Worldview at Home – John Tweeddale

TT-Feb-2016One the final articles I read yesterday in the February Tabletalk addresses the importance of the home in teaching and living a biblical worldview, especially in these evil times in which we find ourselves. Author Dr. John W. Tweeddale points to two extremes we can make in talking about a “theology of the home”: one is idealizing or idolizing the home, while the other is marginalizing the home.

At the end of his article he makes the following comments, which are worth our consideration and contemplation:

The home is not a neutral zone for acting upon baseless desires, nor is it simply a bastion for maintaining traditional values. One of the primary purposes of the home is to cultivate Christlike virtues that animate who we are in private and facilitate what we do in public. When the Apostle Paul addressed the households in the church of Colossae, he instructed wives, husbands, children, masters, and servants alike to put to death the exploits of the flesh, put on the qualities of Christ, and do everything in word and deed for the glory of God (Col. 3:1–4:1). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul sandwiches his instructions to households between teaching on devotion and worship (Eph. 5:1–21) and spiritual warfare (6:1–20). And the Apostle Peter prefaces his comments to families with an extended discussion on the church (1 Peter 2:1–11; 2:12–3:8), an important reminder that home life can never be isolated from church life.

This side of heaven, home should be a place where faith, hope, and love flourish. Faith in the sure work of Christ crucified and resurrected. Hope in the power of the gospel to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. And love for a triune God whose glory and beauty knows no end. The Christian home in a fallen world is a place of rooted optimism. Rooted in the place where God has called us and optimistic about a far greater place He is preparing for us. The home front is the forlorn battlefield of the cultural wars. In our strivings to defend the gospel against doctrinal decline in the church and increasing secularism in the culture, we must not forget the importance of cultivating virtue in the home. For the church to remain a city on the hill, the light of the gospel must shine brightly in the home.

Source: Worldview at Home by John Tweeddale | Reformed Theology Articles at

Christ in Gethsemane – Man of Sorrows

     Gethsemane means ‘the oil press’. David could say, ‘I am like a green olive tree in the house of God’ (Psa.52:8). Israel in her long history could say the same. But the suffering Savior could say it best of all, for there in Gethsemane – the oil press – he was crushed and bruised without mercy. But how and why? How is the sudden and dramatic change of atmosphere between the upper room and Gethsemane to be explained, even in a measure? Christ knew all along the death that awaited him. He had grappled with Satan and his legions more than once. He had repeatedly spoken of his death to his disciples, telling them what that death would accomplish. He had prayed with the utmost confidence in his high priestly prayer (John 17).

Why, then, is there this sudden plunge into such awful agony, why this shuddering horror? Why is this fruit of the olive tree so severely crushed? Why does the divine record say that in Gethsemane our Lord BEGAN to be sorrowful, sorrowful in a new and terrible way? Was it not because God began forsaking him then? How else is this sorrow unto death to be understood?

‘Jesus wept’, but never like this. No previous sorrow of his could match this. At the time of his arrest he declared, ‘Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?’ (John 18:11). That cup was constantly in view as he prayed in Gethsemane. What cup? ‘THIS CUP’ – not some future cup. The cup that was symbolized in the feast (Matt.26:27,28) and was now actual: God was placing it in the Savior’s hands and it carried the stench of hell.

But stop! Schilder is right. ‘Gethsemane is not a field of study for our intellect. It is a sanctuary of our faith’. Lord, forgive us for the times we have read about Gethsemane with dry eyes (pp.4-5).

CrossHeBore-LeahyTaken from chapter 1, “Man of Sorrows” (based on Matt.26:36,37) by Frederick S. Leahy in The Cross He Bore: Meditations on the Sufferings of the Redeemer (Banner of Truth, 1996).

The Wonders of Redemption – Anne Steele


For our meditation on the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ in this time of year, we consider today this poem of Anne Steele (1717-1778).

The Wonders of Redemption
I Peter iii. 18.

I. And did the holy and the just,
The Sov’reign of the skies,
Stoop down to wretchedness and dust,
That guilty worms might rise?

II. Yes, the Redeemer left his throne,
His radiant throne on high,
(Surprizing mercy! love unknown!)
To suffer, bleed and die.

III. He took the dying traitor’s place,
And suffer’d in his stead;
For man, (O miracle of grace!)
For man the Saviour bled!

