Charles W. Krahe. 1924-2005
The death of Dr. Charles Krahe, Jr. on Monday, April 18, 2005, leaves a large vacancy in the ranks of the church militant. Many of us can say that we are the richer for having known him, and having had the benefit of his preaching, instruction, counsel, and friendship.
Born on Long Island, Rev. Charles Krahe was educated at Hamilton College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He seemed at home anywhere in the world. He was a historian, a gifted linguist, and a tireless traveler. A careful scholar blessed with great powers of understanding and recall, well trained and widely read, he was nonetheless known and loved for the warmth and simplicity of his preaching style. Like the apostle Paul, Charles Krahe used great plainness of speech in proclaiming the gospel to sinners. Believers had their faith confirmed, unbelievers were squarely challenged, and no doubt many were saved.
As a pastor Dr. Krahe was able to reach out to people of all ages without betraying the dignity of his office or his years. When storm winds rocked the ecclesiastical ship, he remained calm, stood firm, and never ceased to oppose errors in doctrine or practice.
Dr. Krahe was keenly interested in the training of young men for the gospel ministry. He was ordained by the Classis of New York of the Reformed Church in America on March 6, 1947. For over 55 years he ministered the gospel of Christ in New Jersey and Grand Rapids. He also taught Greek and Hebrew for some years at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and later at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and served many years on the board of Westminster Seminary. He also reached out to young ministers who shared his love for Scripture and the Reformed faith, and freely gave his time to them as a mentor and friend and was a pastor to them amid their families. He found a true soul mate in his wife, Edith, a gifted educator, musician, and church worker, whom he married in 1948, who preceded him in death by only four months. His love for his family, his friends, his congregations, and his country ran very deep, but not as deep as his love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God.
Four speakers participated in the memorial service for Charles Krahe held in Grand Rapids on May 2 at the Seventh Reformed Church, where he faithfully served in the 1980s and 90s. Dr. Samuel Logan, president of Westminster Seminary, expounded on Dr. Krahe’s emphasis on the need for a learned, heart-felt ministry, based on Scripture (2 Tim. 3:15-17). Rev. Ray Lanning, ARP pastor in Grand Rapids, preached on Philippians 3: 17, stressing how Dr. Krahe served, by God’s grace, as a pattern and model that we ought to follow. Dr. Joel Beeke focused on the glory of heaven from Psalm 17: 15, expounding on what the believer will behold at death (“thy face in righteousness”) and what he will be satisfied with (to “awake with thy likeness”). Rev. William Fennema, associate pastor at Seventh Reformed, concluded by stressing that Rev. Krahe’s great goal in life and ministry was to set forth Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2), which must be our goal as well in every sphere of our lives.
Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, May/June 2005 (adapted)
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