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Covenant Reformed News - January 2021

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Covenant Reformed News


January 2021 • Volume XVIII, Issue 9



Apostolic Teaching Authority

In II Corinthians 10-13, the apostle Paul battles with false apostles and their followers in Corinth. These false apostles did two things. First, they elevated themselves as if they were great ones in the church. Second, they denigrated Paul as unimposing and inarticulate. In fact, he was not really an apostle at all!

Paul begins II Corinthians by reminding the church of his apostolic authority (1:1). Earlier, while an unbeliever, he had been given authority by the Jewish high priest to persecute Christians in Damascus and elsewhere (Acts 9:1-2, 14; 22:4-5; 26:10-12). Now Paul has authority from the crucified and exalted Christ, the Lord of the universe, as one of His apostles.

This is the highest New Testament office. Note the order in Ephesians 4:11: the ascended Jesus “gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” I Corinthians 12:28 is even more explicit: “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers …” Thus the apostolic office has a unique authority in the New Testament church under Jesus Christ its head.

But what is authority? Authority is a legal right. In that Paul and the Twelve had apostolic authority, they had a legal right to speak and act in Christ’s name. Along with this legal right, God gave them the spiritual power and gifts to exercise it faithfully. No one before or since these thirteen biblical office-bearers has had this apostolic authority. Anyone who claims to be an apostle or to exercise apostolic authority—for these are the same thing—is a usurper and a liar.

In II Corinthians 10:1-7, Paul speaks of his apostolic authority, before adding, “though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed” (8).

First, when Paul states that he could say “somewhat more” regarding his apostolic authority, this is a deliberate understatement. He means that he could say a lot more.

Second, given that Paul could “boast somewhat more” about apostolic authority, it was clearly mighty and extensive, something about which one could glory or boast.

Third, the force of Paul’s argument, “though I should boast somewhat more of our authority … I should not be ashamed,” needs to be grasped. His meaning is this: “I could say a lot more about our apostolic authority; I could extol it highly and boast of it as mighty and extensive; and, as a matter of fact, it would all be true for I would not be ashamed of such claims as if I were a liar!”

Let us draw out the extent of this “somewhat more” of apostolic authority that Paul could “boast” of and “not be ashamed.” Apostolic authority includes teaching authority. Like Christian ministers or pastors today, the apostles had the authority to preach God’s Word and administer the sacraments.

The risen Lord commanded the Eleven, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Paul declared, “Christ sent me … to preach the gospel” (I Cor. 1:17; cf. Gal. 1:16). Like Christian ministers, the apostles had the divine right to “speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15). Without this divine authorization, neither ministers nor apostles have the right to preach the gospel, or to administer baptism or the Lord’s Supper. Divine authority to do these things is given in the offices of apostle and pastor/teacher (Eph. 4:11).

The teaching authority of the apostles reaches far greater heights than that of a Christian minister though. The apostles have authority as infallible teachers of God’s truth, including the gospel, as eyewitnesses of the risen Christ (I Cor. 15:1-11), and the Lord’s Supper (11:23-25). Like the New Testament prophets, the apostles delivered binding interpretations of the Old Testament Scriptures and revealed the mystery of the full equality between Jews and Gentiles in the new covenant (Eph. 3:1-11).

The apostles are authoritative, infallible teachers of doctrine, worship, Christian living and church government, including the qualifications for deacons and for ruling and teaching elders (I Tim. 3; Titus 1:5-9). Without error, the apostles set forth the truth concerning relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, and employers and employees (Eph. 5:22-6:9), as well as marriage and sexual ethics (I Cor. 6:9-7:40), concerning which Paul declared, “so ordain I in all churches” (7:17).

The apostles (Matthew, John, Paul and Peter) wrote 21 of the 27 (almost 78%) of the infallible and inerrant books of the New Testament. Along with the New Testament prophets (Mark, Luke, James and Jude) and the author of Hebrews (whether he was an apostle or a prophet), the apostles are the foundation of the church for their inspired writings reveal Jesus Christ as the church’s “chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

Thus the writings of the apostles (and prophets) have absolute authority as God’s own Word, the highest and final appeal for Christian faith and life (cf. Acts 2:42). No wonder apostolic writings are to be read in the church’s worship services. Paul speaks of this (Col. 4:16; I Thess. 5:27), as does John (Rev. 1:3).

One wonders if those who wickedly claim to be apostles today even understand the authority of the office they pretend to hold. Do they really believe that they are infallible teachers? Who among them dares to allege that they are writers of inerrant Scripture? Few of them have the temerity to assert that they or their books are the foundation of God’s church or that what they have written should be read as part of congregational worship services. In other words, the vast majority of these pseudo-apostles do not even apprehend the ramifications of the teaching authority tied up with their arrogant claims.

