Archives for August 2021

Weekly Sermon Quote – August 29, 2021

Seminary Community Dinner

This evening the seminary community of PRTS—students, spouses, and their children—got together for a salad and pizza dinner followed by a few hours of animated and sweet fellowship. The students’ theological questions keep on coming even at a picnic.

We as faculty are truly blessed to have a godly, international student body from 20 countries and 30 denominations. God is so good to us! What a privilege and what a responsibility we have to train men for the ministry and to send them back to their countries preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ for needy sinners. Please pray that we will remain centered and focused on this worthy task and that the Holy Spirit will bless our feeble efforts.

Convocation and New Student Orientation Day

We just completed our “Convocation and New Student Orientation” day at Puritan Reformed Seminary. I was privileged to give the Convocation address from on the theme, “Trust God—Always!” We are grateful to have the largest incoming class (see picture #1 for some of them) that I think we have ever had.

Regular classes commence tomorrow. Pray that God will bless PRTS—its students, faculty, staff, and board—immensely in Immanuel in the 2021-2022 school year.

Two New Titles from RHB

I am pleased to announce that Reformation Heritage Books has received two new titles from the printer—the first being “God’s Grace Shining through the Law,” which I edited. Contributors include Michael Barrett, Gerald Bilkes, David Murray, Stephen Myers, Michael Riccardi, Clarence Simmons, Daniel Timmer, and William VanDoodewaard, and me. If you want a good book on the critical subject of the law that is both biblical and pastoral, and that will help you live in joyful obedience to God’s Word, try this book.

Second, in “A Practical Theology of Family Worship: Richard Baxter’s Timeless Encouragement for Today’s Home,” Jonathan Williams examines the encouragements Baxter gave for family worship, and his family-equipping ministry in his church. This study develops our understanding of this vital spiritual discipline among the Puritans while simultaneously drawing out implications for families and family ministry in churches today. In a day when family worship is seldom practiced diligently in most Christian homes, this book is sorely needed.

2021 Puritan Reformed Conference – Day 3

Our annual Puritan Reformed Conference is over. This morning Dr. Josh Buice—pastor in Douglasville, Georgia, and organizer of the G3 conference—delivered a powerful message on “Gospel Empowerment” based on Romans 12:1-2, stressing how the Holy Spirit empowers believers for both total surrender and for sanctification (see picture below with him and his wife Kari).

Our own Dr. Mark Kelderman (picture below) gave the final address on “Gospel Hope” based on 1 Peter 1:3ff, bringing the conference to a close by taking us, as it were, to the joys and fullness of heaven where hope will be swallowed up by love forever.

To the hundreds of you who attended in person throughout the conference and the thousands of you who livestreamed into our conference, please receive my hearty thanks. I hope and trust you were richly blessed. Pray with us, as the old divines often said, that God will be the “after-preacher” to apply His Word to our hearts and lives. And God willing, please join with us again next year, August 25-27, as we take up the glorious theme of “The Grace of Salvation.”

2021 Puritan Reformed Conference – Day 2

The PRTS Conference at our church in Grand Rapids was edifying yesterday

In the morning, Dr. Greg Salazar gave us a clear and earnest presentation of Christ’s active and passive obedience as essential for our salvation. Rev. Rob McCurley spoke profoundly and movingly on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the gospel from 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. In the afternoon, Dr. David Hall (picture #1) provided a more technical yet interesting address on the major gospel themes that were preached in the early sermons of the New Testament church, covering apostolic messages contained in Acts 2–5.

Following three breakout sessions by Dr. Josh Buice on “Gospel-inspired Gratitude,” Rev. McCurley on “Ceremonial Shadows and the Gospel,” and Dr. Jon Payne on “Law and Gospel,” I preached in the evening on “The Essence of the Gospel” from 1 Timothy 1:15-17. Afterwards, all eight speakers were involved in a helpful Q&A session chaired by Dr. Mark Kelderman (picture #2).

The conference will wrap up by noon today with the final addresses by Dr. Buice and Dr. Kelderman, commencing at 9:00 a.m. ET; please pray for God’s rich blessing also for the thousands of people who are listening via live-streaming:

2021 Puritan Reformed Conference – Day 1

Our Puritan Reformed Conference got off to a good start yesterday evening. Here is a picture of the opening (picture #1), and then of Dr. Stephen Myers stressing our profound sin and the gospel remedy of Christ in his address on “The Gospel Need” (picture #2) followed by Dr. Jon Payne speaking movingly on the eternal covenant of redemption (“The Gospel Planned”; picture #3), stressing the amazing love and grace of God. Afterward I had the serendipitous privilege of meeting one of our brand new PRTS students and his wife, Daniel and Irene, from Mexico (picture #4).

Join us in person or livestream: this morning with Dr. Greg Salazar (9:00 a.m. ET) and Rev. Rob McCurley (11:00 a.m.) speaking in the morning, Dr. David Hall (2:00 p.m.) and break out sessions in the afternoon (3:30 p.m.). I will be speaking in the evening (7:00 p.m.), followed by a QA session with all the speakers.

2021 Annual Puritan Reformed Conference

I’m excited to announce that we’re only a few hours away now from the beginning of the 2021 Annual Puritan Reformed Conference—this one on the great and moving theme, “The Grace of the Gospel”!

Tonight, Dr. Stephen Myers, PhD professor at PRTS, will be our first speaker at 7:00 p.m. on “The Gospel Need,” followed by Dr. Jon Payne, pastor of Christ Church Presbyterian in Charleston SC, on, “The Gospel Planned.”

If you are able, please join us at the conference (Heritage Reformed Congregation, 540 Crescent NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan) or by livestreaming the event at our church’s website or Facebook page:

The conference will continue all day and evening on Friday, and will conclude by noon on Saturday. Rend the heavens, Lord, and come down (cf. Is. 64)!

Confession of Faith Class

Of the several hundred church, seminary, and committee meetings I am called upon to chair or attend in a given year, by far my favorite is when the annual confession of faith class meets with the pastors and elders to make confession before us and to share how the Lord has worked and is working in their lives. Last night was no exception. We were privileged to hear from close to 20 young people who will be making confession of faith before the church, God willing on September 5. What an evening it was—so encouraging, so Christ-centered, so obvious and clear that the Holy Spirit is at work among us! We also as pastors and elders share how the Lord converted us as well. At times there were tears of joy shed at God’s amazing grace. There was just one big empty place in our midst—Jordan Kamp, a recent high school graduate who died so suddenly about a month ago was in this class also. Pray with us for the mourning as well as for those making confession of faith that their lives will manifest, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!”

Grace Christian Academy

Our new Christian school (pre-K through grade 12), called Grace Christian Academy (GCA, beginning with 200 students), was dedicated to the Lord today. This morning I had the privilege of bringing an opening dedicatory devotion to the teachers (1st picture), speaking on Christ’s call to endurance, and this evening my colleague Dr. Kuivenhoven gave a helpful dedicatory message for the new school to nearly 700 parents, students, grandparents, and friends (2nd picture) on setting up an Ebenezer stone of acknowledgment for God’s help which applies to the past, the present, and the future. We covet your prayers.