A Rare Book on the Synod of Dordt, 1621

Last month we began to highlight the 400th anniversary of the “great” Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), which begins this year and will extend into next year. In our initial post we simply called attention to some general things.

In this post I want to begin to call attention to some of the special books we have in the PRC Seminary library on the Synod and its work, including, of course, books on the Canons of Dordt, which set forth the distinctive doctrines of the Reformed faith over against the Arminianism that the Synod was called to contend against (This latter type books we will feature at a later time.).


One of those special books is found in our rare book case and is a 1621 edition of the Acts of the Synod of Dordt (cf. outside binding above and title page with familiar drawing of the delegates below).


Yes, you read that correctly – a 1621 edition – printed only two years after the Synod had ended. As you may guess, this work is in Dutch and in old script, which can make it difficult to read.


But, you can certainly make out some of the words, especially on those pages where the various delegates are mentioned from the states and provinces in the Netherlands (cf. pages above and below). Those of us in West Michigan will recognize these provinces because they also are towns found nearby – Drenthe, Overisel, Zeeland, Holland (north and south), Graafschap, Zutphen.

You may notice that the names and the descriptions of the men are Latinized (that is, stated in Latin), which was the language of the church at that time yet.


The page below shows some familiar names at the end of a section of addressing the articles of the Remonstrants (Arminians).


That’s it for now – although I might add that a “new” article on the Synod of Dordt has been added to the PRC website“Our Debt to Dordt” – by one of our current professors, Ronald L. Cammenga. Be sure to read that for more information and inspiration on how Dordt impacts us today.

What the Church Loses as She Abandons the KJV – “Authorized” by M. Ward

authorized-ward-2018We are beginning to look at a new book that examines Christians’ use and misuse of the King James Version of the Bible. The book is Authorized: The Use & Misuse of the King James Bible, written by Mark Ward and published by Lexham Press (2018).

In our first post we introduced the book and gave a glimpse of its contents, leaving a quotation from the author’s introduction. Today let’s look at chapter 1, which Ward titles, “What We Lose as the Church Stops Using the KJV.”

Ward makes this comment to start the chapter:

Much of English-speaking Christianity has sent the King James Version, too, to that part of the forest where trees fall with no one there to hear them. That’s what we do with old Bible translations.

But I don’t think many people have carefully considered what will happen if we all decide to let the KJV die and another take its office.

There are at least five valuable things we lose – things that in many places we are losing and have already lost – if we give up the KJV… [p.7]

Those five things are these (first I will quote them, then I will reference one further):

  1. We lose intergenerational ties in the body of Christ.
  2. We lose Scripture memory by osmosis.
  3. We lose a cultural touchstone.
  4. We lose some of the implicit trust Christians have in the Bibles in their laps.
  5. We lose some of the implicit trust non-Christians have in Scripture.

Ward makes good points in connection with each of these, but we will focus on what he has to say about #2 – and his point ought to be well taken:

When an entire church, or group of churches, or even an entire nations of Christians, uses basically one Bible translation, genuinely wonderful things happen. An individual Christian’s knowledge of the Bible increases almost by accident, because certain phrases become woven into the language of the community.

…Christians in my growing-up years were constantly reinforcing each other’s knowledge of the KJV every time they mentioned it in conversation. We were teaching each other Bible phrases when we read Scripture out loud together in church. (Corporate reading from five different translations just doesn’t work. I’ve heard it done – no, attempted.)

People can memorize any Bible translation on their own, but the community value of learning by osmosis is eroded when people aren’t reinforcing precisely the same wording. It helps to have a common standard. That standard doesn’t have to be the KJV, of course. [This is going to be the author’s thesis throughout, in spite of what he says positively and powerfully here and elsewhere about the Bible with which he grew up.] But no other translation seems likely to serve in the role. If indeed the King is dying, it is just as sure that none of his sons or cousins have managed to become the heir apparent.[pp.8-9]

That last point is, indeed, putting it mildly. As the modern versions have proliferated, Christians have been tossed hither and yon on the sea of Bible versions – to their spiritual detriment, we believe. And yet we recognize that the KJV has issues with modern Christians – even our own children and young people. Why? And what can be done about it?

Next time we will consider more of what Ward has to say about this matter.

