Speaking the Truth in Love and Taming Our Tongues

A close-knit church community is a wonderful blessing, especially in times of trial; but it can also be a hotbed for chatter about the name of others, resulting in bitter division between brothers and sisters in Christ without them ever speaking to one another.

“That I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly, or unheard.” Such would be “a proper work of the devil” and would “bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God.”

And yet, all too frequently when we get together, we find ourselves talking about others. When it is trivial information (about dating, pregnancy, marriage, moving house), we discuss it that way, as trivia, in a mild and disinterested way. But, when it begins to involve what we might judge as “sin” or, in the case of a minister, “false doctrine” or “error,” suddenly the interest is piqued, the conversation becomes intense, and names are thrown around, judged, labeled and condemned… rashly and unheard.

And because the “sin” or “error” is so serious, we think the way of Matthew 18 does not apply. After all, this is public knowledge.

Not just minister’s names. It starts with what we say about the name of any brother or sister in Christ. This is a very real danger in a close-knit church community—what James calls “wars and fighting among you” (James 4:1), or what Paul speaks of this way: “ye bite and devour one another” with the warning, “take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Gal. 5:15).

Whereas Jesus, speaking from the perspective of seeking peace and preserving love between believers (read I Cor. 13:4-7), says, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matt. 18:15).

Would we bring down upon ourselves “the heavy wrath of God?” Have we already done this?

Biblical and doctrinal truth is important, but so is the truth about the name, honor, and character of the neighbor, especially when that neighbor is a fellow member of the body of Christ, and even more especially, when that neighbor holds office in the church of Christ.

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We do well to watch our words with these three questions concerning what we would say about another.

1. Is it true? Do I know it is true, or is it something I have just heard through the ‘grapevine’? Isn’t this the source of so many destructive and divisive rumors? Someone who does not know and who should not be involved, starts talking. Does what I say reflect that God is a God of truth?

2. Is it necessary? It may be true, but does it need to be said? Will my words be useful, edifying, beneficial to the one whose name I raise? Too often our words are not only a waste of breath but would be better not said.

3. Is it loving? Am I speaking about this person because I love him and in love for him? Do I speak to protect his name and reputation or to damage it? This question really gets to the heart of the ninth commandment. We must “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).

If we would run our words through the screening process of those three questions, so much destruction of names and division between believers could be deterred. “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Prov. 26:20).

May-15-2020-SB-coverTaken from Rev. Rodney Kleyn’s article in the May 15, 2020 issue of the Standard Bearer. Titled “Taming the tongue,” it is an exposition of the ninth commandment (“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”) as explained by the Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 43 (Q&A 112).

This issue is still available free on theRFPA website. Lots of edifying reading here!

May 2020 Scenes in the Midst of a Troubling Pandemic

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Last month I did a post in which I showed from a personal perspective what life was like during this pandemic in our little corner of the world. Little mercies seem bigger now (rainbows). Small freedoms loom larger (a ride to the lakeshore). Life has changed in many ways, and yet it is the same is some ways too.

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The one constant is our Creator and Redeemer, who remains on the throne and at the helm, governing this vast universe – from viruses to Venus and from migrating rose-breasted grosbeeks to lily-of-the-valley – in perfect wisdom and in infinite goodness – for the glory of His name, the coming of His Son, and the everlasting good of His saints.

 

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So enjoy these photos taken this month, as they tell of God’s mercies and goodness, in small things and great things.

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Online singspiration from Faith PRC’s sanctuary led by our pastor’s family –  a great blessing!

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First golf game of 2020 with my nearly 87-year old dad – what a treat!

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Sunday afternoon walks along the Grand River with some grandsons – special times!

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Of course, time with any of our grandchildren is special, especially these days.

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Including ice cream time – tailgate style!

 

A Christian Reading Manifesto (Worth Your Time!)

This was a mention in one of Tim Challies’ a la carte last week, and it is powerful piece on the need for a new generation to take up the deliberate and diligent labor of reading. Yes, the author writes especially with young adults and young people in mind, and I would echo that urgent plea.

The author, Dr. David Steele, begins by laying out his concern as we face our technologically rich “information age”:

Despite the benefits of recent technological tools, we are also experiencing a phenomenon that should be of grave concern to pastors and Christian leaders. Many people, especially millennials (people born between 1981 and 1995) are eager to learn but appear resistant to reading. They are “on the verge,” in the prophetic words of Neil Postman, “of amusing themselves to death.”2 They may eagerly listen to a podcast or watch a YouTube video, but a growing number of people pass when it comes to the written page. They are quick to listen but slow to read. Thus, we stand at the crossroads. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips but many resist the challenge to read books. Pastors should be especially concerned as they seek to train and equip the next generation of Christian leaders, who are in many cases, reluctant to read.

