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PRC Seminary Updates - April/May 2016

Sem front May2014 1

As the PRC Seminary enters its closing weeks of the 2015-16 school year, a few updates are in order.

1. March and April were busy "visitation" months for the Seminary with visits from the fourth-grade classes at Heritage Christian School (March 30 & April 13), from the fifth-grade class of Adams Christian School (April 20), and from the church history students of Heritage Christian High in Dyer, IN (April 22). And the faculty and the students attended conferences at Calvin College (Junius Institute Colloquium on April 1) and First CRC of Byron Center (Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology on April 15-16).

HCS 4th 3
Heritage Christian 4th graders visiting the PRC archives room

AdamsCS 5
Adams Christian 5th graders enjoying fellowship with Seminary faculty and students.

HCHS April16 1
Heritage CHS students prepare to sit in on a class with Prof.B. Gritters.

2. On April 28 and 29 (this Thursday and Friday afternoons) the Seminary will host two lectures by Dr. Tom Reid (Reformed Presbyterian Seminary in Pittsburgh) on the Reformation in France and the French Reformed churches. These lectures will be given to the student body, faculty, and area ministers, but will also be live-streamed on the Seminary YouTube channel. Visit the link at the time of the lecture to watch and listen to these informative lectures (cf. also the attached media link to the full recorded video of the first lecture).

TReid lecture April
Prof.T.Reid lecturing on the French Reformed tradition.

3.The latest issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available. The April 2016 issue (v.49 #2) features articles by Prof.R. Dykstra, Rev. Josh Engelsma, Prof.R. Cammenga, and a variety of excellent book reviews (see cover image below). Check the Seminary Journal page for all the digital versions of this issue now also available.

PRTJ April 2016 cover

4. Remember the faculty and students in prayer as they now in the final weeks of the second semester, with only one week of classes left after this week (end May 6) and then a week of exams (May 9-13).

5. The students are eagerly anticipating their summer internships (July 1 - December 31), as noted here before. Once again, those are scheduled as follows:

  • Matt DeBoer in Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI), under Rev.C. Haak
  • Brian Feenstra to Loveland PRC (Colorado), under Rev.S. Key
  • Joe Holstege to Calvary PRC (Hull, IA), under Rev.C. Griess
  • Jonathan Langerak to Edgerton PRC (Minnesota), under Rev.D. Kuiper
  • David Noorman to Hope PRC (Redlands, CA), under Rev.B. Huizinga
  • Justin Smidstra to Faith PRC (Jenison, MI) under Rev.C. Spronk
  • Stephan Regnerus to SE PRC (Grand Rapids, MI), under Rev.W. Langerak

Classis West Meeting - Crete PRC, IL - Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Updated!)

SouthHollandCreteChurchClassis West will hold its regular March meeting today, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, at Crete PRC, IL.

The agenda appears to be normal, with delegate voting for Synod 2016 also to take place.

May the Lord guide the delegates with wisdom and charity, for the good of the churches in the West, and for the glory of His name.

Let us remember them in prayer today.

UPDATE: The Stated Clerk of Classis West has submitted his report, which may be found below.

Crete PRC hosted the spring meeting of Classis West on Wednesday, March 2.  This meeting was the occasion for thirty ministers and elders, traveling from points near and far, to labor for the wellbeing of the fifteen churches of the classis, and to enjoy each other’s fellowship.

    The stated clerk, classical committee, church visitors, and reading sermon committee all reported routine labors.  A particular cause for thanksgiving to God was the church visitors’ testimony of seeing “God’s work and faithfulness in the churches of Classis West,” in whom “unity, peace and love” prevails.
    With sorrow, the Classis advised one consistory to proceed to the second step of censure in its labors with a member.
    Six churches requested subsidy for 2017 in the total amount of $266,910.  Classis approved these requests and will forward them to synod.  These smaller churches are thankful for the willingness of every family in the denomination to help support them.  At the same time, the resolve of these churches to support themselves as much as possible is evident from the fact that their General Fund budgets are usually higher than most other churches.  Of the six churches on subsidy in Classis West, the lowest per family per week General Fund budget is $73; the average is $85; the highest is $112.
    An hour or more of the meeting of the March classis is spent voting for various classical functionaries.  For terms of three years, Rev. J. Engelsma was appointed to the classical committee, Rev. D. Lee to be a primus synodical deputy, and Rev. C. Griess to be a secundus synodical deputy.  Appointed as church visitors were Revs. Key, Kleyn, Kuiper, and Laning, with Revs. Brummel and Lee as alternates.  Appointed to represent the Classis at Synod 2016 were Revs. Brummel, Key, Kleyn, Kuiper, and Laning, with Revs. Engelsma, Griess, Huizinga, Lee, and Marcus as their alternates.  Elder delegates are Keith Bruinsma (Peace), Alvin Bylsma (Calvary), Chester Hunter, Jr. (Edgerton), Lou Regnerus (Randolph) and Brian VanEngen (Hull).  Their alternates are George DeJong (Crete), Henry Ferguson (Edmonton), Steve Kooima (Hull), Jack Lenting (Crete), and Mike Gritters (Redlands).
    The expenses of the meeting totaled $8360.47.
    Classis is scheduled to meet next on September 28 in Randolph.
    Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk

