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Spring 2024 PRT Journal Now Available!

Now that we are well into the beautiful season of Spring here in West Michigan, we at the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary are pleased to announce that the Spring issue of our Theological Journal has been published and is being shipped this week. We are thankful to be able to produce this instructive and edifying journal twice each year, and to provide it to our subscribers and readers online free of charge.

And we are excited to introduce this issue as well, since its pages are again full of valuable content - from articles to book reviews. We trust that you will find it so, whether your interests are theology, history, church government, or books!

Prof. Doug Kuiper provides his "editors notes" for readers, which we reproduce in this initial blog post on the contents of issue 57.2. After his summary you will want to delve in and get reading!

"Church doctrine, church history, and church polity often intersect. Church history is, in part, the record of discussions and controversies about church doctrine. Another subset of church history regards the development of church polity and related questions that arise. One such question is whether a broader assembly depose an officebearer or may only the consistory do so. Adding intrigue to history is the matter of how these discussions took place: Did one party in a doctrinal dispute try to outmaneuver another, using church political means?

"The articles in this issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal recognize the intersection of the church’s history, polity, and doctrine. The first article is a reprint of one published in the Calvin Theological Journal and republished with kind permission of the article’s author and CTJ’s editor. John Bolt is emeritus systematic professor of theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has previously expressed sympathy for Herman Hoeksema’s stand against the well-meant offer (the “little point” of the first point of common grace, 1924), and how Hoeksema was treated (see PRTJ 49, no. 1; CTJ 35, no. 1). More recently, he wrote two articles for CTJ, one of which appears here, and the other of which will be republished in the future. After the republishing of the second article, David Engelsma has agreed to provide a response in the PRTJ.

"The second article is Peter Vander Schaaf’s translation of Harm Bouwman’s commentary on Articles 29-31 of the Church Order of Dordt. Preceding the translation is a fuller introduction to the work. Articles 29-31 treat the relation of consistories to classis, and classes to synod. Here the question whether a classis may depose an officebearer is raised, and Bouwman answers in the affirmative. The Protestant Reformed Churches of America (PRCA) stand contrary to Bouwman on this point. Yet Bouwman’s rationale for his position is not pragmatic but principled. Perhaps the PRCA can further develop its position by responding to such arguments. Mr. Vander Schaaf is an elder in the PRCA, member of its Committee for Contact with Other Churches, and actively involved in our relationship with congregations in Germany.

"The third article is the second installment of the undersigned on the history of Classis West of the PRCA. The thought prior to writing it was to include notable and distinctive decisions of the Classis that touch on the life of the churches in common. But the article grew long enough without those, so what was envisioned to be a three-part series will now be a four-part series.

"Reviews of thirteen books round out this issue. What do you know about the Marrow Controversy in Scotland in the 1700s, or the history of England’s cathedrals? Do you have a sound, biblical view of mental illness? Are you aware of the great threat that pornography poses to men and women, and are you responding to it correctly? What effect do critical theories have on our society and even on the church? And what is covered in the third volume of van Mastricht’s Theoretical-Practical Theology? Read the reviews to get a condensed answer, and then consider reading the books themselves for a fuller answer.

"Finally, our readers should be aware that the faculty of the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary plan to give a conference on October 31-November 2, hosted by Grace PRC, on the doctrine of common grace as formulated by the CRC Synod of 1924. This year marks the centennial of that event.

"The winter (such as it was in western Michigan this year) is over and past, and the time of singing of birds has come. God’s faithfulness is seen again in the changing of seasons and giving of new life to creation. May we, having been spiritually and graciously renewed, continue to live for His praise. And may He be glorified in all."

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