But then he lays the groundwork for his “reading manifesto”:

Mark Noll laments, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”3 Thirty years earlier, Harry Blamires offered an even grimmer assessment: “There is no longer a Christian mind; there is no shared field of discourse in which we can move at ease as thinking Christians by trodden ways and past established landmarks.”4 These allegations should serve as a warning and alert Christians, thus refueling their resolve for learning and spiritual growth. My own view is one of cautious optimism. That is, I maintain (despite the evidence) there is still hope for the evangelical mind. But a new awakening will require a commitment to, you guessed it … reading.

I offer this Christian Reading Manifesto as a brief rationale and apologetic for evangelicals, especially young people. My hope is that many will respond to the challenge and enter a new era of learning which will accelerate their Christian growth and sanctification. Lord willing, this new resurgence of learning will impact countless lives in the coming days and help spark a new Reformation.

What follows are his seven (7) points about reading, each of which is essential. I encourage all our readers – and especially our young people! – to take note of these points. Print this article off and reference repeatedly this summer. And then dive into a classic of the Christian faith. Steele offers some good suggestions, but there are plenty of others. I think of J.I. Packer’s Knowing God or A.W. Pink’s Sovereignty of God. If you need help finding a book, I’d be happy to assist you. I’m confident we could find one that matches your interests and that would challenge you at the same time.

Source: A Christian Reading Manifesto – Veritas et Lux

Living or Dying in Christ

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Photo taken last night at Lake Michigan – beautiful “glory” sky!

As noted last week here, PRC missionary (and good friend) Rev. Aud Spriensma is writing some special meditations for the PRC website this month. The one he gave me to post for this past Monday (May 18) was especially relevant, as my wife and her family lost their father, Vern Klamer, the day before, Sunday, May 17. He was a godly Christian family man (husband, father, grandfather) and church man (served as deacon and elder), and we will miss him dearly.

Vernon L Klamer - MKD Funeral HomesAs he was facing the end, he and we with him shared our only comfort (and hope) in life and in death, that we are not our own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who has fully satisfied for all our sins, delivered us from all the power of the devil, and preserves us according to Father’s perfect will so that everything (even death!) is subservient to our salvation.

Below is that special meditation missionary-pastor A. Spriensma wrote for this past Monday. Reading it, you will see why it is so relevant for our times – and for our present family time. God is good, and we praise Him for His mercy to us in our crosses and losses. In Christ, we have all and gain all, no matter what befalls us!

Meditation on Philippians 1:21

Living or Dying in Christ

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

A short Scripture text means a short meditation, right? No, it does not, especially for ministers. The less notes I take in the pulpit, the longer the sermon is. In our text, we need to understand what it means for the Apostle Paul when he states, “to live is Christ.” Second, how we learn to live for Christ, Third, we need to know why “to die is gain.” Should we wish for death?

The Apostle Paul wrote these verses to the believers in Philippi. They were concerned for him. Paul was a prisoner in Rome, waiting for his trial before Caesar. This trial could end with the Apostle facing death. In Paul’s absence, there were some who were preaching Christ out of envy and strife, and therefore they were adding affliction to Paul’s prison life. Paul wrote to comfort those saints who were concerned about his welfare. He said that all that was really important was that Christ was being preached. Paul was only concerned that his Savior was exalted and the gospel extended. Paul’s greatest concern in either life or death was magnifying Christ, his Master (vs. 20). Paul informs the Philippians that he is not afraid to die. He would be with Christ.

When the Apostle said so emphatically, “to me” placing this word at the very beginning of the sentence, he is giving a profound personal testimony. At the same time, he was drawing a contrast between the preachers who are proclaiming Christ out of selfish ambition. Paul was not self-centered, but Christ-centered. “For me to live is Christ.” Is this true of your life? Paul was concerned with the honor and glory of his wonderful Redeemer.

Paul was speaking of his life lived from day to day, continuous living on earth as a child of God. He could have spoken of the continuous hardships that he had faced. He experienced a thorn in his flesh that he had prayed might be removed. He had been beaten, stoned, and left for dead. He had been in prison both in Philippi and now in Rome. Oh, how he had suffered for the sake of the gospel. But he did not speak about those things. He spoke about Christ! Christ was the center of his whole life. Christ was everything. This was not just his preaching to others. Paul himself relied upon Christ for the whole of his salvation. He would boast in nothing but Christ crucified.