As full-time teachers of Christ’s church (like pastors today), the apostles had authority to receive financial support from the people of God. This is the teaching of I Corinthians 9, which also indicates that the apostles had the authority to receive remuneration to support a wife (5) and, by implication, their children. Today’s false apostles certainly insist upon this aspect of the office! Unlike the true apostles in the first century (II Cor. 11:7-12; 12:13-18) but like their contemporary opponents (11:20), modern apostles often want and demand lots of money for self-aggrandisement! Rev. Angus Stewart

 

 

Did King Saul Truly Repent?

One of our subscribers writes, “Saul confessed his sin in I Samuel 15. Saul desired to worship God (25, 31). Samuel obliged Saul by returning with him before Israel and the elders (30-31). Does this not confirm that Saul genuinely repented and sought the Lord’s mercy alone? Is this not the confession of a regenerate heart?”

The passage referred to reads, “Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord” (24-31).

It is clear that Saul’s repentance and worship of God were not genuine. His sorrow was not a “godly sorrow” but the “sorrow of the world” (II Cor. 7:10). His was the kind of worship that God abhors, not the worship of a poor and contrite spirit (Isa. 66:2). It was the worship of those who choose their own ways (3), do not listen to Jehovah’s speech and do evil before His eyes (4).

What is the evidence for this? There is abundant proof in I Samuel 15: (1) Saul’s attempt to excuse his disobedience by blaming it on the people even after being rebuked (24); (2) Saul’s asking only Samuel’s pardon and not God’s (25); (3) Samuel’s refusal to accept Saul’s repentance and his insistence that God would not change His Word but would take the kingdom away from Saul (26-29); (4) Samuel’s refusing to have anything more to do with Saul (35); (5) God’s repenting that He had made Saul king (35); and (6) Saul’s request that Samuel honour him before the people by worshipping with him (30). Saul was not interested in God’s glory but only in his own reputation (John 5:44), and his worship was only to maintain his standing before the elders and the people.

If this were not proof enough, Saul’s subsequent behaviour abundantly proves that he was not a regenerate man. If Saul really repented in I Samuel 15, why was he forsaken by the Spirit of God and troubled by an evil spirit, Jehovah’s judgment upon him (16:14-16)? When Samuel was commanded to anoint David king, he was afraid Saul would kill him if he found out (16:2)! In the remaining years of his rule over Israel, Saul repeatedly tried to slay David (e.g., 18:11; 19:10-18; 23:15-29; 24:1-22; 26:1-25) and once even his own son Jonathan, David’s friend (20:33). Saul massacred 85 priests of Nob for helping David (22:9-23). Before his last battle, Saul consulted the witch of Endor (28:3-25) and ended his life by committing suicide (31:3-6).

After the self-murder of Israel’s first king, I Chronicles 10:13-14 concludes, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” No wonder Israel “enquired not at it [i.e., the ark of the covenant] in the days of Saul” (13:3).

There is further proof in the Psalms. Psalm 18, a Psalm written when God delivered David from Saul, numbers him among the ungodly. Saul is referred to as a worker of iniquity in Psalm 59:2, a Psalm penned when Saul tried to kill David at his house. None of this is the behaviour of a true penitent and worshipper of the Lord.

Applying this to ourselves so that we sincerely and truly repent before God, we note that Saul’s sorrow is characterized by grief merely over the consequences of sin but is never sorrow for sin as sin against God. Saul asks Samuel for pardon (I Sam. 15:25) but David pleads, “Have mercy upon me, O God” (Ps. 51:1), and “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight” (4). Godly sorrow submits to the consequences of sin but the sorrow of the world does all it can to smooth over those consequences. Saul said, “Honour me … before Israel” (I Sam. 15:30) but David cried, “Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God” (Ps. 51:14).

True sorrow seeks its refuge in the atoning work of Christ but the sorrow of the world does not seek forgiveness in the Lord Jesus. David prayed, “According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (1-2). But Saul never echoed such sentiments and never looked to Christ. David’s sins, in our estimation, might seem greater than Saul’s, but Saul could not have written Psalms 32 and 51.

What does all this mean for you and for me? It means this: “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (16-17). Believing those words, we respond with David, “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities” (9), and we pray this in the confidence that our sins are, and will be, forgiven for our Redeemer’s sake. Rev. Ron Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: https://cprc.co.uk/ • Live broadcast: cprc.co.uk/live-streaming/
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 24, 2021 (Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, January 24, 2021, the fourth Lord's Day of this new year 2021.

