The Theological Seminary of the Protestant Reformed Churches began its 26th academic year on Tuesday, September 11, 1951, with a special convocation held at 9:15 a.m. in First Protestant Reformed Church, Fuller and Franklin Streets, Grand Rapids, Mich. The Rev. G. M. Ophoff presided. Students, faculty and theological school committee members were present.
At the opening service, the Rev. Ophoff read the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew and led in prayer. Rev. Ophoff then took as his text Matthew 28:19, 20 and delivered a thought-provoking and instructive message on the theme: The Purpose of a Theological School. This high and Reformed purpose was set in antithesis to the conception of ecclesiastical modernism which takes the position that it is not important what to think, but to have ability to think. Further, it is said, the school must remain “neutral” with respect to the thinking of its students, permitting them to select for themselves whatever of the multitudinous philosophies they prefer. But the Reformed seminary must teach not only how to think, but what to think; and all learning and scholarship must be placed, in the service of faith. Then the professor went on to develop his theme in (1) The Purpose, as expressed in the above text; and (2) The Requirement for the Achievement of this Purpose. Under the latter heading he emphasized that the theological school must be one; it must have a spiritual and doctrinal unity. To effect this, the instructors and pupils together must love Christ and the Truth. They must be one by a common faith in God’s Son, Scripture and the Confessions.
Following the rector’s sermon, the curriculum was outlined as follows: Old Testament Hebrew, Old Testament History, Old Testament Hebrew Exegesis, Church History, Isagogics, Typology and Poimenics to be taught by Rev. Prof. Ophoff. New Testament Greek Exegesis, New Testament Greek, Ecclesiology, and Practice Preaching to be taught by Rev. Prof. Hoeksema. Rev. G. Vos is instructor in Dutch, and Rev. J. Heys is instructor in Latin. A word of greeting and exhortation was delivered to the student body on behalf of the theological school committee by the Rev. G. Lubbers. With his usual winsome manner he counseled us to faith for the future, and patience and humility for the present.
The eleven enrolled students enthusiastically envision another profitable year of study for the ministry of the Word in the seminary which, under our sovereign God, they are proud to be a part.
R. C. Harbach