Editorial – “Learning from the Fathers”
Even though the years go by faster and faster as one grows older, at least it seems that way, I still feel very much like a child. Attending a Synod meeting really drives this home. Regardless of a pastor or elder’s personal ministry experiences and maturity, we all run across other pastors and elders from whom we can learn. We are a body of Christ, and we need one another’s unique God-given gifts for the edifying of the whole body, so that we all would grow up into Christ, the head (see Ephesians 4:11-16).
At a Synod meeting, every stage of experience is represented: from the brand new minister to the pastor with a few decades under his belt, to the retired pastors, our “fathers” in the RCUS. I cherish those moments when we can work together, across generations, to fight the good fight of faith. I was privileged this year to stay up late with one of our RCUS fathers, soaking up his wisdom and learning better how to apply God’s eternal Word to His covenant people and to a lost and dying world.
As you read this issue of the Reformed Herald, there are several ways in which this truth of “learning from the Fathers” is an underlying theme. We have an article introducing the work of the Permanent Archives Committee. How can we properly “honor our father and mother” if we don’t even remember that they lived, or look to the record of God’s grace in their lives years ago, even centuries ago? In the President’s Report, the Report on the Synod meeting itself, and the Roundtable Discussion summary, we see a constant thread of learning from one another, including the Fathers. With their years of experience and insight, where do they see the RCUS headed? What can we do? We also, in these various reports, see efforts to be self-critical, to not blindly accept tradition but rather to recommit ourselves to grow in grace, to be always reforming according to the Word of God within the fences of the Confessions.
We also see reminders of the next generation in the reports of our youth camps and covenant confirmation. What a joy it is that God has given children to “the fathers.” We have the responsibility to train them carefully, and our children have the responsibility to learn from the fathers God has given to them. For one day, these middle-schoolers and teenagers will become the Fathers (and Mothers) of the Faith too. How will they maintain a Christ-centered life between now and then, for the next 60 years or so?
Some answers to that are given in this issue by two of our RCUS Fathers. In a sermon with application to politics, among other areas, Rev. Vernon Pollema speaks to us about the Biblical duties of the King. And in an article which was written just a few years ago for the Reformed Herald, our dear father Dr. C.W. Bud Powell (who was called home to heaven just as this issue was going to print), speaks to us about the nature of politics, culture, and true religion. His characteristic blend of wit, theology, and love are on clear display.
May God bless you, dear reader, as you “learn from the Fathers” on these pages. And for those who are Fathers (and Mothers) of the faith, please do not grow weary of doing good. We need your faithful legacy as you persevere to the very last. Show us the joy you have that you belong in body and soul, in life and death, not to yourself, but to your faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
Rev. Kyle A. Sorensen, Manitowoc, Wisconsin