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  • Today we enter into our Lord's rest by faith and worship the glorious God of our salvation. In doing so we also hear the gospel of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are visiting this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and evening). For congregations and locations, visit this page.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Psalm 63:1-3

  • The Council of Hudsonville PRC has a new trio from which to call their next pastor: Revs. E.Guichelaar, J.Marcus, and J.Smidstra. A congregational meeting is set for this evening after the evening service. Update: Rev. J. Smidstra has received this call.

  • The Consistory of Kalamazoo PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. M.DeBoer (Edgerton, MN), E.Guichelaar (Randolph, WI), and J. Laning (Hull, IA). A special congregational meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 31, following the evening worship service.

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Prof. D.Kuiper and B.Huizinga in Byron Center PRC; Rev. N.Decker in Cornerstone PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J.Maatman in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. C.Haak in Kalamazoo PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. J.Smidstra in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.
    Let us also remember to pray for the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot receive pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions). At present because of the new COVID-19 lockdown orders in Ontario, the Wingham Consistory has suspended services until the congregation can gather again. Let's remember them in prayer with regard to this too.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that...
    • Byron Center (MI) PRC held a farewell program tonight for Rev. A. Spriensma, their missionary who just took a call to Cornerstone PRC? Here's the note as it was in her bulletin today: The congregation is asked to remain in the sanctuary tonight after the benediction so we can have a short song service for Pastor Spriensma’s farewell. Refreshments will be served in the fellowship room immediately following the song service. We join them in thanking God for pastor Spriensma's faithful labors as home missionary the last three years.
    • Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI) is considering expansion of her building? From her bulletin today we learn of this through her Council: The results of the recent survey regarding church expansion vs. a daughter church showed that of the 76 responses there were 61 in favor of expansion of the building and 15 in favor of starting a daughter church.  With the need for additional storage space and more classrooms the council has appointed a committee to investigate the future building needs of the congregation.  We will have more information at a later date.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Special notices for Classis West meeting: March 3, 2021

  • Due to strict Covid regulations in California, the Classis that was originally scheduled for Hope PRC (Redlands) has been moved to Peace PRC, so our church will once again be hosting the spring session of Classis West this year, starting on March 3. (from Peace's bulletin today)
  • Notices in recent issues of the Standard Bearer incorrectly give February 2 as the deadline for material to be submitted forthe agenda of the upcoming meeting of Classis West. The deadline is actually February 1. All material must be submitted by that date to the Stated Clerk of Classis West, Rev. J. Engelsma.

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Special PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week seminary began its second semester. The schedule and calendar has been posted on the seminary's website here. Senior Josiah Tan is back for his final semester following his internship last semester. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, we are not allowing auditors this semester either. Continue to remember the seminary's faculty, students, and staff in your prayers.
  • Rev. J. Smidstra led chapel this past Wednesday and will do so again this week. Sem. Isaac Peters will lead the devotions this week.
  • The Fall issue of the PRTS Journal is in its final stages of preparation. It should get to the printer this week and then it will be a few weeks yet before it is available for mailing and distribution.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSIONS NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • Here is more good news from from our far-eastern sister this week (part of the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin): Beloved people of God, we come into His courts today as a whole congregation after almost ten months of “separation” due to COVID-19 restrictions. We are thankful to God for enabling us to return as a whole congregation to worship Him. We ought to come into His presence with thanksgiving and praise as the Psalmist wrote. ...We celebrate this Lord’s Day with the Holy Communion for the first time after ten months of not being able to get a minister to come over to serve our church. May we with thankful hearts rejoice at this occasion, in remembrance of the death of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
    • Update on CERC's India mission work:  On the mission field, Rev Singh has updated us on the work in Kolkata. The COVID-19 situation has not improved much and some members have difficulties getting to the church due to lack of transportation. Mission work may become more difficult in the future as their Government is trying to pass an anti-conversion bill into law that forbids individuals to become a Christian unless approves by the court. The Christmas Day may no longer be a public holiday. Do pray for the work of Rev Singh and the brethren in Kolkata.
    • The December 2020 issue of "Reformed News Asia" was recently published (#63). Read that issue here.
    • The latest issue of Salt Shakers magazine (for young people) is also out - read the December 2020 at this link.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word to the saints in Ballymena online as N.Ireland is currently under another lockdown.
    • Be sure to read the latest issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" - December 2020!
    • While Ireland is under lockdown at present, Rev. M.McGeown once again is ministering the Word virtually.
    • Rev.McGeown has penned a December 2020 newsletter for his fellow saints. You may find that here.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin today: Rev. V.Ibe led the services today, as they are allowed to meet in person (up to 50%). The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija today are scheduled to join us in our worship services via streaming at Facebook live, D.V.
    • From Maranatha PRC bulletin today: Rev. R.Smit is leading the online services today (via Facebook Live). The government extended again Metro Manila and nearby provinces under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ). This is to inform that due to circumstances we are not yet ready to gather at the church building but we have to wait due to the increase of Covid-19 patients.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D.Kleyn brought the Word there today, as they meet in person. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the congregation is reminded to observe the minimum safety protocol which includes wearing face masks, social distancing, face shields if convenient to the individual, and frequent handwashing.

