Archives for June 2020

Installation of Five Elders and Four Deacons

Last evening we had a special service led by Dr. Kuivenhoven with the installation of five elders and four deacons. The one elder who has never served before is our son-in-law’s father and the one deacon who has never served before is our son, Calvin.

Our pastor spoke ably on “Gentle Servant Leadership” from 2 Timothy 2, the last three verses. The joy of serving the Lord’s bride often moves me to tears, and last night it did so again as we sang, “How beautiful doth Zion stand, /A city built compact and fair;/The people of the Lord unite/With joy and praise to worship there.”

To witness our son cast his lot in with the other men who commit to serving our Lord’s bride was truly a humbling moment for Mary and me. Pray for him as he embarks as a young man (at 29, he is the same age as my father and brother were when they became office-bearers) on this journey of service, together with his dear wife Laura—also as they expect their third child four weeks from now.    

Wedding of Aaron Wolters and Jessica De Waal

I had the privilege of officiating the wedding of Aaron Wolters and Jessica De Waal last Friday evening—a very dear God-fearing couple with lots of potential. At their request, I spoke on Ephesians 4:32 about “The Threefold Beauty of a Christian Marriage.” What a joy such weddings are for a pastor’s heart! Pray that God will bless them together mightily in Christ Jesus as they embark on living a life together for His glory.

Root & Fruit: Harmonizing Paul and James on Justification

I am pleased to let you know that we received our shipment of a new book a few hours ago, “Root & Fruit: Harmonizing Paul and James on Justification” by Steve Lawson and me, published by Free Grace Press. John MacArthur graciously says of this little book that it “is a supremely helpful book on a tough subject—more valuable than most volumes weighing in at twenty times the page count.” You can get it here: 

“Living in a Godly Marriage” in Korean

Yesterday I received a surprise gift: several copies of “Living in a Godly Marriage” by James La Belle and me (360 pages), in Korean, published by CH Books in Seoul. As always, these Korean titles are beautifully done. This book summarizes what the Puritans taught about marriage in the 29 books they wrote on marriage—and, believe me, they were light years ahead of most of us in understanding a biblical view of what a godly marriage should be. Pray with us please that God will use this book to bless many marriages of Korean couples in South Korea and all around the world.

New Puritan Reformed Journal

Today we received our latest biannual issue of Puritan Reformed Journal (July 2020), edited by William VanDoodewaard and me, which contains a dozen helpful articles and a dozen book reviews in 250 pages. Articles are included on Pentecost, Paul’s theology of work, John Cotton on Christian virtue, Thomas Chalmers, Calvin and Barth on assurance of faith, Matthew Henry as an apologist, fathers as foster parents, same-sex attraction, etc. I wrote an article on Archibald Alexander’s experiential preaching. We also received a 2-volume set in Spanish of a variety of helpful articles on pastoral theology from the Reformation and Puritan eras, drawn largely from our Puritan Reformed Journal and edited by Jaime D. Cavallero. They included my article on using the Heidelberg Catechism in preaching. Lots of savory meat in these three volumes! May God use each of them abundantly.

Learning About Marriage from Our Spiritual Fathers

Many churches have designated this coming Lord’s Day, June 28, as one to be focused on considering the critical subject of marriage. In an era of theological confusion and moral compromise we can gain much my looking to our forefathers in the faith. In many areas and in many ways the Puritans are a shining light to look back to and glean from. Not that they were perfect—far from it—but they were giants of the faith who sought to bring every part of life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This passion of the Puritans was clearly seen in their theology of the family and marriage especially. Inheriting the Reformation spirit of returning to the Scriptures, the Puritans helped to clear away centuries of unbiblical tradition and man-made regulations and help us even today to see the beauty and glory with which God has endowed marriage.

Reformed Systematic Theology Vol. 1 in Spanish

Paul Smalley and I received a pleasant surprise: our first volume of Reformed Systematic Theology in two volumes in Spanish! The thought of pastors, theological teachers and students, and church folk reading what we write in another language is always something that resonates deep inside of me. Pray with us, please, that as God is working at the present time in a mighty way in Spanish-speaking countries, bringing many to embrace the Reformed faith, that these volumes of systematic theology may do much good for the maturation of the saints, the salvation of the lost, and the honor of God’s name.

Slow Learner

Mary and I try to walk every day. Often we walk around the pond and the Grand Rapids Seminary across the street; well, this time we came across this huge turtle who went right up to the seminary entrance doors as if he wanted to tour the building or apply for a program.

Dinner With Friends

Last night we enjoyed a great dinner cooked by the Queen and excellent fellowship with good friends Brian and Ariel Borgman. Brian graduated with a ThM degree from PRTS this summer. He is the founding pastor of Grace Community Church, Minden, Nevada, where he has served faithfully for 27 years. I had the privilege of preaching at his 25th anniversary conference and saw firsthand with Mary the love-bonds between this dear couple and their flock.

Before and After


This is Mary. I’m back hijacking my husband’s blog. The inside-out days of the quarantine have been turned right-side-out. With eight conferences canceled, Joe had time to tidy up his study. It’s the cleanest and neatest it’s been since he moved into it 16 years ago. It seems he is thinking more clearly now that his surroundings are peaceful, so his thinking cap is on straight.