Man the reader –

This is a fascinating article refuting the claims of evolutionism from the viewpoint of the skills needed for people to read. Read on – closely and carefully – and you will find one more reason to reject the theory of man’s evolution from lower life forms.

There is a lot to absorb here, but it will be worth your while to read it all. I have quoted the opening paragraphs below; find the full article at the link at the end of this post.

Why are humans able to read?

Viewed from a distance, the theory of evolution seems tenable to many people. The beautiful charts showing man’s development from ape-like creatures to Homo sapiens, the anthropological reconstructions of fossil men, artists’ conceptions of transitional forms, and the confident assertions of the ‘fact’ of evolution in textbooks make it seem evolution is a foregone conclusion.

Yet like some smiling Cheshire cat, the ‘body’ of facts to support the theory of evolution is simply not there. It smiles at us, and beckons us to accept that it has flesh and bones, yet when we examine it close up, there is no substance. This is certainly true in the area of man’s ability to read. Rather than supporting the theory of evolution, man’s reading ability points to the wisdom of an Intelligent Designer.

Source: Man the reader –

Now Available! New RFPA Book: Gottschalk: Servant of God

gottschalk-cmeyer-2015Now that the Reformed Free Publishing Association has released their latest title – and a very special one at that! – we can reference the post they made today on their blog.

Here is the first part of that post, along with an image of the cover; follow the link below to find out more and to order the book.

This looks to be one you will want to add to your personal or family library, or give as a gift this Christmas season.

For several years the RFPA has discussed publishing books for younger readers and Gottschalk: Servant of God represents our first effort. This book is intended for junior high and high school ages. Because the story is intriguing and the history of Gottschalk is not well-known, adults will also enjoy this book and find it profitable.

Source: Reformed Free Publishing Association — Now Available! New Book: Gottschalk

Why a book on this Medieval monk? In part, this is how the author answers that in her introduction:

God was protecting his church, preserving her, leading her, guiding her. No, she was not forgotten. God was leading her throughout all of history, sometimes at a crawl, sometimes at a trot, and sometimes at a grueling gallop – but he was with her all along. Such is the comfort we receive from the story of Gottschalk. God preserves his church. As Gottschalk would say in his characteristic way, ‘It is obviously seen brighter than the sun and is more clearly apparent than daylight’ (x).

The book is enhanced by the beautiful illustrations done by the author, Mrs. Connie Meyer (see the sample pages on the RFPA blog post). Throughout are drawings from the times (Middle Ages), maps, and other period pictures of places and people.

In addition, the author has included an appendix with a sample of Gottschalk’s writings. These include some of his poetry and his Shorter Confession. Here is a short excerpt from his “A Hymn to God the Life-Giver”, in which the truth of sovereign electing grace shines plainly:

Thou dost increase and infuse
The faith which Thou dost grant
To whomsoever Thou dost choose.
Still more, Thou cleanest lepers
Polluted in their shame,
Ungodly men are righteous,
Made clean in Thy pure name;
Together with the Father and His beloved Son,
Thou recreatest souls,
All those of Thine elect,
And when Thy work is done,
Thy glory lights each one.

Published in: on November 17, 2015 at 10:33 PM  Leave a Comment  

A Quiz on the Doctrine of Scripture

It’s Tuesday. You have had a chance to dig into your work for the week. Your brain is fresh; your mind is alert. So, it’s time for a quiz! On the doctrine of Scripture! Yes, you can do this!

On the Necessity of Reading the Bible - C.H.SpurgeonTim Challies posted this a few weeks ago (Nov.4, 2015) and I saved this post for the right time. Today, I think, is that time. You have heard me say more than once here – where the theme is “read more and read better” – that the best Book you will ever read is God’s Book, the holy Bible. My morning devotional today reminded me that God’s Word is the greatest treasure one could have (Ps.119:161-168). And as a Reformed Christian, I live under the Reformation motto sola Scriptura – everything I believe and everything I do must be governed by “Scripture alone.”

But how well do we know what the nature of this Book is? How well do we know the doctrine of Scripture? This quiz will help us judge ourselves on that matter.

Here is Challies’ introduction to the quiz and the link that will take you to it. He has also made this quiz available in pdf form if you wish to print it off.