Ordinary Callings: Cultural Transformation or Loving Service ? M. Horton

ordinary-MHorton-2014The above is the heading of a section of Michael Horton’s book Or-di-nary (see details below), in which he contrasts the gospel’s call to “ordinary” Christian service in the church and in the world, based on Christ’s saving work for believers and the Holy Spirit’s work in them, with the popular idea of transforming society or culture.

Here are a few of his significant thoughts (He makes five of them):

First, the call to radical transformation of society can easily distract faith’s gaze from Christ and focus it on ourselves. Such people hold that the gospel has to be something more than the good news concerning Christ’s victory. It has to expand to include our good works rather than to create the faith that bears the fruit of good works. The church has to be something more than the place where God humbles himself, serving sinners with his redeeming grace. It has to be the home base for our activism, more than being the site of God’s activity from which we are sent and scattered like salt into the world.

…Far too many people hold that it’s not who we are that determines what we do, but what we do that determines who we are. Community service becomes something more than believers simply loving their neighbors through their ordinary callings in the world. It becomes part of the church’s missionary task. It’s not what we hear and receive, but what we are and do that gives us a sense of identity and purpose. We need something more than the gospel to trust in – or at least the gospel has to be something more than the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for sinners Apparently, Jesus got the ball rolling, but we are his partners in redeeming the world.

Instead of following the example of John the Baptist, who pointed away from himself to ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29), we offer our own lives and transformations as the good news. But this is to deny the gospel and therefore to cut off the power of true godliness and neighbor love at its root.

And in his next point he makes this solid point:

Second, radical views of cultural transformation actually harm our callings in this world. The most basic problem is that it reverses the direction of God’s gift giving.  According to Scripture, God gives us life, redeems us, justifies us, and renews us. He does this by his Spirit, through the gospel – not just in the beginning, but throughout our lives. Hearing this gospel, from Genesis to Revelation, is the means by which the Spirit creates faith in our hearts. United to Christ, our faith immediately begins to bear the fruit of evangelical repentance and good works. We offer these not to God for reimbursement, but to our neighbors for their good. If we reverse this flow of gifts, nobody wins. God is offended by our presumption that we could add something more to the perfect salvation he has won for us in his Son. We are therefore on the losing side of the bargain, and our neighbors are too, since our works are directed to God on our behalf rather than to our neighbor on God’s behalf.

Taken from chapter 8 of Michael Horton’s Or-di-nary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), which I am currently making my way through. The chapter is strikingly titled “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” The paragraphs I have quoted are found on pp.155-57.

10 Things You Should Know about Charles Spurgeon | Crossway Articles

As part of its “Ten Things You Should Know” series (usually on an aspect of church history or a key figure in her history), Crossway Publishing featured last month an article on the great Calvinist-Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892), known as the “Prince of Preachers.” Many of us are familiar with Spurgeon’s powerful sermons (in a multitude of collections), his rich Treasury of David on the Psalms, and the devotional classic Evening and Morning based on his writings.

For our history feature this week we select a few choice items from this Crossway list of ten (compiled by Michael Reeves), encouraging you to read the rest (cf. link below). You knew Spurgeon was a giant in the pulpit and an incredible worker, but did you also know he had his bouts with melancholy and depression? Read on and learn more about this significant servant of Christ’s church in the 19th century.

3. He was self-consciously a theological and doctrinal preacher.

While Spurgeon is not known as a theologian as such, he was nevertheless a deeply theological thinker and his sermons were rich in doctrine, and dripping with knowledge of historical theology – especially the Puritans.

Some preachers seem to be afraid lest their sermons should be too rich in doctrine, and so injure the spiritual digestions of their hearers. The fear is superfluous. . . . This is not a theological age, and therefore it rails at sound doctrinal teaching, on the principle that ignorance despises wisdom. The glorious giants of the Puritan age fed on something better than the whipped creams and pastries which are now so much in vogue.3

9. He suffered with depression.

Spurgeon was full of life and joy, but also suffered deeply with depression as a result of personal tragedies, illness, and stress. Today he would almost certainly be diagnosed as clinically depressed and treated with medication and therapy. His wife, Susannah, wrote, “My beloved’s anguish was so deep and violent, that reason seemed to totter in her throne, and we sometimes feared that he would never preach again.”10

Spurgeon believed that Christian ministers should expect a special degree of suffering to be given to them as a way of forming them for Christlike, compassionate ministry. Christ himself was made like his weak and tempted brothers in order that he might help those who are tempted (Heb. 2:16–18), and in the same manner, it is weak and suffering people that God has chosen to minister to the weak and suffering.

