Trembling at God’s Word

honey from the rock-ak-2018From a meditation on Isaiah 66:2, “…but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

…It means first of all that you mustn’t approach that Word with your most profound observations and reflections. It means that you should in all humility show God the honor that every father expects from his child. It also means that you should think of the God who addresses you in this Word as the only gyroscope of all wisdom, knowledge, and science. Accordingly, he is the source of all progress and deepening insight in life. His eye sweeps across the ages. He fathoms the depths of all things and their causes. His thoughts are higher than your imaginings by as much as the heavens are higher than the earth. For that reason and on that basis, bowing in awe before that Word, you should immediately submit your own humble spirit in obedience to the divine Spirit in his majesty. You should quietly, thoughtfully listen to what God is saying to you.

But “trembling at God’s Word” means even more.

…It shouldn’t merely bounce off our eardrum or glide smoothly through our soul’s networks. But it should directly, immediately, intensely, and totally penetrate our whole being. It should grip us in our entirety as spiritual beings. Its message should touch every spot in our soul. It should make us quiver in our total being. Not externally like the Quakers’ experience, as though our lips and hands should tremble. But internally, so that our hearts quiver in our chests. It should also mean that our spirits tremble ‘because the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword that cuts to the cleaving of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is the judge of all thoughts.’

Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.196-97.

This particular meditation (#62 of Volume 1) is titled “The Person Who Trembles at My Word” and is based on Isaiah 66:2 (cf. above). Appropriate as we enter the Lord’s house tomorrow to hear the divine Word read, sung, and preached. May we seek and receive this kind of spiritual trembling.

“…we are by nature hypocrites, fondly exalting ourselves by calumniating others.”

JCalvin111 Speak not evil, or, defame not. We see how much labor James takes in correcting the lust for slandering. For hypocrisy is always presumptuous, and we are by nature hypocrites, fondly exalting ourselves by calumniating others. There is also another disease innate in human nature, that every one would have all others to live according to his own will or fancy. This presumption James suitably condemns in this passage, that is, because we dare to impose on our brethren our rule of life. He then takes detraction as including all the calumnies and suspicious works which flow from a malignant and perverted judgment. The evil of slandering takes a wide range; but here he properly refers to that kind of slandering which I have mentioned, that is, when we superciliously determine respecting the deeds and sayings of others, as though our own morosity were the law, when we confidently condemn whatever does not please us.

That such presumption is here reproved is evident from the reason that is immediately added, He that speaketh evil of, or defames his brother, speaketh evil of, or defames the law. He intimates, that so much is taken away from the law as one claims of authority over his brethren. Detraction, then, against the law is opposed to that reverence with which it behooves us to regard it.

Paul handles nearly the same argument in Romans 14, though on a different occasion. For when superstition in the choice of meats possessed some, what they thought unlawful for themselves, they condemned also in others. He then reminded them, that there is but one Lord, according to whose will all must stand or fall, and at whose tribunal we must all appear. Hence he concludes that he who judges his brethren according to his own view of things, assumes to himself what peculiarly belongs to God. But James reproves here those who under the pretense of sanctity condemned their brethren, and therefore set up their own morosity in the place of the divine law. He, however, employs the same reason with Paul, that is, that we act presumptuously when we assume authority over our brethren, while the law of God subordinates us all to itself without exception. Let us then learn that we are not to judge but according to God’s law.

Thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. This sentence ought to be thus explained: “When thou claimest for thyself a power to censure above the law of God thou exemptest thyself from the duty of obeying the law.” He then who rashly judges his brother; shakes off the yoke of God, for he submits not to the common rule of life. It is then an argument from what is contrary; because the keeping of the law is wholly different from this arrogance, when men ascribe to their conceit the power and authority of the law. It hence follows, that we then only keep the law, when we wholly depend on its teaching alone and do not otherwise distinguish between good and evil; for all the deeds and words of men ought to be regulated by it.