    • PRCP Seminary News: Our PRCP Seminary classes began this past Tuesday, January 19 and are being taught via the Internet.

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Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

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  • Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC) is delivering the messages on the program at present (Oct.2020 - Jan 2021). Today he brings a message based on 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 titled "The Church's Authority to Discipline."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Have you listened lately?
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Commitee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM:

KeepingGodsCovt DJEHH Page 1
Need a valuable resource on the practical aspects of God's covenant of grace? Check out this one!

  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • Be sure to check out the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI and online! As a reminder, their hours of business are currently Tuesday 10-1, Wednesday 1-5, and Saturday 10-1, or send your order to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This Week's Thought for Contemplation:

We must be careful to speak well of the church in our homes. We must speak well of her officebearers and of her ministry. If the ministry of the church must be criticized, we must do this with great care when our children are present lest we breed in our children sinful thoughts and evil criticism of the church and an unholy attitude towards her. 

We teach our children love for the church by teaching them love for her members and the special communion in the common faith in the Lord we have with them. These members are fellow sinners/saints. They are not yet perfect; they have their faults, even as we all do. But as brethren with us through the salvation of Jesus Christ, they are to be regarded as washed by the same precious blood of Jesus Christ that we are. We must strive together to maintain the unity of the Spirit among the members of the church. We must pray for the peace of God to rule in the hearts and lives of the members of the church. We must teach our children in our homes to pray regularly for the members of the church who are going through great trials. Practical care and love for fellow members of the church must be instilled in the hearts of our children from earliest childhood. 

It happens in some homes that, because of the conversation and behavior of parents, enmity is stirred up in the hearts of children against other members of the church. The home is made to be the center of gossip and evil speaking against the members of the church. There are few things more destructive to love for the church than such sinful behavior. 

We teach our children love for the church when we are regularly part of the communion and fellowship of the church. We do this by being active in the meetings of the church and delighting in the fellowship of her members. 

 . . .Let us pray earnestly that God will bless us in the midst of His church. Let us rejoice together with our children in the glorious God of the church and in His wonderful salvation. 

~ Rev. Arie DenHartog (“Teaching our Children Love for the Church")

Taken from Covenant of Grace PRC's bulletin this week

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 17, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, January 17, 2021, the third Lord's Day of this new year 2021.

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  • Today we are privileged and called to meet the Lord of glory for worship and fellowship. May He alone be exalted and honored among us. If you are visiting this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and evening). For congregations and locations, visit this page.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalm 24:3-5)

  • The Council of Hudsonville PRC has formed a new trio from which to call their next pastor: Revs. E.Guichelaar, J.Marcus, and J.Smidstra. A congregational meeting is set for Jan.24 after the evening service.

  • The Consistory of Kalamazoo PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. M.DeBoer (Edgerton, MN), E.Guichelaar (Randolph, WI), and J. Laning (Hull, IA). A special congregational meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 31, following the evening worship service.

  • Last Sunday Rev. A.Spriensma was installed as Cornerstone PRC's (Dyer, IN) new pastor, but he has not yet moved and taken up his labors. That will take place, D.V., around the first of February.

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J.Holstege and Rev. D.Holstege in Byron Center PRC; Rev. R.VanOverloop in Cornerstone PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J.Marcus in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. C.Griess in Kalamazoo PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. C.Spronk  in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.
    Let us also remember to pray for the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot receive pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions). At present because of the new COVID-19 lockdown orders in Ontario, the Wingham Consistory has suspended services until the congregation can gather again. Let's remember them in prayer with regard to this too.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that...
    • January 2021 marks 40 years in the ministry for Rev. A. Spriensma (Cornerstone PRC)? He was ordained in January 1981 in Atwood CRC (N.Michigan), and then after serving at Bethany CRC (S.Holland, IL), joined the PRC in 1992. Since then, he has served Grandvillle, Kalamazoo, and Byron Center PRCs, and served a missionary twice - to the Philippines (foreign) and in West Michigan (domestic). We thank the Lord for his faithful service in Christ's church for 40 years! May the Lord bless him in his new charge and continue to use him for good in the churches.
    • Heritage PRC has a new website for this new year? Here is the news as reported in her bulletin today: New year, new Heritage PRC website! Along with a new look you can now find us at our new personalized domain, heritageprc.org! Feedback may be given to any member of the Evangelism Committee. Please use the new site to tell your friends who we are and about opportunities to worship with us.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Grace PRC

