20 Classic Poems Every Man Should Read | The Art of Manliness

April is National Poetry month and we began this month with several Christian ones relating to the death of Jesus Christ. And, for an archive post this month, we featured a poem with PRC congregational clues.

Earlier this week the Art of Manliness had a fine post asserting “20 Classic Poems Every Man Should Read.” Today, as we stand at the end of the month, we consider it worth referring to that post here.

AOM introduces it by pointing out how poetry has fallen on hard times, perhaps especially among men. But they also inspire us to read and become familiar with some classics. I include their introduction here and then encourage you to visit the website for the links to the 20 poems they recommend. Keep in mind that this is a diverse collection and that some of them reflect the worldview of unbelievers. Nevertheless, as Christians we must also know and be able to evaluate biblically the poetry of the world.

“The Victorian poet Matthew Arnold once claimed that “The crown of literature is poetry,” and if our neglect of poetry is any indication, the crown is rusting. While book sales fluctuate from year to year, fewer and fewer publishing houses are printing volumes of poetry. The demand for poets and their poems has ebbed.

“However, we do ourselves a great disservice when we neglect the reading of poetry. John Adams, one of the founding fathers of the United States, commended poetry to his son John Quincy. Both Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt committed their favorite poems to memory. Ancient kings were expected to produce poetry while also being versed in warfare and statecraft. That poetry has fallen out of favor among men in the 21st century is a recent trend rather than the norm.

“To help remedy this, we have compiled a list of 20 classic poems that every man should read. Spanning the past two thousand years, the poems on this list represent some of the best works of poetry ever composed. But don’t worry — they were selected for both their brevity and ease of application. Some are about striving to overcome, others about romantic love, and still others about patriotism. Whether you’ve been reading poetry for years or haven’t read a single line since high school, these poems are sure to inspire and delight you.”

But, now, allow me to give you a “teaser” – a classic from the Bard, William Shakespeare.

4. Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 29, by William Shakespeare cover sitting on a chair.

No list of poems is complete without the Bard himself. Known primarily for his plays, universally accepted as some of the best works in world literature, Shakespeare was also a poet, composing over 150 sonnets in his lifetime. Sonnet 29 is a lamentation on the loss of fame and fortune but ends with a meditation on the love that he has for his beloved. Works such as It’s a Wonderful Life echo the themes in Shakespeare’s Sonnet, showing us that the company of loved ones far outweighs all the riches that the world offers.

Source: 20 Classic Poems Every Man Should Read | The Art of Manliness

Published in: on April 29, 2022 at 8:47 PM  Leave a Comment  

Spring 2022 in Photos – Update on PRC Seminary

With the arrival of Spring, it’s time to pass along a little update on life at seminary by way of pictures. The above photo was taken on March 20, when the 4th graders from Hope PR Christian School in Walker made a visit. They are privileged each year to be introduced to the place and work of the seminary in the PRC, to receive a tour of the building, and then participate in devotions before enjoying fellowship over snacks with the faculty and students. Always a blessing for us, and we trust for them too. And maybe a seed sown in the heart of a boy to consider the ministry. We so pray.

Spring has come slowly to West Michigan, which is in general better for plants and flowers and crops. We’ve had a roller coaster March and April, typified by the passage of a front captured in this next photo – days of dark clouds and rain followed by brilliant sunshine.

And Spring also means clean-up time, including dead trees around seminary that Prof. Gritters likes to cut down, cut up, and haul away for his wood-fire stove at home. (Can you spot him in the trees and brush?)

That also means it’s time for a fresh coat of bark around the landscape, which happened this week. And after that first mow, things look grand in green and dark bark!

It becomes so peaceful in the afternoon out back sometimes that the deer just settle down for their naps and rest. Unlike the professors and students, of course! (Can you spot the deer on the edge of the grass and woods?)

No, the faculty and students stay busy with their teaching, research, and studies. The photo above shows freshman Aaron Van Dyke delivering his first seminary sermon. This is always done for Prof. B. Gritters’ Homiletics course (sermon making), a careful process involving learning the art homily method – taking the main theme of a text and developing it logically into its sub-parts, along with biblically based applications.

Sometimes the students work together on assignments or projects. The above picture shows Isaac Peters (back) and Matt Koerner (front-l) and Marcus Wee (front-r) preparing for a Student Club meeting this past Thursday night.

Usually they work solo, whether in their study carrels or a classroom or on the larger tables in the library, where they can spread things out (That’s Arend Haveman with Prof. R. Cammenga in the background).

