Your Calling with respect to the School with the Bible (4)
Finally, we hold on to the School with the Bible because we confess God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. We persist with it, because our children are baptised also in His Name.
The school – of the parents, as instruments of the Spirit
God the Holy Spirit: that also means that the school is of the parents. It belongs to the parents, for Scripture says that the Holy Spirit has not only given the elders in the church, but also the parents, the task of being overseers. The church which in dark days formulated its liturgical Forms in faith, that same church prayed and taught the parents to pray: “… that You will always govern this child by Your Holy Spirit, that it may be nurtured in the Christian faith and in godliness”.
To be sure, the church confessed the Holy Spirit as sovereign Worker, as the great Ruler of its children: He does it, and not the parents. But the church confessed that Spirit also as being God who in His good pleasure chooses and calls His instruments, who will govern the children through the office of nurturing which He granted to the parents.
And He who called them to that office in order to do His work, does indeed grant them the freedom to make use of the service of others, but never the liberty to hand that office to others or let others take it from them. That Spirit has said to them: It is I who rule over your children. But it has pleased Me to do that through your parenting. It is this instruction, this sovereign arrangement, to which He has bound them. If we would ever abandon this confession, our school would cease to be the School with the Bible.
Whoever says: It does not matter who is in control of our school, has not honoured the Holy Spirit as God. We can never surrender this office of the parents without grieving the Holy Spirit. If we did, He would accuse us of desertion. If He calls us to the office, we cannot walk away from it, nor let ourselves be dismissed. We can never delegate our calling to someone else, and for that reason will maintain the School with the Bible as a school of the parents. While this is not a right that no one can take away from us, it is an inviolable right of God the Holy Spirit.
Called by God
Therefore we acknowledge our calling today from God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Yes, it has indeed made obedience to God’s calling more difficult. It is not always easy these days to perceive clearly how we must carry out this calling in practice. Scripture knows all about the hatred we will suffer as confessors of the Name of God. We shall also be hated because we see and practice our calling in respect of the school in this way.
But we know that God has called us, and that He has called us in this manner. We know that for that reason we can never lend an ear to the suggestion that the time has come for us as believers to withdraw to the main battleground: that is, the confession of God’s Name in the church, while we should let go of the other fields of battle.
We cannot do that because we simply do not have major and minor battlegrounds, but only the one battleground: the confession of God’s Name everywhere. It is not a matter of major and minor battlegrounds, but simply one of faithfulness or unfaithfulness.
God has called us to faithfulness also in the school. We cannot retreat; we cannot under any circumstances give up on the matter. When obedience to that calling becomes difficult, we must continue in the faith that there is no calling but the calling of grace; that God does not require anything from us unless He first gives us His promise. He called us to confess His Name also in the school, but only because He had put that Name as the foundation of our life.
Faith in the Triune God
I believe in God the Father, the Creator; that is: I believe that when I am faithful and acknowledge His right in all of life – He will Himself take care that the whole earth is filled with His glory. Perhaps I myself will not see the end result, but I trust in Him, He will do it.
I believe in God the Son, the Redeemer; that is: I believe that when I faithfully accept the antithesis also in the school, He will Himself work and maintain that antithesis – He will Himself push that antithesis to the utmost in spite of all human hankering after unification and equality. Is it not He who throws fire on the earth and causes the disunity among the people and breaks apart all human relationships?
I believe in God the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies. That is: I believe that even though the parents’ rights in the school can be denied, the calling by the Spirit can never be rescinded. When I remain faithful in the position He assigned to me, things may become difficult and I may be attacked from many sides; but the Spirit will maintain His calling also over against those who are hostile. Perhaps I will be unable to do that, but He will.
We will therefore persevere in working and sacrificing and praying for the School with the Bible. Perhaps the time will come that all we can do is pray. But even then, we have not become ineffective. For God, who one day will hear the prayer of His church to destroy the earth, will also hear the prayer for the sanctification of His Name by renewing the earth in and through the school. It may seem a remote reality, but it will happen all the same, also in the way of our faithfulness toward the School with the Bible. O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is Your Name in all the earth.
Prof. B Holwerda