Prof. R. B. Kuiper 1886-1966

As this issue of Torch and Trumpet is on the press we of Reformed Fellowship Inc. received notification that our esteemed colleague, friend and brother, the Rev. Prof. Rienk B. Kuiper, has been removed from this life into the joyous presence of the Lord whom he loved and served so long.

Death came on the morning of Friday, April 22, and that quite unexpectedly even though our brother experienced a gradual weakening of his otherwise strong constitution and sustained interest in life.

With a host of Reformed believers in this and other lands we join in extending our sympathy to Mrs. Kuiper, the children and grandchildren in the loss which is theirs. May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, speak his sustaining: and strengthening word and lead them in these difficult days.

Prof. Kuiper was born on January 31, 1886, in the Netherlands where his father, the Rev. Klaas Kuiper, served as pastor in several Reformed congregations. Coming to this country in 1891 with his parents, he lived first in Grand Haven, Mich., and later in Chicago, III., where he received his early education and graduated with the A.B. degree from the University of Chicago. Further education was received at the University of Indiana, Calvin Theological Seminary and Princeton Seminary. Ln 1912 he was ordained as minister of the Christian Reformed Church at Overisel, Mich. After four pastorates, one in the Reformed Church in America, Prof. Kuiper entered the teaching ministry to which he devoted the rest of the years of his active service. During the season 1929–1930 he was professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pa., then newly established as a ringing protest against the reorganization of Princeton which had before this been for so long a time the bulwark of confessional Calvinism within the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. For three years thereafter he was president of Calvin College, to return in the fall of 1933 to Westminster Seminary, where for nineteen years he served as professor of Practical Theology.

Upon retirement from that school in 1952 he was urged by the Christian Reformed synod to serve as president of Calvin Seminary, then passing through some painful and perplexing years. This he did until at the age of 70 he retired in 1956. Ten additional years were given to him by the Lord during which he continued his activities on behalf of the church by lecturing and preaching and writing.

As a preacher he was widely sought after and will be long remembered as one who rightly divided the Word of truth, proclaiming the sovereign grace of God and bidding men to repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many were the articles which flowed from his ready pen. During the years of serving the churches as pastor he authored While the Bridegroom Tarries, As to being Reformed and Not of the World. To these were added at a later date Are Infants Guilty before God?, Scriptural Preaching, For Whom did Christ Die?, To be or Not to be Reformed, and The Glorious Body of Christ. All his work was done with meticulous care and in strong and sustained commitment to the Christian gospel as set forth in classic Reformed confessions. Through these he will continue to speak for many a year.

During the last several years Prof. Kuiper was intensely active in Reformed Fellowship Inc. Repeatedly he wrote incisive and illuminating articles on doctrinal and ethical issues which confront the churches and their membership. From his wise counsel and his rich insights we have benefitted more than call he put into words. For nil this we thank our God and take heart.