But, of course, we also continue our tradition of grilled lunches on Friday – usually brats (Tim Bleyenberg’s Sheldon Meat brats – the best around!) but sometimes burgers, and sometimes specially delivered lunches as we had from Sheri Pastoor this past Wednesday – delicious lasagna with fresh fruit and rolls! Thank you for your kindness! And when guests join us on Friday, that just adds to the blessing of these relaxing times.

And then there’s my library helper, Kevin Rau, who just received a new bike upgrade. It’s a beauty, and he claims he can get from Walker to Wyoming faster now. I don’t know, I think maybe he stopped at a donut shop along the way with the time he saved. I’m grateful for the good work – and humor – that Kevin brings to the seminary. Keep rolling, my friend!

Hope your Spring is bright and beautiful with God’s daily gifts. Treasure the glory of this special season.

Published in: on April 23, 2022 at 9:07 PM  Comments (1)  

PRC History – Poem of Congregational Clues

Yesterday while sorting through some donated magazines, including some Beacon Lights issues, I came across this poem written by Thelma Westra (former member of First PRC-GR and Faith PRC) for the January 1996 BL issue. It is titled “I Am a P.R. Congregation,” and in rhyme form it contains clues for the PRC congregations that were in existence at that time. Hint: Two of these have since disbanded.

I post it here today because it’s a clever way to review some PRC history while also having fun guessing the congregations. Have fun!

P.S. No, I’m not going to post the answer page. Yet, anyway. It’s good to struggle a bit first. 🙂 Now, don’t you go look it up without trying first!

Published in: on April 21, 2022 at 10:31 AM  Leave a Comment  

Significant New Books, 1st Quarter 2022 (2) – PRC Seminary Library

Earlier this month (see my April 9 post), we began to feature some of the new items that have been added to the PRC Seminary library in the first quarter of this year. In this post we complete the list of significant additions.

As I mentioned then, this list I have drawn up is not exhaustive but representative of the resources (books) purchased for – and donated to – the seminary library. It was a good quarter, as a new budget gave me fresh funds to purchase books and many excellent new and used titles became available.

In this post we will feature the dogmatic and practical theology titles as well as miscellaneous titles (apologetics, culture, music, etc.) added in January to March of 2022. Enjoy the list, and perhaps you will not only find something worthwhile to read but also to purchase for your own library – church, family, or individual. As you know by now, that certainly is part of my purpose in posting these lists. 🙂

