Rev. Gerrit Vos’ 25th Anniversary Book – Sioux Center, IA (1927-29)

GVosLast Friday we made an initial post announcing the gift of a treasure for the PRC archives – a beautiful leather volume commemorating the 25-year ministry anniversary of Rev. G. Vos (1894-1968).

The book (which must date from 1952 and probably at least a year before that) is filled with pictures and congratulatory notes from the four PRC congregations he had served up to that point – Sioux Center, IA, 1927-29; Hudsonville, 1929-1932; Hope, Redlands CA, 1932-1943; Edgerton, MN, 1943-1948; and then Hudsonville again, 1948-1966, which is where he was when his 25th anniversary in the ministry was celebrated.

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I gave you a sample of some pages last week; this week let’s focus on that first charge of his in Sioux Center, IA PRC.

By the way, this first charge of Rev. Vos brings up an interesting bit of PRC and PRC Seminary history. That is that Rev. Vos was called and ordained prior to his finishing his seminary training. While he had completed some of his ministerial training in those years prior to 1927, so needy were the PRC for ministers in the early years of her existence that she called and ordained Vos (William Verhil also, by Hull, IA PRC) before he finished seminary. Both of these men did return to school and graduated in 1932 (while he served as Hudsonville PRC’s minister!).

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Now, on to Sioux Center PRC, where Vos served from 1927-29. These are some pages from the book. I post them without further comment at this time, except that I wonder if the church and parsonage are still there. Perhaps some Iowa contacts can let us know.

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A New Treasure for the PRC Archives – Rev. G. Vos’ 25th Anniversary Volume

This past Tuesday (Sept.5, 2017), after a visit to the mailbox, Mrs. Judi Doezema set a package on my library desk at the PRC Seminary.

Nothing unusual about that. Book orders come in regularly, so I am accustomed to seeing boxes and bubble packages of varying sizes on my desk. But this box was unusual – in size and in contents. Besides, I didn’t think I had any outstanding book orders. Nevertheless, I excitedly opened the box.

What I found inside left me short of breath and long of thrills. A special leather-bound book with the words “To the Reverend Gerrit Vos in Commemoration of Twenty Five Years in the Ministry of the Word, 1927-1952” on the cover.

And between the leather covers was a treasure-trove of PRC history under the ministry of Rev. G. Vos (1894-1968). Pictures and congratulatory notes from the four PRC congregations he had served up to that point – Sioux Center, IA, 1927-29; Hudsonville, 1929-1932; Hope, Redlands CA, 1932-1943; Edgerton, MN, 1943-1948; and then Hudsonville again, 1948-1966, which is where he was when his 25th anniversary in the ministry was celebrated.

Every page I turned was a gem. Wonderful pictures of Rev. Vos and his wife and family (cf. above), of the church buildings and parsonages, of congregational picnics and societies, of Consistories and Councils, of Vos and colleagues, of Vos and Schilder – and on the list goes. Pages filled with signatures of church members; with tributes to the gracious pastor who had brought them the gospel and ministered to their needs; with letters from Herman Hoeksema and George Ophoff, his seminary professors and fellow-servants in the gospel in those early years of the fledgling denomination (cf. below); with the full program held in Hudsonville PRC marking his 25th written out in beautiful script – speeches and all! – again, and on the list goes.

What a wonderful gift to the seminary and to the PRC archives! Invaluable! Unspeakable!

And from whom did this precious gift come? From his grandson, Dr. Ben Zandstra (son of Vos’ daughter Marilyn and son-in-law, Dr. Ben Zandstra). In the box was a wonderful letter from Dr. Zandstra, in which he expressed his difficulty in parting with such a treasure (a gift he had received from his mother on the 25th anniversary of his own ordination in the CRC), but also stating, “But I know in my heart that this volume belongs at the school of the Protestant Reformed Churches, the denomination that my grandfather served for so many years. So, I pass it on in his memory & Soli Deo Gloria.”

I have sent Dr. Zandstra a personal letter of thanks for this PRC treasure. But I also take this space to say, “From the bottom of our denomination’s heart, Thank you for this precious gift!”

I plan to scan this book as it is to preserve it in its original form. I have an idea the PRC congregations he served that are still in existence (Hope, Redlands, Edgerton, and Hudsonville) will want a digital copy for their own histories. And I plan to feature some pages from it in the months ahead. I have an idea you will be as excited as I was to see what’s inside this amazing volume. 🙂

July 2017 “Standard Bearer” – Isaiah’s Vision of the Holy God

The July 2017 issue of the Standard Bearer is now available, and is its custom, this is the annual PRC Synod issue.