  • Classis East convened in Grace PRC (Standale, MI) at 8:00 am on Wednesday, January 13, and adjourned around 12:30 am early Saturday morning, Jan.16.

    Classis mandated that the stated clerk prepare (Rev. C.Spronk) a report summarizing the decisions of the meeting and submit it to the Classical Committee of Classis East for approval. The reason for this mandate is that Classis East understands the importance of providing a helpful summary for the churches. This summary will be published as soon as possible, but it may take a few days due to the length of the meeting, the weightiness and amount of material treated by classis, and the need of the pastors mandated to make and approve this summary to preach sermons today.

    We thank the Lord of the church for sustaining the delegates during these long and difficult sessions. May the Lord bless the decisions reached for the glory of His name and the good of the churches of Classis East and the entire PRC.

Sunrise Jan 14 2021
A beautiful winter sunrise at seminary this past week

Special PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week seminary finished its special interim period between semesters (Jan.4-13), as Prof. R. Cammenga taught his course on the life and theology of John Calvin. Of special note is that the lectures were recorded once again and sent to the faculty of the PRC-Philippines seminary, who also viewed the lectures with the students and held their own discission sessions (see photo below under sister-church news).
  • The second semester is set to begin this Tuesday, Jan.19. The schedule and calendar has been posted on the seminary's website here. Senior Josiah Tan is back for his final semester following his internship last semester. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, we are not allowing auditors this semester either. Continue to remember the seminary's faculty, students, and staff in your prayers.
  • The Fall issue of the PRTS Journal is being completed and prepared for printing. The hope is for later this month.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

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A screenshot of the PRC-Philippines seminary 2021 Interim participants (held via pre-recorded videos live-streamed through Zoom)

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSIONS NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • Here is a highlight from our far-eastern sister this week (part of the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin): Exciting things are happening in 2021! We hope you will not miss it! We trust that you are already attending the worship of God at least once a Lord’s Day. Do you know several things will take place on 24 January? Firstly, the whole church will be gathering for bothServices, both morning and afternoon. No more remembering whether to go for the morning or afternoon service. Secondly, we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper! And finally, on that day, a new Church theme will be launched which we will use for Pastoral visitation for 2021 and 2022. Most of these, we were deprived of due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It’s unbelievable that we will be resuming these spiritual exercises soon. But, God is faithful. He has not abandoned His Church but He is Jehovah Jireh -God our Provider.
    • The December 2020 issue of "Reformed News Asia" was recently published (#63). Read that issue here.
    • A new issue of Salt Shakers magazine (for young people) is also out - read the December 2020 at this link.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word to the saints in Ballymena as they are allowed at present to worship.
    • Be sure to read the latest issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" - December 2020!
    • While Ireland is under lockdown at present, Rev. M.McGeown once again is ministering the Word virtually.
    • Rev.McGeown has penned a December 2020 newsletter for his fellow saints. You may find that here.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin today: Rev. V.Ibe led the services today, as they are allowed to meet in person (up to 50%). The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija today are scheduled to join us in our worship services via streaming at Facebook live, D.V.
    • From Maranatha PRC bulletin today: Rev. L.Trinidad is leading the online services today (via Facebook Live). The government extended again Metro Manila and nearby provinces under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev.R. Smit brought the Word there today, as they meet in person.

    • PRCP Seminary News: The seminary will resume classes by Zoom this coming Tuesday, Jan.19.

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

WBruinsma 2

  • Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC) is delivering the messages on the program at present (Oct.2020 - Jan 2021). Today he brings a message based on 1 Corinthians 4:1,2 titled "Stewards of Christ."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Have you listened lately?
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Commitee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM:

Marriage Mystery DJE 2015
Know someone getting married soon? This title makes a wonderful gift! Check out this title at the RFPA website, as well as others!

