Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland


83 Clarence Street,

Ballymena BT42 3NR, Northern Ireland

Services: 11:00 A.M. & 6:00 P.M.


Pastor: Rev. Angus Stewart

7 Lislunnan Rd.

Kells, Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Northern Ireland BT42 3NR

Phone: (from U.S.A.) 011 (44) 28 25 891 851

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Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - June 2020

CPRC News Header

Dear saints,

Attached is the latest letter from the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena, N. Ireland.

It contains 5 sections:

  • End of Our Mission Field
  • Coronavirus Lockdown
  • Redirected Labours
  • Main Website Developments
  • Slowly Returning to Normality

Some highlights:

Regarding the number of translations in our top languages, we have 1 in the 500s (552 Italian), 1 in the 400s (483 Portuguese), 1 in the 300s (301 Hun-garian), 1 in the 200s (222 Spanish) and 4 in the 100s (169 German, 161 Burmese, 150 Indonesian and 138 Afrikaans). Especially to help new transla-tors, we created this webpage, “Translating for the CPRC Website: Questions and Answers” ( This would be a good link to send to anyone you think might be both willing and able to assist us with this project.

We designed, printed, collated and stapled 1,000 copies of a new CPRC Book catalogue (https://cprc.

After a lot of time because of red tape, we man-aged to prove to PayPal that the CPRC is indeed a charity, so that we could qualify for lower charges for using their services on our website. First, Mary enabled people in the UK to pay for our books and box sets of CDs or DVDs on-line by PayPal or bank transfer, and it has been working well ( Second, she set up a donation page, both for people in the UK (who can also contribute Gift Aid) and all the nations of the world by PayPal or bank transfer (https://cprc. Over the years, many people have asked us to set up such a webpage and several have used this service already. Third, saints from any country outside the UK (except America and Canada, for we do not want to “compete” with the RFPA) can now buy the products in our bookstore through PayPal or bank transfer, with the former being most convenient and least expensive for most people ( Our first international customer who used PayPal was a brother from France.

May the Lord be with you all,

Pastor Angus Stewart


Covenant Reformed News - June 2020

Covenant Reformed News

June 2020 • Volume XVIII, Issue 2

Faith Alone and Imputation

In three previous issues of the News, we have been considering Romans 4:2: “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” Let us now see how the argument of this Scripture applies to various groups.

Judaism teaches that obedience to the Torah merits before God. Roman Catholicism claims that man’s own good works, performed by cooperating with divine grace, are a crucial component in his righteousness before Jehovah. According to the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision, one’s personal obedience to the Most High in this life is part of the basis of one’s justification on the last day. In Islam, keeping sharia law in the service of Allah obtains righteousness before him. The liberal Protestant looks to his churchgoing, saying of prayers, etc., as grounds for his acceptance with God. The “man in the street” thinks that, since he is a “good person” who has (supposedly) “never hurt anyone,” God would never cast him into hell.

All such foolish claims constitute boasting—people boasting to themselves and boasting about themselves to others. But such boasting is of no value before the holy God of heaven. He beholds sin in all that we do (Rom. 3:9-20; Isa. 64:6). His standard is not human or religious opinion but His own perfect moral law (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). He is the One who sees the heart, which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), with all its evil intentions and motives (Heb. 4:12). As the infinitely majestic One, He demands that He always be glorified as the supreme goal of all our thinking, speaking and doing. The Psalmist was right: “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Thus justification cannot be by man’s works, even in the tiniest little part. This shuts us up to the grand gospel truth that father Abraham was justified by faith alone, which is developed in the three clauses of Romans 4:3.

This verse begins, “For what saith the scripture?” Literally, it refers to “the scripture,” namely, Genesis 15:6, which is quoted in the rest of Romans 4:3. This verse from the first book of the Bible is the locus classicus for justification by faith alone in the Old Testament, being cited in Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23, and explained in Romans 4.

“For what saith the scripture?” Romans 4:3 continues, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The text does not say, “Abraham worked, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” or even “Abraham believed and worked, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The Scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:2 rules out in toto man’s works in his justification, while verse 3 mentions faith as the only means of justification. To echo the apostle’s earlier statement, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (3:28).

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (4:3). There are three key words or phrases in the last clause. First, “it” refers back to “believed” and so speaks of faith. Second, “counted” means imputed or reckoned to one’s account. Third, “counted … for righteousness” is equivalent to God’s gracious justification, His declaration that we are righteous or just in His sight.

Here again we oppose not only Rome, but also the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision. In their corruption of the gospel, all of these heretical movements attack gracious imputation. Yet father Abraham’s being counted or imputed righteous occurs in Genesis 15:6, the foundational Old Testament Scripture, which is quoted in Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23, and developed in Romans 4 as the equivalent of justification.

Regarding the truth of imputation, the Canons of Dordt reject the classic Arminian heresy which states, “God, having revoked the demand of perfect obedience of the law, regards faith itself and the obedience of faith, although imperfect, as the perfect obedience of the law, and does esteem it worthy of the reward of eternal life through grace” (II:R:4).

Of course, “faith itself” is not “perfect obedience” to Jehovah’s holy law and it is absurd to reckon that He would regard or impute it as such. Nor can the infinitely just God reckon man’s imperfect obedience as if it were a full and complete keeping of His pure moral standards. The Canons are correct: “these [Arminians] proclaim, as did the wicked Socinus, a new and strange justification of man before God, against the consensus of the whole church” (II:R:4).

The Scriptures do not teach that the Triune God regards faith “as if it were” righteousness or accepts faith “instead of” righteousness, as some sort of substitute for perfect obedience to Jehovah’s law. This would be ascribing to man’s faith the place and role of Christ Himself. He is the true substitute of all elect believers, for the Lord Jesus is the One who died on the cross under the wrath of God instead of us, and the One who kept the law of God in our place and for us.

The Bible says that we believe “unto” righteousness (Rom. 10:10) or that faith is reckoned to us “for” righteousness (e.g., Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3, 5, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6), not that faith is imputed to us “instead of” righteousness or “as if it were” righteousness.