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Prof. R. Dykstra  summarizes synod’s work and decisions with an editorial that points to the spiritual aspect. Titled “The Effectual Fervent Prayer… Synod 2017,” his article emphasizes how the diligent prayers of the delegates and of the churches’ members carried synod along in its deliberations, especially in those times of overwhelming labors and discussions.

Rev. G. Eriks, the president of the PRC Synod of 2016, delivered the pre-synodical sermon on Monday night, June 12, in Hudsonville PRC. His message from Isaiah 6:1-4 (“The Vision of the Holy God”) set the tone for synod, as you will see from this quotation:

In this vision, God gives us motivation. What we need more than anything else right now is to see the glory of our holy God. Without this, what we fall into is the motivation of doing things to please man or to seek our own glory and honor. This a danger also for the men who are being examined by synod. May the motivation in the answers you give be the glory and honor of the God who is holy, holy, holy.

In this vision, God sets before us what we must be most concerned with in all of our work and in all of our conduct as a synod – the glory of the thrice holy God. God is glorified when we do things His way. We must not be concerned when it comes to protests and appeal with who wins and who loses. We must be concerned with God’s glory. When we are concerned with the glory of God, we will do things in His way instead of attempting to manipulate or to get our way. God is glorified when we work together to understand and apply what God’s Word and the confessions say about the issues before us.

We need the knowledge of God’s holiness because seeing God’s glory qualifies us for the work. This is what qualified Isaiah to be His servant in Judah at this time. In the verses following the text, Isaiah goes from shattered to saying confidently, “Here am I; send me.

As delegates to synod, we also are forged by the living, holy God to be faithful servants of His with this vision of God’s holiness. We are qualified as those who know the holy God. We are qualified, not because we are gifted and wise enough, but because we are forgiven in the blood of Jesus Christ. The God who calls us to the work will equip and strengthen us for it. We are qualified as those who know God and His mercy. We are qualified as those who have been and are in the presence of this thrice holy God.

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Besides a special picture section of the delegates and work of Synod 2017 and the seven candidates who were examined, this issue contains a couple of letters and responses, and two articles from regular rubrics: “True Worship” by Rev. R. Kleyn (“Believing and Confessing”) and “The Reformation and the Lord’s Supper in Worship” by Rev. C. Griess (“O Come, Let Us Worship”).

To receive this issue or to subscribe to the SB, contact the publisher at the link above.

Book Alert! Less Than the Least: Memoirs of Cornelius Hanko

Less_Than_the_least-CHanko-2017The Reformed Free Publishing Association has just released its latest title, the second edition of the memoirs of Cornelius Hanko, former PRC minister of the Word. Less Than the Least is a The book is

The publisher gives this description on its website:

Less Than the Least is the memoirs of Rev. Cornelius Hanko’s long, fruitful life of nearly a century (1907–2005). He lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the rise and fall of communism, and the advent of the space age, and spanned the terms of eighteen US presidents, from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush.
Son of Dutch immigrants to America, Rev. Hanko served six pastorates in five states, most notably in First Protestant Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1948–1964), along with Rev. Herman Hoeksema and Rev. Hubert De Wolf. Rev. Hanko poignantly describes the grief caused in the PRC by De Wolf’s heresy and schism (1953).
More than this, Less Than the Least follows Rev. Hanko from his childhood, school days, and seminary training, all the way to his retirement (1977) and beyond.
This delightful book comes complete with photos and appendices.

I was asked to write the back cover blurb and was delighted to oblige, since I was privileged to get to know Rev. C. Hanko. I wrote the following:

Humble. Godly. Faithful.

These are the three outstanding spiritual character traits that stand out in my mind when I recall from my own experience the life and ministry of Rev. C. Hanko. And that is because those spiritual marks stood out in his life and labors in the Protestant Reformed Churches.

Humility before God and his people. Rev. Hanko lived and ministered in humility because he always saw himself as a sinner saved by grace. For him, being a child of God and a minister of the word was that simple.

Godliness of heart and walk. He lived what he believed. Believing the Reformed faith with all his heart, he devoted himself to the Lord in everything he did. Godly is what he was because he lived close to his God.

