“Just Dad” – Stories of Herman Hoeksema

For our first PRC archive post today we include this notice of a new book on noted Reformed pastor and theologian, Rev. Herman Hoeksema, one of the founders of the PRC.

Other biographies have been written on Hoeksema (Therefore Have I Spoken by Gertrude Hoeksema [out of print now] and Herman Hoeksema: A Theological Biography by Patrick Baskwell, e.g.), but this one is unique – it is penned by his youngest daughter, Lois Kregel, and is a personal, anecdotal history of the man and his family from the “inside”.

Just Dad - LKregel-2014This Reformed Free Publishing Association title is affectionately called Just Dad: Stories of Herman Hoeksema. The book covers Hoeksema’s life from his earliest days in the Netherlands and includes much of the history of his ministerial career as well as the controversies through which he lived and which served to define his labors and theology. But the book also covers the personal and family side of Hoeksema, taking us inside his home and showing him as husband and father, and that’s what makes it unique and special.

Adding to the value and interest of the book are the numerous pictures of Hoeksema and his family, as well as an appendix with several personal letters of Hoeksema written to his children when he took a trip to Europe in 1929. These will show you a side of Hoeksema not found elsewhere.

I am thankful that Mrs.Kregel could tell her story of her father, “just dad”. It is a story worth sharing. And I commend the RFPA for publishing this attractive little “gem” for the benefit of the PRC and the outside world.

Here’s a glimpse into Hoeksema’s personal side, relating to the Christmas season, as told by Lois:

Every year at Christmas, the Sunday school presented a program to the congregation. The Sunday school was large in those days. The youngest class (I think their ages were from four to six) would sing, and then Dad always had the privilege of chatting with them for a few minutes. They would tell him about their Christmas presents, and then Dad would tell them the Christmas story about the greatest Gift of all.

One Christmas he spotted a little tyke with curls, and on impulse he said, ‘You have pretty curls; could I have one for Christmas?’ After turning to find her mother, and getting her mother’s laughing permission, she nodded. Then he heard a chorus of voices, ‘You may have one of mine too.’ Dad said with a grin, ‘All right, if you send me a curl, I will put it in a frame and put it in my study.’ As the curls came in the mail that year, Dad put them in a large frame and hung them on his study wall (64-65).

For information on obtaining this book, visit the RFPA website.

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