God has spoken and God speaks. God has spoken and continues to speak through the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. How well do you know the doctrine of the Scripture? How well do you know what the Bible tells us about the Bible? This short thirty-three question quiz is designed to help you find out.

Source: A Quiz on the Doctrine of Scripture

Published in: on November 17, 2015 at 6:33 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Gospel Remedy for Homosexuality – J. Freeman

TT-Nov-2015The November issue of Tabletalk (“The Christian Sexual Ethic”) addresses boldly yet compassionately the major sexual issues of our day.  That includes homosexuality, the burning topic of these times.

John Freeman, president of Harvest USA (, a Reformed ministry aiding individuals affected by sexual sin, has written a fine contribution with his article “The Gospel Remedy for Homosexuality.” Speaking forthrightly about the fact that there can be no true gospel remedy for homosexuality unless it is described and understood to be sin, Freeman makes this plain throughout his article.

The full article may be found at the Ligonier link below; I quote a portion of it here to get you started.

Source: The Gospel Remedy for Homosexuality by John Freeman | Reformed Theology Articles at

On this side of the fall, sex and sexuality are distorted to lesser or greater degrees. However, today there is controversy about homosexuality raging in evangelical circles and, increasingly, in Reformed churches as well. Not only is homosexuality often presented as good but it is also presented as something to be pursued with God’s blessing. It is alarming that the acceptance of homosexual behavior among professing evangelicals is increasing. We hear from some people that the kind of homosexual relationships we see today (loving, monogamous ones) aren’t addressed in Scripture. Although this trend seems likely to continue, these revisionist views must be rejected by followers of Jesus Christ.

God’s Word is firm in its negative view of homosexuality and same-sex sexual desire. The Bible is the infallible standard by which we must view homosexuality and understand the gospel remedy for it. Unfortunately, the reliability of the Bible in this area has been questioned by many today who claim the Christian faith. Christians who view Scripture as authoritative and inspired must not accept this watered-down view of God’s Word. The Bible reveals God’s assessment regarding the problems of the human heart, homosexuality being one of many.

Christ Made Our Sin; We, His Righteousness

2-Corinthians_5-21This morning we will celebrate the holy Supper of our Lord in our home church. Our bulletin shows that our pastor will be preaching from the familiar passage in 2 Cor.5:21 – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

The following is John Calvin’s interpretation (partial) of this text as found in his commentary on this epistle (Baker ed., vol.20, p.242):

     …Righteousness, here, is not taken to denote a quality or habit, but by way of imputation, on the ground of Christ’s righteousness being reckoned to have been received by us. What, on the other hand, is denoted by sin? It is the guilt, on account of which we are arraigned at the bar of God. As, however, the curse of the individual was of old cast upon the victim, so Christ’s condemnation was our absolution, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah liii, 5).

…The righteousness of God is taken here to denote – not that which is given us by God, but that which is approved by him…. Farther, in Romans iii. 23, when he says, that we have come short of the glory of God, he means, that there is nothing that we can glory in before God, for it is no very difficult matter to appear righteous before men, but it is mere delusive appearance of righteousness, which becomes at last the ground of perdition. Hence, that is the only true righteousness, which is acceptable to God.

Let us now return to the contrast between righteousness and sin. How are we righteous in the sight of God? It is assuredly in the same respect in which Christ was a sinner. For he assumed in a manner our place, that he might be a criminal in our room, and might be dealt with as a sinner, not for his own offenses, but for those of others, inasmuch as he was pure and exempt from every fault, and might endure the punishment that was due to us – not to himself. It is in the same manner, assuredly, that we are now righteous in him – not in respect of our rendering satisfaction to the justice of God by our own works, but because we are judged of in connection with Christ’s righteousness, which we have put on us by faith, that it might become ours.

Fall 2015 at Seminary: Some More Beauty, a Buck , and a Falling Cottonwood

In the last month (October/November) I have taken a few more pictures around the PRC Seminary, which I will share with you this Friday afternoon.

I have a few more Fall color pictures from around the building; then a few critters shots – crab-apple eating turkeys, a day lilly eating doe, and a small buck (the first one we have seen here in two years!); and finally, a large cottonwood that we had cut down by Caleb Kamps here last week (Thanks for the great job!).

Enjoy a further taste of Fall on the Seminary grounds!

