Glorified Through Grace – H. Hoeksema

… and whom he justified, them he also glorified.- Romans 8:30

“But what is the meaning of this state of glory for which we hope and which is the ultimate realization of the wonder of God’s grace in Christ Jesus our Lord?

“The heart and essence of it is, undoubtedly, perfect fellowship with God as His friend-servants. To be received, according to the measure and capacity of the creature, in God’s own family, to live His own life, to dwell in His house, to taste that He is good, to enter into His secrets, to know Him even as we are known, to see Him face to face, to love Him and be loved of Him without fear, to walk with Him and talk with Him in most intimate communion, and then to consecrate ourselves and all things to Him as His servants, to have our delight in His perfect will, and to glorify Him for ever – that is the heart of the heavenly blessedness for which we look. Everywhere this receives the emphasis in Scripture. God is building a house in which we shall dwell with Him under one roof, as one family, as a company of friends; a tabernacle in which He shall dwell with us and be our God; the house of many mansions, a home in which He will be our Father and we shall be His sons and His daughters. (John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 6:16-18; Revelation 21:3) And then we shall truly know Him with the knowledge of perfect love: for “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Now we know in part, but then we shall know even as we are known; now we see as in a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face, and we shall see Him as He is. (I Corinthians 13:12; I John 3:2) Then shall be perfected what the Lord Jesus declared in His beautiful sacerdotal prayer: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” (John 17:23) And this fellowship of friendship, in which we shall serve God as His friends, will be raised to the highest possible degree of perfection in the sphere and on the plane of heavenly glory. It will not be a return to the original state of rectitude and bliss in the first paradise but will be exalted above that state as Christ is exalted above the first Adam. And it will be everlasting. No tempter shall be able to intrude into that house of God and to destroy that state of perfect blessedness; nor shall there be any possibility of falling into sin and death again. For that perfect glory is centered in the Son of God in our nature, our Lord Jesus Christ. Such is eternal life !

“Unto that central idea of heavenly life with God all things shall be adapted. We ourselves shall be so changed that we will be able to inherit that kingdom and to live in that sphere of perfect fellowship with God. For we must all be changed. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 15: 50).

“…You will readily understand that this transformation of ourselves and of all things can be accomplished only by the wonder of God’s grace in Jesus Christ our Lord. Not by a process of gradual development can we be translated from our present state of earthly imperfection into the state of heavenly glory and perfection. Nor can our present universe by gradual development attain to the glory of the new heavens and the new earth. The first Adam could not possibly have developed into the second Adam. The sinner, dead and corrupt in sin and misery, cannot possibly be reformed into a living child of God. The first Adam must die, to make room for the second. Only the wonder of grace in regeneration can make us new creatures in Christ Jesus. The same is true of our glorification and of the liberation and regeneration of all things: we must be glorified by grace.

“By this we mean not only that Christ has merited this glory for us and that, therefore, it is freely bestowed upon us, but also that it is by the marvelous power of grace that this transformation into heavenly glory will be realized. For in its widest and all-comprehensive sense, grace is that wonderful power whereby God in Christ raises us and the whole creation from the depth of sin and death and the curse to the height of everlasting and heavenly glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. That wonder of grace is centralized in the incarnation, God dwelling with us in the flesh of Jesus Christ. It is based upon the atoning death of our Lord: God was reconciling the world unto Himself in Him. It is centrally realized in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and in His exaltation at the right hand of God, whereby He has received power even to subdue all things under Himself. (Philippians 3 :21) That wonder of grace is realized in us through the Spirit which He hath given us and through Whom we receive the beginning of salvation even now. By the wonder of grace we are regenerated, translated from death unto life. By the wonder of grace we are called, translated from darkness to light. By the wonder of grace we are justified, sanctified, and preserved even unto the end in the midst of this world of sin and death.

“But it is also by the wonder of grace that presently, when the earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, our spirit shall be glorified and perfected to be with Christ in God’s house. It is by the wonder of grace that our bodies shall sleep in the dust of the earth till the day of the resurrection, and that in that day they shall be raised, so that this corruptible shall put on incorruption, this mortal shall put on immortality, and death shall be swallowed up in victory. By the wonder of grace the image of the earthy which we now bear shall be transformed into the image of the heavenly, that we may be like Christ. And, finally, by the power of that same wondrous grace the present creation shall pass through the final catastrophe, to come forth out of the world-fire purified and renewed, in heavenly beauty and glory, that all things in heaven and earth may be united in Christ forever, and God may be all in all.

