Our Covenantal Holy War – Rev.B.Huizinga

RomanStandardbearerRev.Brian Huizinga has some great thoughts for us Christian soldiers (young and old!) in his latest installment for the rubric “Strength of Youth”, under which he is writing a series on teaching young people to wage godly warfare in the kingdom of God in this world.

We find these thoughts under a sub-heading describing our “holy war” as covenantal:

To emphasize the positive of the foregoing assertion, our warfare is covenantal. ‘Our holy war’ is the war we wage as members of God’s covenant joined together in the Spirit (I Cor.12). In catechism class one is not taught to identify himself as the individual militant, but part of the church militant. We war as those eternally chosen and made members of one body that from the beginning to the end of the world is gathered, defended, and preserved by Christ’s Word and Spirit. To fight in this war against every appearance of the kingdom of darkness led by Satan is to join with the church of all ages from Adam and Abel to you and me.

A necessary and significant implication of this covenantal aspect of our warfare is the necessity of membership in the church institute, the visible manifestation of that universal, invisible body. A soldier might claim he has enlisted in and fights on behalf of his national army. He may even wear a uniform. But if he has never joined the visible manifestation of that army at camp and on the battlefield, his speech betrays him. In our holy war. young people make church membership a priority in their life, joining the covenantal assembly.

October 1, 2014 issue of The Standard Bearer (Vol.91, No.1), 20.

Reading Parents and Ready (Seminary) Sons

As you may know, the Beacon Lights magazine (for PR Young People – and adults!) is currently doing a series of articles from our ministers (mainly our newer and younger ones) under the title “Called to the Ministry”. But did you know that such articles were also written in the past in the “BL”?

Rev_KorteringWhile continuing to sort through Rev.Gise Van Baren’s folders for the PRC archives yesterday, we found an old “BL” article (Vol.36, #9 – January, 1978) with the title “Called to the Ministry” written by Rev. Jason Kortering (pastor of Hope PRC, Redlands, CA at the time and now an emeritus minister in the PRC). In it he tells his story of how he was led into the ministry.

And what struck me was what he said not only about how his godly parents encouraged him and prayed for him with regard to the ministry, but also and especially how the enthusiastic reading of his father served as a powerful example and impetus for him to enter the ministry of the Word.

Here are a couple of portions from the article, the full version of which you may find here. I pray that this will inspire other godly fathers to show such zeal for the truth by reading, that it would spur your sons to consider the call to the ministry. Fathers and mothers, may you see what fruit your godly reading may have by the purpose and providence of God.

After a ten year absence they (Rev.Kortering’s parents) finally moved to Holland, Michigan and there settled down. The Lord provided a job at the Artic (sic) Ice Cream Co. While working there he met a fellow employee who was full of heavenly zeal. She had read a copy of the Standard Bearer and was impressed and wanted my father to read it. This initial contact with Revs. Hoeksema and Ophoff started my father to think and read. He purchased a subscription to the Standard Bearer and read all the literature he could get his hands on. It fell like water from heaven upon his parched soul.

…Seeing the truth was like a conversion experience for my father. He saw for the first time the real meaning of the sovereignty of God. It was more than a doctrine, it was a way of life! God owned everything and required obedience in all areas of life. This became the governing principle of his life: God was sovereign, grace was absolute. He couldn’t read enough and he was always reading. He sent to England for sovereign grace material. It came by the crates full. He sorted it out, saving the good Reformed material, burning the rest.

Through it all my father had one inner desire, that the Lord would call his son to the ministry. He could envision nothing more glorious than seeing his own son preach the gospel of the sovereign God….

If there ever is an example of a minister being influenced by parents to enter the ministry, it is in my life. Both parents earnestly desired this, encouraged me to study for it, prayed about it.

The Lord used my parents, especially my father, as the means to confront me with the serious consideration to become a minister.

…May the accounting of this remind us that God does use parents in influencing their children. It was not of them, it was of God. His will prevailed.

For that I give Him thanks.