Faithfulness as a believer and as a minister of the word. In the face of poverty, personal pain, and persecution he kept the faith of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. His personal memoirs reveal these marks plainly and powerfully.

Less Than the Least is an apropos title, therefore, for Rev. Hanko’s life story. This is precisely how he saw himself. Although, we must also remember the blessed promise of our Lord: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev.2:10b)

By God’s grace alone, this humble, godly, and faithful servant has received his Savior’s reward. May we who follow him, learn from him and follow his example, so that we too may receive that glorious reward.

Read on and be so inspired.

I might add that my wife appears in the book too. In 1975 she was part of the “World Tour of 1975” (Chapter 27) with Rev. C. Hanko and Prof. Homer C. Hoeksema and his wife, along with her friend Beth Bos (DeBoer now). Two excited but scared sixteen-year old gals literally went around the world, staying for three weeks in Singapore by themselves (with other Christians) when the PRC first made contact with the young Christians there. Here’s part of the mention of her in the beginning of that chapter:

In 1975 I took a world tour with Prof. Homer Hoeksema and his wife, Gertrude, and in the meantime did some work for the churches. We had a layover in Los Angeles. Homer and Trude left me, my granddaughter Beth Bos, and her friend Verna Klamer temporarily on another flight to visit some islands in the southern Pacific [Hawaii!].

…The next morning we took in some of the scenery, but in the early afternoon Beth and Verna had to take a plane to Hong Kong and then to Singapore, where we would meet them in about four weeks [pp258-59].

Quite a trip for those young ladies. My wife enjoyed reading that chapter and reminiscing about the good times. We still have the airmail letters we shared back and forth the six weeks we were apart, since we were dating in high school at that time.

If you are looking for an interesting and inspiring book on the life and labors of one of our beloved PRC pastors, Less Than the Least will more than satisfy. Highly recommended.

Published in: on July 3, 2017 at 7:26 AM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Archives: 1948 Young People’s Convention – Holland, MI

This year, the 77th annual PRC Young People’s Convention will be held. The First PRC of Holland, MI will again be hosting it.

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The first time this congregation hosted it was in 1948, with events held at the church, at Holland Christian High School, Kollen Park, and Tunnel Park – all familiar spots in the Holland area, though buildings and grounds may have changed.

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Today for our PRC archives feature, we post these pages from that 8th annual PR Young People’s Convention Booklet, held August 18-19, 1948. Enjoy!

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1948-YPs-Conv-Holland_0005And a parting note from the world’s largest furnace installer!

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Published in: on May 18, 2017 at 3:57 PM  Comments (4)  

PRC Archives – Adams CS Class of 1961

Recently a PRC member wanted some old pictures of Adams Christian School here in Grand Rapids (now located in Wyoming, MI), so I found the box of archived items on this school and she had some items scanned for her use.

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But left in the folder was a 1961 yearbook – the “Spotlight”, as it was called then. I browsed through it and found some interesting pages that I thought could be shared today here.

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For one thing, the dedication was a nice tribute to the work of Mr. Fred Hanko, as you will see from the above page.

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The mention of his coaching in various sports made me locate the sports team pages and sure enough, Mr. Hanko coached both the boys basketball and football teams.

Yes, FOOTBALL team! And to quite a successful season too – undefeated – and not by slim margins either (note those scores!)! I can’t imagine this was tackle football, so perhaps flag. Someone from Adams can confirm. But it brought back memories of the tumbling class Mr. Hanko taught us during gym class when I was at Hope school. That was a lot of fun!

You may also note some familiar names and faces on that basketball team – including a certain PRC minister of some stature (back row in the center). It seems that this team had it struggles on the court, but still counted it a successful season. Mr. Hanko taught them sportsmanship well.

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Now this last posted page is interesting too. I believe you will notice some familiar people on those intramural teams as well as on the “safety squad.” Can you guess what the latter group’s role was? And that teacher in the upper left-hand corner, I believe that is my former 4th grade teacher at Hope – Miss W. Koole, now in glory (along with at least one other in this picture).

What a blessing our Christian schools and teachers are!

PRC Archives: YP’s Convention and Mystery Photo #1 of 2017

We are overdue for some pictures from the PRC archives! So, on this Friday we will have some fun and include TWO items – and make them into mystery photo contests too.

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The first is from the 1957 Young People’s Convention held in…. (You didn’t think I was going to tell you everything, now, did you? That’s part of your responsibility to find out.) But I am sure you will recognize some of these young people and members of the crowd in the photos above and below. Some are clear; others you will have to work harder at.