“And all this is done to the glory of that wonderful God, Whose delight it is to call the light out of darkness, righteousness out of sin, holiness out of corruption, life out of death, heavenly glory out of the desolation of hell! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God: how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! … For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”

Quoted from chapter 15, “Gloried Through Grace,” the final chapter of The Wonder of Grace (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.125-29. This work is newly reprinted by the RFPA and may be purchased from them.

Published in: on January 23, 2022 at 7:13 AM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Seminary Library Additions – 4th Quarter 2021 (Part 2)

Another year has ended and that means we can post some of the significant acquisitions/additions to the PRC Seminary library in the last quarter of 2021 (Oct. – Dec.). And since it is the beginning of a new year, we hope this list will give you some ideas for what to read in 2022. And I know there are many titles here that would be of interest and profit to you.

As mentioned previously, I give the list in two parts. In this second post we feature the theology, philosophy/ethics, practical theology (lots of aspects here!), miscellaneous (which is a very important section!), and reference sections of my list. Enjoy and benefit!

The Spiritual Marriage between Christ and His Church and Every One of the Faithful  -     By: Girolamo Zanchi

Dogmatics, Biblical Theology, Historical Theology

  • Handboek van de Gereformeerde Dogmatiek. A. G. (Anthonie Gerrit) Honig, 1864-1940. Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1938.
  • Christianity and Liberalism: Legacy Edition. J. Gresham (John Gresham) Machen, 1881-1937; Peter A. Lillback; David B. Garner. Philadelphia: Westminster Seminary Press, 2019. [contains numerous new essays on Machen and the subjects he originally treated in this classic work]
  • Theology as a Way of Life: On Teaching and Learning the Christian Faith. Adam Neder.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • Speaking of God: Reformed Prolegomena to Theology, Volume 1, Part 1. [binder] John Bolt. Grand Rapids, MI: John Bolt, 2006 (Explorations in Reformed Theology).
  • The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakability. Archie J. Spencer. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015 (Strategic Initiatives in Evangelical Theology)
  • Approaching the Study of Theology: An Introduction to Key Thinkers, Concepts, Methods & Debates. Anthony C. Thiselton. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018.
  • The Whole Counsel of God: Volume 3: God’s People in the Western World. Richard C. Gamble; Sinclair B. Ferguson. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2021.
  • Hidden and Revealed: The Doctrine of God in the Reformed and Eastern Orthodox Traditions. Dmytro Bintsarovskyi. Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2021 (Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology)
  • The Failure of Natural Theology: A Critical Appraisal of the Philosophical Theology of Thomas Aquinas. Jeffrey D. Johnson. Conway, AR: Free Grace Press, 2021 (New Studies in Theology).
  • Adam and the Covenant of Works. J. V. Fesko. Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, 2021.
  • Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering. Ronald E. Osborn; John H. Walton. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014.
  • Always Reforming: Reflections on Martin Luther and Biblical Studies. Robert L. Plummer, ed.; Channing L. Crisler, ed.; Gregg R. Allison. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2021 (Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology)
  • Reformed Systematic Theology: Volume 3: Spirit and Salvation. Joel R. Beeke; Paul M. Smalley. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021.
  • Systematic Theology: Grounded in Holy Scripture and Understood in the Light of the Church: Volume Three – The Holy Spirit and the Church. Douglas F. Kelly. Fearn, Ross-shire, UK: Mentor/Christian Focus, 2021.
  • The Spiritual Marriage Between Christ and His Church and Every One of the Faithful. Girolamo Zanchi, 1516-1590; Patrick J. O’Banion, translator. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2021.
  • Transfiguration and Transformation. Hywel R. Jones. Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth, 2021.
  • Sinai and the Saints: Reading Old Covenant Laws for the New Covenant Community. James M. Todd. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2017.
Reformed Ethics: The Duties of the Christian Life, Volume 2  -     By: Herman Bavinck

Philosophy, Logic, Ethics

  • New Testament Theology and Ethics. Ben Witherington, III. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016 (2 vols.).
  • God & Morality: Four Views. R. Keith Loftin; Evan Fales. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, c2012 (Spectrum Multiview Books)
  • Ethics as Worship: The Pursuit of Moral Discipleship. Mark Liederbach; Evan Lenow; J. Ligon Duncan III. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2021.
  • Reformed Ethics: The Duties of the Christian Life. (Vol.2) Herman Bavinck, 1854-1921; John Bolt, editor; Dirk van Keulen. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2021
Faith in the Time of Plague: Selected Writings from the Reformation and Post-Reformation  -     By: Stephen M. Coleman, Todd M. Rester & Gregory A. Poland