10. He was emphatically Christ-centered.

Spurgeon saw theology much like astronomy: as the solar system makes sense only when the sun is central, so systems of theological thought are coherent only when Christ is central. Every doctrine must find its place and meaning in its proper relation to Christ. “Be assured that we cannot be right in the rest, unless we think rightly of HIM. . . . Where is Christ in your theological system?”11

Spurgeon’s view of the Bible, his Calvinism, and his view of the Christian life are all deeply Christocentric–and even that astronomical analogy may be too weak to capture quite how Christ-centered Spurgeon was in his thinking.

For him, Christ is not merely one component—however pivotal—in the bigger machinery of the gospel. Christ himself is the truth we know, the object and reward of our faith, and the light that illumines every part of a true theological system. He wrote, ‘He himself is Doctor and Doctrine, Revealer and Revelation, the Illuminator and the Light of Men. He is exalted in every word of truth, because he is its sum and substance. He sits above the gospel, like a prince on his own throne. Doctrine is most precious when we see it distilling from his lips and embodied in his person. Sermons are valuable in proportion as they speak of him and point to him.’12

Source: 10 Things You Should Know about Charles Spurgeon | Crossway Articles

Theology for the Church (Those people in the pew are important!) – K. Kapic

little-book-theologians-kapic“In addition to bringing praise to God [the first and primary purpose of theology, according to the author], the purpose of theology is to support the proclamation of the Word and the life of the church. It is a great danger to neglect the corporate gathering of God’s people (Heb 10:23-25). Here we gather for baptism and the Lord’s Supper, for here are God’s self-identified people.

Theologians with advanced degrees must beware of a pompousness that would dismiss their brothers and sisters in the pew. More than others, we are required to listen to, learn from and incorporate their faithful reflections into our living theology. This does not mean uncritical acceptance, but it does mean genuinely treating those who walk with God as our fellow pilgrims. These saints often see what we missed or neglected. They can instinctively detect error missed by those who are sometimes isolated in their studies.

Right after the apostle Paul challenges his readers to ‘renew their minds,’ he calls for sober judgment and a valuing of all believers. This means not thinking too highly of oneself but recognizing that there is one body with many members, and consequently it takes the whole to function properly (Rom 12:1-8; cf. Phil 2:1-5).

Along similar lines, Charles Hodge encourages theologians to look to the flock of God for help discerning truth.

Go with your new opinions to the aged children of God who have spent years in close communion with the Father of lights. Propose to them your novel doctrines, should they shock their feelings, depend upon it, they are false and dangerous. The approbation of an experienced Christian of any purely religious opinion is worth more than that of any merely learned theologian upon earth.

We do ourselves and God no favor by neglecting the faithful, whether they are living or dead. Those in the pew should not lord their instincts over their pastors and theologians, but neither should such leaders neglect the wisdom in the pew.

Taken from chapter 9, “Tradition and Community” in Kelly Kapic’s A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology (IVP Academic, 2012), pp.103-04.

Published in: on February 27, 2018 at 10:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

God’s Work through the Means of Grace: It’s All So Ordinary

Means-of-Grace-3The following are theologian Michael Horton’s further thoughts on being content with God’s “ordinary” means of grace for the Christian’s faith and life:

‘Expect a miracle!’ That’s good counsel if there is a promise in Scripture to back it up. The problem today is that many Christians are not looking for God’s miraculous activity where he has promised it, namely, through his ordinary means of grace. Through these means, he has pledged to raise us from spiritual death, to forgive sins, to assure us of God’s favor, and to conform us to Christ’s image.

…Typically, we identify ‘acts of God’ with the big stuff: earthquakes, hurricanes, and parting seas. Or perhaps a better way of putting it: we identify the big stuff with what can be measured and recognized as an obvious miraculous intervention by God. Millions of people around the world will turn out for a prosperity evangelist’s promise of signs and wonders. But how many of us think that God’s greatest signs and wonders are being done every week through the ordinary means of preaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper?

