Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 28
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)
- 11:00 AM
at Gibeah (6)
Benjamin Back From the Brink [download]
Reading: Judges 21
Text: Judges 21
I. The Sorrow of
Israel Over Benjamin
Provision of Wives for Benjamin
III. The Grace
of God Towards Benjamin
119:33-40; 53:1-6; 103:8-15; 68:25-30
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Pitching Your Tent Toward Sodom [download]
Reading: Genesis 13
I. The Meaning
II. The Reason
54:1-7; 119:113-120; 73:4-9, 12
Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
CPRC YouTube Site:
Quote to Consider:
Prof. Engelsma: "The excommunication and near
destruction of Benjamin are God’s doing. ‘The Lord had made a breach in
the tribes of Israel’ (Judges 21:15). The covenant includes severe
judgment upon transgressors of the covenant. Divine judgment falls on
the city of Gibeah, the tribe of Benjamin, and all Israel. All the
inhabitants of Gibeah are killed, and the city is burned. All the
Benjamites are put to death—men, women and children—except for the six
hundred men who escape. Even the animals are slain. The cities of
Benjamin are burned" (Unfolding
Covenant History, vol. 5, p. 25).
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
On the back table are new Standard Bearers,
the February issue of the CR News, the Reformed Perspectives
(with an excellent article on "Antithetical Catechism Instruction for
the 21st Century") and a Philippines missionary letter.
David Crossett leaves tomorrow for India as part
of his PhD course. May the Lord be with him until he returns to us on 1
The Council meets tomorrow evening, 7:30 PM at
6:30 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse
Tuesday, 7 PM
- Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans
Tuesday, 8 PM
- Mark & Lauren at the Hamills
PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible study meets this Wednesday at 7:45
PM at the manse. We will be studying I Peter 4:7f. on watching unto
prayer, love and hospitality.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Prayer of the Christian
Soldier" (Luke 11:4).
Ladies Bible study meets this Thursday, 4 March,
at 10:30 AM at the Murrays to finish Lesson 4 and start Lesson 5 of
Keeping God’s Covenant.
Co. Clare, Thursday, 11 March - Bible study on salvation
Friday, 12 March - "The Real St. Patrick"
Friday, 9 April - "Preaching: The Voice of Christ"
We will have preparatory on 14 March with a view to
celebrating the Lord’s Supper on 21 March.
Website Additions: 3 Italian, 1 German and 1
Portuguese translations were added.
Offerings: General Fund: £377.90. Donations:
£3,000 (Building Fund), £30 (CR News).
PRC News: Holland calls tonight from a trio of Revs. Kuiper, J.
Laning and VanderWal. Bethel’s trio is Revs. Den Hartog, Koole and
VanderWal. Byron Center and Cornerstone called Rev. Spriensma. Hull
called Rev. W. Langerak.
Luther’s Letter in Behalf of
Christian Schools (II)
In our first look at "Luther’s Letter in Behalf of
Christian Schools," we saw Luther’s observation of the condition of
Germany’s monasteries and schools since the beginning of the
Reformation. Also, he recognized the spiritual battle with Satan which
was taking place in education. Finally, Luther encouraged the
establishment of good Christian schools while the German people were
blessed with the opportunity.
In the next section of this letter, Luther treats the
subject of why he writes to the mayors and aldermen of German cities
when Scripture clearly speaks of parents educating their children.
Luther, anticipating this protest from the civil authorities, writes,
"But all that, you say, is addressed to parents; what does it concern
the members of the council and the mayors? That is true; but how, if
parents neglect it? Who shall attend to it then? Shall we therefore let
it alone, and suffer the children to be neglected? How will the mayors
and council excuse themselves, and prove that such a duty does not
belong to them?"
After imploring the civil government to step into the
gap to educate children, Luther identifies three causes of parents’
neglect to meet what Luther sees as their obligation.
In the first place, there are some who are so
lacking in piety and uprightness that they would not do it if they
could, but like the ostrich, harden themselves against their own
offspring, and do nothing for them. Nevertheless these children must
live among us and with us. How then can reason and, above all,
Christian charity, suffer them to grow up ill-bred, and to infect
other children, till at last the whole city be destroyed, like
Sodom, Gomorrah, and some other cities?
In the second place, the great majority of
parents are unqualified for it, and do not u[n]derstand how children
should be brought up and taught. For they have learned nothing but
to provide for their bodily wants; and in order to teach and train
children thoroughly, a separate class is needed.
In the third place, even if parents were
qualified and willing to do it themselves, yet on account of other
employments and household duties they have no time for it, so that
necessity requires us to have teachers for public schools ["public"
refers to schools open to all children, not just a select few],
unless each parent employ a private instructor. But that would be
too expensive for persons of ordinary means, and many a bright boy,
on account of poverty, would be neglected.
