News from All Churches

New Issue of "Salt Shakers" Magazine - November 2017

SS 46 e copy Page 1

"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has now released the November 2017 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#46),their youth magazine.

The November 2017 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and profitable 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.

Beloved Readers,

Salt Shakers is pleased to bring you Issue 46 (November 2017)! We thank God for His grace in leading the magazine through another fruitful year. 
This last issue of the year caps our consideration of the theme "Our Continuing Heritage", even as we also commemorate the 500th year of the Reformation. May the Lord give us the grace to continue boldly in the blessed legacy of the reformers!
We thank all our writers for their labour of love and contributions to this Reformed magazine. 
In the November 2017 issue:
Wise Farmers Chua Lee Yang
Scripture's Covenant Youth (IX): Samuel - Prof. Herman Hanko
Are Unbelievers in God's Image? (IV) - Rev. Angus Stewart
Our Continuing Heritage: Interview with Jemima Joy - Jemima Joy Boon
Speaking the Truth in Love and Boldness - Jonathan Langerak Jr.
Book Review: Side By Side- Lim Yang Zhi
Some Thoughts on Dating and Courtship - Samuel Wee
Faithfulness and Courage in Ungodly Babylon - Rev. Rodney Kleyn
A Difficult Way - Daniel Tang
The Sign of the Antichrist and Hope  - Josiah Tan
Remember to pass the salt!
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang, on behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
SS 46 e copy Page 2

Philippines Mission Newsletter - November 2017


Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Rev. D. Holstege (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.)

Dear members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and our sister churches,

The past five months have been eventful. He whom God set at His own right hand in the heavenly places and gave to be the head over all things to the church summoned Rev. Richard Smit to return to the Philippines as our third missionary. He also led our Synod to recognize the unity of the Spirit that exists between the PRCA and PRCP by approving a sister church relationship with them.

Nov 2017 news 1Let us go back and briefly trace these eventful months. Last June, Rev. Heath and Deb Bleyenberg visited the Philippines while considering the call to be a third missionary. Although the head of the church did not summon him to this field of labor, we enjoyed their visit immensely and greatly appreciated their help and fellowship.

Later in June, and into August, Mr. Matt and Sarah Kortus arrived on the field for an eight-week mini-internship. Matt had finished his second year of seminary and was given the opportunity to spend part of the summer in the Philippines. While they were here, Matt accompanied Rev. Kleyn, Rev. John Flores, and Bro. Eric Mescallado on a trip to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Leyte (one of the Philippine islands); he joined Rev. Holstege and Rev. Ibe on a trip to Gabaldon (a town on the same island as Manila, but a fair distance to the northeast); and he went on the trip to Negros where he also gave a lecture. In addition, Matt gave a word of edification several times in the churches here, taught catechism to the children at Provident Christian Church, and with Sarah experienced life on the mission field for a while. We appreciated and enjoyed their visit very much as well.

Kortus 2017 2

In August, the Kleyns went to the U.S. for a four-week furlough. Many of you saw the presentation that Rev. Kleyn gave on our work here. The Kleyns report that many of you showed great interest in our work here in the Philippines, for which we are glad.

Nov 2017 news 2

Last October, a delegation from the PRCA Contact Committee came to the Philippines, Rev. Smit and Elder Dave Kregel. Their mandate was to attend the Classis of the PRCP to convey officially and in person that the PRCA Synod approved a sister church relationship with them. Elder Kregel said to the Classis, “You were our daughter, but now you have become our sister, and that is an amazing thing.” We all rejoiced in the work of Christ who has prospered our feeble efforts for the coming of His glorious kingdom.

Nov 2017 news 3

Also noteworthy is that the PRCP Classis declared the fellowship in Leyte to be their first official mission work. The PRC in Bulacan was appointed as the calling church, and the Classis advised them to send monthly delegations to Leyte until a missionary can be called and sent.

