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News from the PRC and Sister Churches for the Week of December 9, 2018

2 corinthians 8 9 kjv

On this forty-ninth Lord's Day of 2018, December 9, we provide the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • On November 25, Grandville PRC voted to call Rev. S. Key (Loveland,CO PRC) to serve as the next minister-on-loan to the Covenant ERC in Singapore. We pray for the Lord's guidance as he weighs this call with the one he has from his current congregation. He plans to answer on or before Dec.23.

  • Last Sunday, Dec.2, Rev. W. Langerak (SE PRC-GR) received the call from Immanuel PRC (Labombe, AB) to serve as her next pastor.

  • The Council of Trinity PRC (Hudsonville, MI) formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon, IA), Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville), and Rev. W. Langerak (Southeast). The congregation will call TODAY. Rev. G. Eriks has received this call.

 DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

 Sem addition 2018 floor 1
*The floor was poured this past week on the seminary addition (see note below)

PRC Seminary News:

  • Work has begun on the seminary addition project that will house the new PRC archives and two offices during the professor transition period in the next few years. For more updates, visit this blog post.

  • Seminary is now entering its final week of classes in this first semester. Continue to pray for the professors, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the work of training men for the gospel ministry.

  • The internships of Seminarians Matt Kortus and Jacob Maatman began July 1. Sem. Kortus is interning at Trinity PRC under Rev. N. Decker (now pastor at Grandville PRC) and the Council there. Sem. Maatman is interning at Hudsonville PRC under Rev. G. Eriks and his Council. The internship program runs from July 1 to December 31.

  • The PRC Synod 2018 took a decision urging “the churches and the pastors in particular in their public prayers to pray the Lord of the harvest for able, faithful, and devoted pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) for us and our children, as well as for the gathering of the elect out of the nations (Matthew 28:19).” A number of ministers are nearing the age of emeritation, and the number of students in the seminary at this time will not be sufficient to fill the upcoming needs of our churches either in our own congregations or in the work of missions. Please remember this urgent need in your prayers and encourage young men whom you observe to have the gifts to consider the ministry.

  • Quote of the week from the seminary's "Monday Note": With reference to the high calling of the ministry of the gospel, Philip Brooks said, "If any man be called to preach, let him not stoop to be a king."  (found in The Preacher's Catechism, by Lewis Allen, p. 76.)

Dordt400LogoRightMargin2

  • The Seminary faculty along with Trinity PRC Evangelism Committee are busy implementing plans for a Spring 2019 conference to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the great Synod of Dordt, 1618/19 - 2018/19. The following updates are being given:
    Dordt 400: Did you know November 13 1618, 400 years ago, the Synod of Dordt began and didn’t conclude until nearly 6 months and 154 meetings later?! Are you familiar with the preceding history that led to this lengthy meeting? Do you know the week by week events that happened during the Great Synod? Follow that history and join the blog at Dordt400.org to view the weekly events  Synod of Dordt. Stay up to speed in light of Seminary's conference April 25-27 2019.

    Dordt 400 Writing contest:  Don’t forget that the conference also includes a writing contest with great prizes!  Sign up and submit your essay by January 15 at the conference website Dordt400.org

PRC Bulacan bulletin 1
*Bulletin cover of one of our "sisters" in the Philippines (cf. below). Can you name the pastor of this church?

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Since June of 2018, the PRC has an official sister-church relationship with the PRC in the Philippines, confirmed at this year's synod! We rejoice in this evidence of the Lord's blessing on the work in the Philippines and of the unity of Christ's church, which He gathers from all nations, tribes, and tongues. *For more on the congregation in Bulacan, visit this page. And for more on developments between our "sisters," read the next item and the news under Philippine missions (bulletins).
  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, we may note the following items (From her bulletin today):
    • "Elder Leong and Deacon Lee will be making a trip to the Philippines from 15 Dec to 20 Dec 2018 to explore the possibility of having a sister church relationship with the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP). They have been mandated by the Session to: 1. Confirm the unity that we have; 2. Discuss CERC’s and PRCP’s current church relationships and plans (if any) in seeking church relationships with other churches; 3. Gain familiarity with each other; and 4. Discuss the process of establishing the sister church relationship."

    • Her latest newsletter (OCTOBER 2018) - Reformed News Asia - was recently posted and may be found on this page.

    • The latest young peoples' magazine, Salt Shakers, was received and posted recently (September 2018 - cf. image above). Check that out on this page.
  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

RBOStorefrontPic
*A great place for Christmas gifts - cards, music, and books - including for children!
(cf. below)

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • *If you are in West Michigan, be sure to visit the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI! If you or a friend are interested in spiritually edifying music, as well as in Bibles (and Bible study materials!)  and other Reformed literature, stop at the RBO, or visit their website. Here is the notice of their December specials: "The Reformed Book Outlet in Hudsonville is having a December sale. Books, Bibles, and Bible covers are 25% off MSRP. We are also going to be open until 8:30 two nights in December, Monday December 10 and Monday December 17. Lastly, we are going to be doing a weekly drawing. Prizes include a book, gift certificate, Bible, and a CD. You must sign up each week."

  • Looking for Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine to read? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • If you are in need of some pamphlets published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing, visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church. Looking for items on salvation by grace alone in Christ alone? Visit this page for more information.

  • You can now listen to the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession on audio! Visiit the links provided to hear the Catechism and the Confession read. It's another excellent way to learn the Reformed faith and memorize these Reformed creeds.

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday (on radio or on the Internet)! Today Rev. W. Bruinsma (pastor of Pittsburgh PRC) gives a message based on Acts 2:39 - "God's Promise to His Church Confirmed (1)" (which you may listen to at this link)

  • The RWH has a new, updated website! Please visit reformedwitnesshour.org to watch our introduction video, view pictures and audio from our history, and read and listen to almost 20 years of past radio broadcasts! If you haven’t visited the RWH website recently, now is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with this important radio-internet ministry of the PRC.

  • A new Spanish edition of the RWH is being produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Look for new messages each week - and help spread the word!

 SaltShakersLogo

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

  • A matter for our young people to consider prayerfully. From the Federation of PR School Societies: “There is a significant need for more good Christian teachers for our beloved schools. This is true in light of increasing enrollment, recently established and emerging schools, and continual teacher retirements. We ask that this need be prayed for and supplication made that the young men and women of your congregation be led by God to enter into the vocation of a Christian school teacher. This…is intended to bring the serious need for teachers to your attention so this specific request can be brought to our heavenly Father and the need made known directly to your congregation.”