Faith’s unique role in justification is that of the means or instrument that lays hold of the righteousness of God in Christ. Faith looks outside itself and away from itself to the righteousness of another, even the Lord Jesus, whose righteousness it appropriates. Faith is counted to us for righteousness as the only means by which we receive Christ’s obedience reckoned to our account! Rev. Angus Stewart


The Well-Meant Offer and Organic Unity (1)

I wish to apologize to readers of the News for not answering their questions sooner. One reason was the volume of questions; the other reason was my determination to complete my treatment of God’s organic dealings with His creation over several issues.

This is a fundamental difference between the Reformed faith and the Arminianism that includes the notion of a gracious offer of the gospel in which God supposedly expresses His affection for absolutely all men and, in that love, passionately desires to save the reprobate. This is rank heresy and a denial of God’s purpose in the preaching (Isa. 6:9-10; II Cor. 2:15-17). I have received a number of questions concerning this error and the teaching of Scripture. I will now respond to one of them, Romans 11:28, though briefly, in the light of what I have written earlier.

There is one warning, however. The defence of the gracious offer of the gospel to absolutely everybody is usually done by a very random and sometimes arbitrary choice of texts. Advocates of this view jump rapidly from verse to verse without carefully considering them in the light of the whole of God’s Word.

I follow Martin Luther’s view of Scripture. Heretics, he said, can always find a text that is supposed to prove their point. If one makes this his way of using Scripture, he can make Scripture teach anything he wants to prove. Luther believed that the Scriptures are an organic whole. I believe that too. The whole of Scripture is a portrait of our Lord Jesus Christ, the revelation of the God of our salvation. If one is painting a portrait, one cannot present the subject’s eyes without taking into account the whole portrait.

My Bible teacher in high school, himself belonging to a domination other than the one to which I belong, warned us of taking a verse out of its immediate context and the context of the whole of Scripture. He told us, in an unforgettable illustration, that he could prove from Scripture that we ought soon to commit suicide, quoting the following texts: “[Judas] went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5); “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37); “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).

While that may seem far-fetched, it is like what Arminians do. They quote John 3:16, for example, without considering the following verses or John 17:9 or Romans 9 or our Lord’s prayer in Matthew 11:25-27, where He thanks His heavenly Father that He has revealed the truth to some and hidden it from others.

It is somewhat wearisome to run after these Arminians as they, like bumble bees, flit from text to text without carefully studying any of them. Nor do the defenders of this position do their homework before coming up with question after question. Let them read Reformed literature, such as, Arthur Pink’s The Sovereignty of God or my recent book, Corrupting the Word of God, on the history of the doctrine of the well-meant offer of the gospel. (Both books are available from the CPRC Bookstore for £8 and £15, respectively, plus 10% P&P.)

Now to the Scripture: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom. 11:28).

This verse is a clear illustration of the principle that a text’s interpretation must be considered in the light of its context. The context in Romans 9–11 clearly indicates that Paul is answering the question, If the gospel is being preached to the Gentiles, has God forgotten His people, the Jews? Paul answers, first of all, by saying that election and reprobation were worked out by God throughout the physical descendants of Abraham: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (9:13). Not all Israelites were saved; just read Romans 9:6-8! It is, therefore, a violation of Scripture to interpret “they” in Romans 11:28, as meaning all men head for head. It refers only to the nation of Israel and that as organically conceived.

Because of their unique place in history, the Jews as a nation are not considered as Jews head for head but as a nation that occupies a special place in God’s working out of His purpose of salvation in Christ. The nation of Israel’s special place is defined in Romans 9:4-5. Therefore, as Paul discusses the gospel preached also to the Gentiles, he uses the figure of an olive tree: Israel is the natural olive tree; the Gentiles are of the wild olive tree (11:16-24). Each branch is a generation as it grows. Once a branch of a wild olive tree is cut off, that branch (those who believe not the gospel) is lost forever.

But this is not true of the Jews. Because they are the “beloved,” the nation, organically considered, was cut down but individual Jews can yet be saved, a privilege denied the nations of the Gentiles. This privilege is granted only to the Jews. Election determines who among the Jews is saved. Therefore, the reprobate Jews are “enemies” for the sake of the Gentiles, to make room for these Gentiles in the olive tree (11:11ff.).

The questioner asks for a book that deals specifically with Romans 11:28. Let him order Herman Hoeksema’s commentary on Romans, Righteous By Faith Alone (£20 plus 10% P&P), where he will find a detailed explanation of this matter. Prof. Herman Hanko

Rev. Stewart will be interviewed by phone on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio on “Regeneration: God’s Gift of a New Heart” on Thursday, 25 June, from 4-6 PM (Eastern Time in the US) or 9-11 PM (UK time), DV. Listen live on-line ( The audio of the previous interview on the new birth, “Supernatural and Infallible Regeneration: Most Delightful, Astonishing, Mysterious and Ineffable” (cf. Canons III/IV:12), is on a special webpage containing sermons, articles, and box sets of CDs and DVDs on this beautiful subject (

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: • Live broadcast:
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

Covenant Reformed News - March 2020

Covenant Reformed News

March 2020 • Volume XVII, Issue 23

COVID-19 and Christian Doctrine

The doctrinal framework provided by the inspired Scriptures is necessary for us to understand rightly the coronavirus pandemic. The Christian worldview makes sense of COVID-19, giving us comfort and peace in the Lord Jesus during these unsettled times. In this short article, we will see how the coronavirus fits within the six main heads of biblical doctrine (somewhat rearranged): 1) God, 2) man, 3) Christ, 4) the end times, 5) the church and 6) salvation. So do not be troubled or shaken!

1) God. The true and living God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His wisdom, power, love, faithfulness, holiness and justice. As such, the Most High is the sole Creator, universal Ruler and supreme Judge. He is absolutely sovereign, as the One who “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph. 1:11)—including the coronavirus—for “none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:35).

2) Man. Unlike the angels, human beings have a physical body, including lungs, which are especially attacked by COVID-19. Unlike the animals, man possesses a spirit and does not merely cease to exist at death like a dog (Ecc. 12:7), contrary to the myth of evolutionism with its lies that provide false consolation to millions.

Through the fall of Adam, our representative head, the entire human race, Christ excepted, is conceived and born in sin, and totally depraved by nature (Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12-21). As a rational, moral creature, man has a conscience (Rom. 2:15), a sense of right and wrong, and a fear of death and divine judgment (Heb. 2:15). This is why many unbelievers are so scared of this plague.