No doubt like all of you, we here in the Philippines celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017. We held an all-day conference at Provident Christian Church in Marikina. Rev. Kleyn gave us an overview of the history of the Reformation. Rev. Smit spoke on the legacy of Martin Luther. Rev. Holstege presented John Calvin’s doctrine of providence. You can find these speeches on our website (prcaphilippinesaudio. During the conference, our book manager, Mrs. Sharon Kleyn, sold a ton of RFPA books. My wife Leah managed our four active little ones. Thank you, ladies, for being such faithful wives, for your excellent attitudes, without which we simply could not do our work. Over 150 people attended the conference, including many young people. From what I could tell, everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.

Nov 2017 news 4

Speaking of Rev. Smit, as indicated earlier, the Lord led him to accept the call to be our third missionary in the Philippines. This is the first time, as far as I am aware, that our churches have put three missionaries on one field. These are exciting times because now the work of establishing a Protestant Reformed seminary here in the Philippines can go forward. That is necessary because the calls to come over and help are many, but the laborers are few. The PRCP has three pastors, one of whom is approaching retirement age. We will soon have three missionaries on the field, but we are not fluent enough in Tagalog, or the other dialects, to be able to communicate the gospel clearly and build the church effectively in some parts of the Philippines. What has always been true throughout the ages is still true today: the church must establish a seminary to train indigenous pastors who can be sent to preach to people of their own culture. This is especially where we can help, as the PRCA. With the arrival of the Smits, Lord willing, at the end of this year, the work of establishing a seminary can go forward. Rev. Kleyn and I, Doon PRC and the Foreign Mission Committee, all rejoiced greatly when we heard the news of Rev. Smit’s acceptance. We are also glad to hear of the broad and solid support that exists among all of you for this work of the church in the Philippines.

Nov 2017 news 5

So why do we need three men? Well, because there is a lot of other work here in addition to establishing a seminary. Rev. Kleyn has been occupied with a wide variety of activities, including preaching at Bulacan, Maranatha, and occasionally at Provident; teaching church order at Maranatha and catechism at Provident; making monthly trips to Negros (another one of the Philippine islands) where he gives classes to a large number of pastors who are eager to become Reformed in all respects; advising committees of the PRCP; and more. Rev. Holstege has been occupied especially at Provident, preaching twice on most Sundays; teaching the church order and leading a youth Bible study; teaching the Canons of Dordt midweek and engaging in evangelism work; chairing Steering Committee meetings; attending Tagalog classes every Tuesday and doing the homework; and more. We cannot just stop all of these things and establish a seminary. But we need a seminary greatly. So Rev. Smit is a welcome addition to our mission work and we are very excited about the future.

May the Lord bless you and keep you in His care.

Pray for us often.

Rev. Daniel Holstege


Reformed News Asia - November 2017

Issue 45 - November 2017
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.
By Rev Carl Haak (Reformed Witness Hour)

"When Christ instructed the church to go and to make disciples of all nations, He gave that great commission to the entire church, so that every member must face this calling as a solemn duty before God.  Pastors and missionaries must make disciples by preaching and by baptism.  And members of the church are also involved in making disciples by their witnessing.  This is a privilege and a calling that is held before us in the Scriptures."
What does being a faithful witness entail? What motivates us to be faithful witnesses? What are the things that we, as faithful witnesses, cannot do? And finally, what are the tools that faithful witnesses may employ in their witnessing?

As one interested in your walk as a faithful witness, click to read more and find out the answers to these questions in this 4-part series!

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.
Knowing God in the Last Days
by Mark Hoeksema

From the RFPA website:

"Knowing God in the Last Days is an explanation of the general epistle of Peter to the early New Testament church. The primary theme of the letter is the knowledge of God, a concept that occurs many times and in various contexts throughout the book. This short epistle contains a wealth of instruction for the church today.

The secondary theme of 2 Peter is the application of the knowledge of God to the last days in which we live. Especially in his third chapter, Peter reveals to the church the knowledge of God as it relates to the end times.

Based on exegesis of the Greek text, this commentary gives clarity of explanation to God’s people regarding necessary and important aspects of today’s Christian life. May all who read be edified."

