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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - December 2017

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/
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Monday, December 18, 2017

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Building 2017 2Life on the mission field without a church building has its challenges. As you know, we rent a room in Conradh na Gaelige, an Irish language centre, in Limerick city. Until recently, we were on the first floor, with a main room for the worship service and an adjacent room for a “cry room” and storage (of the lectern, psalm books, Bibles, pamphlets, etc.). For various reasons, we recently moved downstairs to An Cistin, which translates as “The kitchen.” There are fewer stairs, which is helpful for Bill and Jimmy, who find the stairs a challenge. The bathrooms are on the same floor, which again reduces the need to climb stairs. The seats are also slightly more comfortable (cloth-covered instead of bare wood). And there is a kitchen, so we can make tea or coffee after the services on occasion.

As a small fellowship with several young children (ranging from 8 months to 6 years) we faced the problem of a lack of “cry room” facilities. To make matters worse, the kitchen has a wooden cabinet filled with delicate—and I presume expensive—china, something we don’t want little hands to handle! Therefore, some arranging of furniture is necessary every week to block off the cabinet and to free up some space for a nursery and cry room (during church) and a play area (after church). The next thing we need to do is to find a way to make it possible for parents with crying children to hear the service in the cry room. The door separating the two rooms is quite thick, which blocks out most of the sound. Our “tech experts” are working on a way to install speakers in the cry room. Thankfully, the saints are cooperating together on this, so that parents and children, young and old, can feel comfortable in public worship. “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).

Building 2017 1
Catechism with Sebastian (6) and Jason (5) is going well. Both boys learn their lessons well and are enthusiastic listeners and contributors. Last week, we reached the history of Isaac (Old Testament History for Beginners, Lesson 11). Catechism also continues (via Google hangout) with my nieces, Anna, Lily, and Hope; and with Chester and Dale Mansona (we are currently studying the Canons of Dordt, having finished the Belgic Confession). The other regular church activities are the Bible studies: the Tuesday evening study recently began Ezra (we have reached chapter 3—the postexilic history is fascinating, but less known than other Bible history); while the Bible study in the Mansona home has finished Romans chapter 1—the truth of God giving people and nations over to sin is both sobering and relevant in our day!

Building 2017 3

Yesterday morning, I finished a series on “The Coming of the Holy Spirit of Christ,” with the peculiar history of Acts 19:1-7: “The Spirit Coming on Certain Disciples of John.” I have almost finished my fourth series through the Heidelberg Catechism, having preached on the Sixth Petition yesterday evening.

I have also given speeches recently in Wales (23 November) and in Limerick (9 December). The latter speech was the seventeenth “Back to Basics” lecture, this time on “Peace with God.” These speeches are relatively short and simple introductions to the Christian faith. Rev. Stewart also gave a special lecture in Limerick (28 October), which we entitled, “Luther’s Great Discovery,” with 13 in attendance. I was also invited to speak on 24 November at the United Youth Rally of some local Welsh Evangelical churches. The meeting was hosted by the church of Brian Harris, who arranged for me to speak with his pastor’s permission. I spoke on “Who Is Jesus?” to a group of 55-60 people (mostly late teens and early twenties, with a few older people and one or two children). It was an enjoyable experience, and I stayed at the Harris’s house for one night and at a hotel (near the airport) for the second night. That weekend, Julian Kennedy from the CPRC came to visit.

On the weekend of 1 October, three young men from Michigan visited the LRF: Jason Corson, David Kalsbeek, and Eric Schipper. Our little fellowship enjoys visitors, so we would like to encourage as much of that as possible. With Dale Mansona we did a “walking tour” of Limerick. Do not forget the possibility of “Study Abroad” programmes at the University of Limerick, and the British Reformed Conference this summer!

Under the category of “evangelism” I mention my visit to Michigan and Colorado to participate in two Reformation conferences. First, I spoke on 28 October in Grand Rapids, MI; and second, I spoke on 4 November in Loveland, CO. Both conferences were very enjoyable. It was great to meet (Rev.) David and Ruth Torlach again (as Prof Cammenga mentioned at the Conference in Michigan, David graduated—with (Rev.) Dan Holstege and me—in the top three of his class!). In Colorado, I preached in Loveland on 5 November, taught a church history class on John Wycliffe in the Protestant Reformed school, and gave a short presentation on the LRF to the study hall group. What a blessing to see Christian education in action! Blake DeBoer, one of the teachers in Loveland, brought me to see Estes Park. It was a joy to meet the saints in Loveland, a congregation that I had not previously visited.

The exciting news, of course, is that Larisa DeJong and I are engaged to be married! But I am sure most of you already knew that, for Prof Cammenga announced it at the Reformation Conference, and, even without that publicity, news travels fast. Larisa and I are happily making plans for our wedding. We thank you for your prayerful support and for your many congratulations.

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn McGeown

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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
Read more...

Philippines Mission Newsletter - November 2017

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
NOVEMBER 2017 NEWSLETTER


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. wordpress.com). 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

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Reformed News Asia - November 2017

Issue 45 - November 2017
Pamphlets
We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
NEWPamphlet!
THE FAITHFUL WITNESS
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: http://bit.ly/2yv0GEf
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 http://ckckscamp.weebly.com/

 
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  •www.cerc.org.sg 
 

 
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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!

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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: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.www.youtube.com/cprcniwww.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
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South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 23 November
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Martyn McGeown

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

Subject:
The Reformation’s Recovery of Right Worship

 
NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
www.limerickreformed.com
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!
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