Covenant Connections for “the Young and the Restless”

United to one body with one Head, it is our differences from each other that give each part of the body what it needs.  The younger need the older. Wealthier believers needs the gifts of poorer members. Rather than feed a comfortable narcissism, we need to be enriched by the insights, fellowship, and correction of brothers and sisters from ethnic, political, and economic backgrounds different from our own. The church is not a circle of friends, but the family of God. The covenant of grace connects generations, rooting them in that worshiping community with the ‘cloud of witnesses’ in heaven as well as here and now (Heb.12:1).

Yet today the market has become the new Pharoah who defies God’s order to let his people go so that they may worship him in the desert at his mountain. ‘Divide and conquer’ is the logic of this new lord. By separating the generations into niche markets, the powers and principalities of this present evil age pick at the covenantal fabric of God’s new society. Satan works tirelessly to create gaps between generations in the church – gaps that the fathers and mothers cannot reach across to pass the baton. Someone wisely said, ‘The church is always one generation away from apostasy.’

Continuity is the covenantal approach to generations; novelty is the decree of our age.

ordinary-MHorton-2014Taken from chapter three, “The Young and the Restless,” of Michael Horton’s Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014, p.53) where Horton addresses the contemporary church’s false and dangerous attempt to focus on the youth in her worship and ministry. As he shows, God’s covenant of grace – its  doctrine and practice – is the perfect answer to this error.

Book Alert: “Handle with Care!” – Dr. J. Kennedy

Handle-with-care-kennedyA few months ago I was made aware of a new book produced by Dr. Julian Kennedy and today I want to notify you of it while reserving fuller review for later (cf. note below).

The book is Handle with Care! A Biblical and Reformed Guide to Sexuality for Young People (Wipf & Stock, 2017; paper & epub, 114 pp.).

You will find this summary of the book at the publisher’s site:

God’s good gift of sexuality has been corrupted since the fall of man into sin so that man in his depravity is not able to use it for God’s glory and for his own good. Sex between unmarried (fornication), adultery, including divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality are accepted as normal in modern society and young people, even Christian young people, are being influenced by this Satanic lie that “if it feels good–do it!” This booklet is sent out with the prayer that it will save many young people from heartache and the curse that these serious sexual sins will bring on them. There is the good way, the biblical or reformed way for living chastely as a single person, finding and courting a mate, and marrying and staying faithful to that mate. This booklet has been a long time since inception to publication! First conceived thirty years ago, very few copies of an older version were produced by Covenant Keepers for young people in Singapore in 2011. The original has been substantially expanded by quotations from Protestant Reformed Church ministers.

In his “Introduction” the author offers us these important thoughts on this timely topic:

This booklet aims to explain the truth about sex, love and marriage from the view of the Reformed* Faith of Scripture. God alone, who instituted the first marriage, can tell us what love really is and how sex in marriage can be used for the greatest benefit. Much will be said in this booklet that contradicts the popular notions
about sex that are portrayed in the glossy popular magazines, newspapers and on TV soaps, in films, or in novels of today, where people hop in and out of bed and of marriages, with sad and destructive consequences to themselves and any children involved. God knows that building a lasting relationship on the rock of scriptural truth will mean it will stand in the storms of life. Prevention is better than cure, so practice godly courtship and marriage and save yourself from much heartache and many problems. The statistics on cohabitation, fornication, divorce, adultery, teenage pregnancy and homosexuality even among professing believers show how God’s instructions are being ignored and it is my prayer that this booklet will help many to find God’s best in love, marriage and sex.

We thank Dr. Kennedy for his contribution to the literature available on sexuality – rare because it is Reformed. Reformed because it is rooted in God’s Word (biblical!) and the Reformed confessions of the historic church.

Knowing a book’s contents help reveal its value. I trust as you review this content of Handle with Care! that you will see its value:

Part One: What God Says
Chapter 1
Dynamite!—Handle With Care | 3
Chapter 2
Battle for the Mind—Impure Thoughts | 5
Chapter 3
Why Wait? | 14
Chapter 4
Homosexuality | 18
Chapter 5
Two Become One | 22
Chapter 6
The Proper Basis and Purpose of Marriage | 25
Chapter 7
Singleness | 29

Part Two: The Facts of Life
Chapter 8
How Does Sex Start? | 39
Chapter 9
Men versus Women—What’s the Difference? | 41
Chapter 10
Boy Meets Girl | 44
Chapter 11
Friendships | 46

Part Three: Finding the Right Mate
Chapter 12
The Meaning of Love | 51
Chapter 13
Finding Your Help Meet | 55
Chapter 14
For Girls Only | 57
Chapter 15
Courtship, Dating and Right Relationships | 59
Chapter 16
The Wedding is Soon | 79
Chapter 17
Family Planning | 81

Appendix—The Reformed Faith: The Five Solas | 89

I have requested a review copy of this new title. When I have that in hand, I will be better able to make a more full evaluation of this book.

