All Articles For Vol 93 Issue 04 11/15/2016

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Minister Activities Synod 2016 of the PRC designated Byron Center, MI PRC as the calling church for another home missionary. The Council there had formulated a trio of Revs. C. Griess, B. Huizinga, and C. Spronk. On October 9 the congregation at Byron Center issued the call to Rev. Griess to be the next PRC home missionary. Also on October 9 the congregation at First PRC of Holland, MI extended a call to Rev. Nathan Decker to be their next pastor. He is currently serving at Trinity PRC of Hudsonville, MI and had also been considering the call to be...

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Christianizing the World: Reformed Calling or Ecclesiastical Suicide? David J. Engelsma. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2016. Hardcover. 192 pages. $19.95. [Reviewed by Craig Ferguson.]   Mr. Ferguson is a member of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church in Wyoming, MI. What a fresh and insightful book this is! As always, Prof. David Engelsma is thorough; in this case, his thoroughness is much to the chagrin of the (many) advocates of Abraham Kuyper’s common grace theory. Today we are witnesses to a sprawling, nebulous support for the idea of Christianizing the world, one that has seeped into the broader church world,...

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*The contents of this article are derived from a number of sources, including personal interviews with Rev. Breen and his wife Pauline during our many visits, the family, and especially his grandson, attorney Mr. Ben Veldkamp, to whom I am indebted.   Although the year 1919 began with the nation mourning the death of Teddy Roosevelt, optimism seemed to abound. The flu pandemic that snuffed out some 30 million lives, was beginning to fade. World War I, the four-year quagmire that swallowed up another 18 million souls, had just ended (and with it the furor in West Michigan over a...

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Previous article in this series: October 1 2016, p. 19. In my last article I explained that Synod 2016 of the PRC decided to continue participating in the interdenominational project of Psalter revision. Why did it do so? Synod adopted the four grounds that the PRC Contact Committee gave in its recommendation. In four words, I could summarize the first ground as “history,” the second as “necessity,” the third as “acceptability,” and the fourth as “opportunity.” History “History: the PRC has repeatedly decided in favor of revising the Psalter, and even began the work of revision, but did not carry...

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Previous article in this series: October 1, 2016, p. 8.   All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from...

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Previous article in this series: August 2016, p. 449. So far we have considered principles regarding how God reveals Himself to us. This next section will consist of articles on the subject of creation. First, we consider how creation is understood only by faith. In other words, we will understand the truth about creation only when we believe what God says about something that we ourselves did not see. What the world refers to as science involves studying the visible creation through observation and experiment. But what about the invisible things? What about creatures and activities that cannot be detected...

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Transgender Discrimination and Churches in Iowa and Massachusetts In a recent submission to the “All Around Us” rubric (vol. 92, No. 18 [ July 2016]) I reported that across the Western world anti-discrimination laws are being amended to include protection for “transgendered” individuals, that is, for persons who “identify as” a gender different from the biological gender “assigned to them” at birth. Two U.S. states, Iowa and Massachusetts, have made the headlines recently because of a perceived threat to the religious liberty of churches. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) recently revised its guidelines because they appeared to lack exemptions...

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In his article titled “Good Works” in the October 1, 2016 issue of the SB, Rev. R. Kleyn wrote in the section “The Place of Good Works:” Although the Bible teaches good works, there is always an order: first salvation, then good works. Salvation is not based upon works, but rather salvation is the sovereign work of God by His grace and Spirit and it produces good works. Good works are a part of the salvation that God works in us. Then later in that same section, after writing of “salvation from God’s point of view,” he writes in the...

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Note to the Readers: Some time ago I had plans to write a series of editorials on the need for Protestant Reformed teacher training. With that in mind I wrote this editorial, intending to follow it up with a number of articles on this subject. In the unfolding of the editorial schedule, that was not possible…until now. We reprint this editorial from June 1, 2014 with modifications, to start this series up once again.—Prof. Russell Dykstra One of the most significant covenant blessings given to the Protestant Reformed Churches is God’s gift of Christian schools. God establishes His covenant not...

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But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4 We live in a time of great prosperity. The standard of living in the U.S. far exceeds any other nation, past or present. With this great prosperity has come an alarming increase in wickedness in our land. The principle here is that the more the Lord gives a wicked nation, the more they have with which to sin, so that they abound more and...

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