Archives for April 2013

Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology

PCRT Philadelphia Attendees

PCRT Philadelphia Attendees

Approximately 600 attended the Philadelphia Conference of Reformed Theology on April 19–21. The theme was “In the Beginning: God, Adam, and You.” I arrived late on Friday, due to having to lead a funeral of one of our dear members in Grand Rapids that morning, so I missed the pre-conference by my good friend Jon Payne on “Our Forgotten Heritage: Recovering a Reformed Ministry,” which focused on the lives and ministries of Charles Simeon, John Owen, and Zacharias Ursinus in conjunction with the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism. (By the way, Dr. Jason VanVliet and I can still take on a dozen more travelers for our European tour this summer, July 9–19—we’d love to have you join us.) I also missed Derek Thomas’s opening address, “The Bible’s First Word.”

On Saturday, Liam Goligher (senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church, where the conference was being held) preached on “Lord of the Garden,” Rick Phillips (the conference organizer and MC), spoke on “The Bible and Evolution.” I spoke on “The Case for Adam,” participated in a QA session, did a video interview for PCRT, and then spoke on “Christ the Second Adam.” As soon as my last address was finished, I had to rush to the airport to catch the last flights home, arriving a few hours before midnight. The next day I preached for Seventh Reformed Church in the morning and our own church in the evening.

Reforming Families Conference

Reforming Families ConferenceAt the request of the conference organizers, I am pleased to bring to your attention an upcoming event in Indianapolis, called the Reforming Families Conference (RFC), which will be held August 13–16. This conference is sponsored by my friends at the Free Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis. I will be speaking there along with David Murray, Geoff Banister, David McClelland, and Brad Baugham.

I am encouraged by the RFC’s overarching emphasis of semper reformans, semper reformanda— “always reformed, always reforming.” Speaking topics this year will include: Christ Our Bridegroom, Recognizing Our God-Glorifying Roles, Understanding Headship and Submission, Getting Along in the Family of God, Preventing Authority Abuse & Conflict, Covenantal Foundations for Parenting, Godly Living, Using Technology Effectively in the Family, Bringing Children to Christ, and Living In the Power of Gratitude.

In a day where there are increased attacks and pressures upon the home, this conference provides not only great topics for building up families in Christ, but also provides a unique venue for building friendships and potentially life-long relationships with like-minded people.

I hope you’ll consider attending this conference and bringing your family. You can find out more by going here or by emailing the conference director, Ryan Elliott.

In the meantime, here is a video blog from my colleague, David Murray, regarding this conference.

Builders and Sub-contractors Walk Through PRTS

PRTS Building Expansion

Yesterday more than forty builders and sub-contractors walked through Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary with a view to offering their services for the proposed addition. Four builders have been asked to submit their bids by next week Wednesday. Pray that God may bless these efforts and guide us to the builder that would best serve us.

Chilliwack, BC

Mountains of Chilliwack, British Colombia

My wife and I overnighted on the plane from Hawaii to Seattle. From there, she continued home to Michigan, and I went on to beautiful Chilliwack, British Columbia, arriving in time on Wednesday morning to attend our annual denominational meetings, which began with an office-bearers’ conference. Rev. Danny Hyde spoke to us helpfully on church planting, and a great discussion followed. That evening Rev. David Lipsy preached a practical synodical prayer sermon on not growing weary.

On Thursday morning, our Theological Seminary Committee met for a few hours with about twenty ministers and elders in attendance. Synod 2013 then convened for several hours, after which the ministers and elders fellowshipped for a few hours at the home of Rev. and Mrs. James Greendyk. Our discussion this year was focused primarily on how to pastor parents who experience the heavy loss of children dying in the womb or in infancy and on pastoring individuals who express suicidal thoughts or family members who experience the trauma of a dear one committing suicide. Please pray that ministers would have wisdom for serving dear people in such painful situations.


Hawaii Vacation 3

Molokai's Rugged North Shore

Molokai’s Rugged North Shore

Monday Mary and I took a helicopter ride of a lifetime over beautiful West Maui and Molokai. The magnificent sea cliffs (highest in the world), valleys, and waterfalls on Molokai’s isolated north shore (most of which are inaccessible by land), are truly God-exalting and breath-taking.


Hawaii Vacation 2

Sunrise over Haleakala Crater

Sunrise over Haleakala Crater

Hawaii Biking with MaryMary and I were on the island of Maui, celebrating some anniversaries. Thursday we took a guided tour to Hana, which brought us by waterfalls, through rain forest, along the coast with black sand and lava rock, and back through arid grazing land. Today we witnessed the sunrise from the top of the Haleakala crater, a dormant volcano, then biked down 28 miles and 10,000 feet in elevation to sea level. Tomorrow we plan to go snorkeling near the Molokini crater and see colorful corral and sealife. We are continually amazed at the variety of God’s creation.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying editing Wayne Spears’s outstanding dissertation on the role of the Scottish commissioners at the Westminster Assembly. Reformation Heritage Books will be printing this insightful work in coming months. Anyone interested in the Puritans and the Westminster Assembly will definitely want to read this landmark work.

Hawaii Vacation 1

Turtle Island in the Pailolo Channel

Turtle Island in the Pailolo Channel

Real Turtle!

Real Turtle!

My dear wife Mary and I spent a quiet vacation week in Hawaii, thanks to some dear friends, prior to our annual denominational church meetings which are meeting in British Columbia. On the long flights here, I completed the final edits on a book Bill Boekestein and I have coauthored on 31 reasons why Jesus Christ took our human nature to Himself. Reformation Heritage Books will publish this in our “31 Meditations Series.” Today I did the final editing pass on the second volume in a series of three by Paul Washer that we are publishing at Reformation Heritage Books.

Southern New England Reformation Conference

Grace Community BC RIPastor Rob Ventura ( asked me to spread the word about the Southern New England Reformation Conference, taking place in Rhode Island on May 3 and 4. Topics covered will include loving your spouse, leading family worship, raising children and teens, and Puritan evangelism. For more information, see the brochure.