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New PR Theological Journal Now Available - Fall 2018

The PRC Seminary faculty announces that the Fall 2018 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal is now available in pdf form (see attached).

The print issue and the other digital formats (mobi and epub) will be available in a few weeks, but you can begin to read this new issue now in its pdf version.

 PRTJ Fall 2018 cover

As you will see from the cover, the issue is packed with the fruits of solid Reformed reading, research, and reflection - all for the rich benefit of our readers. 

Editor, Prof. R. Cammenga, introduces the issue with these "notes:"

This issue of our journal contains articles that will undoubtedly
be helpful to ministers, elders, and seminary professors and students.
We hope as well that those who do not find themselves at the moment
in any of these categories, but who account themselves “ordinary
believers,” will also be instructed and edified. In the end, this is the
great office in the church, the office of all believer. Each of us, by
God’s grace, occupies this office.

We express thanks to Prof. Douglas Kuiper and Dr. H. David
Schuringa for their contribution, “Prayer of Balthasar Lydius.” If this
is not a name that you immediately recognize, it is one that you will
not soon forget after reading his prayer. It is the prayer that Lydius
offered immediately prior to the opening session of the Synod of
Dordt. So far as we know, our brothers are the first to translate this
prayer into English. Though the synod was a Dutch Reformed Synod,
the prayer was offered up in Latin—still at that time the language of
scholarship and theology. It is a moving prayer by the pastor of the
Reformed church of Dordtrecht where the synod was held. The prayer
breathes the language of Scripture and the deeply held convictions of
the Reformed faith on the part of this servant of God.

Prof. Kuiper has another contribution. It is a continuation of the
bibliography of one of the founding fathers of the Protestant Reformed
Churches, the Rev. George M. Ophoff, fondly referred to even today
as “GMO.” The bibliography contains explanations of the different
types of works produced by one of the original faculty members of the
Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary, as well as an analysis of
the enduring value of that which Ophoff produced in a form in which
it could be preserved for future generations. Ophoff was indeed one
of those men who wrote for the ages.

Prof. Barrett Gritters contributes two articles for this issue of
PRTJ. The first is a continuation of his article in the previous issue
that demonstrates the competency of pastors and elders to care for and
counsel those suffering from depression. Both pastors and elders will
be encouraged, as well as motivated, to carry out their calling with 

respect to those who find themselves “in the depths.” His second
contribution concerns the time-honored practice of family visitation,
a practice that is often threatened and in many churches has been
abandoned. Prof. Gritters’ plea on behalf of family visitation calls
special attention to the positive fruits of this practice in congregations
where pastor and elders take this work seriously.

The undersigned contributes the next-to-the-last section in his
“John Calvin Research Bibliography.” Included in this contribution
are the sections entitled, “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Means of Grace,
Preaching, and Baptism,” “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper,”
and “Calvin’s Doctrine of Human Government and the State.” The
two remaining sections, which we hope to publish in the April 2019
issue, conclude the bibliography with “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Last
Things,” and “Calvin’s View of Worship.” We hope that this research
bibliography will be a helpful resource to all who are interested in
research regarding aspects of Calvin’s life, work, and teachings.

And, of course, what some would regard as the best for last—the
book reviews. Once again, we have a number of book reviews that
summarize and analyze recent publications that may be of interest
especially to ministers, professors, and students, as well as to the
informed lay person. If there is ever a recently published book that
our readers would like to be reviewed in our journal, do not hesitate
to send an email request to the editor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We
are always open to the suggestions of our readers.

Now, take up, read, and enjoy!

Soli Deo Gloria!

PRC Seminary Convocation 2018

PRC Seminary Convocation 2018

Providence_PRC-2015 (2)

The PRC Seminary held its annual Convocation on Wednesday, September 5, as faculty and students marked the beginning of a new season of instruction.

The program was held at Providence PRC (picture above) in Hudsonville, MI at 7:00 p.m. Prof. B. Gritters spoke on Acts 20:24 “None of these things move me…”

IMG 2492

On the printed program for the evening (cf. attached), Prof. Gritters has this fitting quote from John Calvin included (taken from his commentary on that passage):

“…it is a filthy thing for us to be so holden
with a blind desire to live, that we lose the
causes of life for life itself; and this do the
words of Paul express. For he doth not simply
set light by his life; but he doth forget the
respect thereof, that he may finish his course;
that he may fulfil the ministry which he hath
received of Christ, as if he should say that he
is not desirous to live, save only that he may
satisfy the calling of God; and that, therefore,
it shall be no grief to him to lose his life, so
that he may come by death unto the goal of
the function prescribed to him by God.

