Since this is my first issue as the Editor of The Reformed Herald, I thought I would introduce myself. First, let me say that I give my hearty “Amen” to the Synod’s decision this year to commend the previous Editor, Rev. Paul Treick, for his excellent service. I am not worthy to fill his place, although I am here in part because of his arm–twisting. As the subtitle of this magazine states, I shall endeavor by “God’s Sovereign Grace in Christ” to serve Christ for the spiritual benefit of you, the reader.
So, why are you here, reading this page? Please write to me and let me know WHY you are a reader of The Reformed Herald. Even more importantly, please write to me and let me know WHY you are a member of a Reformed church. What is it about God’s grace that has captured your heart and drawn you to be committed to Him and His congregations in the Reformed family of churches? Please write soon, so I can add your insight to those of other readers and report back in our next issue. The best way to contact me is at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I’ll get the conversation started this way. (Your input need not be so elaborate.) “Why am I here?” That is one of the ultimate questions in life. It is a good question to start a conversation with anyone, whether they are friends, family, or strangers. I like to start my answer by going back to my forefathers in Germany. Many of you have a similar cultural, ethnic, and religious heritage. I am here because centuries ago a bunch of Germanic barbarians stopped raiding the Roman Empire – the premier civilization of the world at that time. God sent missionaries to them and the Holy Spirit planted faith in their hearts. In time, they expressed a sure knowledge that led them to hold as truth ALL that God has revealed to us in His Word. They responded to the political, economic, and religious troubles of their day with a hearty trust in God, that not only to others, but to them also, the forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits. So they packed their bags and moved their families to the Odessa area of Russia in the late 18th to early 19th Century. After several decades, the days of persecution and economic hardship returned. So these “German-Russians,” many of whom were solidly Reformed in their faith, moved to America and settled in the Upper Midwest, primarily.
Beyond even this history, I have to explore why exactly I am here. Is it because I have been careful to stay true to the traditions of my forefathers? Or, is it because I am afraid to “get with it” and keep up with the times, following the trend of my generation to be on fire for God at age 13, and a disillussioned, ex-church-goer at age 23?
I confess I am here because of fear. The same fear which has led each of you to bother reading this far. I am here because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) That fear was drilled into me by my godly parents, elders, and RCUS pastors. That fear was modeled for me by the Christians whom I have met in the RCUS, although not always perfectly. As I grew up, I saw again and again how perfect the Reformed faith is, and how imperfect my personal life and walk with God is. This drove me further into a fear of the Lord.
That same fear of the Lord has led me to study God’s Word carefully. As a person studies God’s Word, you eventually come away with a spirit of fear, wonder, amazement, and deep reverence that the God Who created this whole universe cared enough to also create me. This God EVEN so loved me that He sent His only begotten Son into this world. Because I believe in Him, I know without a doubt that I will not perish, but have everlasting life.
That’s why I am here. I am saved by “God’s Sovereign Grace in Christ.” Is that why you are here?
I look forward to hearing your stories. All of our readers will greatly benefit from this communion of the saints that we can share in this way. Why do people join a Reformed Church, or stay in one when they grow up and start their own families? Why do people actually leave other churches and religions to flee to the doctrine of “God’s Sovereign Grace in Christ” which is held so precious, and defended so tenaciously within the RCUS?
Until next time, I will be here. . .
Rev. Kyle A. Sorensen, Manitowoc, Wisconsin