Welcome to the Standard Bearer, Volume 85!

This volume year is the 85th year that Protestant Reformed men and women have produced our semi-monthly magazine, dedicated to the promotion and defense of the Reformed faith. Over the course of 85 years, much has changed, and yet much has remained the same. What has changed is not essential: a new generation of writers, more writers, a wider variety of subjects, and a more modern appearance. What remains unchanged is our commitment to the development and defense of Reformed doctrine, the fresh exposition of Scripture, and the clear application of truth to the life of the church and the people of God, and our writing all to honor God whose faith and truth it is.

But the magazine’s staff and editors are always seeking ways to improve our witness. This year is no different. In June, the staff decided to add three new rubrics (a type of article) that we believe will be of great interest to and profit for the readers.

First, Rev. W. Langerak (pastor of Southeast PRC, Grand Rapids, MI) will be introducing a book review section. He will not be writing the reviews (although you might see some from him), but seeing to it that the magazine has reviews. There will be some creativity, great variety in the kind of books reviewed, and review of some books that one might judge should be burned. The reviews will not be lengthy (usually). The reviewers will take books they judge to be worthy of comment. Perhaps that is the most unique feature of this section: it will not be driven by publishers promoting new books, but by our desire that God’s people read good books—new and old. As usual, reviewers keep the books they review. If you have suggestions, write Rev. Langerak in care of the magazine, or at billlangerak@sbcglobal.net.

Second, Rev. Allen Brummel (missionary in Sioux Falls, SD) and Rev. Jason Kortering (retired pastor and missionary) will write brief biographies of missionaries. This will add to the magazine’s exposition of mission theory an explanation of mission history (and continue where Prof. Hanko left off when he wrote Portraits of Faithful Saints, which began as articles here). We are always interested in history—how God has worked in the church of the past. You will read of familiar figures like (St.) Patrick, William Carey, J.H. Bavinck, and Jim Elliot; women such as Amy Carmichael and Johanna Veenstra; and probably of less familiar names such as Samuel Zwemer and Jonathan Goforth. We have two more articles from Rev. Kortering from the regular rubric, “Go Ye Into All the World.” Then, the biographies!

Third, we have asked Rev. R. Kleyn (pastor of Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) to begin an explanation of the Heidelberg Catechism. It has been many years since the Standard Bearer has included a regular exposition of one of our three major creeds. We believe a continued study of our confessions is crucial to maintain them as living documents in the church. Rev. Kleyn will explain the catechism in a practical and useful way for all the readers.

Fourth, after a year off, Prof. Engelsma, our former editor, will again contribute to the rubric “Things That Must Shortly Come to Pass,” an explanation and development of the doctrine of the last things. Welcome back, brother Engelsma.

For the rest, most remains the same: editorials, meditations, comment on happenings in the church world, PRC news, PRC history, searching Scripture, word studies, articles for youth, science, church order, church and state issues, special issues (look for our Reformation issue in two weeks), and much more. Thanks to all the writers who faithfully send in their material so that Mr. Doezema is able to send the magazine to the printers in a timely fashion. Writing is hard work. We are grateful that so many are able to put their pens, keyboards, and minds to work for the good cause of the written word. Pray for us.

And if you can, please promote the reading of the magazine. It is not expensive—the RFPA works to keep the price reasonable. We know of men who subscribe for their married children, those who give gift subscriptions to their friends, and people who pass on their copy to their neighbor. How profitable if every home had the magazine on the living room end table, and all the family read it on a Sunday afternoon.

Blessings from the SB editorial staff!