Calvin College in 1927 – Students & Professors

Through a Glass Lightly-TimmermanLast year in connection with history and archives features on Thursdays we began quoting from John J. Timmerman’s book Through a Glass Lightly (Eerdmans, 1987), where he describes the early years of education at Calvin College.

We have been drawing especially of late from chapter five, “Golden Branches Among the Shadows,” where Timmerman describes in detail his own experience of life at Calvin as a student. Today we pick up where we left last time, as he gives us a glimpse of the college as a whole.

In 1927 seventeen professors taught 320 students in a college almost wholly supported by the Christian Reformed Church. Tuition was $100 a year for students from Grand Rapids, $75 for those from Paterson [New Jersey], and even less for those from more distant places. There were no scholarships, and student aid came in the form of pay for serving in the kitchen, sweeping floors, and shoveling coal. There were a few names like Yared, Washington, and Uhl, but the student body was overwhelmingly Dutch.

Professors taught fifteen hours a week. There were two professional offices, usually unoccupied, and counseling was nonexistent except when asked for. Professors prepared their studies at home, filled their briefcases with the results, emptied the contents out in class, and hurried back. The only professor’s home I was ever in was President R.B. Kuiper’s. He had a sense of humor; he invited some students who had pilfered applies in the dormitory over on a Sunday evening and gave them apples. Professors were much more distant than they are now, and the only really approachable professors I had were Dr. W.H. Jellema and Prof. H.J. VanAndel. The rest were not unfriendly; they were just aloof. On the whole, they practiced what Prof. Johannes Broene preached when he said, ‘The faculty is the heart of the college.’ It did indeed move the institution, but it did not move about with its students (pp.32-33).

“The ministry of writing books” by Scott Manetsch

This post on “Tolle Lege” appeared this past Sunday. The editors of the Standard Bearer are busy planning volume 93 (2016-17) with a view to our annual staff meeting, and this quote about Calvin’s writing (and that of the other Reformers) seems quite apropos. May God continue to give us such Reformed writers and writing for our own times.

Tolle Lege

“Calvin’s literary corpus is well known, with around one hundred volumes published from the time he arrived in Geneva in 1536 until his death twenty-eight years later.

During the 1550s, Calvin’s literary output ranged from 100,00 to a remarkable 250,000 published words per year.

Late nights spent writing at his desk by candlelight or long days spent dictating from bed inevitably took a toll on his health and spirits:

‘I get so tired from that endless writing that at times I have a loathing for it, and actually hate writing,’ Calvin complained to Bullinger in 1551.

But true religion needed to be defended in print as well as from the pulpit.

‘I would be a real coward if I saw God’s truth being attacked and remained quiet without a sound.’

Theodore Beza also recognized the strategic value of defending reformed Christianity through print media and he encouraged colleagues such as…

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Published in: on May 11, 2016 at 7:13 AM  Leave a Comment  

Note to Self: Keep Seeking God

Start by reading Psalm 119:9-10.

Dear Self,

You tend to forget that seeking God is not only a quest for the lost, but is also to characterize the life of the found. The whole of your life should be seen as a seeking for God. This is not, of course, seeking for that which you do not know or have. God has found you, bought you, and owns you. You have been adopted, and nothing can separate you from the love of God in Jesus. Yet your need to seek God never ends.

Seeking God means that you are continually aiming and working at knowing him more deeply, depending on him more thoroughly, and experiencing his grace more richly.

….It is unfortunate that you forget your need to seek God, for though you are right that God is enough, you forget that he is only found to be enough by those who seek him. Seeking God means that in all you do, you keep his honor in your mind, his Word in your heart, and his glory as your goal – so you are seeking to actually know him and make him known.

Note-to-self-ThornTaken from Chap.12 “Seek God” in Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn (Crossway, 2011), pp.58-59.

