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PRC Weekly Congregational and Denominational News - September 24, 2017

Psalms 16 11On this final Lord's Day of September 2017 (Sept. 24) we note the following news and information from PRC congregations, denominational committees, and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Council of Byron Center PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), C. Griess (Calvary PRC, Hull IA) and A. Lanning (CERC, Singapore). A congregational meeting will be held on October 1 after the evening service to call one of these men.
  • On Sept.10 Cand. S. Regnerus received the call from the congregation of Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI). He has up to six weeks to consider this call.
  • Cand. Brian Feenstra is considering the call from Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) (Received Sept.3).
  • On August 27 Candidate Justin Smidstra ACCEPTED the call from First PRC of Holland MI, declining the call from Southwest PRC. He will be examined, D.V., at a special meeting of Classis East in Georgetown PRC on October 18.
  • On August 27 Candidate Matt DeBoer ACCEPTED the call from Edgerton PRC. He will be examined at the meeting of Classis West in Hull, IA this week (cf. below).
  • On August 13 Candidate Joe Holstege ACCEPTED the call to Zion PRC. He will be examined, D.V., at a special meeting of Classis East in Georgetown PRC on October 18.
  • Candidates Jon Langerak  and David Noorman are both assisting pastors and congregations in the Grand Rapids area (Georgetown PRC and Hudsonville PRC, respectively) while they wait for calls.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The installation of Rev. Doug Kuiper as professor of church history took place this past Wednesday, September 20, at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI. For more on this significant event, visit this page.

  • CLASSIS WEST: Classis West will meet this Wednesday, September 27, in Hull (IA) PRC, with the agenda involving the examination of Pastor-elect Matthew De Boer among other busniess.
    • Pastor-elect Matthew De Boer will be leading a worship service at Hull PRC Tuesday, September 26, at 7:00 p.m. as part of his Classical Examination. 
    • A Classis West Conference on The Five Solas and How They Matter for the Ministry will be held at Hull PRC on Tuesday, September 26 starting at 9:00 a.m.  Lunch will be served with a free-will offering.  All are invited to attend.  *[cf. attached pdf and flyer image below]

Solas CWofficebearers 2017 Page 1

  • Classis East met on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Grandville PRC. For the report, visit this page.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Reformed Book Outlet: Through the month of September, we are once again selling selected volumes of the Protestant Reformed Psalm Singing Choir (formerly called "Fitting Praises") for $3.00 each. This includes volumes 3,4,6,8, and 15, and each CD contains different Psalter numbers.  These CDs make great gifts, especially for shut-ins, and newly married couples.  Call 616-669-6730, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • A new PRC Psalter app (Android) has been developed by Hope PRC member Jonathan Vermeer. You will find it in the Google Play store at this link. The app includes lyrics and tunes to all of our Psalter #s and links to the Psalms themselves. Plus, it has a special "night mode" setting for use in the dark (as, for example, for campfire singing).

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. C. Haak is "Who is Jesus?", based on Matthew 1:21.
    • NEW RWH Station - The Cornerstone PRC Word and Deed committee has partnered with the Reformed Witness Hour to air their messages on the radio in the Chicago area. Beginning today, September 10, the broadcast can be heard every Sunday at 4:00PM on WYLL 1160AM or on the internet at www.1160hope.com. Please tune in and encourage others to do so as opportunity arises in your personal witnessing.

 MISSION NEWS:

revaspriensma 1

  • On Sept.17 Rev. A. Spriensma was installed as home missionary, having been called by Byron Center PRC.
  • On Sept.17 The congregation of Doon PRC voted to call Rev. R. Smit (pastor, First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI) to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.

Holstege 7M Oct 2016 
Missionary-pastor D. Holstege leading the 7M pastors' meeting (Dec. 2016) - cf. note below.

  • From the bulletin of Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Rev. Holstege will preach both sermons today and teach the Church Order from 10:15-10:45. Rev. Kleyn will preach for Maranatha PRC today.

    • This Wed, at 7:30 pm, Rev. Holstege will teach the Canons of Dordt, Head 5, Art. 12-13. “This certainty of perseverance…is the real source of humility, filial reverence, true piety, patience in every tribulation, fervent prayers, constancy in suffering and in confessing the truth, and of solid rejoicing in God…”

    • This Saturday at 9:00 am, Rev. Kleyn will teach the catechism class for the children. The children should prepare lesson 15 in the OT History for Juniors.

  • And from the bulletin of the Maranatha PRC in Valanzuela City we learn about these special events:
    • The 7M pastors’ classes will be held on Tuesday (Sept. 26) at 9:30 a.m. in Provident Village, Marikina City, DV. Both of the standing committees of the Classis plan to hold meetings during the afternoon of this Tuesday, September 26, at Provident Christian Church — Committee #2 at 1:00 p.m., and Committee #1 at 3:30 p.m.
    • A delegation of the Contact Committee of the PRCA plans to visit the PRCP in the Philippines (and also the CERC in Singapore) this October and November. The delegation consists of Rev. R. Smit and Elder David Kregel. The visit is part of the sister-church relationship that is being established between the PRCP and the PRCA. The delegation hopes to be in the Philippines from October 26 through November 6, the Lord willing.
    • A Reformation Day Conference is being planned for Tuesday, October 31. The theme is “Reformation 500: The Anniversary.” The speakers will be Rev. Holstege, Rev. Kleyn, and Rev. Smit. The conference will be held in Provident Village in Marikina, starting at 8:00 a.m. Registration is Php 50 per person.  All are welcome. Please plan to attend, and please invite others to attend, too.  A sign-up sheet will be available soon. [cf. flyer below]

    Maranatha PRF Bulletin Page 1

  • Let's remember these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines in our prayers daily. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace for all their labors.
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Covenant Reformed News - September 2017

 

Covenant Reformed News

September 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 17


What Is a Protestant? (3)

As well as the truth that the Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura), Protestants believe in Christ alone (solus Christus).

