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  
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PRC Seminary History Being Made! New Driveway Project Underway

Today we do not look back (ok, maybe only a little) but forward, as PRC Seminary history is being made while we write. Today the new Seminary driveway project got underway and is progressing amazingly well in a few hours, with excavators and tree cutters on site. Led by Dan Schimmel, the crew has plenty of “PR” presence: Jay Kuiper (excavator), Ben Kuiper (his son and tree cutter), Larry Koole and Jim Schimmel (project assistants) – and many others to come.

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In the last year the TSC (Theological School Committee) has approved constructing a new driveway to the south of our building, motivated in part by two bad winters that made going up and down the existing steep driveway a daily hazard, and in part by the increased traffic on Ivanrest Ave. (large mall to our northwest and a new Cabela’s store to our northeast, along with a host of new stores).

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And, because we were in need of new paving on our parking lot, as well as more spaces, this is also being coordinated with the new driveway project, so that by the end of the summer we will have all new driving and parking spots. All are excited that we will no longer have to fear the dreaded Seminary hill in the winters ahead!

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Along with this project come some other benefits. For the first time in our history we will have city water brought into our facility. Not only will we have better water to drink and use (and with that, no doubt, better tasting coffee!), but also the next time we lose power, we will continue to have water on our premises – a nice little benefit. And, with this driveway will come some better lighting, along the driveway (something we never had) and in the parking lot and Seminary front. We are also working to obtain a faster “pipeline” for our Internet service, so that we will have the capability to live-stream classes and events we want to in the future.

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I said we would look back only a little bit today. The old driveway has served us well for many years. But in another month or so, it will be torn up and turned into nice grass. Can you guess how many years this driveway has been in place? Yes, that would be as old as this “new” building, when the Seminary moved out of First PRC’s basement. So, there is your PRC archive question of the week.

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Published in: on May 14, 2015 at 11:54 AM  Leave a Comment  
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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!

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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. 🙂 )

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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.

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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

Special Seminary Guests: Heritage CS 4th Graders (Group 2)

As mentioned here last Wednesday, we had our annual 4th-grader visit from Heritage Christian School last week and again today – Miss Van Drunen’s last week and Mrs. Jane Woudenberg’s today.  It was another wonderful group of well-behaved, respectful, and interested students (Did I mention energetic?!).

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They listened attentively to Prof.B.Gritters’ talk about the Seminary, followed diligently as he gave them the tour of the main floor (library, classrooms, etc.) and basement (They might let you in on the only Seminary PE class!), willingly joined the students and faculty for devotions (what a sound of singing came out of the chapel room today!), and then happily devoured their snacks as they mingled with the students and professors.

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Another blessed and encouraging visit for the Seminary. We thank you too, Mrs.Woudenberg, for taking the time to come see what goes on here and to sow seeds of future ministry in the minds and hearts of some young lads. But besides that, we pray for you and trust you will do the same for us.

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Here are a few pictures I took of this 4th grade visit. We hope you children enjoyed this visit too. Together we will say, “Come again!”

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Special Seminary Guests: Heritage CS 4th Graders (Group 1)

This morning the Seminary was privileged to host the 4th grade class of Ms. Elizabeth Van Drunen from Heritage Christian School (Hudsonville, MI). We have had these special guests for some years now, and we are always grateful for the interest the 4th grade teachers take in the Seminary (next week Wednesday Mrs. J.Woudenberg’s class comes!) and for the excitement of these nine-year-olds as they enter the building.

I have taken some pictures again and share them with you here. Prof.Gritters introduced the work of the Seminary to the class and then gave them the tour. Following that, they enjoyed with us the snacks they had taken along for coffee time. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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Once again, we say, Thanks for coming, 4th graders and Ms.Van Drunen! We are truly thankful for your interest in and support of our Seminary by means of this visit. And we hope that some of you boys will start thinking about whether God is calling you to the highest calling on earth (beside that of mother – and that’s for you girls!) – minister of the Word. It’s never too early to start thinking about this. 🙂

 

PRC Archives – Sem Student Notes on Eschatology

First, I apologize for the delay in the Thursday PRC archives post. After some terrific thunderstorms here on Wednesday, lightning slew our internet modem and we were without our connection for a day. Late yesterday afternoon it was restored, but I had no time to get back to the post.

But I did work in the archives yesterday morning – with the able assistance of Bob Drnek –  and we went through some folders of one of our former pastors, which included his student notes when he was attending our Seminary. So I scanned a couple of these hand-written pages this morning and post them here for your reading – and guessing pleasure!

As you will see, he took down a lecture in eschatology, on the main points of dispensational premillennialism (click on the image to enlarge).

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Now, some questions for you to ponder: Whose notes are these? Whose class would he have been in? That is, from which professor’s lecture was he taking notes? Hint: don’t be so quick to think you know!

I know there are people out there who would recognize this handwriting, so go ahead and take a stab at it!

But now, we should also get back to last week’s post. Remember this photo?

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Well, we had some questions relating to it, and some of you (see the comments) hit it right on the head! Here are the facts:

  • This is a picture of the first graduating class from the PRC Seminary. The year was 1929.
  • The students in the picture are: Richard Veldman, Cornelius Hanko, Leonard Vermeer (back row); Bernard Kok, John D. De Jong, Andrew Cammenga (front row).
  • The total number of students who have graduated from the PRC Seminary since 1929 is 92 (including Josh E. from this year).
  • And the first graduate (alphabetically) from our Seminary was Andrew Cammenga. The reason I had to put it that way is that two men left Seminary early to fill needs in the churches, and returned to graduate in 1932. Those two were William Verhil and Gerrit Vos, who both took charges in 1927 (Hull, IA and Sioux Center, IA, respectively). So, while they are listed first on our record of graduates (in 1927), they did not officially graduate until 1932. Hence, A.Cammenga receives the honor of being our first true and full Seminary graduate.

