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Myanmar Reports - October/November 2016

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From the Council of Hope PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) come these two reports from Rev. Titus from the end of 2016 (October and November).

Titus pastor family

Monthly Report from Rev. Titus – October [2016]:

Dear, brethren

 

Greetings in our sovereign covenant Lord's name. I believed that for His mercy you are doing well in this cold winter there. Here still not changed, hot, I hope soon a little cold weather will arrive, that might be on December.

It was quite wonderful that, our covenant Lord controls all the affairs of our live spheres that in your country, the least except person was elected as your president. I tell you a funny story about that, in my country, almost all believed that Hilary will be elected, so many publication companies prepared so many books on Hilary, and as soon as the election result comes out they will sale those books, but the result is not as they thought, they do not know what to do with those books. For us who believed absolute sovereignty of our covenant Lord, we just smile at them.

Our country's peace talk with various rebels groups is still on paper because, at border area, especially Chinese border, all sorts of fighting going on again, to reach peace agreement is far away yet, only God can give us peace. And fighting with Islamist extremists also going on at Bangladesh border, Rakhine state.

But one thing, we benefit in new government is freedom of worship, which we treasure very much. Previous government we never felt that way. And one more benefit is loud-speakers sickening sounds, in previous governments, they backed Buddhism, so the monks used those loud-speakers, especially on Sunday, so loud that we even could not hear preaching. But in new government, a new law on sound decimal level, we can stay quitter as well as worship time. Last time, one of visitors from among you made a remark on too-loud Buddhist monks loud-speaker, "Its not a quite religion!" I fully agree on that, but now quite changed.

In His providence care we can still have Tuesday Bible class, and we still discussing "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine." We reached lesson 10.

I am still very busy, editing my KJV Burmese translation, I started editing the book of Philippians and I preached every week from out of that editing. And I reached translating chapter 15 of the book of Deuteronomy. Evening services Heidelberg Catechism, now I start seventh time of preaching on it.

And every week put out Sunday Digest, I am still translating "For They Truth's Sake" by Prof. Hanko, now I am still translating "The Image of God in Man," from the chapter of "The Covenant with Man." And I reached "Come, Ye Children," by Gertrude Hoeksema, "Two Spies Go to Jericho." Catechism classes, younger one, we started HeidelBerg Catechism, by Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma, this week we reach lesson 5. Older youth, I am teaching "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine, A Guide in Catechetical Instruction by Rev. Herman Hoeksema, Revised by Prof. Herman Hanko," we reached Lesson (27).

About my health, I start suffering, nervous breakdown again, so, I have to slow down half of my works, that suffering was obvious only in night time, trembling, sweating, dizzy, fear. I one time suffered quite the same, about 8 years ago. Please pray for my health also.

Thank you very much for supporting my ministry till today, without your help I cannot do all the things that I do for His people. Please, continues to pray for us, so that the name of the Lord will be glorified here in this land. I and my family also pray always for all of you and your families and congregations. The Lord's blessings to you all.

 

Your brother

Rev. Titus

 

Monthly Report from Rev. Titus – November [2016]:

 

Dear, brethren

 

Greetings in our sovereign covenant Lord's name, blessed Christmas to your all and blessed New-year. I believed that for His mercy you are doing well in this cold winter there. Even here a little cold now, I give thanks to our faithful Father in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Crookedness of our political system

Sometime, people wonder why we Burmese Christian interested so much in politic? There are good reasons for that, that is the crookedness of the system. I have to begin from 1950s. Our country got her independence at 1948 from British colonization. From that day till 1958 we had a very good democratic government and our country was the most advance country in Asia. And from 1958, the first military coup happened and every thing changed, at 1962 second military coup happened and all those progress and funs were just a dead history. After that the military government took Burmese-way-socialism, then every things dead, nothing was in progress. For that reason, at 1988 national demonstration broke out, and another more severe military rule started, the system of the rule is like this:

1) At the bottom, there is 10 homes chief, (whether in small village or town, or city)

2) then, 100 homes chief, so under this chief there are 10 lesser chiefs, so what ever happen to each family these 10 lesser chiefs must report to that chief.

3) then, county chief.

4) then, administrator.

Besides that, you have,

1) police, police detective department

2) secret-police department

3) military, military police, military anti-riot police

4) military intelligence

5) Socialist party cadre informants

So, what every you do in the backyard of your house, they are watching and ready to report and what ever confession they want they will torture you to made one. Then, you are sentence to whatever they want. So, you are all the time watched.

