The Reformed Witness Hour at 55 Years – 1941-1996

Yes, it is true, as we have noted several times already this year, that 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the Reformed Witness Hour radio program – a program under the supervision of First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI and supported by the Protestant Reformed Churches in America, our sister churches, and other friends.


But today for our PRC archives post, we feature the program from the 55th anniversary, which was held at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI on April 18, 1996. This was another “live broadcast” program; in other words, part of the program was recorded live for broadcast on the RWH program (which turned out to be broadcast #2886).

You will note that one of our current radio pastors spoke that night – Rev. Carl Haak – under the theme “That All the World May Know.” You will also see that a variety of musical groups were part of the program – the Voices of Victory quartet, the Faith PRC choir, and the SE PRC choir.


Inside the program was a special insert for this RWH “rally”, with notes on it from Rev.R. Van Overloop, who led the program. Those notes included some special recognitions for those who served on the radio committee: Stu Looyenga (treasurer) had served 18 years at that point, Dwight Monsma (president and announcer) for 15 years, and Bill  Swart (recording, dubbing, printing/mailing) for over 30 years.

As we celebrate our 75th this year, we may continue to be thankful for these men and the many other men and women who have served on the RWHC over the years.

And, while we are on the subject, we hope you will join us THIS SATURDAY for our very special 75th anniversary program and mission awareness morning, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI. If you need the details, visit this page on the PRC website.

Published in: on August 11, 2016 at 4:48 PM  Leave a Comment  

Reading Parents and Ready (Seminary) Sons

As you may know, the Beacon Lights magazine (for PR Young People – and adults!) is currently doing a series of articles from our ministers (mainly our newer and younger ones) under the title “Called to the Ministry”. But did you know that such articles were also written in the past in the “BL”?

Rev_KorteringWhile continuing to sort through Rev.Gise Van Baren’s folders for the PRC archives yesterday, we found an old “BL” article (Vol.36, #9 – January, 1978) with the title “Called to the Ministry” written by Rev. Jason Kortering (pastor of Hope PRC, Redlands, CA at the time and now an emeritus minister in the PRC). In it he tells his story of how he was led into the ministry.

And what struck me was what he said not only about how his godly parents encouraged him and prayed for him with regard to the ministry, but also and especially how the enthusiastic reading of his father served as a powerful example and impetus for him to enter the ministry of the Word.

Here are a couple of portions from the article, the full version of which you may find here. I pray that this will inspire other godly fathers to show such zeal for the truth by reading, that it would spur your sons to consider the call to the ministry. Fathers and mothers, may you see what fruit your godly reading may have by the purpose and providence of God.

After a ten year absence they (Rev.Kortering’s parents) finally moved to Holland, Michigan and there settled down. The Lord provided a job at the Artic (sic) Ice Cream Co. While working there he met a fellow employee who was full of heavenly zeal. She had read a copy of the Standard Bearer and was impressed and wanted my father to read it. This initial contact with Revs. Hoeksema and Ophoff started my father to think and read. He purchased a subscription to the Standard Bearer and read all the literature he could get his hands on. It fell like water from heaven upon his parched soul.

…Seeing the truth was like a conversion experience for my father. He saw for the first time the real meaning of the sovereignty of God. It was more than a doctrine, it was a way of life! God owned everything and required obedience in all areas of life. This became the governing principle of his life: God was sovereign, grace was absolute. He couldn’t read enough and he was always reading. He sent to England for sovereign grace material. It came by the crates full. He sorted it out, saving the good Reformed material, burning the rest.

Through it all my father had one inner desire, that the Lord would call his son to the ministry. He could envision nothing more glorious than seeing his own son preach the gospel of the sovereign God….

If there ever is an example of a minister being influenced by parents to enter the ministry, it is in my life. Both parents earnestly desired this, encouraged me to study for it, prayed about it.

The Lord used my parents, especially my father, as the means to confront me with the serious consideration to become a minister.

…May the accounting of this remind us that God does use parents in influencing their children. It was not of them, it was of God. His will prevailed.

For that I give Him thanks.

“A Friend to Africa’s Orphans” – Rosemary Jensen

A Friend to Africa’s Orphans by Rosemary Jensen | Reformed Theology Articles at

PrayingAttributes-JensenThe interview in the March Tabletalk is a fascinating missions feature, as “TT” talks with Rosemary Jensen, a godly Presbyterian women who has been involved with foreign missions for seven (7!) decades. She is also the author of two wonderful devotional books (see below). I believe you will find her story not only interesting but motivational. And we don’t have to go far to find needs like she has found in Africa.