  • Advance notice! The Loveland Young Adults Retreat is scheduled to occur March 18-21 at the YMCA. The speakers will be Rev. S. Key and Rev. R. VanOverloop. The theme is "Ambassadors for Christ", based on the text II Corinthians 5:20. More details to come.

  • Are YOU a subscriber to the PR Young People's magazine, the Beacon Lights? Visit the website and learn how to become one!

  • The latest young peoples' magazine of Covenant ERC in Singapore, Salt Shakers, was received and posted (September 2018 - cf. image above). Check that out on this page.

Limerickmeetingplace
*Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Republic of Ireland

MISSION NEWS:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
  • Don't forget to follow the Kleyn's blog on life and activities in the Philippines. And that also includes the Holstege's! And don't miss out on the Smits once again too!

  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Provident Christian Church in Marikina and the Maranatha PRC in Valenzuela, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Provident CC:
      • Rev. Holstege will preach both times today. After the first service, he will teach Lesson 7 on “The Eternal Counsel of God” in the Essentials class. Next Sunday, DV, Rev. Holstege will preach for the Berean PRC and Rev. Vernon Ibe will preach for PCC.

      • This week, Revs. Smit and Kleyn will go to Negros for the monthly pastors’ classes. The Lord be with them.

      • Next Sunday, December 16 (~ 2 pm), there will be a presentation by delegates of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore (CERC) and office bearers of the PRCP in the Berean church building. The Singaporean delegates are visiting to discuss the establishing of a sister church relationship with the PRCP. PCC members are invited to attend as observers. There will be a potluck dinner afterward.

      • December 28, 2018 is the commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of the Synod of Dordt and the conference will be hosted by the Provident Christian Church(Reformed) at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Rev. D. Holstege wil speak on Dordt and the Doctrine of Grace, Rev. V. Ibe on Dordt and Preaching of the Gospel and Rev. R. Smit on Dordt and its concern for faithful Sabbath keeping. Moderator is Rev. D. Kleyn. RFPA books on sells. Registration is P50. Please invite someone with you.

    • Maranatha PRC:
      • Today, our Missionary, Rev. R. Smit will lead us in both services.

      • A delegation from the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) in Singapore will be visiting the Philippines in December 15-21, 2018 to hold several meetings with the office bearers of member congregations of the PRCP and the Committee on Contact with Other Churches of our Federation. The delegates are Elder Leong Fai Chong and Deacon Lee Meng Hsien (with his wife Serene and daughter Cassia). On December 16, 2018 (around 2 pm), they will give a presentation about CERC and get to know more about us, as we also present something about our congregations to them to help deepen our understanding and acquaintance with one another for the purpose of establishing a sister church relationship with them.
      • Next week: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead the first and second services.

Let us continue in prayer to the Lord for the fulfillment of the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

  • *Do not forget Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar (June 2018), visit this page. From Hope PRC's bulletin last week we learn of a special trip of Rev. Titus this week:

"This week Wednesday, Rev. Titus and Cer Te will depart for a one week trip to the Rakhine State, which is 700 km or twelve hours by car from Yangon. They plan to visit three villages with churches that are interested in joining the Protestant Reformed Churches in Myanmar. Remember to pray for safety and fruit on this effort in Myanmar also. “Thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you” (2 Cor. 8:16–17)."

Read more...

Reformed Witness Hour Messages for December 2018

RWH logo 1

First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for December 2018 on the RWH radio/Internet program.

WBruinsma 2017Rev. Bill Bruinsma, pastor of Pittsburgh PRC (Pittsburgh, PA), continues his messages on the covenant for the program, as well as a special Thanksgiving Day message (cf. schedule of messages below).

December 2 - The Goodness of God's House - Psalm 65:4

December 9 - God's Promise to His Church Confirmed (1) - Acts 2:39

December 16 - God's Promise to His Church Confirmed (2) - Acts 2:39

December 23 - The Song of the Angels - Luke 2:13,14 (Christmas message)

December 30 - God's Faithfulness - 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (End of year message)

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!

Check out our new website, launched in May of this year!

*We also have a new station in southern California on which we are broadcasting! Here are the details and website: Saturday’s 9:30p – PST on KPRZ 1210 AM & 106.1 FM.  San Diego’s # 1 Christian Teaching Talk station - www.kprz.com

Spread the word and listen in if you are in that area!

RWH Facebook image

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

PO Box 1230, Grand Rapids MI, 49501 | reformedwitnesshour.org | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list to receive the printed booklet of the messages each month, send an email to Judi Doezema at doezema at prca.org.

Read more...

News from the PRC and Sister Churches for the Week of December 2, 2018 *(Updated)

Isaiah 7 14On this forty-eighth Lord's Day of 2018, December 2, we provide the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Last Sunday, November 25, Grandville PRC voted to call Rev. S. Key (Loveland,CO PRC) to serve as the next minister-on-loan to the Covenant ERC in Singapore. We pray for the Lord's guidance as he weighs this call with the one he has from his current congregation.

  • The Council of Immanuel PRC (Labombe, AB) has announced a new trio from which to call her next pastor: Rev. Bill Langerak (Southeast, MI), Rev. James Lanning (Hull, IA), and Rev. Martin VanderWal (Wingham, ON). The congregational meeting to vote on this will take place TODAY. *UPDATE: Rev. Bill Langerak has received this call.

  • The Council of Trinity PRC (Hudsonville, MI) anounces a new trio from which to call a pastor: Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon, IA), Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville), and Rev. W. Langerak (Southeast).

 DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

 sem addit 2018 wall 2
*Footings and walls poured this past week for new seminary addition

PRC Seminary News:

  • *Work has begun on the seminary addition project that will house the new PRC archives and two offices during the professor transition period in the next few years. For more updates, visit this blog post.

  • Seminary is now entering its fourteenth week of classes in this first semester. Continue to pray for the professors, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the work of training men for the gospel ministry.

  • The internships of Seminarians Matt Kortus and Jacob Maatman began July 1. Sem. Kortus is interning at Trinity PRC under Rev. N. Decker and the Council there. Sem. Maatman is interning at Hudsonville PRC under Rev. G. Eriks and his Council. The internship program runs from July 1 to December 31.