What is it to live in Christ? It is to derive one’s strength from Christ (Phil. 4:13), to have the mind, the humble disposition of Christ (Phil. 2:5-11), to know Christ with the knowledge of Christian experience (Phil. 3:8), to be covered with Christ’s righteousness (Phil. 3:9), to rejoice in Christ (Phil. 3:1; 4;4), to live not for self but for His glory (II Cor. 5:14,15), to rest one’s faith on Christ and to love Him in return for His love (Gal. 2:20).

How is this life possible? Not in ourselves. We would live for pleasure, sin, earthly things. Paul had been trying to by his own works to be right with God. It was only by Christ taking ahold of him on the Damascus Road. It was by the Spirit of Christ giving him a new heart and working conversion and faith. Paul was turned around from a physical life that leads to death to a new life lived for Jesus Christ.

Can you make this personal confession, “For me to live is Christ”? Do you and I live this confession with our daily lives: in our marriage, being a parent, in the workplace, the friends that we have, in our recreation, what we think, what we desire, and everything that we do? May God work in us and give us the grace to live in Christ.

Then “to die is gain.” This seems so strange, for death is loss. It is the loss of earthly relationships, family, friends, earthly things, and even our earthly bodies for a while. We know from Rom. 6:23 that death is God’s punishment for sin. But my friend, the sting of death has been taken away ( I Cor. 15:55). Christ bore all the punishment for our sins in our place. Death now becomes a servant to take us as pilgrims and strangers to a far better land. Dying physically meant gain for Paul. It meant that he would be with Christ (see vs. 23), “at home with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:8). Death is the gateway to a clearer knowledge, more wholehearted perfect service, more exuberant joy, and a closer walk. No more sin or temptation, no more sickness, pain, trial, sorrow, affliction.

Death is gain! I will be with Christ. I will be like Christ. All the blessings of Christ will more abundantly be poured out. What do you live for? Is the glory and honor of Christ’s name more important to you, or is comfort and ease of life? Paul’s life was so wrapped up in Christ and the gospel that he wanted nothing more than to see the gospel advance, even if it meant that others sought to add to his affliction. When life’s circumstances get difficult, it is easy to become focused on self. May we say, “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Jesus is all the world to me, My life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, Without him I would fall. Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better friend; I trust him now, I’ll trust him when life’s fleeting days shall end. Beautiful life with such a friend; Beautiful life that has no end,; Eternal life, eternal joy, He’s my friend.”

PRC Seminary Spring Journal Now Available!

Spring-2020-coverThe Spring 2020 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal is now available in digital forms (pdf and epub), with the print version soon to follow (our publisher says a few weeks yet).

This new issue is filled with thought-provoking articles and stimulating book reviews, of interest to and beneficial for pastors and officebearers as well as church members. The editor, Prof. R. Cammenga, provides a summary of this issue in his “notes” at the beginning, from which we quote in this post.

To download and read this new issue, visit the Journal page. And while there, perhaps the past issues will also be of interest to you (all 53 volumes!).

To be added to our mailing list for the print version, or the digital editions (pdf and ePub), send us a note at seminarysecretary@prca.org.

And now, Prof. Cammenga’s “editor’s notes”:

You hold in your hands the April 2020 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal. This issue completes the fifty-third year of uninterrupted publication of the Journal of the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary. We thank the Lord for His abundant grace and our readers for their support.

You will find in this issue an article by Dr. C. N. “Nick” Willborn entitled “Nineteenth-Century Southern Presbyterians and Their Theological Contributions.” Dr. Willborn is the senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and adjunct professor of historical theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. (Can anyone recall the important role that Oak Ridge had in bringing WWII to an end?) This is the first of two articles that began as presentations that Dr. Willborn gave at the seminary last fall on the theology of the Southern Presbyterians. His lectures focused on the stalwarts of Southern Presbyterianism: Thornwell, Girardeau, Dabney, Palmer, Peck, and others. The lectures were well received by our students and faculty. And we thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship of Dr. Willborn and his wife, Carol. We are grateful for his willingness to have his lectures published in our Journal.

The most recent addition to the faculty of PRTS is Prof. Brian Huizinga. This is his first contribution since accepting the appointment and being installed as Professor of Reformed Dogmatics and Old Testament Studies. Prof. Huizinga is presently working on his advanced degree. All will profit from his article entitled “John Calvin and the Reward of Grace.”