Sem front

Sem front – Fall 2015

A hidden gem tucked back off the old drive.

A hidden gem tucked back off the old drive.

Wild turkeys eating the crab apples - a Fall favorite snack!

Wild turkeys eating the crab apples – a Fall favorite snack!

A doe caught green-mouthed! Eating our day lillies, that is.

A doe caught green-mouthed! Eating our day lillies, that is.

The buck stopped here - and rubbed his little antlers.

The buck stopped here (out back) – and rubbed his little antlers.

A nice shot of the buck as he turned.

A nice shot of the buck as he turned.

A mighty (but miserable!) cottonwood being prepped for its fall.

A mighty (but miserable!) cottonwood being prepped for its fall.

Timber! There she goes!

Timber! There she goes!

And now, the fun part - cutting the cottonwood up.

And now, the fun part – cutting the cottonwood up.

The executive tree committee is deciding what to do with the wood. :)

The executive tree committee is deciding what to do with the wood. :)

Published in: on November 13, 2015 at 2:09 PM  Comments (1)  

PRC History – Dutch Worship Services

Back on October 22 we raised this question in connection with some research being done on the Dutch services in the PRC:

While we are on the subject of Dutch services, we may put the question before you: when did Dutch services end in the PRC? We have checked several congregations now, and you might be surprised to learn when these services came to an end.

It is (over) time that we returned to this matter. Research on several PRCs revealed the following concerning when the last Dutch service was held:

  • First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI – April 7, 1957
  • Roosevelt Park (SW) PRC – 1945
  • Rock Valley, IA PRC – 1957

As I hinted at in my comment at the end of the question about when Dutch services ended in the PRC, the 1957 year took me by surprise. I suspected 1940s, so the Roosevelt Park date did not surprise me. But the others did; I did not expect the Dutch services to have lasted that late in our history.

As you may guess, there was progression in this decision to end Dutch services in the PRC. If First PRC is indicative, this is how the bulletin announcements went, stretching back to 1945 (keeping in mind that First had two English services and two Dutch services in those days):

  • “At the last congregational meeting it was decided that the consistory call on those that have need of the Holland language in church services before eliminating same. This has been done and it has been found that with very few exceptions they were all willing to discontinue the first service [8:30 am!]. So it has been decided to make this change in our services from four to three, commencing the first Sunday in October.” [April 29, 1945]
  • “The Consistory has decided to conduct Holland services every other Sunday beginning today, hence there will be no Holland service next Sunday.” [Dec.2, 1956]
  • The Consistory has decided to discontinue the Sunday afternoon [Dutch] services (effective immediately) because of the small attendance.” [That service was at 2:30 pm and later 2:00 pm.] (April 14, 1957)

And thus it was, that on April 7, 1957 (the Sunday before) the final Dutch sermon was preached in First PRC.

I would also be interested in hearing from our readers about any memories they have of attending Dutch services in a PRC congregation, whether as an adult or as a child. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment box. That would include comments about when services ended in your congregation, if you can find that out (it would be profitable to expand our list!).

And I might add here – speaking of Roosevelt Park, that the last Dutch service I attended was in the Roosevelt Park CRC (which decided to close in July of this year) in the late 1980s when I was a student at Calvin College and taking Dutch for our pre-Sem requirement.

But now, I may also ask an interesting trivia question: Who preached the last Dutch service in the old First PRC? And if you really want to be challenged, what was the sermon topic? (Hint: If you pay attention to the date and season of the year, you may able to at least guess what kind of sermon it was.)

Published in: on November 12, 2015 at 4:19 PM  Leave a Comment  

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald | Michigan in Pictures

Source: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald | Michigan in Pictures

As the Great Lakes face the “gales of November” today and tomorrow (a major low pressure system is moving over the State of Michigan – I woke up to wild wind and hail in the middle of the night), “Michigan in Pictures” reminded us this Tuesday of the fearsome storm that swept Lake Superior 40 years ago on November 10 and took down the last large ship – the Edmund Fitzgerald, along with the 29 members of her crew.



The memory of that tragic event became embedded in our minds through the song Gordon Lightfoot wrote to mark it – “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

“Michigan in Pictures” featured this event along with some nice links and an interesting video, which may be of interest to you (you will recognize the bad theology in the song at the beginning of the 5th stanza, but the lyrics are powerful in their description).


