Apart from my parents, the two men who had the most influence on my life my two professors in Seminary. The one was Rev. Herman Hoeksema; the other was Prof. George M. Ophoff. From Rev. Hoeksema I learned Reformed Dogmatics and how to exegete the New Testament; from Prof. Ophoff I learned the history of the church of Christ and how to exegete the Old Testament. They determined the nature of my ministry in the church of Christ.
The Seminary was meeting for most of the time I was studying for the ministry in the basement of First Protestant Reformed Church. The one room set aside for Seminary had nothing to commend it as a classroom conducive to study. The student body was small. The library was all but non-existent. The Seminary boasted no support staff: no secretary, no administrator, no registrar, no department heads, no records and filing cabinets for them. Just two professors and a handful of students.
I am bold to say that we received some of the best theological education available in this country if not abroad. Yet this seemingly bold statement is only true if one weighs the value of theological education in the scales of the one thing theological education is all about: learning to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures and the Reformed Confessions. I never wanted to study elsewhere, did not in fact even give it a thought. I have never had one moment's regret that the place where I studied was the dingy "Seminary room" in the basement of First Church.
The only possible explanation of all this is the fact that the two professors who taught us everything we knew about theology and preaching were two men, themselves gifted preachers, but who were wholly committed to the Reformed faith and the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In all the world no two men could be found working together who were so different from each other. It was itself a miracle of divine grace that both not only worked together from the beginning of the history of the Protestant Reformed Churches in 1924 to the late '50s -- a period of over 35 years; it was a miracle that they labored in unity, harmony, singleness of purpose, and equal devotion to the cause of Christ.
I have written of Rev. Herman Hoeksema. The delightful task of writing of Rev. George Ophoff now awaits me. It is the story of a man whom I respected greatly and whom I learned to love deeply. That his name may not be forgotten by those who love the Reformed faith, I write these lines with thankfulness to God for my Seminary professors.
Early Life And Training
George Ophoff was born in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 25, 1891. He was the oldest of eight children born to Frederick H. Ophoff and Yeta Hemkes Ophoff. Frederick Ophoff worked in a furniture factory in downtown Grand Rapids to and from which place he walked to save the nickel-cost of streetcar fare. The hours were long: from 6:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon, six days a week. But the rather meager wages could barely support the family and provide Christian School tuition for the children.
The household lived a rather normal life for a second generation immigrant family. The Dutch communities in Grand Rapids were close-knit and life centered in the church. The churches were composed of immigrants from the Netherlands and their children and grandchildren; and they were scattered throughout the city. Almost all of them had roots in The Separation, the reforming movement in the Netherlands which had been launched by Henrick De Cock and which had come to Michigan under the leadership of Van Raalte.
In keeping with the traditions of those who belonged to this particular group of Dutch immigrants, the family was a godly and pious family willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christian instruction. Ophoff received his instruction in the home, in Oakdale Christian School, and in Franklin St. and Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Churches. It was truly a covenantal instruction which Ophoff himself, in all his life, considered a great blessing. In his later years in Seminary Ophoff was wont to speak of what he called Gereformeerde gevoelhoren," which is translated, "Reformed antennae." By this expression he referred to one who had a deep sense of what was included in the Reformed faith and an ability to detect unerringly that which was opposed to it. Ophoff firmly believed that such a sense for what is truly Reformed could only be gained through covenantal instruction given to the children of God's covenant in church, home, and school.
While Ophoff was not himself a brawler, but rather something of a loner, he nevertheless did not run from a good fight, and he was quick to come to the defense of one who was being unjustly or cruelly taunted on the playground, even if this involved a battle with his peers. His mother despaired of the many ruined clothes in which he came home -- in days when one pair of trousers and one shirt was worn all week long, to be washed on Saturday and put on again on Monday. He had on his right hand a crooked index finger with which he often gestured on the pulpit and in class, the legacy of one such brawl in which his finger was broken.
At the time Ophoff graduated from grade school, there was as yet no Christian high school. Calvin College, organized exclusively for the training of teachers and ministers, incorporated various high school
subjects into its curriculum. To this school Ophoff went with his mind set upon being a minister of the gospel. He graduated from the high school part of it in 1909 at the age of 18.
Preparation For The Ministry
From that point on Ophoff's education was repeatedly interrupted. Apparently the reason was in part a lack of finances in the Ophoff household which forced him to drop out of school and seek employment with a local ice company.
