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New Salt Shakers Magazine - July 2018 (#50)

SS July 2018

"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has now released the July 2018 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#50),their youth magazine.

The JULY 2018 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and instructive articles, and our PRC young people especially are encouraged to make it part of their reading content.

Below you will find a note from the "SS" Committee introducing the contents of this issue and images of the cover and table of contents. The entire issue is also attached here in pdf form.

CONTENTS

Editorial: A Reflection on Christian Liberty (I) - Chua Lee Yang
Scripture's Covenant Youth (XII) Joash - Prof. Herman Hanko
Are Unbelievers in God's Image? (VIII) - Rev. Angus Stewart  
Holiness as Young Adults (III) - Wee Gim Theng
Quit You Like Men (II) - Woon Tian Loong
Marriage is Not For Me (II) - Marcus and Tze Yan Wee
Thy Might Sets Fast The Mountains - Jemima Joy Boon
The Importance of Reading for Every Christian (I) - Rev. Arie Den Hartog
The Care of This World (I) - Jean Lim
The Christian in The World (I) Beverly Tan
A Succourer of Many - Daisy Lim
The Life of Rev. Herman Hoeksema - Prof. David J. Engelsma
The Deposition of Elders - Rev. Nathan Langerak


Dear Readers,
Welcome to another edition of the Salt Shakers! We thank our writers for contributing to another worthwhile edition
of this distinctively Reformed magazine, as well as the staff who have put the magazine together. The Salt Shakers
maintains a good balance of younger and older writers, local and foreign. We believe that this practice uniquely
expresses our diversity and unity in the Reformed faith, and manifests the catholicity of the church of Jesus Christ.
In this issue, Prof. David Engelsma pens an intriguing account of the PRC’s founding father – Rev. Herman Hoeksema.
Besides developing the truth of God’s gracious and unconditional covenant with His people in Jesus Christ, Hoeksema
was also instrumental in developing the truth of the unbreakable bond of marriage. Hoeksema saw the deeply
erroneous view of divorce and remarriage, held in many Reformed and Presbyterian churches, that allowed the socalled
“innocent party” of a divorce to remarry. Maintaining his conviction on Scripture’s instruction, Hoeksema
insisted that only physical death breaks the marriage bond because marriage is a picture of God’s unbreakable covenant
of grace with His people in Jesus Christ. The young people in CERC and her sister churches marry in the conviction
of this truth today. We have much to be grateful for Rev. Hoeksema.

It may interest our readers to know that Rev. Hoeksema died in the same year that Singapore became an independent
nation: 1965. Slightly over fifty years since the Lord’s servant went to glory, not many people today would know about
him. But every member of CERC ought to be familiar with his writings. His Reformed Dogmatics, for example, ought
to be standard reading for every office-bearer of CERC.

Rev. den Hartog presses the necessity of reading for every Reformed believer in another article. Where smartphones,
tablets and the mobile internet reign in everyday life today, it is imperative for the Reformed believer to make reading
a vital habit in his life. Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh strive ferociously to extinguish this duty. Our enemies
know that God’s people will be destroyed for lack of knowledge. Let it never be said that it was because we rejected
knowledge (Hos. 4:6).

Parents are instructed to read, and to pass on their reading habits to their children. Covenant children must know
and see that their parents are readers of habit. There is every reason for joy when children know that their parents
enjoy reading, and through reading, are knowledgeable parents. Only by habitual and disciplined reading can parents
faithfully and effectively instruct their covenant children in the Reformed faith.

The Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) is an excellent source of distinctively Reformed literature. Parents
must be encouraged to be book club members so that they an excellent source of reading material for themselves and
their children.

Blessed reading!
Aaron

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Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - August 2018

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, NI

17 August, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

BRF Conference

The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference at Hebron Hall, Cardiff in Wales (21-28 July) was the most international of the 15 biennial conferences to date. Apart from those from the various parts of the British Isles, saints flew in from Canada, the US, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Singapore, and Australia, meaning that the only continent that was not included was Africa.

We were delighted that as many as 116 people booked in for the conference and we had 11 day visitors, most of whom came back again and again! The size and catholicity of the gathering, plus the fine Welsh venue, made for what many thought was the best BRF conference yet for fellowship. The Lord also gave us sunny and warm weather.

BRF Conf 2018 group

Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning were warmly welcomed back as our main speakers. Because of her recent cancer operation, sadly Mrs. Ruth Engelsma was unable to be with us.

Our two American brethren developed the conference theme of “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” in their 6 main conference addresses: “The Divine Origin of the Family” (Rev. Lanning), “The Authoritative Content of the Gospel” (Prof. Engelsma), “The God-Fearing Man and His Virtuous Wife” (Rev. Lanning), “The Reformed Family: Parents and Children” (Prof. Engelsma), “It Is Good to Be Single” (Rev. Lanning), and “Unbiblical Divorce and Adulterous Remarriage: A Scandal” (Prof. Engelsma). The family is a beautiful, biblical subject that is often unfolded in preaching and writing in our circles, yet the speeches were marked not only by their depth but also by their freshness!

Rev. Martyn McGeown's opening address (“Hating Our Family: Necessary for Christian Discipleship”), the Sunday sermons by Rev. Lanning and myself (“The God of the Living” and “The Eunuchs Who Keep God's Sabbaths”), Mr. Pete Adams' presentation (“The Family and Education”), and Prof. Engelsma's special lecture (“Spousal Abuse in the Christian Community”) developed important aspects of the grand theme of the family.

