The Pillar and Ground of the Truth – Prof.R. Dykstra

SB-June-2016-coverIn the June issue of The Standard Bearer Prof.R. Dykstra has a powerful and profitable editorial on the church as the pillar and ground of the truth.

The passage he expounds is the striking one in 1 Timothy 3:15:

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

In explaining this verse, he gives us these important thoughts for contemplation:

Scripture applies that figure to the church, calling the church the pillar and ground “of the truth.” In this figure, the truth is pictured as the roof, as it were. As the pillar of the truth, the church holds up the truth. As the ground, the church is that on which the truth rests. The picture reveals that the church on this earth acts as the support of the truth. Without the church the truth would come crashing down.

…What then must the church do to be faithful to this description, this calling? In a word, the church must defend, maintain, and promote the truth. What a glorious calling God has given to the church! The truth is a treasure beyond compare, for it is the revelation of God Himself, the sovereign Creator and Preserver of the entire creation. It is the truth of the Holy One, far exalted above all that He has made, infinite in His perfections. It is the truth about Jehovah, the Triune, covenant God.

That truth is set forth in God’s beloved Son, Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. This Jesus is the very Word of God. When God speaks, He reveals Himself to His people. That speech is always in and through Jesus Christ, for “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). To His people, God’s speech expresses His love for them manifest concretely in the cross of Jesus.

What a glorious possession is God’s truth! Because God is unchanging, His truth is unchanging. God’s truth reaches “unto the clouds” (Ps. 57:10). All His “works are truth” (Dan. 4:37) and He “keepeth truth for ever” (Ps. 146:6). Thus, His “truth endureth to all generations” (Ps. 100:5), even “for ever” (Ps. 117:2).

Truth is a vitally important gift. “Mercy and truth preserve the king” (Prov. 20:28); it is the believer’s “shield and buckler” (Ps. 91:4). God “begat…us with the word of truth” (Jam. 1:18). Jesus promised all His disciples that they will “know the truth, and the truth shall make [them] free” (John 8:32). And He commanded that “they that worship [God] must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

The church is the pillar and ground of that truth. She is called to set forth that truth in all its beauty. The church studies the Bible with the desire to grow in understanding of God’s truth. She develops the doctrines of Scripture so that the truth is ever more clearly and precisely maintained. This happens weekly as the minister searches the Scriptures and preaches the truth to his congregation. This happens as believers expound the truth in articles, pamphlets, books. The truth is being held up, sharpened, and displayed.

May we seek that truth in Jesus Christ today as we worship with God’s church. And may we promote and defend that truth in all our life and labors as members of Christ’s church, so that He is seen in every place as The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

Voices of Victory at CRC Conference Grounds Tonight

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The Voices of Victory quartet will be performing tonight at the CRC Conference Grounds and we cordially invite you to join us there for a wonderful night of song in praise to our great God and Savior.

The program will begin at 7:00 p.m. (ET) and will be held in the new (air-conditioned!) worship center. We will be doing many of the songs on our new album, which we are always excited to sing live.

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For more information or directions, visit the links to our Facebook page and the CRC Conference Grounds website.

Hope to see you there! It will be a beautiful night for a ride out to the lake and some great music!

Published in: on June 25, 2016 at 8:06 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Evolution of the Book – Julie Dreyfuss

This is another informative video on the history of book-making, from its earliest days up to the present digital age (a TED-Ed presentation posted June 13, 2016).

On this Friday, it’s a fine way to be reminded of how important the book is and how it has changed over the years.

Here’s the introduction to the YouTube video:

What makes a book a book? Is it just anything that stores and communicates information? Or does it have to do with paper, binding, font, ink, its weight in your hands, the smell of the pages? To answer these questions, Julie Dreyfuss goes back to the start of the book as we know it to show how these elements came together to make something more than the sum of their parts.

 

Published in: on June 24, 2016 at 9:46 AM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Archives: A Mystery Church Building & Council

Today for our PRC archives feature, we post two mystery pictures (at least, they may be mysterious to you. I found them identified in their files) – one of a former church building and one of a former church Council.

If you recognize this church building, give a shout under comments!

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And if you recognize this church Council, let us all know in the comment section.

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I do know which Council it is, but not all the people in the picture. If you can help, that would be much appreciated.

Published in: on June 23, 2016 at 12:53 PM  Comments (6)  

X-Rays Reveal “Hidden Library” on the Spines of Early Books | Smithsonian

medieval-spine-hiddenResearchers are uncovering fragments of medieval texts used in early book binding.

This exciting news item appeared on Smithsonian on June 6, 2016 and gives a fascinating look at the early history of book binding and what historians are discovering on the spines.

Below is part of the story; find the rest at the link provided at the end.

When the printing press made its debut in Europe in the 15th century, hand-written manuscripts went the way of eight track tapes and CD players—becoming unfashionable in the face of new technology. So early book binders cut up some of these older texts and used the paper to reinforce the spines and covers of the newfangled printed books.

That practice has put researchers in another type of bind: To get to the valuable fragments built into these early modern books, they have to tear them apart. But according to Dalya Alberge at The Guardian a new technology is giving researchers a peek at the manuscript fragments without damaging the printed books.

Using macro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (MA-XRF), Dutch researchers are able to scan the bindings to image the manuscripts hiding underneath. Erik Kwakkel, a book historian at Leiden University in the Netherlands tells Alberge that one in five early modern books contain the fragments. “It’s really like a treasure trove,” he tells Alberge. “It’s extremely exciting.”

Source: X-Rays Reveal “Hidden Library” on the Spines of Early Books | Smart News | Smithsonian

Commitment to Family Worship in a Variety of Circumstances

family-worship-whitney-2016In the last few months we have been taking a look at a new publication of Crossway that I requested for review.