The Lord Jesus is both fully God and fully man in one divine Person. He is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, incarnate. As Christ, He is God’s anointed One as promised in the Old Testament. As Jesus, He is the only and complete Saviour. As Lord, He the sovereign governor of all.

We Protestants believe Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, glorious ascension and almighty rule at God’s right hand. 

On the cross, our Lord died for all the sins of all His elect people. All our iniquities were “laid on,” imputed or reckoned to Him (Isa. 53:6) and He bore the punishment for them that was due to us. As our only high priest, He continually prays for us, for “he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Heb. 7:25).

In order for God to save sinners, Christ’s cross and intercession are absolutely necessary. It is entirely sufficient for all our salvation. We do not need the pope, earthly priests, Mary or the saints to bring us to God (John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22).

The battle of Protestantism with Rome (and others) is essentially the same as that in Acts 4 between the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders and the apostles, who declared concerning Christ, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (11-12).

Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone (sola fide). Protestantism proclaims that our salvation and perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ is received solely by faith. The forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood and the imputed righteousness of God (the lifelong and perfect obedience of Jesus) is ours by believing—only by believing! Our justification and legal standing before God, therefore, does not need any supplementation by the works of the the saints, the Lord’s earthly mother, the church or ourselves.

This biblical and Protestant truth is just as necessary today over against Rome as it was in the sixteenth century. Sadly, sola fide is also crucial against much of modern day evangelicalism. Some of those who speak of justification by faith alone actually mean justification by man’s free will alone! They teach that the sinner’s salvation is determined by the decision of his own supposed free will, contrary to the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 3:11; 7:18; 8:7) and the united testimony of the Reformation, including Martin Luther’s great Protestant manifesto, The Bondage of the Will (1525).

Sola fide is vital for the comfort and vitality of the Christian every day. Being justified by faith alone, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and blessedness (4:6-9; Ps. 32:1-2)!

To go further, Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone through grace alone (sola gratia). Our salvation is a divine gift, an entirely gratuitous or gracious gift, according to the sovereign favour of our merciful God in Jesus Christ, for we were “chosen … in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Grace alone, both in time (by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ) and in eternity (in election)—this is Protestantism, because this is the teaching of God’s Word: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “So then it is not of him that willeth [so much for man’s free will!], nor of him that runneth [i.e., the exertion of man’s works], but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).

The fifth of the Five Solas is the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). The glory is not man’s (even in the tiniest part), whether by his supposed free will or his good works, for all that is truly good in the believer’s works is entirely by God’s grace (John 15:5; Eph. 2:10). The glory is not even partially the church’s, especially not the false church of Rome nor any other false or departing church. 

Salvation is wholly of the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory is alone due to the Triune God: the electing Father, the atoning Son and the calling Spirit. Soli Deo gloria is the message of the Reformation, for “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115:3)!

Philip Schaff, the church historian, sums it up well: “Romanism puts the Church first and Christ next; Protestantism reverses the order. Romanism says, Where the Church is (meaning thereby the papal organization), there is Christ; Protestantism says, Where Christ is, there is the Church. Romanism says, Where the Catholic tradition is, there is the Bible and the infallible rule of faith; Protestantism says, Where the Bible is, there is the true tradition and the infallible rule of faith. Romanism says, Where good works are, there are faith and justification; Protestantism says, Where faith is, there are justification and good works. Romanism throws Mary and the saints between Christ and the believer; Protestantism goes directly to the Saviour. Romanism proceeds from the visible Church (the papacy) to the invisible Church; Protestantism from the invisible Church (the true body of Christ) to the visible ... Protestantism is a protest against the tyranny of man on the basis of the authority of God. It proclaims the Bible to be the only infallible rule of Christian faith and practice, and teaches justification by grace alone, as apprehended by a living faith. It holds up Christ as all in all, whose word is all-sufficient to teach, whose grace is all-sufficient to save.”  Rev. Stewart
 

Saul’s Prophesying, Solomon’s Wives and Hell’s Torments


I am going to answer three unrelated questions in this issue of the News.

Question 1: “I Samuel 18:10 states that Saul prophesied when the ‘evil spirit’ came upon him (cf. I Sam. 10:9-13; 19:23-24; John 11:51). How do we explain this?”

In the old dispensation, those who were officebearers (especially prophets, priests and kings) were given the Holy Spirit to equip them for their work. Through the Spirit, they were enabled to prophesy, make sacrifices or rule God’s people. They were thus designated by God to be His appointed servants. 

Such men were not always true believers; some, though anointed, were evil men. Such was Caiaphas who prophesied that Jesus would “die for the people” (John 11:50). Caiaphas, interestingly, did not intend what the prophecy meant in God’s purpose (51-52), but we are told that he prophesied because he was high priest that year, that is, an office-bearer in Israel, though a wicked one (51).

