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Reformed News Asia - December 2018

Issue 52 - December 2018
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.
NEWPamphlet!
Christian Liberty
By Various Authors

"Christian liberty, therefore, is simply this, that we willingly walk in the narrow confines of God's commandments and find our happiness there."

"Thus our liberty means this: we MAY serve God, we have the right to serve Him. The living God banishes sinners out of His sight; He receives us as His children. We CAN serve God. We are 'restored in the likeness of Christ to be friend-servant in His house, using our gifts and talents to His glory. We WILL serve God. The psalmist sang, "'tis good to do His will." In the Dutch we used to sing, "Thy loving service has never yet wearied me." From all this follows the MUST. We may, and we also must. There is no conflict here. This “must” is as much the inner impelling of the Spirit as the outer command of God's law. The desire lives in our heart to serve the Lord our God, to hate sin, and to flee from it. This obligation we gladly assume."

This pamphlet talks about Christian Liberty in the church, in our lives, in practical living, in making decisions, etc. Read to find out more about the main principles of Christian liberty, how we can evaluate it and use it properly in our lives. 

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.
Micah
by Martyn McGeown

From the RFPA website:

Christians want to know Christ from the Old Testament, from Micah, and the other minor prophets. And yet for many of us the minor prophets are like a sealed book. The inspired writing of the minor prophets are addressed to the people of God and addressed to us also in the New Testament church. As inspired scripture they indeed  speak of Christ: Micah does so extensively, and not only in the obvious reference to Bethlehem in chapter 5:2.

The prophet Micah proclaims the incomparable God of judgment and mercy. This God is our God, the God of all who believe in Jesus Christ. And this prophecy has vital lessons to teach us today.

 
Audio Recordings
Click to listen to the series of sermons by Rev Arie Den Hartog

Nicodemus' Visit With Jesus
Jesus'Gift Of Living Water (Jesus And The Samaritan Woman)
Jesus And The Young Rich Ruler
Jesus And The Syro-Phoenecian Woman
Jesus And Zaccheus
 
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Chinese New Year Visitation (9 Feb)
 
Past Events...
 
Reformation Day Conference 2018

On the 3rd of November 2018, CERC held its annual Reformation Day Conference under the theme "By Grace alone". Commemorating 400 years of the Canons of Dordt, we give thanks as we acknowledge the great work of God! We were privileged to have Rev Den Hartog who delivered 3 speeches and Rev Singh who spoke about the mission work in Kolkata. We were blessed by the talks and enjoyed the good fellowship with one another. May we continue to be zealous to contend and preserve the truth.
Rev Den Hartog delivering one of his speeches
Rev Emmanuel SIngh speaking on the mission work in Kolkata
 
Vacation Bible School 2018

From 11-13 Dec, CERC's Vacation Bible School was held under the theme of "Are you a Christ-like Giver?". The camp was held over 3 days with lessons, indoor games and an outdoor activity at the high elements at Forest Adventure. The lessons were focused on giving and we are grateful for the time of instruction and fellowship among the children. 
Lesson time
One of the many indoor games
Brave kids on the high element course!
Children visiting Aunty Sarah
 
Baptism & Confession of Faith 

We thank the Lord for blessing CERC with new members who joined through Confession of Faith and Baptism. We rejoice in the growth of the church and the profession of faith of these brothers and sisters in Christ.
Confession of Faith of Chin Yuh Bin, Annie Chin, Nichelle Wong and Eric Quek
Baptism of Joezer Chin
Baptism of Emily Chua
 
Trip to Philippines

Elder Leong and Deacon Lee made a trip to Philippines from 15-20 Dec in order to explore the possibility of a sister church relationship with the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP). We thank God for the warm welcome by the brethren from PRCP and the opportunity to confirm the confessions, distinctives, church orders and practices of both churches. May the Lord lead and direct the decision on establishing sister church relationship with one another. 
 
