Sound Bites Torch and Trumpet 1953

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” from our third year of publication.

February–March 1953 Volume 2 No. 6

“In an age in which the picture-magazine and television are the most popular instruments of entertainment and agents for the instructing the general public, the study of doctrine is most unpopular.”

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“When the truth of God is no longer revered and loved and cherished then the untruths - which men hold for truths - of the devil make their way into our minds and we swear by them and prize them instead of the doctrine of the Word.”

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“[T]his tendency to let councils and synods do the deciding and to sit back supinely without exercising one’s own prophetic office as it applies to the matter, has been growing apace among us. The assumption is fast settling like a shroud over the church that it is wicked for an elder or a layman to question the official programs of the church in public speech or print.”

Doctrinal Indifference
Henry R. Van Til “Faithful ignorance is better than presumptive knowledge.”

We Live By Faith
Alexander C. De Jong

“One of the cardinal achievements of the Reformation was...that an entire congregation, without special training, could participate in praise.”

The Need for Constant Improvement
Henry A. Bruinsma

April–May 1953 Volume 3 No. 1

“As soon as men no longer recognize the divine law as their norm, they also experience discord.”

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[R]ationalism is an apostate faith and man is no ‘rational being.’ Even in his thought functions a man either recognizes the law of God as the norm for human existence or he rises up in revolt against it.”

Het Roer Om!
H. Evan Runner

“Calvin had seen enough of the dangers of doctrinal error which could creep in through the subjectivity of hymns based on human experience to realize that the songs of his church should be based upon actual scriptural texts.”

The Beauty of Simplicity
Henry A. Bruinsma

[H]istory furnishes a warning that unless a close cooperation exists between Church and school - so that the Church has a real voice in the matter - serious consequences doctrinally and morally more readily arise.”

Organization and Administration
Bernard J. Haan

June–July 1953 Volume 3 No. 2

“People remember the date of their ‘decision’ to ‘accept Christ.’ They vainly suppose that a mere decision will save them, and that a mere mental assent to doctrines is the same thing as saving faith in Christ. They believe that Jesus saves sinners just as they believe that Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States. They have a formal decision, but no real change in their life. They are like the fireplaces in some ships’ staterooms: a 25 watt electric bulb under some red cellophane, which provides an illusion of fire, but has only a little light and practically no heat.”

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“When a person is really saved, he will love what he formerly did not love. He will love God, God’s Book, God’s Day, God’s House, God’s children.”

Are You Sure You Are Saved?
Johannes G. Vos

“History is not infallible. It too must be tested by Scripture. It is from Scripture that one must determine whether the church today maintains biblical doctrine.”

The Development of Christian Doctrine in History
Fred H. Klooster

“There are many in the Christian Church today who no longer understand the intolerant character of Christianity.”

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There are many in the Church today who would make the virtue of charity toward the brethren the only and highest good. But we may never sacrifice the purity of the faith, we may never give up the truth even for the sake of loving the brethren, thereby covering up such error that would defame our God and dishonor him”

False Tolerance
Henry R. Van Til

August - September 1951 Volume 3 No. 3

“[I]t is not political life or our labor relations that must be Christian, but our whole life, we as persons, and all spheres in which we function must be permeated with the Christian life principle.”

Does Christian Social Action Demand an Absolute Break?
H. Evan Runner

“Can there be a greater exhibition of unmerited love than that which is seen when the King of Heaven follows his guilty people into every scene of vanity, striving with them, warring with their lusts, alarming their consciences, never leaving off his gracious quest until he has laid them as suppliant penitents at his feet, and then rejoicing over them as the shepherd who has found the long lost sheep?”

The Condescension of God
Leonard Greenway

“The divine revelation, both as to content and effect, always stand in direct antithesis with the products of human thought, insofar as the latter has been guided by the principles of man’s would-be autonomous reason.”

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[W]e must recognize the truth that God’s revelation was indeed challenging the existing systems of thought the very moment this revelation was uttered. Whenever God’s Word and the Life Situation were found to be in conflict, the former would seek to challenge the latter.”

When Kingship Was Lowered From Heaven
Martin H. Woudstra

October–November 1953 Volume 3 No. 4

“We in America are especially inclined to think too excessively in terms of single individuals. God does not. Individualism is not a Scriptural view of human life. Our God is Jehovah, God of the covenant.”

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“[O]ne of the most fundamental characteristics of Americans generally is their inability to think principally, out of a principle or starting point. It is no accident that America produced the philosophy of pragmatism; for all Americans really think pragmatically instead of principally.”

Cui Bono?
H. Evan Runner

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1951