The 1955 PRYP’s Convention – Hudsonville PRC

Last week for our PRC archives post we solved the mystery of the PR hitchhiker, who, it turns out, was advertising for the PR Young People’s Convention to be hosted by Hudsonville PRC that year. We stated at that time that we would return to this YP’s Convention, and, without knowing what was ahead for me, I am glad I said I would look up some things from that convention.

Not only did I find the convention booklet in the archives; I also found a folder full of pictures taken by that special PRC photographer, Seymour Beiboer. And what a treat!

There is so much here, but I will limit my comments and try to let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy! As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them.

First, a couple of pages from the Convention booklet:

15th Annual YPs Conv -Booklet 1955-1_Page_1

And now some photos from the Beiboer collection. First, the host church, outside and in.

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 1_Page_1


The Convention speakers – can you identify them ALL? How about the theme they were working with?

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 2_Page_1


Now, watch especially for PRC ministers – and future ones! –  as there are plenty! O, and do you see where the banquet was held? It was not a PR church at the time, but it is now! What was it known as then and which is it now? Can you figure out who the two young men are here?

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 3_Page_1
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 4
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 5

And now, what kind of activities did the young people do then? Well, volleyball, of course! And horse shoes! and shuffle board!

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 7
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 8
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 9


And this final set includes a special shot of another PRC minister who seemed to be enjoying himself immensely (who is it this time?) – and a mystery photo of a stop for ice cream (I presume) – at Letchford’s Trading Post – while on an outing. A quick search on that name yielded nothing, so how about some help with this place?!

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 6_Page_1


PRC Archives: Our Mysterious Hitchhiker!

Last week for our PRC archives feature we ran a photo of a mysterious hitchhiker who graced the cover of …, yes the Beacon Lights! Specifically, the May 1955 issue. And what purpose did this picture serve? To promote the PR Young People’s Convention to be held that summer. Here’s the cover as it appeared in this issue:

BL-May 1955 - front cover_Page_1

You will notice that the words with the picture are: “Where is He Going?” Indeed, where is this hitchhiker headed? What is his destination? The BL cover also points us to the back cover, where we find the mysterious destination revealed: Hudsonville, MI! That’s right! The 15th annual P.R.Y.P. Convention held August 14-16 was hosted by Hudsonville PRC. Here is the information that was on that back cover:

BL-May 1955 - back cover_Page_1

But now, back to this mysterious young man hitchhiking along some West Michigan road. I assumed this was some kind of stock photo when I first saw it. But, it turns out that this young man was a PRC youth – Pete Meulenberg – whom some of you recognized right away! As did Don and Judi D here at Sem when I showed it to them last week.

And after I posted this, I had a confession from a former BL staff member who emailed me with some more details. Not only did the idea come from BL business manager Don Faber, but he also took the actual picture! Good stuff – quite effective in serving to call attention to and encourage attendance at the YP’s Convention that year, don’t you agree?.

So, now how about some memories of that ’55 convention. Where were the speeches held? How about the activities that were planned? I can imagine a day at Lake Michigan! What do you remember or can you find out? Start browsing those old BL issues!

Until next time I will be too! :) And we can look forward to some more pages and pics from that convention booklet.

Published in: on July 3, 2014 at 1:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

You’ll Be Shocked At How Much Time Young People Spend Reading Each Day

You’ll Be Shocked At How Much Time Young People Spend Reading Each Day – Mic.

SofareadingHere is another alarming report on the reading habits of young people in general (posted June 20, 2014). I try not to be an alarmist, but you also know that I share the concern that our young people are not reading as much as they ought. And the same applies to all of us, though, as you will see from the report, time spent reading does increase with age.

I would like to think that Christian young people do better, and that PRC young people do even better. But I also do not want to have my proverbial head in the sand.

What can we do to encourage greater and better reading among our teens and young adults? We have looked at and proposed lots of ideas here. What do you find profitable and effective?

Here is the dismal news in brief; for the rest, visit the link above – complete with graphs and charts.

Love Game of Thrones but worry about spoilers from those who have read the books? Your fears may be overblown — chances are your friends don’t read enough to ruin any plot twists for you.

A new study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average American reads only 19 minutes a day (a rate at which the George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series would take more than a year for most readers).