The undersigned contributes “A Plea on Behalf of the Biblical Languages.” The article addresses the trend that diminishes the importance of learning and retaining the biblical languages for the work of the ministry. It intends to underscore the importance that Reformed churches have placed on the biblical languages since their recovery at the time of the Reformation. And it makes a plea that mastery of Hebrew and Greek continue to be required of seminary students preparing for the ministry of the gospel. This issue includes two review articles. Review articles are extended critical book reviews. The first is Prof. Douglas J. Kuiper’s review article of A Christian and a Democrat: A Religious Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt. All will profit from this careful analysis of one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States of America, known especially for leading the nation through most of WWII.

The second review article is by the Rev. Martyn McGeown, who for several years has labored in Ireland and who recently accepted the call from Providence Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, MI. Pastor McGeown favors us with an insightful review of The Crux of the Free Offer: A Biblical, Confessional, and Theological Explanation and Defense of the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel, by Sam Waldron.

The review first appeared recently in the British Reformed Journal, of which the Rev. McGeown is editor. Seldom do we print two reviews of the same book. The last issue of PRTJ included a review article of this same book by Prof. David Engelsma. But considering the importance of the book and the interaction of its author with the position of the Protestant Reformed Churches on the well-meant offer of the gospel, it was thought worthwhile to print a second review of the book. Our readers will profit from this second review article.

Confidence in the Midst of Calamities (A Special Meditation)

PRC missionary-pastor, Rev. Aud Spriensma has been writing some special meditations for the PRC website. Two more were posted this week, including this one based on Job 19:25,26 and titled “Confidence in the Midst of Calamities.”

These meditation are penned with the present pandemic and its attendant difficulties in mind. You will find them profitable both in terms of comfort and in terms of challenge to our faith and walk. May God use them for the good of many.

Meditation on Job 19: 25,26

Confidence in the Midst of Calamities

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

Job was in the midst of calamities. In one day, everything was taken away. All his children died. His servants were killed or stolen. He had a dreadful disease in his body: an awful breath, he was skin and bones, sores all over his body. Job was an outcast of society. His wife told him to commit suicide, and his friends despised him as a terrible sinner. He is reproached and persecuted. Job was all alone! What a terrible condition.

But Job had hope. He made an amazing confession. “I know that my redeemer liveth!’ He knew that he suffered this at God’s hand even though he did not know why (vs. 6ff). Let’s look at Job’s confession.

“Redeemer”: the Hebrew word has the idea of a vindicator, one who takes up the cause for another. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. If someone murdered a member of your family, you could appoint a person to avenge the blood that was taken. If a family was sold into slavery because of debts owed, one like a Boaz came so that the household of Naomi and Ruth could be freed from bondage. It was a near kinsman who took care of Naomi and Ruth by allowing them to glean in his fields. He would take their land and harvest the crops for them. He would marry Ruth, so that there would be children. Without children, the woman would be cut off from God’s promise and inheritance. In Boaz’s marriage, Naomi and Ruth had a rich lineage, resulting in the Christ.

There was nothing that Job could do to stop his calamity, persecution, rebuke, or the accusations made against him. He clung to the One who would vindicate him and his righteousness: God in Christ Jesus. Job clung to his righteousness in Christ. While the dark clouds of calamity swirled around him, he lifted his eyes heavenward. “I know that my redeemer liveth.”

“My redeemer lives!” What a confession. While Job saw his own death (“though after my skin worms destroy this body”), he saw that his redeemer lives. He saw two things by faith. First, he confessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Job’s faith was like the faith of Abraham, when Abraham was called to kill his only son, Isaac, he knew that God was able to raise his son back to life (Hebrews 11:17-19). Second, Job knew that this vindicator “shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Over against what Satan, Job’s so-called friends, or the world had to say, his vindicator would declare Job righteous in God’s court. This was Job’s hope. He had a vindicator who would pay for his sins, who would take up his cause. Although accused as a terrible sinner by his three friends, Job knew that one day the redeemer would stand as Judge, declaring him righteous. He would be declared righteous, not by his own works but by the work of his redeemer. By the grace of God, Job had faith in this redeemer: one who would take up his cause before God himself! It is the promised seed of the woman, promised to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. One would come who would pay the debt for his sins.