12 There is one lawgiver 134 Now he connects the power of saying and destroying with the office of a lawgiver, he intimates that the whole majesty of God is forcibly assumed by those who claim for themselves the right of making a law; and this is what is done by those who impose as a law on others their own nod or will. And let us remember that the subject here is not civil government, in which the edicts and laws of magistrates have place, but the spiritual government of the soul, in which the word of God alone ought to bear rule. There is then one God, who has consciences subjected by right to his own laws, as he alone has in his own hand the power to save and to destroy.

Taken from John Calvin’s Commentary on the Epistle of James as found in his Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, translated and edited by the Rev. John Owen (reprint by Baker Book House, 1979), pp.337-339. You may also find this online at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Saved by Grace: United to Christ

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For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.- Romans 6:5

…This, then, is the first and absolutely indispensable requirement of our salvation: we must be in Christ. Hence, we must be incorporated into Him; we must be united with Him. A spiritual union must be established between Christ and our soul, before we can receive any fruit of Christ’s death and resurrection. This union is absolutely first. Unless that living connection is established between Christ and our inmost heart, we are outside of Him. And outside of Christ there is only guilt and damnation, corruption and death, darkness and desolation. Before there can be the faintest spark of new life in us, before there can appear even the faintest glimmer of light in our soul, before the simplest prayer can be uttered from our lips, before even the slightest longing can arise in our soul for God and His Christ, that union must be accomplished. It is an absolute prerequisite for the reception of all salvation. For Christ is our all, and all our salvation is in Him. But we cannot begin to draw our life and light, our knowledge and wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification, from Him until our inmost heart is joined in spiritual unity with Him, Who is the revelation of the God of our salvation.

But how is this union accomplished?

The answer of Scripture is unequivocally: this union is unconditionally and absolutely the work of God’s grace in Christ Jesus. By grace are ye saved! That implies, too, that by grace, and by grace only, you are incorporated into Christ, so that you become one plant with Him.

When we say this, we proclaim nothing new. But we do wipe the dust of oblivion from a very old, very fundamental, and very precious truth. And we do claim that this truth is in dire need of a new emphasis over against many false representations, not by modernists, but by those who claim that they preach the doctrine of salvation by grace. For very many directly teach, or indirectly leave the impression by the way they preach, that this first touch of the soul of the sinner with Christ is accomplished by the sinner himself, or, at least, is contingent for its establishment upon the will and choice of the sinner. Yes, they admit, Christ is our salvation; and the soul must be united with Christ in order to receive salvation. But if this union is to be accomplished, the sinner must come to Christ. The Savior is willing to receive him, to come into his heart, to join that sinner unto Himself; but the sinner must first come. He must accept Christ. Or he must be willing to receive Him. Or he must long and pray for this coming of Christ into his heart. And it seems that very sensational preaching, accompanied preferably by a heart-touching hymn and by begging and praying on the part of the preacher, is especially considered to be conducive to persuade the sinner to come to Jesus, to open the door of his heart, and to let Jesus come in. In last analysis, the union of the soul with the living Lord depends not on efficacious grace, but on the will of the sinner!

But, first of all, how absurd and utterly impossible is this presentation of salvation! If it were true, no man would be saved! For according to Scripture, the natural man is in the flesh; and the mind of the flesh is death. It is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. Man is dead in sin and misery. He can neither perform nor will that which is good. He loves iniquity, and he is a slave of sin. He loves darkness rather than light. He cannot see the kingdom of God. Such is the natural man. Such is every man before that union with Christ is established of which we made mention. Do you expect that man to open his heart to Christ? Do you insist that this dead sinner must come to Christ before Christ will come to Him? Do you still maintain that this darkened sinner must at least long for Christ, hunger and thirst for Him, seek Him, ask for Him, before his soul can be united with the living Lord? I reply that if such were the truth, then could no man be saved. For before the sinner is united with Christ he can neither come to Him, nor long for Him, nor seek Him, nor utter the weakest prayer beseeching Him to come into his heart. But thanks be to God, this is not the truth! Salvation is not of man, nor of the will of man; nor does our union with Christ depend on man’s consent. “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:44) Again: “Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:65)