Another event was to alter his life significantly. Between his college studies and Seminary work, while laboring at the ice company, his maternal grandfather fell and broke his hip.
Ophoff's grandfather, Gerrit Hemkes, had been born and raised in the Netherlands, had entered the ministry of the churches of The Separation led by De Cock, and had come to this country when he took a call extended to him from the Christian Reformed congregation in Vriesland, Michigan. Because of his many abilities, he had been called to be assistant professor in the Seminary in Grand Rapids where he had served with distinction.
When as a relatively old man he had broken his hip, Ophoff was sent by his parents to the home of Prof. Hemkes, to live with him and care for him. Ophoff never returned again to his home.
God has his purpose in all our sufferings, sorrows and disappointments. So it was in this instance. Because of the care of his grandson, Prof. Hemkes was able to remain at his home until he died. But Ophoff also benefited. It was Hemkes who encouraged him to return to school, who helped him with his studies, and who provided a quiet place to pursue his studies. Furthermore, Hemkes, a very gifted man, was able to give Ophoff a great deal of instruction in and a deep and abiding love for the Reformed faith.
In 1918, at 27 years of age, George entered Calvin Seminary. Two events of these years must be recorded.
The first was tragedy in the Ophoff family. George's father was fatally injured in a fire which broke out in his place of work. Although he escaped from the building when it began to burn, he rushed back into the building to rescue a very precious watch which he had left on the shelf in his department. An explosion tore to pieces that part of the building, and Frederick Ophoff was badly burned. He died the same day at the age of 52 leaving a widow and eight children.
The second incident was also somewhat revealing with regard to Ophoff's character. As one of his course requirements, he was assigned a paper on "common grace," an issue under discussion in the churches. He had a great deal of difficulty with the paper, chiefly because of the fact that he could not fit the current teachings on common grace into the organic body of Reformed thought. It seemed to conflict with everything he knew of the Reformed heritage of the truth.
Finally, in sheer desperation, he decided to approach the subject from the viewpoint of its being a doctrine contrary to Scripture. Unaware of questions concerning its Biblical character which had already appeared in some places in the church, and using a denial of common grace only as a "working hypothesis," he discovered that this approach solved all his problems. To use his own words, "Suddenly the light went on," and all the pieces began to fall into place. The paper became easy to write.
Whatever may have been the reaction of his professor to this paper, Ophoff himself became subjectively convinced that common grace was contrary to Scripture and the Reformed Confessions long before the controversy became public in the churches. And that conviction was to remain unalterable throughout his life.
During his seminary years, George met and married Jane Boom with whom he had four sons. God gave him a wife who was truly a help meet for him. She was a beautiful woman of amazing character, herself born in a Reformed home and brought up in the Reformed faith; but a woman who completely devoted herself to her husband. She was to be his support and encouragement in unbelievably difficult years that lay ahead. Because Prof. Hemkes was still living, the newly married couple moved in with him. George and Jane were married in August of 1920, and in December of 1920 Prof. Hemkes died.
In May of 1921 George graduated from the Seminary, and in January of 1922, he assumed the responsibilities of his first pastorate in a Christian Reformed Church in Riverbend, Michigan. The congregation is now the Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Walker and has its sanctuary within a long block of where the old church once stood.
Ophoff's Pastoral Work
George Ophoff was ordained into the ministry of the Word and sacraments on January 26, 1922 in the Hope Christian Reformed Church during the evening worship service. The congregation had been in existence since 1916, though it had never had a pastor. It belonged to Classis Grand Rapids West, was supplied by ministers from the Classis and by students and professors from the Seminary. It was a rural congregation numbering between thirty and thirty-five families, most of whom farmed.
In many ways and from many viewpoints, Ophoff's strengths were not best utilized in the pastoral aspects of the ministry. It is always a marvel that God gives sovereignly to each man his gifts and abilities, that the particular place of each man within the church is sovereignly determined by God, and that the two so perfectly match. It soon became evident that Ophoff's gifts and abilities lay in teaching.
He was a forceful teacher in Catechism classes, although he did not usually succeed in remembering all the names of his Catechumens, and they could easily "pull the wool over his eyes" by reading the answers to the questions they were supposed to memorize without his being aware of it.
