All Articles For Gritters, Barry

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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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With the October 1, 2007 issue, the annual subscription rate of the Standard Bearer will increase to $21 (domestic) and $25 (foreign). This is the first increase since 1995. The Board of the Reformed Free Publishing Association recently made this decision because on July 15, 2007 the mailing rate increased by 23% for domestic and almost 300% for foreign! The new subscription rate is still reasonable for twenty-one issues of the Standard Bearer. We can offer the magazine at this low rate because of the generous support by Protestant Reformed churches through regular collections, and by individuals both within and outside the PRC....

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In the June 1 issue of theStandard Bearer, the editorial held out the admittedly sensitive proposal that minister and elders work together for the improvement of the preaching. In the summer meetings, when consistory agendas may be shorter, the men may take time to discuss calmly the preaching and how the preacher can bring the gospel to the congregation in the most edifying manner. The goal of these meetings is not to make the preacher popular, but to make his preaching edifying. More edifying. The goal is a well-fed and healthy flock who love their pastor. They love him deeply...

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With thankful and humble hearts, the Protestant Reformed Churches and her friends may reflect on God’s goodness to her through the meeting of her annual synod. Under the able leadership of veteran president Rev. J. Slopsema (pastor of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI), and witnessed by many visitors, Synod 2007 finished her work in five full days. The family of Trinity PRC (Hudsonville, MI) served as gracious hosts. Synods make decisions. And because all decisions are “by majority vote” according to the Church Order (Art. 31), Synod is a deliberative assembly. That is, all decisions are made after deliberation— careful discussion...

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In the less hectic consistory meetings of summer, elders who do not include a regular discussion of preaching on their agenda ought to consider adding it. For it is rare that a young preacher becomes a good preacher without help and advice from his elders. Rarer that an old preacher becomes a better preacher without their assistance. The church needs good preachers. Every preacher wants to be a better preacher. By “good preacher” is merely meant a preacher whose labors God is pleased to make a rich means of grace. He may serve without fanfare. He may not have outstanding...

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In this issue you will find the first article by Rev. Andrew Lanning on the life and ministry of Rev. H. Danhof, a man whose name “has a prominent place” at the beginning of PRC history. But it may well be that many of theStandard Bearer readers know very little about Danhof. You will find this, and the subsequent articles, to be a fascinating account of the life of one of the three ministers deposed by the CRC in 1924, but who never became Protestant Reformed. Along the way, Rev. Lanning points out important lessons that can be drawn from the...

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If a denomination will survive as a true church of Christ, she will delight in keeping the fourth commandment. A denomination may perish for other reasons, but refusal to keep the fourth commandment will ensure it. She will perish, not because her permission to violate the Lord’s Day makes her unpopular among the people and she withers away. But she will cease to be true church because God will judge her. The Lord will not be pleased, even though her changed stance on the fourth commandment may well be met with praise by people. God’s judgment on Israel in the...

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* This is the second half of the speech given at the convocation exercises of the Protestant Reformed Seminary, September 6, 2006. The last editorial (January 15, 2007) explained that Scripture draws a comparison between the labors of a minister and the self-sacrificing work of a mother. The editorial concluded with a call to the churches to continue holding before Christian mothers the calling to lay down their lives for their children. Lacking good mothers in the church, aspiring ministers will lack one great example for them in their ministry. As Calvin put it, explaining II Thessalonians 2:8: “a mother...

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