And the Father does draw, and the Father does give, and the Father does unite us with the living Lord! And He does so, too, through Christ Himself, Who is exalted and draws all unto Him. He draws with cords of love, with irresistible power of grace. And when we are so drawn and so united with Christ, and He by His Spirit lives in us, we respond. We hunger and thirst, we long and pray, we come and embrace Him, we eat the bread of life and are satisfied, we drink the water of life and thirst nevermore, we draw from Him Who is the fulness of all the blessings of salvation, even grace for grace! All this is the fruit and manifestation in us of that marvelous, mysterious, blessed wonder of grace, of grace sovereign and free, whereby we are united with Christ. For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world!

Taken from chapter chapter 4, “Reconciled by Grace,” in The Wonder of Grace by Herman Hoeksema (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.34-41. This work has now been republished by the Reformed Free Publishing Association.

Humble Yourself Before the Word

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Instead of responding angrily to God’s Word (v.19), James told his readers to receive the Word ‘in humility.’ This refers to a gentle and meek attitude that causes you to set aside your own preferences and opinions instead of stubbornly refusing to submit your will to God’s Word. Receptivity to God’s Word starts with humble submission to the authority of God’s Word. God told Isaiah, ‘But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word (Isaiah 66:2).

Jeremiah Burroughs described this submission to his congregation:

To have a congregation lie down under the Word of God which is preached to them is a most excellent thing…. God expects that you should submit your estates, your souls, your bodies, all that you are and have, to this Word. And that is another particular of the sanctifying of the name of God in hearing the Word, there must be a humble submission to it.

There is nothing better for your souls than to lie down under the Word; to lay aside your pride and any resistance and let the surgeon of Scripture work as it will (Heb.4:12).

[John] Stott writes ‘An essential element in Christian humility is the willingness to hear and receive God’s Word. Perhaps the greatest of all our needs is to take our place again, humbly, quietly and expectantly at the feet of Jesus Christ, in order to listen attentively to His Word.’ Mary serves as the model of one sitting at Jesus’ feet quietly, humbly, and submissively ‘listening to His word’ (Luke 10:39). Whenever you are listening to God’s Word preached, you should have the same humble, submissive heart as young Samuel who, when he heard God calling his name, responded, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening’ (1 Sam.3:10).

Taken from chapter 6 of Ken Ramey’s book, Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word , (Kress Biblical Resources, 2010). This chapter treats James teaching to the first-century church in James 1:19-25 and is titled “Practice What You Hear” (pp85.ff.).

Bookworm Problems

 

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Your home is a disaster except for your bookshelves, which are immaculate. Your house is a disaster because books cover every surface. Your house is a disaster because a clean house is a sign of a misspent life, and you spend yours reading.

You’re at a killer used book sale and can’t remember if you already own a certain title. You decide you do and come home. You were wrong and regret your lost chance. You decide you don’t and come home and shelve your newly purchased third copy. You accidentally buy two of the same book at the book sale.

You have more books than shoes [Keep in mind this is a female author.]. You have more books than bookshelves. You do some quick math and realize how much money is tied up in your book collection. You suspect your books equal the gross domestic product of a small nation.

You accept that it’s time to cull your personal library. You lovingly handle each book, determining if it brings you joy. It does. They all do. You are full of bookish joy, but still woefully short on shelf space.

Taken from a new summer read I recently bought at Baker Book House. In I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, lifetime reader Anne Bogel reflects on the paradoxes of readers and bibliophiles like herself. The chapters are short and packed with great insights and encouragements about the literary life – the highs and lows, the tears and triumphs of reading.

The above quotation is taken from her third chapter, “Bookworm Problems” (pp.66-71).

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Yes, these are photos of my home office and den. Bookworm problems here too.

