Friday, March 16, 2007

EXTRA - Herman Nicholas Ridderbos - February 13, 1909 to March 8, 2007

Herman Nicholas Ridderbos was born on February 13, 1909, and died at his home on March 8, 2007. He completed his ministerial training at what is now the Theological University in Kampen and his doctorate in New Testament at the Free University of Amsterdam. From 1934 he served two congregations (one in a small village in the eastern part of the country, the other in Rotterdam), until 1943 when he was appointed professor of New Testament in Kampen. He held the chair until his retirement in 1978. Among his major publications in English are: The Coming of the Kingdom, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures, and commentaries on the Epistle to the Galatians and the Gospel of John. Many other important books and article remain untranslated. From 1945 to 1982 he was closely associated with Het Gereformeerd Weekblad (The Reformed Weekly), an influential periodical in the Netherlands, from 1957 to 1978 as editor-in-chief. He was actively involved for many years as a member of the Central Committee of the Anti-Revolutionary Party and chairman of the board of the Foundation for Christian Psychiatric Hospitals. The funeral service took place on Tuesday, March 13, 2007, in the historic Burgwalkerk, the church of his childhood and of which he and his family had been members since 1943.

Condolences may be posted as follows.

Mrs. Herman N. Ridderbos
Fernhoutstraat 14
8266 EA Kampen
The Netherlands

+ Dr. J.R. de Witt

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

14 March 2007

[ ] Eritrean Oppression Expands
[ ] Christian Worldview Essay Contest
[ ] PC(USA) Plans To Sue For Tulsa Property
[ ] 27th Evangelical Presbyterian General Assembly
[ ] Robert F. Drinan
[ ] Mission Home Schooling
[ ] Church Shopping Could Become Normative
[ ] Missionaries Return To Guinea
[ ] Classical Academy Headmaster
[ ] Dr. Herman Ridderbos
[ ] Reconversion Movement Expands In India


In May 2002 some 20,000 Protestant Christians found themselves in churches that had become illegal when the Eritrean government banned all Christian churches other than the Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Mekane Yesus (Evangelical Lutheran) denominations. Initially the Orthodox Church supported the repression. However, during 2004, youths and then priests from the Orthodox Church's Medhane Alem renewal movement started to get arrested. The Patriarch protested, so the government intensified its attacks on the Orthodox Church.

In August 2005, to counter the Orthodox Church's growing opposition, the Eritrean government deposed Patriarch Abune Antonios and put him under house arrest. To get more control over the church the government appointed Yeftehe Dimetros as church administrator. On 5 Dec. 2006 it then ruled that all tithes collected through the Orthodox Church be deposited in a government account from which it would control church finances and pay priests. The government will also set a quota for priests and any 'extra' priests are to present themselves for military service.

+ World Evangelical Alliance, 529 14th Street NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20045 (415) 568-0344


The Trinity Foundation's Third Annual Christian Worldview Essay Contest is underway. The Prizes are US$3,000 for First Place; US$2,000 for Second Place; and US$1,000 for Third.

Entrants, who must be between the ages of 17 and 23, should read Dr. Gordon Clark's book, A Christian Philosophy of Education, and write an essay about it. The essays are due 1 Sept. 2007. Full Contest rules are available at The Trinity Foundation website.

+ The Trinity Foundation, PO Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692 (423) 743-0199


Conceding that efforts to reconcile with its second-largest congregation have failed, Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery on March 6 declared Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church to be in schism. The declaration came in response to a report from an administrative commission that was appointed by the presbytery in September 2006, shortly after the congregation voted to follow the lead of its session and pastors and affiliate with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

In August, Kirk of the Hills pastor Thomas W. Gray explained on his blog why the congregation was leaving: "We at the Kirk are holding to what Scripture clearly teaches," he said. "The PCUSA has left this critical foundation. We, therefore, no longer recognize the authority of the PC(USA) over any congregation that chooses to hold to the traditional authority of Scripture, as once held by the PC(USA)."

Two weeks before the congregation's 30 Aug. vote to "disaffiliate" from the PC(USA), Gray and the church's associate pastor, the Rev. Roger Wayne Hardy, renounced the jurisdiction of the PC(USA) and sought reception by the EPC.

At that time, the Kirk session also dissolved the congregation's existing corporation and reincorporated as an independent corporation. The session, acting as the corporation board, then hired Gray and Hardy as pastors and filed suit in civil court to gain ownership of the church's property.

The presbytery, again on the recommendation of its administrative commission, authorized its trustees to sue in the civil courts for ownership of Kirk of the Hills property.

+ Presbyterian Church (USA), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202 (888) 728-7228


The 27th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church meets June 20 - 23 at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The EPC website will be updated frequently with additional General Assembly information. Make online hotel reservations now at the group rate of US$99. Online attendance registration will begin in April.

