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Lawrence Den Besten Collection



Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Information, Activities

Sermonic Material, Sermons and Outlines

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Lawrence Den Besten Collection, 1949-1988 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Lawrence Den Besten Collection, 1949-1988

ID: COLL/060

Primary Creator: Den Besten, Lawrence (1925-1987)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Subjects: Ordination of women, Women in Christianity, Women in church work

Forms of Material: Biographies, Sermons


Medical doctor. The collection includes biographical files, addresses, sermons and outlines, chapel talks, papers, press clippings on medicine and theology, and articles on the women in office issue. [See also the Campus Titles Database.]

Biographical Note

Occasionally a graduate from the Calvin Theological Seminary continues his education in a field other than theology. Lawrence Den Besten, as did Lee S. Huizenga before him, turned to medicine. In 1956, he received his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Iowa.

Lawrence Den Besten was born in New Holland, South Dakota, on October 4, 1935. After graduating from the University of Iowa, he became a medical director at the Takum Christian Hospital in Nigeria, 1957-1960. The Nigerians often referred to him as "the laughing doctor"; he radiated his Christian faith wherever he served.

When Lawrence returned to the United Sates, he served as professor of surgery at the University Hospital of the University of Iowa, 1964-1977; staff surgeon at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, California, 1977-1980; and as professor and chief surgeon at the University of California in Los Angeles, 1977-1985. Two years before his death in 1987, Den Besten became provost and professor of medicine and missiology at the Fuller Theological Seminary.

A cursory check of his biographical information at Fuller reveals that the doctor published over two hundred articles and brochures for medical journals. He was always available to speak for churches at retreats and conferences. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Calvin College.

Dr. Den Besten died of cancer on June 30, 1987, at the age of sixty-two. He left behind his wife, Shirley (Langleand), and their two children. The archives received some of his papers from Shirley Den Besten. His papers include biographical material, addresses, sermonic notes, and a few paper clippings covering his activities.

Subject/Index Terms

Ordination of women
Women in Christianity
Women in church work

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 1.0 cubic ft.

Acquisition Source: Gift of L. Den Besten

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Information, Activities, 1949-1988],
[Series 2: Sermonic Material, Sermons and Outlines],

Series 1: Biographical Information, Activities --- 1949-1988
Box 1
Folder 1: Biographical information from Fuller Theological Seminary --- 1986
Folder 2: Biographical diary of Harold Padding on preaching and clinic tour, Baissa, Africa --- 1957
Folder 3: Diplomas from Calvin College --- 1949, 1952
Folder 4: Eulogy and remembrance --- 1988
Folder 5: Fuller Theological Seminary, "Bulletin" featuring Den Besten --- Summer 1986
Folder 6: Fuller Theological Seminary Provost,  Press release --- October 7, 1985
Folder 7: Medical Missionary
Folder 8: Medical Report in AORN Journal by Den Besten
Folder 9: Medicine and religion - collected articles and press clippings
Folder 10: Mission Conference speaker, program --- 1969
Folder 11: Mission field reports to sponsoring church --- 1957, 1959
Folder 12: Mission report on Takum Christian Hospital, letter
Folder 13: Retreat notes of speech by H. Jellema --- May 1954
Folder 14: Seminary notes on TT Introduction --- Summer 1952
Folder 15
Item 1: Address: Funeral.  Homily in memory of W. M. Morton
Item 2: Address: Funeral sermon for Betsie Reinders
Folder 16
Item 1: Address: Christian Service
Item 2: Address: Differing challenges of private and public education
Item 3: Address: The edge of adventure
Item 4: Address: The edge of adventure revisited
Item 5: Address: First impression
Item 6: Address: I dare you --- October 1, 1955
Item 7: Address: Marriage (outline)
Item 8: Address:  Our challenges are our embarrassment (outline)
Item 9: Address: Studies in the dying experience --- January 1977
Item 10: Address: Tension
Folder 17: The Bananer, one copy --- April 11, 1970
Folder 18: Chapel talks and wedding address
Folder 19: Correspondence --- 1967-1968
Folder 20: Ecumenical movement by Rev. L. Hodgson, brochure --- 1950
Folder 21: Paper, The fundamental principle of Calvinism
Folder 22: Poems collected
Folder 23: Press clippings on medicine and theology
Folder 24: Women in office issue articles

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Information, Activities, 1949-1988],
[Series 2: Sermonic Material, Sermons and Outlines],

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