Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 5
after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep
of thy mouth" (Ps. 119:88)
Morning Service -
Keeping the Sabbath in
The Gentiles Who Keep God’s Sabbath [download]
Isaiah 56:3, 6-8
I. The Words Forbidden to
II. The Faithfulness Ascribed
III. The Promise Made to Them
Psalms: 67:1-7; 22:1-7;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
So Great Salvation! [download]
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
Day 5; Hebrews 1:1-2:4
I. Wrought by One Greater
than the Angels
II. Confirmed by Diverse
III. Neglected at a Terrible
Psalms: 104:1-7; 22:8-14;
Contact Sean Courtney
(email@example.com) for CDs of the sermons.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
Quote to Consider:
Matthew Henry on Isaiah 56:7-8: "It is here
promised that multitudes of the Gentiles shall come to the church, not
only that the few who come dropping in shall be made welcome, but that
great numbers shall come in, and the door be thrown open to them: ‘My
house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.’ The temple was
then God’s house, and to that Christ applies these words (Matt. 21:13),
but with an eye to it as a type of the gospel church (Heb. 9:8-9)."
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
We welcome Jordan Van Baren from Hudsonville
PRC to our worship services today. Sam, Manuel and Emily-Kate from
Limerick plan to be with us next weekend (Friday-Monday).
The second offering this morning is for our
Beacon Lights are available on the back table today.
The Council meets tomorrow evening, 7:30 PM at
PM - Murrays
PM - Hamills
1:00 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesday, 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will consider I Peter 2:11f. on "abstaining from
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "The Risen Lord and the
Gathered Church" (Luke 24:36-46).
Ladies’ Bible Study will meet for its final study
of the year on Tuesday, 21 April, (3 weeks from this past Tuesday’s
meeting) 10:15 AM, at the Murrays.
Thurs, 23 April, 7:30 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (II)
Thurs, 7 May, 7:15 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (II)
Town Hall, Friday, 12 June, 8:15 PM - Calvin vs. Darwin: Anniversaries,
Origins and Worldviews
Offerings: General Fund - £550.79.
PRC News: Byron Center PRC called Rev. Key (Hull, IA). Lacombe
called Rev. VanderWal (Redlands, CA). Rev. D. Kleyn (Holland, MI)
received the call to be second missionary to the Philippines. Rev. Haak
(Georgetown, MI) declined the call to Calvary PRC. The Protestant
Reformed Theological Seminary’s
Calvin Conference is scheduled for September 3-5, 2009 at the 1st
CRC in Byron Center, Michigan. All are welcome to attend.
Luther’s Open Letter (IV)
Writing of the condition of the schools of his day,
which were monopolised by the Roman Catholic Church, Luther cries, "O
how unjustly we deal with these poor young people who are committed to
us for direction and instruction! We must give a terrible accounting for
our neglect to set the Word of God before them. They fare as Jeremiah
says in Lamentations 2:11ff., ‘Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels
are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of
the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon
in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, Where is corn and
wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when
their soul was poured out into their mothers’ bosom.’ This pitiful evil
we do not see—how even now the young folk in the midst of Christendom
languish and perish miserably for want of the Gospel, in which we ought
to be giving them constant instruction and training."
What did Luther want introduced and practised in
Christian education? To amend the problem of loose living which
prevailed in the universities, Luther had a proposal about the students
who would attend the universities. Luther also had suggestions about
what should be included in the curriculum.
After making his proposals about what should be
included in a university’s course of study, which we will examine soon,
Luther expressed his wish to be selective about the student body. He
writes "... we should not send everybody there, as we do when all we ask
is numbers, and everyone wishes to have a doctor’s degree; but we should
send only the best qualified students, who have previously been well
trained in the lower schools. A prince or city council ought to see to
this, and permit only the well qualified to be sent."