3) Christ. As the Son of God and the Son of man, our Lord Jesus is fully God and fully man. Through His perfect obedience in a sinless life and a substitutionary death, our Saviour is “Lord both of the dead and living” (Rom. 14:9). The crucified and risen Christ is now enthroned in heaven, executing God’s eternal decree and ruling over all things in providence.

He is the Lamb who, upon His exaltation, received the book from the hand of the Triune God and opens the seven seals, including the fourth seal with its pale horse (Rev. 5-6). Its rider, Death, employs especially four terrible means to kill people: war, famine, wild beasts and pestilence, including the coronavirus (Rev. 6:8; cf. Eze. 14:21).

4) End times. The Lord Jesus lists some of the signs of His return in Matthew 24:7: “[a] nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be [b] famines, and [c] pestilences, and [d] earthquakes, in divers places” (cf. Luke 21:10-11). The pestilence of COVID-19 is certainly “in divers places,” such as China, Italy, Iran, Spain, USA, Germany, S. Korea and, indeed, almost all the countries of the earth.

These worldwide afflictions not only reveal that the holy God of heaven judges sinful man on earth, but they are also harbingers of the second coming of Christ and the final judgment. How often our Lord Jesus promises in the Book of Revelation, “Surely I come quickly!” This is our one “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).

5) Church. The most obvious effect of the coronavirus upon the church is that of disruption. Sunday worship services, catechism classes, Bible studies, etc., are either cancelled or severely curtailed all around the world. Outside one’s own household, there is little or no communion between the saints in the way of physical contact or face-to-face meetings. The Christian sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper are in abeyance.

Instead of going to Lord’s day services, many must use CDs or DVDs or audio cassettes or books. Others have access to on-line sermons or live webcasting. Currently, the CPRC live streams, by video and audio, prayer and the reading and exposition of the Word from our church building at the same time as our regular Sunday services: 11am and 6pm ( We are looking forward to the day when we can sing Psalm 122:1 together again: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Meanwhile, let us intercede for one another and fellowship with each other by phone or on-line.

6) Salvation. As regards the application to us of our redemption in Christ, it is still absolutely gracious and certain, according to God’s unchangeable will, for “whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:30)!

So what is Jehovah doing with His elect, reconciled and regenerate people through the coronavirus? The divine goal and result with His saints in this life—even now!—is the same as it has always been and will always be: conforming us “to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29)!

How is our heavenly Father doing this during this pandemic, when the official preaching of the Word and the sacraments in the (physical) gathering of believers and their seed for public worship on the Lord’s day are temporarily denied to us? (During these days of COVID-19, Psalms 42, 43, 63, 84, 137, etc., are more poignant.)

We recall that there are other means that God especially uses at times like these: earnest prayer (have you been growing cold?), the reading of the sacred Scriptures (maybe you have been neglecting the Word?), the study of Reformed books (for which you may not have had much time of late), etc. Jehovah will graciously use these spiritual means, in connection with our present trials, for “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28)!

So let us not worry about the future but trust our merciful heavenly Father (Matt. 6:24-34; Phil. 4:6-8), who will use this plague, as He formerly used a terrible famine, for His people’s salvation and everlasting “good” (Gen. 50:20). Rev. Stewart

Check out our new “Coronavirus Resources Page,” which includes recent sermons on “The Coronavirus and the Fourth Horseman” and “The Six Seals and the Coronavirus.”

The Idea of the Organic in Scripture (8)

In the last issue of the News, I was dealing with the question of the difference between God loving all men absolutely and “offering” salvation to all men on the one hand, and His commanding all men to believe in Christ on the other hand. One can consult that article for the details. The defenders of the gospel as a loving offer to everybody head for head confuse the command of the gospel with a mere offer. This is inexcusable exegesis. Even in every-day speech, who confuses an offer with a command?

The appeal of the questioner we were answering in our last article is based on II Corinthians 5:20. In this text, Paul says that, as an ambassador of the gospel of Christ, he “beseeches” the Corinthians to be “reconciled to God” through faith in Jesus. The offer defenders appeal to the word “beseech.” On that word and similar words in Scripture, they hang their doctrinal error of God’s universal love and tender plea to absolutely everyone to believe in Christ.

I pointed out in the last article that words similar to the word “beseech” indicate the seriousness of God’s command that comes to all men to believe in Christ. God means what He says when He commands all men to forsake sin and believe in the gospel. He does not play games. Several remarks must be added to this.

Historically, the Reformed churches have always made a distinction between the will of God’s command and the will of God’s decree. The doctrine of election and reprobation belongs to the will of God’s decree; the will of God’s command is that all men forsake their sin and believe in Christ. Yet the will of God’s command is related to the will of His decree, for the will of His command is the means God uses to execute the will of His decree of reprobation so that reprobation is accomplished by God in the way of wicked man’s rejection of the gospel. The doctrine of a well-meant offer to all, rooted in an alleged divine desire to save everybody, has crowded out the doctrine of sovereign double predestination. This refusal to believe the truth of divine predestination is not only rooted in its inherent conflict with the idea of a well-meant offer, but historically those who hold tenaciously to a well-meant offer of the gospel have denied, or ended up denying, double predestination.

Such has been the nature of the preaching of the gospel throughout history—even in the Old Testament times. Even then, the gospel always came with the command to forsake sin and believe the promise of God that He would send the Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ.

And so God has worked through the ages. The gospel was preached to the organism of the nation of Israel, including elect and reprobate. The gospel was always the same: it included an urgent command to all who heard it to repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ—in the old dispensation to believe in the promise of the coming of Christ as the Seed of the woman. But that command, preached to the organism of the nation, came to the elect as well as the reprobate, for the elect had to repent and believe the promise of Christ, as well as the reprobate. That was the command of God that came to all.

But along with that command came also the promise that whoever believed in Christ would receive eternal life in Him. That promise too came to all who heard the gospel. Those who rejected God’s command and scorned His promise were damned; those who believed the promise, forsook their sin and repented were saved.

So it is also in the new dispensation. In the organism of the church, this is always the command of the gospel: repent and believe! Never is that gospel to be reduced to a mere loving offer to all men absolutely, for that is a caricature of the gospel, and does terrible despite to the only true and sovereign God.