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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: 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)  

How Well Do You Know Your Enemy, Satan? Feb.1, 2017 Standard Bearer

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (February 1, 2017) is once again filled with interesting, instructive, and edifying articles. One of them is a good follow up to yesterday’s post on spiritual warfare.

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Rev. Brian Huizinga (pastor of Hope PRC in Redlands, CA) is doing an extended series on the Christian’s spiritual warfare, under the rubric “Strength of Youth.” His latest piece continues to treat the importance of knowing our enemies – that triple foe of the believer: the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh – with special focus on Satan, that grand deceiver and slanderer of saints past and present.

In this article, titled “Knowing Our Enemies: Satan,” Huizinga breaks down the “profile” of this foe into six (6) parts, the last two of which we post here.

In point #5 he states this about the devil:

Satan is my Constant Foe

  • Some enemies fatigue. Some lose focus. Some eventually give up. Not Satan (I Pet. 5:8).
  • Every day he is ready to meet the challenge of getting me to turn my back on God and walk toward hell, either boasting in iniquity or despairing in hopelessness. Whether I am ready for him when I first stir in bed at dawn or not, he is ready for me – ready to tempt me to have negative thoughts multiplying in my mind as I arise from my slumber, so that I begin my day gloomy, or to have me lose control of my emotions or tongue at the first encounter of something I do not like. He exerts his influence upon me in the sanctuary to make sure I get jealous of so-and-so as she walks in, to make sure I think about the game during congregational prayer, or to make sure that when we guys gather in our circle afterward we demean others, especially so-and-so with his dorky haircut. He is present on every date to make sure we get alone time and temptations to compromise our chastity. When I leave the job interview with no job, he tempts me to imagine I am a worthless failure. Even while I pray, he tempts me to think about something other than the immediate presence of God’s majesty, or to doubt that God really will forgive me, or that God even hears my confession. Relentless he is.

But he ends with this consoling truth (point #6):

Christ is Satan’s Lord

  • Satan is not the Lord of the universe but subject to my Christ who is. Not unto thee, Satan, but to our God will we forever exclaim and pray, “For in Jesus Christ Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever, Amen!”
  • Because Christ who bruised Satan’s head on the cross is Satan’s Lord, Satan will never claim and bring to perdition an elect child of the Lord (John 6:39, 10:29). Rather, the lake of fire will soon claim Satan forever (Rev. 20:10). My comfort is that I belong to the Lord.

Redeeming the Time – Rev. J. Mahtani

The latest issue of the Standard Bearer (Jan.15, 2017) is once again filled with a variety of interesting and instructive articles (cf. cover below).

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One of these is found under the rubric “Strength of Youth”. Rev. Jon Mahtani, pastor of Cornerstone PRC in Dyer, IN and a new writer for this rubric, has a timely article for the new year titled “Redeeming the Time.” In it he explains and applies – especially for the benefit of Christian young people, but applicable for all ages – the Word of God in Eph.5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Here is part of what he has to say:

In Ephesians 5:16, God does not call us to buy cars, clothing, jewelry, appliances, or homes, but time. The word for “time” here however, does not refer primarily to the duration of time—the seconds, minutes, and hours going by on our clocks. Rather, “time” refers to “opportunities” in our life.

…But wait! Stop! Before you go off to buy every opportunity that comes your way, remember what a good buyer does. First, he senses or discerns the more valuable from the less valuable. Just as not every product on the market is of equal worth, so not every opportunity is equally worthwhile. Just as you cannot purchase everything online, so you cannot buy every opportunity that presents itself!

How do you determine which opportunities are most valuable? As a child of God, with the wisdom of His Holy Spirit and His word, you should know that the most valuable opportunities are measured by spiritual profit! No, we do not discern valuable opportunities by asking, “What is most fun? What is most entertaining? What feels the best? What is good for my reputation, my career, my bank account?” Instead, the golden opportunities are determined by prayerfully asking, “What is best for my soul?”

Prioritize your life. What is more valuable? Devotion time or sleep time? Bible society time or sporting event time? Church fellowship or what I already put on my schedule? Overtime at work or quality time with the family? Homework time or your primetime T.V. show? Time to pray or time to play? We may be able to see some value in all of these opportunities, but a good buyer of time first senses and chooses which is most valuable.

PRC Archives – 1945 PR YP’s Convention

This past week Gary Bylsma of Faith PRC dropped off some more items for the PRC archives, and among these were two PRC Young Peoples’ Convention booklets – from 1944 and 1945.

These are significant souvenir booklets not only because they are from the fourth and fifth conventions, but also because these were WW II years and many of our PR young men were away in Europe and the Pacific for that world conflict. And as some of you know, we lost some of young men during that time, and these booklets include memoriam pages to these young men.

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Today I feature some of the pages from this fifth convention booklet, hosted by South Holland PRC in 1945. As you will see, our young men at war were very much on the minds of the host society and the young people. It was a different era, important in its own way for our churches and young people.