Besides, the military government blinded the people with so-called national solidarity, by false propaganda of, "Buddhist-Burmese race," so, like us not Burmese tribe, not Buddhist people were treated as second-class-citizen and ever area of life we are look-down.

Besides, all schools are government controlled, no private school, no Christian-Parental-school, no home-school. So, we all have to go to those government controlled schools where Buddhism prayer is every day duty, then we Christian people do not want to do, then teachers angry, we are looked as out-casts, many young children afraid to those Buddhist teacher, participated those religious things.

And at school, Socialist party came and by-force teaches Socialism to all youth, and we all must follow their instructions of military drill, and all sorts of rubbish things. I and some friends are so angry and did not want to do that, we are punished spanking with bamboo stick.

And all factories and businesses are controlled, you have no choice only what this "Buddhist-Burmese race" so called "Burmese-way-Socialism" government willing to give you, and you must work. And there were so much forced-labors as well, when the government people came and shout with a-loud-speaker, when you were in your bed, middle of the night, tomorrow one person from each house must come out to work for this and that, you have to go with your own, and work otherwise you are in big-troubled.

Besides, the government claimed that all the land of the country is government-own, so even if you have you own paddy-field from generations, that do not count, all your lands are government's, so crops you cannot choose to grow whatever you like, but the government prescribes this crop and that crop to grow, no talk-back to them, you will be put in jail and die inside. And after you grow, from the harvest you have to pay the government that prescribed to all the farmers. So, city people no escape from the government, as well as country side people as well, the only people enjoy life then was, the military chiefs and their associates. They became very rich by manipulating the people under the name of socialism and jingoism of "Buddhist-Burmese race."

Under that kind of rule, politic comes into even your bed-room, you cannot say what happen to politic, I have no business with them, because even what you eat they control. I remember, when we were young, we have to queue very early in the morning, at the so-called "co-op" shop, to have rationed rice. Though the leaders are too much to live luxuriously, we the people are every thing rationed.

The result was as many as can run away from the country they run-away to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Europe, America. But like us, who love the Lord and know we have to stay where the Lord put us, every day in a struggle, to escape from spies, to have enough food to survive. On Sunday, when we worship, every time worry, whether or not military police come, are we informed by our own neighbors or 10 home chief. When we send our children to school, will they be treated by teachers badly? We pray with tears all the time.

So, when the system is changed, by our Covenant Lord's providence, we are so happy, and so keen to know what is going on. And what more changes the Lord bring to us? we like to know. Not because, we are so much on politic, but as you see the system squeezed us so much.

Even now, the so-called 2008 Constitution was very bad, yet we can breath a little fresh air already from 2015 election. Now, the civil government is elected by the people, but all army, police, fire department, and crucial posts in the government are controlled by army still, e.g in the parliament 25% seats are army people, without election they come and sit there, to show-off army power. So, the civil government that lead by Lady Aung San Su Kyi, has to make a lot of twist and turns to cross-over all sorts of blocking make by army people. Yet, we have quite freedom of worship now for His mercy and covenant faithfulness. During those years, your friendship, your encouragement, your fellowship with us and all kinds of support and prayers are so crucial for our stand for the truth, we treasure them very much, especially by me personally.

In His providence care we can still have Tuesday Bible class, and we still discussing "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine." We reached lesson 11. I go quite slow, so that we can discus the material in our country's setting.

I am still very busy, editing my KJV Burmese translation, I started editing the book of Colossians and I preached every week from out of that editing. And I reached translating chapter 19 of the book of Deuteronomy. Evening services Hidelberg Catechism, now I reach LD 7.

And every week put out Sunday Digest, I am still translating "For They Truth's Sake" by Prof. Hanko, now I am still translating " A Particular and Unconditional Promise," from the chapter of "The Covenant with Man." And I reached "Come, Ye Children," by Gertrude Hoeksema, "Israel Wins the Victory at Ai." Catechism classes, younger one, we started Heidelberg Catechism, by Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma, this week we reach lesson 9. Older youth, I am teaching "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine, A Guide in Catechetical Instruction by Rev. Herman Hoeksema, Revised by Prof. Herman Hanko," we reached Lesson(30).

Since, I have translated "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine," and its explanation book, which I received from Rev. Kortering many years ago, the Lord willing, I will start translating a new book, "Unfolding Covenant History," by Homer C. Hoeksema.