There were downright wicked men who also prophesied, as, for example, the prophets who falsely assured Ahab that he would gain the victory over the Syrians (II Chron. 18:5). It is possible that men prophesy by means of Satan or some demon in their hearts. After all, Satan frequently imitates the work of God as best he can to claim that he has the same power as Jehovah. Verses 19-22 clearly show that a demon did make the prophets of Ahab prophesy. It is because of false prophets in the nation that God told Israel how to distinguish between true prophets and counterfeits (Deut. 13:1-11).

In the new dispensation, God pours out His Spirit on all flesh, that is, on all His people to form a universal church gathered from all nations, tribes and tongues. Sometimes men who hold offices in the church are evil men whose sin is all the greater because they sin as office-bearers. The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ who is the great Prophet of God. As God’s prophets in a wicked world, we must hold forth the truth of His written Word.

Question 2: “Solomon’s first wife, it seems, was a pagan (I Kings 3:1).Was he not transgressing in this thing (Gen. 28:1; Ex. 33:16; Deut. 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:39)? Yet shortly thereafter God appears to him in a dream to bless him (I Kings 3:5-15)?”

I see no proof in Scripture that the daughter of Pharaoh was Solomon’s first wife (I Kings 3:1). We read in I Kings 14:31 that the mother of Rehoboam (and, therefore, Solomon’s wife) was Naamah the Ammonitess. She may well have been Solomon’s first wife, because it was not uncommon for a king to anoint his firstborn son to be his successor. This practice fitted with the general rule in Israel that the firstborn received the birthright. Whether or not this Ammonitess was a godly woman we are not told. We may speculate that, if she was Solomon’s first wife, she may have been a believer. But we are building a house of cards, all based on guesses concerning things God has seen fit not to tell us. We are in danger of drawing a wrong conclusion, if we do that. 

I Kings 11 seems to me to offer the clue we need (1). Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (3). Kings in those days frequently married daughters of other kings to seal a treaty of peace between their two nations. Solomon probably followed the same practice. Kings of great power and wealth also made polygamy a practice because it displayed the king’s wealth. After all, to support 1,000 wives takes a lot of money.

While polygamy itself was not directly condemned by God in the old dispensation, marrying foreign woman surely was (2). The result of Solomon’s sin in marrying foreign wives was that he also fell into the terrible sin of idolatry (3-8). The Lord punished Solomon for this sin and took away 10 tribes from his son, Rehoboam (9-13).

While we do not read in the historical narratives that Solomon turned from his sin, his repentance is recorded in his book of Ecclesiastes. In light of the fact that this book is Solomon’s confession, there is a certain pathos in his concluding words. After showing the vanity of everything of this world, Solomon says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). Solomon must have written this with a sorrowful heart and a deep sigh of regret, looking back over the 40 years of his reign.

Question 3: “What are the different torments people in hell are going through? And what is the difference between hell now and after the final judgment?”

Just as God gives His people a reward and place in heaven that is commensurate with the good works they do by His grace, so He assigns a place in hell that is commensurate with the unbeliever’s sins (Luke 12:47-48). The actual heinousness of their iniquities is determined by God in connection with their position in life. For example, a man who murders thousands and millions (as Hitler and Stalin did) receives a greater punishment than the man who killed only one person. A man who confessed the truth, and then abandoned and blasphemed it, endures greater suffering than a man who never heard the gospel (47-48). Thus there are degrees in hell, just as there are degrees of blessedness in heaven (though every saint is fully and completely blessed).

The torments of hell include bearing God’s wrath. God’s wrath is a terrible thing, for it is to live apart from Him in total abandonment. It is to know one’s sins in the light of Jehovah’s holiness and thus to see one’s awful rebellion against Him. The torments of hell include existing with those whom the people in hell have sinned against. It includes mothers hearing the accusing cries of their unborn babies, whom they killed. It is to see every moment the anguish of one’s family whom one abused and abandoned. 

The torments of hell include great suffering that cannot be compared with any anguish in this life. It is to face such an existence forever: without end—forever and ever. No light at the end of the tunnel. No lessening of the pain—ever. No escape from the torturous cries of those whom one defrauded or cheated or slandered—forever!

The suffering of “the lake of fire” after the final judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) will be similar to the suffering of hell before the last day. The Bible gives us little information on this, except to remind us that it will be suffering of soul and body, and not of the soul alone, when the bodies of the wicked are also raised from the dead. Some “evangelicals” deny hell but their denial of it will only make its reality more terrible when they suffer it.
 
Thanks be to God who sovereignly, without any contribution of good on our part, saves us from the hell we deserve by His amazing grace in Christ crucified!  Prof. Hanko
 

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 28 September, 2017
 7:15 PM

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart
(pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, N. Ireland)

Subject:
Martin Luther and God’s Saving Righteousness
 
NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
www.limerickreformed.com
 

Celebrating
500 Years
of the Reformation

----
Reformation
Conference


Saturday, 21 October, 2017
11 AM -  “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God”
1 PM - “Justification in Paul
and in James”
(lunch served between the two lectures)

Friday, 27 October, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Martin Luther: Man of Conviction”

Friday, 3 November, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Calvin’s Doctrine of the Covenant”

Speaker
 Prof. David J. Engelsma 

emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Venue
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence St., Ballymena, N. Ireland BT43 5DR

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach at both CPRC services,
11 AM & 6 PM, on Lord’s Days 22 & 29 October and
5 November


Watch www.cprc.co.uk or contact us at (028) 25 891851 
for more details closer to the event 
by David J. Engelsma
(192 pp, hardback)

A devastating critique of Abraham Kuyper's cultural theory of a common grace of God and its grandiose mission of "Christianizing" (not converting) the ungodly world.