Dogmatics, Biblical Theology, Historical Theology

  • Celebrating the Legacy of the Reformation. Kevin L. King, editor; Edward E. Hindson, editor; Benjamin K. Forrest, editor. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2019.
  • Three Reformation Catechisms: Catholic, Anabaptist, Lutheran. Denis Janz; Dietrich Coelde, c.1435-1515; Balthasar Hubmaier, -1528. New York: E. Mellen Press, 1982 (Texts and Studies in Religion) v. 13
  • The Reformation and the Irrepressible Word of God: Interpretation, Theology, and Practice. Scott M. Manetsch, editor. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2019.
  • From Wittenberg to the World: Essays on the Reformation and Its Legacy in Honor of Robert Kolb. Charles P. Arand, editor; Erik H. Herrmann, editor; Daniel L. Mattson, editor; Herman J. Selderhuis (series ed.). Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018 (Refo500 Academic Studies) Vol.50.
  • Works of Martin Luther: With Introductions and Notes. Martin Luther, 1483-1546; Henry Eyster Jacobs; Adolph Spaeth. (Philadelphia ed., Muhlenberg Press, 1930-43 (6 vols. with all the classic works of the Reformer).
  • Calvin and the Body: An Inquiry into His Anthropology. Alida Leni Sewell. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2011.
  • Poverty in the Theology of John Calvin. Bonnie L. Pattison; Kenneth C. Hanson. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, c2006 (Princeton Theological Monograph Series), vol. 69.
  • Uncovering Calvin’s God: John Calvin on Predestination and the Love of God. Forrest H. Buckner; Oliver D. Crisp. Lanham, MD: Fortress Academic, 2020.
  • The Ecclesiology of Theodore Beza: The Reform of the True Church. Tadataka Maruyama. Geneva: Droz, 1978 (Travaux D’humanisme Et Renaissance) vol. 166
  • Peter Ramus: Precursor to Descartes Against the Confessional Reformed Faith. Jean-Marc Berthoud. Monticello, FL: Psalm 78 Ministries, 2020.
  • Theoretical-Practical Theology: The Works of God and the Fall of Man (Vol.3) Peter van Mastricht, 1630-1706; Todd M. Rester, Transl.; Joel R. Beeke, ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2021.
  • Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Wayne A. Grudem (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020.
  • Augustine and Tradition: Influences, Contexts, Legacy; Essays in Honor of J. Patout Burns. David G. Hunter, editor; Jonathan Yates, editor. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2021.
  • Embracing Doctrine and Life: Simon Oomius in the Context of  Further Reformation Orthodoxy. Gregory D. Schuringa; Richard A. Muller. Allegan, MI: North Star Ministry Press, 2021.
  • Reading Karl Barth: New Directions for North American Theology. Kurt A. Richardson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004.
  • The Case for Freewill Theism: A Philosophical Assessment. David Basinger. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, c1996.
  • God to Us: Covenant Theology in Scripture. Stephen G. Myers. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2021.
  • The Abuse of God’s Grace: Discovered in the Kinds, Causes, Punishments, Symptoms, Cures, Differences, and Cautions, with Practical Application, Proposed as a Seasonable Check to the Wanton Libertinism of the Present Age. Nicholas Claget, 1610?-1662; John MacArthur; Don. Kistler. (reprint) Orlando, FL: The Northhampton Press, 2021.
  • Christology Ancient & Modern: Explorations in Constructive Theology. Oliver Crisp, ed.; Fred Sanders, ed.; Katherine Sonderegger. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013.
  • Why Did Jesus Live a Perfect Life?: The Necessity of Christ’s Obedience for Our Salvation. Brandon D. Crowe. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021.
  • God With Us: Knowing the Mystery of Who Jesus Is. Daniel R. Hyde. (2nd ed.) Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2021.
  • For Us and Our Salvation: Incarnation and Atonement in the Reformed Tradition. Bruce L. McCormack. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, c1993 (Studies in Reformed Theology and History) v. 1.2
  • The New Man: An Orthodox and Reformed Dialogue. John Meyendorff, ed.; Joseph C. McLelland, ed.; James I. McCord. New Brunswick, NJ: Agora Books, 1973.
  • Richard Baxter’s Understanding of Infant Baptism. Hans Boersma. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, c2002 (Studies In Reformed Theology and History) v.7
  • God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King. Andrew T. Abernethy; Greg. Goswell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.
  • The Biblical Doctrine of Election. Harold Henry Rowley. London: Lutterworth Press, 1950.
  • Trinity Without Hierarchy: Reclaiming Nicene Orthodoxy in Evangelical Theology. Michael F. Bird, editor; Scott D. Harrower, editor; Peter J. Leithart. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019.
  • Knowing Sin: Seeing a Neglected Doctrine Through the Eyes of the Puritans. Mark Jones. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2021.
  • The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God. David S. Schrock; Dane C. Ortlund, editor; Miles V. Van Pelt, editor. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022 (Short Studies in Biblical Theology)
  • Salvation by Faith: Faith, Covenant and the Order of Salvation in Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680). Hyo-nam Kim; Herman J. Selderhuis (series). Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019 (Reformed Historical Theology), vol. 57
  • John Calvin on the Diaconate and Liturgical Almsgiving. Elsie Anne. McKee. Geneva: Libr. Droz, 1984 (Travaux D’humanisme Et Renaissance) vol. 197.
  • Primary Mission of the Church: Engaging or Transforming the World? Bryan D. Estelle; J. V. Fesko and Matthew Barrett. Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, 2022 (Reformed Exegetical Doctrinal Studies Series (R.E.D.S.)
  • The Church in the Bible and the World: An International Study. D. A. Carson; Edmund P. Clowney; P. T. O’Brien. Exeter, UK: Paternoster Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, c1987.

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

  • After Emmaus: How the Church Fulfills the Mission of Christ. Brian J. Tabb. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021.
  • Classics of Christian Missions. Francis M. DuBose. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1979.
  • No Shortcut to Success: A Manifesto for Modern Missions. Matt Rhodes. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022 (9Marks).
  • Is It Unspiritual to Be Depressed?: Loved by God in the Midst of Pain. Paul Ritchie.; David Blevins.Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, 2022.
  • God, Technology, and the Christian Life. Tony Reinke. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • When Home Hurts: A Guide for Responding Wisely to Domestic Abuse in Your Church. Jeremy Pierre; Greg Wilson. Fearne, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, 2021.
  • No More Hurting: Life Beyond Sexual Abuse. Gwen Purdie; Leanne Payne. Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus Publications, 2005
  • The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home. Chris Moles. Bemidji, MN: Focus Publishing, 2015.
  • Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores. Diane Langberg. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2015.
  • Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Diane Langberg. Maitland, FL: Xulon Press, 2003.
  • Treasure in the Ashes: Our Journey Home from the Ruins of Sexual Abuse. Sue Nicewander; Maria Brookins. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2018.
  • Growing in Holiness: Understanding God’s Role and Yours. Robert C. Sproul. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2020.
  • Iron Sharpens Iron: Friendship and the Grace of God. Michael A. G. Haykin; Michael Reeves. Bridgend, UK: Union Publishing, 2022.