From God‘s point of view, the true preaching of the gospel that I have described is the means He uses to accomplish His purpose of election and reprobation, for the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation” to all who believe (Rom. 1:16). God gives the gift of faith to His elect whom He knows eternally as His own (John 17:9). Whereas, He hardens the reprobate who reject the gospel and mock His command to repent.

God works in this way because He does not treat men as robots, so that the elect believe because God pushes the right button. My minister used to say that God does not take the elect to heaven in the top bunk of a Pullman sleeper. He works in them so that they actually do believe. Nor does God work in the reprobate in such a way that they reject the gospel because God compels them to reject it. Adam was created capable of doing all the things that God commanded him, but he rebelled and now his descendants show their wicked rebellion by turning their backs on Jehovah and remaining in the slime of sin.

The figure that Scripture uses to explain this truth is found in Isaiah 55:10-11 and Hebrews 6:7-8. It is the figure of rain that falls on the earth, and waters both herbs and weeds. The rain is responsible for the herbs bearing food and it is responsible for the growth of the weeds so that they manifest themselves as weeds. The same is true of our Lord’s teaching in the parable of the four kinds of soil, and the parable of the wheat and tares (Matt. 13:3-30, 36-43).

Yet it must also be remembered that the gospel is preached to an organism, whether a nation, a church or a family. Hence, in John 15:1-8, Jesus compares the nation of Israel to branches. Christ Himself is the vine and God is the husbandman. There are branches in the vine that bear fruit and there are branches that do not bear fruit. The latter are those who do not turn from their wicked way (in Jesus’ day, particularly worshipping God in outward and formal law-keeping to gain salvation by the works of the law). The former are those who confess that only by faith in Christ can they be saved (in Jesus’ day, Nicodemus, the Marys, the disciples, the thief on the cross, etc.). Prof. Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: • Live broadcast:
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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Each meditation expresses the knowing, desiring, feeling and acting of the faith of the heart that is near to God and in fellowship with Him in Christ by the Holy Spirit.

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Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - February 2020

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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church Ballymena, NI

February 20, 2020

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Due to the pressure of work—mostly good, beneficial, and rewarding work—it is now six months since my last letter. The bimonthly epistle is now biannual!

Congregational News

The new church season began in early September with ten catechumens, eight boys and two girls, in three classes: Old Testament Juniors, New Testament Seniors and Essentials of Reformed Doctrine. The covenant children are doing well.

“Saving Faith: A Biblical and Theological Analysis” is the current subject of our Tuesday morning meetings. So far we have treated the significance, necessity, source, subject, object, bond, and knowledge of faith. Our heavenly Father uses our increased understanding of faith to build up our faith in His Son (Eph. 4:13)!

Our Belgic Confession classes concluded their treatment of Article 35 with six classes on “The Holy Supper of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” now in a handy box set entitled, “Who Is to Eat and Drink What?” The subjects addressed are controversial in our day: “Open, Close, or Closed Communion?” “Paedocommunion?” “Private Communion?” “Five Issues Regarding the Wine,” “Leavened or Unleavened Bread?” and “The Partaking of Unbelievers and Believers.”

Our twelve classes so far on “The Magistrates” (Belgic Confession 36) have especially considered the Bible’s teaching against civil rebellion plus Anabaptist political theory, both revolutionary (e.g., the Münster rebellion of 15341535) and pacifist (e.g., the Schleitheim Confession of 1527).

Almost 300 of these wide-ranging doctrine classes on 36 of the 37 articles of the Belgic Confession can be listened to free on-line ( These are among our website’s most hit audios.

The last two Lord’s day series were “The Idolatry of Micah and Dan” (seven sermons on Judges 17-18, a deeply unsettling passage) and “Practical Christianity” (13 sermons on James 1), treating especially temptation (vv. 2-17) and regeneration with its calling (vv. 18-27). Currently, I am preaching through the wonderful book of Daniel, with its gripping narratives and fascinating eschatology.

David Crossett was installed as a new deacon (15 September, 2019). The Lord in His mercy continues to provide us with faithful officebearers.

“William Tyndale: English Bible Translator” was the subject of this year’s CPRC Reformation day lecture (25 October, 2019). The day before, the Ballymena Guardian carried an advertisement and an article we sent them on this great Reformer who laboured diligently so that the ploughboy would know more of the Scriptures than the corrupt priests. Tyndale was eventually betrayed and martyred for the truth of God’s Word outside Brussels. The speech was accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation ( watch?v=np7Bxbspl00).

Various improvements have been made to our church property. Our overflow car park was levelled with road plainings (crushed tarmac)—a very nice job. The inside of the church building was repainted, and we purchased new tables for congregational tea and sandwiches, etc.

New CPRC Website

Mary continues to make a lot of important improvements to our new and secure website ( She has added “redirects” from all of the 5,000 or so webpages of our old website (apart from the old Sunday bulletins), bringing many more people to the updated and improved version.

On 21 November, Mary added a new statistics plug-in. Since then, these are the top ten countries in terms of people on our website: 1) United States, 2) Indonesia, 3) Hong Kong, 4) Singapore, 5) Brazil, 6) China, 7) United Kingdom, 8) South Africa, 9) Germany, and 10) Philippines. Interestingly, four of the sister churches of our communion are in the top 10: USA, Singapore, UK, and the Philippines. Canada used to be number 10 but it has dropped to number 11.

Various factors are involved in a nation’s hits and, therefore, its ranking, including a combination of the following: the population of a country (e.g., China, USA, and Indonesia have hundreds of millions of people); the number of its professing Christians (e.g., there are many in USA, China, South Africa, and the Philippines); its internet usage (e.g., it is very high in Hong Kong and Singapore); its peoples’ knowledge of English (e.g., it is the main language in USA, UK, and Singapore, and about half of Hong Kongers speak it); and the number of CPRC translations in the language(s) of a country (e.g., we have over 500 articles in Portuguese, the language of Brazil, and a good number in Indonesian, Afrikaans, and German).

At the other end of the scale, we have had three days on which someone from the British Antarctic Territory has had his or her heart warmed by the materials on our website. Someone from the Vatican was on Perhaps it was the Pope?