£9.90 (inc. P&P)

Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
on-line, by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
.
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!

Office-Bearers: Qualifications, 
Election, Ordination and Equality


6 classes on Belgic Confession 31 on CD in an attractive box set
 
These doctrine classes discuss the qualifications, election, ordination and equality of office-bearers. Some seek church office with motives and in ways that are sinful. Some who are not appointed are jealous of those who are and so grumble at them and their work! Scriptural and Reformed teaching on an important, oft-neglected and very practical subject!

£6/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
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Rev. Doug Kuiper Installed as New Seminary Professor - Sept.20, 2017

On the evening of September 20, 2017, Rev. Douglas J. Kuiper was installed as the newest professor of theology in the PRC Seminary.

RD preaching install 2017

The installation/convocation service was held in Faith PRC (Jenison, MI) and led by Prof. Russell Dykstra (above photo), whom Prof. Kuiper will be replacing in a few years. Prof. Dykstra preached from I Corinthians 4:1-5 with the theme, "The Professor of Theology as Faithful Steward."

KK DK install 2017

A good crowd attended the service and witnessed the installation. The heart of that installation was the reading of the "Form for the Installation of Professors of Theology," (by the president of the Theological School Committee, Rev. K. Koole) which included these paragraphs and questions:

Conscious of this calling our Church has also established a Theological School and called the reverend brother, [Douglas Kuiper], to devote his talents to this School.

In behalf of our Church the Curators charge thee, esteemed brother, with the task of instructing and establishing in the knowledge of God's Word the students who hope once to minister in his Church. Expound to them the mysteries of the faith; caution them in regard to the errors and heresies of the old, but especially of the new day; seek to explain how they not alone as teachers are to instruct but also as pastors are to shepherd the flock of the Lord. Assist in maintaining order and discipline among the disciples, that our Seminary may continue to enjoy the respect, the support, the appreciation, the love and the prayer of the Church. Be a good example to the students, that they may not only profit from thy learning, but also find in thee a living illustration of the power and practice of true godliness.

Be engaged in all of this according to the measure of the gifts God gave thee, in dependence on the Lord's help and the light of the Holy Spirit. And that it may now publicly appear that thou, highly esteemed brother, art thus disposed, thou art to answer the following questions:

First. I ask thee, dost thou feel in thy heart that thou art lawfully called of God's Church and therefore of God himself to this office?

Secondly. Dost thou believe the books of the Old and New Testament to be the only Word of God? Dost thou reject all doctrine repugnant thereto, and dost thou accept the doctrinal standards of this Christian Church as the truest expression of the doctrine of salvation?

Thirdly. Dost thou promise faithfully to discharge thy office according to the same doctrine above described, and to adorn it with a godly life?

Fourthly. Dost thou promise to submit thyself, in case thou shouldest become delinquent, either in life or doctrine, to the ordinance of the Church, and if necessary, to Church discipline?

To which the brother gave his sincere answer: "Yes, with all my heart."

DKuiper install program 2017

We give thanks to God for providing this faithful servant for this special work in the Seminary. May the Spirit of our risen and ascended Lord rest upon him and empower him to fulfill his task.

DK family install 2017

Prof. D. Kuiper and his wife Teresa and their four children (from l-r), Jared, Ryan, Sarah, and Daniel.

Though the focus of the evening was on the installation of Prof. Kuiper, it was also the annual seminary convocation. Below are the students listed in the program above.

students 2017 18
(L-R) Juniors Matt Kortus, Jacob Maatman, and Darren Vink; Sophomore Josiah Tan

India Outreach Newsletter - September 2017

India Outreach Newsletter
September 2017
Dear readers,
 
We have had lots of travels to/from India lately!  Pastor Paul Raj spent 2 weeks in Michigan with us in August.  He has been back home for about 1 month now.  Following his trip out here, Rachel and Elizabeth Vanderwall traveled to Vellore to spend some time with the Grace Foster Home.  Rachel spent a lot of time at the Christian Medical College shadowing Dr. Ronald Carey and has now returned home.
 
Elizabeth Vanderwall will be staying in India for a while longer and will also be doing some shadowing with Dr. Carey.  As a nursing student, she will also be taking some classes at the CMC.
 
Also, Georgetown PRC will be sending delegates to Vellore this coming November.  We are very excited as we continue building and strengthening our relationship with the Protestant Reformed Church of Vellore and the wonderful work they do through the Grace Foster Home.  We ask that you continue to pray for this cause and their perseverance in this hostile world.
 
Below is the second half of the two-part report from Liz Van Drunen and Emily Moelker on their experience and activities with the GFH.  They spent 3 months with the Grace Foster Home earlier this year.
 
As always, you can also follow the Georgetown PRC Facebook page for more photos and updates (Link).  You can also find out more on the Georgetown PRC website (Link).
 
