RFPA Update Winter 2013
Reformed Free Publishing Association
Wondering about RFPA book distributors, the success of the warehouse sale, or what books are on special this spring? Read about it all in the newest issue of the RFPA Update! Click here for to view the Update as a PDF.
Spreading the Truth...One Book at a Time
Do you imagine the woman in Europe studying the truth of God’s word, whose bookshelf of RFPA publications is her most prized possession? Or the man in Asia just hearing about the Reformed faith for the first time? Do you think about the group of Reformed believers in Africa, eagerly awaiting a translation of Doctrine according to Godliness in their own language? What about the young converts in Singapore, who worship and study despite their families’ outrage?
The purpose and mission of the RFPA has always been to testify to the truth of Scripture as understood and developed in the Reformed tradition. What use is this testimony unless the RFPA actively proclaims it throughout the world, making our good, Reformed material available to believers of every nation, tribe, and tongue? We give thanks to God for the following three bookstores that help make this happen.
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church Bookstore
The Covenant Protestant Reformed Church Bookstore (CPRCB) is the RFPA’s distributor to its UK and European readers. Up and running for approximately 30 years, the bookstore is currently located in the manse of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church (CPRC) and operated by Rev. Angus Stewart and his wife, Mary. Rev. Stewart is the pastor of CPRC.
“The bookstore was opened in order to spread the Reformed faith, to strengthen and grow the CPRC, and to get the Protestant Reformed authors better known,” said Rev. Stewart. “We are trying to reach anybody and everybody with the truth of the Reformed faith, especially those in the UK and Europe.”
The Stewarts and other members of the CPRC use diverse means to sell books and to get them into the hands of people all over the world. They have a comprehensive website (www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore.htm), including translations of parts of 30 RFPA titles in 13 different languages. The CPRCB is active in the community, having hosted booths at agricultural shows, markets, and other community events. Rev. Stewart (along with Rev. Martyn McGeown of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship in the Republic of Ireland) sells RFPA books at CPRC conferences and frequent lectures throughout the UK. The CPRCB advertise the books in their monthly paper, The Covenant Reformed News, and through Facebook.
And these efforts have certainly been successful, by God’s grace. On average, the CPRCB sells approximately 320 RFPA books each year, including several of the most popular titles (Doctrine according to Godliness and When You Pray). In 2010, the RFPA sent nearly 700 books overseas to replenish the CPRCB’s supply, the largest order in the history of the RFPA.
The Philippines Bookstore
The Philippines Bookstore is a relatively new operation, run by Rev. Daniel Kleyn and his wife, Sharon. Rev. Kleyn currently serves as a missionary of the Protestant Reformed Churches to several groups and churches in and around Manila. The bookstore opened just two years ago and has proved to be an asset to the mission work being done in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia.
“The costs for the bookstore are funded by generous collections in the Protestant Reformed Churches. They enable us to pay for shipping the books and also to sell the books here at a discounted price, so that the Filipinos can more easily afford to buy them,” said Sharon.
In the two years since the bookstore opened, the Kleyns have sold more than 750 books plus many Bibles and Psalters to the members of the churches and the groups with whom they work. Many of these people have also spread the word to their friends and acquaintances, resulting in the spread of RFPA books all over the Philippines and even as far as Indonesia and Korea. One pastor in the Manila area uses sections of Doctrine according to Godliness (which has now been translated in its entirety into Tagalog) for his weekly radio broadcast.
“Thank you for making these books available at discounted prices,” said one customer. “I have learned so many things from what I have already read. By God’s grace, the Lord gives me opportunity to share what I am learning with others here at church, especially with my elders.”
Covenant Reformed Book Centre
Located in the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC), a sister church of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America, this small but energetic operation is not so concerned with making a profit as it is to encourage people to read doctrinally sound Reformed books.
Run by Suet Yin Goh and Daisy Lim along with help from the church’s Ebenezer bible study group, the Covenant Reformed Book Centre (CRBC) has been in operation for quite some time, although not always under this name and management. Many years ago, donations from the Protestant Reformed Churches were given to the church in Singapore as a start-up fund for a bookstore, the fruit of which the Singaporean saints have been enjoying for years.