Those in the UK can now order excellent RFPA books, our CD and DVD box sets, and free pamphlets, and make payments by bank transfer, on the CPRC website. Mary is researching the best way to enable orders (including calculating postage) and receive payments from those in the rest of the world.

The CPRC Sunday services and lectures are now available on a podcast on video and audio. This is not yet the case with our Wednesday night Belgic Confession classes—one of many things to be sorted out in the days ahead.


Mary’s dad, Fred Hanko, went to glory on 28 December, 2019. Her mother, Ruth, was called home earlier in the year (8 February). They were (and are) wonderful people and are sorely missed. Mary and I joined family and friends for Dad’s funeral in Michigan, ably led by Rev. Clay Spronk in Faith PRC (3 January, 2020). Thank you for your prayers and cards.On Sunday, 5 January, I preached twice in Cornerstone PRC— good to see the saints there again—before flying back home from O’Hare Airport the next day.

Rev. Ken Koole kindly preached for the CPRC on 5 January, when we were in Indiana, and 12 January, when we were in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, for Rev. Martyn McGeown was in Australia speaking in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brisbane and at their youth camp.

I delivered two lectures in South Wales: “The Peace Offering” (5 September, 2019) and “William Tyndale: English Bible Translator” (23 January, 2020). It is always good to bring the truth to, and fellowship with, the saints in Wales.

Since my last letter, we have added 100 translations to our website, including 68 ecumenical creeds in Bulgarian, Haitian Creole, Kazakh, Maori, Mongolian, etc. (https://cprc. The others are 11 Hungarian, 7 Tamil (our Reformed forms); 7 Spanish (including those by a pastor in Lima, Peru, who is translating articles on the development of the doctrine of the covenant); 3 German; 3 Russian (the last chapters of Be Ye Holy, so that now all of this BRF book is on-line in Russian); and 1 Romanian (Saved by Grace, an excellent RFPA book by Prof. Cammenga and Rev. Hanko).

The CPRC YouTube page has now reached 300,000 hits ( Stephen Murray has put a lot of work into this over many years. We are adding the Scripture texts in parentheses after the sermon titles for search engine optimization. So far this has been done for the last 600 videos but there are many more yet to do!

The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference booking forms are now available ( “Union With Christ” is the theme that will be developed by Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning in the six main addresses at Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland (11-18 July). John William Perkins is to give a special lecture on “Union with the Free Will of Christ in the English Puritans.” Already we have had about 80 confirmed bookings, a lot more than we have had at this stage for any of the 15 previous BRF conferences. A good number of countries will be represented, and it promises to be an enriching time of Christian teaching and fellowship.

May the Lord be with you all,

Rev. & Mary Stewart


Covenant Reformed News - February 2020

Covenant Reformed News

February 2020 • Volume XVII, Issue 22

Justification and Romans 4

A clear understanding and a deep love of the gospel truth of justification is even more necessary in our day than before, because now there are three main views of justification and not just two.

According to (1) Reformation Protestantism, which sets forth the truth of the inspired Scriptures, justification is God’s declaring someone righteous (through faith alone in the Person and work of Jesus Christ). According to (2) Roman Catholicism, justification is making someone righteous. According to (3) the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision (heresies arising in nominally Protestant churches), justification is declaring someone a member of the covenant community. The person’s good works constitute the grounds for his or her acceptance before God.

You will notice that this third position is a strange amalgam of parts of the first two views. The New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision, like Protestantism, see justification as involving a declaration but, unlike Protestantism, it is not a declaration that someone is righteous in the sight of God on the basis of the righteousness of Christ; it is a declaration that someone is a member of the covenant community or church. The New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision are like Rome in that they see justification as involving making the person righteous. New Perspectivism, Federal Visionism and Roman Catholicism are also alike in that they preach the false gospel of justification and salvation by man’s works.

Though various places in Scripture could have been chosen, especially in Romans or Galatians, Romans 4 is a particularly good chapter on the gospel of justification, over against the heresies of the New Perspective on Paul, the Federal Vision and the Church of Rome.

First, Romans 4 contains many of the key subjects and themes that are so closely related to justification, such as, Abraham and David, faith and the promise, works and the law, circumcision and the covenant, and Jews and Gentiles.

Second, Romans 4 has many references to God’s imputation: His counting or reckoning righteousness to believers. Imputation is an accounting term that refers to something being reckoned to a person’s account. Perhaps never before has imputation been so viciously attacked, denied and mocked, not only by Rome but also by the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision. Out of the 25 verses in Romans 4, a full 11 of them speak of God’s act of imputing, counting or reckoning righteousness (and not sin) to believers. These 11 verses occur in three clusters (3, 4, 5, 6; 8, 9, 10, 11; 22, 23, 24).

Third, Romans 4 especially demonstrates that the five solas of the Reformation are biblical. Justification is (1) by faith alone (sola fide), (2) through grace alone (sola gratia), (3) in Christ alone (solus Christus), (4) according to Scripture alone (sola Scriptura) and (5) to the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:8). Blessed be God’s great name for His gracious reckoning of Christ’s righteousness to us unworthy sinners! Rev. Stewart


The Idea of the Organic in Scripture (7)

It is time to return to answering questions. More particularly, we shall deal with questions that imply that common grace and the well-meant offer of salvation can be reconciled with the Bible’s teaching on the organic unity of the human race.

All ideas connected to the well-meant offer of the gospel run up against this important teaching of Scripture. Arminianism, as I have said before, is individualistic; Scripture’s teachings are the opposite of this. According to Arminianism, man must accept God’s offer of love so that Christ can enter his heart. However, Scripture teaches that the elect church is the body of Christ. God saves a body, predestined from eternity as Christ’s body, by grace alone and through faith alone.

Salvation is of a body. I believe I am saved, that is, part of Christ’s body. But I am such only because of fellow saints who are also part of Christ’s body. I cannot and will not go to heaven except the whole body is saved. I am a part of the predetermined whole. Only if the whole body is saved can I be saved. The body of Christ, composed of the elect, can only be saved in its entirety—not simply parts of it. The body of Christ is perfect.

The history of the world is the history of God’s work of separating the chaff (the reprobate and impenitent wicked) from the wheat (Ps. 1); the bad fish from the good fish (Matt. 13:47-48); the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-40).