IV. Dear Lord, what heav’nly wonders dwell
In thy atoning blood?
By this are sinners snatch’d from hell,
And rebels brought to God.

V. Jesus, my soul, adoring bends
To love so full, so free;
And may I hope that love extends
It’s sacred pow’r to me?

VI. What glad return can I impart,
For favours so divine?
O take my all,—this worthless heart,
And make it only thine.

Here is some biographical material on the author:

Anne Steele was born at Broughton, Hampshire, in 1717. Her father was a timber merchant, and at the same time officiated as the lay pastor of the Baptist Society at Broughton. Her mother died when she was 3. At the age of 19 she became an invalid after injuring her hip. At the age of 21 she was engaged to be married but her fiance drowned the day of the wedding. On the occasion of his death she wrote the hymn “When I survey life’s varied scenes.” After the death of her fiance she assisted her father with his ministry and remained single. Despite her sufferings she maintained a cheerful attitude. She published a book of poetry Poems on subjects chiefly devotional in 1760 under the pseudonym “Theodosia.” The remaining works were published after her death, they include 144 hymns, 34 metrical psalms, and about 50 poems on metrical subjects.

Dianne Shapiro (from Dictionary of National Biography, 1898 and Songs from the hearts of women by Nicholas Smith, 1903

This material was taken from the website For more on Anne Steele and her poetry visit this page.

Published in: on February 28, 2016 at 7:26 AM  Leave a Comment  

Life at Calvin College, 1920s – J.Timmerman

     The last year I roomed at the dormitory. …I wanted to be a part of that beehive for one year at least. The Calvin dormitory was a home away from home for about eighty students. Except for their common religious background, they were as piquantly varied in personality, capabilities, and attitudes as any group I have ever been associated with. They were almost all Dutch, but the Dutch are not noted for monotonous unanimity. …There were the ultrapious who seemed already poised in the prestige of the pulpit, and there were the bed-wreckers, the room-dishevelers, and pranksters.

One preseminary student imported little bombs the size of golf balls, and another presem dropped them from the third floor to the first, where they erupted like thunder. All ate the food, but one offered this concluding prayer: “Lord we thank Thee for this food. Some enjoy it, but we do not know who they are.” …Telephone pranksters had fun calling up strangers: one called up a Pole on the west side and told him he had a hundred sheep to take to the market and offered the man a job. Two students went to a naive gentleman and told him they were collecting money for the victims of the moth inundation of Vladivostock.

…Pranks on the campus ranged from amazing ingenuity to the edge of cruelty. Prior to one chapel session, some students planted carefully timed alarm clocks; as the speaker began his address, they went off a few minutes apart from various places in the chapel. The statue of Moses at the door of the chapel was an irresistible target. Sometimes he wore a cap, then scarves and vests; and sometimes a hat and cigar stuck in his mouth. Coats were thrown on him as students hurried into chapel.

Through a Glass Lightly-TimmermanJohn J. Timmerman reflecting on his years at Calvin College in the 1920s, as found in his Through a glass lightly (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), pp.31-32.

PRC Archives – PRYP’s Convention Ribbons


Today for our PRC history/archives post we feature PR Young People’s Convention ribbons. Yes, ribbons! Were you aware that past conventioneers wore such things at the convention? Did you know that they were specially made to reflect the host society’s location (can you discern that in the examples above?)? And did you know that there were two types of ribbons given out, to two types of conventioneers – delegates and visitors?

This all started a few weeks ago when Bob Drnek was sorting through some back issues of the Beacon Lights magazine donated to the PRC archives by Agatha Lubbers. In matching these with what we already possessed, Bob found a BL issue that featured these convention ribbons on its cover (see photo above – pre-convention issue of June/July 1964). And that got him wondering if we had any of these and how many we might have.

Locating the YP’s Convention booklet box, he discovered that we had a few in there, still attached to the convention booklet that matched it. When he relayed his findings and interest to me, he said, “Wouldn’t it be great to find all of these and make a special display?” Of course, I agreed!

Well, Monday morning of this week what should meet me on the counter of the secretary’s desk but this collection of ribbons, brought in by Mr. Rick Bos (Grace PRC) through his mother, Elaine (Faith PRC)! Wonderful providence! I was so excited – and I couldn’t wait to “show and tell” Bob! I made a special display on my librarian’s desk this week so these ribbons could be seen by others – hence, the pictures. So, now you can enjoy them too.