The beauty and significance of this confession is found in how personal it is. Job speaks of “my redeemer.” Not only is there a redeemer, but he is mine! He will stand up for me and vindicate me. That means that Job was certain that God declares him righteous. God is for Job even though his so-called friends and society were against him. Notice the words, “I know that my redeemer lives.” “I know!” Not, “I think so” or “I hope so.” There is no certainty in that at all. Can you say, “I know that my redeemer lives”? Surely, if Job who lived in the time of types and shadows could have this certainty, how much more can we who have the completed Scriptures and who live after the fact of Jesus’ birth, suffering, death, and resurrection! “I know that my redeemer lives.” No ifs, buts, or perhaps; that would surely rob us of peace and comfort!

Job, facing his own death had the certainty of life afterwards. “And though after skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” They say that there are only two certainties in life: taxes and death. But for the child of God, there is the certainty of life after death. We shall see God. How? God is Spirit and therefore invisible. The answer is that we shall see God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ. We shall dwell in his beauty and love and fellowship. Is this what you desire?

Job did not know why God had so afflicted him. You and I should not ask, “Why are these troubles coming to me? Why does God allow or cause it?” Know this, child of God; affliction is for our profit. By it, God is testing us. He is also weaning us from this life and all it has to offer, to the world which is to come. He is saying to us, “Look to me.” We are taught to live as those who desire to see God’s face. When is the last time that you have included in your prayers the petition, “Come Lord Jesus, yea, come quickly”?

I know my Redeemer lives. Therefore, I shall see God! This statement shows the indestructible nature of true, saving faith. In the midst of circumstances that Job did not understand, he nevertheless fell back on the most basic truth of the gospel: his redeemer lives! Redemption brings to mind the glorious truth that the Christian is owned by God, purchased with his own blood, declared righteous with the righteousness that God freely gives to him by grace alone through faith. Can you say, “I know that my Redeemer lives”?

Published in: on May 16, 2020 at 8:50 PM  Comments (1)  

“Once, in King James’ day, Scripture led the English language. Now, it follows it – to the dump….” ~ P. Kreeft

Sometimes in striking places and in subtle ways one finds a notable tribute to the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, along with a sharp warning of what happens when you tinker with God’s Word, as many modern translations do. Such as this one, in the book noted at the bottom:

Besides undermining their faith, we’ve [the devil’s minions] also given them the impression that the world’s most popular book could be understood only by professional scholars (in fact, they’re the only ones who can misunderstand it that badly!); that the world’s most exciting book is the dullest book in the world, and that the millions who fed at that table for millennia were simply superstitious simpletons mumbling misunderstood formulas for their private fantasies.

Fortunately for us, Christendom is now so well divided that they’ll never get together on one standard translation again. We keep them moving, and inspire new translations every year: the Liturgical Fidget must be supplemented by the Biblical Fidget. After all, the Bible has to keep up with the ‘progress’ of the language (i.e., the decay of words).

Once, in King James’ day, Scripture led the English language. Now, it follows it – to the dump, just as the American Church is following the world to the dump rather than leading it to the Heavens. Their ‘dumpster language’ is an index of their dumpster destination. Keep giving your patient little pushes in that direction, and he’ll ride with increasing speed the bandwagon of Our Father Below down to the place of pure noise (with lyrics of perfect torment).

Snakebite-Letters-Kreeft-1993Taken from Peter Kreeft’s The Snakebite Letters: Devilishly Devious Secrets for Subverting Society as Taught in Tempter’s Training School (Ignatius, 1993), pp.75-76.

Keep in mind this is a Roman Catholic writer describing Satan’s work in the church and schools in the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. While Kreeft’s Catholicism comes out clearly (not without some potent criticisms too), his insights into the devil’s influence in church and education are enlightening and instructive. And I find it rather ironic that the author would defend the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture and private interpretation of it, when his own church does not. But I take that as another ‘poke’ at his own. In any case, I benefited from this deep though brief study into Satan’s ways.

“We need the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day.” ~ A. Kuyper

But to realize something greater and higher as our basic condition all day long, and not just during the moments we pray, so that everything working together serves that purpose, we need the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day. This means that we need a day when the Lord works in a special way and when we are still. To that end, two things are true simultaneously. First, the Sabbath serves to bring us into the Spirit. Next, being in the Spirit is the only thing that makes the Sabbath a reality for the Christian.

When those converge and complement one another, the Sabbath encircles us with a quiet freedom, and we find ourselves in the Spirit. That’s when we hear behind us that voice that sounds like a loud trumpet. It is clear and penetrating. Then our soul experiences a blessed fellowship as he lays his right hand on us and tenderly says, ‘Don’t be afraid, for behold , I was also once dead but am now alive. Yes, I live eternally, and no one else but I holds the keys of death and hell.’

This is when there is Sabbath in us and around us!

This is to receive the eternal Sabbath already in this life.