Jehovah prunes the vine (John 15:1-8). In the broadest sense of the word, one could speak of the whole human race as a vine, many branches of which are pruned off so that the grapes may grow and flourish. The vine in John 15, in the narrow and strict sense, is the Jewish nation and later the visible Christian church with the branches of that vine being cut off, while only those who abide in Christ are saved.

While the tares are left to grow with the wheat in history, the separation begins while men live on earth and is completed at the time of the harvest. A corn plant is one plant with roots, stalk, tassel, pollen, cob and the corn kernels. The whole plant is necessary for the growth of the kernels. When the corn is ripe, the entire plant, except for the kernels, is destroyed. It has served its purpose.

The reprobate are for the purpose of the elect, as scaffolding is necessary for building the temple of God (Eph. 2:20-22). Even Cyrus, ungodly king of Persia, is called God’s “shepherd” in Isaiah 44:28. Though he was a reprobate, God used him to bring Judah’s captive people back to Canaan at the end of 70 years. There is, in fact, an old tradition that claims that this passage in Isaiah was communicated to King Cyrus by the Jews, which passage prompted him to release the captives for their return.

Question 1: “I heard a sermon on Hosea 9:15 that explains the text as if it teaches that the immutable God changes.”

The verse reads, “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.”

It is important to note that the explanation of this text as referring to a change in God is a heresy that is necessary in order to defend the well-meant offer of the gospel. God loves all men, but, after all, comes to hate them and sends them to hell. That is a massive change!

To deny God’s immutability is a direct repudiation of Scripture: “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). With “the Father of lights,” there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

The question assumes, of course, that once God loved these wicked people whom God says He hates. There is no proof in the text that this is so.

Nevertheless, the question does bring up an important point that relates directly to our discussion of the organic dealings of God with men.

Gilgal, Where God Hated Israel,” a sermon on Hosea 9:15, is available free on-line.

The same reader sends in other passages cited by Arminians who appeal to them as if they proved a divine love for all men. Many of the texts are totally irrelevant to our discussion and I cannot use this column to answer the irrelevant ones.

Question 2: “II Corinthians 5:19-20 and 6:1-2 speak of the apostles (and, by extension, the church) being entrusted with the ‘word of reconciliation.’ The passage says that we are to ‘beseech’ men to be ‘reconciled to God.’ Preachers are called ‘ambassadors’ who pray in ‘Christ’s stead,’ pleading for his hearers ‘to receive not the grace of God in vain’ and informing them that ‘now is the day of salvation.’ How are we to understand these verses without referring to a well-meant offer of grace and reconciliation through Christ on the part of God to all who outwardly hear the gospel?”

This question brings us to the heart of the issue, the preaching of the gospel, and must be carefully considered.

The first point that must be made is that the heresy of the well-meant gospel offer confuses a command of God to all men to believe in Christ with a gracious offer to everybody. The Bible has many commands to all who hear the gospel, for they must forsake sin and believe in Christ.

It seems to me that this distinction is, as my seminary professor was wont to say, as clear as the sun in the heavens. I cannot see why anyone not bent on teaching heresy can possibly confuse God’s command to believe with a loving offer to the reprobate of an available salvation that He will give to him if only he believes. The only sense one can make of it is a denial of total depravity: man can of his own power of will accept the offer Christ makes to them. A denial of total depravity is a fatal error that ultimately destroys the whole truth of sovereign grace.

Wherever we preach the gospel, we are commanded to confront everyone with the command to believe. We tell them that they are under solemn obligation to trust in Christ or else they will earn for themselves everlasting hell. It is a fact that God is in dead earnest when He tells man that he must trust in Christ crucified and risen.

The reason why God commands all men to believe is this: He created man capable of perfect obedience. Man’s loss of the ability to believe is not God’s fault but man’s own fault. God is just and still requires that men obey Him; His command is that man, even in his fallen state, obey God. God does not say, as it were, “Oh, you poor man. You disobeyed me but that’s alright. I still love you and I will save you, if you want to be saved.”

The Heidelberg Catechism faces this question already in Lord’s Day 4: “Doth not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in His law that which he cannot perform?” The Catechism tells us that this is not true for the Most High is just. The sinner must still do what God commands.

In The Triple Knowledge, his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Herman Hoeksema uses an apt illustration. It goes like this. I contract with a builder to build me a house. He wants his money before starting the project and I give it to him. If he takes this cash, squanders it on an around-the-world cruise with his family and comes back broke, he is still under obligation to build me a house. If he refuses to do the job, pleading a lack of money, I may take him to court so that he fulfils his promise. He may not plead inability, for I made him able to build the house. By his sin, he put himself in a position that he cannot do it. Certainly, that sin of his does not release him from his obligation.

The Synod of Dordt, in its battle against the Arminians of its day, who also taught a well-meant offer of the gospel rooted in an alleged divine love for all men, specifically enjoined upon the Reformed churches the calling to preach the gospel of the cross to all men with two parts to that gospel: (1) everyone who hears the gospel is under solemn obligation to believe in Christ and (2) the promise of salvation is that God will save all who believe.

I am not fond of the word “plead,” which the questioner uses (although the text does not use it) but God is serious when He commands men to believe in Christ. He is not playing games; He is not “teasing” men; He is not playing a joke. It is the will of His command that man do indeed believe in Christ. God, after all, created him in such a way that he was capable of obeying God in all things. God does not ever release him from this solemn obligation. The decisions of the Synod of Dordt make this clear too. They can be found in Canons III/IV:8-9.

But what I said in this article in the News is not the whole story. The rest of the story is also necessary. But that must wait until next time, DV. Prof. Hanko

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

27 February, 2020
 7:15 PM

Rev. Martyn McGeown

(pastor of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Rep. of Ireland)

The Canon of Sacred Scripture

All Christians view the Bible as the Word of God but where did the 66 books of Scripture come from? How do we know that these books, and no others, belong in the Bible? Who decided which books are the Word of God? Did the church determine this? Does the Bible derive its authority from the church or from somewhere else? Come to hear an explanation of the Bible, its authority and its relationship to the church! 