Finals in the Library: Tears into Cheers

Last Friday was the final day of classes at the PRC Seminary. And that means that the dreaded week of exams is now before the students. They face long nights of study preparing for the finals and finishing up their papers. Stress mounts. Sleep is evasive. Irritations and frustrations grow. What can students do?!

Lots of things, of course. But there’s nothing like time in the library at a time like this!

At an Association of Christian Librarians (ACL) member school, Life Pacific College, this video was created by the library to help students cope (see the link below). I hope it will help our students too. Just a little Monday morning humor before your big Dogmatics exam.:)

Stressing during finals? Solution: Library. Thanks Tim Sarell

Source: Lpc Lib | Facebook

Published in: on May 9, 2016 at 6:29 AM  Leave a Comment  

To Mom: RFPA Blog

This post first appeared Friday, May 6, 2016, on the blog of the Reformed Free Publishing Association. It is used here by permission of the author.

It is a wonderful tribute to the blessing of our covenant mothers. May they hear such praise from their children (and husbands!) today. By God’s grace, because of Christ and His Spirit.

To: Mom

NEW BLOG POST | May 6, 2016

Dear Mom,

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we wanted to let you know how thankful to God we are for you. Our gratitude certainly isn’t limited to this one day, but we don’t mind having a special day to show our appreciation for all you have done and are doing for us.

Time would fail us to tell of the many things for which we are thankful. We could go on for quite a while about your love, your patience, your self-sacrifice, and a host of other things. But we’ll save that for another time.

What we want to say “thanks” for today is the different roles you fill so capably in our lives. We know that the world doesn’t think too highly of your position. We know they look down their nose at you as someone who is uneducated and has no real skill set. We know they like to run down your calling as something unglamorous and undesirable.

But we disagree. We know better. And here are just a few of the reasons why:

  1. You are a highly trained doctor and nurse. You keep a fully stocked pharmacy in the house and know how to use it. You are always ready with a kiss for that stubbed toe, a Band-Aid for that skinned knee, and regular doses of ibuprofen for that high fever. When we feel like we have to throw-up during the middle of the night, you’re there to catch it with a bucket and clean it up when our aim is off. And when you need backup, you’re always happy to cart us to the doctor’s office and get us what we need. And don’t get us started on your bedside manner. Simply unparalleled.
  1. You are a renowned nutritionist and chef. Every week you plan our meals and return from the grocery store with hundreds of dollars’ worth of food for us. You keep a close eye on our junk food intake, and are quick to supplement our diet with a steady stream of fruits and veggies. Your kitchen is open seemingly around the clock—for breakfast, lunch, and supper, and every moment in-between. And, what often goes unnoticed, is that you double as head dishwasher as well.
  1. You run a top-of-the-line clothing department. We’ve never lacked for clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet. You’ve spent countless hours at the mall, at the second-hand store, at the garage sales, hunting for new pants (because we wore holes in the knees) and new shirts (because we spilled supper on them) and new shoes (because our feet grew two sizes over the summer). And then you wash them. And fold them. And mend them. And iron them. And put them away. And pick them up off the floor. And then wash them again.
  1. You operate a chauffeur-service that could rival Uber, except you don’t make a dime. You take us to and from school. You make a special trip with the lunchbox that we left on the counter. You take us to doctor and dentist appointments. You drive us to practice and ball games. You take us to piano lessons. You haul us to and from our friends’ houses.
  1. You are our first and favorite teacher. You helped us learn history and science and spelling and geography. You stayed up late helping us with our math homework. But especially you taught us about our heavenly Father. Since we were just a few years old, you taught us about God, and creation, and sin, and forgiveness, and the cross of Jesus Christ. You read us our first Bible stories. You taught us to pray on our knees before bed. You taught us our catechism lessons. You reviewed our memory verses for school. You taught us to sing the Psalms. You taught us about repentance and forgiveness, about love for God and love for our neighbor.

And, what’s even more astounding, is that you manage to fill all these roles (and more!) at the same time!

