Rev. Ken Anema, who has pastored Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI, for nearly 21 years, will become Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary on July 1, 2014. His position will balance that of Rev. Nathan Brummel, who as Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament has focused on teaching Greek and New Testament exegesis.
When asked about his new position, Rev. Anema replied, “I really view it as an intense discipleship program. Though we’re going to be teaching classes, it’ll be in the context of mentoring men in their walk with the Lord and preparing them to mentor and train others.”
Rev. Anema and his wife, Renee, have bought a house in DeMotte, IN, and plan to move there soon with their three children (ages 12, 9, and 4). Rev. Anema related that DeMotte is a central location for his work with Divine Hope since the Danville Correctional Center is about two hours south and southwest, while the Indiana State Prison is about one hour north and northeast. Divine Hope conducts seminary classes in both facilities.
Rev. Brummel and Rev. Anema intend to alternate days and locations with assistance from adjunct instructors, such as John Surowiec.
Explaining the Board’s rationale for hiring another full-time instructor, Rev. Brummel said the Seminary “has a crying need for additional faculty” due to the growing student body, the necessity for smaller classes, the difference in academic levels, and the lack of instruction in Hebrew and Old Testament studies.
“We have 35 students at the Danville prison and 21 at the Indiana State Prison,” he said. “We want to reduce our normal class from 25-30 students to 15. Because we now have first, second, and third year students at Danville Prison, there are increasing demands for the Seminary to offer a variety of classes. We have students at Danville who have spent two years studying Greek and are ready to study Hebrew.”
He added, “As a Reformed seminary, we are first of all interested in teaching the sacred Scriptures. Our students need to learn Hebrew so that they can engage in careful exegesis of the Old Testament in order to rightly divide the Word as they lead Bible studies or deliver sermons.”
Rev. Anema hopes that seminary instruction will help “reduce the recidivism rate for those being released, and also that they will be able to minister to their own families and live as productive members of society.” He also hopes that the Seminary will minister to those incarcerated long-term, “changing lives with the gospel.”
Although he initially didn’t feel qualified for the position, Rev. Anema has been mentoring former inmates for at least the last 15 years. He visits Holland Rescue Mission on a weekly basis, leading a short chapel service and chatting with the men. Released prisoners, who have no home or family, often live at the Mission. Rev. Anema’s experience as a mentor, combined with the open door and the great need, led him to follow the Spirit’s leading and accept the Divine Hope challenge.
Rev. Brummel said, “This addition will allow me to concentrate on systematic theology and New Testament studies. Long-term the Seminary has a five-year plan that includes the addition of two more full-time faculty members. If the Lord wills, the Board would like to add a professor of ecclesiastical studies (church history) and another for ministerial studies in the Lord’s timing.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 22 & 23 of the June 25, 2014, issue of Christian Renewal.