But, we also need your help in completing our collection for the archives. We are not sure exactly when these began to be used or when they ended. Right now our collection extends form the 50s to the 60s. If you have any you would be willing to donate to the collection, we would love it! Especially nice would be to have delegate and visitor ribbons from each year they were given out.

Now you know what your PRC history/archive homework is. Hope to hear from you! 🙂

UPDATE! One of our readers sent in a picture of the ribbon from the 1975 PRYP’s Convention – a very special one, in fact – the year of the 50th anniversary of the PRC and the 35th annual YP’s convention! Thanks for sharing, Cindy! We see you even had the honor of wearing a delegate badge!

Feel free to send me more, any others of you who care to share.


Published in: on February 25, 2016 at 6:27 AM  Leave a Comment  

Coined by God: Doctrine

CoinedbyGod-MallessFor our “Word Wednesday” feature today, we consider another entry in one of my new favorite word books – Coined by God: Words and Phrases That First Appear in the English Translations of the Biblethe combined work of Stanley Malless and Jeffrey McQuain (W.W. Norton, 2003).

Our selection today is the word “doctrine, perhaps unspectacular to us, but nonetheless, quite significant in its own right and certainly in its origin. About this now common English word Malless and McQuain write (pp.49-50):

     Another Wycliffite loanword from the Latin of Jerome’s New Testament, doctrine enters the written language in the words of Matthew’s Jesus, who is quoting Isaiah: ‘This people honors me without cause, teaching the doctrines and commandments of men’ (Matthew 15:9). This is the first time that doctrine appears in the modern sense of ‘that which is taught as true concerning a specific area of knowledge’ (as in the Monroe Doctrine, when ‘knowledge’ becomes ‘policy’). Through the seventeenth century it was most commonly understood as ‘the action of teaching,’ and Wycliffe claims first rights on this connotation as well: ‘In all things showing good faith, that they adorn in all things the doctrine [doctryn] of our savior God (Titus 2:10).

The staying power of this authoritative noun might have to do with its learned ancestry. From the Latin verb docere (‘to teach) and its Greek relatives dadaskein (‘to teach’) and dokein (‘to seem’), doctrine’s siblings include doctor (which originally meant ‘teacher’), document, dogma, orthodox, doxology, and decent.

And two hundred years after Wycliffe, Shakespeare managed to give it even wider audience when in Love’s Labor’s Lost Berowne professes that ‘From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive; /They are the ground, the books, the academes, /From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire’ (IV.iii. 298-300).

Published in: on February 24, 2016 at 6:32 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Myth of Multitasking (Kill It!) – M.Perman

Whats Best Next -PermanMoving on to chapter 18 of Matt Perman’s book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan, 2014), we continue to be instructed in how to reduce the daily tasks that call for our attention so that we can do our best work next and be the most productive stewards of what God calls us to do.

Chapter 18 is titled “Harnessing the Time Killers” and here author Matt Perman treats the second aspect of reducing (the fifth main section of the book), which he states is “overcoming and eliminating the things that eat up our time and get in our way” (p.241). The first thing he suggests may surprise and shock you, as it did me. He calls us to kill multitasking. Yes, KILL it! Here’s why:

To multitask is to do two or more things at once that require mental focus. Multitasking seems like a way to save time but actually costs more time and is, in fact, impossible. It is inefficient because it makes both tasks take longer (p.241).

…But it is also impossible because you cannot literally multitask. …The human brain simply cannot focus on two things at once. God is the only multitasker.

When I think about that, and then think about the times I have tried to multitask, I find that Perman (and other experts) is correct – I am not really doing multiple things at once – not with real, good focus!

So what are we actually doing when we think we are multitasking? We are actually switchtasking. That is, we are switching back and forth between tasks. As a result, multitasking (or, better, switchtasking) incurs switching costs.

And as Perman goes on to show, sometimes the cost of switching tasks is worth it and more efficient, but other times it is not:

With some tasks, the switching cost might be worth it. Switching costs aren’t always bad; we just have to take them into account.

With multitasking, however, the issue is that the switching cost can almost always be avoided. You don’t have to write that report while checking email every five minutes. It would be much more efficient and effective to spend an hour writing the report, then check email (or take a break, or whatever).