He was, however, extremely interested in the spiritual welfare of the children, a welfare rooted, he was convinced, in their thorough understanding of the Reformed faith. After Ophoff was deposed from the ministry in the Christian Reformed Church (though he continued to be a minister in the Hope Protestant Reformed Church), it came to his attention that a nearby local Christian Reformed minister was attempting to persuade some of Ophoff's catechumens to attend catechism in the Christian Reformed Church. Ophoff's solution to this problem was to take his entire catechism class to the home of the "proselytizing" minister and proceed, in the presence of his class, to instruct the local minister in the error of common grace and in the necessity of the children to learn the Reformed faith over against this pernicious error.
The same strength of Ophoff appeared in his preaching. His preaching, especially on the Old Testament, was powerful, Reformed, unique, gripping. He could bring the whole congregation, including the children, into the lives and history of the saints described in Scripture. And he could unfold in an unforgettable way, the riches of Christ crucified as the salvation of God's people in every age.
But he was rarely on time for anything -- a weakness that plagued him all his life. In concern for the congregation, the elders would often start the service and the minister would appear some time during the preliminary acts of worship.
Ophoff's life was, especially after 1924, unbelievably difficult as he attempted to combine the fulltime care of a congregation with the heavy responsibilities of Seminary instruction -- when the full curriculum fell on just two men. The result was that his sermons were not always as carefully prepared as they would have been if he had sufficient time to spend on them; he often failed to finish a sermon in the allotted time, and it was not unusual that he would complete a sermon in the afternoon worship service which he had begun in the morning. He sometimes could reprimand from the pulpit individual members of the congregation who had sinned, and his condemnation of sin, though stern and unbending, was not always touched by a shepherd's love for the sheep. Because bulletins were unheard of and the minister required to read the announcements, Ophoff often became entangled in the difficult task of finding the correct piece of paper containing the current announcements among a welter of slips of paper found in every pocket of his coat.
Jacob was his favorite Bible character -- what Ophoff himself would call "his favorite personage." He himself admitted that this was true because he saw himself in Jacob who illustrated so vividly that sovereign election and grace makes a saint from a very miserable character. Because his sermons were filled with illustrations and expressions which were down-to-earth, homely, and taken from every day life, even today those who heard him preach remember many of his sermons and the points he was making in them.
After the controversy over common grace which was the occasion for the beginning of the Protestant Reformed Churches, Rev. Ophoff was pastor for a sixteen years in Byron Center, Michigan. But, partly because of controversy in the congregation, the congregation was dissolved and Ophoff was able to devote all his time to his work in the Seminary. His work in a congregation after that was limited to faithful and dedicated service in the office of elder in First Protestant Reformed Church.
George Ophoff was involved early in the events which led up to the formation of the Protestant Reformed Churches. Although the PRC were not formally established until January of 1925, Rev. Ophoff joined the staff of the Standard Bearer in October of 1924 and wrote his first article in the November issue. It was entitled, "A Declaration, and was intended to explain his action:
And thus it happens that I, the undersigned, am of
the group editing this periodical. The fact that I
agree to serve upon the editorial staff of the
"Standard Bearer" amounts to an admission on my part
that I too reject the views and conception of things
which the term common grace stands for. For me it is
quite impossible to adhere to the principles embedded
in the term common grace and remain on friendly terms
To write for the Standard Bearer and to write this kind of language was an act of courage born out of faith. The times were troubled and dangerous. A few months before, in June, the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church had adopted a statement concerning common grace which made the doctrine official dogma in the church. And, while the Synod had not required the discipline of those who disagreed with Synod's decision, many had started movements to rid the church of all those who dared express disagreement with what Synod said. Ophoff must have known that such writing would eventually lead to trouble for him.
And so it did. Rev. Herman Hoeksema was disciplined in December of 1924 by Classis Grand Rapids East. Classis Grand Rapids West followed in January. A reading of the minutes of both Classes will show that the same men who had sought the ouster of Hoeksema would not rest until also Ophoff was put out of the church. The material presented to Classis West was much the same as that which had appeared in Classis East. From the first day of the meeting it was obvious that the Classis had not come together as a deliberative body to discuss the issues; it had one purpose in mind, namely to rid the church once and for all of any one who disagreed with the Synodical pronouncements. It had one question to ask Ophoff: Will you sign the three points of common grace or not?
