Reformed Witness Hour in PRCA 25th Jubilee Book

In the Twenty-five Year Jubilee of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America, 1925-1950, the Reformed Witness Hour was featured (along with four other radio programs sponsored by PR congregations! Can you name them?) on pages 59-67.

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There are several pages of information (see above image) and some pictures (see below), some of which I post today.

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Keep in mind that in October of this year the RWH will celebrate her 75th anniversary. And, don’t forget the special celebration event planned for Saturday, August 13 at Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI, from 9-12 in the morning.

Published in: on June 30, 2016 at 12:02 PM  Leave a Comment  

William Tyndale and His Significance – Dr.S. Lawson

As we prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the great Reformation next year, it is good to recall the variety of men whom God used to restore His Word to the church and the church to His Word. One such man was William Tyndale (c.1494-1536) through whom God gave us the Bible in English.

In this brief video, Dr. Steve Lawson stops to visit Tyndale’s statue in London and points to its significance for Reformation history and for subsequent history.

The Sin of Certainty – creation.com

the-sin-of-certainty-pennsThis review of Peter Enns’ (former professor at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia) new book by Calvin Smith at Creation.com is worth noting here (posted June 14, 2016).

Enns has been and continues to be influential as a professing Christian scholar who uses a higher critical view of Scripture to promote popular teachings in Christian circles today, including such subjects as biblical authority, evolution, and now the nature of faith itself (not as certainty but as doubt, as the title to his book indicates).

I give you the introduction to Smith’s review and then a section from it on Enns’ evolutionary views, encouraging you to read the full review at the link below.

Peter Enns’ latest book reads like the average village atheist attempting to discredit the Bible, all the while assuring you that he’s a Christian trying to illuminate you on how to build your faith. It’s basically a re-hash of similar concepts we’ve seen before in his previous writings and reiterates that while the Bible doesn’t contain the truth, you can still believe and trust in God (whoever that might be).

And here is the section on Enns’ evolutionary perspective:

Creation

In his chapter on evolution Enns admits what Genesis plainly says.

“The problem for biblically centered Christians is that the Bible, right in the very beginning, tells us clearly that God created all life forms with a simple “Let there be … ” No common descent, natural selection, or billions of years required. So if Darwin was right, the Bible was wrong.”2

Now Enns is a committed theistic evolutionist and hence this isn’t a ‘problem’ for him. Which reveals he isn’t a ‘biblically centered Christian’. And he believes Darwin was right, which means he believes the Bible is wrong!

This would mean that God knowingly put contradictions in His word (or else the Bible isn’t actually inspired although Enns doesn’t comment on this directly). But proclaiming known contradictions amounts to lying (which is likely why Enns has a chapter blasphemously titled ‘God is a liar’9).

Perhaps Enns forgot Numbers 23:19 where Scripture makes something clear- “God is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind.”

(But of course that could just be one of those parts of the Bible you don’t have to take as plainly written in Enns’ way of thinking.)

For Enns the truth of the Bible isn’t what’s important, it’s ‘trust’ in God. Of course the word ‘trust’ is defined as; ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something’. So Enns shoots himself in the foot in his basic premise. How are Christians supposed to trust in God if His revelation to His people is un-trustworthy?

Source: The Sin of Certainty – creation.com

The Literary Traits of the Bible (2) – L.Ryken

GuidetoClassics-LRykenContinuing our look at Leland Ryken’s recent publication A Christian Guide to the Classics (Crossway, 2015), we are considering the content of chapter 4, in which Ryken treats the greatest classic of literature, the Bible.

Previously, we looked at what this means in general (that the Bible is a literary classic). Then we considered some objections that can be raised when viewing the Bible this way. Last time and now today we consider some of the literary traits of the Bible, which is what Ryken discusses in the next section.

This is the way he describes the second trait of the Bible as classic literature:

A second way in which the Bible meets literary criteria is the preponderance of literary genres that we find within its covers. The overall format of the Bible is that of the literary anthology – a collection of individual works composed by multiple authors and falling into familiar literary categories. The dominant genre is narrative or story. Poetry is the next prevalent genre. Both of those fall into dozens of subtypes – hero story, tragedy, parable, praise, psalm, love poem, and so forth. In the Bible we find satire, visionary writing, epistles, and proverbs.

Despite its unique features, the anthology  that we know as the Bible (a word that means “little books”) is thoroughly familiar to people who have had experience with literary anthologies like The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

We will save the third trait for next time.

Published in: on June 28, 2016 at 6:50 AM  Leave a Comment  

Overcoming Legalism – Sean M. Lucas

TT-June-2016You will recall that legalism is the theme of the June Tabletalk (the subtitle says it all: “the delusion of man-made religion”). In the last full-featured article on the subject, Dr. Sean M. Lucas addresses how to overcome legalism, with the revealing subtitle – “Let No One Disqualify You.”

His answer to the sin of legalism is really simple: the gospel of Jesus Christ – the good news of who Christ is for us, what He has done for us, and what we are in Him.

Here is a part of what he has to say (worth your time reading the rest of his article too):

Pilgrim’s Progress

This gospel formation means that Christianity really isn’t about rule-keeping. To be sure, a Christian obeys God’s Word, but the way to obedience is not by focusing on keeping the rules, flying right, and doing better. At the heart of what Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 is to explode the notion that righteousness is about external obedience to the law. When He says, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20), He tells us that the way to righteousness is not through mere external obedience. Instead, the way to a righteous life is the Spirit’s inside-out transformation as we progress in living into the gospel. As we use the means of grace—including corporate worship that centers on the Word, sacraments, prayer, and fellowship, as well as private worship—God meets us, drives the gospel into our hearts, confronts our patterns of sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, and makes us new.

But this sort of gospel transformation takes time. We progress in it as we are formed and shaped and molded by the Spirit’s work. As we go further up and farther in, we see more sin, confront more deception, believe more gospel, receive more divine comfort. We learn by experience and gain wisdom and insight as we turn from folly to reverence and love the Lord.

And here’s the thing: as we live in step with the Spirit, we actually live in ways that “keep the rules.” Those who bear the Spirit-fruit of love will be those who keep the two tables of the Ten Commandments. Those who bear joy will know the strength to say no to sin and yes to righteousness. Those who bear peace will be whole and wholesome, not restless or anxious. And so forth. We keep the rules, not by focusing on them as merely deeds that must be done, but by focusing our hearts on Jesus, who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing by the Spirit in us to make us fulfill the law.

Source: Overcoming Legalism by Sean Michael Lucas

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 – UPDATED!

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!

UPDATE: By now you should be aware from the comments that this is the original South Holland, IL PRC church building (c.1928), as I understand, built in the location where the next one was constructed (in 1966), along with the Christian school behind it later on. If it looks like the church is in the middle of field here, it was, for onion farms were big in that area at the time.

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

UPDATE: This is the Consistory of our (former) congregation in Sioux Center, IA, a congregation we lost in the split of 1953. The church was organized with 11 families in 1926, and the pastor at the time of this picture was Rev. James Van Weelden, who served her from 1945 (when he was ordained) through the departure in 1953.

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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.

UPDATE: I add this picture of the Consistory of Sioux Center PRC as found in the Twenty-five Year Jubilee of the Protestant Reformed Churches of America, 1925-1950 (p.68).

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If you can still help identify the men in the first picture (other than Rev. Van Weelden), that would be very helpful. Perhaps it is some of the same men, but it is difficult for me to judge with certainty.

Save

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