Audio Recordings
The 3 speeches by Rev Richard Smit at our 2017 annual Reformation Day Conference on the theme "500 Years Of God's Faithfulness To His Church"

Speech 1: The Legacy Of Martin Luther
Speech 2: Calvin's Doctrine Of The Covenant
Speech 3: Faithful Through The Days Of The Reformation

Upcoming Events!
Vacation Bible School 2017

Theme : Parable of the Sower
Date : 4 - 7 Dec 2017
Time : 10am - 3pm
Venue : Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
Camp fee : $10
Friends who are not members of CERC are welcome to register.
Please register via this link:
Registration closes on 18 November 2017.
For further queries please contact Deacon Meng Hsien.

CKCKS Camp 2017

Our annual CKCKS Camp is back! Save the dates!

Theme: Examine Yourselves (2 Cor 13:5)
Dates: 19-22 Dec 2017
Location: Aloha Loyang Sea View Bungalow 1
Registration: 12 Nov to 3 Dec

For more information, visit

Christmas Carolling Event 2017

Christmas is round the corner! This year, we will be holding a Christmas Carolling event. This will be a good opportunity to invite our non-Christian family and friends to fellowship and hear Christ preached!

Dates: 25 Dec 2017
Time: 11am - 1.30pm
Location: TBC

Look out for more information on our weekly bulletin. 

Church Retreat 2017

New Year Church Retreat
Date: 1st January 2018 (Monday)

More details coming soon!

Past Events...
Reformation Day Conference 2017
On the 11th of November 2017, CERC held its annual Reformation Day Conference under the theme "500 years of God's Faithfulness to His church". Commemorating the 500th year of the Reformation, we give thanks as we acknowledge the great work of God and His faithfulness to His church! We were privileged to have Rev Richard Smit deliver 3 speeches which can be found above.
Rev Richard Smit delivering the first speech
Some serious discussion
Emmanuel and Sonali with Paul Liu and Naomi
Book sale!
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

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


Reformed Witness Hour Messages for December 2017

RWH Flyer December 2017 Page 1

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

Rev. Bill Bruinsma, pastor of Pittsburgh PRC (Pennsylvania), continues his four-month service for the RWH program, as he continues a series on Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians and brings special Christmas and Old Year's Day messages (cf. schedule of messages below).

December 3 - Studying to be Quiet, I Thessalonians 4: 11-12

December 10 - The Final Gathering of the Church, I Thessalonians 4:13-18

December 17 - Watching for Christ’s Return, I Thessalonians 5:1-6

December 24 - No Room for Mary’s Firstborn, Luke 2:7

December 31 - Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lamentations 3:22

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 77th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

RWH Facebook image

Use the attached flyer (pdf) to spread the news of these important gospel messages!


Covenant Reformed News - November 2017


Covenant Reformed News

November 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 19

What Is a Protestant? (5)

Having seen what a Protestant is historically, theologically, creedally and ecclesiastically, we now need to consider this question: What is a son or daughter of the Reformation ethically? How does Protestantism influence one’s lifestyle? Many things could be said here but I will highlight just two points.

First, a Protestant loves and speaks the truth. Part of the background for this is historical. It is Jesuit teaching that it is okay, even virtuous, to tell a lie, if it serves the Roman Catholic Church. A degree of this moral ambiguity concerning the ninth commandment has hung over Roman Catholicism for many centuries. Think of the lies and cover-up in the Roman church, especially over the last several decades, regarding their homosexual priests who sexually abuse little boys.

Protestantism’s concern for truth flows from its solas or “onlys.” Sola Scriptura declares, “thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Salvation is solus Christus for He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jehovah alone is glorified (soli Deo gloria) as the “God of truth” (Deut. 32:4) by our keeping the ninth commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Ex. 20:16).

Also the gospel truth of justification by faith alone (sola fide) also promotes honesty. In Psalm 32, David rejoices in the forgiveness or non-imputation of his sins: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (1-2). For believers, the non-imputation of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness always go hand in hand (Rom. 4:6-8). Now notice what Psalm 32:2 adds: “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” One who is truly blessed because of the non-imputation of his sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to him by faith alone is honest before God, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Whereas fallen man instinctively and wickedly covers and hides his transgressions, the true believer confesses his sins, both for the first time and throughout his Christian life. Therefore, the child of God is honest, speaking the truth both to himself and to others, for in his “spirit there is no guile.”