Thanks to the sterling work of Stephen Murray, all of these 11 presentations can be watched free online, along with the videos of the 7 question and answer sessions that followed the 6 main speeches and the special lecture by Rev. Lanning and Prof. Engelsma ( www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Y5Eq5r6y2EGXxIszbEuErsISIdc4Uvd ).

These 11 addresses will soon be made into attractive box sets of CDs and DVDs that will be available for sale at £12 in the UK (inc. P&P). The cost is $20 for those in America. Mary and I will be traveling to the US on 24 September, DV. If you place an order with us before then (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), we can bring your box set with us in our luggage. Otherwise, we will post/mail it to you from Northern Ireland. You can pay us through Mary's US bank account (check payable to “Mary Stewart” and mail it (with your name and address) to Mr. Fred Hanko, 7341 Pinegrove Dr., Jenison, MI 49428) or the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA), which will take your payment from the CPRC Bookstore's bill.

Despite the difficulty of getting a proper range of books, box sets, and pamphlets from the CPRC Bookstore in Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea to the conference on Wales, we still managed to sell almost $1,000 of Reformed materials. Beside this, a number of people bought individual issues of the British Reformed Journal and/or subscribed to this semi-annual periodical (for ways of doing the latter, see www.britishreformed.org/membership).

The membership of the British Reformed Fellowship voted to hold the next conference in Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland (11-18 July, 2020). The glorious subject is to be union with Jesus Christ. Having served the BRF conferences so well in the past, Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning were chosen as the two main speakers. Bear this in mind over the next two years, for hopefully we may see you there!

CPRC

A number of this year's conferees from outside Europe spent time in Northern Ireland before and/or after the week in Wales. Thus the CPRC had Brazilian, American, Singaporean, Canadian, and Australian visitors on the three Lord's days before, and the two Sundays after, the conference. Some of our international guests were also able to join us at the congregational barbecue at the CPRC manse (3 August). Communion with Reformed believers from various parts of the world is always very encouraging for the members of the CPRC!

Behold I Come CPRC 2018

The latest addition to the CPRC Bookstore, with its more than 150 titles, is Behold, I Come Quickly (www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore.htm). This excellent little volume by Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning consists of the ten main speeches at the previous BRF conference in 2016 and costs just £5. It is also available from various Protestant Reformed congregations in America and Canada, especially Byron Center PRC, the main distributor in North America; the RFPA; the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) in Singapore; the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP); and (soon) Launceston Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia.

The youngest member of the CPRC is now little Grace Mae Crossett, daughter of David and Kristin (née Prins). Grace was baptized on Sunday, 8 July, with members of the Prins family from Michigan being present for the occasion.

The last couple of months have been a somewhat lean period for translations (www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm). Our thanks to Ivan Ortu in Sardinia (6 Italian), and Raoul and Tania Valeev in Belgium (1 Russian). Currently, Carol Nienhuis is helping Mary by linking our many hundreds of translations. When these and many other links and webpages are converted to the new style, the whole CPRC website will be mobile friendly and have a new look (www.cprc.co.uk).

I am to speak at the RFPA Annual Meeting on “The RFPA, the CPRC, and the Spread of the Truth” in Grace PRC, Grand Rapids on Thursday, 27 September at 7:30 P.M. I will be preaching at both of the Sunday services in Wingham PRC in Ontario (30 September) and at the evening Lord's day service in Zion PRC (7 October), D.V. It will be good to meet the saints in both of these churches for the first time. Other speaking details of the trip have not yet been finalized. Rev. Ken Koole will be preaching in Ballymena in our absence, and for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF).

Thank you for your support and prayers. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you, your families and your churches!

Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart

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Covenant Reformed News - July 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News


July 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 3



God’s Wisdom (2)

In the previous instalment, we saw from Romans 11:33-36 that God’s wisdom is both infinite and self-sufficient, just as He is both infinite and self-sufficient. Now we shall turn to Proverbs 8 to make four additional points regarding this divine perfection.

First, God’s wisdom is eternal. Wisdom declares, “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world” (22-26). This is a poetic description of God’s only begotten Son, the eternal wisdom of God (Belgic Confession 8). God never was without His wisdom!

Second, God’s wisdom is omnipotent. Thus He proclaims, “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength” (Prov. 8:14). God’s wisdom never fails, nor is it ever impotent or weak. The divine wisdom never desires an end without obtaining that end by using the most appropriate means.

Third, God’s wisdom is true. He professes, “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips” (7). Jehovah never lies as a means to attain His end. The all-wise God never adapts Himself to uttering falsehood.

Fourth, God’s wisdom is righteous. The divine wisdom states, “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them” (8), for “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (13). God’s wisdom is always virtuous and perfectly good; it never resorts to wickedness.

In keeping with this, we read in Proverbs 6, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (16-19). Here we learn that the Most High hates and abominates iniquity, the bodily parts employed in sin and wicked people.

The God who is wise in His Persons and perfections is also wise in His eternal decree. The purpose or goal of the whole created universe is that infinite majesty is ascribed to God through all eternity: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever” (Rom. 11:36). Absolutely “all things,” “yea, even the wicked,” are means to that supreme end (Prov. 16:4). Everything is decreed, created, preserved and used by Jehovah for His honour, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen”!

