All Articles For Smit Richard J

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Among various things one can consider in foreign missions, there is this significant question: “What is the goal of missions?” Many, varied, and sometimes erroneous are the answers to that question in books about missions. Prof. Robert D. Decker, now emeritus professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Theo­logical Seminary, gave an answer to that question in an article at the conclusion of his thorough series on “Mis­sionary Methods” in the Standard Bearer in April 1985. He wrote that “certainly in all mission work the goal must be the gathering of the elect out of the nations into the...

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January 2020 Dear Congregations of the PRCA, Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Here is an update regarding our labor and life here in service to our sister churches of the PRCP in the metro Manila area and in our continuing PRCA mission work in Southern Negros Occidental. Family life One of the two main highlights of our family life in the past several months is the blessing of the birth of Violet Joy to Rev. and Mrs. Holstege on December 10. Mother and baby were able to return home soon after birth, and they are both...

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One of the aspects of mission work in cross-cultural settings is the day-to-day differences that a missionary must face and to which then he must respond appropriately and wisely. This day-to-day reality of cultural differences is true for all missionaries and their families, who are sent across cultural and linguistic boundaries, no matter their originating background, birth-nationality, and home-culture. Although the degree of differences can vary between the culture in which the missionary labors and the culture in which he was born and raised, yet they are an unavoidable part of his daily and weekly work. In this article, we...

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Previous article in this series: July 2019, p. 429. Some of the interesting highlights of the Guanabara Confession include, first, that this document was written by regular church members, not highly trained and ordained theologians. Understanding their God-given place in the body of Christ and their theological limitations, they answered according to their ability. They admitted this fact when writing about one aspect of the doctrine of marriage in Article 14: “…nevertheless, we will leave the judgment on this matter to ones more knowledgeable in the Holy Scriptures….” Although they humbly admitted that they were not gifted, trained theologians like...

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The history of the spread of the Reformed faith in the sixteenth century during the early and difficult decades of the Protestant Reformation is always interesting, especially in connection with the work of Reformed churches in missions. Since the Reformed faith, with its doctrines of sovereign particular grace and double predestination, is often maligned as uninterested in and unable to do world missions, it is encouraging to see from the Lord’s work through His church examples that show that this accusation from enemies of the Reformed faith is historically unfounded. One example of this is found in the history of...

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This is a common question in our homes. Usually, an answer is not far away with many wristwatches, smartphones, and various clocks in our houses. However, more important than what the time is in our particular time zone is the current time in history. For the covenant family, this question and God’s answer is fundamental for a pure confession, godly life, and realistic hope in the increasing spiritual darkness of this world. Since the beginning, God is the timekeeper of history. He does not need a physical, atomic clock to measure and govern time. He made time. He fully knows...

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That the Heidelberg Catechism was intended from the outset to be preached and taught in established churches is evident from the Preface written by its royal sponsor, Elector Frederick III of the Palatinate: We do herewith affectionately admonish and enjoin upon every one of you, that you do, for the honour of God and our subjects, and also for the sake of your own soul’s profit and welfare, thankfully accept this proffered Catechism or course of instruction, and that you do diligently and faithfully represent and explain the same according to its true import, to the youth in our schools...

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According to Acts 15:22-23, a letter had been adopted by the churches that summarized the answer of the apostles and the elders in regard to a doctrinal disturbance by the Judaizers. They argued that it remained necessary for the Gentile Christians to be circumcised according to the law of Moses for proper church membership and for salvation. In response, the church declared that God had revealed that circumcision was not required for church membership or for salvation. Since this is exactly what the beloved Paul and Barnabas had been teaching in their first missionary journey, the church publicly exonerated them...

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Because the well-established system for the collection and distribution of financial support for our denominational foreign mission labors may easily go unnoticed, it is worthwhile to examine the biblical principles and benefits of this Reformed practice. This denominational practice has well served the stability and continuity of our foreign mission labors, and the continuation of this orderly practice needs to be encouraged. A brief survey of how financial support is raised by some foreign missionaries shows that a variety of methods with a common theme have been used. One basic method for financial support is a letter campaign to churches,...

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Previous article in this series: March 15, 2016, p. 281. We have noted so far that the second coming of Christ and missions are very closely connected. The content of the preaching must include the second coming of Christ according to the Reformed, amillennial confession according to Scripture. Faithful missions serves that second coming of Christ, both in its gathering of the church and in its hardening of those whom God has not ordained unto eternal life. Then we noticed that faithful missions will find its confidence, not in its own work, but in the certain and victorious return of...

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