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • Be sure to check out the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI and online! As a reminder, their hours of business are currently Tuesday 10-1, Wednesday 1-5, and Saturday 10-1, or send your order to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation:

God is exceeding in everything He is and does. But Scripture directs our attention to two particulars. First, God exceeds in grace—it is exceedingly abundant with faith and love in Christ Jesus (1Tim. 1:14). Second, God exceeds in might—which power He uses for our benefit in His exceeding grace (Eph. 1:19). God’s power exceeds all that we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Think of any power—creaturely, electrical, gravitational, nuclear—God’s power exceeds it. Think of the power God used to create all things in six days and think of the power God uses to uphold and govern the universe each day. God’s power exceeds all that. Think of God’s power in His Son to take our flesh, to work miracles, to suffer and die, and raise Him from the dead. God’s power exceeds that. Now think of what we ask Him to do with His power—to save us from sin; to help us in any adversity; to overthrow Satan; to perfect all things in the everlasting kingdom of Christ. God’s power exceeds all that. In Jesus God gives exceedingly of His gracious power far above all that we can ask or think. By the exceedingly gracious working of His power, God adopts us as His children and heirs. He gives to us exceedingly great and precious promises that by these we might be partakers of His nature (2Pet. 1:4). Although at times we fear, He gives us a faith more exceedingly (2Thess. 1:3). Although we tremble before Him, He makes us exceeding glad with His countenance (Psa. 21:6). Times of exceeding sorrow (Matt. 26:22), He turns to exceeding joy (Ps. 43:4). If reviled and spoken against falsely, He makes us rejoice exceedingly for great is our reward in heaven (Matt. 5:12) and our momentary afflictions work a far more exceeding weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). Therefore, unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before His glorious presence with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Savior, be exceeding glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

(Rev. W. Langerak)

Taken from Trinity PRC's bulletin this week

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Classis East Meeting - January 13-16, 2021

Grace PRC

Classis East convened in Grace PRC (Standale, MI) at 8:00 am on Wednesday, January 13, and adjourned around 12:30 am early Saturday morning, Jan.16.

Classis mandated that the stated clerk prepare (Rev. C.Spronk) a report summarizing the decisions of the meeting and submit it to the Classical Committee of Classis East for approval. The reason for this mandate is that Classis East understands the importance of providing a helpful summary for the churches. This summary will be published as soon as possible, but it may take a few days due to the length of the meeting, the weightiness and amount of material treated by classis, and the need of the pastors mandated to make and approve this summary to preach sermons tomorrow (Sunday, Jan.17).

We thank the Lord of the church for sustaining the delegates during these long and difficult sessions. May the Lord bless the decisions reached for the glory of His name and the good of the churches of Classis East and the entire PRC.

Our Confidence in Troubling Times

ephesians 4 3

Let's be in prayer for the PRC and for Classis East as the delegates meet these days at Grace PRC (Jan.13,14), with a heavy work load and serious matters to debate and decide.

As we stand together for the cause of God's covenant and kingdom, may we be consoled by the words of these Psalter numbers, which are prayers as well as praise.

Psalter 60 (Psalm 25)

1. To Thee I lift my soul,
In Thee my trust repose;
My God, O put me not to shame
Before triumphant foes.

2. None shall be put to shame
That humbly wait for Thee,
But those that willfully transgress,
On them the shame shall be. 

3. Show me Thy paths, O Lord,
Teach me Thy perfect way,
O guide me in Thy truth divine,
And lead me day by day. 

4. For Thou art God that dost
To me salvation send,
And patiently through all the day
Upon Thee I attend. 

5. Recall Thy mercies, Lord,
Their tenderness untold,
And all Thy lovingkindnesses,
For they have been of old.

Psalter 160 (Psalm 62)

1. O God, give ear unto my cry,
And to my voice attend;
Though far from home and from Thy house,
To Thee my prayers ascend.

2. When troubles overwhelm my heart,
Then Thou wilt hear my cry,
For safety lead me to the Rock
That higher is than I. 

3. A refuge Thou hast been for me
When storms of trouble lower;
When foes assail, then Thou hast been
My strong defense and tower.

4. Within Thy holy temple, Lord,
I ever will abide;
Beneath the covert of Thy wings
In confidence I hide.

These words from the final Reformed Witness Hour message of 2020 by Rev. W. Bruinsma may also give us confidence in these difficult times:

But there is an even more amazing wonder in this preservation of the church.  That is actually the one expressed by Malachi in the verse we consider.  It is of God’s mercy that we are not consumed.  Malachi calls our attention to the truth that it is a wonder of all wonders that we have not been consumed by God Himself!  Countless times throughout the ages the church has turned away from God and began to follow after the gods of this world.  Think of the time when Israel stood before God at Mt. Sinai and worshiped the golden calf in His sight.  God was filled with wrath.  He told Moses to step aside and He would destroy the entire nation.  It was a wonder that God did not consume the sons of Jacob in His wrath!  And how about during the many years that the judges ruled in Israel?  How often Israel did that which was right in her own eyes.  How often did God send her enemies to come and devour her and her land.  Yet, even when Israel most deserved destruction, God preserved her.  How often Israel turned from the truth and worshiped other gods while in the land of Canaan.  God could very well have consumed her, destroyed her by the hands of the Assyrian and Chaldean Empires.  Instead, the church was taken captive and then later brought back to the land of Canaan.