Practical Theology (1) – Christian Living, Family, Marriage, Missions, Prayer

  • Communicating with Grace and Virtue: Learning to Listen, Speak, Text, and Interact as a Christian. Quentin J. Schultze. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.
  • Faith in the Time of Plague: Selected Writings from the Reformation and Post-Reformation. Theodore de Beza, 1519-1605; Andreas Rivetus, 1572 – 1651; Gisbertus Voetius, 1589-1676; Stephen M. Coleman and Todd M. Rester, Eds. Philadelphia: Westminster Seminary Press, 2021.
  • Disease, Scarcity, and Famine: A Reformation Perspective on God and Plagues. Ludwig Lavater, 1527-1586; Michael Hunter, translator/editor. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2021.
  • Seeds of Hope, Hate, and Change: Missionary Witnesses to the Middle East in Transition, Volume I: 1942-1948 & Volume 2: 1949-1957.  Donald A. Luidens; Edwin and Ruth (Stegenga) Luidens. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2020.
  • Margaret’s Mission to Arabia, Africa, and India, 1965-2010. Paul Heusinkveld; Margaret Doorenbos. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2021 (Missionary Memoirs) [gift from Van Raalte Institute]
  • History of the Arabian Mission. Alfred De Witt Mason; Frederick Jacob Barny. New York: The Board of Foreign Missions, Reformed Church in America, 1926. [gift from Van Raalte Institute]
Worshiping with the Reformers  -     By: Karin Maag

Practical Theology (2) – Church Government/Leadership, Counseling, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Sermons, Worship

  • Alliance of Reformed Churches [Minutes of Meetings]: Consistorial Conferences; Christian Reformed Alliance [early names of the above organization] Ralph Pontier, Stated Clerk; Stuart Pastine. [binder] Dyer, IN: Alliance of Reformed Churches, 1986-95.
  • Diakonia in the Classical Reformed Tradition and Today. Elsie Anne. McKee. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1989.
  • The Church as a Culture of Care: Finding Hope in Biblical Community. T. Dale Johnson. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2021.
  • The Local Church: What It Is and Why It Matters for Every Christian. Edward W. Klink, III. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021.
  • When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse. Chuck. DeGroat; Richard J. Mouw. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2020.
  • Sexual Abuse: Beauty for Ashes. Robert W. Kellemen; Brad Hambrick. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2013 (The Gospel for Real Life Series)
  • The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, Self-Image. Jay E. Adams. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1986.
  • The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict. Alfred Poirier. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, c2006.
  • Let Us Worship God: Why We Worship the Way We Do. Derek W.H. Thomas. Orlando, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2021.
  • Worshiping with the Reformers. Karin Y. Maag. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021.
Dutch Reformed Education: Immigrant Legacies in North America - Bruggink, Donald J (Editor), and de Vries, Herman J, Jr. (Editor), and Luidens, Donald A

Miscellaneous (Apologetics, Culture, Dutch History, Education, Music, Politics, Science, Work, World Religions, etc.)

  • Science and Theology: An Introduction. J. C. Polkinghorne. London; Minneapolis, MN: SPCK; Fortress Press, 1998.
  • Dutch Muck and Much More: Dutch Americans in Farming, Religion, Art, and Astronomy. Earl W. Kennedy, Editor; Donald A. Luidens; David Zwart. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2019. (gift from Dr. Robert Swierenga of the VRI – mentions several PRC members in the farming industry, including my dad-in-law, Vernon Klamer)
  • Scriptural Reflections on History. K. J. Popma; Harry Van Dyke, Transl. Aalten, the Netherlands: Wordbridge Publishing, 2020.
  • Dutch Reformed Education: Immigrant Legacies in North America. Donald A. Luidens, editor; Donald J. Bruggink, editor; Herman J. De Vries, editor. Holland, MI: Van Raalte Press, 2020.
  • Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement Is Hijacking the Gospel – and the Way to Stop It. Owen Strachan; John MacArthur. Washington, D.C.: Salem Books, 2021.
  • Surviving Religion 101: Letters to a Christian Student on Keeping the Faith in College. Michael J. Kruger. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021.

