Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

From the Editor

Written by Rev. C. Pronk
The recent articles by Revs. VanderMeyden and Herfst on issues relating to Bible translations have sparked considerable discussion among our readership. Various emails and phone calls, as well as personal conversations, have reached my eyes and ears and they indicate that the issue of Bible versions is indeed a lively one among us. The responses I received were about equally divided between positive and negative ones. Some welcomed the exchange as refreshing and necessary while others faulted me for publishing what was considered to be divisive material.

What has been overlooked here is that the articles were placed in pursuance of the Synodical decision to educate our members with a view to coming to a better understanding of the issues involved. Surely, it should be possible for mature Christians to engage in open and healthy discussions on any subject of mutual concern, provided such discussions take place with an attitude of Christian charity and with due respect for each otherÕs points of view. If that proves impossible we have a real problem. In that case we need instruction in something much more basic than deciding which Bible version to use. Could it be that we are lacking a proper understanding and application of the biblical doctrine of Christian liberty?

We seem to have difficulty in distinguishing between essential and non-essential matters. Certain truths are essential to our salvation, while others are not. Among the former I would include faith in Christ and repentance toward God; to the latter belong such matters as Bible versions. Important as this latter issue is, it is not one on which our salvation depends.

To help our readers deal with some of the rather knotty issues that come up in church life from time to time, the following article by Rev. Neff might be of some help. Although he does not deal specifically with the subject of Bible translations, the biblical principles he sets forth apply to all matters about which Christians may hold different opinions. These principles should certainly determine the attitude and manner in which such differences are discussed.

Pastor Neff is a retired minister who has often served our churches in the West, having been given official permission for this by way of a colloquiem doctum in 1990. For many years he was pastor of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) in San Jose, California. Presently, he is retired and resides in Lynden, Washington, where he is a member of the Orthodox Christian Reformed Church. Pastor Neff is known and respected for his faithful preaching and wisdom in dealing with difficult and sensitive issues. This article first appeared in ÒThe Trumpet,Ó a magazine published by the Orthodox Christian Reformed Church and it is reprinted here with permission, slightly abridged.

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