I count it a privilege to be able to serve as a campus minister at Iowa State University. I have the opportunity to engage people from all over the world, in all areas of study, and all walks of life. As a new academic year approaches, I turn to Abraham Kuyper to remind me of, and encourage me in, the importance of the education of the Church and Christian discipleship for the passing on of the faith to the next generation. The following quotations come from his book The Implications of Public Confession, which was intended to be a resource for helping the church understand the significance of profession of faith in the life of the congregation and participation in the Lord’s Supper. I hope these quotes encourage, as well as challenge you, as you consider how you are seeking to know God and be equipped to engage in His work in the world.
“The present generation must reaffirm the confession which the previous generation received from its father. Nothing could be more erroneously conceived than to suppose that each new generation should make a new, that is, different confession. The children must reaffirm the confession of their fathers. True education is just that: a reinterpretation and a reaffirmation. Such true education, accordingly, should obtain in the Church of Jesus. It should be the holy objective of that Church to make the spontaneous voice of the heart identical with the reaffirmation of the lips. (36)”
“Your attitude is not to be commended if, in study, you concentrate all your powers upon the several sciences and arts, and never once undertake to enrich the rising generation by a knowledge of God’s deeds and by the science of His revelation. (40)”
“It is that work [the work of God’s compassionate grace culminating in the sending of His Son], that mighty deed, which must be struck deep into your consciousness and into the consciousness of your children. Familiarize yourself with the evolution of that work. Let its organic unfolding be a vivid picture in your mid. Ponder it often; be able to translate yourself from the present to the past at the bidding of your will; learn to enjoy living with previous generations. That should be the goal of your study, the content of your trust, the stay of your hope in life. (42)”
“You must promise by covenant to regard the other members of your church as your brothers and sisters [a new family!] , and must promise to help them as such, irrespective of whether they be rich or poor, amiable or unamiable. And you must also promise to submit to church discipline willingly, in the event that should ever break that covenant of unity. That is the way in which this bond, this covenant, is made. It is a covenant which brings you no earthly profits, and which secures for you no sensual pleasures. it is a bond of peace which demands that we serve the Lord our God together, that we walk together, and that we bear each others’ burdens. For we are fellow pilgrims to a better fatherland." (69)”
“Real participation in the life of the Church asks many and various things…maintaining godly conduct…insist that you and your family make constant use of the Church, and you strive to obtain spiritual nourishment, spiritual exercise, and spiritual enrichment…support and sustain others…strengthen them spiritually…and participate in the social life of the church, the communion of saints…all of which involve much work. (87)”