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This is a special edition of The Counsel of Chalcedon. Its primary focus is on the history and strength of the Reformed Faith in South Africa. It is addressed to our distinctively Christian readership. We pray that you take time to read every word of this issue. The future of the United States of America is inseparably entwined with the future of the Republic of South Africa. Both our nations have the same roots--in the Biblical Calvinism of the Protestant Reformation of the Sixteenth Century; and the worldview of the heart of South Africans is still in large part, shaped by the foundational principles of that Calvinism, in a manner that the heart of Americans is not.

"'Therefore, wait for me,' declares the Lord, 'For the day when I rise up to the prey. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all My burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal. For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, My dispersed ones, will bring My offerings.'"

In essence the Reformation of the 16th century differed wholly from the movements of the Renaissance and Humanism. Firstly, it was not concerned with a renewal in science and arts and the improvement of social and political conditions, but was, in its origin, purely religious in nature. Its principle is briefly and powerfully expressed in the tripartite creed: Scriptura sola, gratia sola, fides sola, in other words, the Scriptures alone, grace alone, faith alone!

But this was not a new principle; it was the old Gospel of Jesus Christ which was preached by the apostles in the first century of the Christian era. After the Dark Ages, it was a new discovery and re-discovery. As Columbus discovered the New World and the Renaissance revived the old Latium and Hellas, so the Reformation shed new light on the meaning and significance of the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God, as revealed in the Scriptures, began to take over the dominant role in the church in a radical way.

In the following material the reader will find the first letters in an exchange between Counsel of Chalcedon contributing editor, Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., and a man who refers to himself as a "Rev." and who has a Th.D. degree. This man, who we shall refer to under the pseudonym "Mr, Gray," wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper, in which he castigated those who would prevent the showing of the film, The Last Temptation of Christ. Ken Gentry responded with his own letter to the editor, and, after that, Dr. Gentry and "Mr. Gray" continued corresponding with each other personally through the mail.

I believe many of our readers will benefit from this exchange. "Mr. Gray" is not an untypical person in our society. While most of his views are as liberal as you can get from one claiming to be a Christian, nevertheless he is fairly typical of ministers and laymen in most of the large mainline denominations, be they Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal or whatever.

I could not believe my ears. A well-known member of the presbytery of which I was then a part stood and pleaded with us to not become involved in counseling members of our congregations! Then another stood and echoed those sentiments. And, the members of the presbytery nodded in agreement.

Of course, the reason they did so was that four pastors in as many years had to be disciplined for sins of adultery and wife abuse. Three of those problems arose due to "counseling situations gone wrong." So the solution, we were being told, was to stop or radically cut back our counseling activities. Instead of dealing with people's problems we were to refer them to "professionals" who knew how to handle those matters.

I was born into the home of a farmer and public school teacher/administrator of what were then called consolidated public schools in rural Ohio in 1930. At the age of six, I contracted a disease that is today called rheumatic fever but was not known then as such and of course not treated properly as a result. In my youth, growing up on the farm and in a home where education was revered and honored, in the world of books and ideas being cast about constantly, and in a very Christian home, my soul and spirit .... and my physical body .... could not have been nurtured any better, I am sure. Hard work, honest enterprise, good food, good neighbors, extended family around one for support and encouragement, clean living in a rural atmosphere and in a home where the aura of reverence for God and all His creations pervaded the atmosphere, no television, the pristine environment of sports competition properly administrated, provided an atmosphere that, even today, I find unequalled anywhere.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (ll Tim. 3:16-17).

Few passages in the Bible are better known than the one quoted above. It has served as a rallying cry against religious liberalism and is quoted by nearly every Presbytery candidate as a proof text for the Bible's claim to be the inspired word of God. It is the biblical and intellectual basis for Luther's Reformation platform of Sola Scriptura.

Prepare for it! Spiritually, Psa 90:12. Also, make arrangements with the deacons concerning your funeral. "IT IS lMPORTANT THAT WHEN WE DIE WE HAVE NOTHING TO DO BUT TO DIE." - Charles Hodge. Make sure you have a will, and a proper (biblical) one. Leave your children as little debt as possible.

Prepare your family for it! Spiritually, mentally, and financially, l Tim. 5:8.

Because of Judah's "roaring defiance" at her covenant Lord, He, in righteous judgment, "forsakes," "abandons," and "delivers her up" to her enemies to be ravaged by them.

Although Jehovah had treated Judah as his dearly beloved and prized possession, He, as the Holy God, would not tolerate her impenitent apostasy. Any love He had for Judah, was an holy love, which could not tolerate unholiness and disloyalty.

Therefore, Jeremiah says that Jehovah hates Judah. "Hate" in Hebrew is sina. It is the opposite of "love." It means to oppose, detest and despise those persons or things with which one desires no contact or relationship. "Love draws and unites, hate separates and keeps distant. The hated and hating persons are considered foes or enemies and are considered odious, utterly unappealing." - Van Gronigen

What is Calvinism? Or the Confession of Faith in Harmony with the Bible and Common Sense. In a series of dialogues between a Presbyterian minister and a young convert. Dialogue XXII, Presbyterianism of the Reformers.