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The question with these photos is not only who are the people in the numbered pictures, but WHERE was the 1957 YPC held? And if you were an attender, let us know – and whether you made it into one of these pics!

Our second photo is a mystery PRC church building one. It’s in a folder by itself in the archives photo file cabinet. But it’s an important church from our past, so take a stab at it and see what you can guess.

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Have fun! Friday fun! Can’t wait to hear back! 🙂

Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 2:26 PM  Comments (4)  

PRC Archives – Sermon Conversions

Over the last few years the PRC archives has received an abundance of sermons by PRC ministers on cassette tapes. Add to that the multitude (boxes!) of reel-to-reel sermon tapes already in the archives, mostly organized and cataloged, but nothing more.

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Special tapes and covers Rev. B. Woudenberg made and donated.

These are both magnetic types of tape, with a shelf-life of 25 years we were told. We are well beyond that. And yet, amazingly, these tapes have preserved the sermons. The problem is (among other things), these sermons are not accessible, and they ought to be. And they ought to be preserved digitally (mp3), which will also make them more accessible.

In the last year we have begun to organize the hundreds (thousands?!) of cassette tapes, cataloging them by minister, text, and sermon title, as well as occasion (if special). Kevin Rau did some initial sorting, but now Bob Drnek with help from his wife Anne has been making a master list of what we have.

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All the equipment we need for cassette conversion!

And now, he and I have begun to convert them to mp3. Right now, we are doing cassettes, using some old players we have (note my personal custom boombox!), an audio cable, a PC, and a a free software program called “Audacity.” We can get it set up, let them run, and go about our other business – he at home and I at Seminary.

The results are that we have better preserved these sermons and made them accessible. Where are they?, you ask. Saved in the cloud, for one thing. And gradually, I am also uploading them to the PRC website, audio sermon section. And because we are focusing on the oldest of the sermons and mostly our deceased former ministers, you will find them going mainly under the “Classic PRC Sermons” section. Check it out when you get the chance.

A recent one that was referred to by Prof. R. Dykstra in his recently completed Interim course (The History of the PRC Schism of 1953) is that by Rev. Richard Veldman (former minister at SE PRC in Grand Rapids, MI) on Q&A 74 of the Heidelberg Catechism (“Infant Baptism”) – a marvelous defense of our covenant view and the place of children in that covenant of grace. Listen to it and be edified!

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Bob D tinkering with the reel-to-reel machine. We are glad no one recorded us “mad scientists” trying to thread our first trial tape!

We are also preparing to convert the reel-to-reel sermons. We found some old equipment downstairs at Seminary (3 reel-to-reel players/recorders), and tried them all. The newest-looking one – a nice Sony machine – worked the best, but needs to be repaired. This week I found a shop that specializes in this (Blackies’ Radio and TV), so soon we will also be able to start on these tapes. There are some gems tucked away in the archives room.

Do we want any more old cassettes or reel-to-reel tapes? Of course! We would never turn them away. There is history in these tapes! Not just preaching history, but also special programs, congregational anniversaries, lectures, etc. Bring them in! Just not all at once. 🙂 Thanks for all the donations we have received!

Lest we forget, the PRC 100th anniversary is approaching. We are looking for archive material of ALL kinds. Think about what YOU can donate for the preservation – and enhancement – of our history! Documents, pictures, tapes, etc. We will be grateful for anything you have.

Dr. Klaas Schilder and the PRC

The PRC Seminary’s 2017 Interim course ends today. Prof. R. Dykstra, by rotation, taught his course on the Schism of 1953, that tragic but necessary rupture that occurred in the PRC over the doctrine of the covenant of grace and the nature of salvation (conditional or unconditional; general or particular).

Much of that history involved Dr. Klaas Schilder (1890-1952) of the Netherlands, himself ousted from the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands in the 1944, following which he helped found the Liberated Churches that same year (Canadian Reformed and American Reformed in N. America).

Schilder was an opponent of common grace, which in part caused him to be befriended by Rev. Herman Hoeksema and prompted visits to the U.S. and conversations with PRC leaders in 1939 and 1947. However, on the doctrine of the covenant he and Hoeksema parted. Because of Schilder’s influence on many PRC ministers, his conditional theology was instrumental in the schism in 1953.