About my health, the nervous breakdown, start recovering again, I sleep more, reduce a lot in reading, more talking with my wife and family. And eat some medicines which Doctor gives, for His mercy and your prayers fear at night milder now, there is still but not very severe as before.

Thank you very much for supporting my ministry till today, without your help I cannot do all the things that I do for His people. Please, continues to pray for us, so that the name of the Lord will be glorified here in this land. I and my family also pray always for all of you and your families and congregations. The Lord's blessings to you all.

 

Your brother

Rev. Titus

 

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Reformed News Asia - December 2016

Issue 36 - December 2016
Pamphlets
We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
FEATURED Pamphlet!
Hating Your Own Life
By Rev Angus Stewart

"If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 

Jesus instructs us to hate ourselves and even our family. What does this mean? It means to hate our sins and sinfulness! God's children hate themselves as those who are sinful and sin! A believer hates his own life because he loves Jesus Christ who has saved him from destruction and has given him the knowledge of God.

Three biblical examples are cited in this pamphlet. Read to find out more!


Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.

 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification 
by Profs David Engelsma and Herman Hanko

Extracted from the Foreword:

"The goal is that we might know the truth of sanctification—which biblical doctrine, like all other aspects of God’s truth, makes us free (John 8:32)—and obey the gospel call to holiness in heart and life, by God’s grace. Some 2,000 years ago, on the day before His crucifixion    for us, our Saviour prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Christ’s prayer on that momentous night    and His continuous intercession for His church embraces not only the billions of God’s elect over the millennia and the innumerable    occasions whereby He uses His truth in various ways; it also includes this humble book and all the saints who shall read it."

Click here to read the book online!

 
Audio Recordings
At our 2016 annual Reformation Day Conference, Rev Bruinsma (from Pittsburg PRC) was invited to deliver 3 speeches on the theme "The Church in the Last Days: Reforming or Deforming?"

Speech 1: Perilous Days are Coming
Speech 2: The Godly Shall Suffer Persecution
Speech 3: Continuing in the Things Learned

Click to listen to or view the speeches!

 
Upcoming Events!
 
Stay tuned for...

Chinese New Year visitation (4 Feb 17)

 
Past Events...
 
Vacation Bible School 2016
From Dec 6-8, CERC held its annual Vacation Bible School. This time, it was a day camp with 2 of the days' activities held in church, and the last one at the Singapore Science Centre. Much teaching and learning were accomplished over the 3 days, with lessons taught under the theme "Elisha's God is our God!" Of course, there was also plenty of time for fun, games and laughter. We are grateful to our Heavenly Father who makes it possible to instruct our children in His ways in such a manner.
Captain's ball on butt/knees
One of the classes
Finished art product - Personalised candles
Very wet version of "duck duck goose" - drip drip drop!
Group photo of the children that attended VBS 2016
 
CERC concluded the year with a few more Confessions of Faith and a Baptism. Thanking the Lord for the testimony of His grace in these individuals' lives.

Acts 2:47b "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

 
Confessions of Faith
Confession of Faith of Mr & Mrs Chew, and Joy Wee (L-R).
 
Baptism
Baptism of Meryl.
 
CK/CKS Camp 2016
The much anticipated CK/CKS Camp passed by all too quickly from 14-17 Dec. Under the theme "Ask for the Old Paths",  speeches dealt with the old paths concerning doctrine, worship, church government, and our personal lives.

We were also privileged to have Grace Huizenga and Jillian DeBoer join us for the camp, having come all the way from the US. See if you can spot them!

Getting ready for a speech
Setting sail! Fun & games on Pulau Ubin - an offshore, rustic island
One of the groups in serious discussion
Another group's battle stance with colourful war paint on their faces
Group photo!
 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord’s Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm • 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 • Pastor: Rev Andy Lanning  •www.cerc.org.sg 
 

 
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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for January 2017

First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for January 2017 on the RWH radio program.

WBruinsma 2Rev. Wilbur (Bill) Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC) concludes his four-month service for the RWH program with a special new-year message, and completes his series on the upright man.

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, which celebrated in 2016 its 75th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign particular grace!

To find a station in your area, visit the RWH website.  Or visit the RWH Sermonaudio channel.

