” I paused a while and looking around came to the conclusion that the harmony the Reverend sees in the preaching and our walk of life, is, according to my observation, not as obvious. As to the preaching of the Word, we might be fifty years behind the times, although we do not have to sit in church as long as we did when I was a boy. But let us look at our organic life. Fifty years ago, we had catechism 9 months a year and some places 12 months, with 2 weeks vacation during the summer, and 1 week during the holidays. We had Young People’s meeting all year around with a leader out of our own midst. Young men and young ladies met every week, having a president out of their own number. The Ladies’ Aid met every week except 2 weeks during Spring house cleaning, and 2 weeks during the holidays. Larger churches that had a Choral Society practiced every week. I remember distinctly about 30 years ago I took a sick neighbor to the doctor on a very hot day in July, and while I had to wait for him, I took a walk through the village, and my attention was drawn to some singing in the distance. Tracing the sound, I landed back of a Christian Reformed Church, and looking through the window, beheld a group of people, red in the face and sweating, singing praises to God. Fifty years ago, girls learned sewing and knitting, now we have a basketball team.
Now-a-days we have, only during the months September through March, catechism and Society, with vacation during Thanksgiving and Christmas and the bad weather days. From April 1 through September or October 1, our church doors are closed during the week. If some minister gives a lecture during the week, the attendance is always very small. We have no more field days with religious programs and our Church picnics consist of eating and drinking and playing games.
Fifty years ago, we told heathen people how to dress. I was informed that the people in Jamaica did not want slacks, pedal pushers or shorts sent to them, but we are going to do mission work there and bring them up-to-date. Fifty years ago, the ladies wore skirts for swimming, now they wear next to nothing. On the streets, they wore dresses at least half way to their ankles, and little girls had their knees covered. Now-a-days dresses barely cover the knees and little girls’ dresses come only half way to the knee. A good year ago, I read that in a certain hospital the nurses uniforms had to cover their knees at least 6 inches, but we, Protestant Reformed people, are not that old fashioned.
Fifty years ago, men would not think about going away nights to ball games, bowling alleys, golf courses, barbecues, or what have you. They would work in the garden awhile, and then sit on the porch with the family and go to bed on time. The house used to be a home, now it is a hotel, where we sleep, park our car, and hang our coat.
Fifty years ago, we abhorred shows, now what can you see in the living room? Most of our families used to have 3 children or more, now most of them have 3 or less. So, I could go on and on to prove that in the preaching we may yet be old-fashioned, but apart from that, we are quite up to snuff.
Therefore, we must become more up to date also in the pulpit, then we can have great big church buildings, and large congregations, otherwise we will soon disappear. Or should we hear more of the thunder of Sinai and the curses of Mount Ebal in order that we may repent from following the way of the heathen round about us? Oh! that we would walk as pilgrims and strangers, as the true Israel of God; then when the world and all its pomp and glory passes away, we shall be arrayed, out of pure grace, in fine linen, clean and white. Rev. 19:8.