        Now, having returned to the promised land, Israel again sinned greatly against Jehovah.  Throughout this book the prophet Malachi rebukes her sharply for her sin.  Yet, God continued to preserve His church throughout the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testaments.  Though times were dark, God preserved His church unto the very birth of Jesus Christ.  Even then, when the Jews turned their backs on the Savior Himself and crucified Him, the Lord preserved His faithful few out of this nation.  God has never destroyed or even forsaken His church! 

        But did not God in His anger consume many in the church?  Maybe God did not destroy the entire nation of Israel, but many in Israel were destroyed by the hand of God, for example, in the wilderness.  How many fell by the wayside in the wilderness and never did see the land of Canaan, and that because of their sins?  How many hundreds of thousands of Israel and Judah were killed when taken captive by Assyria and Babylon?  Did not God consume these sons of Jacob in His wrath against sin?  Ah, this is where we must keep in mind the distinction between true Israel and those of Israel in name only.  Surely, God in His wrath consumed many in the nation of Israel, but these were not His elect people.  They were not true Israel.  God never destroys His faithful people.  Never are they consumed, even when they sin against Him.

        In this we as believers rejoice at the end of another year.  In this past year, you and I have not been consumed in God’s wrath.  Even though we have deserved it.  God has been faithful and has not destroyed us in anger for the sins we have committed against Him.  That is an amazing act of God’s mercy in itself. God gathers His church everywhere in this world.  That church universal has again been kept safe.  The gates of hell have not prevailed against the church.

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 10, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, January 10, 2021, the second Lord's Day of this new year 2021.

Psalm 46 1 2

  • Today we once again gather as God's covenant people in worship of our Triune God and Father. May we render to Him the worship of which He alone is worthy. If you are visiting this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and evening). For congregations and locations, visit this page. But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Psalm 5:7,8,12

  • Rev. A.Spriensma is to be installed as Cornerstone PRC's (Dyer, IN) new pastor this evening. Rev. J. Smidstra (First PRC, Holland, MI), on classical appointment there today, will lead the installation service. May the Lord grant Rev. Spriensma a faithful and fruitful ministry in that place.

  • The Council of Hudsonville PRC has formed a new trio from which to call thier next pastor: Revs. E.Guichelaar, J.Marcus, and J.Smidstra. A congregational meeting is set for Jan.24 after the evening service.

  • Rev. Dan Holstege (PRC foreign missionary) will give a presentation on the work in the Philippines this evening at 7:45 at Hull PRC (NW Iowa). All in that area are invited.

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J.Smidstra in Cornerstone PRC; Prof. D.Kuiper and Rev. W.Langerak in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. G.Eriks in Kalamazoo PRC; Sem. J.Tan and Rev. D.Noorman in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.
    Let us also remember to pray for the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot have pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions). At present because  of the new COVID-19 lockdown orders in Ontario, the Wingham Consistory has suspended services until the congregation can gather again. Let's remember them in prayer with regard to this too.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Grace PRC

  • Classis East will meet this Wednesday, Jan.13, at Grace PRC. Let us remember to pray for the delegates as they treat the serious matters before them. From the stated clerk comes this special note: 

    There are many questions about visitors attending the sessions of Classis East. Classis East will decide when it meets whether it will treat matters appearing on its agenda in open or closed session. Classis East will also determine whether and how many visitors will be able to sit in on its sessions. The number of visitors will be limited according tothe restrictions set by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.Once Classis makes a decision on these matters, this decision will be released to the clerks of the churches of Classis East and the webmaster for prca.org so that it can be disseminated publicly.

  • Missionary-pastor D. Holstege (the Philippines), along with his family, are residing in West Michigan for their six-month missionary furlough in the U.S. (until June 30, 2021). Today in the morning they are in Doon PRC (the calling church), where he will also lead the service. Tonight he will preach in Hull PRC and afterward give a presentation on the work in the Philippines.

