Thanksgiving Day 2019 – “Thanks Be to God!”

2Cor9-15The gift that believers truly give thanks for is an unspeakable gift.  It is a gift of priceless possession—a gift that once given we cannot lose!  It is a gift that, if we possess it, will have an effect on all those earthly gifts we receive from God.  What is the unspeakable gift I am talking about?  Salvation! It is a gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ Himself.  In fact, if we were to focus exactly on the unspeakable gift God has given us, it is Christ!  God sent forth His Son into this world.  That was a gift.  That Son suffered and died on the cross for us!  That is a gift!  That Son was raised again for our justification and life.  That is a gift!  That Son has sent forth His Spirit to live in our hearts.  A gift!  That Son preserves us in that salvation.  A gift!  And Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will usher us into the heavenly kingdom that awaits us.  A gift!  God gives us all of this in Christ Jesus our Lord!  Talk about a reason for giving thanks!

        Notice how our text emphasizes that all of this is a gift.  Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. We all know what a gift is, that is, if something is truly a gift.  It is something freely given to another—not because he has merited it or earned it.  Most of the time when we give gifts it is to those we love or like, and simply is an expression of our appreciation for them.  If this is true, then it is amazing when we look at what God does in bestowing gifts on His creatures.  These gifts of God are not only not earned, they are also not deserved in the least sense of the word.  They are not an expression of appreciation by God for something we have done.  They are given wholly, purely, out of God’s goodness!  He is good!

        The fount of all good!  Out of His goodness He provides the creatures of His hand with what they need.  Our earthly possessions are a gift given us by means of God’s providence—God provides for all His creatures.  Even the reprobate man receives earthly possessions and wealth from God’s almighty hand.  But the gift of our salvation that is given is even more so a gift!  It is ours by means of God’s grace!  Is this not the testimony of the gospel to you and me, beloved saints?  We receive our salvation not of works.  We receive it only by God’s sovereign and free grace.  In fact, we were not even worthy of receiving this gift!  We were doomed to perish in our sins.  There was no hope!  There was no way of escaping punishment for the sins we committed against God.  Then God, freely and sovereignly, saved us.  He in His grace sent His Son to die for us—the Son that He had loved from eternity.  God sent Christ to bear the full punishment of His wrath against our sins and delivered us.  This gift of God is unspeakable! We cannot express its beauty, its power, its wonder, its worth in human terms!  We do not even know how to put into words the joy and thanksgiving that we have for what God has done for us in Christ!

        How does one begin to describe what great things God has done for us who are saved in the blood of Christ?  He has saved us and by means of that salvation has adopted us as His children and heirs unto life eternal.  In His grace He has chosen to fellowship with us, to uphold us in our needs, to grant to us the knowledge that in every circumstance of life He, the great and mighty God of heaven and earth, is with us.  He will uphold us in the hour of our greatest temptation and trial.  He will lead us even through the valley of the shadow of death!  He is our God and we are His people.  The blessedness given us freely by the hand of God is indeed the greatest, most wonderful of all gifts!  It is unspeakable, indescribable, unutterable, beyond our finite comprehension what God has done for us!  Thanks be to God!

        This salvation—this gift of God’s grace to us—works in us overwhelming gratitude. And in that gratitude, we take a new look at the earthly gifts we have received from God’s hand.  Now, we see that these are means that we can use to seek a higher end—that of our final salvation.  No, they will not help us earn that end. But we can use them for the work of the Lord in this world.  Not only do we use our money and our possessions to support our family.  We certainly do not selfishly horde that money and say, “It’s mine!  I will use it for me, for what I want.”  But we use it also to support the church and help those in need!

        So we get the instruction we do in II Corinthians 9:6, 7:  “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity:  for God loveth a cheerful giver.” That is the relationship between the earthly and the spiritual gifts we receive from the hands of our God.  But our thanks is given not simply because of the unspeakable gift.  Look, also, at who gives it.

Part of the Thanksgiving message of Rev. W. Bruinsma for the Reformed Witness Hour this past Sunday, November 24. You may listen to the message here; you may read it here.

May the Lord of abundant grace richly bless your Thanksgiving Day, and give you abundant joy in Him and and deep thanks to Him.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:1,2

Saved by Grace: Faith as God’s Gracious Gift and Work – H. Hoeksema

wonderofgrace-hh… and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.– Ephesians 2:8

We are saved by grace and through faith. Another way than that of faith in Jesus Christ, the Christ of the Scriptures, Who was delivered for our transgressions and raised for our justification, there is not.