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A fun and interesting part of the convention booklets from the early years is the autograph section in the back. Here was where fellow conventioneers could  sign their names for their friends – old and new. This particular booklet has the pages full of such “autographs.”

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I think you will enjoy seeing these and the people who go with them. Perhaps your parent or grandparent is named here. 🙂

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Special May Visits to the PRC Seminary

During the month of May we have had a couple of special guests at the PRC Seminary – an individual and a group. So, on this Wednesday we feature their time with us.

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Mr. Start and Prof.R. Cammenga during set up of coin display tables.

The first visitor was Mr. Doug Start, a member of our Georgetown PRC, and otherwise known as the “coin guy” (check out his website or his Facebook page). Doug is a licensed coin collector and seller, and for some time we have wanted him come and show his coins from the biblical and early church history periods. On the last day of classes (May 5) a visit was finally arranged.

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Mr. Start gives his informative presentation to faculty, students, and wives.

What a fabulous collection Doug showed and what an informative talk he gave us! I can only give you a glimpse, but if schools are looking for an interesting and instructive presentation, contact Mr. Start! You will be impressed!

Part of an amazing collection of coins, oil lamps, etc.

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Roman coin with image of Janus, the two-faced god that Herman Hoeksema referenced in connection with the common grace controversy.

The second visitor was a group – the church history students of Mr. Dan Van Uffelen and Mr. Scott Van Uffelen from Covenant Christian High School in Walker, who came last Friday, May 20. This is an annual visit these students and teachers make to the Seminary, part of a church history tour guided by Prof. D. Engelsma (with morning visits to Eastern Ave. CRC and then the old First PRC in Grand Rapids).

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Gathering for devotions prior to pizza lunch together in the back of Seminary.

This too is a visit we look forward to each year, though with the group getting larger each year (near 100 this year!), we seem to be running out of space to put them all!

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Did someone say pizza?!

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It wasn’t long and the pizza was gone! That’s part of the transportation committee in the background – Mr. Vern Haveman and Mr. Mike Engelsma

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Enjoying the beautiful day on the Seminary grounds after lunch

Personally, I enjoy this visit because I get to lead a “sectional” on the PRC archives. Explaining to the students how and why we preserve our part in the history of Christ’s universal church is thrilling to me; and when I get to show them some of the treasures in the archives room, their eyes light up – they actually seem to be interested and excited too! Of course, the two Van Uffelen teachers have already tipped them off and added to the anticipation! 🙂

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The Van Uffelen church history teachers with Prof. D. Engelsma

We thank our CCHS church history teachers and students for including us in their annual tour, and pray that their visit to us was inspirational as well as instructive. Don’t forget what was told you about preserving the history! We pray for you all. Do the same for us.

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Time for departure – thank you for your encouraging visit once again!

Special Visitors from Heritage Christian High

It was a week ago that another group of special visitors came to the PRC Seminary. This group was uniquely special because for the first time a group of students came from the Heritage Christian High School in Dyer, IN, as part of a church history tour to West Michigan.

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Prof.B. Gritters starting a tour of the seminary library.

They spent most of a morning with us, receiving an introduction to the seminary and a tour of the building, taking in two classes, and participating in devotions. They then enjoyed a pizza lunch with us, before departing with Profs. D.Engelsma and R. Dykstra to visit the old First PRC in Grand Rapids (Fuller and Franklin) and then Graafschaap CRC in Holland.

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Preparing to join the faculty and students for devotions.

Once again we may say that we thoroughly enjoyed this group of students and thank them, Mr. Ryan Dykstra (HCHS teacher and son of Prof.R. Dykstra), and the two chaperones, Lou DeJong and Matt Moore, for taking the time to join us for part of a day

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Enjoying the fellowship at coffee time.

It is hard to express how much these visits encourage the professors and students and staff at Seminary. But we may unitedly say that they do, and we are grateful for your interest in and participation in a little part of our life. And perhaps some seeds were sown in the hearts and minds of a few of the young men who visited. That belongs to our petitions. 🙂

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Sitting in on Prof.R. Dykstra’s medieval church history class.

More Special Visitors – Adams Christian 5th Graders

This past Wednesday the PRC Seminary hosted some more special guests. This time the fifth grade class from Adams Christian School taught by Mrs. MaryBeth Lubbers joined us for an hour of their morning.

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5th Graders join the students and professors for devotions

This was a first for a class from Adams CS (where I have two grandchildren this year), and we are glad they took the time to get to know our special school better. We enjoyed having them and trust the students passed Prof. Cammenga’s quiz!

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Mrs.Lubbers and some parents share their snacks at coffee time

The professors and students always enjoy meeting the children and having a time of fellowship with them. Below are a few photos of this time.

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Coffee/drink time with snacks and good fellowship

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Darren Vink and Matt Kortus take some time to chat with a table of girls

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More mingling by students and Prof. Gritters

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Profs. Dykstra and Cammenga enjoy a few of the students’ company

Published in: on April 22, 2016 at 6:20 AM  Comments (1)