The demand came to Ophoff via the insistence of the Classis that Ophoff's consistory confront its pastor with these demands. The missive read:
The Classis Grand Rapids West hereby requires you to require of your minister:
1) That he declare himself unequivocally whether he is in full agreement, yes or no, with the three point [of common grace] of the Synod of Kalamazoo.
2) An unconditional promise that in the matter of the three points, he will submit (with the right of appeal) to the Confessional Standards of the Church as interpreted by the Synod of 1924 i.e. neither publicly nor privately propose, teach or defend either by preaching or writing any sentiment contrary to the Confessional Standards of the Church as interpreted by the Synod of 1924 and in case of an appeal that he in the interim will acquiesce in the judgment already passed by the Synod of 1924.
The Classis further requests you to furnish the
Classis by 10:00 A.M., Wednesday morning, Jan. 21,
1925, with a definite written answer of your pastor to
the two-fold requirement of the Consistory.
The Classis brushed aside the detailed answer of Hope's Consistory and proceeded to depose from office Rev. Ophoff himself and his elders. One deacon also was deposed while another agreed to common grace.
From an earthly point of view the results were disastrous. Ophoff was stripped of his office, as were his elders; the congregation was reduced to a small group of about seven or eight families; the whole movement numbered only three ministers and three congregations; Ophoff's relatives all remained in the CRC and what had been a close-knit family was torn apart by the split.
Nevertheless, God used this seemingly hopeless situation to bring reformation to his church. Common grace is an unwarranted departure from Scripture and the Reformed Confessions and an introduction into the church of deadly heresy. The deposition of faithful ministers was a terrible sin. Yet Ophoff was determined to remain true to Scripture and to his God. Nothing else mattered. At the time of his deposition the Grand Rapids Press published an edition with the headlines: "OPHOFF PREFERS DEATH." The reference was to a statement which Ophoff had made on the floor of the Classis during the course of proceedings. He had informed the Classis that he would rather be shot than to sign the three points. The paragraph from the Press reads:
Mr. President, if you were to place me before a un
to be shot or set before me the three points to adhere
to, I would choose the former. I cannot sign the three
points. If I did I would be tearing the Bible into
shreds. I would be stamping the Word under foot. I
would be slapping God in the face.
It was not a vain and empty boast. The truth was more important to him than life itself. And the courage to stand alone, as saints before him had so often done, was a courage born in an unshakable faith that Christ's cause always has the victory.
Such was, in part, the beginning of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Ophoff As Professor
From the beginning of the Protestant Reformed Churches, a Seminary was established and operated under the firm conviction that the survival of the fledgling denomination depended upon the training of its own ministers. And so, in addition to his pastoral work, Ophoff began teaching Church History and Old Testament subjects in the Seminary. Although the Seminary could not begin to compare with other Seminaries in facilities, organization, size of student body, and prestige, the simple fact is that the Seminary turned out ministers who in ability to preach and shepherd the church of Christ were head and shoulders above every Seminary in the land. While the academic aspect of the training was good, the success of the Seminary was, without doubt, due to the deep spirituality of its teachers.
I consider it one of the great privileges in life which the Lord gave me that I could study under Profs. Ophoff and Hoeksema. It was a part of a Seminary education which was better that anything obtainable elsewhere. I look back on those years with gratitude.
I am compelled to look at this aspect of his work from my own perspective because it was in the Seminary that I best knew him.
In the first year I attended Seminary, the school was rather large with students from our own Churches, interested young men and college students who audited various courses, students from the Netherlands, and students from the Eureka Classis of the German Reformed Churches. After the controversy of 1953 the number of students was significantly reduced.
My first impression, formed already in those years, and one which continues to the present is Ophoff's immense dedication to the cause, a dedication which became especially evident in his willingness to sacrifice almost all earthly goods and position for the sake of the truth. Such enormous dedication left an indelible mark.
My second impression was that our education was of the highest possible caliber. This was true even from an academic viewpoint. Ophoff, e.g., taught us our Hebrew grammar and reading. He taught it well and he taught it thoroughly. We learned our Hebrew under his instruction. We could not have learned it better anywhere else. We had to study and we had to study hard. The sleepless nights were many and the work was demanding. We had good courses.