…It is an important question, therefore: what is this faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and what does it mean to believe in Him?

…Secondly, we must observe that this saving faith is faith in or into Jesus Christ as the revelation of the God of our salvation. This is often emphasized in Scripture. We do read sometimes of believing on Jesus, and then the idea of faith as confidence appears to have the emphasis. But the true character of saving faith is expressed in the phrase: faith in Christ. He who has the true faith believes into Christ.

What does this signify?

It means that faith is that altogether mysterious and wonderful spiritual power whereby the soul strikes its roots into Christ, to cling to Him, appropriate Him, and draw out of Him all the glorious blessings of salvation which are in Him – the forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and life. The difference between a believer and an unbeliever is not unlike that between a living young tree and a dead fence post. You can plant that fence post deep into the ground, but you do not expect that it will show signs of life and develop branches and fruit. On the contrary, it will rot in the soil in which it is planted. But plant a young sapling in the same soil, and it will strike its roots into the ground, draw nourishment from it, grow and bear fruit. The same is true of a living, saving faith in relation to Christ. Bring the unbelieving, dead sinner into contact with Christ as He is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and there will be no saving reaction. On the contrary, there is a reaction of unbelief unto damnation. But if the believer is led to Christ through the preaching of the Word, he will take hold of Him, cling to Him, strike the roots of his entire soul into Him, and draw out of Him all the spiritual nourishment necessary unto eternal life. What the roots are for the young tree, saving faith is for the believer in Christ: by faith the believer is rooted in Him. And since Christ is revealed to us in the Scriptures, true faith always turns to them, has its delight in the Word of God, is called into activity through the Word preached, and constantly grows according as it increases in the knowledge and understanding of all that God has revealed to us in His Word.

The activity of a true and conscious faith, therefore, engages the entire soul, with mind and will and all our desires and inclinations. Through faith the whole soul fastens itself upon Christ.

…From all that we have said about the nature and activity of saving faith it also should have become evident what is the relation between faith and salvation. He that believeth shall be saved, have everlasting life. But why? What is the relation between salvation and faith?

The impression is often left by preachers who present the matter of faith as something that depends on the sinner’s own will and choice, as if faith were a condition unto salvation. God is willing to save us on condition that we believe. But there are no conditions to salvation. We are not saved on condition of faith, or on the ground of, or because of our faith. The only ground of our salvation is Jesus, crucified and raised. Nor are we saved through faith because faith is regarded as a good work, or because through faith we are able to do good works and obtain righteousness before God. For we are saved by grace; and if it is of works, it is no more of grace. It cannot even be said that faith is the hand whereby we take hold of the salvation that is offered us. Salvation is not an offer, but a wonder work of God; and the sinner has no hand to accept it. But faith is the means, and that, too, God’s means, whereby we are implanted into Christ. It is the spiritual power whereby we cling to the God of our salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord, our righteousness and perfect redemption forever! By grace are ye saved, not on condition of, nor because of, but through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Yes, faith is by grace. It is the gift of God! This, too, should be perfectly evident from all that has been said about its nature and activity; but it is not superfluous to accentuate this truth. How often this truth is distorted in our day! How many there are who, even though they do not literally preach that faith is the work of man, leave the impression by their way of preaching, their pleading and begging, that it is in the power of any sinner to believe in Christ whenever he pleases, and to reject Him as he pleases! 0, the matter is so simple and easy, say they. Just say that you accept Jesus as your personal Savior, and the thing is settled! And so they change the wonder work of God into an arbitrary whim of the sinner’s will. But it is not so. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (Romans 9:16) Only when the Holy Spirit accomplishes the wonder work of faith in the heart can the sinner accept Christ. And he in whom the Spirit has wrought the marvelous work of faith neither can nor will ever reject Him. And through that faith he is surely saved. Saved he is now: for he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. And saved he shall be in the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ: for he shall then be made like Him in resurrection glory.

By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God!

Taken from chapter 7, “Believing Through Grace,” in The Wonder of Grace by Herman Hoeksema (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp.58-65. This work has now been republished by the Reformed Free Publishing Association.