Denominational Resources

  • Netherlands Reformed Congregations: 2021 Church and School Directory [North America]. A.H. Verhoef.

Reference

  • The Dictionary of Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Dutch Philosophers (2 vols.) Wiep van Bunge; Henri. Krop; Bart Leeuwenburgh. Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2003. [Significant work in English that includes prominent theologians also.]
  • Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church. William A. Dyrness; Veli-Matti Karkkainen. Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, c2008.
Published in: on January 20, 2022 at 10:06 PM  Comments (4)  

The Answer to Hectic Busyness: Devotion to God

That’s Why They’re Called Devotions

“If you are sick and tired of feeling so dreadfully busy and are looking for a one-point plan to help restore order to your life, this is the best advice I know: devote yourself to the Word of God and prayer. This means public worship and private worship. I’m not telling you how much time to spend. You may start with five minutes a day or fifteen or fifty. A few unhurried minutes are better than a distracted hour, and a consistent habit is better than a sporadic burst of fits and starts. As someone who has had a devotional time since high school-and has also struggled to have a devotional time since high school-I can tell you that no single practice brings more peace and discipline to life than sitting at the feet of Jesus.

“I understand that ending this book in this way is a dangerous and potentially debilitating move. The pursuit of personal devotions is one of the strongholds of legalism. Anytime we talk about what we should do every day, we must make clear what Christ has already done for us. We can rest, because he worked. We can lay down our prideful busyness, because he laid down his life. We can keep coming back to him in the midst of our failures, because he keeps all his promises to us. The last thing I want to do is to lay down a law that says you must read through the Bible in a year or the Lord will smite you in his wrath.

“And yet, few things demonstrate our devotion to Christ more than making time with him a priority each day. As J. C. Ryle observed, “A man may preach from false motives. A man may write books, and make fine speeches, and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a man seldom goes into his closet, and pours out his soul before God in secret, unless he is serious.” People know if you pray at the dinner table. They know if you attend worship on Sunday. They know if you are part of a small group. But they don’t know if you are finding desolate places to pray.¹

“Like many of you, I often look at my busy life and don’t know where to start. I wish I exercised more, and ate better, and kept track of my receipts, and programmed the presets in my car, and had my files in order, and knew where those little thingies for the basketball pump were, and in general didn’t feel like I was walking on the knife edge of craziness all the time. My temptation is to tackle everything at once. Or nothing at all. But the best plan is to start with Jesus’ plan.

“God has given us all twenty-four hours in every day. It is the one resource distributed with complete equality. And for most of us, for the most part, we all do with those hours what we think is most important. I wish I ran more, but apparently I value reading at home, or working late, or getting sleep more. So, the answer here is not simple willpower: “I must spend more time with Jesus!” That won’t last. We have to believe that hearing from God is our good portion. We have to believe that the most significant opportunity before us every day is the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus. We won’t rearrange our priorities unless we really believe this is the best one.”

Kevin DeYoung in “The One Thing You Must Do” (Chap.10) from Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem, pp.113-15.

Published in: on January 16, 2022 at 7:16 AM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Seminary Library Additions – 4th Quarter 2021 (Part 1)

Another year has ended and that means we can post some of the significant acquisitions and additions to the PRC Seminary library in the last quarter of 2021 (Oct. – Dec.). And since it is the beginning of a new year, we hope this list will give you some ideas for what to read in 2022.

As in the past, I will give the list in two parts. In this post we will feature the biblical studies and the church history sections of my list.

Biblical Studies/ Commentaries/ Biblical Theology

Bibles

New Burmese Bible: New Testament. San Ceu Luai (Pastor) Titus. Grand Rapids, MI: Thomas Yuetter, 2021 (gift to PRC Seminary from the Yuetters, who printed and bound this new translation and whose Burmese wife assisted Rev. Titus in proofreading it).