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

  • Classical Pastoral Care, T. Oden Baker, 1994, Vols.2-4 (library had vol.1)
    • Ministry Through Word and Sacrament, v.2
    • Pastoral Counsel, v.3
    • Crisis Ministries, v.4
  • Discussions in Church Polity. Charles Hodge, 1797-1878; Alan D. Strange; Archibald A. Hodge; William Durant, comp. (reprint) New York: Westminster Publishing House, 2001.
  • I Will Build My Church: Selected Writings on Church Polity, Baptism, and the Sabbath. Thomas Witherow, 1824-1890; Sinclair B. Ferguson; Jonathan Gibson, editor. Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 2021.
  • The Evangelism Mandate: Recovering the Centrality of Gospel Preaching. David L. Larsen. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, c1992.
  • Preaching the Heart of God: The Place of Pathos in Preaching. Mike Mellor. Leominster, England: Day One Publications, 2021.
  • Called to Preach: Fulfilling the High Calling of Expository Preaching. Steven J. Lawson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2022.
  • The Pastor with a Thorn in His Side: Stories of Ministering with Depression and What the Church Can Do to Help. Stephen Kneale; Dave Williams; Alistair Chalmers. UK: Grace Publications, 2021.
  • The Heart of the Cross. James M. Boice; Philip G. Ryken. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2022.
  • Friendship: The Heart of Being Human. Victor Lee Austin.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020 (Pastoring for Life: Theological Wisdom for Ministering Well)
  • The Loveliest Place: The Beauty and Glory of the Church. Dustin W. Benge; Michael Reeves. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice. William R. Edwards, ed.; John C. A. Ferguson, ed.; Chad B. Van Dixhoorn, ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2022.
  • The Study of Liturgy. Cheslyn Jones; Geoffrey Wainwright; Edward Yarnold (revised ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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

  • The Faithful Apologist: Rethinking the Role of Persuasion in Apologetics. K. Scott Oliphint. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2022.
  • The Hope of the Gospel: Theological Education and the Next Generation. Mark Young.  Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2022 (Theological Education Between the Times)
  • Redeeming Our Thinking About History: A God-Centered Approach. Vern S. Poythress. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • Recovering Our Sanity: How the Fear of God Conquers the Fears That Divide Us. Michael S. Horton; Russell Moore. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2022.
  • Choral Music of the Church. Elwyn A. Wienandt. New York: Free Press, 1965.
Published in: on April 19, 2022 at 9:52 PM  Leave a Comment  

Resurrection Day 2022 – “My Lord and My God”

From a meditation of Rev. Jason Kortering on John 20:27,28, published originally in the Standard Bearer (April 15, 1968)

“Thomas had a problem. 

“Under the providential direction of God, he had missed the great unveiling. Throughout the first resurrection Sabbath, reports came to the upper room that Jesus had arisen from the dead. The first feeble evidence came early in the morning after Mary had detected trouble and left the company of the women to return immediately to the disciples to report the open tomb. Her report, “They have stolen his body, and we know not where they have laid him.” Immediately Peter and John raced to the tomb, witnessed the grave clothes and left convicted by the evidence. While these disciples were away, the women informed the remaining ones that they had seen the risen Lord. Soon their tale was confirmed by Mary who also had received such a visit in the garden. Toward evening the travelers to Emmaus returned with the marvelous tidings that Christ had made Himself known unto them in the breaking of bread. They were greeted by the joyful song, “The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared unto Simon.” That same evening, while the disciples were musing on these great wonders, the door being closed, Jesus suddenly stood in their midst. He showed them His hands and feet, He ate broiled fish. 

“Thomas missed it all. 

“His reaction? “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

“We don’t know where Thomas was or why he wasn’t there with the other disciples. One thing is sure, God wanted Thomas excluded. It was for our sakes. 

“For Thomas seeing was believing. 

“He wasn’t convinced by what others told him, he had to see for himself. We read of Thomas in three specific instances. The first was at the time Jesus announced that He was going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. Thomas reacted by saying, “Let us go that we may die with Him.” The second time involved the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Before going to Gethsemane Jesus told His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God believe also in me . . . . I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there ye may be also.” Thomas reacted to this by saying, “Lord we know not whither thou goest, how can we know the way?” The third event is that recorded in our text. 

