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Rev. George C Lubbers (2)

After six years in the seminary 1928-1934, he was examined in the spring of 1934, before the Classis held in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He was declared eligible for the ministry and that summer he received calls from the PR churches of Orange City, Iowa, Rock Valley, Iowa, and Doon, Iowa. He accepted the call from Doon and become the second pastor of the Doon PR church that had been organized in 1929.

Since Rev. Lubbers had accepted the call to work in Doon, Iowa, he had to make arrangements to move his family from a small home in Jenison, Michigan on 12th Avenue. He took his wife and two young daughters (Agatha about three and Garretta just one year old) to Doon in northwest Iowa in the Model T Ford, the family vehicle. This first of many future trips was long, monotonous and exhausting. The end of the eight-hundred-mile (thirty-two hour) trip in a very primitive conveyance on the roads of those days brought them to the little town called Doon on the Rock River.

A few days after his arrival and settlement in the parsonage in Doon he was ordained on September 7, 1934, into the gospel ministry by Rev. C. Hanko, pastor of the Hull Protestant Reformed Church.

The history of his pastorates is as follows—

Doon, Iowa PRC, 1934-1937
Pella, Iowa PRC, 1937-1944
Randolph, Wisconsin PRC, 1944-1950
Grand Rapids, MI, Creston PRC, 1950-1954
Home Missionary of the PRC, 1954-1964
Wyoming, Ml Southwest PRC, 1964-1970
Missionary to Jamaica, West Indies, 1970-1975
Pella, Iowa PRC 1975-1978
Emeritus Pastor, 1978-present

It was while he was pastor in Pella, Iowa, that he studied philosophy, Latin and German by taking courses at Central College. He worked with his own hands to earn a little money to pay the tuition for his college courses and to pay for the tuition of his children in the Pella Christian School.

While he was the pastor of the Randolph PRC, he became ill for eight months with undulant fever. The family had purchased contaminated non-pasteurized milk from the Stone Dairy. Rev. Lubbers became sick because of this contamination. While he was recovering from this illness, he became depressed and experienced a spiritual struggle. It was the kind of struggle that caused him to learn anew the truth expressed in the song, I sought the Lord and afterward I knew He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me. It was not I that found, O Savior true; No, I was found, was found of Thee.” Of this struggle he can say, as he looks back, Luctoret Emergo—I struggle and I emerge. The Lord graciously lifted him out of the miry clay and set his feet upon a rock, and that Rock is Christ. He learned profoundly that the Lord did not need him. He learned to pray, “Use me Lord.” It was a time in his life when he was led to see more clearly than ever before that salvation is not at all a work of man but is entirely the work of a sovereign covenant God, who is faithful to His promises.

One of the projects undertaken by Rev. Lubbers in the 1950’s while he was a minister in Randolph was the translation of the book, Believers And Their Seed, by Rev. Herman Hoeksema. I remember this project well because I typed every page of that translation from the handwritten script of my father, Rev. Lubbers. Believers And Their Seed was written originally in the Dutch language. Rev. Lubbers fulfilled the desire of his mentor, Herman Hoeksema. Rev. Hoeksema had always hoped that someone would prepare an English translation of this work—a work he believed would serve to instruct God’s people in the Scriptural and Reformed truth of God’s everlasting covenant of grace with believers and their seed.

During the seventy-four years that Rev. Lubbers has been associated with the Protestant Reformed Churches, he has been faithful to the cause of Christ as this is represented by the PRC in America. One of the most trying periods in his life occurred during the controversy of 1953—a controversy that rocked the churches. During this time he served as the Stated Clerk of the churches and was secretary of the Theological School Committee. It was a time of great stress in the churches because many of those who had at one time been co-workers and friends in the cause of the churches left and eventually rejoined the Christian Reformed Churches.

During the years 1955-1964, Rev. Lubbers was domestic missionary of the Protestant Reformed Churches. These were the days following the triumph of our churches against the error of a “conditional promise.” They were the years during which more than half of the ministers and more than half of the membership had returned to the Christian Reformed Churches. They were the days of small things—of heroic efforts on all fronts. The labors began with work in Pella, Iowa because the minister and this PR church had returned to the Christian Reformed Church. Later labors included work in Loveland, Colorado, where there is now a thriving PR church. The labors next turned toward work in Isabel and Tripp, South Dakota, and Forbes, North Dakota. In these early labors in Colorado and the Dakotas Rev. Lubbers worked with people whose roots were in the German Reformed Churches and who were familiar with the Heidelberg Catechism. Later work was done in Houston, Texas, among those whose ecclesiastical roots were in the traditions of the Westminster Confession or the Baptist Churches.

After six and one-half blessed years in the Southwest Protestant Reformed Church (1964-1970), Rev. Lubbers took the call to be missionary on the island of Jamaica. Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers spent five years (1970-1975) there. Rev. Lubbers labored in churches that were Pentecostal or Holiness Churches and were more Methodist than Reformed. During this time Rev. Lubbers worked not only as a missionary pastor but used much of the time to instruct four young men for the gospel ministry in what were to become indigenous Protestant Reformed Churches of Jamaica. The Lord gave Rev. Lubbers and his wife Rena the strength they needed each day. In His own way the Lord blessed these labors in Jamaica. Twice since their departure from Jamaica in 1975 they made return visits of two months—1976 and 1982.

After leaving Jamaica Rev. Lubbers received a call from Pella, Iowa. He accepted this call, and he and his wife were once again in Pella, Iowa, 1975-1978, a church they had left thirty years before.

In 1978 Rev. Lubbers retired from the active ministry after forty-four years of service.

After his retirement Rev. Lubbers continued to write in the Standard Bearer and Beacon Lights, and taught some catechism classes. Writing exegetical studies in the Standard Bearer was a good discipline. It was this work that made it possible for him to publish two commentaries—one on the book of Galatians and the other on the book of Hebrews. The commentary on Galatians is entitled Freeborn Sons Of Sarah, 1982. The commentary on Hebrews is called The Glory Of The True Tabernacle, 1984. The commentary on Hebrews he called the Jubilee Exposition of Hebrews because it was published during the fiftieth year since he was ordained as a minister of the gospel. In 1989, he published a third book, The Bible Versus Millennial Teachings, An Exegetical Critique.

Since January 1992, Rev. Lubbers has lived at Raybrook Manor, a part of the Holland Home of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is now 90 years old and can no longer walk, can no longer read, and cannot manage tape recorders or other electronic sound devices. He enjoys the times when someone reads to him. He is confined to his wheel chair, and it is difficult and often impossible for him to go to church or to leave his residence in the nursing department. As often as he can he listens to the services by telephone from his church—the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

During his gospel ministry Rev. Lubbers had to learn to confess the truth that we sing in one of the songs based on Psalm 126.

When Zion in her low estate was brought from bondage by the Lord;
In ecstasy we sang for joy, by grace and wondrous love restored.

The sower bearing precious seed may weep as in his toil he grieves,
But he shall come again with joy in harvest time with golden sheaves.

It is Rev. Lubbers’ confession that he has only done in the gospel ministry what a grateful child of God can do in thankfulness for the great grace of God. He is, as are all of God’s faithful servants, an unprofitable servant utterly beholden to His Sender.

He looks for the reward of grace in the great day of the Lord when he will hear, “Well done faithful servant, ye have been faithful in little, I will place you over much.”