Second, there is what has been called the Protestant work ethic. This too flows from the Five Solas or “onlys” of the Reformation. According to sola Scriptura, we must keep the fourth commandment out of gratitude, and so we labour for six days and rest upon the Christian Sabbath, which is called the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10), by spending the day in the private and public worship of God. We emulate our Saviour, Christ alone (solus Christus), who did the work His Father gave Him (John 4:34; 17:4). We are justified by faith alone (sola fide) and the faith which alone receives the imputed righteousness of God is also a faith that works, for we are justified by faith alone but not a faith that is alone. We are saved by grace alone (sola gratia) and so we do our work out of gratitude for a wholly gracious salvation. In keeping with the Reformation principle of soli Deo gloria, we labour to honour and serve the Triune God, and not merely man.

True Protestants believe that they ought to do honest and hard work, and they engage in it. Think of the French Huguenots and the terrible negative effect on France economically when they were persecuted and driven out of that country, especially through evil King Louis XIV’s Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685).

The Protestant work ethic is based on two other biblical and Protestant truths. The first is the priesthood of all believers. It is not only the case that the Christian minister’s faithful work is of value in God’s eyes; the work of all His people is holy when it is done out of faith and to please Him in Jesus Christ. The second biblical and Reformation truth that supports the Protestant work ethic is that of calling. It is not only preachers or elders or deacons who are called to their church offices. Instead, all Christians are called by God to work in whatever lawful employment He has given them in His providence. So it does not matter to the Lord how low paid your job may be or how menial and supposedly humble it is. No work is “beneath” you, when it is done to the glory of God. Our Saviour laboured manually for many years as a carpenter! This is an important point to make in our day when Western secularist ideas are degrading the good creation ordinance of work, and many people foolishly think that there is more dignity in being unemployed than in a low-paid job.

Listen to the refreshing biblical teaching of Colossians 3:22-24: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” The motto of the Protestant work ethic is, in effect, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecc. 9:10).

So are you a Protestant? Doctrinally, do you hold to the Five Solas of the Reformation (Scripture alone, Christ alone, faith alone, grace alone and the glory of God alone) and to the great Protestant creeds? Practically, do you speak the truth, and believe and engage in hard, honest work? Historically, are you rooted in the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, which is pure, apostolic Christianity? Then keep on witnessing to the truth of God, working for the ongoing reformation of the church and fighting the good fight of faith!  Rev. Stewart

The Christian’s Financial Giving

Question: “I would like to ask a question regarding giving to pastors and giving to the poor. As for pastors, the Scriptures repeatedly quote Deuteronomy 25:4: ‘Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn’ (Matt. 10:10; I Cor. 9:9; I Tim. 5:18). As for the poor, the Bible speaks of giving cheerfully and according to our ability (Deut. 16:17; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:7). Does Scripture apply the same principle to the two or are they different? If they are the same, how can it be proved? If the two are different, how is the pastor to live from the gospel (I Cor. 9:14)? What is the practical implication of this principle? I have read that Presbyterian churches in the seventeenth century (and other times as well) used obligatory church taxes. Is this in conformity with the Bible?”

I have quoted the entire question because the reader gives his reasoning in it, and because the question is important. Disagreement over the answer is not uncommon.

The only offices Christ has ordained in His church are minister, elder and deacon. This is agreed upon by almost all Reformed and Presbyterian churches, although some reckon that the office of minister of the Word and sacraments is a sub-division of the office of elder. The result of this view is that Christ has ordained teaching elders and ruling elders in the church, but two groups with differing responsibilities.     

We do not intend to argue the point here, although Scripture makes clear that the three offices in the Old Testament are all carried over into the new dispensation when the church received its New Testament form. The prophetic office became the office of pastor-teacher; the kingly office became the office of elder in the New Testament church; and the priestly office became the office of deacon. These new dispensational offices in the church are the special offices that arise out of, and are responsible to, the office of  believer. All God’s people are prophets, priests and kings. 

