Gerald Hamstra (1927-2018) pastored congregations in Canada, the United States and the Nether-lands. To mark the anniversary of the fact he was fifty years in the sacred ministry, a book was published that brought together meditations Gerald Hamstra wrote during decades of his ministry. Many of them were originally published either in The Messenger, the magazine of the Free Reformed Churches of North America, or The Quarterly Record, the periodical of published by The Trinitarian Bible Society.
For many years Gerald Hamstra was president of the Canadian branch of this London-based Bible Society. For more than twenty years he served the Trinitarian Bible Society as a president and finally as a president. Not knowing that he would die within two weeks, he resigned on 3 January 2018. He finished his letter of resignation with the words: ‘May the Lord give faithful and willing workers in His grace for the tasks to be done. He is powerful to fulfil all our needs through Christ Jesus.’
The title given to the bundle of meditations of Gerald Hamstra was given the very apt title The King in His Beauty. This title is based on the words we find in Isaiah 33:17a: ‘Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty.’ This text was quoted quite often by Gerald Hamstra both in his sermons and conversations.
The meditations brought together in this volume are characterized by their focus on Christ as the only Savior of lost sinners. He is portrayed as the Savior appointed by the Father and applied to the soul by the Holy Spirit. These meditations are both Christ centeredness and Trinitarian and make clear in this way that the doctrine of God and the doctrine of Christ are the most central doctrines of the Christian Church. These doctrines have not only theological but also experienital importance. In fact theology and experience are two side of one coin.
Real Christian orthodoxy is always a felt orthodoxy; an orthodoxy of the heart. When we realize that orthodoxy originally not only meant soundness in doctrine but also the only right way to praise God, we can say that these meditations are orthodox in the best sense of the word. They teach us to praise as the triune God of complete salvation, to trust in Christ as the complete Savior and honor the Holy Spirit as the author of our faith and spiritual life.
Focusing on these truths they cannot be seen as expressing views of a particular group or party within the Christian Church. These meditations give food and joy to all Christians who have learned or want to learn God in this way. Here the children of God, however different they may be in others aspects, meet each other together.
People who do not have English as their first language, but have a working knowledge of English I can not only for its content but also because of its plain and simple English, heartily recommend this volume. It is good way to start reading theological English. Reading these meditions you are grounded and instructed in the most fundamental biblical doctrines. The experiential and practical relevance of the bibical mesage is brought to your heart and life. Most of all I would say you are confronted with Christ as a Friend of lost and ruined sinners.
Gerald Hamstra, The King in His Beauty (Calgary: Free Reformed Publications, 2012), hardcover 550 pp., $18,– email firstname.lastname@example.org