Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Dedication Of The Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary Building

Written by Dr. J. Beeke
Our Free Reformed students for the Ministry are trained at the Puritan Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Dr. G.M. Bilkes is one of the instructors, as well as a number of our Free Reformed ministers who teach courses as mandated by our Theological Education Committee. This press release was received from Dr. Joel Beeke, president of the seminary.
Last evening, December 22, we dedicated our new seminary building to the Lord. By GodÕs grace, we had a wonderful night. The Lord is so good. We had been praying for months that the building would be paid in full by the time of the dedication evening. Our prayers were answered five minutes before the meeting began when donations given covered the remaining amount needed. I shut my study door on the crowd of people gathering, and fell on my knees with tears. What an astonishing, prayer-answering God we have! Truly, He gives Òexceeding abundantly above all that we ask or thinkÓ (Eph. 3:20).

Rev. Mark Kelderman, chairman of the Theological Seminary Committee, opened the dedication evening. Psalter 368 was sung, 2 Timothy 3:14 to 4:5 was read, and prayer was offered.

Rev. Maurice Roberts, pastor of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Inverness, Scotland, and a frequent lecturer in our seminary, gave the first address. After extending cordial wishes from Scotland, he enlarged upon the seminaryÕs core goals in training men for the ministry, showing that a seminary must strive to train ministers who

  • know the Scriptures
  • know and maintain the Reformed confessions
  • know how to expound and apply the Word
  • know how to relate the Reformed, Puritan heritage to bear on the life of todayÕs Christians, todayÕs churches, and todayÕs world biblically, doctrinally, experientially, and practically.

    He also stressed that God must remain central in our seminary and that theology should remain as Òthe queen of the sciences,Ó as our forefathers taught.

    The Heritage Netherlands Reformed Choir then sang ÒOh, to Be Like Thee,Ó after which I gave an address on the history of the development of our seminary and its present vision, stressing the need for GodÕs presence in the new building, which is His building, not ours. We took up MosesÕ prayer as our own, ÒIf thy presence go not up with me [us], carry us not up thenceÓ (Ex. 33:14-15). An awed hush fell on the audience when it was stated that the entire seminary building came in under budget (approximately $2,950,000) and was now paid for. Heartfelt thanks were then extended to various people, committees, and Dan Vos Construction, while the need for continued prayer was accented.

    Congratulatory greetings were then brought by Rev. Neil Pronk on behalf of the Free Reformed denomination from Psalm 60:4 (ÒThou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truthÓ), stressing the uniqueness of PRTS in standing unabashedly for the Puritan, Reformed tradition. Rev. Pieter VanderMeyden spoke on behalf of the Theological Seminary Committee of the Free Reformed Churches from Psalm 124:8 (ÒOur help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earthÓ), expounding how GodÕs help is needed in every aspect of the seminaryÕs operation and vision. Rev. Sherman Isbell brought warm greetings on behalf of the Great Lakes Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), praying that God would clothe the professors with biblical wisdom and with likeness to Christ, and the students with devotion to the SaviorÕs honor and with steadfastness in classical Reformed theology.

    Dr. Gerald Bilkes, professor of Old and New Testament, then offered a moving dedicatory prayer, after which Mr. John DeBlaay presented us with a key to the seminary. The service was closed with the singing of Psalter 407, while a free will offering of $4,500 was received for the operating fund, which is in great need, since most giving of late has been to the building fund. An explanation was also given that we now need to start fund-raising for scholarship funds, as many of the students who feel called to attend our seminary do not have the financial resources needed to immigrate to the United States and support themselves for four years without being able to work in this country during their studies.

    Afterwards, Dr. Bilkes, Rev. Lanning, and I gave visitors a seminary tour and refreshments were served. Approximately 350 people attended, including numerous ministers, professors, and part-time lecturers from a variety of denominations. Visitors were present from the east coast of New Jersey to the west coast of California, as well as from Canada, Australia, and Scotland.

    We wish to thank the nearly one thousand people who have given donations, large or small, to pay for our beautiful seminary building. As enabled, please continue to remember the needs of the Operating Fund and the Scholarship Fund. For more information, please contact Kate Timmer, PRTS, 2965 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49525, 616-977-0599, ext. 122, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Above all, we covet your continued prayers.

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