  • The PRC Synod 2018 took a decision urging “the churches and the pastors in particular in their public prayers to pray the Lord of the harvest for able, faithful, and devoted pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) for us and our children, as well as for the gathering of the elect out of the nations (Matthew 28:19).” A number of ministers are nearing the age of emeritation, and the number of students in the seminary at this time will not be sufficient to fill the upcoming needs of our churches either in our own congregations or in the work of missions. Please remember this urgent need in your prayers and encourage young men whom you observe to have the gifts to consider the ministry.

Dordt400LogoRightMargin2

  • The Seminary faculty along with Trinity PRC Evangelism Committee are busy implementing plans for a Spring 2019 conference to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the great Synod of Dordt, 1618/19 - 2018/19. The following updates are being given:
    Dordt 400: Did you know November 13 1618, 400 years ago, the Synod of Dordt began and didn’t conclude until nearly 6 months and 154 meetings later?! Are you familiar with the preceding history that led to this lengthy meeting? Do you know the week by week events that happened during the Great Synod? Follow that history and join the blog at Dordt400.org to view the weekly events  Synod of Dordt. Stay up to speed in light of Seminary's conference April 25-27 2019.

    Dordt 400 Writing contest:  Don’t forget that the conference also includes a writing contest with great prizes!  Sign up and submit your essay by January 15 at the conference website Dordt400.org

CPRC News Header
*The lastest issue of "Covenant Reformed News" is available (cf. below)

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • The PRC now has an official sister-church relationship with the PRC in the Philippines, confirmed at this year's synod! We rejoice in this evidence of the Lord's blessing on the work in the Philippines and of the unity of Christ's church, which He gathers from all nations, tribes, and tongues. The Classis of the PRC in the Philippines recently made a significant decision relating to Theological training for future ministers of the Word. This is the note that was sent out:

“For your information, the Classis of the PRCP decided on October 31, 2018, that theological instruction of prospective students for the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP should begin in August 2019, the Lord willing.  To this goal, Classis approved the recommendation of its Committee 1 that the 3 PRCA missionaries (Rev. Holstege, Rev. Kleyn, and Rev. Smit) be appointed to serve as an initial faculty to assist Committee 1 with the necessary preparations and arrangements for the start of a Protestant Reformed theological training. Currently, much planning and preparation are underway regarding curriculum, instructors, location, and finances.  Many of these plans will need to be approved by the Classis in February and June 2019 so that there will be more announcements as August 2019 approaches. Committee 1 and the missionaries covet your fervent prayers to our heavenly Father that He may bless us with the grace and wisdom necessary as we work towards the start of instruction to prospective students next August, subject to His will.”  

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, we may note the following items (From her bulletin today):
    • "Last Sunday, Grandville PRC congregation had voted to extend the call to Rev Steven Key to be the Minister-on-Loan to Singapore. Rev Key is currently the pastor of Loveland PRC, Colorado. He has 3 weeks to consider this special call and prayerfully seek God’s will. Do remember to commit Rev Key in yours and your family prayers. Pray that the Lord will make His will plain to Rev Key so that he answers the call with a clear conviction of heart. Let us continue to wait patiently upon the Lord who knows our needs and will send us the man of His choosing in His perfect time."

    • Her latest newsletter (OCTOBER 2018) - Reformed News Asia - was recently posted and may be found on this page.

    • The latest young peoples' magazine, Salt Shakers, was received and posted recently (September 2018 - cf. image above). Check that out on this page.
  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors too.

RBOStorefrontPic
*A great place for Christmas gifts - cards, music, and books!
(cf. below)

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • *Have you visited the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI recently? If you or a friend are interested in spiritually edifying music, as well as in Bibles (and Bible study materials!)  and other Reformed literature, do so, or visit their website. Here is the notice of their December specials: "The Reformed Book Outlet in Hudsonville is having a December sale. Books, Bibles, and Bible covers are 25% off MSRP. We are also going to be open until 8:30 two nights in December, Monday December 10 and Monday December 17. Lastly, we are going to be doing a weekly drawing. Prizes include a book, gift certificate, Bible, and a CD. You must sign up each week."

  • Looking for Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine to read? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • If you are in need of some pamphlets published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing, visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church. Looking for items on worship in the PRC? Visit this page for more information.

  • You can now listen to the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession on audio! Visiit the links provided to hear the Catechism and the Confession read. It's another excellent way to learn the Reformed faith and memorize these Reformed creeds.

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday (on radio or on the Internet)! Today Rev. W. Bruinsma (pastor of Pittsburgh PRC) gives a message based on Psalm 65:4 - "The Goodness of God's House" (which you may listen to at this link)

  • The RWH has a new, updated website! Please visit reformedwitnesshour.org to watch our introduction video, view pictures and audio from our history, and read and listen to almost 20 years of past radio broadcasts! If you haven’t visited the RWH website recently, now is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with this important radio-internet ministry of the PRC.

  • A new Spanish edition of the RWH is being produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Look for new messages each week - and help spread the word!

 adult bible 1

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

  • Advance notice! The Loveland Young Adults Retreat is scheduled to occur March 18-21 at the YMCA. The speakers will be Rev. S. Key and Rev. R. VanOverloop. The theme is "Ambassadors for Christ", based on the text II Corinthians 5:20. More details to come.

  • Are YOU a subscriber to the PR Young People's magazine, the Beacon Lights? Visit the website and learn how to become one!

  • The latest young peoples' magazine of Covenant ERC in Singapore, Salt Shakers, was received and posted (September 2018 - cf. image above). Check that out on this page.

Myanmar map 2
*See the note below about a special mission trip of Rev. Titus in Myanmar this week (bottom of list)

MISSION NEWS:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church. From her bulletin today we find this reminder: "The Dorr Bible Study will meet this Thursday, December 6 at 7:30 PM. We will be studying the last part of John 3. All are welcome to join us at the library and bring friends and neighbors.!"

  • From the bulletin of Georgetown PRC today we learn this concerning her work in India and the most recent delegation:
    • Pastor and Mary Haak returned home this past Tuesday from the PRCV of India. “We were greatly blessed and much encouraged by our visit. There is growth in grace and truth in the PRCV, expanding opportunities for training area pastors, fervent love for Reformed Truth, and true compassion and love shown to the children of the GFH.  Our love for the brothers and sister in India grows with each visit. Their joy in and love for the gospel of God’s grace is an example to us.”
    • Note from Pastor Raj: “We were much encouraged by your visit. We continue to depend on God for the needed grace to continue to serve Him by serving His people in spite of several challenges. It is the Reformed Faith that makes us comforted. Thanks you so much for all your love and compassion in supporting our life and work. We love to serve the Lord more and more.”
  • Don't forget to follow the Kleyn's blog on life and activities in the Philippines. And that also includes the Holstege's! And don't miss out on the Smits once again too!

