All Articles For Ministering to the Saints

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The last two articles in this rubric demonstrated from Scripture and the Reformed Confessions that the elders’ work has three basic aspects: rule and oversight, being pastor and shepherd, and teaching. Future articles will develop the aspects of the work at length. The first of these three, the elders’ work of oversight, is itself broad. It includes the oversight of the congre­gation’s worship and congregational life, of the spiritual lives of the members of the congregation, and of all of the officebearers. The first in this list, the elders over­sight of the congregation’s worship, is the topic of this article....

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Previous article in this series: September 1, 2019, p. 473. There are various legitimate means evangelism committees and mission committees use to spread the gospel. One such means already faithfully used by the PRC Mission Committee was that of the printed page. During the years that war was being waged in Europe and the south Pacific, various churches, especially First PRC in Grand Rapids, published pamphlets addressing diverse doctrinal and practical issues—many of them written by Rev. Herman Hoeksema. In the twenty-fifth anniversary booklet of the Protestant Reformed Churches the author writes: There are the pamphlets of the Sunday School...

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Previous article in this series: October 15, 2019, p. 40. In our last article we surveyed the work of the office of elder as prescribed by various articles of our Church Order, the “Form of Ordination of Elders and Deacons,” and Article 30 of the Belgic Confession. Our goal was to demonstrate that imbedded in these confessions, if not explicitly stated, is the idea that the work of the office of elder has three basic aspects: rule or oversight, being a pastor or shepherd, and teaching. In this article we will demonstrate this point from Scripture. In doing so, we...

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Confessional basis Having treated the nature and history of the office of elder, the qualifications for the office, and the call to and ordination into the office, we come now to the meat of the matter—the work of the office of elder. The work of the office of elder is manifold. They are mistaken who consider the work of the office to be only that of oversight and rule, which work is performed pri­marily by sitting in the elders’ bench during the wor­ship services and by attending consistory meetings. The work is broader than that. It is broader as regards...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2018, p. 301. I understand that some of my recent articles may be “information overload.” I want to give information, but do not want to overload. To help understand this article, it will probably be best that you have your Psalter open. In my last article I introduced two kinds of lyrical changes that the interdenominational Psalter revision committee is proposing for Psalms 1-40 (Psalter numbers 1-112): changes to existing lyrics and changes that involve adding new lyrics to existing songs. I ended that article by saying, “Next time, I intend to introduce...

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Previous article in this series: February 1, 2018, p. 195. I have explained the principles that the synods of the HRC, FRC, and PRC have adopted to guide the interdenominational Psalter revision committee in proposing changes to our Psalter. The committee’s proposed changes to Psalms 73-89 have been distributed. But what is yet to come? How does the committee envision applying these principles to the rest of the Psalter? I will introduce you to some of the changes being proposed to the versifications of Psalms 1-40 (Psalter numbers 1-112). These proposed changes fall into three categories: changes to existing lyrics,...

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Previous article in this series: November 15, 2017, p. 75. In my last two articles I developed three reasons why the interdenominational committee is proposing changes to some of the music (tunes) of our Psalter: 1) the tunes must serve the lyrics well; 2) the tunes must serve the congregation by enabling her to sing the lyrics well; and 3) some Psalter numbers are rarely sung, raising the question whether a change of music would serve the congregations well. Although I developed these reasons, I did not invent them. One reason why some initially explored the idea of Psalter revision...

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Previous article in this series: September 1, 2017, p. 473. I am explaining why the interdenominational Psalter revision committee proposes changing some of the music of the Psalter. In our previous article, we noted the two main reasons. One was that the tunes must serve the lyrics; certain tunes are more appropriate for the lyrics than others. Another was that the tunes must serve the congregation by enabling her to sing the lyrics well. A tune that the congregation cannot sing well, even if set to beautiful lyrics, does not serve well. The revision committee is evaluating the music (tunes)...

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Previous article in this series: April 15, 2017, p. 329. In explaining the principles that govern the interdenominational Psalter revision committee in its work, I am treating the how of Psalter revision. In my three previous articles I have examined the principles regarding format and text (lyrics). Next up is to examine the principles that govern us in evaluating the music. But before examining those principles, I will in this article explain why—not why Psalter revision in general, but why the committee would suggest changes to some music of the Psalter. In my next article, God willing, I will present...

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Previous article in this series: February 15, 2017, p. 279. My last article explained two principles that the interdenominational Psalter revision committee is using to evaluate the text, or lyrics, of the Psalter. Those two principles are completeness (“Is all of the scriptural Psalm represented in the Psalter? Is there one Psalter that captures the whole Psalm?”) and faithfulness (“Is the text faithful to Scripture? Is it theologically sound? Is it the language of Scripture? Are all things included that have been omitted in the past? To what degree is it a paraphrase or does it include unnecessary poetic license?”)....

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