In God’s eternal wisdom, all things are adapted to the highest end: His glory! Jesus Christ serves Jehovah’s honour. The elect church serves the Lord Jesus, the great servant of the Trinity, and so God’s glory. Reprobation serves the elect church which serves Christ and so God’s praise, as do “all things” in creation and providence, in heaven and in earth. All of this is according to God’s wisdom in His eternal decree or counsel.

God’s first work outside Himself is that of creation—the product of astounding wisdom! “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens” (Prov. 3:19).

No wonder the divine wisdom confesses, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men” (8:27-31).

Genesis 1 describes the all-wise God’s preparation of the world for man. He created the sky on day two for man needs air to breathe. The dry land and vegetation of day three provided terra firma and food for humanity. The sun, moon and stars of day four give us light. The fish, birds and animals made on days five and six serve mankind in many ways. All these things are perfectly adapted as means to serve man as the subordinate end, so that man may serve God his Creator (Belgic Confession 12).

Yet foolish man claims that the universe is not the product of the wisdom of God. Instead, it is a random occurrence involving trillions of accidents merely according to lucky chance and going all the way back to a gigantic explosion. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). 

Let us also consider Jehovah’s great work of providence: His upholding, governing and directing of all things, according to His eternal purpose. Think of all the stars in the heavens, the myriad fish in the depths of the sea and the many nations of the earth. What infinite and omnipotent divine wisdom is required to sustain and rule over 7 billion people every second of every day! We sing with the psalmist, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (104:24).

Of all the figures in the Old Testament, it is perhaps Joseph’s life that most displays God’s wisdom. Delivering the family of Israel from the famine in Canaan was the end for which Jehovah employed him: “God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20; cf. 45:5, 7-8). The strange means to achieve that wise end included the sin of Joseph’s ten brothers in selling him into slavery; his imprisonment for a crime that he did not commit; his interpretation of the dreams of the butler, the baker and Pharaoh; etc.  Rev. Stewart
 

Did God Pray to God? (1)

A reader asks, “In the garden of Gethsemane, did Christ pray to the Triune God and thus to Himself, as the Second Person? Or is it wrong for us to say that He who is God prayed to God?”

The question the reader asks is a difficult one. It deals with the great mystery of the Trinity, that God is three in Person and one in essence or Being. It also deals with the doctrine of Christ, the eternal Son of God in our human nature, a nature that was like us in all things except our sin. The creeds of the church have defined this doctrine thus: The Second Person of the holy Trinity, namely the Son, united in His Person the fulness of the divine nature and a complete, though sinless, human nature. Our Lord Jesus Christ was as much a human as any of us. In fact, Paul tells us in Romans 8:3 that Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh:” not in sinful flesh but in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came with all the weaknesses of our flesh, the powers of which were eroded by sin and subject to death.

It feels here as if one ought to take off his shoes for he is standing on holy ground. About all we can do is bow in awe and wonder at the marvel of Immanuel: God with us. One hears the voice of the Canons of Dordt warning us that we ought not inquire too far into the deep things of God. Our minds are so small, our understanding so limited and our thought so under the curse of death that we, it seems, should put our hands on our mouth lest we say something foolish and thus put a blemish on our infinitely holy God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Yet the Bible tells us that our Lord prayed. He prayed often and He sometimes prayed all night. He prayed to God and addressed God as His Father. How are we to explain this?

The explanation that Christ prayed only to the First Person of the Trinity will not do, for that position makes a division between God the Father (and the Holy Spirit) and God the Son. Israel must learn to say, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). The Scriptures teach us everywhere that the Triune God is one God. Not the First Person of the Trinity to the exclusion of the Second and Third; not the Second Person of the Trinity to the exclusion of the First and Third. God is eternally three Persons in one divine nature—always and in all He does.

He, as the Triune God, is Father. He is the Father of all His elect family. The Triune God begets them through regeneration. He loves them eternally. Not one of the three Persons love the church; not two of the three Persons loves the church. All three Persons in the union of one nature or essence unchangeably and eternally love the church.

On the other hand, the Triune God did not become man. The First Person, the Father, did not become flesh. There was an old heresy condemned by the church as Patripassianism, the notion that the Father suffered on the cross. The ancient church father, Tertullian, explained that to mean that those heretics put to flight the Holy Spirit and crucified the Father (Against Praxeas 1).

Because the Lord our God is one Lord, it is impossible that one Person of the holy Trinity does some work to the exclusion of the other two Persons. Yet there is a certain priority of Person in each work. The Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 8 speaks of God the Father especially in connection with our creation, God the Son and our redemption, and God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. Thus the revelation of God includes the truth of three Persons in God united in their essence and work.

The key is the word “revealed.” God reveals Himself through these works as the God who is three in Person and one in essence.

That Christ is divine need not be proved here. Every creed of the Christian church, beginning with Nicea in AD 325, teaches this biblical doctrine emphatically. Nicea even says of Christ that He is “true God of true God.” Not to be overlooked is our Lord’s emphatic statement to the Jews: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).  Our Saviour cannot possibly mean that the First Person of the Trinity and Christ, to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit, are one.

John 1:1-3 speaks of the logos, another name for Christ, as the One through whom God, the Triune God, created all things. The same is true of Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2. Even in the Old Testament, Christ, called by the name “wisdom,” is spoken of the One through whom the world was made (Prov. 8).