Pierre Viret: The Angel of the Reformation – Reviewed by Kevin Rau

Kevin Rau assisting in the Seminary library.

Kevin Rau assisting in the Seminary library.

Kevin Rau, who has been helping me in the PRC Seminary library now for several months, is also an avid reader. I don’t believe a week has gone by that he has not taken home a book he has seen while putting books away on the shelves. A good reader is Kevin. And a good writer, for he has also contributed to the Young Calvinists’ blog.

Sheats_pierre_viret-2012After his latest read, I asked him if you would be willing to write a short review of it for this blog, and he not only consented, he sent me one tonight! So, that’s what we post this evening, for the benefit of all of you.

Thank you for this, Kevin. It is a fine, brief introduction to a lesser-known Reformer – Pierre Viret.

God uses many people to reform His church. Some of these people, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin are really well known, whereas others are more obscure.

Pierre Viret is one of these lesser known individuals. He was born on May 6,1531 in Orbe, Switzerland and was converted to Protestantism during his college years. God used his preaching to convert his own parents, among other people. I recently came across this man while working in the Protestant Reformed library and found out that he was an influential figure in the Swiss Reformation. I learned more about him by reading a book entitled: Pierre Viret: The Angel of the Reformation by R.A. Sheats (Zurich Publishing, 2012, 323 pp., hardcover).

This title comes from the peaceful disposition that he had in spite of facing illness, the death of his first wife and a daughter as well as church controversies. He had many enemies, especially when he tried to reclaim the power of excommunication from the state and take it to the church. In spite of this he was acknowledged to be a godly man, even by his enemies. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

This is an interesting book that shows Pierre Viret’s life and his long ministry, as well as his close relationships with John Calvin and William Farel. He displayed sound, biblical theology. The chapters are mostly short, yet informative. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a lesser-known Reformer that God used to build His church in Switzerland and France.

From the publisher’s website you will also find this brief description of the book and its author:

Pierre Viret (1511-1571), the son of a tailor, was born in the town or Orbe, eighteen miles north of Lausanne, Switzerland. Though raised in obscurity, he grew to become a crucial Reformed leader during the infancy of the Protestant Reformation in Frnch Switerzerland. Viret, together with his closest associates John Calvin and William Farel, formed the Swiss Triumvirate, the three leading Reformers in the French-speaking world. Know as the Angel of the Reformation because of extraordinary Christian character and temperament, Viret was a model pastor during his ministry in Lausanne, Geneva, and France. Most of his ministry was served in Lausanne where he developed the Lausanne Academy. That institution would later relocate and become the Genevan Academy. after almost thirty years’ ministry in Lausanne and Geneva, Viret spent his last ten years in fruitful ministry in France as the leader of the French Reformed Church. His theological output was immense, with over forty books to his credit. In his day he was a leading authority on political theory, applied Biblical law, economics, and apologetics.

This publication, undertaken in honor of the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of Pierre Viret, marks the first time of the availability of a full biography of Pierre Viret to the English speaking world. In this biography R.A. Sheats brings to light the fascinating history and life of this important early reformer of the Protestant Reformation. Also contaminating [sic] a lengthy chronology of Viret’s life, a detailed listing of his books, and over sixty pages of illustrations and maps, Pierre Viret: the Angel of the Reformation will be an excellent tool for researchers, scholars, and those interested in the Swiss and French Reformation.

Author  R.A. Sheats resides in Florida. She is currently engaged in the translation of Pierre Viret’s original works from 16th century French into modern English.

Word Wednesday – Logophile

Guess what yesterday’s word of the day was on

“Logophile.” That’s right! “Lover of words”! Of course it’s our focus on this Word Wednesday!

Are you one? I hope so, because there’s a mine of word gems for us to explore and extract yet. Stay tuned, there may be another one yet today. :)


1. a lover of words.
When I was growing up, long before I became a logophile or even knew that a logophile was a word lover, my mom used to grumble about the misuse of the word “like” on TV.
— Patricia T. O’ Conner and Stewart Kellerman, Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language, 2009
Logophile comes from the Greek words lógos meaning “word, speech, discourse” and philos meaning “loving, dear.”
Published in: on November 11, 2015 at 6:22 AM  Comments (2)  

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