India Visit Report, Part 1
            By Emily Moelker and Liz Van Drunen

We were able to celebrate several holidays in India. We told them how and why we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday they don't have. About 36 of the kids packed into the back of a truck to make their way to a park on Christmas Eve.  While there, we spent the day playing cricket, spikeball, team games, eating lunch and exploring. A lot of kids said that it was one of the best days of their life! We had the entire church congregation over to campus on Christmas Day, where we had church outside under a big tent. On Christmas, we gave all the children a bag of assorted goodies and we heard that one of the younger boys bit into a bar of soap thinking it was chocolate. They celebrate Old Year's Day and New Year's Day at church- from 10pm to 3am- complete with two sermons, lots of singing, cake cutting, poppers, reading over what their church is thankful for from the past year, etc... Prof. Gritters preached a sermon before and after midnight, and was sure he had never preached a sermon that late before! The ladies usually wear saris for this service, and we ended up wearing saris too. We thoroughly enjoyed being visited by all the other Americans while we were there.  It was always a very exciting time for everyone when visitors come! Over our stay, we were blessed with visits from the Bruinooges, Uittenbogaards, Rev. Kuiper, the Wassinks and the Gritters. We were able to attend a day-long conference up in the mountains with the English speaking church. Rev. Kuiper spoke on a number of topics and it was a great day of fellowship, prayers, singing, and conversation. We were also able to visit the Christian Medical College (CMC), a large college and hospital that Vellore is known for.  We were able to visit the Vellore Fort and Golden Temple in Vellore with some GFH children and church members. We visited the cities of Bangalore and Chennai too. The day that we were leaving India and flying out of Chennai, we visited the ocean in Chennai (the Bay of Bengal) before heading to the airport, with a couple of the kids that got to come with. It was an awesome memory.
 
A highlight of our trip was being able to visit most of the children's homes over the course of our stay. Only 3 of the children are actually orphans with no parents, and most of the children have one parent left who isn't able to take care of them. Some of them live in the same city, while some live a farther distance away. What might take us 2 hours to drive by Qualis, might take their parents 3-4 hours by crowded bus, which is their only means of transportation usually. If their parent attends church, this is the trip they are making every Sunday morning, without complaint. Think of how many churches we live within minutes of! Many of the children have heartbreaking stories of why they have come to live at Grace Foster Home. These stories might involve abuse, alcoholism, HIV and other illnesses, suicide, poison, witchcraft, extreme poverty, and abandonment. These children have experienced and witnessed a lot of these things. Some of their homes were so small that one bed could not fit inside it. We visited the father and mother of 2 boys from GFH, at their stand in the busy streets of Vellore, where they sell little things such a Q-tips, pouches, combs and necklaces. We visited Aravind's village, whose family weaves silk sarees. He was so proud to show us how they intricately weave these sarees on big weavers that are powered by foot pedal. We visited the home of Ramya and Kavitha, whose mother also makes silk sarees. Her weaver takes up half of her home, the rest of the space is where she cooks and sleeps. We visited Mani and Sathya's mother who lives in one of several rooms that come off a hallway. She and all the other tenants stand in a long line once a week to get water, where fighting often breaks out and she might go back empty handed. We visited the home of another mother, who makes cheap cigarettes on the floor of her dirt hut, and another mother who makes "fire cubes" for Hindu sacrifices. She makes them all day long and gets paid 35 rupees for one large bag, which is approximately 50 cents.  We visited the home of Paneer, whose grandmother lives in a small hut with dirt floor. We couldn't stand up straight in it and there wasn't enough room for us to lay down in it if we tried. This was the very place where his mother committed suicide. Often at house visits, we'd have a crowd of people following us through the streets and often a bunch of random little village kids would sit in on our visit and listen to the prayers and the message. At every home, we were treated with lots of love. Everyone was beyond hospitable, treating us with coffee and snacks, sometimes meals. One time in Surya's village, we were served coconuts by his father and grandmother, fresh off the tree out front!
 
The most dominant religion in India is Hinduism, which makes up about 80% of the country's religion. It was very common to drive down a village road and see countless Hindu temples, loud music blaring, a vast variety of idols of any size, smoking offerings and sweet smelling sacrifices. We saw many Hindu funerals taking place. Early every morning, we'd hear Hindu "chanting" through our window coming from the next village. We visited the Golden Temple in Vellore and it was very eye-opening to see the crowds of people flocking to worship their idols. We'd see people on pilgrimages walking barefoot for miles, paying many rupees, and shaving their heads or even doing harmful things to themselves and their children for their gods. In the midst of all this, is the small church of Vellore PRC, and the other small Christian groups that gather in surrounding villages. These small groups are eager to hear the gospel, often meeting outside or sitting on the floor in a small one-room building. Pastor Paulraj has an undeterred ambition to teach and share the gospel (in classes, newsletters, outreaches, and conferences.) In this country full of ungodliness, idol gods and Hindu temples, Vellore PRC has an outstanding testimony even when they face difficulties, setbacks, and persecution. In a country where we have the freedom to share the gospel as much as want - how often do we?
 
Most of the children at GFH come from a Hindu family. It is required that their parents attend church at least once a month if their child resides at GFH, and many of their parents are now members at church and have converted to Christianity. While this is such a blessing, there are still parents that refuse to let their children be baptized because of the affect it will have on them and their child and the difficulties they will face in their village. So some of the youth are facing the hard decision to either be baptized or never see or speak to their families again.
 
