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Why Reformed Young Man's Societies?
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Why Reformed Young Man's Societies?

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American Federation of Reformed Young Men’s Societies 1929

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Overview

For centuries, the church has grappled with the training of children. From Sunday schools to catechism classes to youth groups, teaching and training children as a community has been central to the mission and purpose of the church. In this address, delivered at the Federation of Reformed Young Men’s Societies in 1929, Berkhof argues that Reformed churches have been no exception.

In this address, he explains the purpose of young men’s societies in relation to other church-sponsored agencies and organizations. He also outlines the goals of distinctly Reformed societies in relation to organizations from other theological and ecclesiastical traditions. This volume traces the history of young people’s organizations, beginning with the Sunday Schools of the eighteenth century, the Bible classes and the Y.M.C.A in the nineteenth, and the challenges facing adolescence in the twentieth. He also shows how young men’s societies resemble and differ from high schools and colleges, as well as Bible and catechism classes.

Product Details

  • Title: Why Reformed Young Man's Societies?
  • Author: Louis Berkhof
  • Publisher: American Federation of Reformed Young Men’s Societies
  • Publication Date: 1929
  • Pages: 41

About Louis Berkhof

Louis Berkhof was born in 1873 in the Netherlands, and immigrated with his family to West Michigan in 1882. In 1893, he began attending the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church (now Calvin Theological Seminary), where he studied under Hendericus Beuker and was influenced by the writings of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck. Berkhof graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 and became the pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Allendale, Michigan. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary from 1902 to 1904, where he studied under B.B. Warfield and Geerhardus Vos. H. Henry Meeter, a friend of Berkhof, remarked that “Berkhof frequently said that he owed more to Vos than anyone else for his insights into Reformed theology” (Reformed Theology in America, 156).

Berkfhof returned to Michigan in 1904 and became pastor of Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. In 1906, he was appointed professor of exegetical theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, and in 1926, became professor of dogmatic theology. He also delivered the Stone Lectures at Princeton in 1921. On September 9, 1931, Berkhof became president of Calvin Theological Seminary, where he served until his retirement in 1944. During his lifetime, he wrote prolifically, including numerous volumes on theology, social issues, politics, education, and missions. In addition to his books, he also published countless articles in Reformed periodicals, such as The Banner, De Wachter, and the Calvin Forum. He also served as the first president of the Reformed Ecumenical Synod in 1946.

Louis Berkhof died in 1957.

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