  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Provident Christian Church in Marikina and the Maranatha PRC in Valenzuela, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Provident CC:
      • Rev. Holstege will preach in the first service today. Rev. Kleyn will preach in the second service.

      • The Wednesday night class will meet this week at 7:30. We will discuss the history of the Fall of Man into Sin and the Mother Promise.
      • December 28, 2018 is the commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of the Synod of Dordt and the conference will be hosted by the Provident Christian Church(Reformed) at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Rev. D. Holstege wil speak on Dordt and the Doctrine of Grace, Rev. V. Ibe on Dordt and Preaching of the Gospel and Rev. R. Smit on Dordt and its concern for faithful Sabbath keeping. Moderator is Rev. D. Kleyn. RFPA books on sells. Registration is P50. Please invite someone with you.

    • Maranatha PRC:
      • Today our pastor, Rev. L. Trinidad will lead both services.
      • Next week: Rev.R. Smit plans to lead both services.

Let us continue in prayer to the Lord for the fulfillment of the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

  • *Do not forget Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar (June 2018), visit this page. From Hope PRC's bulletin this week we learn of a special trip of Rev. Titus this week:

"This week Wednesday, Rev. Titus and Cer Te will depart for a one week trip to the Rakhine State, which is 700 km or twelve hours by car from Yangon. They plan to visit three villages with churches that are interested in joining the Protestant Reformed Churches in Myanmar. Remember to pray for safety and fruit on this effort in Myanmar also. “Thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you” (2 Cor. 8:16–17)."

Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - November 2018

 
 

Covenant Reformed News


November 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 7



Zechariah’s Day of the Lord (1)

When a Christian reads Zechariah 14, his main exegetical question can be expressed in one word: when? When did or when will these things come to pass?

Some very deliberately try to make this chapter fit with their millennial systems. The various forms of premillennialism seek to make it compatible with their idea of the millennium, a literalistic 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth. Here one thinks of dispensational premillennialism (with its secret rapture and literal seven-year tribulation), historic Jewish premillennialism (without any secret rapture or literal seven-year tribulation) and historic non-Jewish premillennialism (like the former position only without its Jewish trappings). In fact, the various schools of premillennialism see Zechariah 14 as furnishing them with one of their best arguments for their millennium.

The distinguishing feature of postmillennialism is its claim that Jesus Christ will return to a Christianized world of great earthly peace and prosperity, in which most are believers. For them, Zechariah 14 must fit their eschatological scheme. However, the Second Helvetic Confession (1566) summarizes biblical and Reformed teaching: “we condemn the Jewish dreams that before the day of judgment there shall be a golden world in the earth; and that the godly shall possess the kingdoms of the world, their wicked enemies being trodden under foot: for the evangelical truth, Matthew 24 and 25, and Luke 21, and the apostolic doctrine in the second epistle to the Thessalonians 2, and in the second epistle to Timothy 3 and 4, are found to teach far otherwise” (11).

Others interpret Zechariah 14 as being fulfilled in events or ages that have happened or are happening or will happen. Some say that this chapter predicts the wars of the Maccabees in the middle of the intertestamental period. Others reckon that it prophesies the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70 or the New Testament age between Pentecost and the end of the world or the Lord’s second coming. To complicate things further, some see Zechariah 14 as speaking of two or more of the above events or periods.

Here are three simple arguments proving that Zechariah 14—here we are especially thinking of its first 15 verses—predicts Christ’s bodily return, including events that immediately precede it, and the new heavens and the new earth that it ushers in.

First, the chapter begins, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh” (1). An eschatological technical term, “the day of the Lord” in the Old Testament refers to a terrible divine judgment, such as the fall of Samaria or Jerusalem or Babylon, which pictures the end of the world (e.g., Isa. 2:12; 13:6; 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Lam. 2:22; Eze. 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7-8, 18; 2:2-3). The day of the Lord in the New Testament is the day of the Lord Jesus Christ: His second coming to raise the dead, judge the world, and usher in the eternal states of the glorified creation and the lake of fire.

Second, Zechariah 14 refers to the Lord coming with all His holy ones: “the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (5). This is the Christian hope: the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (“the Lord my God shall come”) accompanied by His holy angels and glorified believers (“all the saints with thee”). In His Olivet discourse, Christ spoke of “the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels” (Matt. 24:30-31).

Third, Revelation 21-22 explains the fulfilment of three aspects of Zechariah 14 in the new heavens and the new earth. One, with regard to light, Zechariah says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light” (6-7). John declares, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23). Two, concerning living water, we read, “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:8). In “the city” (Rev. 21:23), the “new Jerusalem” (2), “he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1). Three, both proclaim the removal of God’s curse: “there shall be no more utter destruction [i.e., curse]” (Zech. 14:11) and “there shall be no more curse” (Rev. 22:3).

Here we anticipate an objection: “You have made a good case for Zechariah 14’s predicting the end of the world, including its immediately preceding events and the new creation it ushers in, with your arguments from ‘the day of the Lord’ (1), the Lord’s coming with His holy ones (5), and Zechariah’s prophesies of light, living waters and no curse as fulfilled in Revelation 21-22. But maybe it is only parts of Zechariah 14:1-15 that refer to Christ’s second coming? Perhaps other sections deal with the Maccabees or AD 70 or the New Testament age?”

We observe that Zechariah 14:1-15 consists of six clearly identifiable units: 1-2, 3-5, 6-7, 8, 9-11 and 12-15. Note that there is a temporal indicator in each of the six portions. Verse 1 speaks of “the day of the Lord,” taking care of the first section (1-2). As for the next portion (3-5), it contains the phrase “in that day” (4), referring back to “the day of the Lord” (1), and it predicts the Lord’s coming with all His holy ones (5). The first verse of the next three sections (6-7, 8, 9-11) all include “in that day” (6, 8, 9). This same temporal indicator also occurs in verse 13 in the last unit (12-15).

Furthermore, we will see in our future instalments on Zechariah 14, DV, that everything in the passage fits with this interpretation and nothing opposes it. Rev. Stewart

 

The Order of Regeneration and Faith

Galatians 3:2, 14 reads, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? ... That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” A reader comments, “This would seem to suggest that faith comes before regeneration, but we believe that regeneration is immediate and faith the result. Could you please explain?”

