Summary of Speech given by Rev Cornelius Hanko at the P.R.Y.P. Convention, Holland, Michigan by Frances Vanden Berg
In the closing speech of the recent convention, we were privileged to hear the Rev. C. Hanko present us with the challenge of being faithful to the “Faith of our Fathers”. The speaker began by defining our convention theme, “The Faith of our Fathers”. He explained that faith as the faith that is revealed in the Scriptures, and which lives in the hearts of the believers of all ages, through the operation of the Holy Spirit. By our fathers, of course, we as covenant youth, have in mind the true members of the church of Jesus Christ. They loved, cherished, developed, and maintained that faith and by the grace of God were faithful even unto death, so that glorious heritage might be passed on to us. This glorious heritage God entrusts unto us with the admonition: “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man may take thy crown.” Rev. 3:11.
The Rev. Hanko then called our attention to “The Challenge of the Faith of our Fathers;” first, because it is a glorious heritage; second, because of our peculiar place in the midst of this world; and third, because of the crown that is involved.
To help us understand how that glorious heritage was entrusted to us by God in His infinite wisdom, the speaker used as an example, an album containing portraits of the saints who lived and died in the faith of our fathers. We saw in this album Abel, the first martyr, who gave his life for what we now call the “faith of our fathers”. We cannot begin to mention all of them but we know there were many such as Noah, the preacher of righteousness; and Enoch, who walked with God; faithful until God removed them from the midst of this wicked world. Then, too, we saw the men of the Reformation; Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. God has set up these witnesses to spur us on that we too may consistently walk in the “faith of our fathers”.
Rev. Hanko also pointed out that just as God gathers His church in the line of continued generations, so also God willed to pass the truth of His revelation on in the line of His covenant through believers. The true church loves, cherishes and maintains it through all weakness and sin. That is our peculiar treasure. It is our challenge to ‘‘hold that fast which thou hast, that no man may take thy crown”.
To maintain a good confession in the midst of this evil world has always been difficult for the church of Jesus Christ. Today this is even more difficult than ever before. The times in which we are living are very peculiar, first of all because history develops faster than ever before. We are rushing toward the end of time. Secondly, we are standing on the threshold of an atomic age. Thirdly, we are living in an age of apostacy. Never was there a time when men were more religious, when it was more definitely an honor to belong to some church. True it is, we are an educated people, yet religion is more superficial than ever before. Finally, we are very small. We can never boast of numbers, or trust in the arm of flesh. Nevertheless, it is our privilege, dear friends, that we may be counted among the few, who have the “faith of our fathers”. Because that glorious heritage was passed on to us, it is our challenge to defend it and pass it on to generations to come. “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man may take thy crown”.
Your crown is certainly involved! Most people will try to tell you today that it really doesn’t make so much difference what church you belong to. But it certainly does. If we are so careless about the faith of our fathers that we can ignore it for a girl or boy friend, we cannot say that we love the truth, or that we are walking in the steps of our fathers. If we continue in that way, we never had a crown. Someone once said, “I wish we had more Daniels in our church who would dare to have faith in God and not look at fleshly interest. They could be an influence for good to the weaker ones.”
Finally, Rev. Hanko suggested that we go home with a determination to make our society life different. He suggested that in our Bible study each one of us take more interest. We should discuss our own peculiar Christian walk and life. Our discussions should be based on the Word of God in order that we grow in grace. Only in that way can we “hold that fast which we have” and say that we have run the race, and fought the good fight for that which is laid up for us, the crown of righteousness, which the Lord shall give unto all that love His appearing.