Nor is the Holy Spirit neglected in the work of creation (Gen. 1:2).

The Second Person of the Trinity was not the author of redemption alone. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (II Cor. 5:19). Nor is God spoken of here as the First Person of the holy Trinity. The Triune God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ.

Did Christ, in His human nature, pray to the Triune God, addressing Him as His Father? Of course, He did. Moreover, when He prayed to the Triune God, calling Him “my Father,” Christ said, “not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). The first will here is Christ’s human will and the second will is that of the Triune God.

It is at this point that the miracle of the incarnation becomes very deep and Scripture has very little to say about it, for our understanding is very limited. Most probably the Bible is silent because we are too lacking in understanding to grasp the mystery of God become flesh (I Tim. 3:16).

When our Lord asked who touched Him, after a woman was healed by making contact with the hem of His robe unbeknownst to Him, Christ’s human nature was reflected in this consciousness, according to which He, in fact, did not know who touched Him. The same is true of Jesus when He said that He did not know the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:36), where Christ refers to the Triune God as “my Father.” However, according to His divine nature, He knew all things!  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  
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South Wales Lecture

FRIDAY, 31 August, 2018
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart


Subject:
Christ Our Sacrifice in Isaiah 53
 
Leviticus 1-7 sets forth 4 bloody sacrifices and the 6 stages in offering them. Isaiah 53 extols God’s suffering servant using sacrificial language and ideas. Come to learn more of our Saviour’s redemptive work, fulfilling the Old Testament sacrificial system!

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

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm

 
Behold, I Come Quickly

by David J. Engelsma
& Andrew Lanning
(174 pp., softback)


This superb new book sets forth the Reformed and biblical truth of the end in ten relatively short chapters!
1. The Second and Quick Coming of Christ: The Signs 
2. The Reformed Belief Concerning the Rapture and the Antichrist
3. The Coming World-Conquest of the Beast From the Sea
4. Jesus’ Coming as a Thief in View of Great Apostasy and Abounding Lawlessness
5. The 2 Witnesses of Revelation 11
6. The Final Judgment
7. Methuselah
8. The Hope of Creation for Christ’s Coming
9. Disorderliness and the Second Coming of Christ
10. Dispensationalism, J. N. Darby and Powerscourt
Only £5.50 (inc. P&P)

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

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

Earnestly Contending for the Faith (Vol. 2)

8 sermons on Jude 12-25 on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

 What terrifying imagery does Jude use regarding heretics? What has Enoch to do with the Lord’s second coming? How should we witness to those ensnared in filthy errors? There is lots to learn from the second half of Jude!

1. Images of False Teachers (12-13)
2. Enoch’s Prophecy (14-15)
3. Complainers! (16)
4. Mockers in the Last Time (17-18)
5. Dividers! (19)
6. Keep Yourselves in the Love of God (20-21)
7. Two Ways of Witnessing (22-23)
8. Jude’s Concluding Doxology (24-25)

£8/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!
You are receiving this email because you requested that your name be added to our monthly CR News list.

Our mailing address is:
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, Co. Antrim BT43 5DR
United Kingdom

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - August 2018

Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland

http://www.limerickreformed.com/
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Monday, August 6, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

This is my first newsletter as a married man: as all of you know, Larisa (DeJong) and I were married on April 6. We honeymooned in California (April 9-17), beginning in San Francisco and traveling southwards on Highway 1 to San Diego, and stopping for a few days to stay with Travis and Kayla Feenstra (Kayla is one of Larisa’s cousins), during which time we spent a few days with the saints in Hope PRC (Redlands, CA). Married life is a great blessing for both of us and Larisa is settling well into life in Ireland: she has already learned to drive a man-ual (“stick shift”) car, having mastered the clutch and the art of navigating roundabouts, for example; she is getting used to grocery shopping, cooking/baking with the metric system; and she is acclimatizing to doing laundry in a rainy country without a dryer. She also hopes to compensate for the lack of fresh Michigan fruit (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are expensive here) by growing her own. (We shall see how that goes in the Irish climate.) In addition, we have made good progress in our application with the Irish immigration service for permanent residency for Larisa in Ireland.

McGeowns Aug 2018
Rev. and Larisa McGeown cutting cake

Unusual for newly married couples is the number of wedding receptions (and cake-cutting ceremonies) that we have had: we cut cake on April 6, then at a second reception for my Irish/Northern Irish relatives/friends in Cookstown on May 12, and then finally in Wales on May 24, when some of the women brought a cake for us after one of the speeches! As I always say, you can never have too much cake, especially if it is chocolate cake!

While I was in the USA for the wedding (with all the preparations that such things entail, including entertaining my family—my parents, siblings, brother-in-law, and three nieces—who were there for the occasion, and spending time with my American friends), Jonathan Langerak, now pastor-elect Langerak, was ably holding the fort: he and his grandparents, Harry and Evelyn Langerak, occupied my house during that time, and Jonathan preached, taught catechism, and led Bible study: the saints greatly enjoyed his ministry; our only regret is that he was not able to finish his sermon series on Jonah, for which he has an open invitation to come back.

