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Pastoral Letter: The Use of the Internet

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Pastoral Letter: The Use of the Internet

5 minuten leestijd

Synodical Executive Committee and Modern Media Committee

January 2011

Dear Members,

It was with heartfelt concern for your temporal and eternal welfare that our last Synod made a decision to write a pastoral letter to each of our Netherlands Reformed Congregations.

Why do we want to address you? God’s honor is at stake, but Christ also said, “I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me. Riches and honour are with Me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and My revenue than choice silver.” It is our heartfelt hope and prayer that we may all seek and find those durable riches in the short time we are given between the cradle and the grave. For that reason we bring a very important matter to your attention.

We live in the time of the thousand years that Satan is bound, but it seems we are getting closer to the time that he will be loosed out of his prison (Revelation 20:7). Satan certainly uses many devices to bring man to his destruction. Spiritually, he convinces the hypocrite that he possesses saving faith; on the other hand, he discourages the unconverted and also the repentant sinner by making them feel that their iniquity is too great to be forgiven. In addition, however, he uses many natural means in this world, one of which is the Internet.

Though the Internet can be a useful device, Satan has taken large hold of it to serve himself in his warfare against God and His Church. For this reason, several years ago already, Synod has taken a firm stand in opposition to the abuse and dangers of the Internet, urging us to keep our distance as much as possible, although acknowledging its increasing use in business and education. If it were possible to insist on the removal of the Internet from our members’ homes, as Synod insists on the removal of the television, this would be our position. Satan’s devices, however, are increasingly crafty, and we acknowledge that this is becoming more and more a practical impossibility. Thus, after our fathers have faithfully struggled for many years to maintain the spirit of separation from the world, the Prince of Darkness is now succeeding to bring the world right into the homes of their children via the World Wide Web. Is this a cause of alarm in us who are their children?

The many dangers and temptations the Internet exposes us to, along with our children, cannot be enumerated in this short letter. This we attempt to do by way of our denominational periodicals, which we hope are being read in the midst of our families. There is one matter, however, which Synod considers sufficiently urgent and important at this time to warrant a pastoral letter to be read from each pulpit in our denomination. It is our understanding that there are many homes among our members where the Internet has been brought in without a good filter system. Congregation, it is irresponsible to bring unnecessary temptation into our homes. Not only is the temptation of the Web in itself very powerful and influential, but it meets an awful depravity within ourselves and our children. Let us not be guilty of providing the occasions of temptation to ourselves or our children, thereby compromising our vows made in confession and baptism. We, therefore, urge every head of the household who considers the Internet to be necessary in his home to carry out his responsibility and obtain a reliable Internet filter service with accountability measures.

At the same time, Synod seriously warns against the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Apart from many other reasons, the content available at these sites is often not that which we ought to expose ourselves and our children to, in good conscience.

Congregation, Samson fought with tremendous physical strength and courage, but he was taken by Delilah. How? Ah, she fought in such a different way. She tempted him to dabble with sin, and then he fell by his moral weakness. Time and again, he fell asleep in Delilah’s lap, and the most obvious and increasing warnings of his danger went unheeded. Step by step, he compromised his secret, wherein his great strength did lie, until finally he was overtaken. Should we not heed this warning?

Young people, parents, time is short and precious. Paul says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15&16). On what do we spend our time? It is possible to be too busy in our studies, too busy at work, too busy with our idols, but how much time do we spend “surfing the Web”? Satan says, just give it a little time, but soon it is much time. How many precious hours of our fast-departing life have not already been thus wasted? Do we lay aside, for this, the precious Word of God and the worthy writings of our forefathers? Oh, in these there is to be found a great treasure for our souls, for time and eternity. We cannot recommend anything of more value on our short journey here below. It is our hope and prayer that the soul of each one of us may learn to yearn for this, even if we are still young. According to Proverbs, Christ Himself said, “I lead in the way of righteousness ... that I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance.” May this be the experience of each heart among us.

With sincere concern,

Synodical Executive Committee

Rev. J. den Hoed, president
Rev. PL. Bazen, vice-president
Rev. A.H. Verhoef, first clerk
Elder G. van Hierden, second clerk
Elder T. Verhey, treasurer

Modern Media Committee

Rev. H. D. den Hollander
Rev. P. van Ruitenburg
Elder L. Teunissen

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 maart 2011

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

Pastoral Letter: The Use of the Internet

Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 maart 2011

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's