CKCKS Camp 2018

The annual CKCKS Camp was held on 19-22 Dec under the theme "Contentment as Covenant Youth", taken from 1 Timothy 6:6. We thank God for a spiritually refreshing time and good fellowship for our young people. May the Lord grant them contentment and strengthen their faith as they strive to live antithetical lives.  
Group shot of the campers!
One of the messages - workshop by Joshua Tan
Some of the fruitful discussions
Camp games including ping pong with the hands
Outing - Laser tag at a nearby park
 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers

Salt Shakers is a bi-monthly magazine published by the youth in Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). Included in each issue are writings pertaining to bothReformed doctrine and practical theology. Contributors to Salt Shakers include our pastor, youth and members of CERC, and pastors and professors from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Salt Shakers also features articles from the Standard Bearer and other Reformed publications. Click here to access.

 
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: Vacant  ~ www.cerc.org.sg 
 
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Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - December 2018

CPRC News Header

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, NI

27 December, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

US Trip

“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).

Other News

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

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New Salt Shakers Magazine - November 2018

"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.

SS 50 Dec 2018

Beloved readers,

In God's providence, we have been brought through another year, one closer to the return of our Lord. What roads have we traveled and what choices have we made in the last twelve months?

Where shall the Lord lead us in the year to come? By God's grace we will do this or that, but hopefully reading Salt Shakers (and being edified therein) will be a high priority!

 
Our deep appreciation for all our writers' contributions and our utmost thanks to God for sustaining and sanctifying the work of wretched sinners. 
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
The (Protestant Reformed) "Declaration of Principles" - Prof. David Engelsma
Book Review: Decisions, Decisions: How (and How Not) to Make Them - Chang Zhi Hui
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang
On Behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
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Covenant Reformed News - November 2018

 
 

Covenant Reformed News


November 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 7



Zechariah’s Day of the Lord (1)

When a Christian reads Zechariah 14, his main exegetical question can be expressed in one word: when? When did or when will these things come to pass?

Some very deliberately try to make this chapter fit with their millennial systems. The various forms of premillennialism seek to make it compatible with their idea of the millennium, a literalistic 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Here one thinks of dispensational premillennialism (with its secret rapture and literal seven-year tribulation), historic Jewish premillennialism (without any secret rapture or literal seven-year tribulation) and historic non-Jewish premillennialism (like the former position only without its Jewish trappings). In fact, the various schools of premillennialism see Zechariah 14 as furnishing them with one of their best arguments for their millennium.

The distinguishing feature of postmillennialism is its claim that Jesus Christ will return to a Christianized world of great earthly peace and prosperity, in which most are believers. For them, Zechariah 14 must fit their eschatological scheme. However, the Second Helvetic Confession (1566) summarizes biblical and Reformed teaching: “we condemn the Jewish dreams that before the day of judgment there shall be a golden world in the earth; and that the godly shall possess the kingdoms of the world, their wicked enemies being trodden under foot: for the evangelical truth, Matthew 24 and 25, and Luke 21, and the apostolic doctrine in the second epistle to the Thessalonians 2, and in the second epistle to Timothy 3 and 4, are found to teach far otherwise” (11).

Others interpret Zechariah 14 as being fulfilled in events or ages that have happened or are happening or will happen. Some say that this chapter predicts the wars of the Maccabees in the middle of the intertestamental period. Others reckon that it prophesies the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70 or the New Testament age between Pentecost and the end of the world or the Lord’s second coming. To complicate things further, some see Zechariah 14 as speaking of two or more of the above events or periods.

Here are three simple arguments proving that Zechariah 14—here we are especially thinking of its first 15 verses—predicts Christ’s bodily return, including events that immediately precede it, and the new heavens and the new earth that it ushers in.