Margam Community Centre
Bertha Road, Margam,
Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

Book Table (including DVDs, CDs & free pamphlets) 
Coffee & tea provided afterward

British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference

11-18 July, 2020

in Castlewellan Castle, 
Co. Down, N. Ireland

Union With Christ

Main Speakers:
Prof. David J. Engelsma &
Rev. Andrew Lanning

Join Reformed believers from many countries around the world for a week of edifying lectures, enjoyable day trips and plenty of free time for fellowship. For more information and booking forms, see the website below.

For God’s Glory & the Church’s Consolation

edited by
Ronald Cammenga

(320 pp. Softback)

This powerful book defends and promotes the Bible’s teachings on particular salvation as systematized in the Canons of Dordt (1618-1619) with special focus on the gospel call, the covenant, reprobation and assurance. It also covers the significance, polemics, sessions and church polity of Dordt.The chapters of this book were written by Prof. Douglas Kuiper, Rev. Angus Stewart, Prof. Brian Huizinga, Rev. Mark Shand, Rev. William Langerak, Prof. Ronald Cammenga and Prof. Barry Gritters.  

£14.30 (inc. P&P) 

Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells,
N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Who Is to Eat What?

6 classes on
Belgic Confession 35 (Vol. XXXI)
on CD in an
attractive box set

Who is to partake of the Lord’s Supper? Children? A man in a bed in hospital? A stranger who turns up at communion service, unknown to anybody? Will Ribena do instead of wine? Ought the bread of the Lord’s Supper be unleavened? These 6 classes deal with practical issues arising in connection with the second sacrament that Christ gave His beloved church.

(1) Open, Close or Closed Communion? (II Cor. 3:1-8)
(2) Paedocommunion?
(I Cor. 11:17-34)
(3) Private Communion?
(I Cor. 11:17-34)
(4) Five Issues Regarding the Wine (Matt. 26:26-29)
(5) Leavened or Unleavened Bread? (John 6:5-13, 35-41)
(6) The Partaking of Unbelievers and Believers (John 6:53-71)

£6/box set (inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Covenant Reformed News - January 2020

Covenant Reformed News

January 2020 • Volume XVII, Issue 21

The Two Aspects of Regeneration

We may biblically and helpfully distinguish two stages or aspects or senses of regeneration, also known as the new birth or our being spiritually begotten.

First, there is immediate regeneration. At the very start of His applying to us the salvation the Lord Jesus purchased for us, God plants the seed of the new life of Christ in us sovereignly by the Holy Spirit and apart from any means.

Second, there is mediate regeneration. Jehovah sovereignly uses the means of His Word to bring to manifestation the new life already planted in us. Through the power of the gospel, God brings us to conscious faith in the Lord Jesus and causes us to repent of our sins against His holy law.

Both of these aspects or stages or senses of regeneration are taught in I Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

The prepositions in this Scripture are crucial. First, there is “of”—we were “born again, not [out] of corruptible seed, but [out] of incorruptible.” God places the incorruptible seed of life deep inside us. The second preposition is “by”—we were “born again … by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Both aspects or stages go together in the elect who come to the age of discretion. We were “born again … [1] [out] of [the] incorruptible [seed], [2] by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Herman Hoeksema makes the following fine remarks on I Peter 1:23, explaining its highly significant use of two different Greek prepositions: “The apostle makes a very careful distinction here. This is especially plain from the use of the different prepositions. We are born again, ‘not of [ek] corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,’ and we are born again ‘by [dia] the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.’ By this distinction the apostle means to describe carefully the mode of regeneration. The seed of regeneration, that is, the principle of the new life, is implanted by the Holy Spirit in the heart. From that seed or principle sprouts forth the life of regeneration … through the … living and abiding Word of God [that is] proclaimed” (Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2, pp. 30, 31).

Let me now show you four New Testament Scriptures on mediate regeneration, the second stage or aspect of the new birth: God’s use of the means of the gospel to bring to manifestation the inner life immediately implanted in us by the Spirit of Christ.

First, we have Paul’s moving words to the church at Corinth: “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (I Cor. 4:15). It is asserted here that the means of our spiritual birth is “the gospel.” The apostle emphasizes the role of the preacher who first brought the regenerating Word to the Corinthians. Paul’s point is powerful: since, by God’s grace, he was the agent whom Jehovah used to declare the gospel which was the means of their regeneration, he ought to have a special, even unique, place in their hearts as their spiritual father: “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”

Second, Paul speaks similarly to Philemon regarding his escaped slave, Onesimus: “I beseech thee [i.e., Philemon] for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds” (Phile. 10). Again we see the role of Paul the preacher who, while he was in prison in Rome, proclaimed the gospel to Onesimus which was the means that the Triune God used to bring to manifestation the living seed which He had placed in him.

Besides these two references from Paul, we have the statement from Peter quoted earlier: “Being born again … by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:23). What is meant by “the word of God”? The preached gospel: “And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (25).

Fourth, from these three texts penned by Paul and Peter, we now turn to James 1:18, which we considered in the last issue of the News. It also underscores the second aspect or stage of regeneration, God’s mediate regeneration of us by His Word: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”

To explain things further, we should understand the two images presented in the verses of Scripture quoted above. First, there is the idea of the “seed” (I Pet. 1:23). With His fingers or Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20), God sovereignly sows the new life of Christ into the heart of His elect (immediate regeneration). Continuing the imagery, the Word of God or the preaching of the gospel acts like the heat of the sun upon the seed, causing it to germinate and manifest its life (mediate regeneration).

Besides the horticultural imagery of the “seed” of regeneration, we have, second, the idea of the spiritual begetting or new birth of a human being. The gospel is like an amazing spiritual midwife. When God’s Word is preached to those in whom the Holy Spirit has implanted new life (immediate regeneration), they are brought to birth in Christ. For the first time, as spiritual newborns and by faith, they hear the gospel of their gracious salvation, they see their glorious Saviour crucified for their sins, they taste that their covenant God is good and they become conscious of their blessed new life in Jesus (mediate regeneration). As baby Christians, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).

What a blessed role for the gospel of sovereign grace! It is a spiritual midwife present at the birth, helping the birth and effecting the birth of each new child of God! Rev. Angus Stewart


The Idea of the Organic in Scripture (6)

The Holy Scriptures frequently deal with the whole human race as a distinct part of an organic unity. Some examples of this organic unity can easily be found.