The book is Donald S. Whitney’s Family Worship (2016, 80 pp.), and after tracing the history of family worship (to inspire us to continue a long-standing tradition!),  and then pointing us to the elements of family worship (“read, pray, and sing”), he treats in chapter four different situations in which we might find ourselves as families – situations that we might be tempted to see as road blocks to the regular practice of family worship or devotions.

The chapter is titled “No Family Worship Situation is Unique,” with the sub-title “But What If…?” In this chapter Whitney asks and answers five (5) questions:

  1. What if the father is not a Christian?
  2. What if there is no father at home?
  3. What if the children are very young?
  4. What if there is a wide range of ages among the children?
  5. What if there are no children at home?

It would be profitable to quote the author’s comments on any of these questions, but I give you his closing paragraphs, where he summarizes his main point in this chapter. I hope it is an encouragement to you to persevere in family worship, no matter what your situation may be.

In any case, realize there is no family worship situation that has not been addressed by Christians for centuries. You are not alone in the circumstances that make family worship difficult, nor are you alone in experiencing its delights. We tend to think that we have unique problems and our flesh wants to excuse us from family worship on the false grounds that our situation is an exception. I’ve known students who worked night shifts who were married to spouses who had daytime jobs. Even in that difficult situation, they managed to snatch a few moments – almost in passing at the front door – to worship together. Their discipline to worship together surely strengthened their union when so many other things seemed bent on weakening it.

We need to accept the fact that in this sinful world, challenges to family worship arise regularly in every home. The blessings of family worship are too dangerous for Satan to let pass unopposed. Nevertheless, we must stand on this bedrock truth; God deserves to be worshiped daily in our homes by our families. And for that reason, start today (pp.56-57).

Note to Self: Forgive

Begin by reading and meditating on Colossians 3:12-13.

Dear Self,

You need to forgive. You need to. …You need to forgive others because God in Jesus Christ has forgiven you. Your infinitely holy and just Maker has not held your sins against you, but instead has held them against his Son on the cross. Your faith rests squarely on this act of substitution.

Your refusal to forgive one who has sinned against you is a manifestation of hypocrisy – a telltale sign that either you have not experienced God’s forgiving grace, or that you take such grace for granted. Why do you withhold what has been given so freely to you? Have your offenders done worse than you? Are their crimes against you more severe than your crimes against God and others? When you refuse to forgive, it can only mean that you have not yet come to understand forgiveness, or you have been taking it for granted and have not sufficiently learned from it.

You need to forgive to make much of Jesus and his gospel. This is the real reason to extend forgiveness to the undeserving. …Forgiveness points us all back to our greatest need – reconciliation to God by way of his own work.

…While forgiveness is never easy, it is also never impossible – not for those who have been saved by the grace of God. For the grace of salvation not only secures your forgiveness and models it for you, but it also empowers forgiveness by giving you a new heart and spirit.

You can forgive because you learned it in the gospel. …The gospel compels you to forgive, and it enables you to do so.

Give yourself to meditation on the cross; learn forgiveness, and walk in it.

Note-to-self-ThornTaken from Chap.20 “Forgive” (found in Part Two, “The Gospel and Others”) in Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn (Crossway, 2011), pp.77-78.

Lunch with C.S. Lewis: Thoughts on Friendship

Lunch-with-Lewis-McGrathSo what might we conclude? Perhaps the most important point to take away from our lunch with Lewis is that friendship is of vital importance because friendship is transformational – both for ourselves and for our friends. This is key because any form of ministry or service or endeavor worth pursuing requires support and fellowship. It cannot be undertaken in isolation. Friendship is essential to fit us for the task.

That’s why the questions of friendship should be ones we ask ourselves on a regular basis: How are my friends influencing me? What task lies ahead of me that demands a community of support? How can I support my friends? Am I spending enough time and energy cultivating real friendships? And is friendship an end or a means – something good in itself or a good to be consumed? It is no wonder that so many successful churches encourage small groups to meet and discuss things that concern them. Lewis himself gave and received this kind of support. We must expect to do the same.

Taken from If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C.S. Lewis by Alistair McGrath (Tyndale, 2014), a new Kindle book I am reading this summer.

Hope Haven Benefit Concert – Saturday

Today the Voices of Victory will be singing a second day at the Hope Haven Benefit Concert in Sioux Center, Iowa.

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We have been given a third time slot, so we will now be singing at 3 pm, 5 pm, and 8:30 pm.

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Our tent booth is set up, the sky is cloudy but no rain, so come on out and join us and many other groups for a wonderful day of music and support a good cause.

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After a great breakfast prepared by the Noormans, we did a tour of Dordt College.
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Of course, I wanted to see the library, but summer hours meant it was closed today.😦
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But we did get to see the lobby and even practiced a song in a spot with amazing acoustics.
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And we did find an entrance into the B.J. Haan auditorium and sang another song.
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Published in: on June 18, 2016 at 1:00 PM  Leave a Comment  

Voices of Victory at Hope Haven Benefit Concert

On this balmy Saturday in Sioux Center the Voices of Victory are joining a variety of gospel music groups at the annual Hope Haven Benefit Concert in the city park

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We will be singing tonight at 7:30 pm and twice on Saturday  (cf. The schedule ).
We also sang in the Hull Nursing Home this afternoon for a nice crowd.
If you are in the NW Iowa area , come on out to the Sioux Center park to hear some good music and support a good cause.
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As you can see from Shelley Van Dyke’s picture from tonight, a powerful storm came through the area, cutting short our program. Fittingly, our third and last song for the night was “Hide Thou Me. ”

We look forward to singing tomorrow twice at this event. It is our hope that the Lord of the storm gives the chance.

Published in: on June 17, 2016 at 5:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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