What would Luther have regarded as "the best
qualified students"? One may assume that academic ability would be
important. A review of the student’s previous schoolwork would be proof
of academic ability. School records would be easy enough to check. Given
Luther’s concern about the poor conduct of too many university students,
however, one can also be sure that academic ability would not be the
sole criterion for university admission. Is drawing the conclusion that
a potential student’s spirituality would also be considered too
far-fetched? In the 16th century most German cities were
small. The people knew each other. Would Luther depend on local city
council members to know about the spiritual characteristics of potential
students? Was 16th century European society as stratified by
age group as is the case today, with the result that the young people
are often strangers to the elder members of the community? Would those
young people who were known to be prone to "loose living" not be
admitted to the schools Luther hoped to establish? I wonder.
Luther’s goal in education was to have all the
children of the church be able to read the Scriptures. However, this 25th
proposal in Luther’s Open Letter concentrates almost exclusively on
higher education, not elementary. He understood that it would be
impossible to establish the elementary schools he desired and viewed as
necessary for a Reformed community if there were no teachers to staff
them. The church at the beginning of the Reformation would be starting
from scratch as far as elementary education was concerned. The need for
qualified teachers was immediate.
Luther envisions elementary schools which would be
staffed by trained teachers and attended by children. Luther is not
calling the people to establish some precursor to community centres
where fathers and mothers could pick up a few tricks of the educational
trade to use to teach their children academic skills at home. Fathers
already bore the responsibility of leadership in the home and teaching
their sons a trade which would be the means of supporting their families
some day. Mothers were already busy teaching their daughters necessary
domestic skills and tending to the needs of the household. Luther does
not want schools so parents could be trained as educators, subsequently
enabling them to impart their lessons to their children at home. Luther
foresees schools for the godly education of all the church’s children.
What does Luther want taught in the universities?
Luther hopes instruction in the Gospel will hold the dominant place in
the curriculum. He writes, "Above all, the foremost and most general
subject of study, both in the higher and the lower schools, should be
the Holy Scriptures, and for the young boys the Gospel. And would to God
that every town had a girl’s school also, in which the girls were taught
the Gospel for an hour each day either in German or Latin ... Ought not
every Christian at his ninth or tenth year to know the entire holy
Gospel from which he derives his name and his life?" How bold a concept
it must have been in 1520 to call for the education of girls!
Concerning theological books, Luther says, "The
number of theological books must also be lessened, and a selection made
of the best of them. For it is not many books or much reading that makes
men learned; but it is good things, however little of them, often read,
that make men learned in the Scriptures, and make them godly, too.
Indeed the writings of all the holy fathers should be read only for a
time, in order that through them we may be led to the Holy Scriptures.
As it is, however, we read them only to be absorbed in them and never
come to the Scriptures. We are like men who study the sign-posts and
never travel the road."
We must not think, however, that the schools Luther
desires would have students study only the Bible and exclude all other
subjects. In his Open Letter, Luther also mentions the study of Latin,
Greek, Hebrew, mathematics, history, medicine and the law; but of these
matters Luther writes, "But all this I give over to the specialists,
and, indeed, the reform would come of itself, if we were only seriously
bent upon it. In truth, much depends upon it, for it is here that the
Christian youth and the best of our people, with whom the future of
Christendom lies, are to be educated and trained." Luther is sowing the
seeds of a liberal arts education.
Let’s close this series of articles on Luther’s Open
Letter by examining the final paragraph of his proposal to reform the
universities where Luther warns, "But where the Holy Scriptures do not
rule, there I advise no one to send his son. Everyone not unceasingly
busy with the Word of God must become corrupt; that is why the people
who are in the universities and who are trained there are the kind of
people they are."
A reading of the various constitutions of our
parental, covenant day schools proves that God has blessed us with
schools where Scripture rules. The men on our school boards and our
schools’ teaching staffs take seriously the responsibility of providing
our students with a truly Christian education. I realise our schools are
not perfect and that Satan strives to extend the tentacles of his
kingdom in them. Satan will ceaselessly probe for our weaknesses and
seek to exploit them for his purposes. Yet, there are some locations in
our denomination where, by the mercies of our ruling King whose children
attend our schools, we have had such institutions for three, and in some
cases four, generations. We have been richly blessed. What would be the
extent of our shame if the Christian education of our King’s children
suffers during these tight and difficult economic times because we cut
back on our support of kingdom causes instead of parting with some of
the entertainment and niceties of this present world? Let us use,
vigorously use, the blessings God has given us.
Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant
Reformed Christian School