The Lunar Bible | Museum of the Bible

Have you ever heard of this special Bible, now part of the Museum of the Bible collection? It is called the Lunar Bible, and it is part of a fascinating story, one I was not familiar with until yesterday (Nov.19), when on the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing of Apollo 12, the Museum of the Bible sent out this note:

The story of the Lunar Bible is a fascinating tale of tragedy and triumph. The saga began in 1967 with Apollo 1 astronaut Ed White telling reporters he wanted to take a Bible to the moon. Sadly, an accident during a test run for its launch took the lives of the Apollo 1 crew.

In their honor, the Apollo Prayer League was formed to pray for the safety of future astronauts and to honor Ed White by taking a Bible to the moon. Using technology developed by the National Cash Register Company, Reverend John Stout, founder of the Apollo Prayer League, had a microfiche version of the King James Bible produced measuring only an inch-and-a-half square.

It took a few tries to get the Bible to the moon. Fifty years ago, today, the Apollo 12 lunar module, manned by Commander Charles Conrad and pilot Alan Bean, landed on the moon. Unfortunately, the astronauts left a microfiche Bible on the command module, which meant the first book to land on a celestial body would have to wait.

The Apollo 13 mission tried again, but an explosion on board the spacecraft thwarted the attempt. The astronauts returned safely but were not able to land on the moon. Finally, on February 5, 1971, Apollo 14 returned to the moon, at last bringing 100 copies of the “Lunar Bible” to its surface.

At the MOB website, you will find a small collection of Lunar bible artifacts, which includes this description of its history (just viewed a little differently).

Prior to his death in 1967, Astronaut Edward White II (Apollo 1) told a reporter he hoped to carry a Bible to the moon. In his memory, the Apollo Prayer League formed in 1968, in part to fulfill that desire. Several missions attempted to land the Bible on the moon. Alan Bean (Apollo 12) was the first, but due to a mix-up the Bible only orbited the moon. Apollo 13 carried 512 copies, but an explosion prevented a lunar landing. Finally, in 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell carried 300 copies of the Bible with him (100 in the lunar module, 200 in the command module, and 212 also secretly stowed in the command module). On February 5, 1971, Antares, Apollo 14’s lunar module, touched down on the moon, bringing with it the Bible.

View the link below to visit this small collection with a large story. Amazing where God’s Word has gone!

Source: The Lunar Bible | Museum of the Bible

Mindful to Be Grateful: November 2019 Tabletalk

Tis the season to be thankful. Or so we are told. And in this month of November it may seem that our thanksgiving is even scheduled, set for the fourth Thursday. Indeed, we will pause as a nation on that 28th day of this month and express thanks for God’s manifold gifts, for harvest and for home.

But, for the Christian, thankfulness has no season; or perhaps we should better say, thanksgiving is never out of season. We are called to be thankful and to give thanks “always” and “for all things” (Eph.5:20). And the psalmist has to remind himself and exhort himself to thanks and praise in his daily life: “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Ps.103:1-2).

TT-Nov-2019With this in mind the November 2019 issue of Tabletalk addresses from multiple angles our calling to “gratefulness,” its theme. Burk Parsons has good words to introduce the theme in his editorial “Gratefulness and Entitlement.” Here is part of it:

…I have come to realize that regardless of the age of my friends, one of the characteristics they all have in common is that they are deeply grateful because of the hardships they have all experienced. In God’s providence, life’s hardships train us to be grateful. And while I am thankful to know many young people who are grateful because of the example of gratefulness in their homes and the work of God in their hearts, generally speaking, when I consider younger generations, I am concerned about what seems to be a general lack of gratefulness and a sense of entitlement. Entitlement is the enemy of gratefulness, but the closest friends of gratefulness are humility and contentment. The only way to have abiding gratefulness, through good times and hard times, is to humbly ask our Father to make us grateful and to ask Him daily to make us even more grateful. When we do that, we do well to remember that the road to abiding gratefulness is often paved with hardship that rids our hearts of any sense of entitlement. By the sovereign grace of God, hardship leads to humility, contentment, and gratefulness—not because of what we have, but because of who we have—the One who gives and who takes away to the end that we might forever proclaim, “Blessed be the name of the LORD(Job 1:21).

One of the first featured articles on the theme is William Barcley’s “Ungratefulness as the Root of Sin.” In that article he contrasts gratitude with ingratitude over and over, so that the point is driven home. This is part of what he says:

God created man—then re-created His people—to worship Him. In the classic work The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs writes, “Worship is not only doing what pleases God, but also being pleased with what God does.” Worship includes taking delight in and giving thanks for all that God brings into our lives—in all circumstances. The thankful heart is the worshipful heart. The thankless heart is incapable of worshiping God.