Daily devotions with everyone (6am and 8pm) are always filled with meaningful prayers, important questions, and enthusiastic singing. The children are so loving and knowledgeable. They are clearly well taught and it is evident they are not shy about their love for God. Many are growing up to be strong members of the church! From our dorm, we'd often hear and see a group of senior boys sitting outside in a circle before bed, singing loudly, reading the Bible and praying on their knees for a long time. We'd hear the girls doing the same a floor below us, and we'd head down to join them.
 
The children are so thankful for their sponsors! They would ask about them daily, refer to them as their family, and pray for them often! Even though it's not possible to have consistent contact with them, they are so uplifted by your prayers, gifts and letters! What a blessing this Christian fellowship is.  Right now they especially need our prayers. The Hindu Indian government is looking for any reason to shut down a Christian children home, making endless requirements and obstacles for GFH.
 
It was such a blessing to get to know and live with this body of believers.  Though we were immersed in a totally different culture, we surprisingly didn't feel as though things were totally different. We shared the same faith in the same God and connecting with this group of believers on the other side of the world was such a beautiful, life-changing thing to experience!  Elder Aarochim, a kind and thoughtful elder from church, served us bananas when we visited his house the last week we were there.  After always being served random Indian treats (that didn't always treat us so well later on) we were abnormally excited.  I asked him how he knew bananas were our favorite.  He replied by asking how would he not know?  We are family, and family knows one another.  Leaving our Indian family was hard to do, but Lord willing, we will reunite with them all again someday!  We hope this longer than anticipated summary of our trip helped you experience a little bit of what life is like for our brothers and sisters in Vellore.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers!
Opportunities for Giving
  
The needs of Paulraj and Kasthuri are endless, however their greatest desire is for your prayers. Please pray for them in their mission to deliver the message of Christ to all who will listen, in a nation where Christianity is despised. Please pray for their safety in sharing this message while surrounded by those who work against them. Please pray for the growth of the Protestant Reformed Church of Vellore and for all those who are members. Please pray for the children of Grace Foster Home, that they may continue to grow in the knowledge of their Savior who loves them.
  
If you have been moved by this ministry, please also consider a financial gift to assist in the day to day needs of Paulraj and Kasthuri, as well as the children of Grace Foster Home.
  
*To make a secure donation through Paypal or with a credit card, click on the Donate  button below... no Paypal account is needed!
 
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or mail your financial gift to:
  
Georgetown PRC/India Mission Outreach
PO Box 253
Hudsonville, MI 49426
  
*Please specify in the comments if you would like your gift to be used in the General Ministry or for the daily needs of Grace Foster Home.

Thank You!!
Georgetown PRC | | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 7146 48th Ave
Hudsonville, MI 49426

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PRC Weekly Congregational and Denominational News - September 17, 2017 *(Updated)

Psalms 25 5On this September 17, 2017 Day of our risen Lord we note the following news and information from PRC congregations, denominational committees, and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Today Pastor Spriensma’s farewell sermon will take place during the morning worship service. His installation as home missionary will take place during the evening worship service.
  • On Sept.10 Cand. S. Regnerus received the call from the congregation of Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI).
  • On Sept.10 Rev. B. Huizinga (Hope, Redlands, CA) declined the call from Byron Center PRC.
  • On Sept.3 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to call Cand. Brian Feenstra to serve as her next pastor.
  • On August 27 Candidate Justin Smidstra ACCEPTED the call from First PRC of Holland MI, declining the call from Southwest PRC. Plans are being made for him to be examined at a special meeting of Classis East on October 18.
  • On August 27 Candidate Matt DeBoer ACCEPTED the call from Edgerton PRC. Plans are being made for him to be examined at the meeting of Classis West in Hull, IA on Sept.27.
  • On August 13 Candidate Joe Holstege ACCEPTED the call to Zion PRC. Plans are also being made for him to be examined at a special meeting of Classis East on October 18.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Installation for Rev. Doug Kuiper as professor of church history will take place this Wednesday, September 20, at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI, to begin at 7pm. Convocation exercises will also be included in which the student body of the seminary will be introduced. Because of installation, this will be an official call to worship for the Faith congregation. However, all are invited to attend and give thanksgiving to God on this joyous occasion.

  • CLASSIS WEST: Classis West will meet Wednesday, September 27, in Hull (IA) PRC, with the agenda involving the examination of Pastor-elect Matthew De Boer among other busniess.
    • Pastor- Elect Matthew De Boer will be leading a worship service at Hull PRC Tuesday, September 26, at 7:00 p.m. as part of his Classical Examination. 
    • A Classis West Conference on The Five Solas and How They Matter for the Ministry will be held at Hull PRC on Tuesday, September 26 starting at 9:00 a.m.  Lunch will be served with a free-will offering.  All are invited to attend.  *[cf. attached pdf and flyer image below]

Solas CWofficebearers 2017 Page 1

  • Classis East met this past Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Grandville PRC. For the report, visit this page.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Reformed Book Outlet: Through the month of September, we are once again selling selected volumes of the Protestant Reformed Psalm Singing Choir (formerly called "Fitting Praises") for $3.00 each. This includes volumes 3,4,6,8, and 15, and each CD contains different Psalter numbers.  These CDs make great gifts, especially for shut-ins, and newly married couples.  Call 616-669-6730, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • A new PRC Psalter app (Android) has been developed by Hope PRC member Jonathan Vermeer. You will find it in the Google Play store at this link. The app includes lyrics and tunes to all of our Psalter #s and links to the Psalms themselves. Plus, it has a special "night mode" setting for use in the dark (as, for example, for campfire singing).