Report on Jan.13, 2016 Meeting of Classis East

TrinPRC2012Report of Classis East

January 13, 2016

Trinity Protestant Reformed Church

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at the Trinity PRC.  Rev. M. DeVries was the chairman for this session.  Each church was repsented by two delegates.  Three pastors were absent; one was in Northern Ireland, one in Australia, and one in the Philippines.

 

As is usual for the January classis, voting for delegates to synod and other functionaries was done.  Elected as delegates to Synod 2016:  MINISTERS: Primi:  G. Eriks, C. Haak,

K. Koole, C. Spronk, R. VanOverloop; Secundi: A. denHartog, M. DeVries, W. Langerak,

R. Smit, A. Spriensma.  ELDERS: Primi:  D. Kregel, S. Miedema, H. Pastoor, T. Pipe,

J. VanBaren.  Secundi:  P. Adams, D. Bouwkamp, M. Gritters, C. Kalsbeek, J. Lanting.

 

In other voting, Rev. Koole and Rev. Bleyenberg were elected to serve three-year terms as delegates ad examina primus and secundus respectively.  Revs. J. Slopsema and R. VanOverloop were elected as church visitors with Revs. A. denHartog and M. Devries as alternates.  Rev. K. Koole was reappointed to a three-year term on the Classical Committee.

 

Classis heard the appeal of a brother who maintained that his pastor, in a sermon on John 14:6, was teaching a conditional covenant.  He was also appealing his consistory’s charge that he was guilty of antinomianism.  Classis did not sustain this appeal.  Classis maintained that the brother had misrepresented his pastor’s sermon and that the charge of teaching antinomianism should stand.

 

Classis dealt with a request from a consistory to increase censure to the second step for one of its members.

 

The report of the church visitors, normally presented at the January session of classis, will be presented at the May, 2016 meeting.

 

In matters of finance, classis approved the 2017 subsidy requests of Kalamazoo PRC for $22,000 and of Wingham PRC of $41,000 (CDN).  Classis approved expenses for this session in the amount of $339.02.

 

Classis will meet next on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at the Providence PRC.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

PRC Seminary Updates - January 2016

Sem sign winter 2016

After the completion of first semester exams and the two-week Christmas/New Year break, the PRC Seminary is once again full of activity. Below are a few updates that can be given at the beginning of January 2016:

  • The Seminary Interim is now in session (8 days, from Jan.4-13). Prof.B. Gritters is teaching a new course this year - Reformed Covenantal Ethics (see picture below). At the conclusion of the Interim class, Prof.R. Cammenga and all of the students will be traveling to Southern California to attend the Westminster Seminary conference. They will also be staying the weekend in Redlands, CA and fellowshiping with the members of our Hope PRC there. Second semester classes will begin on Wednesday, Jan.20, D.V.

Interim 2016

  • Once again the Seminary is inviting those who are interested to attend selected classes this coming semester (starts Wed., Jan.20).  The classes that are open to auditors the second semester are the following:  Medieval Church History and Reformed Symbols (a study of the nature of confessions and the HC and BC) by Prof. R.Dykstra; Dogmatics (Soteriology - study of doctrine of salvation), and New Testament History (Passion Week through the missionary journeys of Paul) by Prof. R.Cammenga.  If you are interested in attending any of these classes, please call the Seminary at (616) 531-1490 to find what times they meet (or check the class schedule below).  “Registration” by January 19 is important. (The 2nd semester schedule is attached in pdf here.)
  • Plans are being made for the soon-to-be senior seminarian internships, which begin this summer (July 1-Dec.31, 2016). At this time, the following internships have been proposed by the faculty, approved by PRC Councils, and made public:
    • Matt DeBoer in Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI), under Rev.C. Haak
    • Brian Feenstra to Loveland PRC (Colorado), under Rev.S. Key
    • Joe Holstege to Calvary PRC (Hull, IA), under Rev.C. Griess
    • Jonathan Langerak to Edgerton PRC (Minnesota), under Rev.D. Kuiper
    • Aaron Lim to CERC (Singapore), under Rev.A.Lanning
    • David Noorman to Hope PRC (Redlands, CA), under Rev.B. Huizinga
    • Justin Smidstra to Faith PRC (Jenison, MI) under Rev.C. Spronk
    • Stephan Regnerus to SE PRC (Grand Rapids, MI), under Rev.W. Langerak

