News from All Churches
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
27 December, 2018
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
“The RFPA, the CPRC, and the Spread of the Truth” was the title of my lecture on 27 September at the annual meeting of the Reformed Free Publishing Association in Grace PRC (www.youtube.com/user/ReformedFree Pub). Our congregation and its witness is massively helped by the RFPA, so it was good to accept its speaking invitation.
The day before, I gave a chapel speech for Eastside Christian School in Grand Rapids on “The Sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). That evening, at the request of Principal Pete Adams, I delivered a lecture with slides on “Martin and Katie Luther: The Reformation of Marriage” to supporters of Eastside. Sadly, the CPRC does not have a Christian school, so it is an extra privilege to do something to help Reformed education.
Mary and I made our first ever visit to Wingham PRC in Ontario, Canada, on Sunday, 30 September, when I preached at both services and gave a PowerPoint presentation on the witness of the CPRC in the evening. We stayed at the home of Travis Hanko, our nephew, and his wife, Averly (Kikkert), whom we first met at the 2016 British Reformed Fellowship conference in Northern Ireland.
On Wednesday, 3 October, “Martin and Katie Luther: The Reformation of Marriage” was again the subject, this time for Pittsburgh PRC's 21st Annual Reformation Lecture. There was a good attendance, including some who had watched CPRC YouTube videos. It had been some years since we were last in Pittsburgh and it was lovely to see some old friends, as well as learning from the experiences of Rev. and Mary Bruinsma in missions and smaller churches.
Between Wingham and Pittsburgh, Mary and I stopped off at Niagara-on-the-Lake (where some significant conferences were held involving missions, fundamentalism, and dispensationalism) and the powerful Niagara Falls. After Pittsburgh, we hiked and dined with Lee Carl Finley, who has had an article on Job published in the British Reformed Journal, and his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter, Rebecca, in Ohio. We also benefited from our visit to the Creation Museum in Kentucky.
On the Lord's Day of 7 October, I preached in Southeast PRC and Zion PRC, where I also showed CPRC slides. Meeting the saints in the PRC is always a blessing and it helps strengthen our sister-church relationship with you. After enjoying our relaxing trip and visiting family and friends, we flew home armed with as many RFPA books and PR pamphlets as our weight allowance would permit.
Back in the manse in Northern Ireland, we met up with Rev. Ken Koole, who had been preaching and teaching catechism classes in the CPRC during the last two weeks. The next Sunday, he took the services in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF).
Due in part to the pile-up of other work after our trip to America (and Canada) for the RFPA speech (24 September - 8 October), my usual bimonthly letter has become, in this instance, a quarterly letter, covering the period from 17 August almost to the end of this calendar year. During these four months and ten days, we had an excellent haul of 60 new translations, including 14 Hungarian, 7 Portuguese (by a Brazilian believer who migrated to Australia and his brother back in Brazil), 6 Polish (by a new translator), 6 Russian (including the “Foreword” and the first three chapters to the British Reformed Fellowship book, Be Ye Holy by Profs. Hanko and Engelsma), 3 N. Sotho and 3 Zulu (all of the Three Forms of Unity in these two languages were supplied to me by a brother from South Africa), 1 Afrikaans, 1 French, and 1 Italian.
However, it is our Spanish section that has seen the largest increase in the last quarter of a year (www.cprf.co.uk/languages/spanish.html). Doner Bartolon of First PRC in Grand Rapids sent us 18 translations, mostly of Rev. Rodney Kleyn's Reformed Witness Hour addresses on eschatology, along with links to their Spanish video recordings on the PRC Español YouTube channel. We added Doner's contact details at the bottom of all of our 195 Spanish translations and he has already heard from two interested brethren in Chile.
Besides visitors to our Sunday services from the PRC (about ten saints), England, and Canada, Mary and I enjoyed hosting Peter and Bec DeJong from Launceston Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Australia (13-15 October), as well as Giovanni and Sarah Pecora from Turin in Italy (10-17 November). The Pecoras heard of the CPRC through the over 550 items on our Italian webpage (www.cprf. co.uk/languages/italian.htm).
The CPRC Reformation Day Lecture this year was titled, “Two Men from Trier: Karl Marx (and Communism) and Caspar Olevianus (and the Heidelberg Catechism)” (26 October). 2018 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx from Trier in western Germany. Trier is also the city of Caspar Olevianus, one of the principal authors of our Heidelberg Catechism. The speech compared and contrasted these two men from Trier: their lives, their main works, their ideas, and the results of their ideas. Key issues in the clash of worldviews between Marx’s atheistic communism and Olevianus’ Reformed faith include origins, alienation, work, private property, class struggle, the good life, history, and the end times! Much of the left-wing, anti-Christian, politically-correct world is based on Marxist and neo-Marxist thinking. The video, complete with a PowerPoint presentation, is online (www.youtube.com/watch?v= tN34URO2NXU).