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. C. Haak is The Secret Providence of God, based on Psalm 57:2
    • NEW RWH Station - The Cornerstone PRC Word and Deed committee has partnered with the Reformed Witness Hour to air their messages on the radio in the Chicago area. Beginning today, September 10, the broadcast can be heard every Sunday at 4:00PM on WYLL 1160AM or on the internet at www.1160hope.com. Please tune in and encourage others to do so as opportunity arises in your personal witnessing.

 MISSION NEWS:

revaspriensma 1

  • TODAY Rev. A. Spriensma will be installed as home missionary, having been called by Byron Center PRC.
  • The Council of Doon PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a man to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines: Revs. Allen Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD), Jim Laning (Hull PRC, IA), and Richard Smit (First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI). The congregation plans to call one of these men on TODAY. *UPDATE: Rev. R. Smit has received this call.

 PRC Bulacan Feb 2016
PRC, Bulacan

  • From the bulletin of Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Rev. Holstege will preach the first sermon today and then teach the Church Order from 10:15-10:45. Rev. Kleyn will preach the second sermon. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. Holstege will preach both times.

    • This Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Rev. Holstege will teach the Canons of Dordt, Head 5, Articles 9-11. “…true believers for themselves may and do obtain assurance…”

    • Rev. and Sharon Kleyn will travel to Negros this Monday-Tuesday, Lord willing, to teach the pastors classes in Sipalay. May the Lord bless their trip.

  • Let's remember these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines in our prayers daily. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace for all their labors.
    Sa

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Report of Meeting of Classis East, September 13, 2017

Grandville smallSeptember 13, 2017 – Grandville PRC

Classis East met in regular session on the morning of Wednesday, September 13, 2017. The churches were each represented by two delegates. Rev. J. Mahtani was the chairman for this session.

Rev. W. Langerak was appointed as the moderator of Byron PRC in their vacancy. Holland PRC, Southwest PRC, and Zion PRC were granted Classical pulpit supply for evening services during their vacancies.

Most of the morning was spent on an appeal by a brother against his consistory. This was appointed to pre-advice committee for recommendations. After thorough deliberations Classis declared that this appeal was illegally before Classis on the basis that his work was not finished with his consistory.

The Classical Committee of Classis East has scheduled a special meeting of Classis East in order to examine Pastors-elect Smidstra (Holland PRC) and Holstege (Zion) at Georgetown PRC on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. Rev. Overway will preside by rotation.

Classis approved the expenses for its meeting of $788.65. The next regular meeting of Classis East will be at Hudsonville PRC on January 10, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. Lord Willing.

Respectfully Submitted

Gary Boverhof, Stated Clerk

Family and Covenant Living Conference This Weekend, Sept.15-16 - Rock Valley, IA

We make our members and friends in the Northwest Iowa area aware of this important "Family and Covenant Living Conference" planned for this weekend, Sept,15-16. The theme is "The Foundations for a Healthy Marriage." If you are in this area, you are encouraged to attend the conference and to invite friends and neighbors to do the same. The event is being held at the auditorium of the Rock Valley (IA) Public High School and begins at 7 p.m. Friday night

This note was found in Doon's bulletin of Sept.10:

This Friday and Saturday, Sept.15-16, is the marriage conference being put on by Doon PRC's Evangelism Committee. Rev. Josh Engelsma will speak on Friday at 7:00 pm on "Following God's Blueprint for Marriage."  Rev. Allen Brummel will speak on Saturday at 9:30 am on "Knowing God's Purposes for Marriage."  And Rev. James Laning will speak on Saturday at 10:45 am on "Believing the Permanency of Marriage."  We look forward to seeing you there!

The following promotional flyer has been produced and is attached in pdf form for your use in inviting others to attend.

Doon Marriage Conference.8.5x11 Page 1

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PRC Weekly Congregational and Denominational News - September 10, 2017 **(Updated)

Proverbs 22 6On this September 10, 2017 Day of our risen Lord we note the following news and information from PRC congregations, denominational committees, and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The congregation of Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI) votes TODAY from the Council's new trio of Rev. A. Lanning (Covenant ERC, Singapore), and Candidates D. Noorman and Stephan Regnerus. *Update: Cand. S. Regnerus has received this call.
  • On Sept.3 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to call Cand. Brian Feenstra to serve as her next pastor.
  • On August 27 Candidate Justin Smidstra ACCEPTED the call from First PRC of Holland MI, declining the call from Southwest PRC. Plans are being made for him to be examined at a special meeting of Classis East in October.
  • On August 27 Candidate Matt DeBoer ACCEPTED the call from Edgerton PRC. Plans are being made for him to be examined at the meeting of Classis West in Hull, IA on Sept.27.
  • On August 13 Candidate Joe Holstege accepted the call to Zion PRC. Plans are also being made for him to be examined at a special meeting of Classis East in October.
  • From Byron Center PRC's Council:
    • Pastor Spriensma’s farewell sermon is scheduled for September 17 during the morning worship service. His installation as home missionary is scheduled for September 17 during the evening worship service.
    • On August 20 Rev. B. Huizinga (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA) received the call to take the place of Rev. A. Spriensma. On Sunday Rev. Huizinga DECLINED this call.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

ephesians 4 3 2

  • Meeting of Classis East this week: Classis East meets this Wednesday, Oct. 13, at Grandville PRC, beginning at 8 a.m.

