We have often said that the future of our Churches in particular and the future of the Church of God in general is in the hands of our young people. We are training them daily to be the Church of tomorrow. This training is a momentous task of awesome difficulty, as every parent knows. Often we teach more by how we act rather than by what we say directly. We cannot hope that our children will be better than we are if we do not daily, by word and deed, conquer the old man in us. It is a grave responsibility.
Knowing this, let us consider briefly the responsibility we have placed in the hands of two men. If our young people are the future of our Church, how much more are our young ministers and seminarians. To them will we look for spiritual comfort and leadership. Upon these young men will we rely in time of crises. They must be more than educated, they must be dedicated; they must be taught the peculiar compassions and graces of a minister of the Word. Our young ministers are the shield and joy of the Church. We have given that training to mere men. It is unquestionably the largest burden our people give to any individuals.
We have virtually entrusted the future of our Churches to two men. It is true that they are mere men, not perfect, with no claims to perfection. Yet they are uniquely capable, uniquely called.
Both professors were first called by God to the ministry of the Word. They were given the heritage of generations of Christians as expressed in the Protestant Reformed Churches. They were raised in distinctively Christian homes. We cannot judge them by their works, for they are sinful men as we are, yet we can recognize their Christianity in the results of their labor:
The continuing line of young men entering tile ministry;
The growth of the seminary and continuing desire of young men to enter it;
The erudition and dedication of the young men both graduates and students.
Our professors have truly done a fine job, for they are called by God. We have chosen them for a most difficult task, and they have served us well. They deserve the best we can give them.
As each of our pastors and teachers deserves the best we can give, both spiritually and physically, so do our professors. We trust our soul’s life and growth in large measure to our ministers; we trust the souls and education of our children to our teachers; we trust the Church to our professors.
We ask for ourselves the best homes, the greatest vacations, the fanciest cars. What do we ask for the Church? We expect our teachers and professors and pastors to do jobs that we ourselves couldn’t and wouldn’t do. Again, we must ask what do we ask for the Church? Our professors are sincere, dedicated, called men. We are not poor. What do we ask of ourselves for the Church? We are able to give the Church the best of teachers, we are also able to give our teachers and students the best of teaching environments. We give these two men the burden of educating our ministers, and while it is true that their reward is not of this world, we owe them the tangible gratitude our worldly goods can provide.
The question has been asked: Is the best what has been asked? Frankly, it is not our place to answer that question for you, particularly since certain parts of the decision for a new seminary building are under protest at this writing. Nevertheless, there are certain things we ought to remember:
Let us not forget that our position must be considered prayerfully. We must not endeavor to make any position apart from God’s council — too often we decide in haste, without prayerful thought.
We must decide with the recommendation of Synod in mind. With due consideration, these men chosen to govern us have decided that new seminary quarters are necessary. We cannot ignore this decision.
Our consideration must be subjective — we must give out of love for the Church, willingly and with joy.
Finally, we must not consider the needs of the seminary colored by personal feelings or ridiculous gossip. Too many tongues wag under the best of circumstances and more still when opinions are divided.
Should you give of sour hard-earned wages for the proposed new seminary building? The decision is yours, personally. We cannot tell you more than to urge your prayerful consideration. No matter what your decision, it must be an honest one.
We have virtually given the future of our Churches into the hands of two men. Regardless of all else, they deserve our respect, our prayers, and honest concern for their needs.