Much has changed in the world since 1524 when Luther
wrote this letter. Today the civil government makes the education of
children mandatory because civil authorities have an interest in an
educated populace for reducing the need for government relief
expenditures. Well, we can hope for this kind of fiscal responsibility
by our government anyway.
Let’s consider Luther’s three causes for the neglect
First, would Luther be able to make the charge that
there are some among us who would not provide an education for their
children even though they were able? In our denomination nearly all
would agree that some education is necessary for making our way in
today’s society. The debate now centres on how much education our
children need and what they need to learn. Opinions can vary,
legitimately, on these points. As a result our schools provide different
programs and classes for our students’ different needs. This is
especially true for our older students.
Luther’s second cause for parents neglecting to
educate their children is that many parents are unqualified for the
task. In the early sixteenth century, parents did not have the
opportunity to obtain an education as we do today. How and what to teach
were foreign ideas to them. They had no personal experience in
academics. They could not simply refer to their memories of how their
best teachers did things. Additionally, reading was not even a part of
their world. Books were expensive, prohibitively so, and most books were
in Latin, not suitable for the common man. The Roman church went so far
as to discourage laymen from having their own Bibles, assuring the
people in the pews the clergy would take care of that part of their
lives for them. It’s no wonder Luther could state parents were
unqualified for the task of educating their children.
Today’s parents are more educated. Nearly all of us
have had a high school education, and much of that has been in our own
Christian schools. Books have been a part of our lives, in many cases
since our youngest years. In God’s gracious care for His church He has
provided us with a faithful translation of the Bible, the King James
Version, much of which was based on the work of those who literally
hazarded their lives to translate the Bible into the language of the
people. Even our youngest children are familiar with God’s Word. Having
a reliable translation of the Bible in our own home is now so taken for
granted that we fail to render proper thanks to God. We have many
advantages over the parents of Luther’s time in qualifying us to educate
However, our society is vastly different from
Luther’s, and it continues to change quickly. The improvement in the
level of education of us parents is not enough to offset the great
advances in knowledge available today. In the 1940s and 1950s, an 8th
grade education was sufficient to compete in the job market. Constant
training or retraining was not a part of many workers’ lives. The
workplace is a whole new entity today. How many of today’s jobs were
around fifty years ago, or even twenty-five? Today’s society requires a
whole new set of skills and services. Even the tools and materials we
use in the workplace are vastly different from our grandparents. The job
market is becoming more specialized as well. It’s challenging enough to
keep up-to-date on our own careers, let alone keep an eye on educational
trends, materials and methods.
Luther’s third cause of parents neglecting their
children’s education is that parents simply would not have the necessary
time. It would take time, and plenty of it, to qualify oneself to teach
all areas of the curriculum. How many of us can honestly say he or she
is qualified to teach everything, especially the areas of math and the
various sciences? How confident are most parents with junior high
algebra and science, especially if such areas of study were not academic
strengths in the days of youth? High school calculus, advanced physics,
chemistry or biology anyone? Attempt to learn such material yourself and
then prepare lessons, all while meeting the regular God-given
responsibilities of the workplace, church, home and family. How many
hours are there in a day? Luther expressed the need for hiring trained
teachers this way:
Thus, in all the world, even among the heathen,
school-masters and teachers have been found necessary where a nation
was to be elevated. Hence in the Epistle to the Galatians Paul
employs a word in common use when he says, "The law was our
Since, then, a city must have well-trained
people, and since the greatest need, lack, and lament is that such
are not to be found, we must not wait till they grow up of
themselves; neither can they be hewed out of stones nor cut out of
wood; nor will God work miracles, so long as men can attain their
object through means within their reach. Therefore we must see to
it, and spare no trouble or expense to educate and form them
ourselves. For whose fault is it that in all the cities there are at
present so few skilful people except the rulers, who have allowed
the young to grow up like trees in the forest, and have not cared
how they were reared and taught? The growth, consequently, has been
so irregular that the forest furnishes no timber for building
purposes, but like a useless hedge, is good only for fuel.
We can hope Luther would agree with the claim that
much progress has been made in covenant education in the 485 years since
Luther wrote his letter to the mayors. Despite the progress, however, we
still need our good Christian schools. Have we matured to the point
intellectually and spiritually that we have outgrown our need for
Christian schools? The work of maintaining Christian education is an
ongoing work, as is the work of maintaining and defending the heritage
of truth given our denomination through the Reformation. Such is the
nature of God’s truth. It is not stagnant, but dynamic. Let’s be
grateful for, and maintain, our schools as we and our children walk the
life our faithful Father gives us in a changing world.
Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant Reformed