…If our God is so keen to work in and through the ordinary, maybe we should rethink the way we confine him to the theatrical spectacles, whether the pageantry of the Mass or the carefully staged crusade. It takes no honor away from God that he uses ordinary – even physical – means to bring about extraordinary results. On the contrary, it underscores the comprehensive breadth of his sovereignty over, in, and within creation as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

To be content with Christ’s kingdom is to be satisfied also with his ordinary means of grace.

…Just as we wouldn’t have expected to find the Creator of the universe in a feeding trough of a barn in some obscure village, much less hanging, bloody, on a Roman cross, we do not expect to find him delivering his extraordinary gifts in such human places and in such humble ways as human speech [preaching], a bath [baptism], and a meal [the Lord’s supper]. This can’t be right, we reason. We need signs and wonders to know that God is with us. Yet it is only because God has promised to meet us in the humble and ordinary places, to deliver his inheritance, that we are content to receive him in these ways.

CNN will not be showing up at a church that is simply trusting God to do extraordinary things through his ordinary means of grace delivered by ordinary servants. But God will. Week after week. These means of grace and the ordinary fellowship of the saints that nurtures and guides us throughout our life may seem frail, but they are jars that carry a rich treasure: Christ with all his saving benefits.

ordinary-MHorton-2014Taken from chapter 7 of Michael Horton’s Or-di-nary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014), which I am currently making my way through. The chapter is simply titled “Contentment.” The paragraphs I have quoted are found on pp.139-49.

Horton’s words leave us with some questions: Are we content with God’s ordinary means of grace? And if so, are we using them as He intends?

Doing Theology – February 2018 “Tabletalk”

TT-Feb-2018The February 2018 Tabletalk is out, with this month’s issue being devoted to a favorite subject of its founder, Dr. R. C. Sproul. That subject is “Doing Theology,” and Sproul is referenced often in this issue, in particular, his book Everyone’s a Theologian.

Editor Burk Parsons introduces the issue  and its theme with his article “Doers, Not Hearers Only.” This is part of that introduction:

Doing theology means studying Scripture and studying the words of our faithful forefathers who faithfully studied Scripture. It means studying the historic creeds and confessions of the church, which serve as helpful summaries and explanations of what Scripture teaches. It means studying not only books on systematic theology but also biblical commentaries, as well as books on hermeneutics (the method of interpreting Scripture), church history, historical theology, and even Christian living (how to apply theology in all of life), for theology rightly understood is theology rightly applied in life. It also means studying theology as we sit under the ministry of the Word in our local churches, week in and week out, through worship, song, and the sacraments. For when we study theology, we are studying God, that we might rightly know, love, worship, and proclaim the triune God of Scripture, not the god of our own making.

The first featured article on the theme of the issue is “How Not to Do Theology” by associate editor Robert Rothwell. In the course of his article he distinguishes between solo Scriptura and sola Scriptura (notice the single vowel difference in the two solas):

To fail to recognize that we are actually doing theology all the time and especially when reading the Bible is one aspect of what it means to practice solo Scriptura. In essence, we may define solo Scriptura as the belief that we do not need the assistance of the church, the creeds, and teachers throughout history in order to rightly understand the Bible. The practitioner of solo Scriptura thinks that he is not bringing any preconceived notions to his study of the Bible. He believes that simply studying the Word of God on his own is sufficient to guide him into all truth.

Sola Scriptura, on the other hand, says that while the Bible is the only infallible authority for the church, believers actually need the help of subordinate, fallible authorities to understand divine revelation rightly. Creeds, theologians from the present and past, and one’s local church all provide useful guidance in understanding the Word of God. They provide a way for us to measure the accuracy of our private interpretations of Scripture. Christ has promised to be with His church and to guide His corporate people in the understanding of His truth (Matt. 28:20; Eph. 4:11–13). Among other things, that means that He does not speak in a code that only a few can understand, and He does not grant insight to us as individuals that He fails to give to other people. If we think we have discovered something new in Scripture, it is probably not true, and it is probably not a new error either.