Sem 1st snow Fall 2018 2

Special PRC Seminary Notices:

  • Seminary is now in its special interim period between semesters (see next note below). The second semester is set to begin on Tuesday, Jan.19. Continue to remember the seminary's faculty, students, and staff in your prayers.
  • Prof. R. Cammenga is teaching the special Interim course this year (January 4-13). It is once again be on the Life and Theology of John Calvin. Regretfully, the seminary will not be allowing auditors for the course this year. But, if you want to listen to the lectures from the last time they were taught, you may go here.
  • Sem. Josiah Tan (senior) completed his internship on Jan.1 at First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. He will return for his final semester on Jan.19.
  • Notice of Licensure: The faculty has licensed student Marcus Wee to speak a word of edification in our churches.  Brother Wee is a member of our sister church, Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.  We rejoice at this milestone in the brother’s preparation for the ministry of the gospel.  Any scheduling of him to lead worship services will be through the seminary faculty.  This also provides us with an opportunity to impress upon our churches and sister churches the great need that we have for students for the ministry.  Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to raise up laborers in His vineyard, Matthew 9:37-38.  For the faculty, Prof. Ron Cammenga, Rector.
  • The Fall issue of the PRTS Journal is being completed and prepared for printing. The hope is for later this month.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

1stRCBulacan
PRC, Bulacan, the Philippines

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSIONS NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • We rejoice in this good news from this week's "Pastoral Voice" (in her bulletin): In the pass week, we received the approval from the authority that we can proceed with Phase 3 of the reopening of the Church for our worship services. We are indeed thankful to the Lord for His grace and mercy. This means that with some adjustments, the whole church can now come together to worship the Lord on Sunday for both services. What a joy indeed and praise the Lord for His Goodness. Let us all rejoice from our hearts and sing like the Psalmist in Psalm 122:1 - 'I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.' ...With the approval for Phase 3 reopening of the Church and some adjustment needed, the Session decided to start the worship for the whole congregation on 24 January.
    • The December 2020 issue of "Reformed News Asia" was just published (#63). Read that issue here.
    • A new issue of Salt Shakers magazine (for young people) is also out - read the December 2020 at this link.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word to the saints in Ballymena as they are allowed at present to worship.
    • Be sure to read the latest issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" - December 2020!
    • While Ireland is under lockdown at present, Rev. M.McGeown once again is ministering the Word virtually.
    • Rev.McGeown has penned a December 2020 newsletter for his fellow saints. You may find that here.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin today: Rev. D.Kleyn led the services today, as they are allowed to meet in person (up to 50%). Rev. Ibe is scheduled to preach today in Provident PRC in both of their services by Classical appointment.
    • From Maranatha PRC bulletin today: Rev. R.Smit is leading the online services today. The government extended again Metro Manila and nearby provinces under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. V.Ibe is bringing the gospel there today, as they meet in person.

    • PRCP Seminary News: The seminary is taking the PRC Seminary's (USA) Interim course on John Calvin from Jan.5-14. The students watch the videos of the recorded lectures and Revs. Kleyn and Smit lead the students in discussion of the subjects. The students are also asking Prof. R. Cammenga questions each day, which he answers at the beginning of the next lecture.

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

WBruinsma 2

  • Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC) is delivering the messages on the program at present (Oct.2020 - Jan 2021). Today he brings a message based on 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 titled "All Things Are Yours."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Have you listened lately?
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Commitee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM:

Calvins Calvinism rfpa
Looking for some 'meaty' reading in this new year? Check out this title at the RFPA website, as well as others!

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • Be sure to check out the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI and online! As a reminder, their hours of business are currently Tuesday 10-1, Wednesday 1-5, and Saturday 10-1, or send your order to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Want to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation:

The Race (Hebrews 12)

A cloud of witnesses surrounds:
Those who have run;
Those who by faith have won
The victors' crowns.

Now you must run His course.
Lift up your feeble hands,
Your strengthless knees. Before you stands
The Savior, your faith's Source.

Author and Finisher He is;
Look unto Him your spent strength to renew.
He gives the eagles' wings to you.
You shall not weary grow - the race is His.

Already He the victory has won.
His life He has laid down
To gain for you a crown.
Rise up with joy and run!

Throw off the weight that would delay.
Lay at the foot of Calvary's tree
The sin that would a hindrance be.
Go on your way!

The laurel wreath awaits him that endures
And Jesus Christ your victory assures.
His chastening hand supplies
Your healing exercise.

You shall not faint but thrive,
So for the finish strive.
You are His chosen one,
So run!

-- Suzanne Looyenga

Taken from the booklet "Good News for the Afflicted"

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