“From this evidence we can easily understand the position Thomas took. He wasn’t pessimistic. He wasn’t a naive doubter. He simply didn’t believe anything he couldn’t touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. He was made captive to his senses. 

“He had to learn that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

“God placed Thomas here in the midst of the glory of the resurrection in order to silence the argument of scientism, “Give us proof!” With this incident recorded in the infallible Scriptures God answers human skepticism with the response of the faith of Thomas, “My Lord and My God!” 

“The marvel of this event is that God comes to each one of us in the way that we need Him. This was true for the women, agitated and perplexed He greeted them with, “All hail!” Mary longed to have her Jesus back in order that she might minister to His needs, so Jesus said to her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended unto my Father in heaven.” The disciples were confused and terrified and to them He said, “Peace be unto you.” He showed them the nail prints and they rejoiced. Peter was troubled at the thought of having denied his Lord three times, to Him Jesus rejoined, “Simon, Son of Jonas lovest thou me more than these?” After the third time he courageously answered not simply, Lord I like you, but Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee! 

“And here we have Thomas who has to see in order to believe. 

“For his sake Jesus returned the next Sunday. 

“Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.” 

“How merciful of our Father in heaven. 

“He could have said to Thomas, because thou wouldst not believe except thou didst see, I cannot use you, depart from me, you are not worthy to be my disciple. 

“No, Christ returned for the benefit of Thomas. He preached the unsearchable riches of His glory to him. Christ produced the evidence which Thomas needed. 

“To this Thomas replied, “My Lord and my God!” Suddenly the dark veil of unbelief is rolled back. Now he could understand that Christ was Lord. He had indeed descended into the depth of death and hell and now He had come forth triumphantly with a real body, the same one now glorified. 

“Thomas began to understand what Paul wrote later, “If Christ be not risen ye are yet in your sins.” But now is Christ risen from the dead! He is now the Lord of life. Having satisfied the demands of the righteous God and having purchased redemption for His own, Thomas saw the Lordship of Christ. He had conquered all the foes, He had swallowed up death in victory. “O death where is thy sting, O grave thy victory? . . . . Thanks be to God that giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Christ we are freed from the tyranny of sin and death and brought into the liberty of the children of God.”

Published in: on April 17, 2022 at 7:41 AM  Leave a Comment  

Deeper in Knowing God’s Love in Christ: “Your life doesn’t disprove Christ’s love; his life proves it.”

“And yet it often isn’t that simple, is it? [To know the love of Christ for us personally.] Some of us, no matter how much we try, no matter how much Bible we read, find the experience of God’s love elusive.

“Some of us look at the evidence of our lives, mindful of the pain we’ve endured, and we do not know how to respond except with cold cynicism. The love of Christ? we wonder. Is this a joke? You’re living in la-la land, Dane. This all sounds so nice in theory. But look at the wreckage of my life. I know deep down in my bones I was created to be a palace, magnificent and stately. But I’m a pile of bombed-out rubble given the way others have treated me, wronged me, victimized me. My life disproves the love of Christ.

If you are having thoughts like that as you hear of Christ’s love, I want you to know that you’re looking at the wrong life. Your life doesn’t disprove Christ’s love; his life proves it.

“In heaven, the eternal Son of God was ‘palatial’ magnificence if anything ever was. But he became a man and, instead of ruling in glorious authority as one would expect of God-become-man, he was rejected and killed. His own life was reduced to bombed-out rubble. Why? So that he could sweep sinful you into his deepest heart and never let you go, having satisfied the Father’s righteous wrath toward you in his atoning death.

“Your suffering does not define you. His does. You have endured pain involuntarily. He has endured pain voluntarily, for you. Your pain in meant to push you to flee to him where he endured what you deserve.

“If Jesus himself was willing to journey down into the suffering of hell, you can bank everything on his love as you journey through your own suffering on your way up to heaven.”

Taken from the fourth chapter (“Embrace,” as in the embrace of God’s love in Christ) of Dane Ortlund’s new book Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners (Crossway, 2021), pp.80-81. This title is a ‘sequel’ to his Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Crossway, 2020), and is about how to grow in the Christian life. So far, I have benefitted richly from this book too.

Published in: on April 14, 2022 at 9:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

Rock of Ages Cleft for Me – A. Toplady on the Suffering and Death of Jesus Christ

Back in 2016 I posted these two poems by the great Calvinist poet and hymnwriter, Augustus Toplady. As we have entered the week of Good Friday, it is fitting to post these two poems once again – one quite familiar, the other perhaps not so. But both are wonderful expressions of the believer’s faith in and love for his Savior. Both of these are taken from the website poemhunter.com.