Young people spend even less time with the written word, according to the study. Americans ages 25 to 34 spend about eight minutes a day on weekends and holidays reading, while ages 20 to 24 spend about 10. Teenagers, meanwhile, spend just four minutes a day reading on their days off. (The overall average is bumped up by older folks — Americans over 75 spend more than an hour a day reading over weekends and holidays, the study found.)

Screens instead: When it comes to leisure times, the big winner is television. The average American watches for almost three hours a day, according to the study. That’s more than three times longer than the next highest activity, socializing (which makes us all sound a little pathetic).

Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow — Free eBook from Ligonier Ministries

Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow — Free eBook by Nathan W. Bingham | Ligonier Ministries Blog.

5Things Christian Grows-RCSproulAlso, do not forget Ligonier’s monthly free digital book feature. This month (all of June) it is R.C. Sproul’s book Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow.

What are those five things? Read this brief note from “R.C.” about the book:

“Being a Christian is not an acquired skill or discipline like diving or ice skating. It is a living, vital relationship with the God of the universe, a relationship that begins when a person becomes a new creation in Him and receives Jesus as Lord by faith. But like Olympic athletes, Christians are called upon to train, to make sacrifices, and to embrace certain disciplines in order to give God “our utmost for His highest.” This book deals with five of those disciplines: Bible study, prayer, worship, service, and stewardship. Just as Olympic athletes work hard to achieve their best performances, our diligence in attending to these aspects of the Christian life will help determine our effectiveness in serving our Lord.”


—R.C. Sproul

By the way, the print edition of this book makes a fine gift for high school and college graduates, as well as for those who may be making confession of faith.

PRC Archives – Last Week’s and a New Mystery Photo

Last week Thursday we featured a Grand Rapids Press article that ran some years ago carrying a story about the PRC Seminary at a time when the need for students was urgent. We left you with a few questions about the date, the students who were to graduate, and the pre-Sem students who were enrolled. A couple of you left comments, both with partially correct information.

The “mystery” behind the date, etc. of this article is in part that the religion writer messed up some information (Hardly anything new in the history of reporting.). Let me explain. The date I have on the archive copy is February 26, 1986, and the article belonged to that Saturday Press’ Religion section. That is indeed the year Prof.H.C. Hoeksema would have been sixty-three years old, a fact the Press did have correct.

Now, in that year, if you consult the denominational records, there were actually four men (not two, as reported) who graduated from Seminary that year: Russ Dykstra, Steve Key, Jai Mahtani (who returned to Singapore to pastor the Reformed congregation there), and myself. And though there were some pre-Sem students then – Len Holstege, Anthony Pomales, and Mitchell Dick (I believe), only Sem.Dick graduated and entered the ministry in our churches – in 1991! So, there was a five-year period when we had NO graduates! That is why the situation was urgent then, as it has been at other times in our history.

In any case, I hope you found the article interesting. Much more could be said about the content and the way in which the Press reported on our denomination, but we will pass on that at this point.

Because today we also want to get at a new mystery photo. This one is compliments of Mrs. Jean Kortering, wife of Rev.Jay Kortering, who brought some old photos in yesterday. It is another … – well, I am even going to leave that a mystery, though it should be self-evident what kind of picture it is. But go ahead, give me the nature of this photo, the place where it was taken, the date of the event, and as always, a few of the people you recognize.

Have fun! Remember, click on it to enlarge. O, by the way, if you look very closely, you may find our retired registrar – a priceless picture of a lad with hair!

MysteryPic-June 5 2014

Covenant CHS Students Make Annual Visit

Last Friday, May 23, 2014 the church history students of Covenant Christian High in Grand Rapids made their annual visit to the PRC Seminary (for a previous post on this, go here.). Once again we hosted two bus loads of young people (83 students), plus the teachers (Dan Van Uffelen and Scott Van Uffelen), bus drivers, chaperones, and a few special visitors. We ended up with over 100 people this year – quite a crowd for our normally quiet institution. But we love to see them come (and like normal grandparents, we love to see them go again!).  :)

CCHS Visit-1

The PRC Seminary is the end of the trail for their PRC history tour, led each year by the church history teachers and Prof. (emeritus) David Engelsma. By the time they get to us around noon, the teenagers (and adults) are quite ravenous, so we start with a feast of Jets pizza, chips, and pop (plenty of bottles of Mt.Dew)!