Published in: on August 15, 2019 at 11:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Belgic Confession: “A Confession of the Gospel in all its riches”

This review of Prof. David J. Engelsma’s recent second volume of his Commentary on the Belgic (Netherlands) Confession (Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2019) was penned by Dr. H. David Schuringa and first published in the July 24, 2019 issue of Christian Renewal. Subsequently, it was posted on the RFPA’s blog, where you will find it in its full form.

We post a portion of it here, encouraging you to read all of it, and, of course, to purchase and read the book.

The publishing of Dr. David Engelsma’s two-volume commentary on the Belgic Confession is a welcome event due not only to its meaty content but also to meager current resources. The historic confession comprises a complete dogmatics in its own right as it follows the usual outline of the loci with the doctrines of the Word, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Ecclesiology and Eschatology.

Engelsma maintains, however, that though the con­fession is doctrinal and systematic, it is not a sys­tematic theology as such but rather, “the confession of the gospel in all its riches as this gospel is known by every illumined mind and embraced by every regenerated heart” (II:366f.). That is certainly true in large measure, which in turn makes these two volumes Engelsma’s own dogmatics of sorts. What Berkhof did for Bavinck, he does for Hoeksema.

The professor provides an actual commentary in that his treatment involves a careful analysis and exposition of the revered document’s own words and phrases, with comparisons to Scripture and in con­trasts to other interpretations. His command of the subject matter—whether of the exegetical, confes­sional, historical or contemporary sort—is impres­sive as to its height, depth and breadth. Engelsma knows his stuff and where he stands. Also included are comprehensive indices of Scriptures, creeds and confessions cited voluminously throughout the rock-solid work. And RFPA is to be commended for the release of these handsome volumes.

Source: Reformed Free Publishing Association — The Belgic: “A Confession of the Gospel in all its riches”

Published in: on August 13, 2019 at 10:42 PM  Leave a Comment  

Reconciled by Grace – H. Hoeksema

2Cor2-19… be ye reconciled to God. -II Corinthians 5:20

The first part of the marvelous work of salvation to which we now call your attention is that of reconciliation. That we are saved by grace means, first of all, that we are reconciled by grace. In the wondrous work of salvation God reveals Himself as the Reconciler, full of grace and truth, rich in lovingkindness and tender mercies.

…First of all, reconciliation is the restoration of an existing relationship, whether of love, or friendship, partnership, or some other alliance. The actual existence of such a relationship is presupposed in reconciliation. This is true among men. You do not reconcile strangers. There is no bond between them; there never was; and, therefore, no bond between them can be restored. One may speak of reconciling man and wife, between whom exists the sacred bond of matrimony, when they drifted apart for some reason; or of the reconciliation of friends that are at variance for a time; or of the servant to his master, or the subject to his king. Always a relation or bond of friendship and love is understood. The same is true of God’s work of reconciliation. It presupposes the eternal covenant relation of love and friendship into which God entered with His people, a relation that is rooted in His eternal purpose of election. That covenant relation can never be destroyed for the simple reason that it rests wholly in God. God loves His people with an eternal, unchangeable love. He never ceases to love them. No matter what they may do or become, He still loves them. Though their sins be as scarlet, and though they be red as crimson, He loves them still, and will restore them to His favor and fellowship. He may be angry with His people in righteous wrath for a moment, but even in His anger He loves them. He is like a husband that loves and remains faithful to his wife, no matter how often she may play the adulteress; or like the father who, no matter how grievously his son may sin against him, still loves that son and will receive him whenever he may return. If this were not so, how could God be the Reconciler? Reconciliation is an act of infinite love, of unlimited grace, of abundant mercy. God loved His people when they were enemies. Reconciliation presupposes the eternal covenant relation of God with His people that rests in God, the I Am, the Faithful and True!