+ EPC General Assembly, Cherry Hills Community Church, 3900 East Grace Blvd., Highlands Ranch, CO 80126


Dr. Robert F. Drinan, the first Roman Catholic priest to serve as a voting member of the US Congress, died 28 Jan. in a Washington hospital at age 86. Drinan represented Massachusetts as a Democrat for a decade starting in 1971. One of three Roman priests to serve in Congress prior to a Vatican edict preventing priests from holding elected office, Drinan, a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, held leftwing views on the Vietnam War, abortion and actively countered attempts to overturn Supreme Court decisions which outlawed organized prayer in public schools. Drinan left office in 1980 only to be followed by Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat of similar persuasion who continues to hold that seat.

+ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 3211 Fourth Street, NE, Washington, DC 20017 (800) 235-8722


Home Schooling Assistants are needed for missionary families in Asia. Two of World Outreach missionary families have a need for someone to assist in the home schooling of their children for a six to nine month period. One family lives in Central Asia while the other family is in South Asia.

Because of World Outreach’s emphasis on church planting in pioneering situations, good schooling options are very limited for many of families. In fact, inability to find an appropriate educational setting for their children is one of the most significant issues facing many of our missionaries and is one of the primary reasons that many missionaries feel they need to leave the mission field as their children grow older.

These home schooling assistants will have the chance to serve missionary families while also building relationships with the nationals among whom the missionaries live. Teaching experience is not required.

+ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 17197 N. Laurel Park Drive Suite 567, Livonia, MI 48152 (734) 742-2020 or


Go to church and mail a letter pick up your dry cleaning and groceries? For hundreds of village post offices in Great Britain threatened with closure, it could be an answer to their prayers. Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper reports the Church of England is soon to issue guidelines to parishes throughout the United Kingdom recommending that churches across the country be used as post offices.

Officials will meet with the Post Office's rural division this week to discuss plans in which stamps could be issued from vestries and pensions out of bell towers. The newspaper says the proposed scheme may be extended to include other local services, such as dry cleaners and grocers, that face closure, particularly in rural areas. The Government's consultation period on the future of the post office network, launched after it announced in December that 2,500 premises could shut.

"The guidelines are expected to say that, if churches want to provide local services that will require alterations to the fabric of the building, they must get permission from the diocesan consistory, the church court," the Sunday Telegraph reported.

+ The Anglican Communion Office, St Andrew's House, 16 Tavistock Crescent London, England W11 1AP


Missionaries with Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), returned to Guinea on 7 March after evacuating the country last month due to violent strikes and political turmoil. Calvin and Jamie Hofland and Jotham and Marie Ippel arrived in the Guinean city of Labe after a 14-hour drive from Kedougou, Senegal, where they had been since they evacuated on 20 Feb. Their colleagues Brenda Vander Schuur, Dave Campbell and Bill Steele remain in the nearby country of Gambia and are scheduled to return next week. Other missionaries assigned to Guinea, John and Ann Span, have been temporarily relocated to Bamako, Mali to provide more stable schooling for their sons.

+ Christian Reformed Church in North America, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave., SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560 (616) 241-1691


St. Stephen's Classical Christian Academy is seeking an experienced Headmaster for the 2007-08 school year and beyond. SSCCA is located in Eldersburg, Maryland, just west of Baltimore. The school currently serves 115 students in grades K-12. The Academy is a parish school of St. Stephen's Reformed Episcopal Church. The headmaster will be a part of school and parish life at St. Stephen's. Prospects should send their resume to Rev. Eric W. Jorgensen.

+ Rev. Mr. Eric W. Jorgensen, St. Stephen's Classical Christian Academy, 2275 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD 21784


Rev. Dr. Herman Ridderbos, one of the foremost developers of the redemptive-historical approach to Biblical theology, a hallmark of Westminster Theological Seminary, died 8 March, having celebrated his 98th birthday on 13 March. Among his more widely distributed writings were “Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures,” “Paul and Jesus,” and “Paul: An Outline of His Theology.” Reportedly Ned Stonehouse once said this of Ridderbos: “Wherever the Dutch language is read Professor Herman Ridderbos is recognized as an outstanding New Testament scholar and theologian . . .”

+ Christian Observer, 9400 Fairview Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110


Hindu extremists have extended to the northern state of Himachal Pradesh a movement to bring Christian converts back to the Hindu fold through dubious “reconversion” events. In what can be seen as the beginning of the movement in Himachal Pradesh, a Hindu group on 28 Feb. organized a religious ritual to reconvert 151 Dalit Christians in the Arya Samaj temple in Shimla, the state capital, according to the 11 March issue of a publication that serves as the mouthpiece of the extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. But the Rev. Dinesh Chand, a leader of the All India Christian Council in Himachal Pradesh, said he had learned that most of those said to be “reconverted” had never received Christ in the first place. When tribal peoples denied that they had become Christians, organizers told them to come to a temple for “purification” and declared their “reconversion.” With roots dating back to 1875, the often politically-motivated reconversion movement has now gone beyond the six states where it was known.

+ Compass Direct News, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana CA 92799-7250