The question of the place of faith in the order of salvation as applied to the elect has exercised the church for many years. This was especially true of the Reformed churches in the Netherlands. The great Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck, even wrote a book entitled Roeping en Wedergeborte (English: Saved by Grace: The Holy Spirit’s Work in Calling and Regeneration). I believe that the order of salvation is regeneration, calling, faith, justification, sanctification and glorification. But Bavinck placed calling before regeneration for he believed in mediate regeneration, that is, regeneration by means of the preaching of the gospel. He reckoned that God used the call of the preaching to regenerate the elect, but totally depraved, sinner and so give him faith.

That discussion especially concerned the relationship between regeneration and calling through the preaching of the gospel. The present question is the relation between faith and regeneration. Nevertheless, the two are closely related.

It seems to me that there is an assumption of the questioner, namely, that the faith referred to is the conscious faith of the believer whereby he looks to Christ as his only Saviour and Lord. But Galatians 3:2-5 is not referring to the initial work of the Spirit by which God saves the sinner but to the extraordinary signs of the Holy Ghost, such as performing miracles (cf. 5), etc. These gifts were the fruit of conscious faith in Christ.

Regeneration, in which God begins His work of salvation in the heart of the elect sinner, is the gift of the new life that Christ earned for His people by His cross and resurrection (I Pet. 1:3). This work of the Holy Spirit occurs below our consciousness and principally contains in it the whole of our salvation: faith, conversion, justification, sanctification and glorification (Eph. 1:3). The “seed” of regeneration (I Pet. 1:23; I John 3:9) develops into all the other blessings consciously received by the child of God. It develops as an acorn contains the entire oak in seed form but does not produce the whole oak until it grows into a tree.

It is my judgment that Galatians 3:2-5 teaches that the Holy Spirit gave some in the early church the power to do miracles, speak in other languages, etc. My ground for saying this is that Paul speaks of receiving the Spirit “by the hearing of faith.” The genitive “of faith” is a genitive of source, that is, hearing has its source in faith. One must have faith (as a power) before one can truly hear the gospel and lay hold on it (faith as an activity). One will only hear the gospel, in the sense of believing it to be the saving Word of Christ to him, if the Spirit has first worked faith in his heart.

There is the two-edged sword of the gospel. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 13:13, where He quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 to explain the (unbelieving) hearing of the gospel by those who do not have faith: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” To those who believe, Christ proclaims, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16).

Now we need to say more about the order of salvation with regard to faith and regeneration. The Arminian heresy teaches that one must, by one’s own free will, ask for regeneration before one receives it. It was this carnal idea that faith precedes regeneration that prompted Billy Graham to write a book entitled, How to Be Born Again.

How foolish! One can no more give oneself the spiritual birth than one can give oneself a physical birth. Only those possessing spiritual life can manifest it in believing the gospel. Only those with a new heart can trust in Jesus Christ from the heart.

Without contradicting what has just been said and without falling into any form of Arminianism, there is a sense, however, in which regeneration and faith come logically and chronologically in exactly the same place in the order of salvation.

To explain, I need to distinguish more clearly two different aspects of faith: faith as a bond or a power and faith as an activity. Most are familiar with the latter so I will now set forth the former with the help of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7. The Catechism has spoken of the total depravity of those who are in the generations of Adam and Eve. The Catechism has said that the only way to be saved from this sinful state is by the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Then comes the inevitable question: “Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?” The answer is most emphatic: NO!

If all men are not saved, who then is saved? The answer is “only those who are ingrafted into [Christ] ... by a true faith.” The figure of grafting, used here, comes from John 15. It is a technique practised in horticulture. The figure is this. Christ is the vine. He lives out of His own life, which He gained through His mighty resurrection from the dead. Of ourselves, we are dead branches with no life. But we are grafted into Christ. It is His life that we receive at regeneration. It is new life, life free from sin, life greater than Adam possessed, life of covenant fellowship with the Triune God.

This life comes to us only through the bond of faith which grafts us into Christ. This is faith: the graft that binds us to Christ. Out of this graft or bond of faith comes the activity of faith, our receiving as truth all that God has revealed in His Word and resting in Jesus Christ crucified for all of our salvation.

Like regeneration, the graft of faith is given us by God without our being conscious of it at the time. This bond of faith is given to some covenant children even before they are born physically, like Jacob (Gen. 25:22-26; Hos. 12:3; Rom. 9:11-13). This faith puts us into union with Christ, our life. One cannot graft a branch into another tree without the life of the mother tree flowing into the branch. We received the life of Christ, eternal life, when we were born again or grafted into Him by a true faith. Out of this flows our conscious trusting of Him—the activity of faith. Let us abide in Christ and His love, as John 15 teaches! 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.html
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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News from the PRC and Sister Churches for the Week of November 25, 2018 *(Updated)

Ps 147 5 6On this forty-seventh Lord's Day of 2018, November 25, we provide the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a man to serve as the next minister-on-loan to the Covenant ERC in Singapore. The trio consists of Rev. Garret Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), Rev. Erik Guichelaar (Randolph PRC, WI), and Rev. Steven Key (Loveland PRC, CO). The congregational meeting is scheduled for TODAY after the evening service. *UPDATE: Rev.S. Key has received this call through the Grandville congregation.

  • On Nov.18 Rev. Joshua Engelsma (Doon, IA) DECLINED the call from Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB).

  • The Council of Immanuel PRC announces a new trio from which to call her next pastor: Rev. Bill Langerak (Southeast, MI), Rev. James Lanning (Hull, IA), and Rev. Martin VanderWal (Wingham, ON). The congregational meeting to vote on this matter will take place on Sunday, December 2nd, D.V.
  • On Nov.18 Rev. Brian Huizinga (Hope, Redlands, CA) DECLINED the call from the congregation of Trinity PRC (Hudsonville, MI).

  • Rev. Ron Hanko (emeritus) is ministering the Word in Immanuel PRC during the month of November. Her Consistory also gave this important note in the bulletin last week:
    "The consistory decided to change the time of the afternoon worship service to start an hour later at 4:30 p.m. The ground for the decision is to give the minister adequate time for rest between services. The change will start this Sunday the 18th of November. The time of the morning service remains unchanged. The consistory will revisit this time change once our vacancy has ended."

 DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

 2018 sem addition archives 1a

PRC Seminary News:

  • Work began this past week on the seminary addition project that will house the new PRC archives and two offices during the professor transition period in the next few years. For more updates, visit this blog post.

