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All Articles For Gritters, Barry

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* This article is the text of the address given for the graduation exercises of the PRC seminary for Seminarians Dennis Lee and John Marcus on June 20, 2005 in Byron Center PRC. The speech was based on Revelation 4, and is given here much as it was actually delivered, thus retaining the spoken style. The graduation tonight brings the PRC to the conclusion (and a celebration of that conclusion!) of the training of Mr. Dennis Lee and Mr. John Marcus—two men who feel deeply that they are called to preach. The Protestant Reformed seminary (the churches, really) is interested...

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September 1, 2008 The new school year was scheduled to begin on Monday, August 25, with an opening “orientation” and chapel speech by the rector. This is normal for the day before regular classes. The students receive assignments and reading lists, purchase the required books at the seminary bookstore, and receive their “practice preaching” text assignments. The rector makes important announcements, reminds the students what to expect, and opens with a devotional exposition of Scripture and prayer. The new students feel their way around. The older students take a deep breath. Ten students will grace our halls in the year...

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“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.  Jeremiah 6:16 Profound gratitude is the proper response when Protestant Reformed members realize what they have in the practice of catechism—the church’s instruction of covenant youth. They may be as grateful for catechism instruction and for faithful pastors who teach, as they are for air to breathe and food for their families. And more so. This gratitude, if it...

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On Tuesday evening, June 21, 2005, the synod of the PRC adjourned, after having worked carefully and hard for seven days. The ten delegates from each classis joined Byron Center congregation in prayer and worship on Monday evening, where Rev. Kenneth Koole preached a fine sermon on John the Baptist’s declaration, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Each day, the delegates joined in prayer and worship before the Lord, seeking His wisdom and blessing for the work they recognize as His. Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma capably led the synod’s sessions as president, assisted by the vice-president, Rev. Ronald VanOverloop. The...

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Every now and again a synod is remembered for one particular issue. The 1981 Synod in Holland, MI, is known to many as the “Baptism on the Mission Field Synod.” The 1987 Synod in Hudsonville, MI, is remembered as the “Marriage Synod.” There have been others. The unusually thick Acts of Synod taking more than its share of space on one’s shelf will bring back memories of other synods where one issue overshadowed the others. Synod 2008 of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America, held in Hope PRC, Walker, MI, was another such synod. To many, Synod 2008 will be...

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Previous article in this series: May 1, 2008, p. 316. Whether Moab’s King Balak or the prophet Balaam was more culpable for tempting Israel with fornication, both of them had a hand in bringing God’s people into great evil. The motivation was Balak’s: “Destroy this people!” Balaam had the cunning: “Since God has prevented me from cursing them, let us send our women among them to cause them to sin sexually. This will bring them under their God’s judgment.” Today, Balaam’s and Balak’s strategy is revived with a vengeance. Thus, the title:Balak Redivivus—”Balak, given new life.” Satan, arch-enemy of the church,...

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Previous article in this series: April 15, 2008, p. 316. The devilish strategy the Moabite King Balak used against Israel is revived with a vengeance, such a vengeance that a person is tempted to say, “Balak himself is alive again.” Thus: Balak Redivivus: “Balak, given a new life.” Unable to curse Israel through the mercenary prophet Balaam, King Balak exported waves of attractive women and caused Israel to fall into fornication, and thus under the severe judgment of God. The renewed sexual assault against the church today is terrifyingly strong. The enemy knows that the sinful natures of God’s people are...

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Our world is awash in sexual filth. It covers our land like the oil from the Exxon Valdez covered the Alaskan coastline. It fills homes like sewage fills basements when the city drains back up in a flood. The world is covered with the muck of sexual sin. And it’s influencing God’s church. New York state’s governor resigned recently for gross sexual offences. The accompanying stories of prostitution and those who participate are staggering. Detroit’s mayor is being prosecuted for, among other things, lying about a sexual relationship with an aide. And the memory is fresh of the perversions of...

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I could not help but hum the Psalter tune and say its words in my heart: “The lines are fallen unto me (us!) in places large and fair; a goodly heritage is mine (ours!) marked out with gracious care.” My heart was glad. It still is. What goodness our God showed to us this year at our annual assembly called synod! How I was wishing all our people could witness the public examination of the three seminary students—now candidates—and sit with us to hear Prof. Dykstra’s graduation sermon. What joy if even more could hear synod deliberate and decide to...

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Previous article in this series: August 2007, p. 437. In the past two issues of the magazine, the editorials treated what I called the “admittedly sensitive” subject of elders working with ministers for the improvement of the preaching. The first article noted that the Reformed Church Order, the Questions for Church Visitation, and Reformed church history call the elders to take an active (not just re-active) role in the supervision of the preaching. The last editorial proposed a method by which the elders could judge one particular dimension of the preaching ministry—the content of the sermon. The editorial did not treat...

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