The reason why we mention these things is not to praise you (because we know you wouldn’t want that), but just to let you know that what seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated was noticed and was appreciated.

So, thanks, Mom! And know that we are deeply grateful to your and our Father for placing you in our lives.

We “arise up, and call [you] blessed” (Prov. 31:28)!

With all our love,

Your children

__________________

This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa.

Published in: on May 8, 2016 at 8:48 AM  Comments (1)  

Top Ten Reasons to Attend Evening Worship – D.Hyde

Psalm122The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has a new aspect to its Internet witness and that is “Meet the Puritans,” a brief daily article highlighting Puritan teaching and practice. In a recent post, pastor Danny Hyde (a URC minister whose name many of you may be familiar with) wrote about the importance of having and attending BOTH services on the Lord’s Day.

After a quote from John Owen, one of the great Puritan preachers and writers, Hyde points to a recent note he gave his congregation about being faithful in attendance at the evening service. While not everything he communicates matches our own (PRC) experience, we can certainly appreciate his ten practical reasons for maintaining our own attendance at the second service on Sunday.

A while back in my weekly email to my congregation, I gave my people my “Top Ten Reasons to Attend Evening Worship” in an ongoing effort to educate, encourage, and exhort. They are not exhaustive and they apply to my context, in particular, but the principles should be applicable to any who reads this. May God move his people in our time to sanctify the Christian Sabbath, leading to a renewal of evening worship.

  1. God promises to be present in our midst unlike anywhere else in public worship.
  2. This is a practical help for us to sanctify the Lord’s Day with morning and evening bookends.
  3. This lays a foundation for our children to be evening attenders as well when they grow up (and not what the Dutch call a “oncer”).
  4. Since the Word of God is the food for our souls, we get “breakfast” and “dinner” every Lord’s Day with two sermons.
  5. We also read through the Old and New Testaments in evening worship with a chapter from each.
  6. We sing through the biblical Psalms together with two Psalms a week [we’ve done this 10+ times in 15 years].
  7. Our evening service is based on the historic form of evening prayer from the Protestant Reformation, thus giving us a sense of the communion of the saints through the ages.
  8. We pray biblically-saturated, ancient prayers together at evening worship, thus giving us a sense of transcendence.
  9. We get to bear each other’s burdens as we lift up prayer requests in each other’s midst.
  10. Since there is no Sunday school after, we have more time to fellowship and enjoy each other’s presence after the evening service.

Source: Top Ten Reasons to Attend Evening Worship – Meet the Puritans

Honest Christian Book Titles

heavenisforrealThis humorous jab at modern Christian book titles appeared on the Aquila Report (April 16, 2016) and I saved it for a good “Friday Fun” item. So here it is – at least the first five. For the rest, visit the link provided above or below.

What would happen if Christian publishers were actually honest with their book titles? You’d probably end up with books like this.

Don’t Waste Your Life: A Millennial’s Guide To Making Semi-Rash Decisions Out Of A Wartime Mentality

I Kissed Dating Goodbye: How To Not Talk To Girls Until You’re 25 Years Old

Heaven Is For Real: A Book About Heaven From The Perspective Of A Four Year Old Who Had A Near Death Experience And For Some Reason We Believe Him More Than The Bible

Strange Fire: John MacArthur’s Lifelong Rivalry With Benny Hinn

Blue Like Jazz: It’s A Journey, An Authentic Journey, and I Want To Invite You Into My Story

Source: Honest Christian Book Titles

Published in: on May 6, 2016 at 6:21 AM  Leave a Comment  

Reformed Witness Hour – June 1963 Newsletter

As we have informed you earlier this year, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the Reformed Witness Hour, a radio ministry of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI, with the support of the other PRCs and the Mission Committee of the PRC. The program was first aired in October of 1941 from the auditorium of First PRC.

Yesterday while looking up some other RWH items, I found several old newsletters the radio committee used to publish. The oldest I saw was from June of 1963. Sorry, this one has no pictures! But the information is interesting. Look for more of these in the months ahead.