As Protestants, we have to think carefully about the right of private interpretation and how we as individuals relate to the wisdom of the church. The story of the Reformation is sometimes told as a story of rugged individualism, of individuals who came to independent conclusions and who resisted error because they had the courage to stand for the truth when no one else would. Certainly, many of the Reformers reached points at which they felt as if no one was standing with them, but they also recognized that they were, in fact, not really teaching anything new. Martin Luther advocated for justification by faith alone and for Scripture as our only infallible authority, but others came to the same conclusions as he did independent of his work even though Luther’s personality shaped the Reformation decisively. And Luther and others came to these conclusions by recognizing that the final authority of Scripture does not mean other subordinate authorities have nothing to teach us. In fact, one of their criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church was that it is not catholic—universal—or ancient enough. The Reformers appealed to the church fathers, medieval theologians, and earlier creeds to show that it was the papacy that had struck out on its own, not the Reformers.

So are you a theologian? Indeed you (we) are! The question is, What kind of theologian are you and am I? Are we theologians whose foundation is the holy Scriptures, God’s only source of authoritative and infallible teaching? And are we theologians in the context of a church that holds to this inspired and infallible authority?

Of course, we also “do theology” in accordance with the historic creeds of Christ’s church. There’s an article on that too in this issue! So, we will also consider that aspect of our theology later this month.

For now, let’s get busy with our theology by reading and studying God’s holy Word!

400th Anniversary of the Great Synod of Dordt, 1618-19

2018-19 marks the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dordt held in the Netherlands in the city of Dordtrecht over parts of 1618-1619.


This synod of the Reformed Churches is known as the “Great Synod,” in part because of the great work that it did: condemning the errors of  Arminianism while setting forth the positive concensus of the Reformed churches on five main points of doctrine (the “Canons of Dordt”, as they are known); adopting editions of the other two major confessions of the Reformed churches – the Belgic Confession (1562) and the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) to form with the “Canons” the “Three Forms of Unity” as doctrinal standards in the Reformed churches; and approving a new translation of the Bible – the Dutch Staten Bible.

For this reason, the Synod of Dordt was also great in significance, which is why we will spend time this year reviewing its work and referencing resources that are being produced about it and events that are being held to commemorate it.

Just last week Ligonier did a feature on the Synod of Dordt on its “Renewing Your Mind” program. The twenty-five-minute program had Dr. Robert Godfrey presenting a church history lecture on the history and basic work of the “Great Synod.” It is worth your time to listen to this broadcast as we begin our own commemoration of this significant church gathering (use the link provided here to listen).

In addition, you may find an important overview of the Synod of Dordt on the PRCA website, where I will also be adding more related articles this year. Prof. H. Hanko has a fine article titled “The Synod of Dordt.” You are encouraged to read that as part of our own instruction and inspiration.

Later this year the Standard Bearer hopes to publish a special issue on the Synod. Look for that at the time of our annual Reformation issue this Fall!


PRC Archives: 1943-2018 – Randolph PRC Turns 75 Years old


This year – August 17, 2018 to be exact – Randolph Protestant Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin will celebrate her 75th anniversary.

Organized on August 17, 1943 with 8 families and 30 members, she now numbers 56 and 226 members according to the 2017 PRC Yearbook. Over the years she has had 12 pastors minister the Bread of life to her, beginning with Rev. George Lubbers and leading up to Rev. Erik Guichelaar at present.

Below are a few pages from Randolph PRC’s 50th anniversary booklet describing the final events leading up to her organization.



That picture on the above page reflects the first Consistory of this congregation after Rev. G. Lubbers became her pastor in January of 1944. A couple of years ago we received into the PRC archives an original of this photo, which we post here


The congregation is planning a special celebration this summer to mark her special anniversary. We rejoice with her in God’s preserving and prospering grace over these 75 years. And we pray that God may continue to bless and keep her in her Head, Jesus Christ, and in the truth of the gospel concerning Him.

We are assisting Randolph PRC in gathering historical items for this event and for the 75th anniversary booklet she will be putting together. Perhaps you too may be of help to her and us. If you have any items – documents, programs, pictures, etc., feel free to share those with them and us. We will both appreciate the promotion and preservation of her history!

Published in: on January 25, 2018 at 9:42 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Privilege and Blessing of Seminary Training

romans-10_15Perhaps most of our readers are aware of a series of blog posts on the RFPA’s website by some of our recent PRC Seminary graduates. They are informative, first-hand descriptions of each year of seminary training, as well as of other aspects of preparing for the ministry (including even pre-seminary).