Secondly, reconciliation implies that the parties to be reconciled are at variance through some fault on the part of either or of both parties. The relationship is disturbed for a time. It cannot properly function because something intervened that makes the exercise of friendship and love impossible. There is separation. One of the parties in the matrimonial covenant was unfaithful, committed adultery; the son sinned against his father and lives in that sin; the friend offended his friend. The same is true of the relationship between God and His people. He created them in His image and took them into His blessed covenant in Adam. For Adam was the friend of God, clothed with righteousness, the object of God’s favor. He knew his God and was known of Him. He loved his God and was loved by Him. He walked and talked with God and was blessed by Him. But in and through Adam the whole human race, and with the human race God’s own elect, violated the covenant relationship. They sinned and became guilty, the objects of God’s righteous wrath, foolish and corrupt, enemies of God. And as they are in their sin and death, they cannot be and function as God’s covenant friends. Because of sin they are alienated, and they have forfeited the right to God’s favor and love. The covenant relationship has been violated and disturbed. God is terribly angry with His people in their sin, and they are in themselves worthy of death and damnation!

Thirdly, if the disrupted relationship of friendship and love is to be restored, the cause of the disruption must be removed. Among men this may take place through repentance and confession on the part of the party that had offended, and by the promise on his part henceforth to be faithful to the relationship that was violated, and through forgiveness on the part of the one that was offended. An adulterous wife may return to her husband in heartfelt sorrow, and be received by him; and if the woman gives proof of her repentance and renewed faithfulness, the reconciliation is accomplished. The prodigal son returns to his father in dust and ashes, confesses his sin and unworthiness, and his father restores him to his place in the home. But with God this is different. He cannot deny Himself. He cannot permit His holy law to be trampled under foot with impunity. He cannot simply forgive and forget. If the sinner’s relation to Him is to be restored, the cause of the separation must actually be removed, so that it is no more. But how can sin be removed? How can the guilt of sin be blotted out? How can the guilty become righteous? How can the object of God’s wrath be restored to His favor? There is one, and only one way: that of perfect satisfaction! The sinner must atone for his sin. And atonement for sin consists in perfectly satisfying the justice of God!

But of what does this atonement consist? What can so satisfy the justice of God that the sinner’s guilt is blotted out and that he is declared righteous before God? Again, there is only one answer: the sinner must freely, voluntarily, motivated by the love of God and true sorrow for his sin, bear the punishment of sin, eternal death! Mark you well, he must not merely bear the punishment and suffer eternal death, he must do so willingly; the bearing of the punishment must be an act of all his soul, and mind, and will, and heart, and strength.

…Now it is at once evident that the mere sinner can never do this. As far as he is concerned, the case is hopeless. No good works, supposing that he could perform them, will ever atone for his sin: for he is obliged to do them in the first place; and as no man can pay a back debt by paying his current bills, so man cannot atone by doing good works. But the case with the sinner is much worse. He is dead in sin. He cannot do any good before God. He stands in enmity against God, and his nature is so corrupt that he loves the darkness rather than light. He is not at all concerned about the righteousness of God. How then could he possibly bring the sacrifice that would atone for his sin? Even if he would, he could not possibly bear the punishment of eternal death, and finish it, so that he would live. But he will not seek God. He does not care to be reconciled with God. It is clear then that his case is hopeless, and that, if he must reconcile himself to God, he will never be restored to God’s favor. Reconciliation cannot be of man; it must be of God. It cannot be by works; it must be by grace!

And this is exactly the wonder of reconciliation: God reconciled us unto Himself while we were yet sinners! God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Never change this truth into something different. Never say that Christ reconciled God to us, and us to God. That would make of Christ a third party between God and us. And although it is certainly true that Christ in His human nature is the Mediator of God and man, this Mediator is entirely of God! Nay, He is God Himself, the Son of God, begotten of the Father eternally, Who is eternally in the Father’s bosom, God of God in human flesh! In Him the strong arm of the God of our salvation reaches down into our death, in order to remove the cause of our estrangement from Him, and to restore and raise to a higher, heavenly, eternal level the covenant of friendship between Him and us.