  • Seminary is now entering its fourteenth week of classes in this first semester. Continue to pray for the professors, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the work of training men for the gospel ministry.

  • The internships of Seminarians Matt Kortus and Jacob Maatman began July 1. Sem. Kortus is interning at Trinity PRC under Rev. N. Decker and the Council there. Sem. Maatman is interning at Hudsonville PRC under Rev. G. Eriks and his Council. The internship program runs from July 1 to December 31.

  • The PRC Synod 2018 took a decision urging “the churches and the pastors in particular in their public prayers to pray the Lord of the harvest for able, faithful, and devoted pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11) for us and our children, as well as for the gathering of the elect out of the nations (Matthew 28:19).” A number of ministers are nearing the age of emeritation, and the number of students in the seminary at this time will not be sufficient to fill the upcoming needs of our churches either in our own congregations or in the work of missions. Please remember this urgent need in your prayers and encourage young men whom you observe to have the gifts to consider the ministry.

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  • The Seminary faculty along with Trinity PRC Evangelism Committee are busy implementing plans for a Spring 2019 conference to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the great Synod of Dordt, 1618/19 - 2018/19. The following updates are being given:
    Dordt 400: Did you know November 13 1618, 400 years ago, the Synod of Dordt began and didn’t conclude until nearly 6 months and 154 meetings later?! Are you familiar with the preceding history that led to this lengthy meeting? Do you know the week by week events that happened during the Great Synod? Follow that history and join the blog at Dordt400.org to view the weekly events  Synod of Dordt. Stay up to speed in light of Seminary's conference April 25-27 2019.

    Dordt 400 Writing contest:  Don’t forget that the conference also includes a writing contest with great prizes!  Sign up and submit your essay by January 15 at the conference website Dordt400.org

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*See the note below on an important decision our sister churches in the Philippines made regarding minister training.

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • The PRC now has an official sister-church relationship with the PRC in the Philippines, confirmed at this year's synod! We rejoice in this evidence of the Lord's blessing on the work in the Philippines and of the unity of Christ's church, which He gathers from all nations, tribes, and tongues. The Classis of the PRC in the Philippines recently made a significant decision relating to Theological training for future ministers of the Word. This is the note that was sent out:

“For your information, the Classis of the PRCP decided on October 31, 2018, that theological instruction of prospective students for the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP should begin in August 2019, the Lord willing.  To this goal, Classis approved the recommendation of its Committee 1 that the 3 PRCA missionaries (Rev. Holstege, Rev. Kleyn, and Rev. Smit) be appointed to serve as an initial faculty to assist Committee 1 with the necessary preparations and arrangements for the start of a Protestant Reformed theological training. Currently, much planning and preparation are underway regarding curriculum, instructors, location, and finances.  Many of these plans will need to be approved by the Classis in February and June 2019 so that there will be more announcements as August 2019 approaches. Committee 1 and the missionaries covet your fervent prayers to our heavenly Father that He may bless us with the grace and wisdom necessary as we work towards the start of instruction to prospective students next August, subject to His will.”  

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, we may note the following items (From her bulletin today):
    • "This Lord’s day Grandville PRC congregation with be meeting to vote to extend a call for MOL to Singapore. Let us continue to pray that the Lord will provide us a Minister to minister to His saints in Covenant. In the meantime, Session will be sending a request to our sister church PRCA to request for pulpit supplies for the next few months after January 2019. Again, we are thankful to God for all the helps we received from our sister church the past many months."

    • Her latest newsletter (OCTOBER 2018) - Reformed News Asia - was recently posted and may be found on this page.

    • The latest young peoples' magazine, Salt Shakers, was received and posted recently (September 2018 - cf. image above). Check that out on this page.
  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors too.

His Mercy Endureth RFPA 2018
*Looking for gift ideas this time of the year? How about this new RFPA title?
"God’s mercy endures forever. And the same mercy he displayed in the creation of the world and to his people Israel, he also reveals to his children in Jesus Christ. The words of this psalm and illustrator Kathleen DeJong’s beautiful acrylics and line drawings will inspire covenant children and their parents to thank God each day for his unending mercies."

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • *Looking for Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine to read? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • If you are in need of some pamphlets published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing, visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church. Looking for items on worship in the PRC? Visit this page for more information.

  • You can now listen to the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession on audio! Visiit the links provided to hear the Catechism and the Confession read. It's another excellent way to learn the Reformed faith and memorize these Reformed creeds.
  • Have you visited the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI recently? If you or a friend are interested in spiritually edifying music, as well as in Bibles (and Bible study materials!)  and other Reformed literature, do so, or visit their website.

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday (on radio or on the Internet)! Today Rev. W. Bruinsma (pastor of Pittsburgh PRC) gives a message based on Psalm 51:10-12 - "Prayer for Restored Joy." (which you may listen to at this link)

  • The RWH has a new, updated website! Please visit reformedwitnesshour.org to watch our introduction video, view pictures and audio from our history, and read and listen to almost 20 years of past radio broadcasts! If you haven’t visited the RWH website recently, now is an excellent time to familiarize yourself with this important radio-internet ministry of the PRC.

  • A new Spanish edition of the RWH is being produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Look for new messages each week - and help spread the word!

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ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

  • Advance notice! The Loveland Young Adults Retreat is scheduled to occur March 18-21 at the YMCA. The speakers will be Rev. S. Key and Rev. R. VanOverloop. The theme is "Ambassadors for Christ", based on the text II Corinthians 5:20. More details to come.

  • Are YOU a subscriber to the PR Young People's magazine, the Beacon Lights? Visit the website and discover why you ought to be.

  • The latest young peoples' magazine of Covenant ERC in Singapore, Salt Shakers, was received and posted (September 2018 - cf. image above). Check that out on this page.

ProvidentCC Oct 2018
Provident Christian Church (Marikina, the Philippines), which just recently became a thoroughly Reformed congregation
(*cf. note below and the most recent Philippines newsletter)

MISSION NEWS:

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.

  • From Georgetown PRC concerning her work in India: The Bruinooges came home this past Monday (Nov.19), while Rev. C. Haak and his wife Mary return home Tuesday of this week (Nov.27). Her bulletin this week has this note:

"Pastor and Mary Haak return home from India this Tuesday. We pray for traveling mercies. This past week was spent teaching in the Sola Grate program on Eschatology (30 plus in attendance), leading Bible studies, visits with members of the PRCV, and a Sunday Retreat planned with the English church on Miracles and Infant Baptism. Thanksgiving Day was spent with Pastor Raj and Kasthuri in Pondicherry. The PRCV and Children of the GFH are prospering under God’s Covenant faithfulness and grace."