In Romans 1:18–3:20, Paul delivers a sweeping and comprehensive detailing of human sin and God’s condemnation. No person is excluded (“all have sinned”). No shade of sin is left out—from covetousness to malice, from envy to murder, from gossip to slander, from hating God to disobeying parents, from the rebellious to the self-righteous, from doing evil to inventing evil, and from committing sin to approving of those who commit sin. At the root of it all, however, is humanity’s failure to honor God as God and give Him thanks (1:21).

In its essence, ingratitude is a rejection of God. It is a rejection of Him as Creator and Ruler of all things. It is a rejection of God as the giver of life, the giver of every blessing, whether expected or unexpected, whether pleasant or painful. Even in prison, Paul rejoiced and exhorted the Philippians to rejoice with him. He exhorted others to give thanks always. Believers have thankful spirits because they recognize that whatever we have, wherever we are, and, indeed, all that we are comes from the hand of God—for His glory and for our good

In this season of the year, let us repent of our own ungratefulness and learn to walk in true gratefulness toward the God of boundless grace to us poor sinners.

For more reading in this issue of “TT,” visit the links provided.

Source: Ungratefulness as the Root of Sin | Tabletalk

Doing God’s Work: “…the church of Jesus Christ needs to be like a beehive.’ – A. Kuyper

Larvae of bees in the combs illustration .

Are working and believing contradictory? Is not working something to be celebrated by Christians? Is doing nothing honorable for them? Will idleness be their crown of glory?

If not, what does it mean to be working? Isn’t it simply an expression of life? Doesn’t it indicate that they are alive? That they are living, breathing people?

Someone who’s dead doesn’t work. People don’t work during the night. Someone who is stretched out unconscious isn’t working. But the voice of the Great Shepherd calls to whomever has any life in them at all. He appeals to all for whom the light shines, to every individual who knows that they exist, who is living, and who is standing before the face of God. He says: ‘Work while it is still day, for the night is coming in which no one can work!’

No, it’s not working that we need to avoid, but working for selfish reasons. We’re not like ants that gather in order to enjoy what they’ve gathered. We’re not even less like spiders that store up in order to produce a toxin. But we work like the honeybee that produces honey in the hive not for itself but for the the beekeeper who sells it.

Well then, the church of Jesus Christ needs to be like a beehive. There everyone strives to contribute their very best. They use their gifts without letup in order to pour our the purest honey from the honeycomb. They do this not to consume that precious, virgin honey themselves, but to offer it in honor of him to whom the entire church belongs.

Taken from the new translation by James A. De Jong of Abraham Kuyper’s Honey from the Rock (Lexham Press, 2018), pp.237-238.

This particular meditation (#74 of Volume 1) is titled “Doing God’s Work” and is based on John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” I plan to return to this meditation again, because Kuyper has some good thoughts on the relation between believing and working that are worth our time and consideration.

Book People – The Power of Parents’ Influence on Reading

Wonderful drawing and quote seen recently on the chalkboard in the entrance to Baker Bookstore in Grand rapids, MI.

I was particularly fascinated by the density and sheer volume of books in my father’s study. There were books on shallow open shelves and books stacked high against the wall. A large wardrobe – wide and deep like the Narnia variety – held hundreds more titles, and these books were shelved three layers deep: books behind books behind books. On lazy afternoons I’d settle myself, cross-legged on the floor, in front of the wardrobe to explore what exactly was in there. My method involved pulling armfuls of books from the first layer to expose the second, setting neat stacks all around me until I hit the wardrobe’s back wall. I felt like I was digging or buried treasure, and looking back, I don’t think my first impression was too far off.

…I am happy to report that, thanks to nature, nurture, and my parents’ dissimilar habits, I grew up visiting both the library and the bookstore, and I haven’t changed much either. My mom took me to the former, of course, giving me space to wander, browse the shelves at leisure, and check out whatever I wanted on my own library card. My father took me to the bookstore to do much the same, except that I had to buy any books I wanted to take home. A reader himself, he wanted to do his own browsing, and he encouraged me to do my own.

