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Peter Eldersveld Collection



Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Biographical Material, Sermons, and Outlines


Radio Sermons

Television Series

Tape Recordings

Diplomas and Certificates


Contact us about this collection

Peter Eldersveld Collection, 1933-1965 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Peter Eldersveld Collection, 1933-1965

ID: COLL/082

Primary Creator: Eldersveld, Peter (1911-1965)

Extent: 15.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Subjects: Back to God hour, Calvin College. Archives

Forms of Material: Radio addresses, debates, etc.


Minister of the Christian Reformed Church and radio minister of the Christian Reformed Church broadcast The Back to God Hour. The collection includes radio sermons; sermon outlines; book manuscripts; an address, entitled "Heritage of the Heart," delivered at the dedication ceremonies conducted upon the completion of Heritage Hall, 1963; a Back to God Hour memorial album 1946-1965, entitled "The Word of the Cross;" and tape recordings of sermons. See also: RGD 4.20 and Campus Titles AV Database.

Biographical Note

The radio voice of the Christian Reformed Church from 1946 to 1965 was silenced the morning of 14 October 1965. After almost twenty years of broadcasting, the Rev. Peter Eldersveld’s ministry ended. After his unexpected death, his voice was heard for a few Sundays through the medium of taped messages prepared and recorded a week prior to his final heart attack.

Peter Eldersveld’s life began in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 18 January 1911. Because he was the son of a pastor, his life and his educational program involved a number of moves. The first years of education were in Kalamazoo Christian School, West Side Christian School of Grand Rapids, Michigan; public and Christian schools of Corsica, South Dakota; and the public high school of Muskegon, Michigan. In 1928, Peter began four years of study at Calvin College in the pre-seminary course. During his college days, he maintained a continued interest in oratory and basketball.

After one year at Calvin Theological Seminary, 1932-1933, he enrolled in the speech department at the University of Michigan. His major paper was on "preaching and its place in public discourse." (See box 1, folder 2.) The following two years were spent at Calvin Theological Seminary from which he graduated in 1936. Peter studied an additional year at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago while interning at the Fourth Roseland Christian Reformed Church of Chicago.

A college courtship with Harriet Kuiper moved toward their marriage on 7 July 1937.

Peter was declared a candidate for the Christian Reformed ministry on 27 May 1937, and he received his first call to serve the Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Iowa. During the more than five years in Holland, Iowa, he participated in a radio ministry over KFJB in Marshalltown and KXEL in Waterloo. (See box 1, folder 7.)

Peter was installed as pastor of the Bethany CRC of South Holland, Illinois, on 1 August 1943. While there his interest in radio ministry increased through broadcasts of services from the church and his membership in the Radio Committee of the denominational broadcast, The Back to God Hour. In 1946, he was appointed by Synod to serve as radio minister. He remained the voice of the denomination until his death in 1965. During the period of that ministry, he preached over seven hundred radio messages.

A review of his radio messages will reveal that the theme of Peter’s radio ministry was to preach, "Jesus Christ and him crucified." He approached that theme from the Old and New Testament passages. The Christ of the Cross was the only way of salvation for contemporary man and the society of the day was in need of that Christ.

Subject/Index Terms

Back to God hour
Calvin College. Archives

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 7.5 cubic ft.

Acquisition Source: Gift of P.H. Eldersveld family

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Material, Sermons, and Outlines, 1933-1959],
[Series 2: Addresses, 1940-1964],
[Series 3: Radio Sermons, 1946-1965],
[Series 4: Television Series],
[Series 5: Tape Recordings],
[Series 6: Diplomas and Certificates],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous],

Series 2: Addresses --- 1940-1964
Box 2
Folder 1
Item 1: Christian Education
Item 2: Christian Education in the spotlight
Item 3: Federal education aid to Christian schools
Item 4: Jesus and His mother, 6th Annual Conference on Christian Education --- 1954
Item 5: Our Faith Lives Today, National Union of Christian Schools
Folder 2
Item 1: The Church in Crisis
Item 2: Christ in the Pulpit
Item 3: Church in the Christian's life
Item 4: Cross in the Crisis
Item 5: Cross in this Crisis --- 1960
Item 6: Faith and Healing - Pine Rest Anniversary
Item 7: Fundamentals of Our Faith
Item 8: More than a Reformation
Item 9: The Protestant Paradox
Item 10: Reformation or Revolution
Item 11: This We Believe -Centennial --- 1957
Item 12: Time for Truth
Item 13: Understanding Our Times, commencement, --- 5 June 1961
Item 14: What's new?  Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges
Item 15: What's new?  Calvin Theological Seminary Dedication Service --- 1961
Item 16: What Is New
Folder 3
Item 1: Communicating the Message
Item 2: Communication for what?
Item 3: Faith amid Fear - 25th anniversary of radio ministry --- 1964
Item 4: God's Microphone
Item 5: Library on Christ, John 21:25
Item 6: Communicating the Message
Item 7: Our Preaching and Our World -Ministers' Institute --- 1961
Item 8: Pulpits on Housetops
Item 9: Radio audience speaks
Item 10: Radio religion --- 1949
Item 11: Radio religion --- 1958
Item 12: Radio religion
Folder 4
Item 1: Evangelism
Item 2: Evangelism Today
Item 3: Go Ye . . . and Teach
Item 4: His Truth Is Marching On (Reformation Day)
Item 5: In Thy Light We See Light
Item 6: A Life to Lose
Item 7: The Lost Fundamental
Item 8: Our Threefold Witness
Folder 5
Item 1: Patriotism
Item 2: The Church and War
Item 3: The Cross and the Flag
Item 4: Fading Flower of Freedom
Item 5: Fountain of Freedom
Item 6: From Chaos to Cosmos (College speech)
Folder 6
Item 1: Youth Issues
Item 2: Christ for Today and Tomorrow -youth rallies --- 1943-1944
Item 3: Christ for Youth --- Nov. 17, 1946
Item 4: Forbid Them Not
Item 5: Of Such Is the Kingdom of God
Item 6: Peace but Not Appeasement -youth rally
Item 7: The Relay; Christian High --- 1939, 1941
Item 8: Why a Sunday School? --- 1940, 1944
Item 9: Vision and Victory -SWIM rally --- 1962
Folder 7: Titles of radio sermons --- 1946-1965

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Biographical Material, Sermons, and Outlines, 1933-1959],
[Series 2: Addresses, 1940-1964],
[Series 3: Radio Sermons, 1946-1965],
[Series 4: Television Series],
[Series 5: Tape Recordings],
[Series 6: Diplomas and Certificates],
[Series 7: Miscellaneous],

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