  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • The NOVEMBER 2018 newsletter of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship mission station is now posted on this page.
    • From her bulletin of Nov.18 we learn of this significant opportunity coming up this Tuesday: "Rev. McGeown has been invited to speak for the Christian Union (CU) of University College Cork (UCC) on the subject of “Old Testament Prophecies of Christ” on Tuesday 27 November at 7 PM. Please pray for this witness."

  • *The latest Philippines mission newsletter was received and recently posted (October 2018) and may be found on this PRC webpage.
  • Don't forget to follow the Kleyn's blog on life and activities in the Philippines. And that also includes the Holstege's! And don't miss out on the Smits once again too!

  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Provident Christian Church in Marikina and the Maranatha PRC in Valenzuela, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Provident CC:
      •  Rev. Holstege will preach both times today. After the first service, he will finish Lesson 6 and begin Lesson 7 in the Essentials class. The second service will be “Preparatory.” We will be exhorted to prepare for the Lord’s Supper. 

      • December 28, 2018 is the commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of the Synod of Dordt and the conference will be hosted by the Provident Christian Church(Reformed) at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Rev. D. Holstege wil speak on Dordt and the Doctrine of Grace, Rev. V. Ibe on Dordt and Preaching of the Gospel and Rev. R. Smit on Dordt and its concern for faithful Sabbath keeping. Moderator is Rev. D. Kleyn. RFPA books on sells. Registration is P50. Please invite someone with you.

    • Maranatha PRC:
      • Today, our Missionary, Rev. D. Kleyn will lead us in both services and after the second service he will teach the Belgic Confession Article 17.

      • Rev. L. Trinidad will teach the children the Catechism.
      • Next week: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both services. He will join the scheduled Church Visitation Committee in PRC Bulacan right after the Second Service.

Let us continue in prayer to the Lord for the fulfillment of the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

  • Do not forget Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar (June 2018), visit this page.
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Philippines Mission Newsletter - October 2018

PRCA FOREIGN MISSIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES
OCTOBER 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.) ~

Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and our sister churches, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

A New Reformed Church!

On the fifth of August, after our two worship services, I announced to Provident Christian Church, “You are now officially a Reformed church.” And their response? They clapped their hands, joyously and spontaneously, in thanksgiving to God! “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved” (Ps. 47:1-4).

Before we had lunch together that Sunday, in the fellowship hall downstairs, I briefly explained the following two passages of Holy Writ and applied them to the happy occasion: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thess. 2:15).

The ground of the announcement that Sunday was the official adoption of the Three Forms of Unity by the Steering Committee on July 29. From 2012 into 2018, we missionaries taught them the Reformed symbols: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt. We also taught them the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches. One of us planted, another watered, but God gave the increase (I Cor. 3:6). Then, on July 29, the Steering Committee adopted the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, together with the Psalter and the Forms in the back of the Psalter.

When I explained to the Steering Committee the implication of adopting the Three Forms of Unity, namely, that they are now officially Reformed, their faces beamed, and they exchanged hearty hand-shakes. We praise our gracious covenant God for guiding PCC to become a Reformed church of Jesus Christ.

ProvidentCC Oct 2018

More Reformed Believers!

Throughout the months of August and September, the men of the Steering Committee and I visited those who expressed, in writing, a desire to join the now Reformed, Provident Christian Church. We asked them the three questions in the Form for Public Confession of Faith. I explained the questions as follows:
1. Do you believe the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God; do you believe the doctrines of the Apostolic Creed; do you believe the doctrines of the Three Forms of Unity, as taught by us missionaries here in this church?
2. Is it your deep desire, by the grace of God, to hold firmly to this doctrine, to reject all false doctrines, and to strive to keep the commandments of God in a new and godly life?
3. Are you willing to submit to the government of Christ through the office bearers of this church and to the discipline of the elders, if you should become delinquent?

As of now, there are about twenty-five, previously baptized, adult believers at PCC who “have made a confession of the Reformed religion, besides being reputed to be of a godly walk” (Church Order, Article 61). Besides these, there are about fifteen children and young people who will confess their faith, Lord willing, in time to come. We thank our heavenly Father for His work of grace in the lives of these believers.

More Reformed Office Bearers!

Having compiled a list of confessing members, we proceeded to nominate new office bearers at our monthly Steering Committee meeting on September 23. We missionaries advised the members of the Steering Committee, for the sake of a smooth transition, to nominate themselves as the elders and deacons of the congregation.

Brothers Bien Montoya and Alex Dela Rosa were nominated to be elders. Brothers Mitch Suarez and Jun Armas were nominated to be deacons. Those four names appeared in the bulletin on the Sundays of September 30 and October 7 for the silent approbation of the congregation. There were no objections.

ProvCC officebearers 2018

The council of PCC, from the left: Bro. Alex Dela Rosa, Bro. Bien Montoya, [Rev. D. Holstege], Bro. Mitch Suarez, and Bro. Jun Armas.

On October 14, I had the privilege of leading the first Reformed installation service of Provident Christian Church. All four men answered “yes” to the three questions in the Form for Installation of Elders and Deacons. All four men then signed the Formula of Subscription in front of church, for all to see. I preached a sermon on Acts 6:1-6 entitled “The First Deacons.” After the service, the whole congregation was invited to stay for lunch and we enjoyed a great time of fellowship.

Recently at PCC, I decided to preach through the book of Titus. What Paul exhorted Titus to do in the churches of Crete struck me as very similar to our task at PCC: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). Things have now been set in order at PCC. Elders and deacons have been ordained. Lord willing, we will begin administering the sacraments at PCC, for the first time since becoming a Reformed church, this November.

The next step for them is to request membership in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP), which we plan to do at the February meeting of Classis, DV.

A Visiting Pastor and His Family

From October 15-19, Rev. Joe Holstege, his wife Lisa, and their son Jacob visited us here in the Philippines. He had been preaching for the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, a sister church of the PRCA (and soon, Lord willing, also of the PRCP). They decided to hop over the sea to visit us. During their five days here, they were able to experience some Philippine culture and to meet some Filipino believers. On the Wednesday night that they were here, they were able to visit with Rev. Vernon Ibe and his family, to see the new church building of the Berean PRC, and to give a speech at PCC on personal evangelism. I was told that my brother is mas gwapo than me. I will let you figure out what that means and judge whether or not it is true ☺

Minister group Oct 2018

Pray that Christ will continue to build His church at PCC, and throughout the Philippines, and that He will strengthen these newly Reformed believers to hold fast the traditions they have been taught.

