We understand that the June issue of Beacon Lights is to be a pre-convention issue. Since we have in this department already covered our pre-convention material, we have selected to write in this issue a few words about the truth and error of a subject very closely related to conventions. Our subject is that of Proper Companions.
In the past our conventions have served as a means to create friendships among our Protestant Reformed youth. This is good and if we would not call it a primary aim of our conventions, we would say it is at least one of the secondary purposes. Each year old acquaintances are renewed and new friendships are made. Girls among the girls, boys among the boys and in not a few instances boy-girl companionships have originated during convention days that later blossomed into the permanent bond of marriage.
We should be aware, however, of the fact that the conventions surroundings are not always conducive to promoting this aim as they should be. There have been times in the past when different groups from different churches cliqued together and ignored others with the result that some from the outlying and smaller churches felt left out. This was error and our Federation Board immediately sprang into action to remedy the situation. If I am not mistaken I think they made it mandatory that at each convention there would be arranged a get-acquainted hour so that everyone could get to know everybody else. This is a good thing and for the coming convention we are planning on having this on Tuesday evening right after the mass meeting. We hope to have every one of the young people registered before the evening meeting so that all can display their badges and identify themselves during that hour in which bodily refreshments will also be served. Use it then and seek out old and new companions in convention.
It was not really my intention though to write about convention. In my present subject I had in mind various questions about young people making friendships with other young people. My questions were aroused by reading an interesting pamphlet on the subject by A. W. Pink. Some of his thoughts I want to pass on to Beacon Lights readers because they are sound guides in doing the right and avoiding error in the matter of seeking companions.
Our beginning, as Pink points out, as well as our ending, must be with the Word of God. He starts out by pointing to the Scripture of Psalm 119:63, “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.” This is a very significant confession of the child of God and it certainly limits our companionships. Negatively stated it means that we can never be companions with those who do not fear God and do not live according to the commands of His Word. We may not, for example, be friends with those that are thieves, murderers, liars, adulterers, Sabbath-breakers, and those who live in fellowship with the ungodly world. To be friends with them is, according to the book of James, to make ourselves enemies of God and then the text to which Pink alludes at the conclusion of his pamphlet will not fit us. It fits only those who are companions of them that fear God for the text is John 15:14, the words of Jesus Who said: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
In the pamphlet referred to we find this description of proper companions. “They are a people marked by two things: fear and submission, the latter being the fruit of the former. Regenerated souls obey God conscientiously out of reverence to His majesty and goodness, and from due regard of His will as made known in His Word…It is a filial fear which is awed by God’s greatness and is careful not to offend Him, which is constrained by His love and is anxious to please Him. Such are the only ones fit to be a Christian’s companions.” If we then as young people look for these characteristics in our friends, we will be on the right path.
In this pamphlet the author throughout stressed the importance of distinguishing between those who “say that they fear God and will keep His commandments” and those “who do!” This is very important especially in striking those friendships that may lead to matrimony. We must not be satisfied with an empty promise of this boyfriend or that girlfriend that everything will be so and so if we only give our hand in marriage. Nor must we be misled by a pleasing personality that is only the cover-up of a heart full of deception. Too often such friendships are crushed on the rocks when it is too late, because inseparable ties have been established. We must insist upon deeds that give real evidence of the fear of the Lord and the desire of heart to abide by His Word. Not to do so is to expose ourselves to great danger and most serious errors.
A final point of interest is found in the author’s explanation of the text in I Cor. 15:33, “Be not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners.” He points out that the Greek word here for “communications” properly means “a bringing together, a companionship.” And evil companionships “corrupt.” He writes: “All evil is contagious and association with evil-doers, whether they be ‘church members’ or open infidels, has a defiling and debasing effect upon the true child of God. Mark well how the Holy Spirit has prefaced this warning: ‘Be not deceived.’ Evidently there is a real danger of God’s people imagining that they can play with fire without getting burned.”
So, young people, although much more can be said, these few lines should suffice to seek truth and forsake error in seeking and establishing friendships. May our conventions by instrumental in bringing together our Protestant Reformed youth into true and lasting companionships that are rooted in a unity of faith, a love of the truth, and the fear of the living God.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 5 June-July 1959