Letter from the Seminary

News from Seminary Hill

By this time we are well into the second semester at the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary. Prof. Engelsma taught the interim course this year on "Contemporary Theology." In eight successive mornings right after the Christmas/New Year break, the class covered the development of liberal Protestant theology from Schleiermacher to Barth.

In addition to their other course work, seven of the eight full-time students are presently involved in practice preaching. By the end of the semester, each will have preached twice before the faculty and student body on assigned passages of Scripture or Lord's Days of the Heidelberg Catechism. Only the first-year student is exempt from these rigors.

Four seminarians are regularly speaking a word of edification in the churches, helping in filling vacant pulpits. Five are assisting area pastors in teaching catechism classes. These activities are good experience for the students. The professors also preach regularly.

Four students from the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations are taking two courses for credit. A graduate student at Calvin Theological Seminary is sitting in on one class. A pre-seminary student who plans to begin seminary this fall is taking one course. Several members of the PRC are auditing courses.

A number of ministers have contributed to the spiritual life of the seminary community by leading in our weekly chapel devotions. We thank them for this. 

The faculty has just put out the spring, 1996 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal. This 84-page journal contains several articles on various aspects of the Reformed faith and life, as well as reviews of significant theological books. The journal is published twice each year.

Senior seminarian Richard Smit will be examined before synod this June, God willing. If the examination is successful, he will graduate and be declared eligible for a call in the PRC. 

Special student Cheah Fook Meng is completing a special three-year course. Soon after the graduation exercises during the meeting of synod in June, he and his wife Lee Choo will return to Singapore. There he will be examined by the Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore with a view to his entrance into the ministry in those churches.

Internships have been arranged for third-year seminarians Daniel Kleyn and James Laning. Mr. Kleyn will do his internship in the South Holland PRC in South Holland, IL. The internship of Mr. Laning will be supervised by the Council of the Southwest PRC in Grandville, MI. The internships will run from July to the end of this year.

Third-year, diploma non-licentiate (he does not intend to enter the ministry in the PRC) seminarian Darren Thole plans to do an internship during the same time under the auspices of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The synod of 1996 must appoint a new professor to replace Professor Hanko. This is required by the rule that "a new professor shall be appointed when any of the active professors reaches the age of 65." Prof. Hanko has served the churches in the seminary since 1965. The rules permit the professor who has reached the age of 65 to continue to teach on a yearly basis until he is 70. The churches should make this important change at the seminary a matter of prayer.

The student body, faculty, and support staff are using and enjoying the new addition to the seminary building. Recently, a couple donated a lovely grandfather clock to the seminary. It stands in the lounge area, impressively visible from the entrance to the seminary. Such interest in the school is encouraging. Especially those who may not yet have seen the new addition are warmly invited to stop in and see it — and us.

We ask for the continued prayers of the churches, as of all the supporters of the seminary, that the Lord Jesus Christ by this means will give able, faithful pastors and teachers to His church.

For the faculty,

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. David J. Engelsma, Rector