Calvinism is Militant! – Prof.B.Gritters

SB-May15-2015In the latest issue of the Standard Bearer (May 15, 2015) Prof. B.Gritters continues his series on “What It Means to be Reformed” (on Calvinism and its implications) with an important reminder that Calvinism is also militant. We let him explain the meaning of this aspect of our Reformed faith.

Calvinism is also militant. In fact, militancy is not so much an implication of Calvinism as it is an essential aspect of it. If a Christian is a Calvinist, he is a warrior for truth. This does not surprise anyone who knows even a little bit about Calvinism.

To be militant is to be polemical. Polemics is the activity of exposing, opposing, resisting, and ultimately (by the power and grace of God) eliminating error – error of teaching, or error of conduct. Polemics is being militant.

Reformed Christians must be willing to fight for the truth of God – His name and reputation, His works, and centrally His work in Jesus Christ to save His covenant people. Answer the questions: How did God save His people? How today does He accomplish that wonder-work? Why does He save them? The answer to those questions is truth. And for that truth, Reformed Christians are willing to fight. Lies about God’s work must be exposed. Spades must be called spades. And if Pelagianism is again resurrected out of hell in 2015, we must be willing to call it so, to expose and eliminate it, just as our fathers did at Dordt 400 years ago (365).

To read more about this militant side of Calvinism, read your May 15, 2015 “SB.” To become a subscriber, visit the “SB” link above and let the RFPA know.

How Do I Teach Doctrine to My Family? – Jon Payne

How Do I Teach My Family? by Jon Payne | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT May 2015Another excellent article on the subject of doctrine in this month’s Tabletalk is the one linked above by Dr. Jon Payne (see bio information below). Payne addresses the practical question of teaching doctrine in our homes.

There are three good thoughts for us as husbands and fathers (who are called to lead in this calling, but you also who are wives and mothers must assist us!). I include the opening one, in part because we may be surprised that Payne placed this one first. Yet it is so crucial for the sound doctrinal foundation of our families. Do not take it for granted.

Every Christian home is meant to be a school of Christ—a place of spiritual nurture, loving discipline, sound doctrine, and biblical piety. This is not a reference to Victorian-era portraits of the Christian family; it is the clear teaching of Scripture and the Reformed tradition. Even so, our hectic schedules, ubiquitous gadgets, and misplaced priorities often make our homes similar to those of our unbelieving neighbors. God becomes an afterthought. Here are three things to remember as we seek to build God-centered homes where sound doctrine is the foundation and our Lord Jesus Christ is the cornerstone.

First, we must be committed to the ministry of the local church. Every Christian family needs God’s appointed means of grace and the shepherding care of godly elders (Acts 20:28Heb. 13:171 Tim. 3:1–7). The ministry of the visible church is a nonnegotiable for believers and their children. The first Christian families were “devoted to the apostles’ teaching [doctrine] and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). They were under the loving spiritual oversight of elders—men who were called to “shepherd the flock of God” and “give instruction in sound doctrineand also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9, emphasis added; see 1 Peter 5:2Titus 2:1). The church was central to their Christian identity. It is inside, not outside, the divinely ordained structure of a biblical church that Christian families are grounded in the gospel. A faithful church is where families mature in their knowledge, understanding, and practice of sound doctrine. Therefore, Christian households are encouraged to submit joyfully to the ministry of a local church body and to learn from pastors who labor “to present everyone mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28–29; seeEph. 4:11–16).

Rev. Jon D. Payne is senior minister of Christ Church Presbyterian in Charleston, S.C., and visiting lecturer at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is author of several books, including John Owen on the Lord’s Supper.

Ascension Thoughts: Seeing Jesus Crowned – Rev.M.De Vries

The May 15, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer is out, and the meditation this time focuses our attention on the glorification of Jesus Christ in His ascension to heaven and sitting at God’s right hand. Rev.Michael DeVries, pastor of Kalamazoo PRC, is the author of this instructive and comforting article.

To view more of the content of this latest issue of the “SB”, click on the image to the left. For information about subscribing to this solidly Reformed periodical published by the RFPA, visit the link above.

Here are a few of Rev.M. DeVries’ thoughts on the glory of our ascended Savior-King:

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9

Like the multitudes of Jesus’ day many today want an earthly Jesus who will satisfy their carnal desires by creating an earthly kingdom of peace and prosperity. They minimize and ignore His ascension and its significance. But by grace we rejoice in the ascension and exaltation of Christ. We see how necessary it was for the salvation of the church. We understand that were Christ to have remained here on this earth, His coming in our flesh would contain no advantage for us at all.