May they serve to instruct us in the truth of what Christ has done for us sinners, and to inflame our hearts to thank and praise our God for so great salvation in His Son.

Rock Of Ages, Cleft For Me

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flow’d,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.

Not the labours of my hands
Can fulfil thy Law’s demands:
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and Thou alone!

Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly:
Wash me, SAVIOUR, or I die!

Whilst I draw this fleeting breath–
When my eye-strings break in death–
When I soar through tracts unknown–
See Thee on thy Judgment-throne–
ROCK of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in THEE!

Fountain Of Never-Ceasing Grace

Fountain of never ceasing grace,
Thy saints’ exhaustless theme,
Great object of immortal praise,
Essentially supreme;
We bless Thee for the glorious fruits
Thine incarnation gives;
The righteousness which grace imputes,
And faith alone receives.

Whom heaven’s angelic host adores,
Was slaughtered for our sin;
The guilt, O Lord was wholly ours,
The punishment was Thine:
Our God in the flesh, to set us free,
Was manifested here;
And meekly bare our sins, that we
His righteousness might wear.

Imputatively guilty then
Our substitute was made,
That we the blessings might obtain
For which His blood was shed:
Himself He offered on the cross,
Our sorrows to remove;
And all He suffered was for us,
And all He did was love.

In Him we have a righteousness,
By God Himself approved;
Our rock, our sure foundation this,
Which never can be moved.
Our ransom by His death He paid,
For all His people giv’n,
The law He perfectly obeyed,
That they might enter heav’n.

As all, when Adam sinned alone,
In his transgression died,
So by the righteousness of One,
Are sinners justified,
We to Thy merit, gracious Lord,
With humblest joy submit,
Again to Paradise restored,
In Thee alone complete.

Our souls His watchful love retrieves,
Nor lets them go astray,
His righteousness to us He gives,
And takes our sins away:
We claim salvation in His right,
Adopted and forgiv’n,
His merit is our robe of light,
His death the gate of heav’n.

Published in: on April 12, 2022 at 10:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

Significant New Books, 1st Quarter 2022 (1) – PRC Seminary Library

What better way to celebrate the last day of National Library Week than noting some of the new items that have been added to the PRC Seminary library in the first quarter of this year!

As in the past, I note that this just-completed list is not exhaustive but representative of the resources (books) purchased for – and donated to – the seminary library. It was a good quarter, as a new budget gave me fresh funds to purchase books and many excellent new and used titles became available (a special thanks to the Neal Pastoor family for allowing us to go through his book collection after his departure to glory in January of this year). Plus, with new professors working on theses and teaching courses for the first time, titles that were not on our ‘radar’ before were made known and obtained.

Also, as before, this list is only the first part of a lengthy list. In this post, we will feature the biblical studies and church history titles that were added in January to March of 2022. Enjoy the list, and perhaps you will not only find something worthwhile to read but also to purchase for your own library – church, family, or individual. As you know by now, that certainly is part of my purpose in posting these lists. 🙂

Biblical studies/ Commentaries/ Biblical Theology


  • Baker Commentary on the Old Testament (Baker Books)
    • Genesis – J. Goldingay, 2020 
  • Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation (B&H Publishing)
    • Commentary on Romans. D. Peterson, 2017.
    • Commentary on 1-2 Timothy and Titus. A.Kostenberger, 2017.
  • Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament (B&H Publishing)
    • Romans. J. D. Harvey, 2017
  • God’s Word for You (Good Book Co)
    • 2 Peter & Jude for You, M. Nunez, 2022
  • International Theological Commentary (Wm. B. Eerdmans)
    • Inheriting the Land – Joshua, E. J. Hamlin, 1983.
    • Surely There Is a Future – Ruth, E. J. Hamlin, 1996
    • Nations Under God – 1 Kings, G. Rice, 1990.
    • Israel Alive Again – Ezra & Nehemiah, Holmgren, 1987.
    • Israel Among the Nations – Nahum, Obadiah, & Esther, R. Coggins, S. Re’emi, 1985.
    • God’s People in Crisis – Amos & Lamentations, Martin-Achard, 1984.
    • A Promise of Hope – Joel & Malachi, Ogden, 1987.
  • New Covenant Commentary (Cascade Books)
    • Revelation: A New Covenant Commentary. Gordon D. Fee, 2011.
  • New International Commentary on the OT (Wm. B. Eerdmans)
    • Jeremiah. J. Goldingay, 2021.
  • Opening Up (Day One Publications)
    • Deuteronomy. A. Thomson, 2015.
    • Esther. R. Dale, 2021.
    • Isaiah. A. Thomson, 2012.
    • Nahum. C. Anderson, 2005.
    • Zechariah. R. Ellsworth, 2010.
    • Mark. J. Winter, 2021.
  • Reformed Expository Commentary (P&R)
    • Hosea. R. Philips, 2021.
    • Romans. D. Doriani, 2021.

