Webster’s Dictionary defines a sound bite as “a brief recorded statement [as by a public figure] broadcast esp. on a television news program.” Those “sound bites” refer to audible statements. Webster also defines sound as “free from error, fallacy, or misrepresentation”, “logically valid and having true premises”, and “showing good judgment or sense”. In celebration of 50 years of publication, we look back to some sound bites of 1951.
April–May 1951 Volume 1 No. 1
“[God] always has the last word because He is always the First Word”
Shelter and Security
“[T]he covenant idea places God and man in an abiding and constant relationship of love, or of wrath. Man the sinner isn’t at one moment in a religious doghouse and the other at a religious feast. Erratic, temporary, arbitrary shiftings of man’s relationship to God are foreign to the structure of the covenant. In Adam man remains under covenant condemnation, in Christ, man remains under covenant grace, always by reason of the Sovereign covenant keeping God.”
“Though we have no obligation to pattern life on the Old Testament theocratic basis, we must not forget that Israel’s life as a nation is more than history, but also revelation unveiling to us a God of the covenant whose gracious condescending favor extends into every detail of human life.”
The Covenant is the Answer!
Alexander C. De Jong
“Woe to the Protestant who seeks to build his Protestantism as a second story upon a supposedly theistic foundation, and a first story built by Romanism or by Protestants in conjunction with Romanists. Only a defective Protestantism can be built upon the perverted theism of the Romanist type.”
Defending the Faith
Cornelius Van Til
“The calling of the Christian scientist is to show that truth in every realm of human endeavor has its origin in God, and hence there can be no conflict between revealed truth in nature and Scripture. We explain the one in the light of the other.”
How Our Thinking Has Changed
John De Vries
June–July 1951 Volume 1 No. 2
“To aspire to be like God in once sense is the essence of virtue, to aspire to be like him in another sense is the greatest iniquity.”
Love Your Enemies
“A Christian must be a conservative, he must be reactionary enough to believe that the truth has been spoken once for all and that anything which purports to be true must agree with that once-for-all truth or be immediately discarded as falsehood.
“Our homes are drifting along lackadaisically into the dark waters of worldliness. Our churches are losing the loyalty of their members. Church people know more about the latest television show, wrestling match, radio drama and comic strip than they do about the Catechism or the Scripture, all because we have not really fallen before the cross, sobbing out our penitent hearts, pledging ourselves with body and soul, for time and eternity, not to serve ourselves or our own interests, but [Christ] and him alone.”
When God Speaks
“The most prevalent and provocative picture of the Christian given in Scripture is that of the warrior involved in a life and death struggle against the forces of God’s enemies. For this conflict we have been recruited by Christ, our Captain. He calls us to fight the good fight of faith, to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil - with the promise that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us. It will not do for us to be satisfied merely because we might have had better equipment and superior training such as some of us are getting in the Christian schools, the doctrine classes, and the weekly preaching of the Word in our houses of worship. Without the will to resist the world, to oppose the evil one, without the militant mind we shall not maintain the cause of Christ or bring luster to his banner.”
“If we do not hate the world, the love of the father is not in us. Our enmity against the world must come to expression in the militant mind which opposes the world in the Church as well as without. Peter and John were cast into prison for their militancy. Paul had a riot on his hands, but he also had it said of him that he turned the world upside down. We will never be confronted with a riot nor turn anything upside down as long as we keep polishing our guns and pressing our uniforms and standing at attention on parade, that is, as long as we use all our time and money merely to keep our church organization going.
Henry Van Til
August–September 1951 Volume 1 No. 3
“How rich, therefore, is the Christian who by faith appropriates the Bible as God’s Word. Therein he seeks and finds the answers to the supreme questions concerning God’s dealings with man.”
What Do We Mean By God’s Covenant?
Peter Y. De Jong
“[W]hen an author who calls himself a Christian and is a member of a historically Christian church, when such a person boldly and baldly denies the orthodox faith [I challenge anyone to disprove this contention], it is high time to sound the alarm, for then the enemy is not merely approaching, but like a Trojan horse, is already within the gates.”
“Notice the subtle strategy of Satan, our adversary. We ought not to be ignorant of his devices and stratagems. Simply because a man is a member of a Christian church and teaches at a Christian college we have a tendency not to take his false expressions on Christianity at face value, not to take seriously what he says or has written in denial of the faith.”
Testing the Teachers
Henry R. Van Til
“The heresy that the world loves best of all is the heresy which says that there is no hell. The world wants to believe that all humans will go to heaven. Above all things the world hates the Bible doctrine of eternal punishment in hell.”
God Is Love
Johannes G. Vos
“If the world is to hear a consistent testimony for the Christian faith, it is the Calvinist who must give it. If there is not a distinctively Reformed method for the defense of every article of the Christian faith, then there is no way of clearly telling an unbeliever just how Christianity differs from his own position and why he should accept the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.
Needed: A Consistent Witness!
Cornelius Van Til
October–November 1951 Volume 1 No. 4
“Freedom is a much abused word. Christians cannot afford to mishandle the term. The liberty we have in Christ is not the abandonment of restraint. It is not release from responsibility. Strange as it may sound, our freedom lies in a bondservice, a totalitarian service. The Savior who loosed us is our Lord! The secret of his liberty lies in submission to his sovereignty.”
“We are placed in the same relations with unbelievers, engaged in the same employments, busy with them in the market places, associating with them in the business of life. Yet, in these common functions we are taught to act for God . Our association with the world is never to be identification with the world. Always there must be a difference, not necessarily an external one, as in garb or fashion - though on occasion there may need to be - but a difference in character and in nature.”
“Warfield, in 1912, decried the Christless Christianity of his times. In our day we must lament the heartless Christianity.”
Unto Him that Loves Us
“Those who advocate the support of religion for its “values,” moreover, almost never speak of the real, primary benefits of the Christian religion, such as forgiveness of sins, deliverance from the wrath of God and eternal punishment, joy in the Holy Spirit, a hope that maketh not ashamed, and an inheritance of eternal glory. On the contrary, the benefits for which people are told to be religious are often at best only secondary by-products of Christianity, such as a happy home life, the attainment of personal poise and balance, the preservation of democracy and civil liberty, the solution of personal, social, and economic problems, the furtherance of human “brotherhood,” and so forth. In short, what is advocated is religion for the sake of human welfare. The stress is usually on religion rather than on God; when God is mentioned, he is regard solely from the standpoint of human welfare: the question in mind is not “How is man to glorify God?” but rather, “How can God meet man’s needs?”
“Religion is not a means to an end; it is itself the supreme end of human life. Religion does not have a purpose; it is itself the purpose for which every thing human exists.”
The Value of Religion
Johannes G. Vos