JonL Hogan Kelly
Pastor-elect J. Langerak with Jimmy Hogan and Noel Kelly

My last newsletter was March 2, so I did not mention the kerfuffle we had on March 4: on that Sunday morning we arrived at the hall to discover that the access code had been changed and that the employees at the building did not know the new one. After some scrambling, we all managed to get to the Wattersons’ house by about noon (about 30 minutes outside of Limerick city centre), but because one of our regulars had to pick up his wife at 1 P.M. we decided to shorten the service and rearrange the order so that he could hear the preaching: I preached the sermon at the beginning of the service, prayed the congregational prayer after the sermon, and cut the number of psalms down to two. Thankfully, we were able to have the full service at the right time (although again at the Wattersons’ house) that evening. Such flexibility is necessary on the mission field.

Recent sermons in Limerick have included a series on Romans 1:18-32 (“The Operation of God’s Wrath in the World”) from February 11 to March 18, a series on Romans 5:6-11 (from April 29 to May 20), and a series on Hebrews 12:12-17 on “Responses to Chastisement” (from June 3 to July 15). Yesterday, I finished the section of Christ’s humiliation in the Heidelberg Catechism with “Our Saviour Descending into Hell,” a sobering and comforting section of the great Reformation catechism. Catechism for the children finished in May: Sebastian Kuhs and Jason Watterson successfully completed Old Testament History for Beginners (Book 1), as did my two younger nieces, Lily and Hope, while my older niece, Anna, finished Old Testament History for Juniors. We look forward to resuming catechism in September, when Penelope Kuhs will be joining the class for Old Testament History for Beginners (Book 2).

My catechumens are very intelligent, which a few stories will illustrate. When asked: “What sign did Rahab put in her window to show the Israelites that it was her house?” Sebastian Kuhs (then aged 6) answered, “A sign that said, ‘I love God.’” When I explained that it was more of a secret sign that the people of Jericho would not understand, namely a piece of scarlet rope, Sebastian referred to it as a “nothing sign,” for it was a wordless sign! Moreover, when I asked how an army might conquer a walled city such as Jericho, Sebastian answered, “A trebuchet!” When I expressed surprise, Sebastian began to explain what a trebuchet is. “I know what a trebuchet is,” I responded, “but how do you know the word trebuchet?” It is always a delight to teach children the Word of God. May the Lord bless His Word to their hearts and lives!

In addition, Colm and Irini have been taking an Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class on Saturday mornings. We have made very good progress, for both are very keen to learn. We finished Lessons 1-7 on Theology proper. Irini is on vacation for a few weeks in Greece, but after she returns we hope to continue with Lesson 8 on Creation.

On May 25 the Irish electorate voted to remove the right to life of the unborn from the Irish Constitution. Around that time (May 16), I was interviewed on a radio station in Cork (Life FM) in connection with a lecture I gave on “The Bible and Abortion” in Limerick (May 19). I reported more fully on the referendum in the August 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer.

The British Reformed Conference (July 21-28) has just ended: it was such a wonderful, spiritually uplifting, and encouraging week: excellent speeches, delightful fellowship, enjoyable activities, and good food. The airlines managed to make the return journey from Wales to Ireland unpleasant, however: although we should have been back in Limerick on Saturday (July 28) at about 10:30 am, we arrived at 1 A.M. on Sunday morning (July 29)! Although we were tired, we had our two worship services and a congregational get-together with food in the afternoon. It was good to have many pre- and post-conference visitors: Joanna Koerner, Danae Overweg, Kristen Pawloski, Rose and Kate Doezema, Emily Feenstra, Rachel Buiter, and Dave and Linda Poortinga stayed at our home (not at the same time). The Poortingas left this morning—our next guests will be (this evening) Lidi Cecilio (from Brazil) and (on Friday) Joshua Harris (from Wales), DV. Others visited the LRF, but did not stay at our house: Ed Bos, Phil Harbach, Christine Wierenga, Hannah Bos, Marco Barone, Paula Kuiper, and Greg, Candace, Patrick, and Megan Duerr. Visitors are always welcome!

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn & Larisa McGeown

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Covenant Reformed News - June 2018

 

Covenant Reformed News


June 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 2



Does God Change? (2)

The question addressed in the last Covenant Reformed News brought up Ephesians 2:3, which describes believers prior to their conversion: “Among whom [i.e., the ungodly] also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Some wrongly understand “wrath” as the equivalent of hatred. Thus they teach that God hates the elect before He regenerates them. Since Scripture clearly declares that Jehovah loves His chosen ones before their spiritual birth (4-5), before their physical birth (Rom. 9:10-13), before the cross (I John 4:9-10) and even before the foundation of the world (Jer. 31:3), their doctrine is that God both loves and hates those chosen in Christ prior to their conversion.

If the Most High is able both to love and hate His elect before their effectual call, then, they claim, He can both love and hate the reprobate, those from whom He sovereignly wills to hide spiritually the gospel so that they do not believe and are not saved (Matt. 11:25-27). The Westminster Confession summarizes the Bible’s teaching on reprobation: “The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice” (3:7).

The intent of their appeal to Ephesians 2:3 is to support the well-meant offer: an earnest (though completely useless) divine desire or wish to save all men head for head. This position needs, first, a general or universal love or grace of God which passionately wills to save the reprobate, that is, to elect, redeem, regenerate, effectually call, give faith and repentance to, justify, illuminate, indwell, sanctify, seal, preserve, comfort and glorify those whom He has eternally appointed “to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” What a glaring contradiction!