Other Commentaries (Individual)

  • Suffering Wisely and Well: The Grief of Job and the Grace of God. Eric Ortlund.  Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022.
  • Our Heavenly Shepherd: Comfort and Strength from Psalm 23. Ian Hamilton. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2022.
  • Bible Studies on Mark. William Boekestein. Grandville, MI: Reformed Fellowship, 2016.
  • Stand Bold in Grace: An Exposition of Hebrews. Robert G. Gromacki. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984.
  • Revelation: A Practical Commentary. L. van Hartingsveld; John Vriend, trans. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985.
  • The Sermons to the Seven Churches of Revelation: A Commentary and Guide. Jeffrey A. D. Weima. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021.
  • View from Above: An Exposition of God’s Revelation to John. Jan Degelder. Fergus, ON: The Study, 2021.

Individual Biblical Studies Titles

  • Evangelicals and Inerrancy: [Selections from the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society]. Ronald F. Youngblood; Roger R. Nicole; Stanley E. Anderson. Nashville: T. Nelson, c1984.
  • Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. William W.  Klein; Craig L. Blomberg; Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. (Rev. & expanded). Nashville, TN:  Thomas Nelson, c2004.
  • In All the Scriptures: The Three Contexts of Biblical Hermeneutics. Nicholas G. Piotrowski; Graeme Goldsworthy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2021.
  • The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians. N. T.  (Nicholas Thomas) Wright; Michael F. Bird. Grand Rapids, MI; London: Zondervan Academic; SPCK, 2019.
  • The Trustworthiness of God’s Words: Why the Reliability of Every Word from God Matters. Layton Talbert. Fearn, Ross-shire, GB: Christian Focus, 2022.
  • A Beginner’s Guide to New Testament Studies: Understanding Key Debates. Nijay K. Gupta. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.
  • The Mission of the Triune God: A Theology of Acts. Patrick Schreiner; Thomas R. Schreiner and Brian S. Rosner. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022 (New Testament Theology)

Language Tools

  • A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Rodney A. Whitacre. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2021 (Eerdmans Language Resources)
  • Linguistics and New Testament Greek: Key Issues in the Current Debate. David Alan Black, editor; Benjamin L. Merkle, editor. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2020.

Church History, General and Biography

  • Christianity in the Roman Empire: Key Figures, Beliefs, and Practices of the Early Church, AD 100-300. Robert E. Winn. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2018.
  • Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church. Michael J. Kruger. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018.
  • Church History: Volume One: From Christ to the Pre-Reformation – The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context. Everett Ferguson.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, c2005, 2013.
  • Church History: Volume Two: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day – The Rise and Growth of the Church in Its Cultural, Intellectual, and Political Context. John D. Woodbridge; Frank A. James. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.
  • Luther: Out of the Storm. Derek Wilson. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • Couriers of the Gospel: England and Zurich, 1531-1558. Carrie Euler. Zurich: TVZ Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 2006 (Zurcher Beitrage Zur Reformationsgeschichte), vol. 25.
  • Reforming Geneva: Discipline, Faith and Anger in Calvin’s Geneva. Robert M. Kingdon. Geneva: Librairie Droz S.A., 2012 (Cahiers D’humanisme Et Renaissance) vol. 103
  • A History of the Baptists: Traced by Their Vital Principles and Practices, From the Time of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the Year 1886. Thomas Armitage, 1819-1896; J. L. M. Curry. (reprint) Watertown, WI: Maranatha Baptist Press, 1976 (2 vols.).
  • History of the Presbyterian Churches of the World: Adapted for Use in the Class Room. R. C.  (Richard Clark) Reed, 1851-1925. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1905 (classic reprint).
  • The United Churches of Hackensack and Schraalenburgh, New Jersey, 1686-1822. Adrian C. Leiby. River Edge, NJ: Bergen County Historical Society, 1976.
  • Thirty-Seven Years of Holland-American Relations: 1803 to 1840. Peter Hoekstra. Grand Rapids, MI; Paterson, NJ: Eerdmans-Sevensma Co., 1916.
  • History of the Reformed Church in the U.S. in the Nineteenth Century. James I.  Good, 1850-1924. New York: Board of Publication of the Reformed Church in America, 1911.
  • History of the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church in the United States, 1825-1934: Evangelical and Reformed Church, 1934-1952. George W. Richards, 1869-1955. Lancaster, PA, 1952.
  • A History of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. David Dunn; Paul N. Crusius; James E. Wagner. Philadelphia: Christian Education Press, 1961.
  • Reformed and Evangelical Across Four Centuries: The Presbyterian Story in America. Nathan P. Feldmeth; S. Donald Fortson; Garth Rosell. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2022.
  • Refusing to Kiss the Slipper: Opposition to Calvinism in the Francophone Reformation. Michael W. Bruening; Richard A. Muller. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021 (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology Series)
Published in: on April 9, 2022 at 10:16 AM  Leave a Comment  