RWH-Newsletter-1963-1
RWH-Newsletter-1963-2
RWH-Newsletter-1963-3

Published in: on May 5, 2016 at 6:27 AM  Leave a Comment  

Coined by God: Legacy

CoinedbyGod-MallessIt has been a while since we served up a “Word Wednesday” feature, so let’s return to it by considering another entry in the book Coined by God: Words and Phrases That First Appear in the English Translations of the Bible , the combined work of Stanley Malless and Jeffrey McQuain (W.W. Norton, 2003).

Our selection today is the word “legacy, an oft-used word today which never made it into the main English translations of the Bible. About this common English word Malless and McQuain write (pp.49-50):

LEGACY: (noun) anything handed down by a predecessor; bequest

One of Wycliffe’s major linguistic legacies is the infiltration of the English language with many loanwords from the Vulgate Latin of Jerome’s Bible. His literal borrowing of legacy, however, led to a semantic as well as a translational dead end.

The noun appears in a section of 2 Corinthians where Paul exhorts the faithful to become ‘ambassadors of Christ’: ‘Therefore we are set in legacy [legacie]…for Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). ‘Ambassador’ would be the English translation of Jerome’s word legationem (from the verb legare, ‘to send an ambassador’), but Wycliffe chose to stay with the Latin. Consequently, legacy was dropped from the 1388 Wycliffite version, never to appear again anywhere in the Bible, and its literal meaning of ‘legateship’ became obsolete by the end of the eighteenth century.

Today, traces of that earlier coinage survive in delegate, but the most common legacy has been in the sense of a figurative bequest. This the first annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Award was recently announced to honor published writers of African descent. …But perhaps Shakespeare said it best in All’s Well That Ends Well: ‘No legacy is so rich as honesty’ (III. v.13).

When I Feel Stuck (or Handling “Wet Wednesdays”) – Neil Stewart

TT-April-2016This fine article from the April 2016 Tabletalk on how to deal with seasons of discouragement and depression in our lives is worth your reading, in my estimation. And worth passing on to a friend or family member who also struggles with these very real things in his/her Christian life.

I give you a portion of it here; you will find the rest at the Ligonier link below.

Stewart begins by describing the condition we experience:

The soul knows its own wet Wednesday afternoons. All prodigals, we walk home through a world blighted by Adam’s choice. Fallenness dampens every joy. Burdens heavy with guilt, shame, and regret bite into our shoulders. Fears within and troubles without loom black like thunder. We yearn to hear more of the running footsteps of a welcoming father, his strong arms wrapped around, his tears warm and salty on our cheeks. But disappointed longings follow us as constant companions. Our best moments are always interrupted, and like the weekend for the midweek schoolboy, heaven can feel far enough away to seem forever away.

The worst of these times go unexplained. No particular sin, failure, or mistake stands out as the culprit. We feel “blah” and don’t know why (Ps. 42:5). In this far place, we fall easy prey to a dark theology built upon feelings. A depressing inevitability follows: We don’t feel God speaking, so we stop reading our Bibles. We don’t sense God listening, so we stop saying our prayers. Inertia dampens everything; we go nowhere. What to do?

Indeed, what to do?! Here is part of his answer:

First, remember: you are not alone. All God’s children have trodden these paths before. How often the psalmists felt abandoned, yet they still reached for God in song. David cried out: “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Ps. 13:1). The Sons of Korah asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (42:1). These saints were coming before the Lord and asking how long God would hide His face from them. There is a lesson here: good men often feel worse than they are. These men begin in a moment of dark despair, but they do not end there. As the psalmists agonize, their hearts leak Scripture. In the darkness, back beneath the sense of dereliction, God is still there, giving them words, helping them Godward, inspiring the Bible. Yahweh is always nearer to us than we feel.

Yes, that “first” is truly first! “Hope thou in God!” Psalm 42:5

Source: When I Feel Stuck by Neil Stewart

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