Monday 29 June 2015

Ron Kuipers in Liverpool

Senior Member Ron Kuipers will be giving a paper at the conference Political Theology: The Liberation of the Postsecular? at Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, UK on July 11.Ron’s paper is titled "'The holes of oblivion do not exist': Tracing the Messianic in Arendt via Benjamin and Agamben".

Cal Seerveld at CIVA in Michigan

At the recent CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) conference held at Calvin College in Michigan, Senior Member Emeritus Cal Seerveld was part of “The First Generation” opening panel plenary session, chaired by Nick Wolterstorff, with Marleen Hengelaar (Hans Rookmaaker’s daughter), and earlier presidents of CIVA Ted Prescott and Sandra Bowden. They discussed how Christian artists and the Church interacted 35 years ago, what has changed, and how are things now. The next day there was a Q&A time for persons to ask questions and make comments.

On the last evening of the conference at the concluding Arts Festival Cal was surprised to be given an award by CIVA President Cam Anderson, the Johnson Founder’s Award. It was very meaningful to Cal because he had interacted with Eugene Johnson back in 1979 when Patmos was ending in Toronto after ten years of existence, and he was beginning CIVA with colleagues at Bethel College, Minnesota. Cal was a plenary speaker for the CIVA conference when it was held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, in 1997. That address, “From Ghost Town to Tent City: Artist community facing Babylon and the city of God” is printed in his book Redemptive Art in Society (Dordt Press, 2014).

Sunday 28 June 2015

Joonyong Um Leads Parenting Seminar

Last month ICS Junior Member Joonyong Um led a seminar session in the Second Christian Parenting Seminar at the Korean Mil Al Church, Toronto. The lecture was titled "Christian Parents and Public School Education" and was hosted by the Korean Diaspora Christian Education Institute.

Prayer Letter: July 2015

Wednesday, July 1:   Today we celebrate Canada Day. Let us thank God for the many blessings we receive due to our good fortune in living in Canada. Also, while we are grateful for our lives here, we also pray for those people living in countries plagued by poverty and war.
Art in Orvieto commenced on June 29 and continues throughout July. This four-week residency in Italy is exploring the relationship between art, religion and theology. We ask for blessings on everyone involved in this course.

Thursday, July 2:   Last month ICS Alumnus Dr Samson Makhado was involved in a car accident in South Africa. Although he sustained no physical injury, he will still have to be monitored. We pray for a full recovery for Samson. Unfortunately the other driver did not survive. We pray for God’s comfort, peace, and strength for the family during this very difficult time.

Friday, July 3:  We pray for our most recent graduates--Dianne Bergsma, Rachel McGuire, Carolyn Mackie, Stefan Knibbe, and Joanna Sheridan--as they move into the next stages of their lives. Whether going back to old positions only to find out that they are not where they are being called to serve, or wondering how to build on the success of their degree program and thesis at ICS they are all in discernment in one way or another and are worth our thought and a prayer.

Saturday, July 4:  To all members of the ICS community in the United States, we pray for blessings as you celebrate Independence Day.

Monday, July 6:  The Leadership Team meets today. We pray for God’s wisdom to guide this meeting.

Tuesday, July 7:   We offer prayers of thanks for our most valued partners—our supporters. Our ICS mission is sustained by your prayers and generosity, personal notes and emails of appreciation and encouragement. We are truly blessed to have your partnership of continued faith and commitment to our work.

Wednesday, July 8:  Summer is here and many people are planning vacations. Many members of the ICS community will be traveling in the summer months to spend time with family and friends. We pray for safe travel and that the time spent with loved ones will be rich and refreshing.

Thursday, July 9:  We pray for blessings for the Friends of ICS Board and all those who are doing advancement work in the US.

Friday, July 10:   Today we offer prayers of thanks for a job well done by Shannon Hoff as she transitions from life as a Senior Member in Social and Political Philosophy at ICS to her new position in Philosophy at Memorial University in St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador.

Monday, July 13:  We pray for stamina and wisdom for Senior Member Doug Blomberg as he continues in his roles as ICS President.

Tuesday, July 14:  Doug Blomberg meets with Dr. Hubert Krygsman (President, Redeemer University College) and Dr. Carl Zylstra (Executive Director of the Association for Reformed Colleges and Universities and Coordinator for the Global Summit Network of Presidents of Reformed Colleges and Universities). This meeting is to plan for the gathering of the Network in southwestern Ontario next year (23-25 June), which RUC and ICS are co-hosting. Please pray that their deliberations will be fruitful, serving the mission of Christian higher education around the world and building further the collaboration between member institutions.

Wednesday, July 15:  Today we pray for energy and wisdom for our Junior Members who are working on their theses over the summer. Dean Dettloff is finishing a first draft of his MA thesis on the critical theorist Sloterdijk and the Russian Christian Berdaev and is hoping to have it finished by the end of July. Caleb Ratzlaff is putting the final touches on his MA thesis and Ethan Vanderleek and Hector Acero Ferrer are also working at their MA theses this summer.

Thursday, July 16:  We pray for safe and pleasant journeys and we pray for rest and renewal for the Senior Members and Administrative Staff who are enjoying vacations this month.