By the way, read the comments under this post so that you can also find out some interesting facts about Rev.C.Hanko and some other places where you will find this picture. I had also posted it on the PRC archives page on the PRC website, under the “later years” section of our history, in connection with the 25th anniversary of our churches.

Seminary News Update & Congratulations to Prof.B.Gritters

In case you missed the latest update from “Seminary hill” (May 2014), I direct you to the PRCA website Seminary News section and the item that was posted yesterday. This morning I added a special note (#5), because we learned that today Prof.B.Gritters commemorates thirty years in the ministry in the PRCA, including the last eleven in our Seminary.

Below is the special notice I put together for this on the website and our bulletin board at Seminary today. Perhaps you want to send him a brief note of appreciation for his years of service.

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Published in: on May 14, 2014 at 10:47 AM  Comments (2)  
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West MI Winter Wonderland – Seminary Version

You already heard about the ice storm we had here last weekend and early Sunday. But you may not have heard about the snow we’ve had since then, which made our area here in West Michigan a true Winter wonderland! This past Sunday night and into Monday we received a fresh coat of lake-effect snow (Actually, it finally stopped last night.), such that when we woke up Tuesday (Christmas Eve) this part of God’s creation was breathtakingly beautiful – at every turn! And when the sun came out later that morning, the view was absolutely stunning.

I am sure many photos have been posted about the views in West Michigan and in Michigan at large, but I can give you the Seminary version. No picture can fully grasp God’s handiwork at a time like this, but I hope these picture give you some idea of the grandeur of our Maker. Click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.

Sunrise Tuesday morning - a foretaste of what was to come.

Sunrise Tuesday morning – a foretaste of what was to come.

A unique view through the contorted cedar tree in the front landscape.

A unique view through the contorted cedar tree in the front landscape.

The other side of the front landscape - notice the ice on the crab tree.

The other side of the front landscape – notice the ice on the crab tree.

A view of the west side along the back driveway.

A view of the west side along the back driveway.

Looking to the south from the parking lot.

Looking to the south from the parking lot.

Looking down the Sem driveway.

Looking down the Sem driveway.

Looking up the Sem driveway to the north.

Looking up the Sem driveway to the north.

A new view of the Sem sign down by the road.

A new view of the Sem sign down by the road.

A view of the front in full sunshine - note the trees behind the building.

A view of the front in full sunshine – note the trees behind the building.

And we can also add a few deer pictures compliments of Prof.B.Gritters. They also came out later this day.

The deer also arrived on Christmas Eve at Sem.

The deer also arrived on Christmas Eve at Sem.

And a close-up shot. They  were still looking for apples under the snow.

And a close-up shot. They were still looking for apples under the snow.

A week ago (last Friday) we also had a new visitor (at least for me) at the back of Seminary – a possum had climbed the icy apple tree and was determined to get the remaining apples in the top. We had fun watching him slip and slide.

The possum struggled to hang on to the icy tree.

The possum struggled to hang on to the icy tree.

Not sure if he ever got an apple, but he sure earned it just hanging on to the tree!

Not sure if he ever got an apple, but he sure earned it just hanging on to the tree!

Published in: on December 27, 2013 at 10:10 AM  Leave a Comment  
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A Wintery Week at Seminary

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Officially, it is still Fall in West Michigan. In reality, however, we have entered the world of winter already. With frigid temperatures – in the teens at night and 20s during the day! – and a large body of warmer water to our west (commonly known as Lake Michigan), we have had major lake-effect snow this week. In fact, it hasn’t stopped snowing since last Saturday. We now have a total of anywhere from 6 inches to 18 inches in our area! And with a storm system and more cold air arriving this weekend, we only stand to gain more.

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We have had our share at Seminary too. Which makes us groan a bit. Driving up “Seminary hill” is a treat in the winter. Driving down is even more fun! Clearing cars of four or more inches of snow at the end of the day is not everyone’s idea of a good time. And keeping the walkways and entrance to the building clear and safe are a challenge as well. I have been shoveling these parts during the day to the tune of three times per day! My back does have its limits! But, so far so good 🙂

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So, it could be a long winter. Even the wild turkeys had a meeting yesterday to discuss whether or not to head south. From what I could gather from the gobbling, there was little agreement on whether it should be Florida or Arizona.

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Yet we Michiganders have learned to see beauty even in winter and lots of snow. Snow is, after all, God’s creation, which makes it good, even when we don’t think it is. So, we praise Him as Lord of the snow and cold. And as our Redeemer in Christ, Who through His shed blood makes us whiter than the snow (Psalm 51:7; Isaiah 1:18).

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Today marks the end of our first semester and brings the last day of classes. Exams start already tomorrow. Pray for the students, that they would have sound minds and bodies to be able to give a good account of themselves to the Lord of their studies and preparation for the ministry of the Word.

P.S. After lunch today the deer came out finally and under the snow found a few more old apples to eat. We haven’t seen much of them this week, so it was a treat to see them again.

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