But even more, by faith we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor at God’s right hand! No, we could not be there with the disciples to see this side of the ascension. But by faith we see Christ exalted on the glorious, heavenly side! We behold His coronation and see Him set at God’s right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, (Ephesians 1:20, 21). The very sight of Him in His glory ought to fill our hearts with joy and peace. And see Him we do according to this Word of God!

And then, after explaining the nature of this exaltation and its purpose in the plan of God for our salvation, Rev. DeVries closes a note of comfort:

What comfort the exaltation of Christ affords us! We may face the future with courage and confidence. With the natural eye what we see is frightening and discouraging. For as we note from the preceding verse, “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” We see man far, far lower than the angels, yea, in the depths of depravity. We see abounding iniquity and immorality. We see a generation of the ungodly having apparent control in this world, committing horrible atrocities. We see the faithful church hated and persecuted as never before. We see the powers of darkness increasing in their bold and wicked attempt to destroy the church of God. We see our place in this world becoming smaller and smaller.

…But let us not despair! For we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor!

With the eye of faith we see Him in perfect control over all these enemies of the church. We see Him with the Book of the seven seals of God’s counsel. He faithfully and powerfully causes all things to come to pass which must shortly occur in order that He may return to glorify His Church. By faith we see that we are secure and that our salvation is absolutely sure. Seeing Jesus crowned with glory and honor means that the victory is already ours! We are now more than conquerors!

As long as we see Him there all is well. How blessed it is to look into heaven by faith and see Jesus there in His glory and honor, working all things for our good! Make no mistake, all things work together for good exactly because Christ was crowned with glory and honor for all those for whom He tasted death.

Common Grace and the Gospel (and H.Hoeksema) – C.Van Til

CommonGrace&Gospel-CVanTilDid you know that P&R Publishing recently republished Cornelius Van Til’s book Common Grace and the Gospel? First published in 1972, this second edition contains the full text of the first edition but with added foreword and annotations by K.Scott Oliphint. This too is a “new” title in the PRC Seminary library (We also have the first edition – and with good reason – keep reading!).

Van Tils’ book is a significant work on common grace and was widely recognized as such when it was first published. And we suspect that with the recent rise in interest in the doctrine because of the renewed interest in Abraham Kuyper (especially by the neo-Calvinists and “new Calvinists” – the “young, restless, and Reformed” crowd), the publisher saw the need for this new edition. And we may guess that it will have a wide reception.

If you are unfamiliar with the author, you will find this information about him on the P&R website:

Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987) was born in Grootegast, the Netherlands, and immigrated with his family to America in 1905. He attended Calvin College and Calvin Seminary before completing his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University with the ThM and PhD degrees. Drawn to the pastorate, Van Til spent one year in the ministry before taking a leave of absence to teach apologetics at Princeton Seminary. When the seminary reorganized, he was persuaded to join the faculty of the newly founded Westminster Theological Seminary. He remained there as professor of apologetics until his retirement in 1975. Van Til wrote more than twenty books, in addition to more than thirty syllabi. Among his best-known titles are The Defense of the Faith, A Christian Theory of Knowledge, and An Introduction to Systematic Theology.

In this work Van Til does indeed interact with A.Kuyper’s view of common grace as set forth in his De Gemeene Gratie (3 vols, 1902 – a work now being translated and published in English for the first time.). But, of special interest to our PRC readers, Van Til also interacts with Herman Hoeksema and the PRC. In fact, in the initial chapter on Kuyper’s view of common grace, Van Til brings up the Three Points of Common Grace adopted in 1924 by the Christian Reformed Church and mentions Hoeksema’s opposition to this Kuyperian form of the doctrine:

Kuyper’s statement of the doctrine of common grace has not gone unchallenged. In a number of pamphlets and books, as well as in a monthly magazine, The Standard Bearer, the Rev. Herman Hoeksema, the Rev. Henry Danhof and others have vigorously denied the existence of any form of common grace.

Hoeksema and Danhof argue that it is inconceivable that God should be in any sense, and at any point, graciously inclined to those who are not His elect. The wicked do, to be sure, receive gifts from God. But rain and sunshine are not, as such, evidences of God’s favor (p.25).

