Vol 99 Issue 20

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Diligently teaching our children

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:6, 7 School is starting again! For some, the thought of children returning to school is a welcome thought; for others, especially for students who delighted in the freedoms of summer break, the thought of the classroom brings a measure of disappointment. But regardless of whether one rejoices...

A crisis of authority: A call to servant-leadership

In this brief series on church authority, I began by pointing out two dangers that threaten the church: the danger of members rejecting the authority of officebearers, and the danger of officebearers abusing their authority over the members. In the last editorial, I made a beginning in laying out positively the basics regarding God’s instituting of authority in the church. In this article I want to address the responsibility that God has given to officebearers in the church. Many pages could be written setting forth what the Word of God has to say about the calling of officebearers, so I...

Catching up with AI and ChatGPT

In case you missed it, Rev. Dan Holstege broached the subject of artificial intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT for readers of the Standard Bearer in the August 2023 issue.1 He pointed out that some AI experts are concerned about the rapid development of AI and its impact on society, and that those experts have called for a pause on the training of AI systems. He also gave some important cautions for Christians as they evaluate and consider making use of AI in their everyday life. In this article, I will give some further introduction to AI and ChatGPT, and add to...

Thunder

When the dark storm clouds roll in, the lightning flickers, and the thunder rumbles, it is a sound like no other. Thunder evokes awe and fear. Rightly so, for every thunder clap resounds with raw, untamed power, reminding man how small and powerless he is and how mighty God is. Unlike our everyday speech, the Bible never says it thunders, but that God thunders. “The God of glory thundereth” (Ps. 29:3). “The Lord also thundered in the heavens” (Ps. 18:13). Thunder is no natural phenomenon occurring by itself; thunder is God’s creature that does His bidding. God has decreed the...

God’s chosen, covenant people

Previous article in this series: May 1, 2023, p. 344. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. Psalm 33:12 To what nation is the psalmist referring? Who are the people whom God has chosen as His own inheritance? Many would say He is talking about Israel. In the Old Testament we read about God making His covenant with Israel. He told them, “…thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all...

The Protestant Reformed Churches: Their beginnings (3): Common grace becomes the issue

Previous article in this series: April 1, 2023, p. 298. The Janssen controversy in the Christian Reformed Church (1920-22) concerned the erroneous teaching of a professor in the theological school. Dr. Ralph Janssen’s higher critical view of Scripture and his naturalist explanation of miracles were condemned by the CRC Synod of 1922. So serious were his errors that synod removed him as professor. However, his justification for these teachings, namely, common grace, was not addressed either by the special study committee that investigated his teaching or by the Synod of 1922. Even during the controversy, the Revs. H. Danhof and...

Protestant Reformed missions Years of rebuilding: Missions revived, 1954-1961 (1)

Previous article in this series: February 15, 2023, p. 228. After the split in 1953, the Mission Committee was left to pick up the splinters left behind in its mission work. The Mission Committee reported to the 1954 meeting of synod that Rev. Andrew Cammenga was removed from his position as missionary due to his insistence that Rev. DeWolf along with the men of First Protestant Reformed Church (Grand Rapids) who followed him were the legal consistory of First PRC. It was also reported to this synod that “the Revs. Blankespoor, Kok, Knott, and elder Bouma were not present (at...

Introduction to Johannes Jansen’s A Brief Explanation of the Church Order

Who was Johannes Jansen? Johannes Jansen was born on January 19, 1873, in Varsseveld, Gelderland.1 His father, a farmer, was also named Johannes Jansen, and his mother was Berendina Johanna Rademaker. He grew up as a member of the Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk (Christian Reformed Church in the Netherlands), the churches of the Afscheiding. In 1892, the same year that the churches of the Afscheiding united with the churches of Abraham Kuyper’s Doleantie to form the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederlands (Reformed Churches in the Netherlands), Jansen began his studies for the ministry of the gospel atthe Theological School in Kampen. These...

Covenant PR Church Ballymena, NI

14 July, 2023 Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches, Singapore and Malaysia In January, Mary and I were invited to the June Camp of our mutual sister church, the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) of Singapore. I was asked to unfold the CERC’s 2023 and 2024 theme text, Nehemiah 2:17-18, in four lectures. Ministers, like everyone else, have parts of Scripture with which they are less familiar. The book of Nehemiah was one of mine. So I ordered several works or commentaries on Nehemiah, and I have grown more and more impressed with this inspired book. On 23 April,...

Bring the books…

The following book is reviewed by Prof. Cory Griess, professor of Practical Theology and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary and member of First PRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jonty Rhodes. Reformed Worship. Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2023. ISBN: 9781629959078. Hard cover. Price: $15.99. 152 pages. Reformed church worship is not necessarily the same as worship in a Reformed church. Given the fact that we live in a day and age when the superficial reigns, even in the worship of some Reformed churches, and the expectation is that one’s own desires take the role of worship leader,...

09/01/2023