“We are grateful that Prof. Herman Hanko and Prof. David Engelsma have faithfully documented their wealth of knowledge in writing the many books. We hope that more professors and ministers would set aside time to write books,” said Daisy. “Books help us to reinforce our understanding of the sound doctrines of Holy Scriptures. Whenever we forget what we heard in the preaching, we can always re-read the books.”
Daisy’s words give testimony to the value of the written word. The CERC is a growing church with many young members, passionate about the Reformed faith. The book centre, carrying over 70 RFPA titles, has been invaluable to this growth. Popular titles include God’s Everlasting Covenant of Grace, Doctrine according to Godliness, and Mysteries of the Kingdom.
New Book, New Author! The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ
This beautiful paperback is the perfect gift book for anyone, young or old. This book discusses the nine aspects of the fruit of the Spirit (found in Galatians 5:22, 23), encouraging believers unto a life of good fruit-bearing.
New author Richard J. Smit first wrote about the fruit of the Spirit in a series of articles that appeared in the Standard Bearer. Smit has served as a minister in several charges in the Protestant Reformed Churches in America and currently serves as a missionary to the Philippines.
RFPA Annual Meeting 2012 Recap
The RFPA annual meeting took place on September 27, 2012 in Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church with board president Henry Kamps leading the proceedings. Sixty-four association members attended and sixteen men requested membership. What a thrill to have men passionate for the work of the RFPA!
The treasurer, Jeff Kalsbeek, reported on various financial details including a net income deficit for both the book and Standard Bearer divisions. In both cases, the deficits showed only a slight variance to the budgeted amounts, and funds were made available from restricted accounts to cover these deficits. Book sales were near all-time highs at $207,651, and although SB hardcopy subscriptions have dipped, eSubscriptions are gaining in popularity. The RFPA has zero debt and its net worth continues to grow. The balance sheet showed amounts in accounts reserved for designated and special situations, such as future building maintenance and office equipment.
Cal Kalsbeek, secretary of the board, presented his report on highlights of the previous year, calling it the “Year of the epub,” making reference to our transition into the eBook industry. The transcript of this report was printed in volume 89 issue 4 of the Standard Bearer. Professor Barrett Gritters presented the keynote address entitled “Church Membership in a Postmodern Era,” the text of which will be published in upcoming issues of the Standard Bearer. Thanks were given to retiring board members Tom Bodbyl, Ryan Brunsting, Ed Hoekstra, and Henry Kamps. New board members were elected for three-year terms.
Photo | The current RFPA board (from left to right): Dave Harbach, Cal Kalsbeek (secretary), Joel Bodbyl (chairman of marketing and membership committee), Tom Bergman, Dan DeMeester (vice-all and chairman of book and Standard Bearer committee), Michael Bosveld (president), Jon Engelsma (vice president), Jeff Kalsbeek (treasurer and chairman of finance committee), Dan Van Uffelen, Matt VanOverloop, Dan Kalsbeek, and Doug Mingerink Jr.
Warehouse Sale an Encouraging Success!
Six hours. Roughly 325 customers. Approximately 460 bags. More than 10,100 books sold. Seven new Book Club members. Yes, by all accounts the RFPA warehouse sale was a smashing success!
Customers were invited to visit the RFPA on Saturday December 15 and fill a bag with books (choosing from 40 select titles) for only $25. And the people came in droves! The staff and board members were available to answer questions, assist customers with checkout, and restock the books on special. The most popular book, selling 402 copies? Portraits of Faithful Saints. The Unfolding Covenant History series was close behind, at about 380 copies of each volume.
One of our goals is to help young people and families establish a solid Reformed library, and we are thrilled to report that a large number of young people and families came out for the sale. What an encouragement it is to see so many, both young and old, excited to read about the truth of God’s word! It is our prayer that the books purchased will be well-used as resources for instruction and comfort for years to come.
Now that we have cleared some much needed space in the warehouse, we can prepare for the next several book projects! We ask for your continued prayers and monetary support as the urgent work of proclaiming the Reformed truth is carried out.