Yes, these descriptions are personal and realistic, not hiding or down-playing the difficulties of the pursuit and the struggles of the studies. But they are also wonderfully encouraging, as the various seminary graduates relate the tremendous privileges and blessings of the call to serve the Lord as pastors and teachers.

The last one to be written is by Candidate David Noorman, a fellow church member at Faith PRC. He wrote on “The Privilege of Seminary Training: Personal Spiritual Development.” (Dated Jan.5, 2018)

I give you the entire post here, and also encourage you – and our young men especially – to read the other articles in this series. The need for pastors remains high in the PRC. May God use these articles to lead young men to consider prayerfully this high calling.

Anyone who has talked to a seminary student or asked his pastor about his years in seminary will likely hear stories about the many great challenges of those years. The work is often difficult, and the amount of work that is placed before the students can be overwhelming for even the most gifted students. Seemingly every student of the seminary has some story to tell of a painful practice preaching session or a graded paper filled with a flood of red ink.

While those difficulties and challenges are real, they are only a small part of the story. It’s a shame that the “headline” about seminary training that most everyone sees or hears is “DIFFICULT.” And if that is the only thing that comes to mind regarding seminary, that is an incomplete, and therefore, an unfair perspective.

What’s missing from that perspective is the wonderful privilege of studying in the seminary. If the difficulties, challenges, and sacrifices of seminary are great, the privileges and benefits of studying in the seminary are far greater.

Here are just a few of the personal benefits of seminary training:

  • As with all education, there is much growth in knowledge, and the knowledge imparted in seminary is of the highest quality, a spiritual, life-giving quality. The words of instruction in seminary are the words of eternal life, imparting knowledge of the one true God. There are many people who have the privilege of being students, but not all have the privilege of giving themselves to the study of the very words of God.
  • Seminary humbles The doctrines of grace humble you, showing you your unworthiness. The amount of work humbles you, showing you your frailty and turning your attention to God. The correction of professors humbles you, showing you your errors and ignorance. The truths expounded in the scriptures also humble you, by showing you your sin and leading you to Christ. In these ways and more, the student is humbled, and in this he is prepared to be a servant of Christ and his church.
  • Seminary training is also a wonderful means of sanctification. Sanctification is God’s work of making us holy, and that work is performed by the Spirit through the means of grace. Sitting under the faithful instruction of professors is no different than sitting under the preaching of the word in church. There is the true privilege of seminary training: the daily practice of engaging in the means of grace and growing daily in the knowledge of God transforms the student’s heart. The men who walk through the seminary doors on that first fall morning are not the same as those who walk out four years later. God works powerfully in the hearts of seminary students through their training, transforming their hearts so that they are ready to serve in God’s house.
  • What about those difficulties? They have their benefits too. The student grows in his ability to read and write. He learns how to communicate effectively. He learns how many hours there are in a day (not enough), and how to be most productive in the time he is given. The difficulties and challenges of the work teach the student discipline, perseverance, patience, and trust. They force him to labor with a conscious dependence on the grace of God for the needs of both body and soul.

Prospective seminary students should not be discouraged from pursuing the gospel ministry by the stories of how difficult the training is. Seminary is challenging, but it is such a privilege as well. And while no man should enter seminary solely for the purpose of personal development, it’s only fair that the whole story is told.

The benefits will begin early on in the training. Taking pre-seminary Greek early in the morning isn’t easy for everyone, but as one emeritus professor told me, “The study of the original languages opens up grand vistas of the truths of the scriptures.” He was right, and those vistas are beautiful, even life-changing.

The benefits continued throughout the four years of seminary. Every day, the scriptures were expounded to us. Every day we were confronted by some truth concerning our majestic God and his wonderful works. Every day, we were humbled, corrected, instructed, and built up by truths of scripture and given the tools to do the same both for ourselves and others.

The calling of the ministry is weighty, and the challenges of seminary are significant and sometimes difficult to overcome. But ultimately, the most difficult obstacles are often the most beneficial, for they teach the student to labor with a dependence on the grace of God rather than his own strength. In the end, the seminary student receives four years of heart-shaping instruction. That instruction, the Lord willing, will benefit both the students personally and the churches they serve.