January 1, 2017 - Alpha and Omega, Revelation 1:8

January 8, 2017 - Honoring the Wife, 1 Peter 3:7

January 15, 2017 - The Marital Bond, Song of Solomon 1:16, 17a

Janaury 22, 2017 - Give Me Your Heart, Proverbs 23:24-26

January 29, 2017 - Honoring the Hoary Head, Leviticus 19:32

January 2017 flyer Page 1

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Covenant Reformed News - December 2016

CPRC News Header

Covenant Reformed News

December 2016  •  Volume XVI, Issue 8


God’s Longsuffering and the Reprobate Ungodly

In the last five issues of the Covenant Reformed News, we have been setting forth the Bible’s teaching concerning the divine attribute of longsuffering. Now we shall consider this perfection of God in connection with the impenitent wicked.

We start with the founder and first ruler of the Northern Kingdom, Jeroboam I, whom Scripture repeatedly calls the man who “made Israel to sin” (e.g., I Kings 14:16; 15:26, 30, 34; 16:2, 26; 22:52; II Kings 3:3; 10:29; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28). This wicked man rebelled against the house of David and, hence, against Jesus Christ, the sole king and head of the church, whom David typified. Jeroboam forsook Jerusalem (a picture of the true church), its temple (where Almighty God especially dwelt), its altar and sacrifices (which pointed to Christ’s satisfaction for sin) and the Aaronitic priesthood (which God had ordained). Instead, Jeroboam began a new dynasty over the northern tribes and established idolatrous shrines at Dan and Bethel, where non-Levitical priests offered sacrifices to the two golden calves that he had made, in keeping with his new religious calendar (I Kings 12:28-33).

Given the height of Jeroboam’s abominations, why did not the Holy One of Israel cut him off sooner? It was certainly not that there was any divine love for him!

One factor is that God willed the development of the false church in the Northern Kingdom over against the true church in the Southern Kingdom, also called Judah. This served to heighten the antithesis and to provide New Testament Christians with an Old Testament example of the true church and the false church existing side-by-side at the same time (Belgic Confession 29). Another reason is that Jeroboam had to live long enough to have a regenerate son, Abijah, of whom was “found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel” (I Kings 14:13).

Our second example is King Ahaz, ruler of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (rather than the Northern Kingdom of Israel, established by Jeroboam). You can read about Ahaz’s gross idolatry at God’s temple in Jerusalem in II Kings 16 and II Chronicles 28. Again the question arises, Why did God not slay him earlier? It was not that God was longsuffering towards him and desperately tried to convert him! Rather, Ahaz must be succeeded by the son of his own loins, the pious Hezekiah, who would begin cleansing the pollutions of the temple on the very first day of the first month of the first year of his reign (II Chron. 29:3, 17).

Our third individual is found in the New Testament Scriptures: Jezebel, that wicked woman in the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29). She was a false prophetess, who promoted fornication and idolatry in the church, which she defended by her antinomianism. Her deceitful claim was that, unless one knows “the depths of Satan,” one can never fully appreciate the greatness of God’s rich grace of forgiveness (24)!

Concerning Jezebel, Christ declared, “I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not” (21). Was this because God loved her and was longsuffering to her and her reprobate followers? No! The Lord Jesus promised to “cast her into a bed [of sickness]” (22), adding, “I will kill her children with death,” so that “all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (23).

Turning from these three individuals (Jeroboam, Ahaz and the prophetess Jezebel), we will next consider a group of people: the false teachers mentioned in II Peter 2 and Jude. Do either of these holy men speak of those reprobate church leaders (Jude 4) as the recipients of God’s longsuffering or grace? No! Instead, they stress the certainty of their punishment (II Pet. 2:1, 3-6, 9, 12-13, 17; Jude 5-7, 13-15). God will execute His severe judgment upon these false teachers in accordance with His eternal plan! As Moses says, “their foot shall slide in due time” (Deut. 32:35).

Our last biblical example is Judas, whose eternal reprobation is underscored by Scripture (John 6:64, 70-71; 13:18, 21, 26-27; 17:12). Judas was a thief; he had the bag and was pilfering all along (John 12:6; 13:29)! So why did God not cast him into hell even then? First, Judas’ betrayal of Christ was predicted in the Old Testament (Ps. 41:9; 55:12-14, 20-21; 109:6ff.) and so in the providence of God this had to come to pass. Second, God had appointed Judas’ treachery as a crucial part of the way in which the Lord Jesus would go to the cross, where He would die for all the sins of His people.

Christ did not speak of any divine love or longsuffering for Judas that desired his salvation. Instead, the Son of God proclaimed regarding the traitor, “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matt. 26:24). This is true of all who die in impenitence. All those in hell wish that they had never existed!