First, the chapter begins, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh” (1). An eschatological technical term, “the day of the Lord” in the Old Testament refers to a terrible divine judgment, such as the fall of Samaria or Jerusalem or Babylon, which pictures the end of the world (e.g., Isa. 2:12; 13:6; 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Lam. 2:22; Eze. 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7-8, 18; 2:2-3). The day of the Lord in the New Testament is the day of the Lord Jesus Christ: His second coming to raise the dead, judge the world, and usher in the eternal states of the glorified creation and the lake of fire.

Second, Zechariah 14 refers to the Lord coming with all His holy ones: “the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (5). This is the Christian hope: the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (“the Lord my God shall come”) accompanied by His holy angels and glorified believers (“all the saints with thee”). In His Olivet discourse, Christ spoke of “the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels” (Matt. 24:30-31).

Third, Revelation 21-22 explains the fulfilment of three aspects of Zechariah 14 in the new heavens and the new earth. One, with regard to light, Zechariah says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light” (6-7). John declares, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23). Two, concerning living water, we read, “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:8). In “the city” (Rev. 21:23), the “new Jerusalem” (2), “he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1). Three, both proclaim the removal of God’s curse: “there shall be no more utter destruction [i.e., curse]” (Zech. 14:11) and “there shall be no more curse” (Rev. 22:3).

Here we anticipate an objection: “You have made a good case for Zechariah 14’s predicting the end of the world, including its immediately preceding events and the new creation it ushers in, with your arguments from ‘the day of the Lord’ (1), the Lord’s coming with His holy ones (5), and Zechariah’s prophesies of light, living waters and no curse as fulfilled in Revelation 21-22. But maybe it is only parts of Zechariah 14:1-15 that refer to Christ’s second coming? Perhaps other sections deal with the Maccabees or AD 70 or the New Testament age?”

We observe that Zechariah 14:1-15 consists of six clearly identifiable units: 1-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8, 9-11 and 12-15. Note that there is a temporal indicator in each of the six portions. Verse 1 speaks of “the day of the Lord,” taking care of the first section (1-2). As for the next portion (3-5), it contains the phrase “in that day” (4), referring back to “the day of the Lord” (1), and it predicts the Lord’s coming with all His holy ones (5). The first verse of the next three sections (6-7, 8, 9-11) all include “in that day” (6, 8, 9). This same temporal indicator also occurs in verse 13 in the last unit (12-15).

Furthermore, we will see in our future instalments on Zechariah 14, DV, that everything in the passage fits with this interpretation and nothing opposes it. Rev. Stewart

 

The Order of Regeneration and Faith

Galatians 3:2, 14 reads, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” A reader comments, “This would seem to suggest that faith comes before regeneration, but we believe that regeneration is immediate and faith the result. Could you please explain?”

The question of the place of faith in the order of salvation as applied to the elect has exercised the church for many years. This was especially true of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands. The great Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck, even wrote a book entitled Roeping en Wedergeborte (English: Saved by Grace: The Holy Spirit’s Work in Calling and Regeneration). I believe that the order of salvation is regeneration, calling, faith, justification, sanctification and glorification. But Bavinck placed calling before regeneration for he believed in mediate regeneration, that is, regeneration by means of the preaching of the gospel. He reckoned that God used the call of the preaching to regenerate the elect, but totally depraved, sinner and so give him faith.

That discussion especially concerned the relationship between regeneration and calling through the preaching of the gospel. The present question is the relation between faith and regeneration. Nevertheless, the two are closely related.

It seems to me that there is an assumption of the questioner, namely, that the faith referred to is the conscious faith of the believer whereby he looks to Christ as his only Saviour and Lord. But Galatians 3:2-5 is not referring to the initial work of the Spirit by which God saves the sinner but to the extraordinary signs of the Holy Ghost, such as performing miracles (cf. 5), etc. These gifts were the fruit of conscious faith in Christ.