It’s National Library Week!

That’s right, it is the time of year to celebrate and promote libraries with National Library Week (April 3-9). The theme for this year is “Connect with Your Library,” and that is a great way to communicate the idea that we all need to make our local library an important part of our lives.

The library is not only a wonderful place to find great books and periodicals to read, but also a place to research your next trip, participate in community events, and find helpful programs for personal development.

And, of course, there are also many specialty libraries one can connect with, such as the PRC Seminary library. With its diverse and growing collection of Christian and Calvinist (Reformed) resources, our seminary library offers plenty of means for personal growth in faith and life. I invite you to make a visit and see what we have for your needs and desires.

I’m also grateful to be part of the Association of Christian Librarians, which offers great support for Christian librarians working in large universities and small seminaries. Being able to connect with outstanding professionals daily is a wonderful encouragement.

The ACL put out this statement today in connection with NLW:

“Each year the Association of Christian Librarians uses National Library Week as an opportunity to call our membership to prayer for ACL, members, and the libraries in which we serve. The 2022 National Library Week theme is Connect with Your Library! With that theme in mind, today’s prayer focus is the many ways ACL provides opportunities for members to connect with each other.

“We give thanks for our ACL discussion list and the many ways it provides opportunities for encouragement and problem-solving. Pray the discussion list can continue to be a positive and uplifting resource to members and for members to be wise in our use of this resource.

“Many ACL members find our Sections and Special Interest Groups a wonderful place to make connections with others who serve in similar settings or have a particular work interest or focus. Let’s give thanks for these groups and pray for those volunteers who lead them.”

Two of the groups that I belong to and participate in are the solo librarians group and the seminary librarians group. Weekly there is lively interaction and stimulating discussions on a wide variety of topics, besides shared devotionals and words of encouragement.

During this NLW celebration, I encourage you to connect with your library – for reading, research, and refreshing support! Find your next great read and discover some new adventures through your local library!

Additional note: Tuesday is National Library Workers Day, and I would like to acknowledge my top-notch assistants: Sharon Kleyn (our seminary secretary) and Kevin Rau. Thanks for all you do for me – I couldn’t do it without you!

Published in: on April 4, 2022 at 10:46 PM  Leave a Comment  

Father, Forgive Them and The Cross – J. Newton (Olney Hymns)

Father Forgive Them

Father, forgive (the Saviour said)
They know not what they do:
His heart was moved when thus he prayed
For me, my friends, and you.

He saw, that as the Jews abused
And crucified his flesh;
So he, by us, would be refused,
And crucified afresh.

Through love of sin, we long were prone
To act as Satan bid;
But now, with grief and shame we own,
We knew not what we did.

We knew not the desert of sin,
Nor whom we thus defied;
Nor where our guilty souls had been,
If Jesus had not died.

We knew not what a law we broke,
How holy, just and pure!
Nor what a God we durst provoke,
But thought ourselves secure.

But Jesus all our guilt foresaw,
And shed his precious blood
To satisfy the holy law,
And make our peace with God.

My sin, dear Saviour, made thee bleed,
Yet didst thou pray for me!
I knew not what I did, indeed,
When ignorant of thee.

Olney Hymn #109 by John Newton (1725-1807)

The Cross

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear;
‘Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

I saw one hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
Who fixed his languid eyes on me,
As near his cross I stood.

Sure, never to my latest breath
Can I forget that look:
It seemed to charge me with his death,
Though not a word he spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins his blood had spilt,
And helped to nail him there.

Alas I knew not what I did,
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain.

A second look he gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I’ll die that thou mayest live.”

Thus, while his death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
(Such is the mystery of grace)
It seals my pardon too.

With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
My spirit now is filled,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by him I killed.

Olney Hymn #57

Published in: on April 2, 2022 at 9:14 PM  Leave a Comment