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Anthony Andrew Hoekema (1913-1988) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Anthony Andrew Hoekema (1913-1988)

Historical Note:

Our Anthony Andrew Hoekema collection includes his papers on various topics as they were alphabetically arranged in his files: lectures, notes, articles; coursed he taught in both Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary; addresses given on many occasions; articles published in a variety of magazines; and sermons preached in the churches he served. One folder (see Box 21) contained “Preaching Sermons.” These are sermons, some in outline form, he repeatedly preached during his seminary and retirement years.

“Tony,” as friends and Seminary colleagues knew him, was born in Drachten, the Netherlands, July 26, 1913. Ten years later the Peter Hoekema family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where Tony attended Creston Christian School from 1923-1925. The family moved to the Eastern Avenue area. Here Tony attended the Baxter Street Christian School. From Christian High (1919-1932) on Franklin and Madison, Hoekema went on to Calvin College (1932-1936) and Calvin Theological Seminary (1937-1939, 1941-1942). He attended the University of Michigan (1936-1937). Before graduating from the Seminary, he was instructor at Calvin College from 1939-1941. After graduation, he went to Princeton Seminary where he received his Th.D. in 1944. His dissertation was entitled: “Herman’s Bavinck’s doctrine of the Covenant.”

Tony married Ruth Brink on August 4, 1942. They had four children: Dorothy R., James A., David A., and Helen J.

The pastoral phase of his life involved service in three Christian Reformed Churches: Twelfth Street, Grand Rapids (1944-1954); and Alger Park, Grand Rapids (1954-1956).

In 1956, Anthony Hoekema began a two-year ministry as Associate Professor of Bible at Calvin College. His service to the church until his retirement in 1978 continues in the Calvin Theological Seminary in the Systematic Theology Department.

John H. Kromminga, president emeritus of Calvin Seminary, wrote about Tony: “I knew Tony more by reputation than in person when he was the high school and college whiz kid, the man most likely to succeed, the bright star of the intellectual community. I am glad that this promise was fulfilled in his worldwide reputation as a teacher and writer. However, this was not the Tony we lived with and enjoyed throughout his Seminary years. That person was Tony, the apostle of love.”

His loves were family, work, music, travel, to be hospitable, and the God who spoke the Word. “His piety was neither ostentatious nor maudlin, but it was genuine.”

During his retirement years, he continued writing and publishing books. Shortly before his sudden death, he completed a manuscript on systematic theology. He died October 17, 1988, two days after a heart attack in Frederick, Maryland. We lost a dear friend and colleague.

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