Regeneration, in which God begins His work of salvation in the heart of the elect sinner, is the gift of the new life that Christ earned for His people by His cross and resurrection (I Pet. 1:3). This work of the Holy Spirit occurs below our consciousness and principally contains in it the whole of our salvation: faith, conversion, justification, sanctification and glorification (Eph. 1:3). The “seed” of regeneration (I Pet. 1:23; I John 3:9) develops into all the other blessings consciously received by the child of God. It develops as an acorn contains the entire oak in seed form but does not produce the whole oak until it grows into a tree.

It is my judgment that Galatians 3:2-5 teaches that the Holy Spirit gave some in the early church the power to do miracles, speak in other languages, etc. My ground for saying this is that Paul speaks of receiving the Spirit “by the hearing of faith.” The genitive “of faith” is a genitive of source, that is, hearing has its source in faith. One must have faith (as a power) before one can truly hear the gospel and lay hold on it (faith as an activity). One will only hear the gospel, in the sense of believing it to be the saving Word of Christ to him, if the Spirit has first worked faith in his heart.

There is the two-edged sword of the gospel. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 13:13, where He quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 to explain the (unbelieving) hearing of the gospel by those who do not have faith: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” To those who believe, Christ proclaims, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16).

Now we need to say more about the order of salvation with regard to faith and regeneration. The Arminian heresy teaches that one must, by one’s own free will, ask for regeneration before one receives it. It was this carnal idea that faith precedes regeneration that prompted Billy Graham to write a book entitled, How to Be Born Again.

How foolish! One can no more give oneself the spiritual birth than one can give oneself a physical birth. Only those possessing spiritual life can manifest it in believing the gospel. Only those with a new heart can trust in Jesus Christ from the heart.

Without contradicting what has just been said and without falling into any form of Arminianism, there is a sense, however, in which regeneration and faith come logically and chronologically in exactly the same place in the order of salvation.

To explain, I need to distinguish more clearly two different aspects of faith: faith as a bond or a power and faith as an activity. Most are familiar with the latter so I will now set forth the former with the help of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7. The Catechism has spoken of the total depravity of those who are in the generations of Adam and Eve. The Catechism has said that the only way to be saved from this sinful state is by the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Then comes the inevitable question: “Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?” The answer is most emphatic: NO!

If all men are not saved, who then is saved? The answer is “only those who are ingrafted into [Christ] ... by a true faith.” The figure of grafting, used here, comes from John 15. It is a technique practised in horticulture. The figure is this. Christ is the vine. He lives out of His own life, which He gained through His mighty resurrection from the dead. Of ourselves, we are dead branches with no life. But we are grafted into Christ. It is His life that we receive at regeneration. It is new life, life free from sin, life greater than Adam possessed, life of covenant fellowship with the Triune God.

This life comes to us only through the bond of faith which grafts us into Christ. This is faith: the graft that binds us to Christ. Out of this graft or bond of faith comes the activity of faith, our receiving as truth all that God has revealed in His Word and resting in Jesus Christ crucified for all of our salvation.

Like regeneration, the graft of faith is given us by God without our being conscious of it at the time. This bond of faith is given to some covenant children even before they are born physically, like Jacob (Gen. 25:22-26; Hos. 12:3; Rom. 9:11-13). This faith puts us into union with Christ, our life. One cannot graft a branch into another tree without the life of the mother tree flowing into the branch. We received the life of Christ, eternal life, when we were born again or grafted into Him by a true faith. Out of this flows our conscious trusting of Him—the activity of faith. Let us abide in Christ and His love, as John 15 teaches! 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.html
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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Philippines Mission Newsletter - October 2018

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
OCTOBER 2018 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.), Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) ~

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.

ProvidentCC Oct 2018

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.

ProvCC officebearers 2018

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 ☺

Minister group Oct 2018

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.

In Christ,
Rev. Dan Holstege

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First PRC, Edmonton AB to Host Special Public Lecture THIS Friday Night, Nov.23

Edmon lecture pornography 2018

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.

Pornography Lecture battle 2

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