Years of trial (4) Missions threatened (1947-1953)

Previous article in this series: April 15, 2021, p. 329. After the synod of 1948, Protestant Reformed mission work among the Dutch immigrants in Canada who had been members of the Liberated Churches (LC) in the Netherlands became an obsession. The Mission Committee, First PRC (the calling church of our missionaries), and most of the membership of the PRC viewed this labor as most advantageous for church extension. There were a few who eyed this work with suspicion. Rev. George Ophoff was wary of the sharp doctrinal differences between the LC and the PRC on the covenant (conditional vs. unconditional). […]

The pity party

Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest. Jeremiah 45:3 Each one of us has experienced this before. Taking on a victim mentality, we crab and we pout about the hurt others have caused us. We become downcast and despondent because one after another circumstance, or so it seems, has piled up against us. Navel-gazing, we take on the doom and gloom mindset, crying silently within as Jacob of old, “All these things are against me” (Gen. 42:36b). Or as described by […]

Bring the books

The Church’s Hope: The Reformed Doctrine of the End (Volume One: The Millennium), by Prof. David J. Engelsma (Jenison, MI: RFPA). $29.95 soft. 350 pages. Reviewed by Rev. Garry Eriks. The clear message of this volume on eschatology is the church’s hope that Jesus Christ is coming again to bring His church to live with Him in body and soul forever. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ needs this hope because of the attacks upon her and the hardships she faces in an increasingly wicked world. From beginning to end Prof. Engelsma warmly reminds the church of her hope. […]

News from our churches

Trivia question: What emeritus ministers are still active in preaching and teaching in the PRC? (Answer at the end of this news report.) PRC news (Denominational) The churches in Classis East marked a special day of prayer on November 2, and some in Classis West observed the same. The reason given for the service was: “Our churches are experiencing great affliction at the present…. This great affliction is evidenced by the ongoing schism that has torn apart the body of Christ, the great need that we as a denomination have for ministers of the Word, and other ongoing afflictions as […]

The necessity of fruitful knowledge

And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. II Peter 1:5-9 The gift that God has given us in […]

To be numbered with the God-fearing

[With this editorial, we bid farewell to Rev. Koole. As he says toward the end of this article: “As I take my leave as an editor of the Standard Bearer, I can state forthrightly it is this truth, ‘The fear of the Lord,’ that has governed this magazine (and those who have written in it) as a motto since its inception.”] We are all familiar with the phrase “the fear of the Lord.” And well we should be. It is a phrase, along with its parallel, “the fear of God,” that runs like a thread through the Scriptures, especially the […]

The Council of Ephesus (AD 431): The meeting

We saw that the error of Nestorianism made necessary the calling of the Council of Ephesus (cf. July 2021, SB, p. 420). Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, taught that Christ had two natures because He had two persons, which two persons were joined in His incarnation. Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, opposed Nestorius, and Emperor Theodosius II deposed him. But division regarding the matter made the emperor realize the need for an ecumenical council to settle it. A messy meeting The Council began in May 431 with about two hundred bishops attending. Even the Bishop of Rome (later known as […]

Nineveh’s repentance

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast […]

Precious jewels

Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Isaiah 62:3 In the face of conflict and strife, when many feel as if they are “forsaken” or “desolate,” we are comforted by God’s precious word that we are not “forsaken” but we are “Hephzibah”—the Lord delighteth in thee (Is. 62:4). In the lowest of lows, God mercifully teaches us that we are very precious in His sight—we are “a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of […]

Watch your mouth! (3) Truth

Previous articles in this series: March 1, 2021, p. 255; May 15, 2021, p. 378. In an age of fake news and talk-show spin and selfserving slant, truth is a commodity in short supply. White lies, half-truths, and bold-as-brass deceits predominate. Even in the church, one hears slander and misrepresentations. In the midst of the darkness of such dishonesty, the God of truth calls godly young men and women to shine as beacons of truth. Truth-telling is not the only principle that governs our communication, but it is the first and fundamental one. In the past two articles on Christian […]