The duties of each office are basically the same in one respect. Ministers preach the gospel, elders rule in the church and deacons care for the poor (Acts 6), but all three offices bring the Word of God to His people. These offices and duties in turn reflect the three-fold office of Christ who is our chief Prophet, our only high Priest and our exalted King.

Hence, without going into any more detail on this beautiful structure Christ has given to the church, and by means of which He Himself is present in the church, let us note that the office of deacon is established by Christ for the care of the poor. 

It is a special gift of God that He Himself gives to the church the poor. Christ reminds us of this in His statement: “ye have the poor with you always” (Mark 14:7). The Bible speaks often of God’s special care of His poor. The care of the poor is the highest manifestation in the church of the communion of the saints, and the highest fulfilment of Scripture’s injunction to bear each other’s burdens “and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). To give to the poor is a blessed activity because it is more blessed to give than to receive. The congregation that is without the poor loses something of the blessedness of the Saviour’s presence in the church and it ought to find other ways to care for the poor in sister churches or in other congregations in their own denomination.

Ministers of the gospel are not among the poor, nor are their wives and children. They are not the objects of benevolence. They are not to be cared for by the deacons. They are not given to the church as part of Christ’s promise: “ye have the poor with you always.” In fact, the office of deacon was instituted in the church, not to care for ministers but because ministers are (and ought to be) too busy to do the work of caring for the poor. 

Ministers have no time to engage in secular work either. Pastors ought to be giving themselves over to the study of God’s Word and prayer (Acts 6:4). If a minister has to take another job to provide for his wife and family, the congregation will suffer. This is not to say that so-called tent-making ministers are sinning. But I have talked with a few and, with one accord, each agreed that it would help his church or mission work, if he could labour full time as a minister.

The principle that “The labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7) is what the law meant when Israel was commanded not to muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. An ox did work for the family that owned it and thus had a claim on some of its master’s earthly possessions. It was, after all, due to the ox’s work that the family had enough to obtain the necessities of life. The family owed the ox its living. It was not benevolence that prompted Israel to give the ox free access to the food that it had helped to produce. 

That principle was carried over into the new dispensational church, and the relation between an ox and its owner is the same as the relation between the minister and his congregation. To refuse the minister material support forces him to spend valuable time in earthly things and the congregation suffers spiritually. 

It is true that in most congregations deacons take collections for other causes than help for the poor: Christian schools, congregational or denominational kingdom causes, etc. But none of this is benevolence. These other financial matters are taken care of by the diaconate for convenience but they need not be done in this way.

The last question asked was concerning the rightness or wrongness of “obligatory church taxes.” The word “taxes” is inappropriate to ecclesiastical giving. In the Protestant Reformed Churches in the U.S. and Canada, we call this the annual budget. The budget covers all the expenses of a local congregation at a certain rate per family, per-week. It is not an obligatory tax; it is an amount that informs the congregation what the costs of the church are outside the benevolent fund. In this matter also the principle holds: One must give as he has been blessed. Budgeting is an excellent way to give systematically to cover the expenses of the church. It is not benevolence.

It is necessary for people to determine how much to give to each kingdom cause, including the schools. In our congregation and, I think, in most, two collections are taken every Sunday, besides the budget and benevolence. As good stewards in God’s house, every family must decide how much to give to every need in the church. That amount is determined by the need of each cause in relation to all the other causes. 

Giving is never an obligation; it is always a privilege. And the widow’s mite is more in God’s sight than a thousand dollars or pounds. 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  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view

South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 23 November
 7:15 PM

Rev. Martyn McGeown

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

The Reformation’s Recovery of Right Worship

Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP
Covenant and Election in the Reformed Tradition
by David J. Engelsma
(288 pp., hardback) 

Covenant and election are two of the most prominent and most important truths in Scripture. They run through the Bible like two grand, harmonious themes in symphony. These two doctrines and their relation are the twofold subject of this book.
In Covenant and Election, Prof. Engelsma traces these themes in the confessional documents of the Reformed churches and from John Calvin in the sixteenth-century through the fathers of the Secession churches in the nineteenth-century Netherlands to the twentieth-century theologians Herman Bavinck and Herman Hoeksema. With his usual penetrating scriptural analysis, Engelsma also exposes the contemporary and spreading heresy of the Federal Vision.
£16.50 (inc. P&P)

Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
on-line, by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!

