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News & Stories: 2009-10

Where have all the Reformers gone?

Printed in the October 30, 1964 edition of Chimes.

It's Reformation time again at Calvin College and on October 31st we will offer our usual hackneyed praises to the "Genius of the Reformation".

As in previous years we will pay our superficial tributes to the courage of Martin Luther and the profundity of John Calvin. And, as in previous years, we will neither care enough, nor have guts enough, to imitate either.

We are content to rest on their laurels; we are content to be reformed, and are rarely concerned with reforming. The Reformation has become the Establishment—within which we are comfortable, the questioning of which we fear.

Even though we are students of Calvin College, we seem to have very little actual relation to the thoughts and actions of the Reformers. For where among the student body is the Reformers' open and honest inquiry into the Christianity of our lives and our church? Where is their deep desire to alter entrenched and meaningless traditions? Where is their passion to find God and make him able to be found by the world?

Among Calvin students, instead of these, there are complacent conservatives whose only passion is to have neither their lives nor their "heritage" seriously disturbed—even by God. There are advocates of calmness whose continual concern is the covering-up of new, "radical" ideas lest they upset the ecclesiastical applecart. There are watch-dogs of aesthetic morality and faculty thinking. There are guardians of traditional mores. These are all glib yea-sayers who claim a tradition they neither understand nor follow. For their concerns with the externals and status quo of Christianity rather than its eternal contemporaneity and depth are directly antithetical to those of the Reformation.

Among the many comfortable, respectable, "reformed" students at Calvin there may be a few unthinking rebels. But where have all the Reformers gone?

~Edna Winkelaar, 1964

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