Here is a small portion of the interview. You will find the rest at the Ligonier link above.

TT: Why did you write your books Praying the Attributes of God and Living the Words of Jesus?

RJ: These books were written not for publication but for my own understanding of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. My goal in life was, and is, to know God. Therefore, at one point in my adult life, I spent my quiet time each morning going through the Bible and noting verses that spoke of the attributes of God. I organized the verses into thirty-one attributes so I could rehearse one each day of the month. This took me about four years, and it has influenced my life more than anything else I have ever done.

At another time, I promised God that I would obey everything Jesus told me to do. Going through the gospels again and again early each morning off and on for more than ten years resulted in helping me know how to live the Christian life.

The books were published because those in BSF asked me to make these exercises available to them.

TT: What is the mission and goal of the Rafiki Foundation?

RJ: Rafiki means “friend” in Swahili, and Rafiki’s mission is to help others in Africa to know God and to raise their standard of living. In 1987, to accomplish this mission, the Rafiki Foundation formed a board and became registered as a 501c3 missionsending agency. The goal is to enable committed Christians to volunteer in one of ten countries in Africa where Rafiki is legally established. These missionaries work in Rafiki Training Villages with nationals to help Africans know God, primarily through the Rafiki Bible Study. This study is designed to cover the entire Bible in six hundred weeklong lessons written by almost twenty Protestant theologians. It is taught every day to all Rafiki participants, including adults and children from preschool through high school. Regular Bible study is necessary to know God.

Rosemary Jensen is the president of Rafiki Foundation. She is the author of Praying the Attributes of God: A Guide to Personal Worship Through Prayer and Living the Words of Jesus: Meditations on 96 Crucial Topics of the Christian Life.

Indispensable Apologetics: An Interview with Ravi Zacharias

Indispensable Apologetics: An Interview with Ravi Zacharias by Ravi Zacharias | Reformed Theology Articles at

Dr. Zacharias is the founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered near Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices around the world. He is the author of The Real Face of Atheism.

Part of this month’s Tabletalk (Ligonier Ministries Reformed devotional magazine) is an interesting interview with noted Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias, speaker on the program “Let My People Think”, which we get to hear in this area on Sunday mornings. Not only is his conversion account striking; so also is his life’s work. I believe you will be encouraged and edified by this “printed” interview with him. Read the entire article at the Ligonier link above. Here are a few paragraphs from it that I found especially interesting:

Tabletalk: How did you become a Christian?
Ravi Zacharias: I became a Christian while a teenager in India, the land of my birth. I had struggled with many issues—especially those of failure and disappointing my family. There was a series of events, but the culminating point came when I tried to take my own life. It was on that bed of suicide when a Bible was brought to me. I heard John 14 read to me, especially verse 19. Jesus said: “Because I live, you also will live.” In that crisis situation, I cried out to Jesus and received Him as my Lord and my Savior. That was the beginning.

TT: How has God used your Indian upbringing in your ministry?
RZ: This whole global shift in “looking to the East” for answers has become a very real platform from which to address with understanding and experience what these worldviews teach and why more than ever the answers of Jesus Christ are relevant and true. India’s songs, India’s spiritual struggles, India’s brain drain as its brightest minds headed west have both economic and worldview reasons and implications. These provide ready soil for the gospel, probably as never before in history. Being Indian by birth and upbringing, and my ancestors coming from the highest caste of the Hindu priesthood, provides a story to tell. Audiences in the entertainment world and business or academic strata are all more open than before.

TT: How can we overcome the fears we have about preaching the gospel to followers of other religions?
RZ: It is very important to understand these other worldviews. Also, be a patient listener to someone of another faith. But you must know how to defend your own beliefs. If we cannot answer their genuine questions, we will “confirm” in their minds what they are often brainwashed into believing: that Christianity is intellectually flawed. This is what they are told. One doesn’t need to have all the answers, but one should know where they are found.

TT: How do we equip young people to remain committed to Christ in a secular and non-Christian world?
RZ: The Bible reminds us to guard our doctrine and our conduct. Our youth know firsthand what the world has to offer. They need to be reached at a younger age because of the world of the Internet that ravages young minds sooner than ever before. Building their faith is not a prime strength in our churches today. We seem to think that we need to entertain them into the church. But what you win them with is often what you win them to.

They can see through a hollow faith in a hurry. Their minds are hungry for coherence and meaning. They long to think things through. They long to know why the gospel is both true and exclusive. None of these issues are often addressed within their own reach. I believe this is the most serious crisis of our church-going youth today. Their faith is more a longing than a fulfillment. We have a special burden for the youth. We will keep at it as we try to reach them. It’s a tough world for the young.