In Christ,
Rev. Dan Holstege

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First PRC, Edmonton AB to Host Special Public Lecture THIS Friday Night, Nov.23

Edmon lecture pornography 2018

From First PRC-Edmonton comes this special invitation for THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, NOV.23:

The Evangelism Committee invites you to a public lecture entitled “Fighting for Sexual Purity: The Battle Against Pornography” this Friday, November 23, at 7:30 PM (Mountain time). Discussed will be the pervasiveness of this sin in the world and church, the dreadful and destructive consequences of this sin, how we may guard against it, and the hope for those presently caught in its grip.

All in the area are welcome and encouraged to attend!

A live-stream of the lecture will also be available online at our church website at www.edmontonprc.org.

Pornography Lecture battle 2

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - November 2018

Limerick Reformed Fellowship

Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Undoubtedly the highlight in recent months was the baptism of Chester and Dale Mansona, two brothers who with their parents have been attending the LRF since April 2011. It has been my privilege to catechise them in Bible History, Heidelberg Catechism, Essentials, and a pre-confession class covering the Belgic Confession, the Canons, and some of our distinctive doctri-nal positions, such as common grace, the unconditional covenant, the Bible on divorce and remarriage, worship, the calling of church membership, etc. At the end of the summer, the CPRC Council interviewed Chester and Dale and approved their request for baptism. The happy occasion took place on September 2 and I preached on Colossians 3:1-4, “Seeking the Things Which Are Above.”

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Baptisms: Chester and Dale

Our official activities also began again after the summer break in the week commencing September 2. I have four catechism classes: two on Mondays with my three nieces, Anna, Lily, and Hope, via video link (Old Testament History for Beginners, Book 2; and New Testament History for Juniors); one on Wednesdays (Old Testa-ment History for Beginners, Book 2, with Sebastian, Jason, and—for the first time—Penelope; and one on Saturday mornings (Essentials of Reformed Doctrine) with Colm and Irini. The children are on Lesson 11, while the Essentials class, an adult class, is on Lesson 12 (the Mediator and his names).

In our Tuesday evening Bible study we re-cently finished the post-exilic historical books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther; and we have begun I Peter. Recent sermon series included Psalm 103 (eight sermons) from July 29 to September 16 and a series (ongoing) on the Miracles of Jesus. I preached on many of the healing miracles between June and December 2016, but now I am concentrating mainly on the other (non-healing) miracles of our Saviour: turning water into wine, multiplying bread, walking on water, cursing the fruitless fig tree, etc. In addition, we have just started the sacraments section of the Heidelberg Catechism again.

At the beginning of November, Chester and Dale Mansona, Larisa and I attended an “Answers in Genesis Conference” in Athlone, about one and a half hours northwest from Limerick. Not only were the speeches good, but we also met Janet Napier from the CPRCNI and two of her children, as well as James Steele, a friend of the CPRC from Londonderry, at the conference. We also met a lady from Limerick who has since started coming to our Bible studies—she is a neighbour of Noel Kelly, who also attends the Fellowship. She has agreed to bring Noel to the Bible study every week, and she has also expressed interest in coming to our services, but so far she has not come. Pat, another somewhat regular attendee, expressed interest in having his daughter visit our Bible study. He says that she needs good teaching, so we shall see if she begins to attend our studies on I Peter.

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Friends at AIG Conference

Another very exciting recent development was an email I received on August 17 from a young man in his early twenties. His email was entitled, “Catholic Seeking Alternative,” in which he expressed his disgust at the recent scandals in the Roman Catholic Church. I met with him on his lunch break the next day and discovered that he had been reading the Bible and Reformed websites and had come across the LRF website. He has been attending the LRF ever since—many of the services and most of the Bible studies. There are hindrances to his coming, however. His mother suffers from a very serious illness, for which she recently had surgery, so that he has had to look after her and even bring her to the hospital on certain Sundays, a work of mercy. He is also only one of two qualified drivers in his household, which means that his family either need the car on Sundays or want him to drive them to various places. When he cannot get to the services, he listens to the sermons online. He also has friends whom he wants to invite to the LRF, but they are quite hostile to Protestantism. Until recently, he and his friends attended Mass regularly, which is quite rare among the youth. Some of his friends even tried to persuade him to attend the papal mass held by pope Francis in Dublin on August 26, but he declined to go. We continue to pray for him, his mother, brothers, and friends.

Colm Ring managed to persuade a goodly number of people to come to one of our worship services recently. He encountered a number of young men from the “Church of God” in Dublin singing hymns in Limerick city centre. He took the contact details of one of them and invited him to the LRF. The he called us to see if we would host them for Sunday lunch (Colm and Irini usually have Sunday lunch with us). We agreed, expecting three to five people. However, on Sunday morning, the day after the Creation Conference, a larger group arrived, 12 adults and 3 children! That same weekend, Sam Watterson and Manuel Kuhs were in Northern Ireland and we had also invited Emily-Kate and Felicity Kuhs to join us for lunch. With Colm, Irini, Emily-Kate, Felicity, the Church of God people, Larisa and me, we had 21 people crammed into our house, and we did have adequate food (stir fry) to feed them all, although we had only 11 chairs. I preached on LD 23 (“Righteous Before God”) and we had a discussion about regeneration with a couple of the men—the “Church of God” is an Arminian “Holiness” group. After lunch, three of the young men sang Amazing Grace for us and then they all headed up to Dublin. I am still in contact with the group and hope to arrange another meeting with them.

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Church of God visitors

We have also had other visitors in the past few months: Brian and Holly Fournier and their four daughters, a Reformed Baptist family from Massachusetts (September 2); my parents (September 9); Todd and Julie Wagenmaker, parents of Bethany who attended the LRF in 2014 while on a study abroad program (October 7), and Rev. Ken Koole (October 17). Next weekend, we plan to have Julian and Marie Kennedy from the CPRCNI; and the following weekend, we look forward to welcoming Larisa’s mother, Cindi, and Larisa’s aunt, Lori, to the Emerald Isle.

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Rev. Koole and Bill

As you have probably seen, the RFPA has published two books that I have written: Grace and Assurance: the Message of the Canons of Dordt and Micah: Proclaiming the Incomparable God. Feedback has been encouraging.

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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