Mr. Wigger is a member of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
The Evangelism Society of the Southeast PRC in Grand Rapids, MI recently served as host for a very important, interesting, and thought-provoking debate between Dr. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary and author of the recent book He Shines in All That’s Fair: Culture and Common Grace, and Prof. D. Engelsma, professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament studies at our Theological School. Professor Engelsma is also editor of this periodical, and you may remember that he originally wrote twelve editorials critiquing Dr. Mouw’s book. These editorials have since been published in book form under the title Common Grace Revisited. First we extend to Southeast the sincere thanks of the standing room only crowd of some 3000 who filled Sunshine Ministries’ auditorium to the brim to hear the question “Is the Doctrine of Common Grace Reformed?” debated. We also do well to pass along our thanks to the two men who held our attention for a little over three hours with concerns that are critical for the future of the church today.
Saturday, September 6, the Grand Rapids Press featured an article on the front page of its Religion Section outlining the basic differences between the two sides of this question. Dr. Mouw was quoted in this article as saying that the doctrine answers “the basic question, What do Christians have in common with non-Christians? God might even take delight in the way non-Christians serve His purpose.” The article goes on to quote Prof. Engelsma, “If you stand back and observe the church worldwide, I don’t think anyone would say the condition of the church is overly healthy. Is the church presently in danger of becoming thoroughly worldly?”
These two sides of the question on common grace were explained in greater detail that evening. Each man was given thirty minutes to state his position, either for or against common grace. This was followed by a 15-minute rebuttal. Then questions, first from each participant to the other, and then in conclusion from the audience. For someone like myself, who has grown up with constant reminders of the doctrine of common grace and the importance its denial has in our churches, the evening was very worthwhile. It not only served as a review of the major elements of the doctrine and our objection to them, but it also gave opportunity to hear firsthand some of the basic arguments for the doctrine. In addition, it was also very encouraging to see so many young people in the audience. As the moderator for the evening, Mr. Rick Noorman, pointed out, the average age of the audience was certainly younger than expected. The question was of interest to at least three generations of church members, which is something to be thankful for.
Again, thanks to Southeast for doing all the work organizing the evening. It certainly was appreciated. And again, thanks to Dr. Mouw and Prof. Engelsma, who conducted themselves in a Christian way towards each other and for giving the audience something to think about. It was indeed a lively dialog between two of today’s most knowledgeable authorities regarding this vital topic.
The Council of Southeast PRC set Thursday, September 18, for the ordination and installation service of pastor-elect William Langerak.
Everyone in and around our churches in West Michigan was invited to attend a classical/sacred music concert featuring piano, organ, voice, and cello at First PRC in Grand Rapids on September 10. A collection was taken for Foreign Missionary Assistance.
Members of Byron Center, MI PRC were invited to meet in their fellowship hall on the fourth Sunday of each month to sing around their piano on an informal basis. Bringing a plate or something to drink was optional.
All households and individuals of Grace PRC in Standale, MI received a letter regarding adult societies at Grace. The elders and pastor encouraged all to attend a society for personal enrichment and the blessing also of others.
Rev. J. Mahtani, missionary to Pittsburgh, PA, visited the Covenant of Grace PR Fellowship in Spokane, WA from September 11-16. September 12 Rev. Mahtani spoke on “Preaching and Witnessing in our Pittsburgh Mission.” Saturday morning he planned on meeting with all the heads of households regarding the mission work in Spokane and how to apply what he has learned in Pittsburgh to their situation.
At the September 10 meeting of Classis East a letter was received from the Contact Committee concerning continuing developments with a former OCRC congregation in Wingham, Ontario, that has now requested affiliation with our churches. Two elders from this congregation were present to observe the meeting of classis. It is the intention of the consistory of this 13-family congregation to request membership in our denomination at the next meeting of Classis East in January.
On September 16 the members of the League of PR Adult Bible Study Societies met together at First PRC in Holland, MI for an inspirational lecture, a short business meeting, and fellowship. Prof. R. Decker spoke on “The Bible—God’s Book,” based on II Timothy 3:16. An offering was taken for the Asian Reformed Theological School of Singapore.
From a trio consisting of Rev. W. Bruinsma, Rev. C. Terpstra, and Rev. R. VanOverloop, Hudsonville called Rev. Bruinsma. The council of Hull, IA PRC formed a new trio for missionary to Ghana. From that trio, consisting of Rev. M. Dick, Rev. J. Laning, and Rev. R. Miersma, Hull called Rev. Miersma.
Mr. Paul Goh, who graduated from our seminary this spring, was examined by the Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore all day Saturday, August 30. He sustained the examination and was declared a candidate for the ministry of the Word and sacraments. Pray for him as he awaits a call.