That is the meaning of the cross: God reconciled us to Himself through the death of His Son! There God was reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. There God Himself, through His Son in the flesh, satisfied His own justice. The Son of God brought the sacrifice that was required to blot out the guilt of sin and to clothe us with an everlasting righteousness. He could do so, because He was the holy child Jesus, the Lamb without blemish, and the zeal of God’s house consumed Him. He could and did willingIy, from the motive of the love of God, descend into lowest hell, to suffer the punishment of sin, to bear the wrath of God to the very end. He stood in the place of judgment, and on Him all the vials of God’s wrath against sin were poured out. And when He cried out, “It is finished!” He had completed His sacrifice, removed sin, obtained righteousness, a fact which God sealed when He raised Him from the dead. And He was able to bring this sacrifice as an atonement for the sin of all His people. For God had appointed Him to be the head of His church, representing them. For them He died. And, because it is not mere man, but the Son of God Who died on the cross, His death is abundantly sufficient to blot out the guilt of all His own!

And so the gospel is the ministry of reconciliation. It proclaims that reconciliation is an accomplished fact: the elect are surely reconciled to God. He reconciled us! We are reconciled by grace, by pure, free, sovereign grace! And it is He, too, Who sends out the word of reconciliation. For He gave unto the apostles the ministry of reconciliation, and put the very word of reconciliation in their very hearts, so that they had the power and authority to speak in the name of God the Reconciler, and so that they became ambassadors of Christ, as though God did beseech us by them: “Be ye reconciled to God!” (II Corinthians 5: 18-20) This word of reconciliation is still proclaimed among us, from the Scriptures, and through His own ministry of the Word by the preachers He Himself sends unto us.

Be ye reconciled to God!

wonderofgrace-hhTaken from chapter chapter 3, “Reconciled by Grace,” in The Wonder of Grace by Herman Hoeksema (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.26-33. This work has now been republished by the Reformed Free Publishing Association.

PRC Archives/Offices/Library Project Update – August 2019

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A well lit archives room

It has been a month since we updated you on the PRC seminary building project (last one was on July 4), so tonight we will provide you with a summary of the last month.

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Since our last update much has taken place. In the new addition the electricity has been supplied and all the new LED lights are providing the lighting (cf. first picture above). The new heating/cooling units have been installed in the new offices  and are operating (thanks to the power!). The final coats of paint have also been made in these archives room and the offices. All that awaits is the carpet (starting Monday, the 12th!).

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In the library, all the custom trim and panel work has been completed, and now it is all stained and lacquered – a beautiful look that matches the rest of the building!

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And this week the paint went on the library walls – including a nice olive color on the accent walls. What a change in the appearance!

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In addition, all the new ceiling tiles were set in place this week – in the library and hallways outside the professor’s offices and in Rev.B. Huizinga’s “new” office (professor-to-be). What a wonderful color a clean white ceiling is! Now the new lighting stands out even more.

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The main item missing in the library and offices and hallway yet is the carpeting, which arrived this past week and will be installed starting next week Monday.

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On the outside the major news is threefold. First, a new roof was installed over the entire library, the existing offices, and the front entry. This was planned anyway this summer as part of our major building maintenance, and Bosveld has an amazing new product that will last for a long time. With all the beautiful work down below, the last thing we want is a leaky roof!

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Second, our underground sprinkling system was finally repaired and restored, including new water lines and heads in the back of the building where the new addition went in (Thanks, Schepers!). Hard to believe we made it halfway through July without our watering system, but we had timely rains (the Lord’s sprinkling is always best!) and for a few weeks got creative with extra hoses and sprinklers from home.

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And third, the area in the back was prepped for new grass seeding – a fresh load of topsoil was brought in and then graded, and now Kregel Landscaping has killed the weeds and will soon plant the new grass seed.

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The deer and turkey have already checked out the new area in back and given their approval for future grazing and pecking.

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We are thankful for all the great subs and workers involved in this project – for their skills and for their safety. The next few weeks will put all their efforts on full display, and we are more than ready to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Stay tuned for the final touches – and for an open house in the Fall sometime.