A Review of A Pilgrim’s Manual: Commentary on 1 Peter
Reformed Free Publishing Association
Jenison, MI, 2012
Hardback, 352 pages; $32.00
Reviewed by Charles Terpstra
Protestant Reformed Seminary Professor Emeritus, Herman Hanko, has done it again! He has penned another fine exposition of a portion of Holy Scripture, this time on the book of 1 Peter. As he did with The Mysteries of the Kingdom (on Jesus’ parables) and Justified unto Liberty (on Galatians), so now with A Pilgrim’s Manual Hanko has given us a rich exegetical commentary on a precious New Testament book. He has captured the heart of this epistle and woven its theme throughout this work. He will not have us forget that 1 Peter is indeed a pilgrim’s manual, inspired by the Holy Spirit and inscribed by Peter to guide God’s pilgrim-stranger people through this world on the way to their heavenly home.
Hanko is a skilled exegete in his own right (gifted by the Lord, of course). Having preached through the epistle in his early ministry, and having taught New Testament Greek for many years in the Protestant Reformed Seminary, Hanko develops the concepts and truths of this letter even further. In fact, Hanko is not afraid to differ with Herman Hoeksema and others at points. The result is a commentary that is fresh, deep, and rich in doctrinal teaching.
Still more, because Hanko writes as a churchman who is bound by and faithful to the Reformed creeds, his work breathes the beautiful truths of the Reformed faith, especially the sovereignty of God and the sovereignty of his grace to his people in Christ Jesus. And because he writes as a Protestant Reformed churchman, he emphasizes especially God’s sovereign, particular grace and his unconditional covenant with his elect people in Christ. For the same reasons, Hanko exposes the heresies and errors of our time, with clarity and compassion.
Nor does Hanko avoid the “difficult” doctrines presented in this epistle, such as Christ's being the chief cornerstone of his church while also being the “stone of stumbling” and “rock of offence” to the wicked unbeliever—and both aspects being according to God’s sovereign predestination (election and reprobation, 2:4–9). Or the tough practical issues involving the true Christian’s persecution by this ungodly world (chaps. 2, 4) and the callings of the Christian wife and husband in marriage, even mixed ones (3:1–7). In the face of ecclesiastical mushiness on doctrine and outright wimpiness on morality, Hanko issues a clear sound of faithfulness to the text of Scripture, letting God’s word speak plainly and powerfully for the instruction, correction, and guidance of God’s people (2 Tim.3:16).
Yet this new work is also more than rich in exegesis and doctrinal commentary. Warmly dedicated to his wife “Wilma, my fellow pilgrim,” A Pilgrim’s Manual is also rich in devotion and practical application. Hanko writes this commentary as a redeemed and devoted Christian pilgrim, himself making the journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. And because he is a mature and experienced pilgrim, filled with the light of God’s word, he is able to provide us, his fellow pilgrims, with wise counsel for our journeys. In reading this commentary you will not lack for comfort and hope.
We sincerely welcome and heartily recommend A Pilgrim’s Manual to Christian readers everywhere. It will serve as a profitable addition to your personal or family library. It will feed your soul and strengthen your faith whether you use it for your group Bible study or for your personal devotions. Above all, this work will confirm you in the one hope we have as believers—the hope of our everlasting home with the Lord. By all means get this book, study the manual, and then press on, pilgrim!
Mr. Terpstra currently serves as the librarian and archivist (among other responsibilities) at the Protestant Reformed Seminary in Grandville, MI, and is the book review editor for the Standard Bearer.
Bound to Join and A Defense of the Church Institute- BOGO! (reg. $17.95 each)
Click here to purchase! Valid through April 15, 2013.
*Book Club or any other discount does not apply. Book club members will not be charged for shipping.
These books by David J. Engelsma are must reads in an age when many Christians neglect their duty regarding church membership. In Bound to Join, Engelsma explains, in the form of letters, the importance of church membership in the twenty-first century. In the sequel, A Defense of the Church Institute, Engelsma defends the doctrine of church membership and demonstrates that love for the universal, invisible church invariably expresses itself by love for the manifestation of this church in the church institute.