PRC Seminary Updates – July 24, 2015

A flurry of activity has marked the last two weeks at our Seminary, as the new driveway project winds down and finishing touches are put on it. The new driveway and parking lot themselves have been in for some time now, but the sign was not finished, nor the landscaping and reseeding.

But as of this week all these are completed (Bouwkamp finished the stone work on the sign and Kregel’s got the landscaping done) – and the look is grand! We just have to make sure the new plants, trees, and grass receive plenty of water during these dry, hot July days. Thanks to the old and new underground sprinkling system, they are. :)

Therefore, we present you with a few more pictures of the project to bring you up-to-date.  We continue to receive lots of pleasant reviews on the look and feel of the new driveway – especially the gentle slope and weave! :)

Kregel workers, Jordan & John, planting the new maples.

Kregel workers, Jordan & John, planting the new maples.

Landscaping of the new sign begins.

Landscaping of the new sign begins.

Looking great around the new sign!

Looking great around the new sign!

After hard work prepping the ground for seeding, Jordan & John do the hydroseeding.

After hard work prepping the ground for seeding, Jordan & John do the hydroseeding.

More hydroseeding by Kregels.

More hydroseeding by Kregels.

Insta-green soil everywhere!

Insta-green soil everywhere!

The final sections - including the old driveway!

The final sections – including the old driveway!

A clean, bright look at the new sign on Scenic River Dr.

A clean, bright look at the new sign on Scenic River Dr.

And in our critter update, we can report that the does and their new fawns are doing just fine, even with the loss of some woods around us. We have counted a total of three doe and six fawns now – that’s right, a single birth, twins, and triplets! Enjoy!

3 of the new 2015 fawns

3 of the new 2015 fawns

And a 4th joins the crowd.

And a 4th with its doe joins the crowd.

Published in: on July 24, 2015 at 4:53 PM  Leave a Comment  

An Underground Library as a Powerful Tribute | Book Patrol

Susanna Hesselberg’s Underground Library | Book Patrol.

For our first “Friday Fun” item today we feature this striking underground library – though it has a sad story attached to it.

Here’s one of the pictures “Book Patrol” had on their blog, along with the introduction to the story; click on the link above to see more images.


Every two years on the coast of Denmark the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition takes place. It is the nations largest outdoor exhibition and for this years incarnation 56 site-specific sculptures graced the Danish coast.

Among them was Susanna Hesselberg’s homage to her father and books:  “When My Father Died It Was Like a Whole Library Had Burned Down” (a reference to Laurie Anderson’s song World Without End).

Reminiscent of the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland the library descends deep underground. With the top sealed and only the page ends visible the library is completely inaccessible. The work powerfully portrays the depth of her grief and becomes a search for meaning within the context of a great loss.


A Significant First PRC-GR Bulletin – August 30, 1964

For our PRC archives item today we publish a bulletin from First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI, dated August 30, 1964. An inconspicuous date, you may think – until you read the notices and see what was happening in this historic PRC, especially as regards her crippled pastor, Rev. Herman Hoeksema.

Here you will find from his own pen, a significant pastoral note to the congregation informing them of his condition following his second stroke. This would mark the beginning of the end of his earthly sojourn.

Below is the front cover of the bulletin as it appeared in those days, and the inside pages with its various announcements – other significant ones too (click on the images to enlarge). Reminding us on this date of July 23, 2015 that the life of God’s people – pastors too – is one of affliction and hope – for we are all pilgrims and strangers in this world.


The Antithesis and Learning at Calvin College – John J. Timmerman

Through a Glass Lightly-TimmermanTwo weeks ago we began quoting from the fifth chapter of John J. Timmerman’s book Through a Glass Lightly (Eerdmans, 1987), where he describes the early years of education at Calvin College. We called special attention to his emphasis on the antithesis as it was taught and manifested at this Reformed institution.

Today I continue quoting from this section, as Timmerman describes the effect the antithesis had on learning.

The pervasive emphasis on the antithesis did not diminish the appreciation for learning or produce an index of forbidden books or a cowering from challenge. In the classroom it resulted in the search for truth from alien sources and a critical appraisal of fundamental religious options. Some teachers did this brilliantly, some rather feebly, but they all did it. Calvin College then, as afterwards, emphasized the best that had been thought and written. Although only six of the eighteen professors held doctorates, all but two of the rest had master’s degrees or their equivalent. The teachers were well acquainted with scholarly habits, and almost all insisted on rigorous work. One of those who did not compensated for it in illumination. Calvin graduates were admirably prepared for university studies beyond Calvin, and many of them enhanced its academic reputation. I think most of the students would have agreed that they were well prepared in their majors, confronted by the deep questions, nurtured in the Reformed faith, and given a genuine liberal education. There were, of course, real or self-appointed geniuses who would dispute that, but I think I state correctly the attitude of the vast majority of students (p.29, in “‘Golden Branch among the Shadows”’).