The prayer rising from the hearts of God’s children is that that Sabbath might increase in their lives.

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.378.

This particular meditation (#11 of Volume 2) is titled “In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” and is based on John’s words in Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.”

Published in: on May 9, 2020 at 10:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

New Additions to the PRC Seminary Library – 1st Quarter 2020

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At the end of March, I completed the first quarter list of significant book acquisitions to the PRC Seminary library for this year. I make it a habit to share this list with the TSC (Theological School Committee) as well as with the faculty and students so that they can keep abreast of new titles in the library.

But, to my mind, the list is of value to you too. As noted before, part of my reason for posting this list here is not only to show you the kinds 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 (at times we purchase Bible story books that assist pastors, teachers, and parents). Browse this list and perhaps you will find something of interest to you.

This time we will give you the entire list in one post. Keep in mind these are not all the titles purchased, just the more significant ones.

Happy browsing! Be on the alert for that book (or those books) that you may wish to read yourself! But you don’t have to worry about the Dutch ones. 🙂

Biblical studies/ Commentaries/ Biblical Theology
Series:

  • Dordtrecht Bible Commentary (6 volumes, OT & NT): Dordrecht Bible Commentary, The – Ordered by the Synod of Dort, 1618-1619 According to the Th. Haak Translation 1657, Commissioned by the Westminster Assembly / Theodore Haak, 1605-1690, Transl.; Henry D. Schuringa. (new reprint pb) Allegan, MI: North Star Ministry Press, 2019
  • The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Wm. B. Eerdmans): The Letter to the Romans / Douglas J. Moo; Joel B. Green. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018.
  • Pillar NT Commentary (Eerdmans): The Gospel According to Luke / James R. Edwards; Donald A. Carson, 2015.

Other Commentaries (Individual)

  • Job and Ecclesiastes Expounded by Theodore Beza: Partly in manner of a commentary, partly in manner of a paraphrase, faithfully translated out of Latin into English / Theodore de Beza, 1519-1605. London: John Legatt, 1589.
  • The Song of Songs / G. I. (Gerald Irvin) Williamson (reprint) Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2020.
  • Be Resolute: An Old Testament Study – Daniel / Warren W. Wiersbe. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, c2000.
  • The Whole Armor of God: How Christ’s Victory Strengthens Us for Spiritual Warfare [Eph.6:10-20], Iain M. Duguid. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019.
  • Early Latin Commentaries on the Apocalypse / Francis X. Gumerlock, editor. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, 2016.

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Individual Biblical Studies Titles

  • God’s Relational Presence: The Cohesive Center of Biblical Theology / J. Scott. Duvall; J. Daniel Hays. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • Last Things First: Unlocking Genesis 1-3 with the Christ of Eschatology / J. V. Fesko. Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Mentor, c2007.
  • Sermon on the Mount: Restoring Christ’s Message to the Modern Church / Charles L. Quarles. ; E. Ray Clendenen. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, c2011. (NAC Studies In Bible & Theology) vol. 11
  • Scriptural Authority and Biblical Criticism in the Dutch Golden Age: God’s Word Questioned / Dirk van Miert, editor; Henk J. M. Nellen, editor. ; Piet Steenbakkers, editor. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Word of Life: Introducing Lutheran Hermeneutics / Timothy J. Wengert. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2019.
  • Matthew, Disciple and Scribe: The First Gospel and Its Portrait of Jesus / Patrick. Schreiner. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • The Story Retold: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament / G. K. (Gregory K.) Beale; Benjamin L. Gladd. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020.

Language Tools

  • The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament / Ludwig Kohler, 1880-1956. ; Walter Baumgartner, 1887-1970. ; M. E. J. Richardson. Study ed. Leiden ; Boston: Brill, 2001. (2 vols.)

Church History, General and Biography

  • The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, A.D. 200-1000 / Peter Brown; Jacques Le Goff (10th anniv. rev. ed.). Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, MA: WileyBlackwell, 2013.
  • De Afscheiding van 1834 in Friesland: Deel I: De Classis Wanswerd (Dokkum) van de Afgescheiden Kerken / J. Wesseling. Groningen: De Vuurbaak, 1980 (3 vols.)
  • De Afscheiding van 1834 in Overijssel, 1834-’69, Deel I: De Classis Zwolle / J. Wesseling. Groningen: De Vuurbaak, 1984 (2 vols.).
  • Dr. A. Kuyper, 1837-1937: Gedenkboek uitgegeven bij gelegenheid van de herdenking op 29 October 1937 van het feit, dat Dr A. Kuyper honderd jaar geleden te maassluis geboren werd / L.W.G. Scholten. ; C. Smeenk. ; J. Waterink. Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1937.