Let us continue to remember the professors, students, and staff in prayer as they finish the Interim this week and prepare for second semester classes.

November 2015 PRC Seminary Journal Now Available!

PRTJ Nov 2015 coverThe faculty of the PRC Seminary have just published the next PRC Seminary Journal. The November 2015 issue (Vol.49, #1) contains an interesting variety of articles and book reviews, which make for profitable reading for pastors, officebearers, and Reformed believers (see the cover image here and the editor's notes below).

The following are Prof. R. Cammenga's "Editor's Notes" for this issue:

     Welcome to the pages of the frst issue of volume 49 of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal.  The frst article in this issue is the transcript of the speech that Dr. John Bolt gave to the student body and faculty of the Protestant Reformed Seminary, as well as area ministers this past Spring.  Dr. Bolt is familiar to the constituency of the Protestant Reformed Churches as an outspoken critic of the treatment of Herman Hoeksema by the 1924 Synod of the Christian Reformed Church.  Besides critical of the treatment of Hoeksema, he also fnds fault with the doctrinal formulations of the 1924 Synod defining and defending common grace.  In his article, Dr. Bolt points out what he believes to be the inadequacies of the “Three Points” and offers alternative formulations.  Even though the very worthwhile question-and-answer session that followed Dr. Bolt’s speech cannot be reproduced here, we trust our readers will proft from the transcription of the speech.

     Our readers are once again favored with an article by a familiar contributor to PRTJ, Dr. Jürgen Burkhard Klautke, professor in the Academy for Reformed Theology in Marburg, Germany.  This article is the transcription of a speech by Dr. Klautke at a conference sponsored by the PRCA denominational Committee for Contact with Other [Foreign] Churches. The speech is a stirring defense of the truth of God’s covenant of grace, according to which elect believers are “in Christ,” as is the language of our Lord in His High Priestly prayer. Along the way, Dr. Klautke engages in necessary polemic against those who have perverted the truth of God’s Word that believers are “in Christ.

     This issue contains the frst three parts of an eighteen part “John Calvin Research Bibliography” by the undersigned.  This bibliography was constructed over the course of a number of years and copies of it were distributed to students who took a newly developed interim course on “The Theology of John Calvin.”  It was thought that publishing this bibliography would make available a valuable resource for any who are interested in doing research on the great Reformer John Calvin.  Each section of the bibliography corresponds to a class session devoted to that main topic, with the related sub-topics that were covered in the class listed beneath each main topic. 

     Prof. David Engelsma, emeritus Professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary, contributes a review article of Reformed Thought on Freedom: The Concept of Free Choice in Early Modern Reformed Thought, edited by Willem J. van Asselt, J. Martin Bac, and Roelf T. te Velde.  The book examines the teaching of leading Reformed theologians of the sixteenth through the early eighteenth centuries on the freedom of the will.  It demonstrates that the Reformed tradition has consistently rejected the
error of “free will,” while at the same time upholding genuine human freedom.  Be sure to read this very worthwhile extended review—and then perhaps get the book and read it for yourself.

      As always, this issue of PRTJ contains a number of excellent book reviews.  This is a much appreciated feature of any theological journal, and that certainly is the case with our journal.  We take this opportunity to express our thanks to the men who regularly contribute book reviews.  Hopefully they know how much our readers anticipate their regular contributions in each new issue and beneft from them.

      We remind our readers that our journal is made available free of charge.  The cost of its production and mailing are covered by the seminary.  Your gifts, therefore, are appreciated.  And many of you do send gifts periodically.  We are grateful for your support.

      Now read and enjoy. Soli Deo Gloria!

You may find this issue in digital form at the Seminary's Journal page (pdf for now - also attached here; Mobi and ePub coming soon). If you would like to subscribe to this Journal, kindly call or write the Seminary at the information provided on its website homepage.

Classis West Meeting, Edgerton, MN, Sept.30, 2015 - Official Report Now Published

EdgerPRC2012Classis West met this week in Edgerton, MN PRC.