Prof. Dykstra gives out many handouts for his class on this history, both original and secondary sources. He (and his classes!) also enjoy visuals, including pictures. So I gathered what we had in the PRC archives, scanned them, and sent them to him for use in his PowerPoint presentations.

Today I share them with you as well, including a brand new one that came in this week from the T. Newhof family – thank you!

We will start with that one, since it is one of the largest and clearest pictures of Dr. K. Schilder that we have, and because it relates to the first visit he made to the U.S. and the PRC in 1939. It shows him sandwiched between Rev. George Lubbers (minister in Pella PRC at the time) and Rev. William Verhil (minister in First PRC, Edgerton, MN at the time) next to the old Doon PRC in Doon, IA.

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This is also a new one, compliments of Mark Hoeksema, showing his grandfather and grandmother (Rev. Herman Hoeksema) at a private picnic with Dr. K. Schilder.

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Dr. K. Schilder with Rev. Gerrit Vos on the way to Ripon, CA

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Dr. K. Schilder with Rev. A. Petter (minister in Bellflower, CA PRC at the time) at an outing at the Los Angeles, CA zoo.

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Dr. K. Schilder (just to the right of Rev. H. Hoeksema and Rev. G. Ophoff in the front) and PRC ministers and elders at the Theological Conference held at First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI on November 6, 1947.

In March of 1952 Dr. K. Schilder died suddenly, prompting this brief but warm memoriam in the Standard Bearer from the pen of the editor, Rev. Herman Hoeksema:

Early this morning, March 24, I received a telegram from my friend, Arnold Schildre at The Hague, informing me that his brother Klaas, the well-known Dr. K. Schilder had on the previous day, Sunday, March 23, passed into his eternal rest.

I was deeply shocked.

For although I certainly did not agree with him in regard to the question of the covenant and the promise, I nevertheless esteemed him for his work’s sake, esteemed him, too, as a highly gifted scholar, and, above all, as a brother in Christ.

And now Dr. Schilder is no more.

It would seem to us that his work was not finished.

Certainly, he himself cannot have been aware of the fact that his end was so near. At least, if we consider the very elaborate set-up of his work on the Heidelberg Catechism (he was writing) on the tenth Lord’s Day), he must have felt that he still had many years of labor before him.

But the Lord took him out of his busy sphere of labor and pronounced it finished, nevertheless.

May the Lord comfort the bereaved family, with whom we express our heartfelt sympathy.

And may He teach us so to number our days that we apply our hearts unto wisdom.

H.H.

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Why I Became a Minister – Cornelius Hanko

chankoOur PRC archives post is a day late this week, but I want to get it in. This one features Rev. Cornelius Hanko, 1907-2005 (father of Prof. Herman Hanko), former minister of the Word in the PRC.

At various times in the Beacon Lights, the PR young peoples’ magazine, articles were penned by ministers and seminary students, in which they reflected on their call to the ministry and/or on their seminary experiences. Recently, Kevin Rau (my library/archives assistant) found several of these, which he photocopied for the archive files of these ministers.

Among these articles was one by Rev. C. Hanko, which appeared in the February 1978 issue (unfortunately the BL archives do not go back that far as yet). Today we quote from a portion of this article for your benefit (which I have slightly edited).

It was shortly after the split of 1924, in the spring of 1925 that I approached Rev. Herman Hoeksema with the suggestion that I would like to attend our seminary, which was to open in June, as soon as the other schools closed for the season. His first remark was that there were others who had expressed the same desire, but that there were no churches for us to serve.

I informed him that I had always had a strong desire to become [a] missionary rather than [a] minister. You see, for years we had brought our nickels and dimes to Sunday School for the Rehoboth mission [CRC mission work]. A few times Rev. J. W. Brink had come to our Eastern Avenue congregation, the calling church, to tell us about his labors there. Besides, I had heard and read about mission work in the Sudan, in Newfoundland, and many other places, all of which intrigued me very much. So, as a matter of course, I informed Rev. Hoeksema of this desire, upon which he responded that our churches would need missionaries also. So again the Lord opened the way for me to prepare for the ministry.

The next four years were difficult years. Of the twelve [students] that began, only three finished the course. Often we had to take our lessons and prepare them in some home in Iowa, preaching on Sunday and studying during the week. There was such a shortage of supply, that during the years I was in seminary, I never was able to take my final examinations with the other students; but, except for the classical exam, always took them by myself after returning from the churches. We received practical training as well as education from books (pp15-16).

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 6:52 AM  Leave a Comment