A New Word Wednesday Book – “Allegory”

CoinedbyGod-MallessRecently I was given a new word book by fellow bibliophile Gary Vander Schaaf. It is a rather unique book, in that it focuses on words that appeared for the first time in the English translations of the Bible. Its title is Coined by God: Words and Phrases That First Appear in the English Translations of the Bible and it is the combined work of Stanley Malless and Jeffrey McQuain (W.W. Norton, 2003).

Since we referenced Wycliffe yesterday, it is fitting that the first word I chose to feature is the word “allegory”, first found in English in Wycliffe’s Bible. Here’s the entry as it appears in Coined by God:

In Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Wycliffe uses allegory for the first time in English. Telling his audience that he ‘perplexed’ over their insistence in following Mosaic law over Christian faith, Paul reminds them that language often portrays things in the guise of something else. Specifically, he refers to the story of Hagar and Sarah as ‘[That] which [has] been said by allegory, or ghostly understanding’ (4:24).

in the Latin of the Vulgate, the words appears as allegoriam, Jerome’s transliteration of the original Greek, allegoria. In like manner, Wycliffe also adopts the words exactly as it is written, minus the inflectional ending. Tyndale, however, avoids it altogether and translates the passage as ‘Which things betoken mystery.’ (The King James translators keep Tyndale’s phrase but reenlist allegory as a replacement for ‘mystery.’)

A combination of the Greek roots allos (‘other’) and agora (‘speaking,’ with the added nuance of agora, ‘the public assembly’), allegory occurs only this one time in the Bible. nonetheless, from Keat’s observation in a letter to his brother (1819) that a ‘man’s life of any worth is a continual allegory,’ to the bedevilment of students in high school English class, to the ‘mysteries’ of postmodernism’s ‘allegories of reading,’ allegory has sustained a long history of ‘otherspeak.’

Published in: on July 22, 2015 at 7:18 AM  Leave a Comment  

Wycliffe’s Bible: From Obscurity to Popularity – Dr. David Allen

JWycliffe-Bible-2The last Quarterly Record I have in hand (April-June 2015 – a publication of the Trinitarian Bible Society) contains an informative article by Dr. David Allen on John Wycliffe (1320-1384), “Morning Star of the Reformation.” Naturally, the article has much on the translation of the Bible that Wycliffe produced.

As a follow up to my post from yesterday, I quote a portion of Allen’s article today on the effect Wycliffe’s Bible had on the people of his day.

The translators of Wycliffe’s Bible are wrapped in obscurity. We scarcely find in Wycliffe’s writings any reference to the progress of that great work: he and those who aided him were afraid that if they blazed the matter abroad, the powerful hand of authority would prevent them continuing the translation and would inflict severe persecution upon them. The consequence therefore is that we are ignorant of the stages of the work which prepared the way for the Reformation and the spiritual destiny that awaited millions through the following centuries.

The Bible was completed by the end of the year 1382. In all probability it was John Wycliffe who translated the New Testament and Nicholas of Hereford the Old Testament. When Nicholas was forced to flee in 1382, the Bible was then revised in a free style by John Purvey, the ‘Librarian of the Lollards.’ In addition to Nicholas and Purvey, Wycliffe was also aided by other disciples, perhaps former Oxford scholars. It was an exact, literal translation of the Latin Vulgate into English, the language of the people.

So great was the eagerness to possess Wycliffe’s Bible that those who could not procure the volume of the Book would give a load of hay for just a few chapters. They would hide the forbidden treasures under the floors of their houses, and expose their lives to danger rather than surrender the Book. They would sit up all night, their doors being shut for fear of surprise, reading or hearing others read the Word of God. They would bury themselves in the woods and there converse with it in silence and solitude. They would be attending their flocks in the field, stealing an hour for drinking in the good tidings of grace and salvation (pp.22-23).

Something we so take for granted – the Bible in our own tongue. May we not forget the history of its translation and transmission to us, and may we treasure it for the best and most precious Book in all the world that it is.

The Museum of the Bible: The Bible in America: Pilgrims, Puritans, and Patriots

▶ The Bible in America: Pilgrims, Puritans, and Patriots – Norm Conrad – YouTube.

I have mentioned the collection of Steve Green (Hobby Lobby founder ) and the coming of his “Museum of the Bible” in Washington, D.C. before (here), but now as it gets closer, they are promoting its incredible collection through videos. I give you two of them today – well worth watching and learning more about this wonderful library.

Here’s the introduction to the first video:

Published on Jul 10, 2015

Filmed at Museum of the Bible’s lecture series in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 2, 2015. Norm Conrad, Curator of Americana and English Bibles for Museum of the Bible, presents a fascinating study of the Bible in early American history. He uses many fascinating examples from the Green Collection to illustrate what role the Bible played during the time America gained its independence from England.

If you wish to view a video presenting an overview of the Museum of the Bible, watch this video – fascinating!