Update from Wednesday afternoon, Sept.30: Pastor-elect Ryan Barnhill successfully sustained his classical exam and Classis West unanimously approved him to serve as a minister of the Word and sacraments in the PRC.

Peace PRC was also instructed to proceed with his ordination and installation, which is scheduled for Friday evening, Oct.9 in Peace PRC (Lansing, IL), with Prof.B. Gritters leading the service.

We rejoice in God's gracious provision of another servant to herald the gospel of sovereign grace. May He continue to prepare this brother for his work in the church of Jesus Christ in our Peace congregation.

RBarnhill CW Sept 2015
Chairman for this meeting of Classis West, Rev.B.Huizinga, informs Pastor-elect Barnhill and his wife Miranda of its decision.

The Stated Clerk of Classis West provides this official public report of this meeting:

On September 30, 2015, Classis West held its fall meeting in Edgerton, MN.

The meeting was preceded by an officebearers’ conference the previous day on the topic “The Local Church and Missions.” In his keynote speech, Rev. Slopsema emphasized first that every local church has the calling before God to do mission work. The church should not think this is optional for her; she also should view it as a privilege, not a burden. The second part of his speech explained that some of the work of missions becomes the work of the denomination, and laid out guidelines for how and when a congregation would turn to the denomination for help. The fourth presentation of the day supplemented this instruction; members of the Domestic Mission Committee spoke on “Promoting Mission Outreach by the Local Congregation.” The other two presentations were by members of Hope PRC and Georgetown PRC, giving overviews of Hope’s work with Rev. Titus in Myanmar, and Georgetown’s work with the Protestant Reformed Church of Vellore, India.
The presentations were informative, and I personally found them encouraging. A hearty thanks to Revs. Griess and Kleyn for organizing the conference, and to those who came from Michigan to take part in it.
After Rev. R. Hanko opened the meeting with an edifying devotional on Zechariah 1:8, Rev. B. Huizinga capably chaired this meeting for the first time in his ministry. .
The highlight of the meeting of Classis was the examination of Mr. Ryan Barnhill, who has accepted the call to serve as pastor of Peace PRC in Lansing, IL. The evening prior to Classis, the delegates of Classis and synodical deputies from Classis East gathered in the sanctuary of Edgerton PRC for an official worship service, at which Mr. Barnhill preached his specimen sermon on Psalm 25:14. Both in his preaching as well as in the rest of the exam, Mr. Barnhill gave good account of his natural and spiritual gifts for the ministry of the Word. With joy, Classis approved his exam and advised Peace PRC to proceed with his ordination. With this decision, the synodical deputies concurred.
Also on the agenda was an appeal of a brother from Peace PRC against a decision of his consistory. Peace PRC was unable to find pulpit supply for its worship services on December 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015. The consistory decided, with the approval of Crete PRC’s consistory, to hold a combined worship service with Crete, under the supervision of both consistories. The brother presented his consistory with several reasons why he considered this decision to be an error and, not satisfied with his consistory’s response, appealed the matter to Classis. Classis decided not to sustain the brother’s appeal for five reasons. Of those five, the first two regard significant principles of the Church Order, and the last three regard matters that were specific to the appellant’s wording in stating his case. I’ll summarize the first two. First, Classis pointed out that at this combined service, the elders of Peace PRC did not relinquish their responsibilities toward their congregation, but rather called the congregation to worship, and were able to oversee both the attendance of the members of Peace PRC as well as the preaching that the members received. In this way they fulfilled the mandate of Scripture in 1 Peter 5:2-3. Second, Classis declared that in so doing both consistories adhered to Article 67 of our Church Order; that Peace PRC did not relinquish their autonomy; and that Crete PRC did not lord it over Peace PRC (something which Article 84 of our Church Order specifies may not happen).
The consistory of Covenant of Grace PRC requested an additional subsidy of $4000 for 2015 and $12,000 for 2016. The reason for this request is that Rev. and Mrs. Kleyn decided to enroll their children in a different school than they had been using since moving to Spokane, which school had significantly higher tuition. Classis granted these requests and forwarded them to the synodical finance committee.
The expenses of this meeting totaled $9362.36. Classis is scheduled to meet next in Crete PRC on March 2, 2016.
The fellowship was again enjoyable. God is to be thanked for giving us the freedom to hold such assemblies claiming the protection of the authorities, and for giving the delegates to this particular meeting safety in travel and freedom to speak the convictions of their heart in love for the churches.
Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk

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