Second, this view requires an explanation or justification of a divine attitude—or, rather, attitudes!—of hatred and love towards the reprobate. Hence the appeal to Ephesians 2:3. If God can both love and hate the elect (prior to their regeneration), then He can both hate and love the reprobate (in time)!

The first insuperable problem with this scheme is that Holy Scripture nowhere teaches that Jehovah loves the reprobate. Instead, it repeatedly states that He eternally and justly hates them for their sins (e.g., Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5-6; Prov. 16:4-5). Whereas the dogma of the well-meant offer is “Jacob have I loved and hated, but Esau have I hated and loved,” what the Bible actually says is this: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:2-3).

Second, if the Most High really hates all the objects of His wrath, then He even hates the Lord Jesus! Scripture reveals that Christ is our propitiation (Rom. 3:25; I John 2:2; 4:10), that is, the One who, under the terrible burden of God’s wrath, bore the punishment due to the elect for all their sins (Heidelberg Catechism, A. 17).

Third, and similarly, if Jehovah hates all the objects of His wrath, then He also hates believers! Thus holy David speaks of his experience of Jehovah’s “wrath” and “hot displeasure” (Ps. 38:1), and “anger” and “hot displeasure” (6:1). Every saint knows this divine chastening (1), “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6; cf. 7-8).

What a wretched, comfortless message for the child of God that necessarily follows from the erroneous interpretation of Ephesians 2:3 by those who twist it in support of their well-meant offer: not only did Jehovah hate each and every saint before their regeneration, but He also hates us now, after our conversion! What a terrifying thought for the distressed Christian: “God loves and hates me, and He also loves and hates those who will perish everlastingly!”

So what, positively, does the phrase in Ephesians 2:3 mean? By itself, “the children of wrath” could refer to people who indulge in sinful anger. The other option is that the text refers to God’s wrath. I am not aware of anyone who holds the first position.

While the elect were unregenerate, we were under “the wrath of God,” for we walked in “ungodliness and unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). In this, we were just like the reprobate, as Ephesians 2:3 says, “even as others.” Moreover, we “were by nature the children of wrath” (3). That is, we did not become such by, for example, picking up vicious habits but we were born totally depraved. We were the children of wrath innately and inherently, as those conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5).

The elect before their new birth were under God’s wrath and, especially at certain times, we deeply felt it! We experienced guilt, shame, the fear of death and the apprehension of hell awaiting us, as those who were not right with God and under His wrath.

Jehovah never has hated and never will hate His elect in Jesus Christ; we are the objects of His love alone—eternally and unchangeably (Eph. 1:4; 2:4). It would have been unjust for God to lavish the experience of this love upon us while we walked in unbelief. Instead, He manifested His righteous wrath upon us in our sins.
Through faith in Christ, we are now reconciled to God and know His love towards us. If we walk impenitently in iniquity, our loving God shows us His anger and chastises us, in order to bring us back into the enjoyment of His fatherly embrace.  Rev. Stewart
 

Divide the Baby in Two!

A reader asks, “When Solomon ordered a living baby to be cut in half (I Kings 3:23-28), was he not guilty of sin against the sixth and/or the ninth commandments?”

We must, first of all, have the situation before us. Two female prostitutes came to Solomon with a problem. Each of them had given birth to a baby which they took with them to bed each evening. During one night, one mother lay on her baby and smothered it. But she exchanged her dead baby for the living baby, and acted as if the living baby were her baby and the dead baby were her friend’s baby. They could not resolve the dispute between them, so they went to King Solomon to settle the problem.

We must remember that this incident is recorded in Scripture in order to demonstrate the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon was the wisest man in the world at that time for, in answer to his prayer, God had given him this amazing wisdom (5-14). As such, he was a type of Christ, the eternal wisdom of God (Prov. 8; I Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3). From a certain point of view, it is surprising that the Bible should choose this incident in Solomon’s reign to demonstrate his profound wisdom. After all, both women were prostitutes and one would expect that they would be punished for their immoral lives.

Solomon’s decision was not a shot in the dark, so to speak. Nor did he really intend to commit himself to murder, when he suggested that the living child be cut in half. His command to divide the baby in two was based upon a knowledge of human nature, that God has so created women that they have an inner longing to bring children into the world and care for them. A mother would give her life for her child. The baby whom a mother bears is more important than anything else in the world. The baby is part of her life.

Scripture suggests this as well. Where this is not evident in a mother, the horrible power of sin has overcome her. Isaiah reminds Judah of God’s faithfulness, when they claim that He has forgotten them: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isa. 49:15; cf. John 16:21).

One woman who stood before Solomon had such a strong love for her child that she was willing that, rather than see it killed, she would give it to the other woman. On the other hand, that other woman would just as soon see it die, rather than her companion have it. 

What a terrible sin it is for a woman in our day, for no other reason than to satisfy her selfish desires, to abort her baby before it is born or forsake it when it is born. Such a mother acts contrary to her created nature and is so self-centred that she will give up the fruit of her womb. She would rather lose her child than give up her pleasures.

I had an uncle and an aunt who were foster parents to a boy with Down’s syndrome. His biological parents, both with careers, could not be bothered with him. He grew up under Christian influences in the home and church, made confession of faith in the church and still serves as an usher. He is a godly man who is faithful to the truth.

