Mr. Kamps is the secretary of the Board for the Reformed Free Publishing Association.
October 7, 1999
Dear RFPA Members and Friends,
We have recently completed another year at the RFPA, where the gracious provision by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was clearly evident. We now look forward to beginning our 76th year of publishing the Standard Bearer and our 33rd year of publishing books. Generations of Protestant Reformed believers have found blessing in the witness of the RFPA, as well as many believers in foreign lands and various denominations. Our witness is not always and everywhere heeded, but it is heard, even in far off and significant places.
We send our Standard Bearer to every state in the Union except Alaska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Utah. We mail to 31 different foreign countries: Australia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malta, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Republic of South Africa, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, and Zambia.
Our subscription base has increased over the past year to 2,678 copies mailed each issue. Last November a special effort was made to encourage our subscribers to submit gift subscriptions for friends, acquaintances, and co-workers who do not yet read the SB. This effort gained 123 new mailings of our magazine and we want to thank those who participated in this effort. In a letter at that time we reminded our readers that an effort like this is not to increase the subscription list for its own sake. Emphatically not! Rather the cause is the truth, as that truth is set forth in the Scriptures and systematized in the Reformed and Presbyterian creeds — a cause than which there is none greater or closer to our hearts. We again remind our subscribers and friends that gift subscriptions to an acquaintance or friend is a great opportunity to be involved in the dissemination of that precious truth.
All that’s ever been written in the SB will now be at the fingertips of those with computer savvy — at a small fraction of the cost of the bound volumes and even smaller fraction of the required space on your library bookshelf. That’s not even to mention the fact that earlier bound volumes of the SB are not available at any price. By early November, the 75 volumes, plus the printed subject index of these volumes, and Adobe Reader software for searching and viewing will be available for purchase in a three-CD set. Even those who know Dutch and would like to have access to the many articles which were written in Dutch in the early volumes of the SB will be able to do word-searches in that language.
Regular gifts to the SB dipped slightly to $47,500 this past year. A special estate gift of $25,164, however, brought our total gifts to the SB to an all-time high. This is very encouraging to all of us involved in the publication and promotion of the SB. We take this opportunity therefore to thank our subscribers and friends heartily for these generous gifts and support again this past year.
Efforts in the area of book planning and publishing this past year are notable. Two new books were published and much work continues on various other book-publishing projects.
Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and the Church was republished after being expanded by the author to include a scholarly treatment of the history of marriage and has been our top seller at 1,187 copies sold to date. We have just completed and shipped to all book club members our latest new book entitled Portraits of Faithful Saints, by Professor Hanko.
Our next publication, scheduled to arrive this coming spring, is entitled For Thy Truth’s Sake. This book was commissioned by the synod of the PRC for the commemoration of these churches’ 75th anniversary. Written by Professor Hanko, it is an enthusiastic and thorough doctrinal history of the PRC, written with the conviction that God used the PRC through its own history, doctrinal struggles, and controversies to develop and contribute to the enriching and strengthening of the Reformed faith. The Foreword to this book states: “This is a significant book…. In many areas it breaks new ground … without a doubt destined to become a classic reference work in the PRC as well as outside of them.”
Handsome, newly-designed covers have been completed for our latest printing and restocking of our three-volume Triple Knowledge set on the Heidelberg Catechism, which continues as one of our top sellers. Our Bible story book, Come Ye Children, by Gertrude Hoeksema, has been reprinted, since stock of the first 4,000 copies was depleted and demand remains strong.
Work on a revised edition of Reformed Dogmatics that began last year is progressing very well. Hopefully the new book will be available late in 2000. Enhancements to the Dogmatics include: A broad subject index, an exhaustiveindex for scholars by key words, an index to the Reformed confessions, Scripture index, index of works cited, and index of foreign expressions. Other enhancements, such as chapter subheadings, revised table of contents, translations of foreign language material, proof texts moved to the body of the material, and more, will be provided. Reformed Dogmatics is currently sold out and we look forward to its being available once more.