And Van Til continues to treat Hoeksema’s views on this doctrine throughout the book (a quick glance at the index will tell you he does so in over twenty places).

But Van Til also has a special chapter (8) on Hoeksema and his Reformed Dogmatics, which makes for good reading. While acknowledging the power of Hoeksema’s preaching and agreeing with some of his theology, Van Til is critical of “HH’s” defense of particular grace over against common grace. This is how chapter 8 ends:

There is, of course, much else in Hoeksema’s work that could be discussed with profit. There is, indeed, much very valuable material in his work. We have, however, used our space to deal with what was most important to him.

With all our great admiration for Hoeksema as a preacher and as a teacher of theology, we must, nonetheless, maintain that however true he was to the idea of the sovereignty of the grace of God, he did not advance its proper form of expression in his works on theology (p.252).

As you can see, you would do well to read Van Til on this significant doctrine, especially as he deals with Kuyper and Hoeksema. And now, you have a new edition with which to do that.

M.Luther on the Genesis Account of Creation – W.VanDoodewaard

One of the new books purchased for and now processed for use by patrons of the PRC Seminary library is the title The Quest for the Historical Adam: Genesis, Hermeneutics, and Human Origins (Reformation Heritage, 2015). This significant study by Dr. William VanDoodewaard, professor of church history at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI, is a survey of historical theology and ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible’s account of creation, particularly the creation of man (Adam).

This is the description the publisher provides:

Was Adam really a historical person, and can we trust the biblical story of human origins? Or is the story of Eden simply a metaphor, leaving scientists the job to correctly reconstruct the truth of how humanity began? Although the church currently faces these pressing questions—exacerbated as they are by scientific and philosophical developments of our age—we must not think that they are completely new. In The Quest for the Historical Adam, William VanDoodewaard recovers and assesses the teaching of those who have gone before us, providing a historical survey of Genesis commentary on human origins from the patristic era to the present. Reacquainting the reader with a long line of theologians, exegetes, and thinkers, VanDoodewaard traces the roots, development, and, at times, disappearance of hermeneutical approaches and exegetical insights relevant to discussions on human origins. This survey not only informs us of how we came to this point in the conversation but also equips us to recognize the significance of the various alternatives on human origins.

And here is the Table of Contents, which gives you some idea of what the author covers and how he handles the vast material:

Introduction

  1. Finding Adam and His Origin in Scripture
  2. The Patristic and Medieval Quest for Adam
  3. Adam in the Reformation and Post-Reformation Eras
  4. Adam in the Enlightenment Era
  5. Adam in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
  6. The Quest for Adam: From the 1950s to the Present
  7. What Difference Does It Make?

Epilogue: Literal Genesis and Science?

For my purposes today, I give you a couple of quote from that third chapter, which treats the view of the church during the period of the Reformation and post-Reformation periods. VanDoodewaard points to an important shift that was taking place in the way the church interpreted Scripture, moving from an allegorical approach (which characterized the Medieval period) to a literal approach. And VanDoodewaard takes us to none other than the father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, as the first to make this important shift (while also acknowledging W.Tyndale’s contribution).

So our quotes today are ones VanDoodewaard has from Luther, showing plainly where this church father stood on the issue of the historicity of Genesis and the accuracy of its record. In this first one Luther is describing God’s works as set forth in Genesis 1 and 2:

These, then, are all historical facts. This is something to which I carefully call attention, lest the wary reader be led astray by the authority of the fathers, who give up the idea that this is history and look for allegories. For this reason I like Lyra and rank him among the best, because throughout he carefully adheres to, and concerns himself with, the historical account. Nevertheless, he allows himself to be swayed by the authority of the fathers and occasionally, because of their example, turns away from the real meaning to silly allegories (p.52 – taken from Luther’s Lectures on Genesis).

The second quote relates specifically to God’s creation of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis 1. Here again is Luther:

Here our opinion is supported: that the six days were truly six natural days, because here Moses says that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. One may not use sophistries with reference to this text. But concerning the order of creation he will state in the following chapter that Eve was created sometime after Adam, not like Adam, from a clod of earth, but from his rib, which God took out of the side of Adam while he slept. These are all works of time, that is works that require time. They were not performed in one moment; neither were these acts: that God brings to Adam every animal and there was none found like him, etc. These are acts requiring time, and they were performed on the sixth day. Here Moses touches on them briefly by anticipation. Later on he will explain them at greater length (p.53).