Jan Hus: God’s Czech “Goose” – Aaron Denlinger

The Goose by Aaron Denlinger | Reformed Theology Articles at

TT-July-2015 As noted on previous Mondays this month, the July issue of Tabletalk takes us through the 15th century of church history, when God’s hand was sovereignly preparing the world, especially Europe, for the coming Reformation of His church. One of the ways in which God worked was through certain “pre-Reformers”, such as John Wyclif and Jan Hus.

The above-linked article by Dr. Aaron Denlinger, professor of church history and historical theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, FL, focuses on the latter man and his place in this part of the history of Christ’s church.

I believe you will find this article to be a stimulating account of how God used “the goose” to  open the door to further and full Reformation in the church. Here are the opening paragraphs; read all of it at the Ligonier link above.

If he were prophetic, he must have meant Martin Luther, who shone about a hundred years after.” So wrotJan-Huse John Foxe in his sixteenth-century Book of Martyrs, referring to a statement attributed to the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus on the occasion of his death. Convicted of heresy in 1415 by the Council of Constance, Hus—according to a story that originated some years after the fact—turned to his executioners shortly before his sentence was carried out and remarked, “Today you burn a goose, but in one hundred years a swan will arise which you will prove unable to boil or roast.”

Why might Hus have identified himself as “a goose”? And why might later commentators—not least, Luther himself—have believed that Hus’ legendary prophecy referred to the German monk whose protest against indulgences launched the Reformation a century later?

The first question is easier to answer than the second. Hus, born about 1372, hailed from the southern Bohemian town of Husinec (literally, “Goosetown”) in what is now the Czech Republic. His surname, derived from his place of birth, means “goose” in Czech. Understanding why Luther and later Protestants believed Hus had anticipated, if not predicted, the Reformation is more difficult and requires some consideration of Hus’ life, doctrine, and death.

“We may not tamper with truth.” – Abraham Kuyper

The articles of Christian faith are like links of a chain. If one link is removed, the chain is broken. For instance, one cannot deny God’s eternal election without taking away our assurance of salvation and undermining the steadfastness of our hope. For then man’s salvation is left in his own hands; he must exercise his free will and choose to be saved. That, in turn, denies at least in part man’s total depravity. And if man is not totally depraved, Christ’s atonement loses much of its value – in fact we would finally arrive at the conclusion that we do not need Christ for salvation!

Furthermore, if we would hush certain doctrines, we are suppressing the truth. If we hide differences under a broad creed that permits of two or more interpretations, as some suggest, we hide truth and leave men in uncertainty. We may not tamper with truth.

Satan knows that he can undermine the structure of the church by slyly removing just one fundamental doctrine at a time, and he frequently loosens a large foundation stone gradually, chiselling it away bit by bit.

That is why tolerance for the sake of peace may be dangerous.

…If the principles of our faith are man-made, they should be discarded. If they are from God, let no man tamper with them to tone them down. Even though some points may seem to be but small, God has bidden us be faithful in little things, and has forbidden that we should subtract even one iota from His Word.

One step toward giving in will lead to a next step. And will not God visit us with blindness if we deliberately darken the truth He has graciously entrusted to us? How shall we justify ourselves if we permit even a little of the truth to be laid aside. Is that ours to do?

PracticeofGodliness-AKuyper-1948Dr. Abraham Kuyper in the chapter titled “The Church of Jesus Christ”, found in The Practice of Godliness, (translated and edited by Marian M. Schoolland; Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1948), pp.50-51.

The Seven Types of People You See in Every Bookstore | Bustle

The 7 Types of People You See in EVERY Bookstore | Bustle.

A little Friday morning humor for you. No doubt – if you are a bookstore browser – you have seen these types around. It’s simply part of the bookstore experience – for good and for bad. Enjoy! :)

baby-reader-1Every reader knows that familiar joy of shopping for new books. You’re finally going to read that book that nearly everyone is talking about. Or maybe you’re picking up your next book club read. Maybe you’re just browsing — who knows what you might find after all.

So you go in, fully prepared to leave with some books, maybe drink some coffee, and spend a lazy afternoon at, arguably, one of the best places around: the bookstore. But when you go in, chances are you find more than books. You find your fellow readers searching for their next favorite book, or their next book club read. Or maybe they’re buying children’s books! Those are so cute, it can’t hurt to look, right? Right.

I’ve lost a lot of time in bookstores, for sure. What’s that saying, “time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted?” If that’s not true for bookstores especially, I don’t know what is. My point here is that bookstores are great, and they draw all kinds. You never know who you might see or meet there; it’s one of the many joys of going. But one thing is for sure: there are 7 kinds of people you see in every. bookstore. ever. Guaranteed.

To finish reading this article and to view more great images, visit the “Bustle” link above.

Published in: on July 17, 2015 at 9:05 AM  Leave a Comment  

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 559 other followers