RTS Celebrates "Dr. K Appreciation Day" on May 4

Reformed Theological Seminary Celebrates "Dr. K Appreciation Day" on May 4

Reformed Theological Seminary/Orlando President Dr. Don Sweeting announces May 4 as Dr. K (for Kistemaker) Appreciation Day for all of RTS.  Dr. Simon Kistemaker, a beloved senior faculty member of Reformed Theological Seminary, is retiring from his teaching ministry (for the second and final time) at the end of this semester on the Orlando campus.  Sweeting will honor Dr. K during the Chapel service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4, with a few comments.  Sweeting will also interview him during the President’s Community Forum Lunch in the Fellowship Hall at noon the same day.  Anyone who wishes to write a note to Dr. K or has pictures during his 40 years at RTS can send those to Professor Mike Glodo at mglodo@rts.edu.  Any alumni and friends wishing to attend the lunch, are invited to do so. Please RSVP to Heather DeFrancisco at hdefrancisco@rts.edu. Pictured (left to right) is Dr. Michael Milton, "Dr. K." and Chuck Colson.

“Sam Kistemaker has been an extra ordinary gift of God to RTS for over 40 years,” comments Sweeting.  “His scholarship, his example, his sweet spirit, and his infectious love for God’s Word and for people will be greatly missed.  We celebrate God’s goodness and grace in his life.”

RTS Chancellor Ric Cannada remembers Dr. K from the early years: “Dr. K came to RTS during my second year as an RTS student about a hundred years ago.  We all loved him then and we all love him still.  Sam has been faithful in the classroom and in his scholarly writings.  Just as important, Sam and Jean have been faithful to each other and faithful witnesses to us in life.”

Dr. K retired the first time in 1996 from the Jackson campus, where he was the John and Francis Gwin Professor of New Testament.  He and his wife Georgine (“Jean”) moved to Orlando, where he has been Emeritus Professor of New Testament.  For the past 15 years in Orlando, he has faithfully taught a rotation of New Testament electives:  1 Corinthians, Hebrews and Revelation.

Recognized at his first retirement after 35 years of teaching (1971-1996), the RTS Board of Trustees and faculty expressed their heartfelt gratitude by penning these words to describe Dr. K: “Whose indefatigable effort and exemplary discipline in the study and interpretation of God’s word have touched countless lives throughout the world, particularly through his New Testament Commentary, and whose humble service won the love and respect of the whole seminary community.” 

 “When Sam Kistemaker ‘retired’ from the Jackson, MS, campus and moved to Orlando in 1996, I was privileged to be at a reception in Jackson in his honor,” says John Muether, chief librarian and author of RTS’ 40th anniversary history book. “I remember [then president] Luder Whitlock’s remarks on that occasion.  Many scholars, he observed, have ambitions to be fruitful in their scholarly output. Kistemaker had a different agenda: he sought to be faithful. In the providence of God the latter (faithfulness) often yields the former (fruitfulness), and it certainly did in Sam’s service at RTS.  But the former rarely produces the latter.  Luder’s words underscored the way in which Sam has been a model of orthodox biblical scholarship for his younger colleagues, both in Jackson and in Orlando.”

Dr. K was also recognized by the whole RTS system faculty, who penned a resolution of thanks to him upon the completion of the Hendricksen-Kistemaker New Testament Commentary with the Revelation installment in 2001, a project that spanned 48 years.  The resolution called this “a special moment in the history of the Church. Never before has God chosen to bless us with a commentary in the English language on the entire New Testament that is faithful to the evangelical and reformed traditions.” The resolution aptly ends with “our only regret is that the printed page cannot more fully capture the heart of our brother, whose life and witness has been a blessing to us all. To God be the Glory!”

The four volumes written by Dr. Kistemaker received the Gold Medallion Evangelical Book of the Year Award. Dr. Kistemaker has written several other books including The Parables of Jesus and The Gospels in Current Study, numerous scholarly articles, and contributions to various reference volumes, including the New Geneva Study Bible.  A past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, he also served as its secretary for more than 10 years.  His international travel is extensive, including speaking and teaching in various countries.

Dr. Kistemaker earned degrees from Calvin College (A.B.), Calvin Theological Seminary (B.D.) and the Free University of Amsterdam (Th.D.).

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