And so he concludes:

This helps us see when switchtasking can be beneficial, though: if an interruption comes, quickly assess whether the value of the interruption will be greater than the time and focus you will lose on your current task. If it’s significantly greater, go ahead (p.242).

I find this very helpful in helping me harness the time killers! What about you? How good are you at switchtasking? Have you weighed the costs?

“We live as those who are on a journey home.”

We are not citizens of this world trying to make our way to heaven; we are citizens of heaven trying to make our way through this world. That radical Christian insight can be life-changing. We are not to live so as to earn God’s love, inherit heaven, and purchase our salvation. All those are given to us as gifts; gifts bought by Jesus on the cross and handed over to us. We are to live as God’s redeemed, as heirs of heaven, and as citizens of another land: the Kingdom of God…. We live as those who are on a journey home; a home we know will have the lights on and the door open and our Father waiting for us when we arrive.

That means in all adversity our worship of God is joyful, our life is hopeful, our future is secure. There is nothing we can lose on earth that can rob us of the treasures God has given us and will give us.

The Landisfarne, via The Anglican Digest

Patches-of-Godlight-KaronFound in Patches of Godlight: Father Tim’s Favorite Quotes by Jan Karon (Penguin, 2001)

Published in: on February 21, 2016 at 11:22 PM  Comments (2)  

Note to Self: Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves

As we prepare for worship tomorrow and for hearing the gospel, we may learn from these points of Joe Thorn in Note to Self:

We cannot properly preach the law without also preaching the gospel, for God has not given us his law as the end. But before we consider how to preach the gospel, it will be helpful to clarify the gospel itself. In one sense we must say that the gospel is history, It happened. Simply put, the gospel is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. …In the Bible, ‘gospel’ is not something we do but something we believe. It is the good news of what Jesus accomplished in his life, death, and resurrection.

At its core, the gospel is Jesus as the substitute for sinners. We could summarize the whole by saying that in his life Jesus lives in perfect submission to the will of God and he fulfills his righteous standard (the law). In his death on the cross he quenches God’s wrath against sin, satisfying the sovereign demand for justice. In his resurrection he is victorious over sin and death. All of this is done on behalf of sinners in need of redemption…. This is therefore very ‘good news’ (pp.29-30).

Note-to-self-ThornWe can fault Thorn for being too simplistic about the gospel here (I believe he deliberately intends it to be so for his purposes.) and for being too vague with regard to the specific intent of Jesus’ saving work (a substitutionary atonement for those sinners chosen before time by the Father to salvation and life in Christ, that is, for the elect only), and for his use of the word “offer” in his presentation of the gospel (I am not sure he understands the controversy surrounding the use of that term and the “loaded” Arminian connotation it often has in our time), but we can appreciate his point that we need to preach this message of the finished work of Christ to ourselves daily.

Here is what he adds to this section:

When we get to the business of preaching this good news to ourselves, we are essentially denying self and resting in the grace of Christ in his life, death, and resurrection (p.30).

To that we can give our hearty Amen!

Taken from Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn (Crossway, 2011). For the previous post, visit this page.

PRC Archives – Featuring Rev.Gerrit Vos

And for our PRC archive item today, we bring you a little collage of photos of Rev. Gerrit Vos (1884-1968), a faithful minister of the Word in the PRC for over 40 years.

I recently found these in his folder in the photo file in the archive room and decided to feature them today.

Perhaps there is some mystery involved in these pictures, so if you have information on them, or simply wish to share your remembrances of Rev. Vos, feel free to do so in the comment section. He was, after all, known to be a bit of a character – as you will see from one of the photos. Enjoy!


Update: I hope you have paid attention to the comments that have come in (as well as a few emails) – I appreciate them much, as they have been quite helpful in identifying some folks in these pictures. The biggest matter is that the final picture here is not Rev. Vos at all, but Rev. Ophoff!

In the middle picture (clearly a ballgame setting!), we have learned from the young man himself that the fella to the left is Jerry Kuiper (the retired school teacher, administrator, and Voices of Victory 1st tenor! – thanks for this, Jerry!) 🙂

Another private observer noted that he thinks the man to the far right in the last picture (with Rev. Ophoff and a yet-unknown man) is William Kamps. If anyone recognizes the man in the middle, we would appreciate hearing from you.

Published in: on February 18, 2016 at 4:55 PM  Comments (4)