May 1, 2015 Standard Bearer: Second Helvetic Confession on Holy Scripture – Prof.R.Cammenga

SB-May-1-2015The May 1, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer, the semi-monthly Reformed magazine published by the RFPA (rfpa.org), is now published and being distributed. This issue too contains a variety of edifying articles – from a meditation on Ps.55:22, to another editorial on “What It Means to Be Reformed”, to matters “all around us” of interest to Christians, to an article on raising children in a covenant home – and an important book review (By Faith Alone).

One of the new series of articles is on the historic Reformed confession, the Second Helvetic (Swiss) Confession. In this issue Prof.R.Cammenga begins to treat the specific articles of this creed, starting with Art.1 on the doctrine of holy Scripture. Today, I take a brief quote from this article to show you how significant a confession this is and why you and I ought to become better acquainted with it.

First, Prof.Cammenga quotes from the first article itself, which reads this way:

We believe and confess the canonical Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles of both Testaments to be the true Word of God, and to have sufficient authority of themselves, not of men.  For God himself spoke to the fathers, prophets, apostles, and still speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures.

And in this Holy Scripture, the universal Church of Christ has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God; and in this respect it is expressly commanded by God that nothing be either added to or taken from the same.

Then he adds this opening commentary:

The Second Helvetic Confession begins its exposition of the Reformed faith with the doctrine of Scripture.  This is altogether proper.  This is necessary.  Everything depends on one’s view of Scripture.  More than anything else, this is what distinguishes the Reformed faith.  What distinguished the Reformed faith at the time of the Reformation was its view of Scripture. This is what set the Reformed apart from the Roman Catholics, on the one hand, and the Anabaptists and enthusiasts, on the other hand.   Both Rome and the Anabaptists erred in their view of Scripture. That aberrant view of Scripture affected everything.  And as different as they were from each other, both Rome and the Anabaptists were alike in that they denied the sufficiency of Scripture, that in Scripture “the Church of Christ has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God.”  Rome denied the sufficiency of Scripture by adding to Scripture, as an equal authority alongside of Scripture, tradition. That tradition consisted of the writings of the church fathers, the decisions of the church councils, and the Apocrypha.  The Anabaptists denied the sufficiency of Scripture by adding direct revelations and immediate promptings of the Spirit.  The Reformers said, “A plague on both your houses.”  And they affirmed the sole authority and complete sufficiency of Holy Scripture, with appeal to Revelation 22:18 and 19, where “it is expressly commanded by God that nothing be either added to or taken from” the Word of God.

And finally, he makes this application to us today:

Still today, this is the issue and still today this is what distinguishes the Reformed faith, at least the Reformed faith properly understood.  Scripture alone is the arbiter of truth.  Scripture alone is the authority for faith and life.  Scripture alone is determinative in the life of the church, both the local congregation and the broader assemblies.  And Scripture is determinative for the walk of the individual believer in the midst of the world. The method employed by Bullinger in the Second Helvetic Confession of beginning with the doctrine of Scripture is the distinctively Reformed method.  All the truth that we confess and that is summarized in the confession is revealed in Holy Scripture.  The Reformed view of Scripture is that it is “the true Word of God.”  Fundamental to the Reformed faith is its view of Scripture.

To receive a sample of this Reformed magazine, or to subscribe, visit this SB page on the RFPA website.

May 2015 “Tabletalk”: The Heresy of Indifference to Doctrine – B.Parsons

The Heresy of Indifference by Burk Parsons | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT May 2015A new month is here and that means a new issue of Tabletalk to preview. The May 2015 issue is about doctrine – “Doctrine for All of Life” is the theme – with ten (10) shorter featured articles breaking the subject down. I dug into the issue yesterday, and it looks to be another great one.

As usual, editor Burk Parsons introduces the theme with the above-linked article, explaining why doctrine matters and why indifference to doctrine is itself heresy. You will find his full introduction at the link above, but here is a portion of it to give you a start.

