When I was appointed to the Theological School Committee seven years ago, I was assured by the “old guard” members that the committee met just four or five times a year, that its meetings were short, that the work and time required would be minimal. What a surprise that turned out to be! The Theological School Committee now meets on a very regular monthly basis, with an agenda that is usually full, with meetings that have, on occasion, lasted beyond reasonable expectations.
I recall vividly the time, at a rather informal faculty meeting, when Prof. Hoeksema and I talked a bit about the possibility of publishing a Seminary Journal. The time was about fourteen years ago, and we hesitated long before entering this new field. We wanted to publish a Journal which would be somewhat more “scientific” in character than the Standard Bearer; i.e., which would deal more, technically with matters of theology than would a paper with greater popular appeal.
Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches met in Pella, Iowa, on September 3, 1980. Eleven ministers and twelve elders represented the churches of the West. Rev. G. Lubbers and Rev. R. Van Overloop were present and were given advisory vote.
During the many years the Seminary had its home in the basement of First Church, very little was done to the library. This was due simply to the fact that the facilities in the basement were so small and cramped that there was no space for books. The little library that the Seminary had was composed chiefly of standard works which every student soon bought for himself.
What is it like to attend our seminary, to sit in class, and to study there as a student? In one sense, these are easy questions to answer. It is much like any other school. We have classes from Tuesday to Friday mornings, Mondays being reserved for practice preaching. We usually have coffee break at about ten o’clock and on Wednesdays, attend chapel. The rest of the time is devoted to homework, study, and preparation. This description is somewhat deceptive, however.
New Testament Studies In the Protestant Reformed Seminary there is a great deal of emphasis on Biblical-Exegetical studies. There is good reason for this. No one can function in the ministry without a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures and the skill to expound and apply those Scriptures to the needs of the church. The minister is the servant (the Apostles called themselves “slaves”) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, cares for the sheep through the office of the minister.
There is an old dictum (I am probably not quoting it exactly) which goes; “He who will not learn from history’s mistakes is doomed to repeat them.” In a sense, we take this dictum: very seriously in the Seminary. It holds true, and was originally formulated with a view to, world history. Nations and peoples who do not know history and have no appreciation for what has happened in the past are ignorant of the sins of long ago: In ignorance of them, the same sins are repeated again and again—with the gravest of consequences. We see this happening in...
When I first came to the seminary in 1959, I fell heir to the Old Testament Studies which had long been the realm of our esteemed Rev. George M. Ophoff. Later, in 1965, when the original dogmatician of our seminary went to glory, some adjustments were made in the curriculum-division, with the result that the Dogmatics department also became my responsibility. About these two departments I am supposed to write a few words.
The “Greenhouse” on Seminary Hill Officially the name of our seminary is the Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches. But often we simply refer to it as “the seminary” or “our seminary.” This issue of our Standard Bearer is designed to tell you something about our school, to tell you not only who are there, but also what is accomplished there and what the purpose and goal of our seminary is.