Celebrating 500 Years of the Reformation

A box set of 4 lectures & 
6 sermons on CD or DVD 
by Prof. David Engelsma 

These 10 Reformation speeches in the CPRC by Prof. Engelsma (USA) cover the Reformers (Luther and Calvin), the Five Solas (the glory of God alone, faith alone, Scripture alone, Christ alone and grace alone) and Reformation subjects (justification and sanctification; covenant, election and reprobation; and hard choices and providence)

1) Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God
2) Justification in Paul and in James
3) Jesus’ Pardon of the Adulteress
4) The Origin of Scripture 
5) Martin Luther: Man of Conviction
6) The Choice of the Young Man Moses
7) Created Unto Good Works
8) Calvin’s Doctrine of the Covenant
9) The Doctrine of Reprobation in the Gospel of Jesus
10) A Thorn in the Flesh

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten or watch 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 - October 2017

Covenant Reformed News

October 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 18

What Is a Protestant? (4)

After summarizing the origin and the meaning of the name Protestant, and briefly explaining the biblical and Reformation truth that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone through grace alone to the glory of God alone according to Scripture alone (the Five Solas), in the first three articles, we now need to fill out other important aspects of Protestantism.

First, Protestantism is creedal. This is a much misunderstood issue in our day. The popular misconception is that, since Protestants believe in sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), they do not hold to the creeds. Wrong! It was the Anabaptists, whom the Protestants opposed just as much as the Roman Catholics, who believed that sola Scriptura meant no creeds.

At the Diet of Speyer in 1529, the first Protestants protested (hence their name) against the ungodly decisions of the Roman Catholic majority on the basis of Scripture alone. In 1530, the very next year, they agreed to the Augsburg Confession—a creed!

In the specifically Reformed (rather than Lutheran) branch of the Protestant Reformation, many more creeds were written by those who held sola Scriptura. In fact, the four volumes of James T. Dennison, Jr.’s Reformed Confessions of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries in English Translation contain 127 creeds in the 173-year period from 1523 to 1695. That is a new creed on average every 16 months or so!

So here we have two facts regarding the foundational period of Protestantism: first, it contains the clearest statements of Scripture alone in church history and, second, it has the highest rate of production of confessions in church history. How are these two things to be reconciled and understood? 

It is not difficult. Sola Scriptura means that the Bible alone is the written Word of God and is, therefore, the supreme judge of faith and morals. The creeds summarize what the inspired, infallible and supremely authoritative Word of God teaches.

Not only do faithful Protestants today have confessions; they also maintain and uphold them, and teach the biblical doctrines that they summarize.

Second, Protestants are true churchmen and love Christ’s church. Protestants are not individualistic, with everyone going off on his own and doing his own thing. 

The Protestant Reformation was the reformation of an organization or body of believers, the church. This means it was a reformation of church doctrine (including the Five Solas), church creeds, church preaching, church sacraments, church discipline, church government and church worship. This is the desire, goal and result of godly Protestantism: biblical and Protestant churches, governed by biblical and Protestant principles, with members convicted of biblical and Protestant truth, so that glory is given to the Triune God alone in Jesus Christ!

Third, Protestants and Protestant churches protest against the lie and for the truth. The history of faithful Protestantism is a history of the church militant. This is what has happened over the last 500 years, going back to the Diet of Speyer (1529), and Martin Luther’s “Here I stand” at Worms (1521) and his Ninety-Five Theses (1517).

In reality, though not in terminology, the faithful witnessing of Protestantism goes back to Jan Hus in Bohemia, John Wycliffe in England, the Waldensians in and around the Alps, Gottschalk in various parts of Europe, Augustine in North Africa, etc.

This same fight for the faith is evident in the pages of the Bible in the battles of the apostles against the Sadducess and Judaizers in Acts and the epistles, in the ministry of the Lord Jesus versus the scribes and Pharisees in the gospel accounts, and in the labours of the faithful prophets, like Elijah, in the Old Testament.