Theological Book Network offers materials to libraries worldwide

Theological Book Network offers discount religious, academic materials to libraries worldwide |

Ever wondered what happened to new and used theological books that don’t sell well, or are donated by people, or have served their purpose in someone’s library, whether private or public? Old books never die – they have a perpetual shelf life! There are libraries and seminaries throughout the world that would love to have old or new books at a discount, and that’s why the Theological Book Network right here in Grand Rapids, MI exists – to match good theological books with needy professors and students in other parts of the world. This interesting story about their work appeared in the Grand Rapids Press Sat., Nov.12, 2011. While we may not agree with all they do (why not just send out the best Reformed books?!), nevertheless one can appreciate their role and ministry. You will find the full story about their work at the link above. Below is the first part of it.


GRAND RAPIDS — There are some books destined to become best sellers and others only a handful of readers will crack open. The Theological Book Network Inc. helps find new homes for some of those dusty tomes in far-flung corners of the world.

Walk through the nonprofit’s 16,000-square-foot warehouse at 3529 Patterson Ave. SE and any staff member quickly will tell you why it considers its roughly 250,000 to 325,000 donated and newly purchased books and journals academic gold.

All of them are apt to one day find a home in Protestant and Catholic seminaries, colleges and universities in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East to provide theological training to seminary and post-graduate students who will go on to become clergy and other church leaders, said Kurt Berends, executive director of the Theological Book Network.

But these educational institutions often can’t afford to buy new books. That’s where the Network steps in, supplying them at a fraction of the cost. But that doesn’t mean the Network gives them away, Berends said. Each seminary, college or university is asked to make some sort of “pledge” that may include driving hundreds of miles from their respective school to pick up their shipment of books or pay a stipend of varying amounts.

Published in: on November 22, 2011 at 11:56 AM  Leave a Comment  

Cassandra Called It As She Saw It – Reformation21 Blog

Cassandra Called It As She Saw It – Reformation21 Blog.


Carl Trueman had a brief post yesterday about the recent trend in evangelicalism toward multi-site campuses. His critical comments and pressing questions are important for what it means for the church to be the church. While you are there, be sure to read his other post about “The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on Urban Theology”. In this one, he picks on the modern trend in missions of focusing on the city while neglecting people and ministries in the suburbs and in the country. You just have to love this man’s style of writing – it’s sharp, witty, stimulating, and usually right on!


Here’s an excerpt from the above link and post:


I wonder if we are truly on the verge of an era where smaller churches – where people know each other by name, are known by name by at least one of their elders and have to give sacrificially of their time and money to keep the ship afloat — is coming to an end?   Are we at a time when the form of Willow Creek has triumphed even in the midst of, on paper at least, a more orthodox theology?

These are sad days, when the biblical models of church and pastoring are being swept away by the avalanche of numerical success allied to personality cults and corporate values.  The Apostle Peter clearly likens pastoring the church to shepherding, connects this shepherding to Christ as the great shepherd and, by implication, to the kind of quality of relationship Christ has with his sheep (1 Pet. 5: 1-5; cf. Jn. 10:14). Can multi-site, out-of state ministries even approximate in the vaguest and most attenuated way to this?  Is there even a debate to be had here?  Is there a single one of these megachurch outfits that isn’t basically identified with one or maybe two big personalities? Is that not a warning light that something may be amiss?  And isn’t it about time that somebody who carries real weight in the young, restless and reformed world spoke out about this kind of ecclesiastical madness?  Or are we so steeped in the celebrity/corporate/megachuch culture and so mesmerisied by numbers that nobody sees the problems any more?


Mission Update! Philippines’ Reformed Bookshelf

Missionary-pastor Daniel Kleyn in the Philippines (with assistance from his wife Sharon, I’m sure!) gives an exciting “book report” on his blog – a Reformed Bookshelf has been started there! He has some nice pictures to accompany this report, so be sure to get this latest update from one of our missionaries in that part of the world! May these books have a wide and deep distribution under the Lord’s gracious blessing!


Kleyns In The Philippines: * Philippines’ Reformed Bookshelf.

Grace Online Library

While browsing last night, I came across this excellent website of Reformed resources. It is the personal project of Brian Dempsey, a web-designer and teaching elder at Christ Reformed Church in Georgia. It contains a wealth of material, well-organized – sermons, articles, and links to other Reformed websites. I even found articles posted by our own R.Cammenga, R.Decker and D.Engelsma (Cammenga’s article “KJV vs. NIV – Which Bible?” is actually a top 50 pick – with over 30,000 reads!). I encourage you to browse around under the various subject headings and do some good Reformed reading – even if it is online! 🙂 I will also be posting a link to this site on my blog. Thanks for all the work Brian!