Friday, July 17:  We pray for Director of Advancement Pat Webb and her swift adjustment to ICS and its advancement needs. We are like any other small non-profit entity odd in odd ways. May our oddity conceal deposits of grace as well as the inevitable mysteries of a place that has been built helter-skelter out of a hunger to make available a spiritual centre for thinking through the cosmos wide implications of the kingdom of God.

Monday, July 20:  The Leadership Team meets today. We ask God to guide this meeting.

Tuesday, July 21:  At time of writing, the Board of Trustees has a meeting tentatively scheduled for this evening. Whether or not this meeting proceeds, this is an opportune reminder to pray for the Board, which meets regularly by video conference to deliberate on the furtherance of ICS's vision and mission. Board members from across Canada and the northern United States give freely of their time and insights to ensure good governance as representatives of our membership. Please ask the Lord to bless and guide them in their deliberations.

Wednesday, July 22:  We ask God to bless and guide Senior Member Ron Kuipers and Allyson Carr as they continue their work with our Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics.

Thursday, July 23:  Junior Member Helena Hoogstad, her husband Willem and their children are adjusting to a new life in Saskatchewan. We pray for her ability to sustain research focus and energy in her new situation.

Friday, July 24:  Today we pray for blessings for ICS Alumnus Jonathan Weverink who will be marrying Sheila Dykstra in Kemptville today.

Monday, July 27:   Senior Members often spend much of the summer developing course curriculum and giving attention to research projects. We are extremely grateful for the work of our Senior Members and ask for God's blessing on them.

Tuesday, July 28:  The Finance Committee holds its quarterly meeting tonight. There are always weighty issues to consider, as you well understand. Their expertise is vital to our ongoing mission. Please join us in thanking our Lord for the dedicated members of this committee, who carry great responsibility, and asking that God's wisdom be bestowed on them, as details and decisions are weighed.

Wednesday, July 29:  Today we ask for God's help for those who are struggling with illnesses. We pray to God for strength, patience and for good results from treatment.

Thursday, July 30:  We pray for our American Junior Members like Joshua Christianson who as students at ICS are no longer eligible for U.S. federal student loans. May they find creative ways of dealing with the extra financial strain that their situation imposes, so as to be able to give themselves to their study in ways that allow them to flourish as young scholars. We think also of our other visa students who face similarly immediate pressures.

Friday, July 31:  We celebrate the addition of nine new Junior Members to the ICS community this fall, and we remember them in our prayers as they make the necessary preparations and transitions over the summer in order to begin their studies in September. We ask for energy as we prepare for the arrival of our new Junior Member.

Friday 12 June 2015

New Issue of Perspective

Better late than never! We had a couple of things to report that couldn't really wait until the autumn issue of Perspective so we decided to delay the spring issue so we could be sure of the facts about those things before reporting them.

The first of those things is reported in this issue's lead article "Master of Worldview Studies: to New York and Beyond". This article describes our plan to offer courses that operate in both distance and intensive seminar modes (with those seminars taking place in both New York and Toronto) and discusses how MWS enrolment forms an important part of our "fiscal pyramid".

The second thing is our new continuing education program called "Continuing Ed/ge: Biblical Studies With a Difference", which begins operating on October 1, 2015. If you've been looking for something from ICS available in "adult ed" or "continuing studies" form, this is it!

In addition to these two timing-sensitive articles we are pleased to include a report from long-time supporter Bert Witvoet on a seminar delivered by Shannon Hoff at Jubilee Fellowship Christian Reformed Church. Bert's article, "Philosophy in a Church Basement", both describes the experience of the seminar and reminds us of how important it is for ICS to nourish the community that has nourished the institution for so long.

Finally, this issue of Perspective is rounded out by seven reports on the academic accomplishments of our junior members (including a lovely photo from this year's convocation) and an update on how our institutional repository continues to enhance global access to the research produced at ICS.

Those of you who receive paper copies of Perspective can expect them over the next few weeks. It is at the printer right now. Those of you who prefer to read it online can find it at

Thursday 11 June 2015

Continuing Ed/ge: Biblical Studies With a Difference

Ever wondered why the good creation included the serpent of Genesis? Or whether God really called for the Canaanite genocide? Or knows what it is like to give birth? If you have—or if your curiosity is aroused—Continuing Ed/ge may be for you!

This new ICS program is for anyone who wants to engage Scripture in an “adult ed” or “continuing ed” setting. There are no prerequisites and no formal assignments (other than reading biblical material ahead of class). You can take one or all of the modules. The sessions will take place in the evenings.

The overall program will work through much of the Old Testament and New Testament.  For full information and registration visit

Creation Regained author Al Wolters interviewed in Comment

30 Years Ago!
Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview

by Al Wolters

This brief but powerful and highly influential book will be known to many of our readers, of course – probably the majority. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary ICS Master’s graduate, Brian Dijkema, interviewed Dr. Wolters for the Cardus publication, Comment. Many of you are no doubt also readers of Comment, but for those of you who missed it, here is the link:

Dr Wolters was Senior Member in Philosophy at the ICS from 1974 to 1984. He taught Prolegomena to Philosophy, an introduction to the neo-Calvinist tradition and Dooyeweerdian philosophy. Creation Regained had its genesis in this course, designed to explore “the connection between Christian faith, the Bible, and this philosophy.”