But part of sin in this world is the fact that, if we want something badly enough but cannot have it, we would rather that no one have it. A child, fighting over a toy truck with his brother, would rather that his mother not allow his brother to have the truck either, if he cannot have it. Jealousy is a strange sin! We would rather that no one has what we want than another get it.

There is one more possibility, although it is somewhat speculative. It is, however, possible and there is some reason to adopt it: the true mother of the baby was converted through this dramatic incident in her life. God may have showed her the sin of prostitution, and made her aware of her need to repent and seek His mercy.

If this is true, Solomon may have seen this in her and determined that the baby was her child. The reasons why this could be true are, first of all, that the inspired Scriptures use this incident in the life of Solomon to demonstrate his wisdom. Wisdom in the Bible is a spiritual attribute. James tells those to whom he writes that, if they lack wisdom, let them ask of God (1:5).

There is a worldly “wisdom,” James also tells us, but it is “earthly, sensual, devilish” (3:15). It is a sort of wisdom that solves purely earthly problems. Only God’s people have the true wisdom that is “from above,” and is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (17). Solomon possessed true wisdom which he asked of God.

I cannot imagine that Scripture would use this incident to display Solomon’s wisdom, if that wisdom were merely an earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom. It would, it seems to me, be all that, if Solomon made his decision solely on his knowledge of sinful human nature.

If what I propose is correct, then Solomon saw in the true mother not only a purely natural yearning for her baby but a spiritual love: she viewed her baby as a covenant child who had a place in the church of Christ. The thought of such a baby being slain was more than she could bear. The sin of killing it was almost as bad as that of those Israelites who offered their children to Moloch in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. It was, she thought, better that her adversary have her baby than that it should die.

Her adversary, on the other hand, did not care about spiritual things. That the infant was a covenant child was of no concern of her, nor did she even think in these terms. Divide the baby in two! That would be better than if her adversary kept the baby, while she had no children.

This interpretation appeals to me very much. Solomon was, after all, a type of Christ. He was a type, as the ruler of a beautiful and wealthy kingdom. He sought the spiritual welfare of those under him. So the Lord Jesus is King of a heavenly kingdom, far surpassing the kingdom of Solomon in glory and riches. Christ establishes His kingdom for His blood-bought people whom He saves in the line of generations: believers and their children who are precious in His sight (Gen. 17:7; II Tim. 1:5). Here was a mother who had no love for God’s covenant, and a mother who suddenly saw the amazing truth that Jehovah saves believing parents and their children to bring them into His own covenant life. She understood that and so did Solomon. He, in his God-given wisdom, knew how covenant mothers love their children! 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  
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British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference

21-28 July 2018

Hebron Hall
Conference Centre

South Wales

Theme:
The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God

Speakers:
Prof. David Engelsma
Rev. Andy Lanning

All are welcome to attend the worship services and lectures.

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
for the conference programme
or check the conference website
http://brfconference.weebly.com/
Here We Stand
Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of
the Reformation

(208 pp., softback)

The massive development of the sixteenth-century Reformation included the crucial issues of justification by faith alone, the supreme authority of Scripture and biblical worship. This book also covers two lesser-known, yet highly significant, aspects of the Reformation: the unique progress of the Reformation in the Lowlands and the Reformers’ response to the Anabaptist radicals. The chapters of Here We Stand are written by Prof. Ron Cammenga (editor), Rev. David Torlach, Prof. Barry Gritters, Rev. Martyn McGeown, Prof. Russell Dykstra and Rev. Steven Key.

£8.80 (inc. P&P)
Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
.
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Jonathan: David’s Covenant Friend

10 sermons by Rev. Martyn McGeown on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

This new series of sermons from passages in I & II Samuel sets forth the beautiful character of Jonathan: his courage, humility and faithfulness, especially in his covenant friendship with David, a glorious type of Christ our King!  “Whatever fitness he might have shown for the kingdom, had he been called to it, a more unselfish, warm-hearted, genuine or noble character is not presented to us in Scripture than that of Jonathan” (Alfred Edersheim).

(1) Jonathan’s Preemptive Strike at Geba (I Sam. 13:3)
(2) Jonathan’s Daring Attack at Michmash (I Sam. 14:1-23)
(3) Jonathan Transgresses Saul’s Oath (I Sam. 14:24-45)
(4) Jonathan Befriends David
(I Sam. 18:1-4)
(5) Jonathan Intercedes for David
(I Sam. 19:1-7)
(6) Jonathan: A Friend in David’s Need (I Sam. 20:1-23)
(7) Jonathan Helps David Flee From Saul (I Sam. 20:24-42)
(8) Jonathan Strengthens David’s Hand in God (I Sam. 23:16-18)
(9) David Laments for Jonathan
(II Sam. 1:17-27)
(10) David Shows Kindness for Jonathan’s Sake (II Sam. 9)

£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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Philippine Mission Newsletter - July 2018

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES

JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER

Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
PO Box 1173 ACPO, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

PRF Leyte 2018

Dear Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America and of our Sister Churches. We greet you in Christ with the news that we and our families and the saints here are, by God’s grace, all doing well. We often think of the words of Proverbs 25:25 (“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country”) when news comes our way. We trust it may be the same for you.

The Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (made up of the Berean PRC pastored by Rev. V. Ibe, the PRC in Bulacan pastored by Rev. J. Flores, and the Maranatha PRC pastored by Rev. L. Trinidad) is very thankful to the Lord for the establishment of a sister church relationship between them and the PRCA, as finalized at this year’s PRCA Synod. As many of you know, Rev. Trinidad was able to attend the synod as a representative of the PRCP. He thoroughly enjoyed his time at synod and among the saints in our churches. Upon his return he was very excited to tell us about it. He also appreciated very much (and we do too) the hospitality he was shown. Now that this sister relationship is in place, the PRCP decided (at their June 12 Classis) to pursue next a sister church relationship with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.

As missionaries, we continue to labor in the PRCP churches. We serve as advisors at their classis and consistory meetings, assist in church visitation, serve on their standing committees (for missions, contact, translation, theological training, etc.), give lectures at their conferences, provide teaching in their churches, and regularly provide pulpit supply.

The need for pulpit supply sometimes arises when the pastors are busy on certain Sundays with congregational outreach work (preaching and teaching among various contacts the churches have). It also arises when the pastors are on one of the monthly visits that are made to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte (pictured above). The PRFA is now an official mission work of the PRCP, with the PRC in Bulacan as the calling church. For now the PRCB is sending a monthly delegation over a weekend for preaching, teaching, pastoral work, etc. The goal, however, is to call a missionary, and the main preparation that is currently being done for that is to put together a budget for a missionary and his family to serve there. Once this budget has been presented to and approved by Classis (perhaps this coming October), the PRCB will most likely begin the process of calling a missionary from among the pastors of the PRCP.

The standing committees of the PRCP have been busy lately with mission work (the PRFA mentioned above), contact committee work (sister church relationships), translation work (translating the Three Forms of Unity), and theological training (adopting various constitutions, organizing pre-seminary Greek, and preparing a seminary program). As regards the latter, one of our missionaries (namely, Rev. Smit) has been able to devote the majority of his time to assist the PRCP with these seminary related matters. We are very glad that progress is now being made toward the PRCP having a seminary in the near future, the Lord willing. At this point in time, a definite start date has not yet been decided.

The most recent conference in the PRCP was held on May 1. The theme was: “The Power of the Gospel” and the speakers were Rev. Trinidad, Rev. Smit, Rev. Ibe, and I. Approximately 120 attended the conference (pictured below). Sharon, with much help from others, set up a book table and sold close to 200 books. These conferences serve well to bring together not only the members of the PRCP, but many of their and our contacts, too.

PRCP Conf May 2018

As usual, lively discussion followed the lectures with many good questions from the attendees. Here’s a small sampling of the questions asked: Is it correct to say that the gospel adds condemnation to the reprobate who hear it? When did the reprobate become children of the devil? How do you distinguish between true preaching and Arminian preaching? Since we are saved by means of faith, what about children who die before birth or in infancy? Does 1 Timothy 2:4 teach that God does really desire that all men be saved? Can God save without preaching? Weren’t Adam and Eve and the thief on the cross saved without preaching? Can a false gospel save and work faith? What does it mean that we must “work out our own salvation” (Philippians 2:12)? Because regeneration is immediate, is it possible that a regenerated person can live in sin for a long time prior to his conversion and believing?

The Provident Christian Church in Marikina, in which we have been laboring since the end of 2012, is hoping to be ready to join the PRCP sometime in the next six to twelve months, the Lord willing. Rev. Holstege mostly labors in this church. The congregation has come to understand and love the Reformed faith not only through weekly preaching but also through a study of all three of our creeds. Rev. Holstege has also taught them the Church Order. PCC hopes soon to adopt the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, and then to reorganize themselves as a Reformed church (their background is a mixture of Brethren and Baptist). We are grateful to God for the progress that has been made and look forward to another church being added to the PRCP, the Lord willing.

Due to your generous support of the Philippine Bookfund, we were recently able to expand the use of the fund to include giving a larger discount to churches who buy the books for their church libraries. Recently one of the churches did just that, purchasing over 150 books. In addition to this, Doon and the FMC also recently approved using the funds to subsidize the cost of seminary books for PRCP seminary students. We also continue to use the funds to cover the cost of magazines, pamphlets, and the translation and publication of some PRCA literature into Tagalog (current projects are Come Ye Children and various pamphlets). We express our sincere thanks for your generous gifts toward this fund.

Monthly visits are still being made to the pastors in Southern Negros Occidental. Rev. Smit and I usually make these visits. Rev. Smit is lecturing in Dogmatics (currently in Christology). Recently I completed a study of the Church Order and am now giving lectures concerning the Reformed Creeds. This will eventually include instruction concerning Heidelberg Catechism preaching, something the men have specifically requested. Usually a group of 10 to 15 pastors attend each month (pictured below).

SNegros men 2018 1

Currently Rev. and Leah Holstege and their family are on furlough in the USA. Rev. Holstege has been preaching and giving presentations. From what we hear, the Holsteges are enjoying the time in the churches and the opportunity to be with their loved ones again for a while. The next missionary to be taking a furlough will be myself and my wife Sharon. Synod approved the FMC’s proposal that we take a 4 to 6 month furlough in 2019, especially for the purpose of missionary development. We hope to begin our furlough in January, and my plan is to use the time mainly for further studies in missions as well as for preparing courses that I might start teaching in the PRCP seminary here in the near future. My wife and I look forward to this upcoming furlough.

We thank you for your continued prayers for us and for the saints here. We remember you all in our prayers as well.

In Christian love,
Rev. Daniel Kleyn

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