When people tell me they are into Jesus but not into doctrine, I tell them that if they are not into doctrine, they are, in fact, not into Jesus. We cannot know Jesus without knowing doctrine, and we cannot love God without knowing God, and the way we know God is by studying His Word. Doctrine comes from God, it teaches us about God, and by faith it leads us back to God in worship, service, and love. Indifference to doctrine is indifference to God, and indifference to God is indifference to our own eternity. Pastors who think it is relevant and cool to be indifferent about doctrine—who play down the necessity and importance of doctrine and who fail to preach and explain doctrine in their sermons—are in fact failing to give their people that which will save their souls. For us to downplay doctrine or to be intentionally fuzzy in preaching doctrine isn’t cool or humble or relevant, it’s outright arrogant. There is nothing more relevant than doctrine, there is nothing more humbling than doctrine, and there is nothing that more quickly gets our eyes off ourselves and fixes them on our loving and gracious God than doctrine that proceeds from God.

I also read the first two featured articles – “What is Doctrine” by Scott Swain, and “Whom Do I Trust” by Jeffrey Jue. I provide a brief quote from Swain’s article for our interest as well. Follow the links provided to read these articles as well.

The End of Sound Doctrine

Doctrine promotes a number of ends. Sound doctrine delivers us from the snare of false teaching (2 Tim. 2:24–26; Titus 1:9-11), which otherwise threatens to arrest spiritual development (Eph. 4:14) and to foster ecclesiastical discord (Rom. 16:17). Doctrine serves God’s saving work both inside (1 Tim. 4:16) and outside the church (Matt. 5:13-16; Titus 2:9–10; 1 Peter 3:1–6). Above all, doctrine promotes God’s glory. Doctrine shines forth as one of the glorious rays of the gospel of God (1 Tim. 1:10–11) and, by directing our faith and love toward God in Christ, it enables us to walk in His presence and give Him the glory He deserves (1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18).

God loves us; and in His goodness He has given us the good gift of doctrine (Ps. 119:68) that we might learn of Him and of His gospel, and that we might please Him in our walk. Doctrine is the teaching of our heavenly Father, revealed in Jesus Christ, and transmitted to us by the Holy Spirit in Holy Scripture, and it is to be received, confessed, and followed in the church, to the glory of God’s name.

 

W.Tyndale: “Grounded in Sovereign Grace” – S.Lawson

Daring Mission-Tyndale-2015Drawn from chapter two (“Grounded in Sovereign Grace”) of Steven J. Lawson’s new book, The Daring Mission of William Tyndale, in the series “A Long Line of Godly Men” (Reformation Trust, 2015):

Hailed as ‘the greatest of the early English Protestants’, William Tyndale was a Reformer in every sense of the word. This certainly included his theology. Undergirding his belief in Reformation truth was his unwavering commitment to the sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners. It was this deep confidence in the doctrines of grace that gave him staying power in his tireless efforts to translate the Bible into English. Tyndale was convinced that the power of God alone could change the hearts of kings and plowboys alike. The glorious truth that Christ would build His church compelled Tyndale to bring the Scriptures to the English people in their own language, regardless of the dangers he faced (29-30).

And a paragraph later Lawson adds:

Divine sovereignty was the underlying framework that held Tyndale’s life and theology together. He determinedly believed in the absolute sovereignty of God in His reign over all things. Reformed doctrine fueled Tyndale’s implacable drive in life and ministry. At the heart of his theology was the belief that God’s sovereignty extended from the control and order of the created universe to the salvation of undeserving sinners (30-31).

We may be thankful that this Reformer was so “grounded in sovereign grace.” You and I may not be involved in such a “daring mission” as Tyndale’s work of translating the Bible, but is our faith and life also fueled by this foundational truth of the Word of God? How is the truth of God’s sovereignty governing what we belief and do today?

PRC Archives: The First PR Theological Journal

Thinking about the publication of the latest issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal (see my previous post), made me think about the initial edition of the PRTJ. When do you think this Seminary periodical began?

If you pay attention to the volume numbers, you will note that the April 2015 issue is part of volume 48. And working backwards in years, that means that the first PRTJ was published in 1967. So, for our PRC archives feature today, Volume 1, No.1 is the item on display!

apr1967_Page_1

You will find this complete issue on the Seminary’s website under the “Journal tab” (r-h side), but I also made the first three pages into images, which I post here. These include the initial cover (above – the entire issue was published in syllabus form – 8.5 x 11 size pages), the introductory note by the editor (below), and the table of contents (Alas, there were no book reviews in that first issue. But many would come in time. :) )

apr1967_Page_2

apr1967_Page_4

I also thought you might like to see the progression in covers and design over the years. There were basically four styles – the one you see here; the one on the previous post (since vol.38, Nov., 2006 this has been the latest look); and then these two styles from the 1980 and 1990s.

