...

Mr. Kamps is secretary of the RFPA board.

Dear RFPA Members and Friends,

It is appropriate that, as we conclude the 71st year of publishing, we as an association take the time to pause and look back to the beginnings of our publishing endeavor. The publishing of the Standard Bearer began 71 years ago because our fathers, in the church of their day, were denied the right to express and defend their views regarding the sovereign, particular grace of God. This issue was being hotly debated among Reformed Christians. Our fathers therefore, being determined by the grace of God to give a witness to this sovereign grace also through the printed page, began the publishing of ourStandard Bearer. In the beginning, the original purpose and intent to publish the Standard Bearerwas set forth in a pamphlet entitled, “For the Sake of Justice and Truth.” In this pamphlet the authors explained the purpose of this paper as follows:

We shall let scripture speak…. Scripture must teach us. In it God must speak to us. According to it, must be our world and life view. It must teach us concerning sin and grace, curse and blessing, reprobation and election, doom and bliss….The authors also pledged themselves not only to write defensively, but to be positive and constructive.

It is good for those of us who are involved in the support and publishing of the Standard Bearer to recall this history as we begin our 72nd volume year. We see today that we have been the benefactors of this publishing effort. This is because we have received a rich heritage of truth as has been developed and preserved for us through the Standard Bearer itself. We rejoice that God has preserved this means of the Standard Bearer for the spiritual benefit and instruction of ourselves and of our children. By recalling this history, we also understand that ours is the great privilege to be able to witness to the pure Reformed in our times—times of turmoil and crisis in the Reformed community. Because we remember, and because we are appreciative of this heritage, we are also determined to witness to the sovereign grace of God via the printed page. Our prayer is that God will give us grace to preserve in this work, using us in behalf of His name and truth.

The board takes this opportunity to thank Don and Judi Doezema as our Managing Editor, Business Manager, and Assistant Business Manager for the excellent work they do in behalf of the Standard Bearer. We appreciate and value the many hours they regularly spend in connection with bringing the Standard Bearer to print, and seeing to it that the Standard Bearer makes a timely journey to our mailboxes.

We also thank Professor Engelsma for his faithful labors as our editor-in-chief. We especially thank him for his solid, clear, and unflinching editorials. Also, many thanks to our other faithful editors and contributors who write for our magazine in behalf of the glorious gospel.

The Standard Bearer continues to receive solid financial support. As board we are amazed by the thousands of dollars we continue to receive each year in church collections and gifts from individuals around the globe. The board takes note that these church collections and gifts have doubled since 1988. We take this opportunity, therefore, to thank our many subscribers and friends, from various places, who have again this past year so generously supported this publication.

The board is active in promoting the Standard Bearerto gain new subscribers. The number of subscribers to our Standard Bearer stands at 2,610, as of August 1, 1995. This subscription base includes 23 foreign countries, and all but seven states of the U.S. We note that our subscription base continues a steady increase year by year, and has grown by over 35% the last several years. This is encouraging to all of us who are involved in the work of writing and publishing theStandard Bearer. This indicates to us that there is desire and appreciation for solid Reformed teaching and writing. Over this past year we received 202 new gift subscriptions to our Standard Bearer. For new gift subscriptions, the first year is mailed at half the normal subscription rate. This is done in the hope that those who receive the gift subscription will recognize the spiritual value, enjoy the quality of our magazine, and become lifelong subscribers.

The following are quotes from letters we have received from appreciative readers of our Standard Bearer.

From a minister in Myanmar:

I have discovered the Standard Bearer magazine in the library of this college. I was so happy to know there is a magazine and brethren that have the same faith, and the spirit to defend Reformed theology.

From a minister in Serbia:

I am preparing the lessons for our catechumens class on Christian doctrine, and I am using the October 15, 1993 issue of your magazine (The Reformation and Scripture) for lessons on the Holy Bible. Your magazine is one of the best I have ever seen. (Most of today’s magazines are like bodies without bones.) I am reading, re-reading, and using for preaching and teaching, the past issues…. Keep up the good work. You are the salt and the light.

Another letter we received from a physician in Fayetteville, North Carolina reminds us how God uses a sharp presentation of the truth through the Standard Bearer. He says,

I wiII be forever grateful for this introduction to the faithful presentation of the truth in God’s word as presented by the teachers in the PRC. This manifestation of God’s grace in my life came about 6 months ago as I was searching for truth. I spent over 20 years walking in spiritual error . . . until God in His mercy opened my eyes to the Reformed faith. Even after being saved, I took a side path in error as I followed the teaching of 1994? . . . God in His mercy (and the SB articles) brought full recovery from this.

As we begin the new 72nd volume year, our hope and prayer is that the Standard Bearer may continue to be of great service and benefit both within and outside our circles in bearing the standard of truth. As board, publishing society, and editors may we pledge ourselves to renewed consecration, courage, and vigor to make the Standard Bearer a continuing effective witness to the truth in our time. Our confidence is that this work is not in vain, but that God will use us, and the Standard Bearer, as in the past, for the building up of His kingdom and the glory of His name.