A few weeks ago, Reformation Heritage Books published my father-in-law’s translation of the biography of his father, Rev. Arie Elshout (1923–1991), entitled A Word in Season: The Life and Ministry of Rev. Arie Elshout.
To give you some background information, let me quote part of the Translator’s Preface:
It has been an extraordinary and unforgettable privilege for me to translate this biography of my father (and mother!). For obvious reasons, it was a task in which I was also engaged emotionally. My intense and extended interaction with the text of this biography have only reaffirmed what my siblings and I have known since we were children: the life story of our parents is the story of God’s remarkable and gracious dealings with two sinners.
When our parents celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary in 1985, we asked our father to commit to writing—also for the benefit of our children and grandchildren—the many stories our parents had told us. Our father agreed to do that, and during the six remaining years of his life, he faithfully recorded his memoirs for us—memoirs written strictly for the benefit of our extended family. All of this changed, however, when our mother was approached by the author of this biography, Adriaan Van Toor, informing her of his desire to publish the story of the pilgrim’s journey of our beloved parents. After careful and prayerful consideration, our mother agreed to fully cooperate with this proposed publishing venture.
When Mr. Van Toor approached our mother, he had no knowledge of the existence of our father’s written memoirs. How astonished and pleased he was when our mother handed him these memoirs! This provided him at once with the complete framework of the life story of our parents. With this valuable documentation in hand, he then engaged in his own independent research of every aspect of this story. And thus the moment arrived in 2008 that this biography was published in the Netherlands, having as its title Aan Armen uit Genâ (for poor sinners, merely of grace). These words, taken from the rhymed rendition of Psalm 72:12,2 were graven upon his heart by the Holy Spirit as the message he would be called to proclaim as a minister of the gospel. Since, however, an exact translation of this phrase is difficult to achieve, we have opted for A Word in Season (Isa. 50:4), a title that accurately summarizes our father’s ministry as well—especially in light of the context in which these words are found. God gave him a special gift to speak a word in season to the weary, and to comfort the feeble-minded (1 Thess. 5:14).
Not only was this gift evident in every aspect of his pastoral ministry, but also in the three books he has written—books that have been, and continue to be, a “word in season” for many. It never occurred to our father that his life story would be published. In his own words, he viewed himself as one of God’s sparrows rather than an eloquent nightingale. Yet, God’s sovereign purpose was otherwise! It has been a humbling and encouraging experience for our late mother, and our family, that this biography has been so well received in the Netherlands.
Since our father served two North American congregations (1967-1974), it was our late mother’s express desire that our father’s biography be made available in English as well. We are hopeful that many in the English-speaking world will be edified by the account of God’s remarkable dealings in the lives of our parents.
Let me conclude by emphasizing that the story of our parents is ultimately not about them, but rather, about a faithful, covenant-keeping God who, for Christ’s sake, was (is!) also their God. Therefore, to Him alone be all the glory!

Contents:

Preface – Rev. C. Harinck
Translator’s Preface
Introduction

Chapter 1: Peculiar Folk
Chapter 2: A Change of Direction
Chapter 3: In Exile
Chapter 4: Anxiety and Stress
Chapter 5: Destined for Each Other
Chapter 6: Number 742
Chapter 7: How Can This Be?
Chapter 8: He Hears the Needy When They Cry
Chapter 9: This Is the Lord’s Doing!
Chapter 10: “I Shall Go There…”
Chapter 11: Love and Tact
Chapter 12: Trusting in His Sender
Chapter 13: The Ends of the Earth
Chapter 14: “Be It unto Thee Even as Thou Wilt”
Chapter 15: The Long Road to Recovery
Chapter 16: The LORD Made Room
Chapter 17: The Spirit’s Work Encompasses All Kindred and Nations
Chapter 18: Covenant Faithfulness toward Zoetermeer
Chapter 19: A Step Back
Chapter 20: The End of the Journey
Chapter 21: And He Was Not, for God Took Him

Appendices—Two Sermons by Rev. A. Elshout

Sermon 1: Jesus or Barabbas (Luke 23:13–25)
Sermon 2: The Slaying of the Children in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16–18)

 

To purchase a copy, click here.
A Word in Season

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