Published in: on August 9, 2019 at 10:15 PM  Leave a Comment  

Significant Additions to the PRC Seminary Library – 2nd Quarter 2019 (Part 2)

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The library remodel is coming along nicely!

At the end of June, I completed the second quarter list of significant book acquisitions to the PRC Seminary library for this year. A few weeks ago I posted the first part of this list for the broader benefit of our readers (find that post here).

As noted before, part of my reason for posting this list here is not only to show you the kind of books the seminary adds to its library, but also to stimulate you to find something to read. Yes, there are books here for the layman and laywoman, for the young adults and for teenagers. Browse this list and perhaps you will find something that grabs your attention and compels you to pursue it.

In this second part of the list we will look at four (4) sections: dogmatics/theology, practical theology (2 parts), and miscellaneous. Hoping you find something of interest to read yet this summer or in the fall.

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls

Dogmatics, Biblical Theology, Historical Theology

  • Theology and the Mirror of Scripture: A Mere Evangelical Account / Kevin J. Vanhoozer; Daniel J. Treier. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015 (Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture)
  • The Decades of Henry Bullinger / Heinrich Bullinger, 1504-1575; Joel R. Beeke; George M. Ella; Thomas Harding, 1516-1572. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books,c2004 (reprint in 2 vols.) – a gift from a friend
  • The Works of Ezekiel Hopkins: Successively Bishop of Raphoe and Derry / Ezekiel Hopkins, 1634-1690; Charles William Quick, 1822-1894. Ligonier, PA : Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1995-97 (3 vols) – a gift from a friend
  • Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth / Bruce L. McCormack. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, c2008.
  • Reformed Systematic Theology: Volume 1: Revelation and God / Joel R. Beeke; Paul M.Smalley. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God / Matthew Barrett. Grand Rapids,MI: Baker Books, 2019.
  • Chosen in Christ: Revisiting the Contours of Predestination / Cornelis P. Venema. Fearn,Ross-shire, GB: Mentor, 2019 (R.E.D.S. – Reformed, Exegetical and Doctrinal Studies)
  • From Shadow to Substance: The Federal Theology of the English Particular Baptists 1642-1704 / Samuel D. Renihan; James M. Renihan. Oxford [Eng.]: Centre for Baptist History and Heritage, 2018 (Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies)
  • Christ the Mediator of the Law: Calvin’s Christological Understanding of the Law as the Rule of Living and Life-Giving / Byung-Ho. Moon; David F. Wright. Milton Keynes. UK; Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2006 (Studies in Christian History and Thought)
  • The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls: Justification in Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Pastoral Perspective / Matthew Barrett; D. A. Carson; Stephen Dempster; Matthew Barrett. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • Common Grace: God’s Gifts for a Fallen World, Volume 2: The Doctrinal Section / Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920. ; Nelson D. Kloosterman, Transl.; Ed M. Van Der Maas, Transl.; Jordan J. and J. Daryl Charles Ballor. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.
  • A Biblical Theology of the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace: Exegetical Considerations of Key Anthropological, Hamartiological, and Soteriological Terms and Motifs / George J.Zemek. Little Rock, AR: George J. Zemek, 2005.
  • 40 Questions about Calvinism / Shawn D. Wright; Benjamin L. Merkle, editor. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019.
  • Humble Calvinism: And If I Know the Five Points, But Have Not Love… / J. A. Medders;Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr; C. H. (Charles Haddon) Spurgeon, 1834-1892. UK: The Good Book Company, 2019.