And we must note that which he saith,
with joy, for his meaning is, that this is taken
from the faithful by no sorrow or grief, but
that they both live and die to the Lord. For
the joy of a good conscience is more deeply
and surely laid up, than that it can be taken
away by any external trouble, or any sorrow
of the flesh; it triumpheth more joyfully than
that it can be oppressed.”

During the program special music was provided by Crista Phelps (piano) along with Sam Bergman and Conner and Erin Courtney (violin). See the video attached here to listen to one of their beautiful Psalter number arrangements (bottom of post, under "Media").

Special music 1

After the convocation address the present student body was introduced.

IMG 2476
From l-r: Freshman Marcus Wee (Covenant ERC Singapore); Senior Jacob Maatman (Crete & SW PRCs); Senior Matt Kortus (Loveland, Faith, & Zion PRCs); Junior Josiah Tan (Covenant ERC Singapore)

*NOTE: Due to connection issues, the live-stream on the Seminary's YouTube channel did not work. Our apologies! But Nick Kleyn recorded most of it and posted it on his Facebook page.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 7 - Thursday, June 21

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 completed its work Thursday, June 21, beginning at 8 AM and ending after lunch.

Rev. G. Eriks, second clerk of synod, offers this final summary of the day's work:

After praying for God’s blessing upon the work of the day, synod returned to recommitted material regarding
the appeal dealt with yesterday. Synod sustained the appellant's appeal of Art. 44 of Classis East, which decision advised

Hope’s consistory to require the appellant to retract an accusation. 

Synod also made a favorable judgment on the paper that Rev. D. Overway wrote in response to the following
mandate of Synod 2017: “respond fully, in writing, to the objections against his sermon on John 14:6 as
sustained by Synod 2017. This response must include his theological convictions about the matter.” Synod said
that Rev. Overway satisfactorily fulfilled this mandate and judged his response to be orthodox.

Synod then approved some recommendations to help Hope PRC implement these decisions. This included the
appointment of a special committee of Prof. R. Cammenga, Rev. C. Spronk, and Rev. R. Van Overloop.
Synod then turned to the three protests of the decision found in Article 88, B.1 of Synod 2017 (Acts, pp. 88-89).

Synod sustained the protests of these three men and rescinded Art. 88. B. 1 because the statements were unclear
and because Synod 2017 erred when it entered into the statements of a protestant while at the same time not
sustaining the protest, which charged these statements with antinomianism.

Synod also responded to one protest by rebuking the protestant for including in his protest charges of heresy
against an office bearer in good standing in the PRC.

After lunch, synod voted on appointments to the standing committees of synod, and approved expenses of over
$12,000 for the meeting of synod.

The chair thanked the delegates for their work and cooperation and the chair was thanked for his able leadership
of the synod through many difficult issues. Elder Jim Lanting closed synod with a prayer of thanksgiving

May the King of the church give His sovereign blessing to the decisions reached by Synod 2018 - for the welfare of His church and the glory of His name.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 6 - Wednesday, June 20

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 resumed its work Wednesday morning, June 20, at 9 AM at Adams Christian School.

Synod Wed20 1
Delegates and audience stand to sing for morning devotions - a beautiful sound in the gym!

synod wed20 2
A large number of visitors were present on Wednesday.

Synod treated the recommendations of Committee 4 regarding the appeal of a member against the decisions of Classis East. Synod adopted some of the recommendations, sustaining the appeal, while others were recommitted to Committee 4 for reformulation.

Before synod finished its work for the day, the chairman bid farewell to Rev. L. Trinidad, who will be returning to the Philippines Thursday, the Lord willing.

Synod planned to reconvene at 8 AM on Thursday morning.

May the King of the church continue to guide the delegates and bless their decisions for the welfare of His kingdom and cause.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 5 - Monday, June 18

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 returned to its work Monday morning, June 18, at 1 PM at Adams Christian School. 

Synod Mon 18th 1

Second clerk Rev. G. Eriks again provides a detailed summary of synod's work today (also attached in pdf):

Synod first treated the reformulated advice of the committee dealing with Psalter revision. After a
lengthy discussion, the following motion failed: That synod discontinue our involvement in the
interdenominational Psalter revision project with two grounds:
1. Our consistories indicate that there is not sufficient support in the denomination for this
Psalter revision.
2. This does not conflict with past synodical decisions involving us in the participation of the
interdenominational Psalter revision committee.

This means that we will continue our involvement on the interdenominational Psalter revision project.