We are planning to publish an Old Testament History series comprising nine to ten volumes when finished. The material, originally written by the late Homer Hoeksema, unique for its distinctive covenantal perspective of the Old Testament, comprises Genesis through the book of Judges. Professor Engelsma, current professor of Old Testament at the PR seminary, intends to continue this work, picking up where Professor Hoeksema left off in Judges and completing the work through the inter-testamentary period up to Christ. Mr. Mark Hoeksema is serving as editor for this project. We will be publishing one volume at a time beginning with Genesis and, the Lord willing, will eventually have a nine-ten volume set of Old Testament History by these two authors.
Mr. Marvin Kamps has finished the translation of God’s Grace Is Particular, written by Dr. Abraham Kuyper. This work, originally published in 1884, is a thrilling defense of the Reformed, sacred, biblical truth of particular grace over against the heresy of a general, ineffectual grace of God. We very much look forward to the publishing of this profound and significant work from the great Dr. Kuyper. Now that the tedious and hard work of translating is completed we will begin the process of copyediting, layout, and design. Plans are to publish one other work by Dr. Kuyper this coming year entitled, When Thou Sittest in Thy House. This book, first published in the Netherlands in 1899, was translated by Rev. Henri DeVries and published in English in 1929. It has since been out of print, and we look forward to making this beautiful volume of meditations on the family and home life available once more.
Book sales have been steady again this past year, as indicated by the fact that over 7,000 volumes were sold. Book promotion activity included a new catalog mailed to 3,800 book customers this past spring, advertisements in World magazine, and promotion via our Internet Web Page. Our Book Club Membership program, through which new books are launched, continues to increase and now numbers 750 members. Our office staff says the phone calls and Internet messages that come to the RFPA office on a daily basis constantly inspire them in the work.
We remind our supporters and friends that the publishing of any one book can cost upwards of 20 and even 30 thousand dollars. When a book becomes sold out and needs reprinting it can be especially burdensome financially for the RFPA. Reprints are not sent to book club members, and consequently there is no initial burst of sales to help finance these projects. Reprints are simply placed in inventory and available for regular sales activity. We are facing several major reprint projects this coming year, since our inventory is either sold out or will be sold out soon. Books needing reprinting are Reformed Dogmatics, Behold He Cometh, Saved By Grace, Calvin’s Calvinism, and Whosoever Will. As this report indicates, we have many books to publish and reprint. We believe these books should be available to those who want to read them. Please consider this need and make a gift to the RFPA designated for book publishing.
We express our sincere appreciation to Professor Engelsma for his tireless work as our Standard Bearer Editor-in-Chief. We appreciate his uncompromising spirit and unyielding commitment to our distinctive Reformed heritage and precious faith. We take this opportunity to thank him for his hard work, dedicated labors, and leadership. We also appreciate and recognize the efforts and hard work of our regular department editors and contributors as well. We genuinely thank them for the many wonderful articles again this past year.
We thank both our Standard Bearer Business Manager Don Doezema and Book and Publications Manager Evelyn Langerak for the immense amount of work they do each day to make our publications available to our readers. We thank our capable assistants and staff members: Judi Doezema for her faithful work in financial record keeping and reporting for the SB and for typesetting each issue of the magazine; and Natalie Jefferson for her conscientious and fine work of copyediting and proofreading for our books. We commend you for your perseverance in the work and for the many daily tasks and responsibilities carried out so well by you on behalf of the RFPA.
We also thank our volunteer assistants: Mrs. John Veldman and Dave and Karen Dykstra for their regular, faithful help in mailing each issue of the SB; and Suet Yin, our imported Singaporean assistant, who gives general assistance to book publishing and mailing. The RFPA has further need of volunteer assistants in the area of maintaining our Web Page and in proofreading. If you have skills in these areas and would like to give help, please contact us.
Our prayer as we look forward to another year is that God will continue to bless and prosper the work of the RFPA for the sake of His truth and to the glory of His name.