In our day, out of love for the truth and in order to gain others to it by God’s grace, faithful Protestant people and churches protest against apostasy: liberal theology, Arminianism, women in church office, false ecumenism (with Roman Catholicism, other false or departing churches and the cults), sodomy and lesbianism in church office-bearers and members, syncretism with pagan religions, etc.

The child of God also has a right and a calling to protest unbiblical teaching and practice in his own church because of his office of believer, for he is a prophet, priest and king through sharing in the spiritual anointing of Jesus Christ. His protest should be made in an orderly, ecclesiastical fashion, according to the Reformed confessions and the church’s code or church order. Such a protest should be made humbly and yet boldly, with much prayer and fortified with the Holy Scriptures to God’s glory.

Psalm 119 superbly sums up the spirit of biblical Protestantism: “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (104); “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (127-128). 

Next time, we shall conclude by considering some of the major ethical teachings of Protestantism, DV.  Rev. Stewart



A reader writes, “I have a question concerning love and emotions. I have read some materials on the topic, including Herman Hoeksema’s explanation of God’s love. He defines love as a ‘bond’ and he also speaks of it as a ‘desire.’ Some argue that love is a feeling, while others that the nature of love is volitional. My question is: What is the relation between love and feelings or emotions? By feelings or emotions, I mean affective states of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate or the like is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness?”

This question from a reader of the News in Hungary taps into a long debate that has been ongoing in the church ever since the time of Augustine (354-430). The discussion concerns the feelings or emotions and how the emotions of a person relate to his mind and his will. The debate has, for the most part, revolved around the question whether the emotions are a separate faculty of the soul or are a part of another faculty.

This presupposes, of course, that man has a soul and is not merely the product of blind evolutionary processes. The soul in man is immaterial and pervades the whole of man’s being. The Bible itself speaks of the soul or spirit.

The faculties of the soul are the facultas intelligendi and the facultas volendi—the faculty of the mind and the faculty of the will. The debate has centred on the question whether the emotions (if such exist) are a separate power of the soul or belong to one of the two faculties, that is, to the mind or to the will.

The issue is an interesting one and it is also an important one. Herman Bavinck wrote a book entitled Biblical and Religious Psychology. Unfortunately, it is written in Dutch. I translated it into English for a theological class I taught and the Protestant Reformed Seminary in Wyoming, Michigan, produces copies of it.

Bavinck is adamant that the emotions are part of the activity of the will. He points out, and correctly so, that, if the emotions are a separate faculty, and are thus outside the intellectual and volitional life of a man, emotions are outside man’s moral responsibility.

What I have to say about the emotions, I learned chiefly from Bavinck, although Hoeksema in his instruction would refer from time to time to the emotions, as the questioner pointed out.

We live in a world in which people seem to think that emotions are the dominant psychical activity in our lives. Many wrongly reckon that feelings that arise out of nowhere drive everyone to do what they do. The idea is that, because emotions are independent of our minds and wills, we have no control over them. It is all summed up in the terrible motto, “If it feels good, do it.” 

The fact is that the emotions are part of the will. The will is dependent, in turn, on the mind. God has so created us that we stand in relation to the creation around us, primarily with our minds. We know the creation. We also know the Bible, God’s inspired Word. The will cannot act upon that which the mind does not know.

The emotions are one aspect of the activity of the will that chooses between various options which a man confronts. I hope no one deduces from this remark that man can choose for God or Christ without irresistible grace. Man is totally depraved. But he retains the power of choice in natural things. For example, he chooses the road on which to drive to his destination. Life consists in making choices every moment of the day. What a man chooses depends on what he likes or dislikes, what he wants or despises, what he loves or hates. Without faith, all a man’s choices are sinful (Rom. 14:23) but some decisions are more sinful than others.