  • Installation for Rev. Doug Kuiper as professor of church history will take place Wednesday, September 20, at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI, to begin at 7pm. Convocation exercises will also be included in which the student body of the seminary will be introduced. Because of installation, this will be an official call to worship for the Faith congregation. However, all are invited to attend and give thanksgiving to God on this joyous occasion.
  • From the PRC Contact Committee comes notice of a special trip to South Korea this week by Rev. W. Langerak and Prof. R. Cammenga:
    • On August 31, Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. Wm. Langerak left for S. Korea as representatives of our denomination's Committee for Contact with Other Churches, as authorized by Synod 2017.  They are following up on contacts with individuals and with churches.  In addition they have been requested to speak at a REFO 500 conference, as well as in three different Reformed seminaries, several churches, and to various groups.  They plan to return on Monday, Sept. 11.  Pray for them and for the Lord's use of this trip to bring us into close contact with Reformed Christians in this country and in that part of the world.
    • If you would like to read some letters about (Prof. R. Cammenga) and see some pictures of this trip (Mr. John Van Baren), visit the PRC bulletin page under "South Korea Letters - Sept. 2017" in the "PR Churches" folder (for registered users only).
  • Visitors from Namibia and South Africa.  From the Contact Committee:  On Tuesday (Sept. 5), DV, three men from a small group of churches in Namibia arrived in west Michigan to visit with the Contact Committee.  A minister from Namibia, Rev. Jacobus LeRoux, and an elder from South Africa, Joseph Oosthuizen, will be staying for about 10 days. They are joined by another elder from Namibia, Michael Duvenhage (accompanied by his wife Tiene and three children). The purpose of the visit is to continue discussions of the similarities and differences between their newly forming group of Reformed churches and our denomination.  This small group of six churches seeks guidance from the PRCA in the early years of separation from their mother denomination.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Reformed Book Outlet: Through the month of September, we are once again selling selected volumes of the Protestant Reformed Psalm Singing Choir (formerly called "Fitting Praises") for $3.00 each. This includes volumes 3,4,6,8, and 15, and each CD contains different Psalter numbers.  These CDs make great gifts, especially for shut-ins, and newly married couples.  Call 616-669-6730, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • A new PRC Psalter app (Android) has been developed by Hope PRC member Jonathan Vermeer. You will find it in the Google Play store at this link. The app includes lyrics and tunes to all of our Psalter #s and links to the Psalms themselves. Plus, it has a special "night mode" setting for use in the dark (as, for example, for campfire singing).

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. C. Haak is "The Creation" based on Genesis 1:1.
    • NEW RWH Station - The Cornerstone PRC Word and Deed committee has partnered with the Reformed Witness Hour to air their messages on the radio in the Chicago area. Beginning today, September 10, the broadcast can be heard every Sunday at 4:00PM on WYLL 1160AM or on the internet at www.1160hope.com. Please tune in and encourage others to do so as opportunity arises in your personal witnessing.

 MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 30 Rev. A. Spriensma ACCEPTED Byron Center PRC's call to serve as home missionary. We thank the Lord for providing us a home missionary once again and we pray for pastor Spriensma and Byron Center PRC as they transition to this new position. His installation as missionary is scheduled for Sept.17 during the evening service.
  • The Council of Doon PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a man to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines: Revs. Allen Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD), Jim Laning (Hull PRC, IA), and Richard Smit (First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI). The congregation plan to call one of these men on September 17.

 Gospel to all nations

  • From the bulletin of Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Rev. Holstege will preach both times today. He will teach the Church Order after the first service, from 10:15-10:45. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Revs. Holstege and Kleyn will each preach once.

    • This Tuesday at 9:30 am, the 7M pastors classes will meet here at PCC.

    • This Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Rev. Holstege will teach the Canons of Dordt, Head 5, Articles 6-8.

    • This Saturday at 9:00 am, Rev. Kleyn will teach the catechism class for the children. The children should prepare lesson 13 in the OT History for Juniors.

  • From the Maranatha PRC bulletin we find this note: Today, Rev. D. Kleyn will lead our first and second services. Today, we will study Articles 61 - 64 of the Church Order (concerning the Administration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper).
  • Also, from the Berean PRC we find these mission notes:
    • Our pastor [Rev. Vernon Ibe] is also scheduled to preach at Kerusso Community church in Tondo, Manila @ 3P.M. today the Lord willing. He will also lead them in their study of the Essentials of Reformed Doctrine on Lesson #14 @ 5:30P.M.
    • Our pastor and Elder Alann Peñaverde visited the saints in Sitio Karugang, Gabaldon NE on Friday (Sept 8, 2017). Ptr. Ibe led them in their study of the Essentials of Reformed doctrine on lesson #14. The next scheduled visit of Ptr. Ibe is on Friday (September 22, 2017), the Lord willing.

  • Let's remember these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines in our prayers daily. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace for all their labors.
    Sa

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