The New Publishing Project
All our Protestant Reformed people should by this time have received their second letter concerning the efforts being put forth to publish Rev. H. Hoeksema’s dogmatics. In order to reach those who might not have received the letters, as well as to furnish more complete information concerning this project and the organization sponsoring it, the publicity committee was authorized to answer in the Standard Bearer some of the many questions that have arisen. We will do this in question-and-answer form.
Question: What is this new committee which has sent out these letters?
Answer: Its official name is: The Permanent Committee for the Publication of Protestant Reformed Literature. It is called a committee because it is not an entirely independent organization, but an arm, or subsidiary, of the RFPA, the association which publishes our Standard Bearer. This arrangement was made both in order to avoid duplicate organizations and incorporations (the RFPA is already incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation), and because our purpose is entirely consistent with that of the RFPA, though this committee will specialize solely in the publishing of books. It is called a permanentcommittee, because: 1) It hopes and expects to be permanent, not just a temporary, passing thing. 2) It is more than a standing sub-committee of the RFPA Board. It has its own organization, constitution, officers, separate treasury, meetings, etc. According to the constitution it is allied with the RFPA as a permanent arm; and as such the RFPA has approved this committee. And it is called a committee for the publication of Protestant Reformed literature because its purpose is “to publish in book form the writings of our Protestant Reformed professors and ministers.” (Constitution, Article III) In other words, we hope to do more in the future than to publish Rev. Hoeksema’s dogmatics. Other worthwhile writings are literally waiting to be published; and once we get started, we hope to continue. We also hope and expect that if we succeed in this first project, from then on the project will be self-sustaining financially.
Question: How may I become a member of this organization?
Answer: 1) If you live in Grand Rapids and vicinity, it is very easy to be what, the constitution calls a regular member. You subscribe to the constitution, support the project, and then attend the meetings; taking an active part in the decisions and activities. Thus far our main work has involved investigating publishing and putting on a publicity and funds campaign. When our first publication is ready, we will need much more help. Truthfully, our attendance has not been as big as we would like to have it. Hence, here is your urgent invitation to join!
2) If you live too far away to be a regular member, but want to be a loyal supporter of this work, then you can sign up as an associate member merely by subscribing to the constitution and supporting the work morally and financially, and assisting us in your own local area. (Note: you are not automatically a member of this organization through, your RFPA membership. We state this because some have asked about it.)
Question: Why is it necessary to do our own publishing?
Answer: There are several good reasons for this. Permit us to mention three:
1) This is apparently the only way to publish our Protestant Reformed writings at present. Other avenues are closed. In plain language, if Protestant Reformed writings are to be published, we must do it .ourselves.
2) There is a great amount of written material that can and should be made available in permanent, printed form to our Protestant Reformed people of today, and,—do not forget,—to future generations.
3) This is an excellent way of getting the truth as we possess it and love it before the reading public. Up to this time, for example, Rev. Hoeksema’s dogmatics has been limited virtually to our own ministers and seminary students and was available. only in mimeographed form. A work like this should be generally available to theologians, to seminary students, and to the general public.
Question: What will this dogmatics be?”
Answer: Let us divide our answer:
1) It will be a complete and systematic treatment of all of Christian doctrine (divided into the well-known six parts: God; Man, Christ, Salvation, the Church, the Last Things) written from our distinctive Protestant Reformed viewpoint, and written in Rev. Hoeksema’s usual clear and pointed and thoroughly Scriptural style. It will be invaluable as a source-book on our doctrine. It will have literally hundreds of Scriptural references, along with many detailed explanations of texts and terms. And it will have a complete textual and subject index.
2) It will be a theological work; and yet it will be a book of value not only to ministers and seminarians. Apart from some foreign languages, which are necessary in a book of this kind, it is safe to say that any Protestant Reformed home will find it worthwhile having.
3) The dogmatics will be published in one large volume of over a thousand pages. It will be in every respect a quality publications excellent paper and printing, substantial binding, and attractive appearance. All these matters have already been thoroughly investigated by a sub-committee which has contacted various publishing houses and made a complete study. Question: How much will this cost? Answer: The publishing of the dogmatics alone will cost $6000. For this amount we have set our goal. We should really exceed this goal in order to cover advertising and distribution costs. We plan to publish an edition of 1,000 copies. This is not a large amount when you consider that better than 500 copies should be sold among our own families. Future plans are to: recover our investment plus a margin of profit, and then, after having met our obligations, to use the proceeds as a “nest-egg” for more publications. We want to emphasize that no one gets any personal profit out of this project. It is strictly not-for-profit; and all proceeds will be used for more publishing.
Question: How can I support this project?
Answer: There are three methods to be used, the first two of which were already mentioned in our second letter:
1) By making a pledge in any amount, payable by September 1, 1964.
2) By making a cash contribution.
3) By underwriting the project. Under this method you would subscribe an amount, say, of $100 or $200, or even more if you can, and give us the use of this money for as long as we need it without interest. You are merely “backing up” the project with your money in order to help us get started. When the proceeds from the sale of the books warrants it, you will get your money back, at the discretion of the committee, that is, after we have met our obligations. Of course, under this method you cannot claim a deduction on your income tax. A cash contribution or a paid pledge can be deducted. But we welcome all three kinds of support. If, however, you only intend to underwrite, be sure to indicate this for our records.
Question: To what extent should I support this project?
Answer: In the first place, the more the better! But a little quick figuring will show what can be done. For round numbers, let us say we have 606 families. An average $10 contribution from every family would put us over the top on our goal. Yes, it’s just that easy. Or again: just 60 contributions of $100 or 100 contributions of $60 would give us what we need. Or even if we had 30 who would underwrite this project for $200 each, or 60 for $100 each, and we would be in business. But we cannot publish on wishes; we need the money. And we urge you to do what you can, whether your contribution is small or large, and to do it promptly! We can go to press as soon as sufficient funds are available. At our last meeting the treasurer reported that returns were beginning to come in; but the trickle must become a flood!
Question: When will the dogmatics be published?
Answer: After we go to press, it will take several months. At best, the book will come out in seven months thereafter; but it is probably safer to figure on a little longer than that. We will keep you posted.
Question: How do I go about this?
Answer: Please follow these instructions carefully:
1. Make out your check or money order (or pledge) either to the Permanent Committee for the Publication of Prot. Ref. Literature (P.C.P.P.R.L., for short), or to Thomas Newhof, Treasurer. Indicate if underwriting.
2. If you still have one of the stamped, self-addressed envelopes which we distributed, use that. Otherwise, mail it to:
Mr. Thomas Newhof,
2317 Leonard St., NE,
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49505
3. Be sure to include your own name and address.
4. Indicate whether you want to become a member, either regular or associate. Hoping we have answered most of your questions, we are
Yours for the truth,
Permanent Committee for the Publication of Prot. Ref. Literature