Before I grasped what habits were or why they mattered, my grooves had been dug deep: I’d become the kind of person who sought out books. The library served its purpose well, but given the choice as a kid, I’d take the bookstore every time.

rather-be-reading-bogel-2018Taken from that (almost finished) summer read I picked up 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 chapter 18, “Book People” (pp.124-30). While I obviously love libraries, I’m with Bogel on this one: give me a good bookstore anytime. 🙂 How about you? And are you surrounding your children and grandchildren with good literature? Are you helping them become “book people”?

Listening Like Your Life Depends on It

expository-listening-ramey-2010Such is the title to the concluding chapter of Ken Ramey’s book, Expository Listening: A Handbook for Hearing and Doing God’s Word , (Kress Biblical Resources, 2010; pp.103ff.). This final section stresses the vital importance of how we listen to God’s Word preached from the viewpoint of Jesus’ closing words to the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.7:24-27).

To remind us of Jesus’ words in that spiritual lesson, let’s put those words in front of us:

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

In this light, Ramey makes these comments:

Ask yourself, ‘What could possibly be more relevant than knowing that both those how preach and those who listen must give an account to Christ when He returns?’ At the final judgment, the listeners will stand alongside the preachers and be held accountable for the part they played in the preaching of God’s Word (2 Tim.4:1-3). God’s Word itself will be the solemn standard by which both preachers and hearers will be judged (John 12:47-48). While the preachers are judged by the sermons they preached, the listeners will be judged by the sermons they heard.

…Therefore, whenever you sit under the preaching of God’s Word, what should be in the forefront of your mind is that fearful day when you will be judged based on how receptive and responsive you were to what you heard. …what you do with what God has said in His Word determines not only what kind of life you have here on earth, but also where you will spend eternity. That is the bottom line of the Sermon on the Mount. …Jesus concluded His famous sermon by calling on all those who were listening to act on what He had told them. He challenged them to put into practice everything He had just preached.

…Jesus gave a closing illustration that contrasted two types of builders: a wise builder and a foolish builder. These two builders exemplify the two ways people respond to Christ’s words. The wise builder represents those people who hear and obey His Word, and the foolish builder represents those people who hear but disobey His Word. All of us are in the process of building a house, that is to say, living our lives. We are all like one of these two builders. What kind of builder we are will determine how our life ends up.  How we build has eternal consequences – it will lead to either eternal salvation or eternal damnation. Heaven and hell are on the line when it comes to listening to God’s Word.

And Ramey closes with a quote from Puritan David Clarkson, which ends this subject with utmost solemnity:

Hearing is the provision made for the soul’s eternal well-being, its everlasting welfare depends on it; if you fail here, your souls perish without remedy. For salvation comes by faith and faith comes by hearing. It is an act of eternal consequence. According to our hearing, so shall the state of our souls be to eternity.

Which leads the author to end the book with this sentence: “So listen to every sermon in light of eternity, because every sermon is truly a matter of life and death.”

Shall we not pray for God’s mercy and grace as we listen to the Word today and every Lord’s day?

New Additions to the PRC Seminary Library – 3rd Quarter 2019 (2)


In this post we finish the list of significant additions to the library of the PRC Seminary in the third quarter of this year (June-Sept. 2019). Earlier this week we posted the first part of the list; in this one we list those titles added in the areas of theology, practical theology, and philosophy.

As you will notice, many valuable books were added in this last quarter also. And while these titles are primarily for the work and studies of our faculty, students, and visitors, there are certainly resources here that are useful for our readers. Perhaps some of the books here will encourage you to make it your read, and even to add it to your library or your church’s library. That would make me an even happier librarian! 🙂

Don’t forget our motto: Read more and read better!