Matthew

Series:

  • Baker Commentary on the Old Testament (Baker Books)
    •   Hosea-Micah. [Prophetic Books] John Goldingay, 2021.
  • Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Baker Books)
    • 2 Corinthians. George H. Guthrie, 2015.
  • Daily Study Bible – Old Testament (Westminster Press)
    • Twelve Prophets: Volume 1: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah. Peter C. Craigie, 1984-85.
    • Twelve Prophets: Volume 2: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, Peter C. Craigie, 1984-85.
  • Founders Study Guide Commentary
    • Galatians: He Did It All. Baruch Maoz. Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, c2019, 2021.
  • God’s Word for You (Good Book Co.)
    • Isaiah for You. Tim Chester, 2021.
  • Kregel Popular Commentary (Kregel Publications)
    • Studies in II Timothy. H. C. G. Moule, 1977
  • Preaching the Word (Crossway)
    • Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther: Restoring the Church. Wallace P. Benn.; R. Kent. Hughes, ed. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021.
  • Reformation Commentary on Scripture – New Testament (IVP Academic)
    • Matthew. Jason K. Lee, 2021
Picture of Bible Delight

Other Commentaries (Individual)

  • Stand Bold in Grace: An Exposition of Hebrews. Robert G. Gromacki. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984.
  • Bible Delight: Heartbeat of the Word of God: Psalm 119 for the Bible Teacher and Hearer. Christopher Ash. Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus, c2008, 2021.

Individual Biblical Studies Titles

  • The Bible Speaks Today (IVP)
    • The Message of the Living God: His Glory, His People, His World. Peter Lewis; Derek Tidball. 2000.
    • The Message of the Holy Spirit: The Spirit of Encounter. Keith. Warrington; Derek Tidball, 2009.
    • The Message of Worship: Celebrating the Glory of God in the Whole of Life. John. Risbridger; Derek Tidball, 2015.
  • Moses: Typical Mediator of the Old Covenant. Bernard J. Woudenberg, 1931-2020. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2021.
  • The Herods: Murder, Politics, and the Art of Succession. Bruce. Chilton. Baltimore, MD: Fortress Press, 2021.
  • Homilies on Isaiah. Origen; Elizabeth A.D. Lauro, Transl. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2021(The Fathers of the Church, A New Translation), vol. 142
  • Signs of the Messiah: An Introduction to John’s Gospel. Andreas J. Kostenberger. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2021.
  • New Testament Christological Hymns: Exploring Texts, Contexts, and Significance. Matthew E. Gordley. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018.
  • The Joy of Hearing: A Theology of the Book of Revelation (New Testament Theology). Thomas R. Schreiner. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021.
  • Do We Need the New Testament?: Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself. John Goldingay. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015.

Language Tools

  • Greek For Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Reviving New Testament Greek. Benjamin L. Merkle; Robert L. Plummer; William D. Mounce. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017.

Church History, General and Biography

  • Tot de prediking van het Woord des geloofs: Opstellen ter gelegenheid van de herdenking van de oprighting der Theologische School A.D. 1854 te Kampen . D. V. Dijk; H. Bouma; P. Deddens. Kampen: Comite van Uitgave, 1954?. [A fascinating book commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Reformed Seminary at Kampen. Includes significant pictures of documents and persons associated with its history, including De Cock, Brummelkamp, van Velzen and later H.Bavinck and K.Schilder.]
  • Hendrik De Cock, Eerste Afgescheiden Predikant in Nederland : Beschouwd in Leven en Werkzaamheid. Hendrik De Cock. [son] Delfzijl: Jan Haan, c1860, 1886 (2nd ed.). [gift from Van Raalte Institute & R. Swierenga]
  • Thomas Boston: His Life and Times. Andrew Thomson. Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, 2004.
  • Introduction to World Christian History. Derek Cooper. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016.
  • Great Women in Christian History: 37 Women Who Changed Their World. A. Kenneth. Curtis; Dan Graves. Camp Hill, PA; Worcester, PA: Christian Publications; Christian History Institute, c2004.
  • Dr. Ida: The Story of Dr. Ida Scudder of Vellore. Dorothy C. Wilson. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959.
  • John Calvin in Context. R. Ward Holder, editor; G. Sujin Pak, 1971; Raymond A. Mentzer. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • Luther’s Rome, Rome’s Luther: How the City Shaped the Reformer. Carl P. E. Springer. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2021.
  • Luther and the Reformation: How a Monk Discovered the Gospel. R.C. Sproul. Orlando, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2021.
Sign at the local Barnes & Noble store; seen during a holiday visit.
Published in: on January 12, 2022 at 9:59 PM  Comments (1)  

Potpouri Post: Snow Galore, Archives Plate, and a Book Plate

Tonight’s post will be a potpouri – a mixture of winter weather, a new PRC archives donation, and a new book plate.