The human race is an organic unity with Adam at its head since the whole human race is guilty for Adam’s sin (Rom 5:12). The law specifically assumed the organic unity of the family when, in the second commandment, God said that He visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children (Deut. 5:8-10). The armies of Israel were soundly defeated by a small group of soldiers from Ai, because in Achan’s sin the whole nation had become guilty, although, in all likelihood, they did not even know of his transgression (Josh. 7). The sin of one man, David, brought God’s judgment upon Israel (II Sam. 24; I Chron. 21).

This organism of the nation is the object of God’s wrath when some in the organism sin and the object of God’s blessing when some live in obedience to Him. In the times when good kings sat on Israel’s throne, God richly blessed the land, even though there were many wicked, something evident from the rebellions of Absalom and Adonijah.

When wicked kings sat on Israel’s throne, God brought famine and destruction from enemy nations; even though in the terrible days of Ahab, there were seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal (I Kings 19:18). The wicked received outwardly the good things Jehovah sent upon the land when the righteous ruled, and the people of God suffered dreadfully when drought and disease destroyed the crops in days of apostasy. God deals organically with nations.

In Psalm 80, the nation of Israel, elect and reprobate alike, is pictured as a vine that God brought out of Egypt and blessed richly. But when they sinned, the wicked brought destruction upon the whole nation, a judgment bemoaned by the psalmist.

In the New Testament, the nation of Israel is once again compared to a vine in John 15. Christ is the vine; God is the husbandman. The entire nation constitutes the branches. The branches that do not abide in Christ are cut off, while the branches that remain in Him bear more fruit because the fruitless branches are pruned away.

This figure is picked up again in Romans 11:16-24. Paul speaks there of the nation of Israel as a “good” olive tree. With the exaltation of Christ, God grafts branches from a “wild” olive tree so that these branches bear fruit. They are the Gentiles, born in a wild olive tree but grafted into the good olive tree.

If I may stray from the main point for a moment, the “natural” olive tree, the nation of Israel, is natural because Christ is the principle of its life. Israel carried Christ within her from the beginning of her existence. This great truth was the hope and blessedness of believing Israel, and explains why Israel’s mothers desperately wanted children, for they then participate in the coming of the promised seed. Compare the prayer of Hannah (I Sam. 2:1-10) with the similar praise of Mary (Luke 1:46-55).

To return to the main idea: Gentiles can be, and are, grafted into the good olive tree from which most of its natural branches were cut out; while believing Jews throughout the entire new dispensation can be regrafted into their “own” olive tree, while Gentile branches, once grafted into the olive tree, can be cut out if they refuse to believe. The important truth here is that the branches are not individuals but generations.

For example, Jews are present in the church of the new dispensation throughout history, if they believe in Christ. But once a “branch” of Gentiles falls away, they are lost in their generations. God does not return to His work once those who were the objects of His grace have, in their generations, forsaken the truth.

North America and Europe once had the gospel as continents. In these modern times, in the majority of their people and their leaders, both have forsaken the gospel and are now in the process of deliberately rejecting the whole of God’s law in approving the most abominable sins. God is taking away His Word in these continents, because they had it and rejected it. He is removing the gospel as the apostate church works more and more with the wicked civil governments, while the number of the faithful grows smaller and smaller, until at last they are only a scattered remnant.

That is why, in our day, by and large, God is removing His gospel from America and Europe, and is moving especially to the Orient to gather His church there.

My wife and I have a daughter and son-in-law working in the Philippines. Cries come from so many places that he and his fellow missionaries cannot answer them all: “Come and teach us the Reformed faith.” Can you imagine hosts of people in America crying out to the Protestant Reformed Churches like this? or the CPRC in Northern Ireland receiving so many calls from groups of people in the British Isles who are begging to be taught the pure Reformation truth of Scripture?

As we have said, the final organism of God’s purpose, realized at the end of time, has as its head Christ, who is the second Adam. Scripture teaches that the new organism has our Lord Jesus, exalted in the highest heaven, as ruler over all (e.g., Col. 1:13-20; I Cor. 15:24-28). Under Him, as the whole human race was once under Adam, are all the elect, who are His body. To this organism belongs the whole world of elect angels, who are under the elect and redeemed church as “ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14).

The new heavens and the new earth will be delivered from the curse, transformed by Christ’s atoning sacrifice and given to the elect as their everlasting inheritance. Christ is the head of the creation as the second Adam, whose place He took.

By the resurrection of Christ, heaven and earth are made one. Christ’s resurrection took place both in heaven and on earth—united at the same time. For although He arose from a tomb in a garden, He did not come back to this world—as a misguided minister once said, who wished he had been present with a camera to take a photo—for He broke a new door from the grave that opened in heaven, for all His brothers do follow Him. By the great miracle of the resurrection, He made possible the union of the new heavens and the new earth delivered from the curse.

The history of the world is the history of God in His providence and grace working to attain this purpose. And this purpose is achieved fundamentally through the preaching of the gospel. Prof. Herman Hanko

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

The Canon of
Sacred Scripture

All Christians view the Bible as the Word of God but where did the 66 books of Scripture come from? How do we know that these books, and no others, belong in the Bible? Who decided which books are the Word of God? Did the church determine this? Does the Bible derive its authority from the church or from somewhere else? Come to hear an explanation of the Bible, its authority and its relationship to the church!

Rev. Martyn McGeown

Thursday, 27 February
7:15 PM

Margam Community Centre
Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP

Books, CDs and DVDs available at the lecture
Coffee and tea provided after the lecture

All are invited!

Born for Our Salvation

by Martyn McGeown
(288 pp. Hardback)

The nativity story is the message of salvation for, in the words of the Nicene Creed, “Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God … for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” Jesus was born for our salvation!

£16.50 (inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Practical Christianity: Temptation
6 sermons on
James 1:2-17
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

How are temptations and trials related? What is their source? Is God the author of tempation? What is our heavenly Father’s 
purpose with our trials and temptations? How does James 1 teach us to deal with them and endure them? Why is wisdom necessary in this regard? Learn from these sermons about practical Christianity!

(1) How to Handle Our Various Trials
(2) Asking God for Wisdom
(3) Paradoxical Boasting
(4) Enduring Temptation
(5) The Origin & Goal of Temptation
(6) Every Good and Perfect Gift

£6/box set (inc. P&P)

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

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
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