Dogmatics, Biblical Theology, Historical Theology

  • Doing Theology with the Reformers / Gerald L. Bray. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019.
  • Luther’s Works: Volume 56 – Sermons III / Martin Luther, 1483-1546. ; Benjamin T.G. Mayes. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing, 2018.
  • Luther’s Outlaw God: Volume 1: Hiddenness, Evil, and Predestination / Steven D. Paulson; Paul Rorem. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2018.
  • Theoretical-Practical Theology: Faith in the Triune God / Peter van Mastricht, 1630- 1706; Todd M. Rester, Transl.; Joel R. Beeke. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage
    Books, 2019.
  • Reading the Decree: Exegesis, Election and Christology in Calvin and Barth / David Gibson; Ian A. McFarland; Ivor Davidson; John Webster. London; New York: T & T
    Clark, 2009. (T & T Clark Studies In Systematic Theology)
  • The Soteriology of James Ussher: The Act and Object of Saving Faith / Richard Snoddy. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2014 (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)
  • The Works of William Perkins: Volume 7 – Reformed Catholic, Problem of the Forged Catholicism, Warning Against Idolatry / William Perkins, 1558-1602; Derek Thomas;
    Joel R. Beeke, editor. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2019.
  • Resourcing Theological Anthropology: A Constructive Account of Humanity in the Light of Christ / Marc Cortez. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017.
  • Rethinking Holiness: A Theological Introduction / Bernie A. Van De Walle. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.
  • Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement / Owen Strachan; Albert R. Jr. Mohler. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.
  • The Beauty and Glory of the Last Things / Joel R. Beeke; Michael P. V. Barrett; David Strain. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2019.
  • What Jesus Demands from the World / John Piper. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006.
  • Reformed Ecclesiology in an Age of Denominationalism / Philippus J. Hoedemaker, 1839-1910; Ruben Alvarado, Transl. Alten, the Netherlands: Pantocrator Press/ Wordbridge Publishing, 1904/2019.

Picture of The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge

  • The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge /
    Alan D. Strange. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017 (Reformed Academic
  • God with Us and for Us: Papers Read at the 2017 Westminster Conference / Stephen Clark; Guy Davies; Andrew Young. London: The Westminster Conference, 2017 (including articles on Arminius and the Synod of Dordt).
  • Sovereign Grace o’er Sin Abounding: Papers Read at the 2018 Westminster Conference /Paul Wells; Geoff. Thomas; J. Philip Arthur. London: The Westminster Conference, 2018.
  • Possessed by God: A New Testament Theology of Sanctification and Holiness / David Peterson. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Apollos; InterVarsity Press, c1995 (New Studies in Biblical Theology), vol. 1
  • Five Festal Garments: Christian Reflections on the Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther / Barry G. Webb; Donald A. Carson. Downers Grove, IL: Apollos/InterVarsity Press, 2000 (New Studies in Biblical Theology), vol. 10
  • New Covenant Theology: Weighed and Found Wanting / Kevin McGrane; Peter Naylor. Essex, England: The Gospel Magazine Trust, 2018.
  • Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community / Tim Chester;
    Steve Timmis. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, c2008.

Philosophy, Logic, Ethics

  • The Christian Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd: Volume I – The Transcendental
    Critique of Theoretical Thought / Pierre Marcel, 1910-1992. ; Colin Wright, Transl. (1st English) Aalten, the Netherlands: Wordbridge Publishing, 2013.
  • The Christian Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd: Volume II – The General Theory of the Law-Spheres / Pierre Marcel, 1910-1992. ; Colin Wright, Transl. (1st English)
    Aalten, the Netherlands: Wordbridge Publishing, 2013.

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

  • Reformed Ethics / Herman Bavinck, 1854-1921; John Bolt, editor; Dirk van Keulen.
    Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2019 (vol.1)
  • Beyond Authority and Submission: Women and Men in Marriage, Church, and Society / Rachel Green Miller; Aimee Byrd. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2019.
  • Kemp: The Story of John R. and Mabel Kempers, Founders of the Reformed Church in America Mission in Chiapas, Mexico / Pablo Alberto Deiros. Grand Rapids, MI : William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016 (The Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America) v. 86
  • Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse / Jennifer M. (Michelle) Greenberg; Russell Moore. Good Book Company, 2019.