Creeds, Confessions, History of

  • Catechizing upon the Heidelberg Catechism of the Reformed Christian Religion: Published after Precedent Inspection and Approbation of the Rev. Classis of Hoors …, and Now after the Sixtienth Impression translated for the English Reformed Congregation in Amsterdam / Petrus De Witte, 1622-1669. Amsterdam: Gillis Joostens Saeghman, 1664 (retypeset copy, 2 parts)
  • An Exposition or Commentary upon the Catechism of Christian Religion: which is taught in the schools and churches both of the Low Countries and of the …Palatinate / Jeremias Bastingius, 1551-1595. London: John Legatt, 1614.
  • To the Praise of His Glory: Outlines on the Canons of Dort / J. Faber; H. J. Meijerink; C. Trimp. Launceston, Tasmania: Publication Organisation of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia, 1971.

Enjoying God: Finding Hope in the Attributes of God by R.C. Sproul

Dogmatics, Biblical Theology, Historical Theology

  • The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology / Anthony C. Thiselton. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans, 2015.
  • The Culture of Theology / John Webster, 1955-2016; Ivor J. Davidson, editor; Alden C. McCray, editor. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019.
  • Faithful Theology: An Introduction / Graham A. Cole, 1949-. ; Graham A. Cole and Oren R. Martin (series). Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020 (Short Studies in Systematic Theology).
  • Common Places of Christian Religion: Gathered by Wolfgangus Musculus, For the Use of Such As Desire the Knowledge of Godly Truth. Wolfgang Musculus, 1497-1563; John Man, 1512-1569 (1st English ed.) London, 1563.
  • A Brief Declaration of the Table of Predestination / Theodore de Beza, 1519-1605. ; William Whittingham, Transl. London: Tho: Man, 1613. [retypeset ed.]
  • The Abridgment of Christian Divinity: So exactly and methodically compiled… / Johannes Wollebius, 1586-1629; Alexander Ross. London: T. Mabb, 1660.
  • The Works of William Perkins: Volume 8 – Discourse on Conscience [Etc.] / William Perkins, 1558-1602. ; J. Stephen Yuille; Joel R. Beeke, editor; Joel R. Beeke and Derek W.H. Thomas. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2019.
  • 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology / Gregg R. Allison. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018.
  • James Ussher and a Reformed Episcopal Church: Sermons and Treatises on Ecclesiology / James Ussher, 1581-1656. ; Richard. Snoddy. Moscow ID: Davenant Institute, 2018.
  • Enjoying God: Finding Hope in the Attributes of God / R. C. (Robert Charles) Sproul, 1939-2017 (repackaged ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2017.
  • The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief / James R. (James Robert) White (revised, updated) Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2019.
  • Divine Action and Providence / Oliver Crisp, editor; Fred Sanders, editor; William J. Abraham. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018 (Explorations In Constructive Dogmatics)
  • The Christian Doctrine of Humanity / Oliver Crisp, editor; Fred Sanders, editor; Marc Cortez. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018 (Explorations In Constructive Dogmatics)
  • Against God and Nature: The Doctrine of Sin / Thomas H. McCall; John S. Feinberg. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2019 (Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series)
  • David’s Son and David’s Lord: Christology for Christ’s People / Ian Hamilton. ; Joel R. Beeke. ; Gregory K. Beale; Ryan M. and L. Michael Morales McGraw. Darlington, UK: EP BOOKS, 2019.
  • Engaging the World with Abraham Kuyper / Michael R. Wagenman. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019.

Philosophy, Logic, Ethics

  • Christian Philosophy: A Systematic and Narrative Introduction / Craig G. Bartholomew; Michael W. Goheen. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013.

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

  • Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans / Robert Elmer, editor. Bellingham: Lexham Press, 2019.

Pastor Paul: Nurturing a Culture of Christoformity in the Church ...