Grace Online Library.

New Link – Chapel Library

This week I added a new link to my blog  – Chapel Library ( – I have it under “Reformed/Christian Books). For some years now I have been receiving their materials, especially their “Free Grace Broadcaster” quarterly magazine. Chapel Library is a ministry of Mount Zion Bible Church in Pensacola, FL. They publish a variety of materials (booklets, books, pamphlets, sermons, reprints, etc.) in English and in Spanish, with a strong sovereign grace focus (They particularly like Arthur Pink’s works, as well as those of the Puritans and Spurgeon). Their “Free Grace Broadcaster” magazine is a fine collection of sermons and articles on a theme (the latest is on Union with Christ – excellent!). Their purpose is not only to produce good reading materials for believers, but also for these to be used for evangelism. They send many of their publications to prisoners and, in fact, have a Bible instruction class for them.

One of the best things about their publications is that they are FREE! They will add you to their mailing list for the FGB without charge, and you will receive notice of other special offers which they will mail to you absolutely free! You may also download any number of materials from their website, or read them in pdf format online. They always have a special quarterly offer – this last one was for a free hardback book entitled God’s Gospel of Grace. Of course, it is good to support ministries like this with gifts, because nothing is ever totally free. I encourage you to visit their website, sign up to receive the FGB, and send a gift.

Thank you for your interest. And blessed reading! CJT

P.S. Here is a quote from A.Pink’s “Surpassingly Wonderful Union” (with Christ) in the latest issue of the FGB:

The union between Christ and His Church is so real, so vital, so intimate that God has never viewed the one apart
from the other. There is such an indissoluble10 oneness between the Redeemer and the redeemed, such an absolute
identification of interest between them, that the Father of mercies never saw them apart. He never saw Christ as
“Christ” without seeing His mystical Body; He never saw the Church apart from its Head. Therefore, the Holy Spirit
has delighted to emphasize this wondrous and glorious fact in many Scriptures. In connection with Christ’s birth we
read, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same”
(Heb 2:14)…We are told that when the Savior was nailed to the tree “our old man was crucified with him” (Rom 6:6).
We are told that when He expired at Calvary “if One died for all, then all died” (2Co 5:14). We are told that when He
was revived, we were “quickened together with Christ” (Eph 2:5). He did not rise again as a single and private person,
but as the Head of His Church: “If ye then be risen with Christ” (Col 3:1). Nor is that all: in Ephesians 2:6, we are told,
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” O how surpassingly
wonderful is the Christian’s oneness with Christ!

Falling Glass at the Crystal Cathedral

Dr.Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, made a post back on Oct.22 about the recent announcement that the Crystal Cathedral church of Robert Schuller had filed for bankruptcy. His comments on this news are once again bold and to the point. You may read his post at the link below. I give you a few “snapshots” here:

Though ordained in the Reformed Church in America, Schuller minimized historic Christian orthodoxy and stressed instead the message of positive thinking. In his 1982 book, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller explicitly replaced the message of salvation from sin with a message of rescue from low self-esteem. In his 2001 autobiography, My Journey, Schuller told of the massive influence of Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale on his thinking and theology. He told of his decision early in his ministry to replace theology with therapy. “I realized that every sermon I preached (whether formally from the pulpit or casually at a coffee shop) should be designed, not to ‘teach’ or ‘convert’ people, but rather to encourage them, to give them a lift. I decided to adopt the spirit, style, strategy, and substance of a ‘therapist’ in the pulpit.”

In his 1986 book, Your Church Has a Fantastic Future, Schuller provided what he called “A Possibility Thinker’s Guide to a Successful Church.” The book is a manual for a ministry built on pure pragmatism, sensationalistic promotion, a therapeutic message, and a constant and incessant focus on thinking positively.

His message about money was simple: “No church has a money problem; churches only have idea problems,” he asserted.

In an odd and upside-down way, the news of bankruptcy at the Crystal Cathedral makes that point emphatically. The most significant problem at the Crystal Cathedral is not financial, but theological. The issue is not money, but this ministry’s message. The “gospel of success” is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, therapy is no substitute for theology, and “Possibility Thinking” is not the message of the Bible.

It turns out that Robert Schuller offers the best analysis of this crisis with his own words. “No church has a money problem; churches only have idea problems.” The theological crisis in Garden Grove is far more significant than the financial crisis. – Bankruptcy in the Cathedral.

Published in: on November 10, 2010 at 3:59 AM  Leave a Comment