I gave the same speech, also with slides, in South Wales (22 November). The lecture was very well attended and it was followed by a lively discussion.
My previous speech in South Wales was “Christ Our Sacrifice in Isaiah 53” (31 August). Before the lecture, Mary and I headed to Devon in SW England to check out two possible venues for a British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference. The first was Heatree Activity Centre in the wild and rugged Dartmoor National Park (www.heatreeactivitycentre. co.uk). The second was Brunel Manor in the English Riviera, the mansion in which Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great mechanical and civil engineer, intended to retire (www.brunel manor.com).
Reports of July's BRF conference on “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” with Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning were carried in the English Churchman (14 & 21 September) and Evangelicals Now (October). An article about Rev. Martyn McGeown's excellent book Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt was published in the Ballymena Guardian (13 December) and the Tyrone Courier.
Our Tuesday morning Bible class has enjoyed studying the burnt, peace, sin, and trespass offerings in Leviticus 1-7 and how they picture the work of Jesus Christ. Some of the results of these studies are to be found on-line in two tables: “The 6 Stages in Offering the 4 Bloody Sacrifices in Leviticus 1-7” and “Lessons Regarding Sin, Christ, and Our Calling from the 4 Bloody Sacrifices in Leviticus 1-7” (www.cprf.co.uk/quotes.htm#sacrifices).
The second and third box sets of the Wednesday night classes on baptism from Belgic Confession 34 are entitled “OT Prophecy on the Children of Believers in the NT Age” (covering Isaiah 40-61, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel 34-37 in 6 CDs) and “NT Teaching on the Children of Believers” (8 CDs treating passages in all four gospel accounts, Acts and most of Paul's epistles, plus the relationship between circumcision and baptism, and the Reformed view of covenant children). These doctrinal box sets are available from the CPRC at a very reasonable rate and all the Belgic Confession audios can also be listened to free on-line (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm).
The CPRC YouTube page recently reached the 1,000 subscriber mark (www.youtube.com/ user/CPRCNI). Stephen Murray, our audio-visual man, has put many hours of hard work into putting thousands of our videos online, and making DVDs and CDs.
The new British Reformed Journal (BRJ) was recently published, with articles on “Answering the Fool” (Rev. McGeown), “Our Covenant God: Friend, Husband, and Father (3)” (Seminarian Matt Kortus), “Martin Luther and God’s Saving Righteousness (2)” (Rev. Stewart), and “God’s Universal Church: A Report on the 2018 BRF Conference” (Rhonda Boer). US subscribers will soon be receiving their copies. Subscription for 4 issues of the BRJ for those in North America costs $20 (US). Simply make your check payable to “Mary Stewart” and mail it (with your name and address) to Mr. Fred Hanko, at his new address: 725 Baldwin St., #A-18, Jenison, MI 49428.
Our thanks to all who sent us letters, cards, and emails. We ask for your indulgence in not replying individually for we already post thousands of items every year (Covenant Reformed News, BRJ, books, free pamphlets, and other church work).
The Lord be with you all in 2019!
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart
"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has now released the November 2018 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#52),their youth magazine.
The NOVEMBER 2018 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and instructive articles, and our PRC young people especially are encouraged to make it part of their reading content.
Below you will find a note from the "SS" Committee introducing the contents of this issue and images of the cover and table of contents. The entire issue is also attached here in pdf form.
Inside the September issue:
Editorial: Choices - Chua Lee Yang
Scripture's Covenant Youth (XIV): A Nameless Girl - Prof. Herman Hanko
Love for God's People - Rev. Steven Key
Quit You Like Men (III) - Woon Tian Loong
The Importance of Christian Education - Rev. Joshua Engelsma
The Christian in the World (II) The Calling of a Covenant Mother - Dorcas Lee
Signs of Our Lord's Return: North Korean Relations - Daniel Tang
Overtaken in a Fault - Lim Yang Zhi
History of the PRCA's Missions in Foreign Fields - Rev. Daniel Kleyn
Fellowship with God (I): Grounded on Justification - Rev Nathan Langerak
PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
OCTOBER 2018 NEWSLETTER
Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and our sister churches, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
A New Reformed Church!
On the fifth of August, after our two worship services, I announced to Provident Christian Church, “You are now officially a Reformed church.” And their response? They clapped their hands, joyously and spontaneously, in thanksgiving to God! “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved” (Ps. 47:1-4).