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

  • The Form of Prayers and Ministration of the Sacraments used in the English Congregation at Geneva, and approved by that famous and godly learned man, John Calvin — photocopy pd. — Geneva: John Crespin, 1556.
  • “Can We Close the Back Door?”: A Project to Facilitate the Assimilation of New (Non-Dutch) Members into a Traditional, Middle Class Large to Medium Size Christian Reformed Congregation / Arthur J. Schoonveld. Deerfield, IL: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1990.
  • The Challenge of Church Union: Speeches and Discussions on Reformed Identity and Ecumenicity / Cornelis Van Dam; J. De Jong; Cornelis Pronk; Cornelis Van Dam. Winnipeg: Premier Pub., 1993 (Publication of the Burlington Reformed Study Centre) vol. 1
  • Biblical Pastoral Oversight / James A. Hufstetler. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformed Baptist Church, 1989.
  • Pastor Paul: Nurturing a Culture of Christoformity in the Church / Scot McKnight; Andy Johnson. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2019.
  • Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability / Stephanie O. Hubach; Joni Eareckson. Tada. (revised, expanded ed.) Phillipsburg, N.J. : P&R Pub., 2020.

down-indian-trail-rosleand-1849

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

  • Down an Indian Trail in 1849: The Story of Roseland / Marie K. Rowlands. Palos Heights, IL: Dutch Heritage Center, Trinity Christian College, c1949, 1987.
  • Calvin and the Foundations of Modern Politics / Ralph C. Hancock. Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1989.
  • The Adam Quest: Eleven Scientists Who Held on to a Strong Faith While Wrestling with the Mystery of Human Origins / Tim Stafford. Nashville : Nelson Books, 2013.

Periodicals (Old & New)

  • The Southern Reformed Theological Journal (Southern Reformed Theological Seminary, Houston, TX), 2017-2020

May 1, 2020 Standard Bearer – Special Issue: “Since by Man Came Death…”

SB-May-1-2020-coverThe latest issue of the Standard Bearer has been released digitally (printed copies are not allowed at present due to the COVID-19 pandemic), and you are encouraged to download and read this timely issue. The May 1, 2020 issue is the second special issue in this volume year (96) and carries the theme “Since by Man Came Death….”

At the time the editors planned this issue (in January/February of this year), we had no idea how timely and relevant it would be in the face of the worldwide coronavirus situation. But now this crisis has put death and dying before all of us, and, while unbelieving fears are being exposed, true faith is also being tested. How can we face the awful reality of an unknown disease with its prospect of severe illness and perhaps death? What hope do we have in such times – for this life and for the hereafter?

The articles in this special issue address these questions and more – openly and realistically – yet also with sure faith and hope, because the answers come from God’s Word and from the biblical and Reformed confessions of Christ’s church based on that Word (penned in times of crisis like our own). If you are living with real fear right now, and are without hope, then this issue is must reading. But even if you are an established believer, and your faith is being tried deeply in these days, then these articles will speak peace to your heart and give you sure hope in Jesus Christ.

The editorial, “Confronted by Our Mortality and Our Last Enemy – Death,” was written by Rev. Ken Koole. We post an excerpt here today, urging you to read all of it – and the rest of the issue in the next few weeks. It will enrich your faith, strengthen your hope, and increase your love for the Lord God, in whom alone we have the victory over this mighty foe. By all means “take up and read.”

 But… but… is hope and gladness clean gone forever? Has God forgotten to be kind, that God whom we and our first parents have so highly offended? After all, death is His sentence and His “creature” set loose upon the human race and on creation itself. Is there no remedy? Just the sadness of farewell and the terror of what follows hereafter?

What can be said to the dying or to those struggling to cope with that empty spot due to a beloved family member taken and gone? What indeed.

Not this: this is evil. It is not God’s will or doing. It is just the Devil’s mischief. God is too loving and kind to have willed this to happen.

Not so. For, if the calamity was not what God willed, He was, evidently, powerless to prevent it. And then, to what purpose is this death? Really, to no good purpose at all, except to magnify Satan’s power prevailing against God’s will. All comfort is gone. We cannot put our trust in or turn to God as the Almighty after all. Who can be sure whether death will not have the last word and mocking laughter after all!

Powerless to prevent it, powerless to overcome it.

Away with such nonsense!

To be sure, death is an awful power, and as far as we mortal men are concerned, invincible. But there is one mightier than death, and that is the Almighty One, who is Jehovah God.

And God be thanked, to those living in the midst of death in a creation under the sentence of death, this Lord God has given a Word, a Word that gives us mortal men words to withstand the horror of death. Words that give hope so real that the believer can stand at the lip of the grave and say “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” Words of defiance when nothing but a corpse remains and the grave is about to swallow our loved one.

How can this be?

It can only be because of who Jehovah God is. The almighty Creator God to be sure, but also God triune, who as such is a covenant-making and keeping God. And not only within Himself, but also regarding a people, a remnant of the human race He would call His own.

How God’s people dealing with the awful power of death need to hear this!

How pastors and preachers need to remember this!