February 1, 2020 Standard Bearer preview article

The Christian man as husband

In recent articles on what it means to be a godly man I’ve written about male sexuality (especially as it relates to single men) and how a godly man behaves in a dating relationship. This article addresses the next logical subject: the Christian man as husband.


"Radically different in that it seeks the glory of God in our dating relationships"

The world in which we live continues under the lie, the lie with which Satan tempted Eve and the lie which the heart of the natural man continues to indulge. This lie says that man is as God and can know all things, good and evil—even about dating.

And what if we don’t know?

Just do what everybody else is doing. Or at least Google it.

Dating Differently, subtitled A Guide to Reformed Dating, is radically different from what is above described.


Give the gift of books this Christmas!

Give the gift of books this Christmas!

It's here!

Dating Differently: A Guide to Reformed Dating by new author, Rev. Joshua Engelsma

Arriving in one week!

Pastorally and accessibly, Joshua Engelsma answers the practical questions of Reformed, Christian dating based on the truth that we must date differently—with marriage as the goal and scripture as the guide.

Announcing a new book for teens on Christian dating!



A Guide to Reformed Dating

by Joshua Engelsma

Coming October 2019!

We’re bombarded with antichristian messages everywhere in life, and from casual hookups to casual sex, our culture’s messages on dating are no different.

But Christians don’t have to follow these norms. The Bible gives us a better way.

It’s a way of chastity and wisdom. A way that understands that marriage—the end goal of dating—is for life. The person you marry will shape who you become spiritually. And that person will also be the father or mother to the children God is pleased to give you some day.

Pastorally and accessibly, Joshua Engelsma answers the practical questions of Reformed, Christian dating based on the truth that we must date differently—with marriage as the goal and scripture as the guide.


Joshua Engelsma is a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches of America. He lives in Doon, Iowa, with his wife, Courtney, and six children. He has served as pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church since 2014.


160 pages
Retail: $16.95 
Book Club: $14.41

***This book will NOT be sent to all book club members. You must order this book to receive it.

Gold Star members will receive this title.


Dating Differently chapter preview: Who's the One?

In many ways this chapter gets right to the heart of Christian dating. What I write here is devoted to helping answer the question, “Whom should I be dating? What do I look for in a boyfriend or girlfriend?” Once you’ve answered the questions raised in the previous chapter—Why do you want to date? Are you ready to date?—then you’re ready to ask yourself the next question: “Who’s the one?”

I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate the importance of this question and its answer. What makes marriage the most important decision you might ever make is that you are going to be living with that person for the rest of your life. You’d better be quite sure before you enter into the lifelong bond of marriage that you know exactly the kind of person you are marrying.


March 1 Standard Bearer preview article

A man of character

For a young man to be what God calls him to be, he must be a man of high character.

The mention of character sounds strange to the modern ear. It makes us think of some long-forgotten, more formal era. The worldly man is not concerned with character, and the examples of men in the media today are the farthest thing from men of character.

This makes it all the more urgent that the Christian young man be a man of character. The character about which he is so concerned is a set of spiritual attributes graciously given him by God. Having received them from God, the man of God then carefully cultivates and diligently develops them in his life.

There is certainly more that could be said, but here I want to mention three aspects of a godly man’s character: sobriety, wisdom, and compassion.

Continue reading...


Be strong

When the Bible speaks of the strength of youth, it does not have in mind merely muscles. After all, God “taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man” (Ps. 147:10, a verse oft repeated to a sports-crazed young man by a wise grandmother).

Rather, the word of God has in mind spiritual strength. This is evident from the rest of 1 John 2:14 when it says to young men, “…I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong….” What ought to characterize mature Christian men, and young men in particular, is that they are strong spiritually.  

—‘Be strong’ by Rev. Joshua Engelsma in the upcoming October 1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer.


Eyes and Ears, Hands and Feet

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the communion of the saints? Often we think about things that other people have done for us. Sometimes you will hear a person say when they are sick or going through some trial that they have really experienced the communion of the saints through the care of other believers. And this is a good thing.

But when we think about the communion of the saints, we ought not think first of all about what others have done for us. We ought to think about how we are called to serve others.

This is the perspective of our Reformed confessions. When the Heidelberg Catechism describes what it means to confess “the communion of saints,” it says, “that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.” Article 28 of the Belgic Confession speaks similarly: “…and as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them.”

As children of God, we are united both to Christ and to the other members of his church. But our communion with each other does not mean that we are all identical. In our unity there is much diversity. There are differences between male and female, old and young, rich and poor, large and small, black and white. And there are also different God-given gifts and abilities, different stations and callings in the church.

One of the places where this truth is most clearly taught is in 1 Cor. 12. The inspired apostle compares the church to the human body. We have one body, but there are many different parts that make up this body: the eye, the ear, the hand, the foot, and so on. Each one of these different parts is necessary to make up a complete body.

The same thing is true of the church. The church is one body united to her Head, Jesus Christ, but the church is made up of many different members with different gifts and different places in the church. God’s choosing of us in election is also his choice of the exact place where you and I fit in the body. Some are eyes, and some are ears. Some are hands, and some are feet.

This reality implies a calling to use our gifts for others. But too often there is a wrong view of life in the church among the communion of the saints.

There can be a wrong attitude among those who may feel like they are not as gifted as others. The danger is that they become jealous of others who are more gifted, or who have different gifts that they think are better. They must also be warned against despairing and saying, “I don’t have any gifts. I can’t contribute anything, so why even bother. I’m going to withdraw and not even try to contribute to the church.”

There can also be a wrong attitude among those who may be more gifted than others. They must be warned against looking down on others who seem to be less gifted and who they think are not necessary or important. They must also be warned against pride and thinking that they are so important and indispensable that the church depends on them.

There is a danger for us all. Whatever gifts we have, whether great or small, we need to be warned against the pride of thinking that we don’t need the church. Maybe we think that we aren’t getting anything out of the church, so we are inactive and contribute at a minimum. Maybe we are so focused on ourselves, selfishly thinking about what other people do for me and what they do to make me feel loved.

Positively, we have the calling to use our gifts for others.

This means, first, that I must know what gifts I have. Each one of us has different gifts in different measures. We must discover what those gifts are. And we are also called to be content with the gifts and calling God has given to us. Don’t expect to have the same gifts as someone else, and don’t be jealous of their gifts. God makes us different, and those differences are good. This is proper self-esteem: God has chosen me and my place in the church, and I am necessary for that place.

This means, second, that I must know the needs of the other members. If I don’t know the other members, if I never talk to them, then I am not going to know their needs. But when I know the other members, then I can begin to know what needs they might have.

And then we are called to use our gifts to serve others. The communion of the saints is not about getting but about giving. Just as the love of Christ for the church showed itself in his coming not to receive but to give, just as the love of a husband for his wife is not about getting but about giving, so also as members of the church is our love for each other not about what we might receive but what we might give. We must use our gifts and abilities for the good of the other members of the church.

All this means that we must be active members of the church. This is not just for the person that is outgoing and sociable, but it’s for all of us. As those who have communion with Christ and know his love, so we must have communion with fellow believers and show our love for each other.


This post was written by Rev. Joshua Engelsma, pastor of Doon Protestant Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa. If you have a question or comment about this blog article for Rev. Engelsma, please do so in the comment section.


Previous posts in this series:

  1. Lively Stones in God’s House
  2. Time To Build!
  3. Bound to Join
  4. A Hard Day’s Rest
  5. Noble Bereans
  6. Reformed…And Always Reforming
  7. A Cheerful Giver
  8. Echoing the Word
  9. Fellowship in the Body

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