But the education was especially good because it was throughout from the perspective of Scripture and the Confessions. Ophoff had insights into things which were unique and powerful. In Old Testament studies he opened to us the history of Israel in a way which could not be learned from any book. He did not rely upon what others had said; he did not use the same old notes over and over, year after year. He was fresh, vigorous, new, insightful, and interesting. In Church History he showed us something I had never learned in all my college days: the fundamental spiritual difference between the Reformation and the Renaissance which created sharp antithesis between them. And this is but one example.
My third impression was that Ophoff was disorganized in much of his life. It must be remembered that the workload he carried was enormous and the obligations many and varied. It must be remembered too that Ophoff's absorption in a given subject at a given time made him so preoccupied that he was often oblivious to what was going on about him. Nevertheless, he was not a man who claimed organization as his strength. His study was to anyone entering it a disorganized place (although he seemed to know fairly well where everything was). His notes were disorganized so that no one else could possibly have used them. His instruction was disorganized, and the students used to joke that we stayed longer at Mt. Sinai than the children of Israel. We never covered all the material. The clock, governing the beginning and the end of class periods, did not exist for him. I am sure we would have had the same class all morning if we had not reminded him of the time. But we received from him insights which were principial; we learned viewpoints and methods of working that were distinctively Reformed; we were subjected to a man whose concentration on a given subject was at any moment total; and we could not help but be moved repeatedly by a spiritual dedication that stood above all else. If later in life we had to continue our studies in subjects we only began with him in Seminary, we were given the proper starting point and the way was carefully charted so that we would never get lost. And that, after all, is what counts.
The same characteristics appeared in his writings. He wrote syllabi for classroom use and wrote volumes for the Standard Bearer. But what was true of his teaching was equally true of his writing. I worked in my Seminary years in the print shop which printed the Standard Bearer. Ophoff's material was always late. His typewriter always needed a new ribbon. His MS was so heavily edited by pencil or pen it was difficult to make out. Arrows directing one to all other parts of the MS, pieces were chopped off or cut out of pages, pages renumbered, bits of paper glued on to other pages -- all of these made setting his articles on the linotype a real challenge.
His writings were studded with startling insights into the text of Scripture and magnificent truths developed at length in stirring rhetoric. But the organization was uniformly poor and the writing impossibly long-winded and detailed.
His writings remain a treasured part of our heritage. But someone needs to take his best pieces and edit them by a rigorous shortening process. The Reformed churches could benefit tremendously from such work.
Ophoff The Polemicist
Deep commitment to the truth of Scripture leads to warfare, for there are not many who love the faith with fire and passion. Ophoff fought for the Reformed faith.
He did that already in the years surrounding the origin of the Protestant Reformed Churches. He wrote oftentimes in a polemical style, for he saw in so many writings by men who claimed to be Reformed froth and blather, talk without substance, higher critical attacks upon Scripture. Against all these he raged with vehemence.
But Ophoff led the fight in 1953 when conditional theology threatened to engulf the churches. He was the first to detect a different "spirit" in the churches than that which had characterized the PRC at its inception. When Dr. Klaas Schilder came to this country from the Netherlands, Ophoff saw what most did not see, that Schilder's covenant views were at odds with those views developed in our churches. Schilder promoted a bi-lateral and conditional covenant, and such teachings, Ophoff saw, were directly in conflict with the truths of particular and sovereign grace.
In fact, when Hoeksema urged Ophoff to be cautious and to withdraw charges against a minister (Hubert De Wolf) in First Church, Ophoff persisted in pressing the charges, and these charges eventually became the occasions for the minister's suspension from office. And when defenders within the PRC openly wrote with approval of a conditional covenant, Ophoff's defense of the Reformed faith was vigorous and unyielding.
At the same time, Ophoff never attacked someone's person. He wrote against false views, and he often did so in such controlled fury that his enemies were incensed. But it was heresy against which he wrote, not people. He was often a prophet whom few would hear.
Yet his work was extraordinarily important, for it was used by God, not only to defeat a calculated attempt to drive the PRC in a direction different from that in which it had gone, but also develop truths which became the heart of the Reformed faith as taught in the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Ophoff's Last Days
The valiant defense of the faith which led to the split in the PRC in 1953 was his last battle. It seemed as if God had preserved him for it, and that when the shouting and the tumult died and peace returned, Ophoff's work was over.
