Tripp, Paul David
Living in the light of Christ’s return is the duty of every generation of Christians. But, as Christ’s parable in Matthew 25:1-13 warns us, all face the danger of falling asleep on watch: ‘While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept’ (Matt. 25:5). For that reason, everything calculated to keep us spiritually awake should be prized. R. B. Kuiper’s sermons reprinted in this volume were intended to help Christians live in readiness for Christ’s coming. Preached just after the First World War, at a time of considerable optimism for human progress, as well as intense speculation about the ‘signs of the times’, they bear strong and forthright testimony against the dangers of theological modernism and other anti-christian ideas, and for the supernaturalism of faith. They are a call for the preaching of the gospel to all nations and an eloquent appeal for Christian activity ‘while the bridegroom tarries’.
Kuiper was concerned lest speculative millenarian ideas should obscure the great theme of Christ’s return, but even those who differ from him in their understanding of biblical prophecy will benefit from his clear call to Christian readiness. Here is a timely reminder that wars and disasters here below point to the onward match of the purposes of God and bring us ever nearer to the great consummation of all Christian hopes.
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R.B. Kuiper was born in January 1886 in Garrelsweer in the Netherlands. His family moved to Grand Haven, Michigan in 1891 when his father accepted a call to be minister of the Christian Reformed congregation there. He was educated at the University of Chicago (A.B., 1907), Indiana University (A.M., 1908), Calvin Theological Seminary (diploma, 1911), and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.B., 1912).
Kuiper married Marie Janssen in 1911; they had three children – Marietta, Klaudius and Kathryn, who died at the age of two. After graduating from Princeton, Kuiper served five western Michigan congregations (in the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America) over the next seventeen years, before becoming one of the founding faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (1929-30), as Professor of Systematic Theology.
‘While the Bridegroom Tarries is a book of sermons by one of the clearest and interesting of preachers in the USA in the 20th century, R.B. Kuiper was the professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Seminary in the years before his retirement. This is a collection of sermons which he preached after the First World War when eschatological speculation about the return of Christ was rampant. What does the Bible teach about the end times and how is it related to Christians today? This is such a good place to begin.’ — GEOFF THOMAS
‘Many Christians today are troubled by rapid changes occurring through international affairs and their own nations’ political transformation. In Kuiper’s day as in ours Christians were finding it difficult to assess disturbing news (or signs) of their times. R B Kuiper preached a series of sermons published in 1919, the year the ‘First World War’ ended. Banner of Truth has republished these important sermons under the title While the Bridegroom Tarries. Dr. Kuiper’s aim is to lead Christians to hopeful optimism as we experience dark events of ‘the latter days’.’ — WALTER J. CHANTRY