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All Articles For Cloud of Witnesses

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. The Educator Kuyper was deeply interested in and concerned for Christian education. Not only was he concerned that the children of believers receive instruction in the ways of God’s covenant, but he labored long and hard to make Christian education available for the common folk whose financial burdens were often very great. But his interests in education went beyond the instruction offered in what we would call grade schools and high schools: Kuyper, dissatisfied with the apostasy in the universities (schools under government control), set...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction A few issues back we talked about one of the great theologians in the Netherlands during and shortly after the Synod of Dordrecht in 1618-’19. His name was, as our readers will recall, Gijsbert Voetius. In that article we mentioned the fact that Voetius engaged in a very bitter quarrel with Johannes Cocceius, a quarrel that continued beyond their lives and nearly tore apart the Dutch Reformed Churches. In this article we want to talk a bit about that quarrel. Early Life and Education...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction Apart from my parents, two men had the most influence on my life: my two professors in seminary. The one was Rev. Herman Hoeksema; the other was Prof. George M. Ophoff. From Rev. Hoeksema I learned Reformed Dogmatics and how to exegete the New Testament; from Prof. Ophoff I learned the history of the church of Christ and how to exegete the Old Testament. They determined the nature of my ministry in the church of Christ. The seminary was meeting for most of the...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Ophoff’s Pastoral Work George Ophoff was ordained into the ministry of the Word and sacraments on January 26, 1922 in the Hope Christian Reformed Church during the evening worship service. The congregation had been in existence since 1916, though it had never had a pastor. It belonged to Classis Grand Rapids West, and was supplied by ministers from the Classis and by students and professors from the seminary. It was a rural congregation numbering between thirty and thirty-five families, most of whom farmed. In many...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction The times when true reformation comes to the church of Jesus Christ are not often. But when those times, according to God’s clock, actually come, they come in strange and surprising ways. Already in the Old Testament God had reminded His people of this. He had emphatically impressed upon the mind of the moody and depressed Elijah that He did not work through stirring events such as took place on Carmel (God was not in the earthquake, nor the fire, nor the wind); rather...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction One of the charges which Rome leveled against the Reformers was the serious accusation that the Reformation tore the fabric of the church and destroyed the unity of the body of Christ. Very shortly after the Reformation began, it split into various branches, chiefly the Lutheran, Calvinistic, and Anabaptistic groups. While there were good reasons for this, and while God in His inscrutable wisdom had His own purpose in this, it remained a serious problem with which the Reformers had to deal. While all...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Ophoff As Professor Throughout his life in the ministry, the center and most important aspect of Ophoff’s work was his labor as professor. I am compelled to look at this aspect of his work from my own perspective because it was in the seminary that I best knew him. In the first year I attended seminary, the school was rather large, with students from our own churches, interested young men and college students who audited various courses, students from the Netherlands, and students from the...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction Reformers are strange people. They do not seem at first glance to be cut out for the role. As a matter of fact, if one measures their abilities by human standards they are the world’s worst people for the work into which they are thrust. The reason for this is that the reformation of the church is God’s work. We confess in our Heidelberg Catechism that the Son of God not only gathers His church, but He also defends and preserves it. That is,...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction One cannot study the history of the Reformation of the 16th century without being impressed with God’s all-wise and gracious providence over the affairs of men and nations which made the Reformation possible. History is replete with such examples, which only the blind are unable to see. One example is God’s use of earthly magistrates to protect and advance the cause of the Reformation. Although many powerful rulers in Europe were deeply involved in the history of the Reformation, two outstanding figures illustrate how...

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Prof. Hanko is professor of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. Introduction Two Fredericks, both magistrates in Germany, played significant and important roles in the Reformation of the 16th century. Both were called Frederick III and both were renowned for their godly character. The first Frederick was called Frederick the Wise; the second, Frederick the Pious. Although Frederick the Wise remained a Roman Catholic all his life, he was Luther’s protector and made reformation in Germany possible. Frederick the Pious became a Calvinist, though not without great struggle, and is sometimes referred to as the father...

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