Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland
83 Clarence Street,
Ballymena BT43 5DR, 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
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
9 February, 2018
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Rev. Nathan Decker (Trinity PRC) and Elder Sid Miedema (Byron Center PRC) were this year’s church visitors in the CPRC (18-25 January) and the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) (25-29 January). It was good to have both of these men back with us again!
Annual Congregational Dinner
Their first engagement was the CPRC annual congregational dinner (19 January). Besides members and friends of the church in Ballymena, Rev. McGeown, Colm Ring, Manuel Kuhs, Chester Mansona, and Sam and Jason Watterson of the LRF made the four-hour journey to join us (and that is only one way!). After a good meal, William Graham asked the questions for an excellent table quiz.
Chester Mansona, Sid Miedema, Rev. Decker, Rev. McGeown
Rev. Decker preached at both of our Sunday services (21 January) and led a fine Bible study on Psalm 73 at the church on Tuesday morning. On the next night, his lecture on “Living Wisely in a Digital Age” was well attended and the on-line video has attracted a lot of interest ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=TorlK7c_CYw ).
Besides the official church visitation with the CPRC Council, our two American brethren had dinner with several families and visited with other saints. On the morning of their departure for Limerick, they even fitted in breakfast with a former member (Kristin Crossett) and a current member (Carolyn Prins) of the church that Rev. Decker pastors.
Teaching in the CPRC
“Ezekiel’s Prophecies Against Tyre” (Ezek. 26:1-28:19) was the subject of a recent 4-sermon series in the CPRC. God judged that wealthy island trading centre so that it was reduced to a rock upon which fishermen repaired and cleaned their nets. The prophet pictured the city as a great ship filled with international merchants and all their wares, but it was going to sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The king of Tyre thought that he was wiser than Daniel and even a god. His realm was another Eden for precious stones and gold, and he was like Adam or a cherub guarding the garden. Yet he was a fallen son of Adam and the image of Satan, and he would soon be cast from his garden of God and destroyed. The 4 sermons are on-line in audio (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/OTseries.htm) and video ( www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI ), and soon will be available in a box set of CDs or DVDs for just £6.
In our Tuesday morning Bible study, we have been considering the Feast of Tabernacles, the most joyful of the Old Testament feasts. We have looked at its institution in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and its celebration in Joshua, Judges, I Samuel, and I Kings. More material is to come, including 4 major Old Testament passages and John 7.
Since the middle of November, our Wednesday night doctrine class has been studying the subject of baptism in connection with Belgic Confession 34. Our treatment has included the baptismal formula, the administrators of baptism, the requirements for a valid baptism,
immersionism, the mode of baptism, the meaning of baptism, etc. ( www.cprf.co.uk/ audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm ). It is a rich subject that opens up a lot of Scriptures.
The fortnightly Ladies’ Bible Study, which meets on Friday mornings, is now discussing Rev. Smit’s book, The Fruit the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The fortnightly Saturday night Men’s Bible Study has begun Studies in Acts by Mark Hoeksema. These fine RFPA resources are already proving beneficial to our members. Almost all of the copies of Rev. Brian Huizinga’s “Keeping the Sword Drawn” brought over by the two church visitors have gone already ( www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/keeping sworddrawn.pdf ). Some of the saints in the CPRC are also using a yearly Bible reading programme that Mary prepared from two existing programmes.
“God’s Saving Will in the New Testament” was the subject of a lecture I gave in South Wales on 25 January. There are two main Greek words that deal with willing, determining, desiring, wishing, etc., in the New Testament. What does a study of this concept in the New Testament reveal about the will of God’s decree and the will of His command? We had a blessed night of fellowship with the saints, including with Timothy Spence, a member of the CPRC who is at a university in South Wales. Also a good number of books and box sets were purchased. The video is on-line ( www.youtube.com/ watch?v=rPml_52T__0 ).
The last couple of months have seen 14 translations added to our website (www.cprf. co.uk/languages.htm): 6 Hungarian (by 2 young men who are coming to the 2018 British Reformed Fellowship Conference), 6 German (on Pentecostal issues by a brother who last did some translations for us in 2010), 1 Italian (by a Calvinistic Baptist in Sicily), and 1 Hindi (Prof. Engelsma’s pamphlet “Try the Spirits” by Sam Salve in India).
We added our second video with French subtitles, thanks to Timothée Rapak of Reims. This brings our foreign language videos to 28 ( www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Y5Eq5r6y2HmXGp8oXTSI2QS6_FJYjyJ ). The USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia often feature in the top 5 countries using the CPRC YouTube page. However, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, of all places, have broken into the top 5 in recent times!
We continue to get a lot of good feedback. “I love the steadfast, Calvinist, Reformed theology [of the CPRC] on the internet. Bless you!” (Florida, USA). “Just a note to say thank you for the great book, Knowing God and Man. I couldn’t lay it down once I started reading it. It is profound truth and an absolutely brilliant book. I will be using its contents for many references” (Northern Ireland). “I read the excellent article on the subject of Lefèvre [‘Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples: Pioneer of French Reform’]...I would love to quote it in an essay I’m writing to raise awareness of Lefèvre and his influence on the Reformation in France” (France). “Thank you for the books you kindly sent me. They will be very useful in the year ahead and also for the British Reformed Journals. The materials you send me are so appreciated in these days of Arminian churches” (England). “I have been a long-time reader of your website and have encouraged many to read your articles. One of the members of our church has recently translated some articles for you into Portuguese” (Australia).