Christ declared this judgment upon Judas (and all who lead others into sin): “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:1-2; cf. Matt. 18:6; Mark 9:42).

God does not immediately cut off the reprobate not because He is longsuffering to them but because, in His inscrutable justice, He is giving them more time and opportunity to heap up wrath unto themselves (Rom. 2:5). Jehovah’s purpose with the impenitent ungodly is “to shew his wrath, and to make his power known” (9:22).

Whereas God puts up with or forbears or “endure[s] … the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction,” He does this “with much longsuffering” towards His elect “that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (22-24). Reprobation and forbearance serve God’s election and longsuffering towards His beloved people in Jesus Christ!    Rev. Angus Stewart

 

Christ, Original Sin and Pain


Our readers will recall that in the last News we discussed whether our Lord could be sick. I answered in the affirmative for He was like us in all things, sin excepted (Heb. 4:15). The thought occurred to me that the fact that our Lord was without sin, even though He was born into our human race, requires some further explanation. In fact, one reader asked me personally how that could be: How could the Lord escape original sin and original corruption, for He was born of Mary and in the line of Adam?

The answer to this question is not stated in so many words in Scripture. The answer must be deduced from other truths the Bible tells us about our Lord Jesus Christ.

So that all our readers may know what original sin (consisting of original guilt and original corruption) is, a short explanation will assist us.

Original guilt is the guilt imputed by God to the whole human race for the sin Adam committed. That is, Adam was guilty before God for eating of the forbidden tree and he transgressed this divine command as the federal head of all who descended from him. What then of Christ Himself, for He was born a member of the human race?

The central proof for original guilt is found in Romans 5:12-14: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

Although the truth of the above text is denied almost universally, it stands firm against all enemy attacks. Adam sinned. Death came into the world because of Adam’s sin. Why did death come on all men, even though they had not sinned as Adam did? Death came on all because all have sinned in Adam. People go to hell because mankind is guilty in Adam of eating of the forbidden tree. God also, of course, punishes the impenitent for their actual sins, the sins they commit personally.

Furthermore, Adam was a “figure” of our Lord, for Christ was eternally appointed to be the federal head of the elect. The result is that the righteousness that our Lord earned on the cross is imputed to all the elect for whom Christ is head and for whom He died.

Original corruption is the lot of all men, for death, which is the penalty for sin, came on all men. Paul reminds the Ephesians that they were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). All men are totally depraved (which is what death in sin means) who carry in them the corruption of sin. Total depravity is the punishment on guilty sinners that comes on all from guilty Adam.

Our Lord escaped original guilt because, although He was a part of the human race, His Person is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit who preserved Him from the corruption that is passed on from parents to children through conception (Luke 1:35). And so our Lord was like us in all things except sin.

Some also use the following argument: guilt is transmitted through the father; our Lord had no earthly father; God was His Father; therefore, Christ was without original guilt and corruption. In this argument, the last three statements are true but where is the proof that “guilt is transmitted through the father”?

In connection with this discussion, another reader wrote asking the following: “Could Christ feel pain? Could He have an accident?” I take the last question to mean, Was Christ subject to unintended injuries through some mishap?

In answer to the first question, yes, of course, He could, and did, feel pain. He could feel the slap in the face during His trial by the Sanhedrin. He could feel the crown of thorns pressed into His head. He could feel the whipping by the Roman soldiers. He could feel the excruciating pain of being nailed to a cross and hanging from those nails in the heat of the blazing sun. He felt the wrath of God as the very torments of hell, a pain we shall never have to feel, if we believe in Him who suffered for us. He suffered terribly in both body and soul.

The question about “accidents” is somewhat different. The reader should understand, first of all, that there is no such thing as an accident. We might be hurt if something happens to us that we did not expect. But God’s providence determines all things down to the smallest detail (Eph. 1:11).

Nothing could happen to Christ without His will as the eternal Son of God. He could not drown in a ship sunk by a storm on the Sea of Galilee. He could not be killed when the wicked tried to push Him off a cliff in Nazareth. Because He was “true God of true God” (as our beautiful Nicene Creed expresses it), nothing could take Him by surprise or happen to Him without His will.

But whether Christ’s divine nature, which is omniscient, always revealed all He knew to His human nature, I do not know. He knew, without being told, what His disciples were thinking. He knew that the cross lay at the end of His ministry. He knew what the Jews would do to Him, what Pilate would do to Him and what God would do to Him.