We start with the weather, as our Father-Creator (not mother nature!) sent us a powerful snowstorm yesterday and overnight, enhanced by cold air whipped around by strong winds over the open waters of Lake Michigan to our west. A classic lake-effect storm that left us with over a foot of snow in much of west Michigan and drifts double that depth.

Today the winds were fairly calm but the cold air over the water still generated another 3-5 inches of fresh snow. One of the beauties of lake-effect snow is that it is light and fluffy – easy to shovel and blow with a snowblower. But is also surely displays the decorative powers of our God.

And the amazing landscape from the piled and wind-smoothed snow leaves one breathless. Who but the Lord can create such white beauty wherever you look?! But it also means that His creatures have to peck (turkeys) and dig (deer) to find the bugs and grass under that blanket.

The second item in this mix is a wonderful commemorative plate from First PRC-Grand Rapids. Terry Kooienga brought it in today, a treasure from his grandpa, Richard (Dick) Kooienga. Thanks for the donation, Terry – and Lavonne!

Note on the back of the plate

Allow me to use this opportunity again to promote donations such as this to the PRC archives. Items of most any kind are welcome from our members and friends: photos, bulletins, programs, tapes (audio and video), momentos, books pamphlets, etc. – donations small or large are gladly received at the seminary! Keep that in mind as the PRC approaches her 100th anniversary in 2025.

And, finally, you may know that I enjoy finding interesting book plates inside books (usually inside the front cover). Today I found this one in a Dutch book from Prof. D. Engelsma’s library. A beautiful plate, is it not? And a neat part of this story is that I had the honor of meeting Rev. Piersma when we lived in South Holland, IL. He must have given this book to Prof. Engelsma when he was minister in SH-PRC.

Published in: on January 6, 2022 at 8:56 PM  Comments (1)  

Thoughts for the New Year – Grace Gems

In the last week the devotional website “Grace Gems” has had two fine posts that are fitting for the new year. One is based on the letters of John Newton and the other on the writings of Octavious Winslow. I believe you will profit from both of them, and thus I post them here this evening, along with the note to you for a blessed, Christ-centered new year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

God’s work of grace in the soul

(Letters of John Newton)

“The soil produces grain:
  first the blade,
  then the stalk, and
  then the ripe grain on the stalk.”
    Mark 4:28

The Lord compares the usual method of growth in grace–to the growth of grain, which is perfected by a slow and almost imperceptible progress.

The seed is hidden for a time in the soil; and, when it appears, it passes through a succession of changes–the blade, the stalk, and lastly the ripe grain.

And it is brought forward amidst a variety of weather: the dew, the frost, the wind, the rain, the sun–all concur to advance its maturity, though some of these agents are contrary to each other; and some of them, perhaps, seem to threaten the life of the plant! Yet, when the season of harvest returns–the grain is found ready for the sickle!

Just so is God’s work of grace in the soul. Its beginnings are small, its growth for the most part slow; and, to our apprehensions, imperceptible and often precarious.

But there is this difference in the comparison: frosts and blights, drought or floods, may possibly disappoint the gardener’s hopes. But the great Gardener of the soul will not, and cannot be disappointed. What He sows shall flourish in defiance of all opposition! And, if at times it seems to wither, He can and He will revive it!

For the most part, God’s people are exercised with sharp trials and temptations; for it is necessary they should learn not only what He can do for them–but how little they can do without Him! Therefore He teaches them not all at once–but by degrees, as they are able to bear it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Untried, untrodden, and unknown!

(Octavius Winslow, “The Untrodden Path” 1860)

“You have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:4

How solemn is the reflection that with a new cycle of time, commences a new and untrodden path with each traveler to Zion.

New events in his history will transpire;
new scenes in the panorama of life will unfold;
new phases of character will develop;
new temptations will assail;
new duties will devolve;
new trials will be experienced;
new sorrows will be felt;
new friendships will be formed;
new mercies will be bestowed.

How truly may it be said of the pilgrim, journeying through the wilderness to his eternal home, as he stands upon the threshold of this untried period of his existence, pondering the unknown and uncertain future, “You have not passed this way before.”

But there is another thought inexpressibly soothing. Untried, untrodden, and unknown as that new path may be, it is each step mapped and arranged, and provided for in the everlasting and unchangeable covenant of God. To Him who leads us, who accepts us in the Son of His love, who knows the end from the beginning–it is no new, or uncertain, or hidden way.

We thank Him that, while He wisely and kindly veils all the future from our reach; all that future, its minutest event, is as transparent and visible to Him as the past.