Before we had lunch together that Sunday, in the fellowship hall downstairs, I briefly explained the following two passages of Holy Writ and applied them to the happy occasion: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thess. 2:15).
The ground of the announcement that Sunday was the official adoption of the Three Forms of Unity by the Steering Committee on July 29. From 2012 into 2018, we missionaries taught them the Reformed symbols: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt. We also taught them the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches. One of us planted, another watered, but God gave the increase (I Cor. 3:6). Then, on July 29, the Steering Committee adopted the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, together with the Psalter and the Forms in the back of the Psalter.
When I explained to the Steering Committee the implication of adopting the Three Forms of Unity, namely, that they are now officially Reformed, their faces beamed, and they exchanged hearty hand-shakes. We praise our gracious covenant God for guiding PCC to become a Reformed church of Jesus Christ.
More Reformed Believers!
Throughout the months of August and September, the men of the Steering Committee and I visited those who expressed, in writing, a desire to join the now Reformed, Provident Christian Church. We asked them the three questions in the Form for Public Confession of Faith. I explained the questions as follows:
1. Do you believe the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God; do you believe the doctrines of the Apostolic Creed; do you believe the doctrines of the Three Forms of Unity, as taught by us missionaries here in this church?
2. Is it your deep desire, by the grace of God, to hold firmly to this doctrine, to reject all false doctrines, and to strive to keep the commandments of God in a new and godly life?
3. Are you willing to submit to the government of Christ through the office bearers of this church and to the discipline of the elders, if you should become delinquent?
As of now, there are about twenty-five, previously baptized, adult believers at PCC who “have made a confession of the Reformed religion, besides being reputed to be of a godly walk” (Church Order, Article 61). Besides these, there are about fifteen children and young people who will confess their faith, Lord willing, in time to come. We thank our heavenly Father for His work of grace in the lives of these believers.
More Reformed Office Bearers!
Having compiled a list of confessing members, we proceeded to nominate new office bearers at our monthly Steering Committee meeting on September 23. We missionaries advised the members of the Steering Committee, for the sake of a smooth transition, to nominate themselves as the elders and deacons of the congregation.
Brothers Bien Montoya and Alex Dela Rosa were nominated to be elders. Brothers Mitch Suarez and Jun Armas were nominated to be deacons. Those four names appeared in the bulletin on the Sundays of September 30 and October 7 for the silent approbation of the congregation. There were no objections.
The council of PCC, from the left: Bro. Alex Dela Rosa, Bro. Bien Montoya, [Rev. D. Holstege], Bro. Mitch Suarez, and Bro. Jun Armas.
On October 14, I had the privilege of leading the first Reformed installation service of Provident Christian Church. All four men answered “yes” to the three questions in the Form for Installation of Elders and Deacons. All four men then signed the Formula of Subscription in front of church, for all to see. I preached a sermon on Acts 6:1-6 entitled “The First Deacons.” After the service, the whole congregation was invited to stay for lunch and we enjoyed a great time of fellowship.
Recently at PCC, I decided to preach through the book of Titus. What Paul exhorted Titus to do in the churches of Crete struck me as very similar to our task at PCC: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). Things have now been set in order at PCC. Elders and deacons have been ordained. Lord willing, we will begin administering the sacraments at PCC, for the first time since becoming a Reformed church, this November.
The next step for them is to request membership in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP), which we plan to do at the February meeting of Classis, DV.
A Visiting Pastor and His Family
From October 15-19, Rev. Joe Holstege, his wife Lisa, and their son Jacob visited us here in the Philippines. He had been preaching for the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, a sister church of the PRCA (and soon, Lord willing, also of the PRCP). They decided to hop over the sea to visit us. During their five days here, they were able to experience some Philippine culture and to meet some Filipino believers. On the Wednesday night that they were here, they were able to visit with Rev. Vernon Ibe and his family, to see the new church building of the Berean PRC, and to give a speech at PCC on personal evangelism. I was told that my brother is mas gwapo than me. I will let you figure out what that means and judge whether or not it is true ☺
Pray that Christ will continue to build His church at PCC, and throughout the Philippines, and that He will strengthen these newly Reformed believers to hold fast the traditions they have been taught.
Rev. Dan Holstege
From First PRC-Edmonton comes this special invitation for THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, NOV.23:
The Evangelism Committee invites you to a public lecture entitled “Fighting for Sexual Purity: The Battle Against Pornography” this Friday, November 23, at 7:30 PM (Mountain time). Discussed will be the pervasiveness of this sin in the world and church, the dreadful and destructive consequences of this sin, how we may guard against it, and the hope for those presently caught in its grip.
All in the area are welcome and encouraged to attend!
A live-stream of the lecture will also be available online at our church website at www.edmontonprc.org.