But did He know the identity of the woman who touched the hem of His robe? He asked, “Who touched me?” (Mark 5:31). Was that merely to bring the person forward? Or did He really not know? His divine nature did but did it always reveal things to His human mind? I do not know.

This is part of the great mystery of Immanuel, God with us. I know what the Creed of Chalcedon confessed: that Christ united in His divine Person both the divine and human natures without separation, without confusion, without mixture and without change. And I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (II Tim. 1:12). This is enough and this is my salvation!    Prof. Herman Hanko, emeritus PRC Seminary
 
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  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.www.youtube.com/cprcniwww.facebook.com/CovenantPRC

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Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - December 2016

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, NI


16 December, 2016

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,


John Owen Lecture

jowen 1

2016 marked the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Owen (1616-1683), perhaps the greatest theologian ever produced in the British Isles. His excellent book, “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ,” is the most significant treatise in the history of the Christian church on the particularity of our Lord's atonement. Interestingly, while refuting Arminianism and Amyraldianism on the cross, Owen also superbly confounds their arguments for a desire of God to save the reprobate.

Since we typically choose a historical subject for the annual Reformation Day lecture in the CPRC, I spoke on “John Owen and the Death of Christ” (28 October), summarizing Owen's eventful ministry and setting forth his arguments for Christ's laying down His life for His elect sheep alone. We advertised this meeting through articles placed in Chatterbox (October) and the Ballymena Guardian (27 October), a trailer after our Sunday morning Reformed Witness Hour broadcast, flyers, etc.

We used similar methods, including a piece in the Portadown Times, to get the word out when this speech was given in Portadown (11 November), about an hour south of Ballymena. Though a number of people had told us that they were planning to attend, they and others were put off by a day of very heavy rain. Though they were few, the saints listened attentively and were encouraged by the truth of Christ's efficacious redemption.

The lecture on “John Owen and the Death of Christ” was given for the third time in South Wales (8 December). Earlier that day, Mary and I made three visits with some of the Lord's people—a young family, an elderly couple, and a young man—making the flight to mainland Britain even more worthwhile.

After the third delivery of the speech, we put it on-line on audio ( www.cprc. co.uk/owenlecture2.mp3 ) and video, along with the slides  (www.youtube.com/watch? v=7avtiihk_xw ). Already a lot more people have watched or listened to the lecture on the internet than were at all of the three meetings!

Church Meetings

Our Tuesday morning classes this year have been dealing with the Old Testament law. Recently, we treated the ashes of the red heifer (Num. 19) which were used in the Mosaic dispensation to cleanse those who had been in contact with a dead human body—the worst form of ceremonial uncleanness! This is the powerful New Testament argument from the lesser to the greater: “if...the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13-14).

Belgic Confession 29, “The Marks of the True Church, and Wherein She Differs From the False Church,” was the subject of nine Wednesday night classes in the CPRC. We began with the unavoidability of a test for churches and our calling in this regard, before looking at each of the three marks (faithfulness in preaching, sacramental administration, and church discipline) in turn and collectively. After treating the marks of a true church, we looked at the marks of a true Christian and the marks of a false church. Such teaching is so important in our day! One visitor to our classes went through seminary training for the ministry and he said that he had never even heard of the three marks! Many professing believers have little or no idea as to what they should be looking for in a church and so are confused or easily led astray. These nine CDs on “The Marks of the True Church” are the latest CPRC box set. The recordings of our Belgic Confession classes are the most listened to audios on our website ( www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm ).

We have been enjoying “The Life of Jacob” in the book of Genesis over the last few months (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/ OTseries.htm). The patriarch has now fled from Haran, wrestled with Christ at Peniel, embraced his formerly murderous twin, experienced the shame of Shechem, returned to Bethel, and been bereaved of three of his closest friends (Gen. 31-35). Now, with the installation of a hearing loop in our sanctuary, any physical impediment to hearing the Word of God has been lessened!

We have found Facebook to be a free and helpful means to circulate our online material, whether written or on audio or video. In the last few weeks, the CPRC Facebook page has increased by some 28% ( www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC ) and it has been used to gain about 120 new subscribers to the Covenant Reformed News.