Already prior to the split in 1953, Ophoff for almost the first time entered the hospital for stomach surgery. Although the surgery was successful, the doctors warned him that he would have to lighten his work load. He never did. A lifetime of work had developed a habit which could not be broken.
In the summer of 1958, while Rev. and Mrs. Ophoff were returning from a vacation in Canada, Rev. Ophoff suffered a massive stroke in Toledo. He was moved by ambulance to Grand Rapids, but it proved the end of his work. Although he recovered from some of the effects of the stroke, he gradually lost his sight. While it was possible for him to think theology and understand the theology which others read to him, it was no longer possible to read or write it.
In February of 1962 Rev. & Mrs. Ophoff were moved to a nursing home. One week before he died, Rev. Ophoff was moved to Pine Rest. His death came in June 12, 1962 and a little more than two years later, his wife followed him to glory. It was a little more than three years before his colleague, Rev. Hoeksema went to his eternal reward.
George Ophoff stood about five feet, nine inches tall and was rather well proportioned. Although he surely put on weight in his later years, he was never overly heavy. He had a natural dignity in his bearing, in the look on his face, and in his head of pure white hair. He was a handsome man, although he was completely oblivious to it. His eyes behind iron-rimmed glasses were sharp and penetrating. His head was massive and his chin had the set of a bulldog so that his whole appearance was one of tenacity and courage.
On the one hand, Ophoff could be surprisingly indifferent to his appearance and he often came to school looking rumpled and dishevelled -- most often because he had been in his study all night. His wife had a difficult time of it keeping him presentable. But he could also be startlingly concerned about his clothing. If we would comment that the tie he wore did not go well with his suit, he would never wear the combination again. And his wife took great pains to attempt to keep him in clean, neatly ironed shirts and suits.
An outstanding feature of his life was his meekness. We often thought of Moses when we thought of Ophoff. Of Moses it is said in sacred Scripture that he was the meekest man on the earth. Ophoff came in, we thought, a close second. His meekness was expressed in his total dedication to the glory of God not only, but in his willingness, all his life, to labor with his considerable gifts in the shadow of Herman Hoeksema -- and to do so without a word of complaint or a tinge of jealousy. He never received the recognition which was due him, and his considerable gifts often went unnoticed. But the deeds of a man are noted in heaven and records there are kept with infallible precision so that God may reward his servants in due time.
The relation between these two men was unique. They worked together over 35 years in the Seminary and in the work of the churches. They were about as different as it is possible for two people to be. They worked in harmony and unison, with a common cause and purpose. And both had nothing but respect for the other: each always called the other by his last name.
But that meekness, as was the case with Moses, could sometimes be dispelled by a burst of fierce temper and violent rage, although it was an attack on the truth which most often provoked it. But if he did wrong to someone, he would be the first to apologize, beg forgiveness, and express with heart-felt sorrow his bad conduct.
His forgetfulness is legendary and remains to this day the subject of loving conversations that turn to his work in the churches. But that forgetfulness was often the fruit of total absorption in what was occupying his thoughts at the moment. His concentration was total. I personally witnessed more than once, evidences of this. In the course of an ecclesiastical assembly a motion would be vigorously discussed, into which discussion Ophoff would enter. But while Ophoff was pondering the implications of the motion, it would be passed and the assembly would go on to other business. Suddenly he would jump to his feet and ask for the floor to discuss the recently passed motion. He never noticed the progress of the body, and if the matter was important, did not notice what else was happening on the body as he sank back into his own thoughts.
He had a tenacity that showed in remarkable ways. He could be relentless in pursuing the logical consequences of a proposition; he could hold to a point like a bulldog when others abandoned it; he could maintain a position against everyone else. But it was this very tenacity which enable him to be the fit servant of Christ that he was in the defense of the faith. Yet, when he became convinced that he was wrong in his thinking, he was quick to admit it, for he was, above all, loyal to the Word.
And while he seemed so often to be completely oblivious to all that was going on around him, he had a penetrating insight into human nature and events in history. He taught me things about the powers of sin, human character as depraved and saved, relationships in life, which I shall never forget.
In the second chapter of the book of Judges we read that when Joshua died and all his generation, "there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel" (vs. 10). That is Scripture's way of introducing the sad history of the judges. The generation that led our churches to the marvelous truths of Scripture which are our heritage has died and been gathered unto their fathers. Shall another generation arise which knows not the Lord? May God forbid it.