Editor: Some interesting observations on this subject are found at the very beginning of the Reformed Herald. These two articles are found on pages 26-27 in the August 1956 issue (labeled as Volume XII, No. 3).
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
The Preacher says “there is no new thing under the sun.” Then why start a new paper? The reasons and purpose of our new paper have been set forth elsewhere in this paper by the President of Classis, Rev. D. E. Bosma. Our contribution to the world of religious literature is not an attempt at newness or novelty. We hope to say what has been said before—by prophets and apostles, by the saints of every age—to sound forth the faith once delivered to the saints. What we do hope is that we will say it in a pointed way to meet the needs of our own time and people.
We are heralds. The job of a herald is to bear and proclaim the message of his king. We have a message from the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” We dare not corrupt this message with our own imaginations and vain thoughts. Rather, we must follow the injuction of Paul to Timothy, “preach the Word.” Our new paper seeks to continue the stand of the Eureka Classis [that is, the RCUS] in all its former publications, holding forth the Word of life, heralding the message of God’s Word.
The issue that confronts us in our day is: What is the Word of God, and where it to be found? For the older readers this question is easily and quickly answered: the Bible is the Word of God. But if some of the younger readers should attend a theological seminary today, they would find in most cases that this answer of the ages is no longer acceptable to many.
We find this situation accentuated in several recent articles in the Christian Century, a leading liberal, ecumenical religious weekly. Reinhold Niebuhr, professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, says: “Whatever the Church may do to spread the gospel, it must resist the temptation of simplifying it in either literalistic or individualistic terms.” E. G. Homrighausen, Dean of Princeton Seminary, commenting on Niebuhr’s article, discusses biblical criticism. He writes, “An uncritical Protestantism may lapse into a conception of the authority of the Bible which ignores the research that has given a newer understanding of its uniqueness and relevance.” Says T. A. Gill, an editor, concerning the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church: “Unlike other Lutheran churches, Missouri has never worried out loud about how the Word of God is related to the Bible and how the Bible is related to a church’s theology. The literalism . . . continues to be insisted upon by the Missouri Synod. . . .”
In all these articles what is objected to is the literal interpretation of the Bible, that is, to take the Bible, as written, to be the Word of God without error, and authoritative for faith and life.
Where does the Reformed Herald stand? With the apostles! Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Scripture, the written Word is, according to Paul, from God. These writings are God-breathed.
Scripture alone is determinative of Christian doctrine and action. Peter writes in 2 Pet. 1:20-21, “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The prophecy of Scripture is not of men but of God. This Word is not momentary and transitory, but is a permanent Word of God. John the apostle warns against adding or subtracting from the words of this book. Why? Because it is the Word of God.
The Reformed Herald, in heralding forth the Word of God, believes that Word to be the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, we will present sermons and exegetical studies upon biblical texts. We believe that the teaching of the Bible is set forth in that doctrine, called Reformed, which is so admirably summarized in our Heidelberg Catechism. Therefore, we will present commentary and discussion of this statement of our faith.
Above all it is our hope that this paper will fill a real need in our Classis. May our God bless this humble effort to establish and strengthen the people of God.
Rev. Norman C. Hoeflinger, Artas, SD
THE REFORMED HERALD
The need for a periodical, set in the midst of congregational life, as the members experience it and live it, induced Classis at its annual session, the forepart of May, to launch the publication of the Reformed Herald in bi-lingual form. It will be a successor to the Gemeindeblatt, which was the official publication of the Eureka Classis.
More and more it has become evident that our churches need a medium of contact in their difficult and rather lone stand over against the impact of indiscriminate, delusive, confessionless unionism. They must become more conscious of the fact that also other congregations are partakers of the same tribulations in their stand to remain Reformed. This, however, needs to be expressed, so that fellowship in the faith be more firmly established, sharing each other’s burdens as well as joys and blessings in the Lord.
The periodical should present items of importance and interest from every congregation, besides readable, edifying, biblical presentations from the pastors. Certainly this responsibility cannot be left to the editors, Rev. N. Hoeflinger, Artas, S. Dakota, and [German Articles Editor] Rev. W. E. Korn, Menno, S. Dakota, but every pastor of Classis is personally responsible for his share of contributions.
This must be carried out and adhered to unflinchingly to make this periodical a welcome and profitable monthly visitor in the homes of our church membership. It would not be out of place, but rather advisable now and then, for members to remind their pastor to send in an item from their church. Our churches need contact with each other. People want to know how other congregations are faring.
Rev. D. E. Bosma, Eureka, SD
Editor: For those interested, the Publishing information in that inaugural issue of August 1956 appeared as follows:
Reformed Herald, Formerly Reformiertes Gemeindeblatt
Entered as second-class matter at the post office at Green Bay, Wisconsin under the act of March 3, 1879.
Published monthly at Green Bay, Wis., U.S.A. by the Reliance Publishing Co. under the auspices of the Eureka Classis, Reformed Church in the U.S.
EDITOR: Rev. Norman C. Hoeflinger, Artas, S. Dak.
GERMAN EDITOR: W. E. Korn, Menno, S. Dak.
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Revs. D. E. Bosma, Eureka, S. Dak.; E. Buehrer, Green Bay, Wis.; J. Cooper, Ashley, N. Dak.; W. Grossmann, Shafter, Cal.; R. Klaudt, Sutton, Nebr.; K. Krueger, Upham, N. Dak.; H. Mensch, Leola, S. Dak.; L. Stockmeier, Hosmer, S. Dak.; K. J, Stuebbe, Manitowoc, Wis.; R. Stuebbe, Bakersfield, Cal.
Subscription Price, $ 1.00 Per Year
Forward subscriptions, contributions and copy to the editor, Rev. N. C. Hoeflinger, Artas, S. Dak.