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

  • Preaching: A Biblical Theology / Jason C. (Jason Curtis) Meyer; John Piper. Wheaton,
    IL: Crossway, 2013.
  • Preaching and Teaching the Last Things: Old Testament Eschatology for the Life of the Church / Walter C. Kaiser. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.
  • Preaching the Psalms: Unlocking the Unsearchable Riches of David’s Treasury / Steven J. Lawson; Hughes Oliphant Old. Darlington: EP Books, 2014.
  • The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision / Gerald Hiestand; Todd A.
    Wilson; Timothy George. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.
  • Faithful Endurance: The Joy of Shepherding People for a Lifetime / Collin Hansen,
    editor; Jeff Robinson; David M. Carson. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry / Jared C. Wilson. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013.
  • A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing / Walter Brueggemann; John D. Witvliet.
    Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2019.
  • The Care of Souls: Cultivating a Pastor’s Heart / Harold L. Senkbeil; Michael Horton.
    Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.
  • From the Lord and “The Best Reformed Churches”: A Study of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the English Puritan and Separatist Traditions, 1550-1633 / Bryan D. Spinks. Roma: C.L.V.-Edizioni liturgiche, 1984 (Bibliotheca “Ephemerides Liturgicae.” Subsidia) vol.33
  • Freedom or Order? : The Eucharistic Liturgy in English Congregationalism, 1645-1980 / Bryan D. Spinks; Geoffrey Cuming. Allison Park, PA: Pickwick, 1984 (companion volume to previous title).
  • Liturgy in the Reformed Tradition / Oepke Noordmans, 1871-1956; Ruben Alvarado, Transl. Aalten, the Netherlands: Pantocrator Press/ Wordbridge Publishing, 2018.
  • Hidden Evil: A Biblical and Pastoral Response to Domestic Abuse / Eryl W. Davies.
    Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2019.

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

  • Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the
    Faith / J. V. Fesko. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World / Aaron Armstrong. Adelphi, MD:
    Cruciform Press, 2012.
  • The Problem of Poverty / Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920; James W. Skillen. Sioux Center, IA: Dordt College Press, 2011.
  • The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age /Simon Schama. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.
  • Good Arguments: Making Your Case in Writing and Public Speaking / Richard A. Jr.
    Holland. ; Benjamin K. Forrest. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017.


Denominational Resources

  • Acts of Synod of the Christian Reformed Church: 2019 / Christian Reformed Church in North America; Steven R. Timmermans, Executive Director. Grand Rapids, MI: Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church, 2019.
  • Acts of Synod and Yearbook of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America: 2019 /
    Ronald Van Overloop, Stated Clerk; Don Doezema. Grand Rapids, MI: Protestant
    Reformed Churches in America, 2019.
  • 2018 Directory of the United Reformed Churches in North America: Twentieth-second Annual Edition / Jody Luth; Synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America. Grandville, MI: Reformed Fellowship Inc., 2018.

Homonyms and a Pop Quiz on All vs.. al– Words

It’s a new month and “Word Wednesday,” so let’s bring some grammar lesson time with a word focus into this post and check in on some homonyms, compliments of

This lesson goes back to September and focuses on the use of “two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins.” This particular homonym lesson looks at several all and al- words that are often confused.

Homonyms often cause confusion. Here are a few tricky ones, mostly all vs. al- words, clarified for you.

Allot vs. ALot  The word allot means “to parcel out.”
Example: The company will allot each of us a cell phone.

The expression a lot means “many” or “much.”
We had a lot of fun.
A lot of people showed up for the concert.

Note that even though you may see alot written by a lot of people, there is no such word.


Allowed vs. Aloud  Allowed means “gave permission to.”
Example: You will be allowed to enter the theater in five minutes.

Aloud means “said out loud; spoken.”
Example: She read her work aloud at the poetry slam.


All ready vs. Already  These two words may sound alike when you say them, but they have distinct meanings.
All ready means “everything or everyone is now ready.”
Example: We are all ready to go.

Already means “previously” or “earlier than expected.”
Is summer over already? (earlier than expected)
I did the dishes already. (previously)


All right vs. Alright  The word alright is a casual form of the phrase all right; however, alright is not considered a correct spelling in formal writing.


Altar vs. Alter  An altar is a  pedestal, usually of a religious kind.
Example: They exchanged wedding vows at the altar of the church.

Alter means “to change.”
Example: Please don’t alter your plans.


All together vs. Altogether  All together, two words, means “in a group.”
We are all together in the photo.
It is wonderful to be all together to celebrate your birthday.

Altogether is an adverb meaning “entirely, completely, everything included.”
It is not altogether his fault. (entirely)
We had an altogether wonderful day. (completely)
Altogether, the groceries cost thirty dollars. (everything included)

And here is your pop quiz, the answers to which may be found at the link below – but don’t cheat!