CCHS Visit-4

After lunch, the students divide into three groups, with Prof.R.Cammenga, Prof.D.Engelsma, and myself taking turns with the rotating groups. Prof.Cammenga gives them a general introduction to the Seminary, also with hopes of sowing the seed of desire for the ministry of the Word in our churches. Prof.Engelsma provides them with an introduction to the library and its resources.

And I am privileged to host them in the archives room and introduce them to the wonders of that special room. After talking with them about the need for and importance of preserving our part in church history, I showed them some treasures I had picked out for them – samples of old First PRC bulletins, sermons, pictures, – and the beautiful 25th anniversary book (in the ministry) presented to Rev.Herman Hoeksema in 1940. The latter bound book included thousands of signatures of church members from throughout the denomination, and the young people had fun finding their grandparents’ handwriting.

CCHS Visit-10

I am grateful that the CCHS church history teachers and students include us on their travel tour each year. And, speaking I am sure for the faculty too, we hope this continues. It is difficult to measure the impact this has on our covenant youth; but judging from their enthusiastic interest, it is priceless. And if even one young man starts to consider the call to the ministry, well, that is immeasurable.

Why Aren’t Teens Reading Like They Used To? -NPR

Why Aren’t Teens Reading Like They Used To? : NPR.

YAReaders-1The results of yet another study on teen reading carried in this story by NPR are not all that surprising (posted May 12, 2014). And the reasons for the decline in teen reading are not surprising. The digital age with its visual stimulation has seriously distracted young people from reading. If it does adults (including me!), it most certainly will distract them.

Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven’t been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot.

But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.

That’s way down from a decade ago.

The digital revolution means there are more platforms than ever to read on. And yet, the number of American teens reading for pleasure has dropped dramatically. Researchers are asking if there’s a link.

Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, is one of them. He’s been studying the impact of technology on children, and he finds the results striking — though not entirely shocking.

Yet there is something parents can do too:

Despite those distractions, Jim Steyer of Common Sense Media says, parents can do a lot to promote reading.

“Kids with parents who read, who buy or take books out of the library for their kids, and who then set time aside in their kids’ daily schedule for reading, tend to read the most,” he says — whether it’s on a book, an e-book or some other gadget.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is. We have to lead our children by example and provide good opportunities for them to read. Telling them to turn off the video games and other devices for 30 minutes a day goes a long way too :) Let’s keep encouraging our teens to read! And they can do much better than Harry Potter and The Hunger Games as well. Help your teen choose good things to read.

Honey for the Hearts of Readers (3)

honey-for-a-childs-heart-coverI have recently introduced you here to the wonderful book by Gladys Hunt on reading for the benefit of children: Honey for a Child’s Heart (Zondervan, 1969 – and more recently). In connection with my previous post today I thought it good to give you another encouraging quote from the first chapter, “Bequest of Wings”. This part specifically speaks to the importance – and delight! – of reading to children.

I have never been able to resist the appeal of a child who asks, ‘Read to me, please?’ The warm security of a little person cuddled close, loving the pictures which help tell the story, listening to the rhythm of the words, laughing in all the right places as the policeman stops Boston traffic for the mother duck and her family in Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings. Or the safe, soothing feeling of Margaret Wise Brown’s Good Night Moon, or the wonder of Alvin Tresselt’s White Snow, Bright Snow.

But the pleasure doesn’t end with small children who like to sit on your lap. Growing-up children are just as much fun. Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books of pioneer adventure on the prairie, our family could feel the warm cabin, smell the freshly baked bread, hear the blizzard raging outside, and experience with Laura the close family feeling of Pa’s singing and fiddling by the fireside. The love and gaiety of the Ingall’s home was shared in our home and we had a quiet confidence in a family’s ability to surmount dangers and hardships (19).

Have you had similar experiences and feelings? If you have, keep reading with your young ones! If not, it’s time to get reading with your children!


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