Our Shepherd knows the windings along which He skillfully, gently, and safely leads His flock. Oh! it is a thought replete with strong consolation, and well calculated to gird us for the coming year: the Lord knows and has ordained each step of the untrodden path upon which I am about to enter!

The infinite forethought, wisdom, and goodness which have marked each line of our new path, have also provided for its every necessity . . .
  each exigency in the new year has been anticipated;
  each need will bring its appropriate and adequate supply;
  each perplexity will have its guidance;
  each sorrow its comfort;
  each temptation its shield;
  each cloud its light;
  each affliction will suggest its lesson;
  each correction will impart its teaching;
  each mercy will convey its message of love.

The promise will be fulfilled to the letter, “As your days, so shall your strength be!” Deuteronomy 33:25

Published in: on January 2, 2022 at 9:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Old Year’s Night 2021 with the Voices of Victory!

As we end this year of our Lord 2021, the Voices of Victory quartet invite you to end the year on a high, spiritual note – by worshiping the Lord in His house with His people (If you are looking for a place to worship, these churches have services!) and by attending the special Voices of Victory concert tonight in downtown Grandville, MI from 8-11 pm!

Here are the details from our Facebook page and poster:

The Voices of Victory male quartet’s annual concert on Friday, December 31 will be held from 8-11 PM at First Reformed Church in Grandville (3060 Wilson Ave SW, Grandville, MI 49418). As in past years, you are welcome to come and go whenever you would like throughout the evening. The Voices of Victory will be joined by the male chorus, the Hope Heralds. Admission is free, coffee and cookies will be served, and the free will offering will go to Georgetown Harmony Homes. Spend the final hours of 2021 in praise to God!

May be an image of 4 people, people standing and text that says 'Benefit Concert for Georgetown Harmony Homes Friday, December 31, 2021 8:00pm 11:00pm Annual New Year's Eve Concert Joined by the Hope Heralds Men's Chorus First Reformed Church of Grandville 3060 Wilson Ave, Grandville MI .tRfChurch library 3060 WilsonAve. Volces of Victory'

Don’t let the cold air and threat of a little snow discourage you from attending in person! It’s a short drive from wherever you are, and once there, you will be safe and warm! We would be delighted to see you there! And we hope we do! It promises to be a wonderful night of praise and fellowship. And the cause is a good one – housing needs for young adults with special needs in the West Michigan area!

Come on out – you won’t be disappointed! And spread the word to family and friends!

Published in: on December 31, 2021 at 8:50 AM  Leave a Comment  

Christmas 2021 – “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” for “Jehovah Jesus”

From our family to you and yours, we extend Christmas greetings near and far. May the peace and joy of our Savior’s birth be yours today and in the new year. And may we as His people look and long more and more for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in the end of this age.

One of the joys we shared this year was the wedding of our son Kyle to Kelly on October 28. We are so thankful the Lord led them together and pray for them as they have begun their life together in the Lord.

Christmas Day must include at least one song from the 2021 King’s College Christmas concert. Here is “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”

And we close with one of William Cowper’s Olney Hymns, titled “Jehovah Jesus.” Plainly and powerfully, it declares the gospel message of what God has done in the sending of His Son in the flesh and how our praise rises to God for the gracious gift of salvation through Jesus.

My song shall bless the LORD of all,
My praise shall climb to his abode;
Thee, Saviour, by that name I call,
The great Supreme, the mighty GOD.

Without beginning, or decline,
Object of faith, and not of sense;
Eternal ages saw him shine,
He shines eternal ages hence.

As much, when in the manger laid,
Almighty ruler of the sky;
As when the six days’ works he made
Fill’d all the morning-stars with joy.

Of all the crowns JEHOVAH bears,
Salvation is his dearest claim;
That gracious sound well-pleas’d he hears,
And owns EMMANUEL for his name.

A cheerful confidence I feel,
My well-plac’d hopes with joy I see;
My bosom glows with heav’nly zeal,
To worship him who died for me.

As man, he pities my complaint,
His pow’r and truth are all divine;
He will not fail, he cannot faint,
Salvation’s sure, and must be mine.

Published in: on December 25, 2021 at 7:19 AM  Leave a Comment  

“Your God has become man” – St. Augustine

St.Augustine

That day is called the birthday of the Lord on which the Wisdom of God manifested Himself as a speechless Child and the Word of God wordlessly uttered the sound of a human voice.