Pop Quiz

1. We had to altar/alter our wedding plans because of the unseasonable rain.

2. I’m not sure that your conclusion is all together/altogether correct.

3. We were all together/altogether for our family reunion.

4. When will you be all ready/already to go to the party?

5. Are you all ready/already dressed to go to the party?

6. I like chocolate ice cream a lot/allot/alot.

7. Does that university a lot/allot/alot many scholarships?

8. Are you allowed/aloud to go off campus during lunch?

9. If you practice your speech allowed/aloud, you will memorize it more easily.

10. Tom said he felt all right/alright after the car accident.

Source: Allot vs. A Lot, Allowed vs. Aloud, All ready vs. Already, All right vs. Alright, Altar vs. Alter, All together vs. Altogether – Grammar and Punctuation

Published in: on November 6, 2019 at 9:25 PM  Leave a Comment  

New Additions to the PRC Seminary Library – 3rd Quarter 2019 (1)


At the end of September, I completed the third quarter list of significant book acquisitions to the PRC Seminary library for this year. At their October meeting the TSC (Theological School Committee) received a copy for their information, and I also send it out to the faculty and students so that they can keep abreast of new titles.

But the list is of value to you too, in my estimation. 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 – even children (the new Bible story book!). Browse this list and perhaps you will find something of interest to you.

Again this time we will divide the list into two parts. In this list we will look at four (4) sections: biblical studies, commentaries, church history, and creeds and confessions. It is my hope that you find something of interest to read this Fall – and soon for those winter nights.

2 Kings

Biblical studies/ Commentaries/ Biblical Theology
~ Opening the Scriptures (Christian’s Library Press): Psalms II – F. Van Deursen, 2015
~ Preacher’s Commentary (T. Nelson): Proverbs – D.A. Hubbard, 1989
~ Preaching the Word (Crossway): 1 Kings: Power, Politics, and the Hope of the World – J. Woodhouse, 2018.
~ Reformed Expository Commentary P&R): 2 Kings – P. G. Ryken, 2019

Other Commentaries (Individual)

  • The Majesty of God in the Midst of Innocent Suffering: The Message of Job / Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. (Walter Christian). Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus, 2019.


Individual Biblical Studies Titles

  • The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate / Michael J. Kruger. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013.
  • Just Words? : Special Revelation and the Bible / Paul Helm. Darlington (England): Evangelical Press, 2019.
  • The Jesus Crisis: The Inroads of Historical Criticism into Evangelical Scholarship / Robert L. Thomas; F. David Farnell. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, c1998.
  • The Master’s Perspective on Biblical Prophecy / Richard Mayhue; Robert L. Thomas; John MacArthur. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, c2002 (The Master’s Perspective Series) v. 4
  • All Things New: Revelation as Canonical Capstone / Brian J. Tabb; Donald A. Carson. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2019 (New Studies In Biblical Theology) vol. 48
  • Jehovah’s Mighty Acts: Book 1 / (Tell His Wonders) Nathan J. Langerak; Michael Welply, Illustr. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Pub. Association, 2019.


Church History, General and Biography

  • The Reformation 500 Years Later: 12 Things You Need to Know / Benjamin Wiker. Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2017.
  • The Six Johns of the Scottish Reformation: With the Scots Confession of Faith 1560 / S. James Millar. Kilsyth, Scotland: James A. Dickson Books, 2015.
  • Sons of Calvin: Three Huguenot Pastors / Alan C. Clifford. Norwich: Charenton Reformed Pub., 1999.
  • 21 Servants of Sovereign Joy: Faithful, Flawed, and Fruitful / John Piper. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018 [a compilation of the entire “The Swans Are Not Silent” series, vols.1-7]
  • Americans from Holland. / Arnold Mulder, 1885-1959. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1947 (The Peoples of America Series) – gift from Van Raalte Center
  • History and Characteristics of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. / David D. Demarest, 1819-1898. New York: Board of Publication of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, 1856 (from DJE’s library – had rebound).
  • A Goodly Heritage: The Secession of 1834 and Its Impact on Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and North America / Cornelis Pronk, Grand Rapids, MI : Reformation Heritage Books, 2019.
  • Recognizing the Legacy of George M. Ophoff / Douglas J. Kuiper. Grand Rapids, MI: Calvin Theological Seminary, 2019 (ThM thesis).


Creeds, Confessions, History of

  • The Belgic Confession: A Commentary / David J. Engelsma. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Pub. Association, 2019 (vol.2).
  • Article 36 of the Belgic Confession Vindicated Against Dr. Abraham Kuyper: A Critique of His Series on Church and State in ‘Common Grace’ / Ph. J. (Philippus Jacobus) Hoedemaker, 1839-1910; Ruben Alvarado, Transl. Alten, the Netherlands: Pantocrator Press/ Wordbridge Publishing, 1901/2019.