PRTJ Covers-1986 & 1998_Page_1

If you are not a subscriber of the PRTJ, and would like to become one (whether the print edition or the digital version), let us know! You may contact the editor (Prof.R.Cammenga) or our Seminary secretary (their email addresses may be found on the Seminary’s website.). The price is right (free, because it is generously supported by the PRC membership!) and the content is always edifying and stimulating. It is truly a unique Reformed Journal in the church world.

The April 2015 Issue of the PR Seminary Journal is Now Available!

PRTJ-April-2015Fresh from the printer (yesterday afternoon!) is the latest issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal. The April 2015 issue (vol.48, No.2) is another ‘special” issue in that it contains the text of four speeches given at a PRC officebearers’ conference on preaching held last September (2014) in Illinois (see Prof.R.Cammenga’s editorial notes below). At this conference our three professors gave speeches, as well as missionary-pastor W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PR Fellowship) [Click on the image on the right to see all the subjects treated.]

These speeches in print will not only be of interest to and valuable for pastors and elders, but also for Seminary students and for the person “in the pew.” For just as preaching is the chief task of the minister of the Word, so is it the chief means of grace for the people of God (those two points are inseparable). All will benefit from reading these articles.

Besides, there are also two extensive book review articles and five other book reviews in this issue (for more on those, keep reading). I always find these personally edifying.

I include here Prof.R.Cammenga’s “Editor’s Notes” introducing the issue. If you would like to receive this issue, or would like to be added to our mailing list to receive the Journal (free of charge, though donations are always welcome!), contact me here or the Seminary secretary at the information on our Seminary website. Today I will also be posting this issue on our Seminary Journal page (in pdf form – the two other digital versions will appear later).

Here follows Prof.Cammenga’s introduction of the April 2015 issue:

Editor’s Notes

Preaching is fundamental to what the church is called to be and is called to do. It is at the heart of worship. It is the chief means of grace. It is the means for the salvation of the elect, both in the generations of believers and from the nations through missions. It is the means to work faith, to strengthen faith, and to preserve in faith. It is the means for the establishment of the kingdom of heaven and the gathering of her citizens.
Preachers are what we aim to train for the church of Jesus Christ in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary. We aim to produce pastors who are preachers—chiefly preachers. As preaching is the chief, from a certain point of view the only task of the minister, so does all the instruction in PRTS have as its goal the development of sound, capable preachers of the gospel.

Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America sponsored an officebearers’ conference prior to its September 2014 meeting. The speeches presented at this conference make up the main contents of this issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal. Domestic missionary of the PRCA, the Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma, gave the keynote address: “The Minister’s Development of His Preaching after Seminary.” In his speech Rev. Bruinsma not only emphasized the need for the minister’s development as a preacher after graduation from seminary and once in the active ministry, but also gave a number of concrete suggestions with a view to this development. The remaining speeches were given by the faculty of PRTS: “The Elders’ Supervision of the Preaching,” “Developing God-Honoring, Faithful, and Effective Preaching,” and “Application in Preaching.” We hope that our readers, especially ministers and seminary students, will find these articles to be worthwhile.

Besides the conference speeches that have been put into print, readers should take note of the two review articles that are included in this issue. Past issues of PRTJ have contained reviews of the individual volumes of Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, edited by James T. Dennison, Jr., as they were published. Recently the fourth and last volume of this very worthwhile set was released. With the completion of the set, Rev. Angus Stewart, minister in the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena, Northern Ireland has submitted a review article. You will definitely want to read what he has to say. Another significant book that has recently been published by B & H Publishing Group (formerly Broadman and Holman Publishers) is entitled Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views. Emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at PRTS, Prof. David Engelsma, offers readers an insightful analysis of this new book. At the same time, his review article is a passionate call to Reformed churches and officebearers to defend the biblical and confessional truth concerning the redemption of the cross of Christ. That cross, an offense and stumbling block to so many today—also in the church—is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24).

And then there are the book reviews. Notable among recently published books is the publication of The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible. This new study Bible is the first of its kind—a Reformed King James Version study Bible. Up until now Arminians and Dispensationalists have held the field among KJV study Bibles. At long last a King James Version study Bible whose notes and articles are written from a distinctively Reformed perspective. Reformed believers who treasure the King James Version of the Bible—among them the members of the PRCA and her sister churches—should welcome this new study Bible.
Now read and enjoy.
Soli Deo Gloria!
—RLC

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