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R. B. Kuiper 1886-1966

Category Articles
Date March 18, 2011

These remarks were made at Kuiper’s funeral service in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 25, 1966.

Westminster Theological Seminary has compelling reason to thank God for the ministry of R. B. Kuiper. The decades of his teaching at Westminster were the prime years of his life. His remarkable gifts made him a leader in the work of the Seminary and of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I remember hearing him preach some twenty-five years ago to a congregation gathered in a little house in West Philadelphia. Perhaps thirty people were there, counting the children, and the room was full. I can see him standing there, a little cramped for headroom, preaching with dignity, power, and simplicity the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Was he out of place standing there? He need not have lacked headroom. Pulpits were open to him, vaulted pulpits of grand churches strong in his heritage of the Reformed faith.

No, he stood in the right place. With J. Gresham Machen he was willing for Christ’s sake to stand with Gideon’s band because he was consumed with zeal for God’s house. One of his major writings has the title, The Glorious Body of Christ, A Scriptural Appreciation of the One Holy Church1. That is the church he loved and served in all his ministry. His passion was for unity in the truth. His ministry at Westminster trained successive generations of students in a Reformed ecumenicity. [Kuiper’s other titles published by the Trust are God-Centred Evangelism2 and While the Bridegroom Tarries.3]

Just because R. B. was my teacher, I dare not eulogize this man. He had no patience with either eulogies or apologies. But I must acknowledge that his teaching has kept ringing through my life. My case is not unusual. R. B. alumni often quote his aphorisms, just as he was fond of quoting Latin proverbs. ‘Corruptio optimi pessima’ – the corruption of the best is the worst. R. B. spoke about that in his last commencement address at Westminster, and illustrated with a homely touch: ‘Few things taste as good as a ripe strawberry; few things taste as bad as a rotten strawberry.’ He warned of the danger of mixing a little error with a great truth. I have the proverb written by his hand at my request.

Of all that he has taught me, in small matters and great, there are four words I would mention here. They are also in Latin: Scriptura sola et tota. He taught men to preach only Scripture and Scripture in its entirety. The labour of his life exalted the Bible as the infallible Word of God. His lectures were filled with Scripture and his sermons opened the Word with reverence and simplicity. In this single-minded task he found no restraints, no confinement. Rather he found in Scripture the inexhaustible fountain of the whole counsel of God centring in Jesus Christ the Lord. Again and again in his criticism of class sermons he asked, ‘Did this sermon preach Christ?’ To preach the whole Bible is to preach Christ from Moses, the prophets, the Psalms as they testify of him.

The love and honour with which the students and colleagues of R. B. Kuiper remember him is a tribute at last not to the servant who laboured so abundantly but to the Lord who gave the grace.

That tribute may most fittingly be put in the words that I first heard from the lips of this teacher of sovereign grace: Soli Deo Gloria!

Notes

    • The Glorious Body Of Christ

      A Scriptural Appreciation of the One Holy Church

      by  R. B. Kuiper


      price £9.00

      Description

      These remarks were made at Kuiper’s funeral service in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 25, 1966. Westminster Theological Seminary has compelling reason to thank God for the ministry of R. B. Kuiper. The decades of his teaching at Westminster were the prime years of his life. His remarkable gifts made him a leader in the […]

    • God-Centred Evangelism

      A Presentation of the Scriptural Theology of Evangelism

      by R. B. Kuiper


      price £6.50
      Avg. Rating

      Description

      These remarks were made at Kuiper’s funeral service in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 25, 1966. Westminster Theological Seminary has compelling reason to thank God for the ministry of R. B. Kuiper. The decades of his teaching at Westminster were the prime years of his life. His remarkable gifts made him a leader in the […]

    • While the Bridegroom Tarries
      price £6.25

      Description

      These remarks were made at Kuiper’s funeral service in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 25, 1966. Westminster Theological Seminary has compelling reason to thank God for the ministry of R. B. Kuiper. The decades of his teaching at Westminster were the prime years of his life. His remarkable gifts made him a leader in the […]

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