Others

By God's rich grace, the congregation is enjoying unity and fellowship with God. We are very thankful for the support we receive from all of you in the Protestant Reformed Churches and, indeed, from other saints around the world. Below are just two of many such encouragements:


“We’ve enjoyed a couple of your live [Sunday evening] services which we watch here at noon [ www.cprf.co.uk/live.html ]. The a cappella psalm singing is particularly beautiful in worship. The sermons on Colossians 2 are well received and we are learning much from them. The learning curve for Reformed theology is so large that I think sometimes my brain will melt...”—Minnesota, USA


“As an Augustinian Calvinist, but a ‘poor lonesome Calvinist’ in a country dominated by apostasy in the major so-called Protestant churches and, of course, in the ‘Satan synagogue’ (the Roman Church) and atheism in the governing bodies, I am very interested by the CPRC website. I should be glad if I could receive your Covenant Reformed News.”—France

The English Churchman (14 & 21 October) carried a report on this summer's British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference (http://britishreformed.org). The Belfast News Letter published a letter I sent in explaining that the false ecumenism of the Lutheran World Federation with the Church of Rome is due to the awful apostasy of the former and not the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, as a Roman priest had claimed (www.cprf.co.uk/articles/lutheransandrome.html)!

The last two months have been something of a lean period with regard to new translations on the CPRC website with just 12 additions: 6 Hungarian, 3 Marathi (ecumenical creeds in this Indian language), 2 Portuguese, and 1 Spanish. However, this section of our website is still growing and gets a lot of hits (www.cprf.co. uk/languages.htm).

Our thanks to all those who send us cards or letters! Because our work already includes a lot of mailing, I trust that you will all understand that we are unable to send replies and that you will be satisfied with this note of appreciation.

This is the confession of the child of God: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Ps. 23:6). May the Lord be with you all in 2017!

In Christ,
Pastor and Mary Stewart

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PRC Missions in the Philippines - December 2016 Newsletter

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
DECEMBER 2016 NEWSLETTER

Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
PO Box 1173 ACPO, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

Dear Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches,

First of all, the timing of this newsletter allows me to extend to you all our end-of-year and new-year
greetings, include a recent picture of the two of us, and express to all our prayer that the Lord will be
your Rock and sure Guide throughout the new year. None of us knows what the new year holds. There is
a lot of change and uncertainty in the world, and a good share of it comes because of whom God has
recently appointed as our world rulers. But in the midst of all this uncertainty, we have the sure
comfort that Jesus Christ, Who is Lord over all, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As we stand on
the threshold of a new year, we can be confident that He Who is with us, and on our side, is
unchanging in the midst of change (Hebrews 13:8).

DnS Kleyn 2016

FURLOUGH

Our furlough took place during June and July. Initially we visited the Midwest where we were able
to spend time with the members of our calling church and to attend the annual Synod. We then spent the
rest of our time in Michigan and Illinois. While we were in the USA, Rev. Smit was able to take over my
work here for four of the six weeks that we were absent. We appreciate very much his willingness to
do so, and the willingness of his consistory to release him for this work.

During the furlough, I had opportunity to preach every Sunday, except one. This was a good way to
get to see and renew contact with many of you. Both Sharon and I were encouraged by the many
questions asked and comments made concerning the mission work. We also enjoyed the furlough from
the viewpoint of having a significant amount of time to spend with our families, especially our parents.
And we were also able to spend some quality time with Rev. & Leah Holstege and their family – a good
opportunity to get to know each other, as well as to discuss their upcoming move to and work in the
Philippines.

Throughout our furlough, we noticed and heard repeatedly of excitement in our churches regarding
the Holstege family joining us soon in the Philippines, and also regarding the decision of Synod to approve
calling yet another missionary for the work here (especially with a view to establishing a seminary,
the Lord willing). These are significant times in our denomination’s mission work, and we are grateful for
your continued and growing interest and support.

PRC IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines consist of three congregations: The Berean PRC, The
PRC in Bulacan, and the Maranatha PRC. My work in these churches consists of the following: (1) One
Sunday each month in MPRC for preaching and to teach a Church Order class, (2) serving as an advisor
at monthly Consistory meetings in the MPRC, and in the PRCB, (3) serving as an advisor on the two
Standing Committees of the Classis, and at the Classis meetings, and (4) assisting in the work of
Church Visitation.