His divinity, although hidden, was revealed by heavenly witness to the Magi and was announced to the shepherds by angelic voices.

With yearly ceremony, therefore, we celebrate this day which saw the fulfillment of the prophecy: ‘Truth is sprung out of the earth: and justice hath looked down from heaven.’ (Psalm 84:12)

Truth, eternally existing in the bosom of the Father, has sprung from the earth so that He might exist also in the bosom of a mother.

Truth, holding the world in place, has sprung from the earth so that He might be carried in the hands of a woman.

Truth, incorruptibly nourishing the happiness of the angels, has sprung from the earth in order to be fed by human milk.

Truth, whom the heavens cannot contain, has sprung from the earth so that He might be placed in a manger.

For whose benefit did such unparalleled greatness come in such lowliness? Certainly for no personal advantage, but definitely for our great good, if only we believe.

Arouse yourself, O man; for your God has become man. ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will enlighten thee.’ (Eph. 5:14)

For you, I repeat, God has become man.

If He had not thus been born in time, you would have been dead for all eternity.

Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, if He had not taken upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh.

Everlasting misery would have engulfed you, if He had not taken this merciful form.

You would not have been restored to life, had He not submitted to your death; you would have fallen, had He not succored you; you would have perished, had He not come.

Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festal day on which the great and timeless One came from the great and timeless day to this brief span of our day.

He ‘has become for us righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; so that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Cor. 1:30-31)’

Source: “Your God has become man” by Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) – Tolle Lege

Published in: on December 22, 2021 at 8:49 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Jesus of Bethlehem: Via, Veritas, Vita

Lessons From The Upper Room: The Heart Of The Savior

On Sundays I have been making my way through Sinclair Ferguson’s new book, Lessons from the Upper Room: The Heart of the Savior (Ligonier Ministries, 2021). The book is based on the author’s teaching series on John 13-17 for Ligonier and, though it might be considered fitting reading for the season of Lent, it is also fitting for Advent I am learning.

Last week I read the fifth chapter, “Via, Veritas, Vita,” which, if you know your Latin means “Way, Truth, Life.” And if you know your Bibles, you know that Ferguson is expounding that important verse in John 14:6 (chapter 5 actually covers John 14:1-14), where the Lord responded to Thomas’ question with the words, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Below you will find some of Ferguson’s comments on this passage. After reading, I believe you will agree that this worth pondering this week of Christmas.

“Jesus now makes explicit what had been implicit: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

“The motto of my home city’s late-medieval university was taken from the Latin Vulgate Bible’s translation of John 14:6: Via, Veritas, Vita. Students in today’s post-biblically literate society must wonder what it means. Is this the noble goal of a higher education – to find your “way” in “life” by seeking “truth” (if there is such) within these hallowed precincts? Perhaps ignorance of the words’ origin protects them from being removed because, as a quotation from the Bible, they favor Christianity. Had the motto quoted the whole verse (which the founders would have assumed every student would instinctively complete), it surely would have been long since removed. For the person quoted was saying that He, exclusively, is the way, the truth, and the life, and therefore the only way to God: “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“You can almost hear the sneer of certain TV interviewers when read these words. Skilled in the art of demeaning, they you ask, “Are you really so arrogant that you believe that anyone who disagrees with you cannot go to heaven?” The implication being, “Shame, shame on you, you narrow-minded bigot!”

“We should always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). The question can be answered with integrity in more than one way.

“The first-as should be obvious – is that we are not the person making the claim. The words are those of Jesus, recorded by “the Apostle of love”!

“The second-equally obvious – is, What if this person is the Son of God who alone knows the Father (Matt. 11:27)? Has He no right to say that He alone can bring us to His Father?

“The third – perhaps less obvious, but no less powerful – is this: If, in order to bring us into His presence, God the Father had to send His only Son to die on the cross-what possesses anyone to think they can devise another way? What miasma clouds my mind so that I cannot see that if God found no other way, then I certainly cannot? Has it never crossed my mind that a father will choose any way he can to protect his son from the kind of suffering associated with crucifixion-never mind an experience of God-forsakenness?

“The arrogance lies elsewhere.

“The issue is not, ‘Who do you think you think you are, Christian?’

It is, ‘Who do you think you are to believe you can accomplish on your own what God says could be accomplished only by the death of His Son on the cross?’

Published in: on December 19, 2021 at 9:06 PM  Leave a Comment