Rev. David Engelsma, lectured to a full church on April 21 in our new Hudsonville church auditorium. Rev. Engelsma’s topic was “Reprobation—Is it Reformed?” This lecture as well as many others. was tape-recorded. For information on obtaining one of these recordings, you may write to the Standard Bearer Business Office.
Rev. Engelsma lectured in Randolph, Wisconsin on April 1. His topic for this lecture was “A Reformed Look at Pentecostalism.” Rev. Wayne Bekkering, the pastor of our church in Randolph, sent along a report of this meeting as follows: “A bit of news that we could perhaps share with our people is that Randolph had a wonderful and exciting evening when over 200 people turned out to hear Rev. Engelsma’s lecture. This was a record crowd for our little church and we had to set up extra chairs.
“A couple of factors that accounted for our large turnout are, first, Neo-Pentecostalism is having a great deal of influence in our area of late and is causing quite a stir among, the people of the various Reformed denominations. Secondly, we advertised widely and got good coverage in the local paper.
“One other unusual experience in connection with our lecture is that it was ‘picketed’; at least, a group from a Pentecostal church in a neighboring town passed out literature in front of our church to those attending our lecture. Included in the literature was a letter especially prepared to refute ‘Reformed Pentecost.'”
I do not recall when one of our denominational lectures has been ‘picketed’ before, at least in recent history. It must be that the truth as it is proclaimed in the Protestant Reformed Churches is particularly obnoxious to some who hold to opposing views. This too would appear to be one of the ‘signs of the times.’
Recent bulletins from our church in Pella, Iowa, contained a number of items of interest. Pella’s pastor, Rev. Lubbers, has a Classical appointment to preach for our new congregation in Houston, Texas on May 15, 22, and 29. The Pella consistory wrote Rev. Harbach to ask whether he could stop in Pella on his way from Houston to Michigan and preach in Pella during Rev. Lubber’s absence. However, Rev. Harbach’s plans had been changed, as he has been assigned by the Mission Committee to proceed to Lynden, Washington and from there investigate the interest in the Reformed faith in the Vancouver, British Columbia area. However, the consistory of our church in Hull, Iowa, has given permission to their pastor, Rev. Mark Hoeksema, to vacate his pulpit on May 22 and preach for the Pella congregation.
Rev. Lubbers too has been busy of late lecturing and giving instruction in the Reformed faith. He spoke on Central College Radio, led devotions at the Pella Christian School, conducted a series of four midweek services in the Pella Nursing Home, and answered a number of questions of a group of Central College students concerning the inspiration of the Bible.
The Young People’s Societies in First Church, Grand Rapids, continue to sponsor 15 minute song services after the Sunday evening service the last Sunday of each month. The November singspiration featured numbers requested by the little tots in the congregation who wanted to have the congregation sing the songs they had learned in Sunday School. The April edition was also an ‘all request’ nite. On Easter Sunday evening a special edition song service was held to sing praises to the risen Lord.
Rev. VanBaren also placed a news item in the First Church bulletin as follows: “The sermons of the pastor on Genesis 1-3 are still being presented on the 12 stations of Family Radio. On most of these stations the sermon is broadcast at 9:05 PM on Wednesday evenings. The last sermon of this series will be broadcast on May 11. We have also submitted the recent series on Romans 9, but that has not yet been scheduled for broadcast. Several letters do come in each week, usually requesting cassettes of the message.” A goodly number of these requests for message tapes have been filled. Rev. VanBaren presently is continuing his series on the book of Genesis during the Sunday evening services.
One other note concerning First Church—a practice which continued for 50 years has been discontinued in that the Sunday bulletin is no longer printed, but mimeographed. It seems that with the cost of printed bulletins projected to exceed $2,000 for 1977, the practice was discontinued.