Later synod approved the following subsequent motions regarding Psalter revision:
1. That synod declare the proposed revisions of Psalm 1-40 are in harmony with the principles
of text, music, and format approved by Synod 2016.
a. This declaration of synod is not a final approval of the section and all the details but a
statement that the synod judges that the principles have been followed.
b. The committee of pre-advice has gone over the changes in this section and is satisfied
that the principles governing the changes have been followed.
2. That synod inform the Interdenominational Psalter revision committee, in response to their
request for an indication of continued denominational support, that it is unlikely that our
denomination would adopt the revised Psalter in its entirety. Grounds:
a. A survey of our consistories has shown that more than half are not in favor of continuing
the project.
b. In the judgment of a majority of our consistories, too many changes have been made in
the revision to be found acceptable by our congregations.
3. Synod also thanked Prof. Gritters, Prof. Kuiper, and Mr. Joshua Hoekstra for their work on the
Psalter Revision Committee.

Synod adopted the budget for the PRCA of $2,261,686 (adjusted to $1,725,062 because of excess
funds) for 2019 and approved assessments of $800 per family in 2019, a $25 increase per family
from 2018 ($775).

Synod plans to reconvene at 8:00am WEDNESDAY morning, the Lord willing, which gives committees
3 and 4 time to work.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 4 (Friday) at Adams Christian School

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 took up its work Friday morning, June 15, at 8 AM at Adams Christian School. 

group inside 1
Group picture inside the gym of Adams CS

Second clerk Rev. G. Eriks again provides a detailed summary of synod's work today (also attached in pdf):

After Rev. R. Kleyn led us in opening devotions, synod returned to two recommitted matters from
Committee 2. The first matter was a mandate given to the observers to NAPARC 2018. The
mandate was approved. The second matter was Psalter revision. The pre-advice committee
recommended “that synod inform the interdenominational Psalter revision committee that we will not
continue our official involvement in the work of their committee.” This matter was recommitted
because the recommendation and ground did not take into consideration the decisions of past
synods.

Synod then treated the recommendations of Committee 5. The following are some of the highlights:
• Synod reappointed Mr. Don Offringa to a three-year term as synodical treasurer and Rev. R. Van
Overloop to a three-year term as stated clerk. Synod also thanked these men, and our synodical
bookkeeper, Mrs. Pamela Bos, for all of their work.
• Synod noted the following in regard to the finances of the denomination, for which we give thanks
to our God, Who faithfully provides:
1. As of Dec. 31, 2017 the assets of the PRCA totaled $11,880,853, an increase of 11.7% from a
year ago.
2. Revenues exceeded expenses in 2017 by $1,228,289 due entirely to investment earnings of
$1,307,979 during an exceptional year of stock market growth.
3. The Emeritus Fund totaled $3,893,803 by Dec. 31, 2017. The current balance is ahead of the
goal of 4,000,000 in the fund by 2023.
• Synod approved the emeritation request of Rev. Koole effective on July 31, 2018. Synod
expressed its thanks to Rev. Koole for his almost 41 years of faithful service and capable
leadership in the denomination as a minister of the Word and sacraments
• Synod approve 17 requests for emeritation support for 2019 in the amount, $486,195. This is for
the support of our emeritus ministers and minister’s widows. What a blessing that we can support
these men financially as churches. Let us remember these men and their wives in our prayers.
• Synod also approved subsidy requests for eight of our churches, which provides financial support
for these smaller churches so that the gospel can be preached by them.
• The stated clerk, Rev. Van Overloop, called our attention to a couple of things in his report: he
expressed appreciation for the labors of Don Doezema in helping to prepare the substantial
agenda for synod 2018. He also noted that as of January 2018 the PRCA is made up of 33
congregations comprised of 2,144 families and 8,716 souls.
• Finally, Synod 2019 will be held at First PRC (GR) beginning on June 11, 2019.

Synod finished its work today around noon, giving three of the committees of pre-advice time to
work. Synod decided to reconvene Monday afternoon at 1:00pm, the Lord willing.

And here are some candid photos of the delegates and representatives at Synod 2018. See how well you can identify them by now.

Delegates candid 1
Looks like Elder Adams has some pointed advice for Rev. A. Stewart

Delegates candid 2

Delegates candid 3
For some reason, gatherings under the east basketball hoop are common.

Delegates candid 4

DK LT candid

And lunch time - how would synod ever be able to work without the wonderful lunches provided by the faithful ladies?! Thank you, too, for your service to synod!

lunch 1

lunch 2

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