Man is neither the master of his fate nor the captain of his soul. God determines the path that he walks. Things happen to him that he hoped would never happen, like being diagnosed with cancer. In his heart, he knows that he cannot control his life. There are even atheists in fox holes, who, through fear of death, have a sudden inclination to pray. Yet they cannot really pray, for true prayer comes only from a regenerated heart and must be offered on the basis of Christ’s substitutionary death and intercession.

A man’s emotions are his reactions to the totality of his experiences in life. He likes them or he dislikes them. Every emotion is a sense of like or dislike.

Bavinck points out that some emotions are very strong and some relatively weak. He gives different names to different emotions, depending on their strength.

The eternal and unchangeable God has, according to Scripture, emotions. God perfectly loves His people and hates the wicked (e.g., Ps. 5:5; Prov. 3:32-33). How the eternal God can have emotions is far beyond our understanding. But He does and for this we must be thankful. He is not cold, impersonal or unmoved by anything in this life. He is not the Mohammedan’s Allah.

It seems to me that love and hate are the most basic emotions. This is certainly true from an ethical viewpoint, for the moral law is summed up in the command to love God and our neighbour. God loves His people with an eternal love and hates the wicked with an eternal hatred. He does not love them all and bend every effort to save them, only to hate them at the end of their life and cast them into hell.

So with man: man’s most basic emotions are love and hate. The elect love God and their neighbour; the wicked hate God and their neighbour.

The believer still has a depraved nature. God is pleased to send him many afflictions. He may dislike intensely the fact that he has cancer, but he receives it from the Lord and in humble submission to His will. He loves his God and willingly submits to His way, although there remains the battle between his old man and his new man in Christ.

Man is responsible for his emotions. He must answer for them before Christ’s judgment throne. The believer is called to live a life of temperance, self-discipline and self-control by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). This is part of the kingly office of the Christian: his ruling over himself by God’s grace. He never simply has emotions that overcome him. He must not live by the slogan, “If it feels good, do it.” The child of God is the object of Jehovah’s mercy, love, grace and longsuffering. He is moved by this to bring to his heavenly Father a humble prayer of thanksgiving, all the while weeping for his sins. Prof. Hanko

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500 Years
of the Reformation


Friday, 3 November, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Calvin’s Doctrine of the Covenant”

 Prof. David J. Engelsma 

emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence St., Ballymena, N. Ireland BT43 5DR

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach at both CPRC services,
11 AM & 6 PM, on Lord’s Day, 5 November

The lecture will be streamed live at 

South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 23 November
 7:15 PM

Rev. Martyn McGeown

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

The Reformation’s Recovery of Right Worship

Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP

Knowing God & Man
Herman Hoeksema
(144 pp., softback)

The key to understanding all Reformed doctrine is found in the title of the first chapter in this book: “God is God.” This truth sets the beautiful tone for all thirteen chapters—six on God and seven on man. Each chapter on God directs the reader’s attention to a different biblical aspect of the Sovereign of the universe: God as God, as Creator, as Lord, as good, as the living God and as love. The seven chapters about man clearly explain man’s covenantal relationship to God, his creation in the image of God, his fall and his totally depraved nature. Like the chapters in part one, these also emphasize that God is God!
£6.50 (inc. P&P)

Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
on-line, by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!

The Conclusion to Christ’s Farewell Discourse

9 sermons on CD or DVD in an attractive box set
In that Upper Room in Jerusalem on the night before the cross, the Lord Jesus spoke of His “going away” in a “little while” so that His 11 disciples would “not see” Him, though in another “little while” they would “see” Him. These sermons explain the massive changes in the New Testament age that Christ would soon usher in!
(1) Christ’s Prophecy of Excommunication and Martyrdom (John 16:1-4a)
(2) The Spirit Convicting the World (John 16:4b-11)
(3) The Work of the Spirit of Truth (John 16:12-13)
(4) Glorifying Christ—The Spirit’s Work (John 16:14-15)
(5) Two Little Whiles (John 16:16-22)
(6) Praying in Christ’s Name
(John 16:23-24)
(7) Knowing the Father in the New Testament Age (John 16:25-27)
(8) The Weaknesses of the Disciples’ Knowledge
(John 16:28-32)
(9) Christ’s Victory Over the World (John 16:33)

£10/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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