The Classis of the PRCP met on Monday, October 31, with Rev. Ibe (by rotation) chairing the meeting. The
Classis approved and adopted two important items: a Constitution for the denomination’s Mission Work,
and a Pre-Seminary Program for students of the PRCP. The Classis also made preparations for the
upcoming delegation visit of Prof. Dykstra and Rev. Eriks as representatives of the Contact Committee of
the PRCA. The PRCP is looking forward to this visit and to the progress that can be made, the Lord
willing, toward a sister church relationship between the PRCA and PRCP.

PROVIDENT CHRISTIAN CHURCH

My schedule in PCC in Marikina is to lead the worship services on three Sundays of each month. In one
service each week a sermon is preached on the Heidelberg Catechism. I also teach catechism to the
children each Saturday morning, and I lead a weekly Bible Study/Doctrine Class each Thursday evening.
In the Thursday class, we have covered, in detail, the Essentials of Reformed Doctrine and the Belgic
Confession of Faith. We have now begun a study of the Canons of Dordt.

A recent development in PCC is the appointment of a Steering Committee. I plan to hold regular meetings
with the four men on this committee in order to discuss and/or make decisions regarding such
matters as the preaching, Bible studies, church membership, benevolence work, church property,
church finances, etc. I believe this to be a significant step forward in the process of PCC becoming a
properly instituted Reformed church in the future, the Lord willing.

PASTORS’ TRAINING

The 7M (Metro Manila Monthly Martes Morning Ministers Meetings) classes are held twice a month.
The main purpose of these classes is to provide instruction to existing pastors. By means of these
classes we have been able to fill gaps that some of the PRCP pastors have had in their seminary training
as well as to help prepare some of them for their Classis examinations. In the past we have covered
Reformed Dogmatics (Introduction, plus all six Loci), Homiletics, Hermeneutics, Reformed Symbols,
Catechetics, Heidelberg Catechism preaching, and Church History. We are currently studying Poimenics
(pastoral care) and the Church Order. Usually between five to eight men attend these classes.

In addition to 7M, we hold a monthly pastors’ class in Southern Negros Occidental. Some of these pastors
have been longtime contacts of the PRCA, all the way back to the 1990’s. Currently we have about 12 to
15 who attend. In these classes, we have focused on especially two areas: Reformed Theology, and
Reformed Church Government. With a view to advancing this work, we hope in 2017 to make more
regular visits to these pastors and their churches.

This will be possible, the Lord willing, once Rev. Holstege has moved and settled into his life and work
here. At least four of the pastors have expressed, many times, the desire that we increase our work
among them. We hope and pray we can do so.

OTHER CONTACTS AND WORK

We continue to make monthly visits to a group in Bacolod City. These visits involve a Monday evening
Bible study in which we are studying the Essentials of Reformed Doctrine. Since Bacolod is part of Negros
Occidental, this fits in with our monthly pastors’ training classes in SNO.

We also have a number of contacts throughout the Philippines with whom we stay in touch. The
communication is mostly on account of their interest in purchasing Reformed literature. But from time to
time, some have requested that we speak or preach in their churches or groups. We hope to give more
consideration to these requests once Rev. Holstege is here, and with the approval of Doon and the FMC.

As just indicated, a significant part of the work here is our sale of Protestant Reformed literature. Book
sales have been gradually increasing over the course of the past year, but have significantly peaked in the
past month. Sharon takes care of the book sales and is now receiving at least one or two orders each day.
The main reason is because of the new titles the RFPA has recently published, but also because of
new contacts and visitors in some of the PRCP congregations. We once again express our thanks to
our churches for the generous giving toward the Philippine Book Fund. These collections enable us to
sell the RFPA books to our Filipino churches and contacts at very reasonable prices. We are also able
to provide free shipping, as well as to give away magazines (Standard Bearer, Beacon Lights,
Saltshakers, etc.) and pamphlets.

CERC IN SINGAPORE

During the last week of October, we had the opportunity to visit the Covenant Evangelical Church
in Singapore. This visit came about as a result of CERC’s request that Rev. Bruinsma and I assist them
in the oral examination of Bro. Emmanuel Singh from Kolkata, India. The visit also included conducting
church visitation and preaching once on Sunday.

We thoroughly enjoyed the time among the saints in the CERC, and especially the time we could spend
with the Lannings and Bruinsmas. The examination was the highlight. It was wonderful to hear of Bro.
Emmanuel’s knowledge of and love for the Reformed faith, and to see that God has provided a committed
and well-qualified man to serve as an ambassador of the Reformed faith in India. May God bless his
ministry, and CERC’s work with him.

Until next time, in Christian love,
Rev. Daniel Kleyn

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