Image result for maturity sinclair ferguson

Practical Theology (1) – Christian Living, Family, Marriage, Missions, Prayer

  • Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life / Sinclair B. Ferguson.
    Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2019.
  • Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age / Tony Reinke. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • Work: Its Purpose, Dignity, and Transformation / Daniel M. Doriani, 1953-. ; Bryan Chapell. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2019.
  • Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament / Mark Vroegop; Joni Eareckson Tada. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • Untangling Emotions / J. Alasdair Groves; Winston T. Smith. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • A Model for Marriage: Covenant, Grace, Empowerment and Intimacy / Jack O. Balswick; Judith K. Balswick. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, c2006.
  • The Missionary Expansion of the Reformed Churches / John A. (John Anderson) Graham, 1861-1942; A. H. Charteris. Edinburgh: R. & R. Clark, 1898.

 

 

Practical Theology (2) – Church Government/Leadership, Counseling, Pastoral Ministry, Preaching, Sermons, Worship

  • Preaching to Be Heard: Delivering Sermons That Command Attention / Lucas O’Neill. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.
  • The Worlds of the Preacher: Navigating Biblical, Cultural, and Personal Contexts / Scott M. Gibson, editor; Bryan Chapell; Haddon W. Robinson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018.
  • Singing the Congregation: How Contemporary Worship Music Forms Evangelical
    Community / Monique M. Ingalls. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation / Winfield H.
    Bevins; Scot McKnight. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2019.
  • The John MacArthur Handbook of Effective Biblical Leadership / John MacArthur; Mark Dever; Steven J. Lawson. Eugene OR: Harvest House, 2019.
  • Saint Peter’s Principles: Leadership for Those Who Already Know Their Incompetence /Peter A. Lillback; Albert R. Mohler, Jr. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2019.
  • The Man of God: His Preaching and Teaching Labors / Albert N. Martin. Montville, NJ: Trinity Pulpit Press, 2018 (Pastoral Theology – Volume 2)
  • Hearers and Doers: A Pastor’s Guide to Making Disciples Through Scripture and
    Doctrine / Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.

The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

Misc. (Apologetics, Culture, Education, Music, Politics, Science, Work, World Religions,etc.)

  • The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation / Rod Dreher. New York, NY: Sentinel, 2017.
  • A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers / Kate L. Turabian; Wayne C. Booth; Gregory G. Colomb; Joseph M. Williams. (9th ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Periodicals (Old & New)

  • The Reformed Review (Western Theological Seminary, RCA, Holland, MI), Vol.9 and
    up, 1956- (donated by a friend)

God’s Work Only, God’s Glory Alone – A. Kuyper

So, you who fear the Lord in all righteousness, give him the glory due his name.

Curtail your estimation of your own contribution; cut them down to their actual, trivial size. Peek behind the curtain of external appearance; look at the miraculous, comprehensive, and majestic work of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Consider the work of the Son of righteousness in your heart. It is grace that causes the beginning, germinating, and ripening of that work in you. It is to his glory.

That’s when you’ll find peace – peace, because now you’ll be honoring God!

That’s when you’ll be better able to let go of what has been entrusted to you than you’ve been able to do up until now. That’s when you’ll be able to focus much more on what only God can do. That’s when you’ll immediately put far less of a premium on your own work, realizing that when you turned the ground over, you only pushed the spade in halfway. You’ll realize that you sowed bad seed in your child’s heart and did a far from perfect job at weeding. You’ll find peace when you’re converted, perfected, and gripped by God’s power in this way.

Furthermore, you’ll also discover that you’ve been delivered from your fears. It will no longer be the case that when you sow today, you’ll moan and groan tomorrow because you don’t see a stem or blade. Calm and content, you’ll know that the Holy Spirit is busy at work. You’ll know that because he is, things will flourish in an orderly way: ‘first the bud, then the flower, and then the full head of grain.’

That’s because God’s doing the work. He’s the real worker! The blessed, saving work of God belongs to him alone – in its beginning, its progress, and its completion. This is what you first failed to see in your unfaithfulness, but what you now confess to your comfort.

honey from the rock-ak-2018Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.193-94.

This particular meditation (#61 of Volume 1) is titled “He Himself Does Not know” and is based on Mark 4:26,27, “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.” [And throughout Kuyper also refers to the next verse, “For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.”]