Thank you for your support and prayers in Christ,
Rev. & Mary Stewart
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
18 December, 2017
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Visit of the Engelsmas
We greatly enjoyed the visit of Prof. and Mrs. Engelsma (19 October-6 November). The CPRC invited them for two main reasons. First, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and our congregation wanted to celebrate this wonderful occasion. Prof. Engelsma is a man who embodies the Reformation, so we asked him to give lectures on this great theme and preach in the CPRC. Second, the latter enabled me to fill the pulpit of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), while Rev. McGeown was in America speaking at Reformation conferences in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Loveland, Colorado.
Our Reformation commemorations began with a half-day conference on Saturday, 21 October. Prof. spoke powerfully on “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God” and “Justification in Paul and in James,” while the ladies served a lovely lunch between the two speeches. Carolyn and Erik Prins (Trinity PRC) were present, as were three friends from Wales and a brother from England, plus local visitors.
Prof. Engelsma's other lectures dealt with key figures and truths of the Reformation: “Martin Luther: Man of Conviction” (Friday, 27 October) and “Calvin's Doctrine of the Covenant” (Friday, 3 November).
The 6 Sunday sermons by Prof. Engelsma also addressed vital Reformation subjects. All of his 10 public speeches are online on audio and video, with the latter including some question-and-answer sessions. They were made into an attractive box set of DVDs or CDs. It is available for £10 in the UK and $20 in the US (inc. P&P).
We paid for advertisements twice in the Belfast News Letter and the Ballymena Guardian. The latter paper also published two articles about Prof. Engelsma's visit. The saints in the CPRC were very encouraged by our brother's labours in our midst. A good number joined us live online, and his videos have received a lot of attention.
The CPRC now has over 2,000 videos on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI). Very appropriately for a congregation that is called the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, our 2,000th video was Prof. Engelsma's lecture on “Calvin's Doctrine of the Covenant.” Our thanks to Stephen Murray, our audio-visual man, for his labour of putting the videos online every week for many years. It is working too, for we have now had over 1/4 million video watches on our YouTube channel.
Over 3,000 people have subscribed to the CPRC Facebook page. Though this is hardly what Mark Zuckerberg intended, it has helped us get out the Reformed faith and reach new translators.
In our online languages section, Hungarian saw the biggest growth in the last two months, thanks to Bálint Vásárhelyi and Tibor Bognár. With their 10 recent written translations, we now have 216 pieces in Hungarian (www.cprf.co.uk/languages/hungarian.html). We also added a second sermon video with Hungarian subtitles: “The Sovereignty of God (II).” Now we have 27 videos in 4 foreign languages: Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, and French (www.youtube.com). We added 3 more Russian pieces, including material from Prof. Engelsma's Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel, and 3 Danish pieces, thanks to a faithful pastor from Denmark. A brother in India translated “Knowing the True God,” a pamphlet by Rev. Houck, into Hindi. Is this the first Protestant Reformed writing online in Hindi?
The CPRC has used various means to honour the work of Jesus Christ through the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. These include Prof. Engelsma's excellent Reformation speeches, letters in the local press, five installments on “What Is a Protestant?” in the Covenant Reformed News and a 12-sermon series on the great Reformation truth of “Righteousness by Faith Alone” (Rom. 4).
Other recent writings on this subject include “The Reformation and the Nature of the Church” for the Standard Bearer, “Martin and Katie Luther: A Reformation Marriage” for the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, and “Martin Luther and God's Saving Righteousness” for the British Reformed Journal.
I spoke on “Martin Luther's Great Discovery” for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship on Saturday, 28 October. An encouraging number attended, including some people we had never seen before, and we had a good question session afterwards. At this meeting in Limerick and at Prof. Engelsma's lectures, we sold books, and CD and DVD box sets at reduced prices.
In order to promote the Reformed Witness Hour (RWH) in the British Isles, we posted RWH booklets along with the Covenant Reformed News. The RWH gave us these spare copies for free and we waited until we had gotten enough of them across the Atlantic before mailing them with the News. Hopefully, more people will tune in to the RWH radio programme that we sponsor and that is broadcast from outside Londonderry in Northern Ireland on Sunday mornings (8:30-9:00 A.M. on Radio North/Gospel 846 AM or MW) or go to their website (www.reformedwitnesshour.org).
The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference on “The Reformed Family— According to the Word of God” (21-28 July, 2018) is drawing nearer. Booking forms, including prices, are (or very soon will be) online (www.britishreformed.org). You are all very warmly invited to join us at Hebron Hall in South Wales. Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning will be our main speakers. It promises to be a rich time of fellowship and growth under the Word of God.
Thank you for your support and prayers, and for your cards. Our covenant “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love” (Heb. 6:10). May the Lord be with you all!
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart
- Covenant Reformed News - November 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - October 2017
- Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - October 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - September 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - August 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - July 2017
- Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - August 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - June 2017