PRC Archives – Seminary History (2)

Semfront-May2014-2With the PRC Seminary beginning its 90th year of instruction this week, it makes sense to delve a bit into the history of our Seminary on this PRC archives day. We have posted things before on this subject, but recently I discovered that our Acts of Synod used to carry in the back a yearly summary of Seminary activities, including  a brief history of the institution.

We could go back to the beginning, but today I want to have us remember from where the impetus for a separate Seminary building came.  Because, you will remember, for years the Seminary met in the basement of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI. How did the idea for a new and different facility get started? Who prompted the churches to consider this?

Would you believe this idea has its origin in an overture from the Grand Haven (MI) PRC Consistory?! According to the 1946 PRC Acts of Synod it did. The overture came through Classis East, at its April 3, 1946 meeting. This was the overture, which according to Arts.23 and 24 was “accepted for information” and then adopted by motion.

Esteemed Brethren:

Believing that the time has come for our Prot.Ref.Churches to look forward to acquiring building and grounds for our Theological School, the Consistory of Grand Haven Prot.Ref. Church hereby requests Classis to overture Synod to institute a program that will realize this goal.

Further, that such program include the following suggestions:

  1. That a fund be established for this purpose, by means of either assessments or special offerings from all our churches.
  2. That a committee be appointed for the purpose of acquiring lots.
  3. That the Theological School faculty shall be advisors on that committee.

Done in Consistory this 26th day of March, 1946.

N.J. Yonker, Vice Pres.
A.Peterson, Clerk

It would take a few years for this to materialize, and the PRC Seminary would meet in other places in the meantime. How long did it take for this project truly to “take off”? And do you know where else Seminary met until then? Some things to ponder until next time.

Word Wednesday – Patristics

Yes, I know it is Thursday. But I didn’t get to any blog posts yesterday and really wanted to get in a “new” word this week. A word I came across last week while cataloging some more books for the Seminary library. A word that ties in nicely with some of the courses taught here at the PRC Seminary.

St.AugustineThat word is “patristics”, or as it is also sometimes called “patrology”. The word is derived from the Latin word for “father” (pater), and refers to the study of the persons, writings, and theology of the early fathers of the church. If you visit the link to Wikipedia here, you will find a helpful listing of these church fathers, with links to web pages with information on each one. Some of these will be familiar names to you (Athanasius, Augustine, Tertullian), while others may not be. But they should be, which is why I wanted to call attention to this special word and field of study. You might also find this section on Monergism’s website to be of interest and use.

You see, while we have a series of church history courses taught here at Seminary (early, medieval and modern – and, I might add, the history of dogma!), with the first one covering what is traditionally known as patristics, all of church history (even our modern age) covers the history of the church’s fathers. For God raises up such godly, courageous and faithful servants in every age of His church, to lead her deeper into the truth of Scripture, to defend her against the wily wolves who seek to devour her, and to call her to steady commitment to Christ her Head.

I hope you are interested in the fathers of the church. In every age – early, medieval and modern. And I encourage you, then, to make patristics a part of your reading diet. The Seminary library has plenty of books for you to use! Come and find out! 🙂