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Covenant Reformed News - August 2017

Covenant Reformed News

August 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 16


What Is a Protestant? (2)

It is important to note that the word Protestant, both in its first historical use and ever since, is not merely negative (protesting against the false doctrines, etc., of Rome); it is both positive and negative.

This is evident from the word itself in terms of its Latin etymology. It comes either from pro (for) and testari (to witness) or from protestatio (a declaration). So a protest was a setting forth of a strong affirmation in defence of a position. Thus the Protestants at the Diet of Speyer in 1529 proclaimed that “they must protest and testify publicly before God that they could consent to nothing contrary to his Word.”

The 1529 Protestants had a two-sided message like Peter and John in Acts 4. To the hostile religious authorities, they spoke both negatively: “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (19), and positively: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (20).

In short, Protestants are for the truth and, therefore, against the lie. To put it slightly differently, we are opposed to error because we hold fast to God’s infallible Word.

But what do Protestants believe that Word to teach? One helpful summary of Protestant beliefs is the Five Solas (from the Latin for “only” or “alone”).

Sola Scriptura or Scripture alone is the Word of God. The Bible is inspired (II Tim. 3:16), inerrant (John 10:35), authoritative (as the voice of the living God), sufficient (not needing supplementation by the church or alleged direct revelation) and perspicuous or clear. This last characteristic of the Word does not mean that every verse in the Bible is easily understood by all human beings. The perspicuity of Scripture means that its main truths, which find their centre in salvation in Jesus Christ, can be grasped by all believers through the Holy Spirit by making prayerful use of the ordinary means.

Flowing from their faithful confession regarding the Scriptures, the Protestants, unlike the Roman Catholics, promoted and engaged in Bible translation (from the original Hebrew and Greek into the languages of Europe), Bible reading, Bible preaching (expounding the verses, chapters and books of Scripture) and Bible catechizing (so that even the children knew the content and doctrines of the Word).

The biblical truth of sola Scriptura exposed Rome’s teaching. Rome smuggled in the Apocrypha, as if it were part of the Word of God. Rome made its tradition of equal authority with the Bible. This went hand-in-hand with its unbiblical and anti-biblical doctrines: Mariolatry (the idolatrous veneration of the Virgin Mary), purgatory (an alleged place of fire where believers bear the temporal punishment of their sins), transubstantiation (the change of the bread and wine into the literal body, blood and divinity of Christ), the mass (an unbloody sacrifice offered by a priest for the sins of the living and the dead), the papacy and its hierarchy (in contrast to the New Testament’s permanent church offices: pastors, elders and deacons), five additional sacraments (confirmation, marriage, ordination, penance and the last rites), etc.

Sola Scriptura is needed today against Rome just as much as in the sixteenth century. Rome still holds the same heresies as it did at the Reformation, for it has not given up one of them and has reaffirmed all of them (e.g., at Vatican II and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church). In fact, since the Reformation, Rome has added more heresies, such as, papal infallibility in 1870 (the pope cannot err in matters of faith or morals when speaking ex cathedra) and the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary in 1950 (her physical ascent into heaven at the end of her earthly life). If Rome today is compared with Rome 500 years ago, as regards her heresies, Rome has not gotten better or stayed the same; Rome has gotten worse!

Not only is sola Scriptura needed just as much (and more) today against Rome, but it is also crucial versus other heretical movements that have arisen, especially higher criticism of the Bible and modernistic theology. These attack the infallibility of God’s Word, reckoning that there are errors in Scripture and its doctrines. Faithful Protestantism declares, “Thy word is true from the beginning” (Ps. 119:160).

Sola Scriptura also opposes Pentecostalism, Charismaticism and Neo-Charismaticism. All of these renewalist groups add to God’s verbal revelation in the Bible. Thus they especially deny the sufficiency of God’s Word, contrary to II Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation opposed the Charismatics or renewalists of its day among the Anabaptists.

Sola Scriptura is our watchword over against twenty-first-century political correctness. Not the moralizing of the liberal media, not opinion polls, not celebrity opinion but God’s Holy Word determines truth and morality. Here we affirm the authority of Scripture as God’s Word to judge all fallen and foolish humanistic standards. “Thus saith the Lord!” This is Protestantism! In the famous dictum of William Chillingworth, “The Bible alone is the religion of Protestants.” 

As Westminster Confession 1:10 states, “The supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture.”   Rev. Stewart
 

II Corinthians 6:1-2 and God’s Grace


Question 1: “According to II Corinthians 6:1, it is possible to receive grace ‘in vain.’ Does not this imply that a reprobate or a false convert can at least receive grace, even though it is in vain?”

No, it certainly does not mean that an unbeliever receives grace. The point is that God saves a number of people and that group becomes a congregation of Jesus Christ. Upon that congregation, God sends the blessings of His grace. They grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. God is gracious to that church as a body.

It almost always happens that there are also those in the congregation who are not true believers. They confess the truth for a while. They may even be chosen as office-bearers. But they are not faithful. Hebrews 6:1-6 speaks of such people. And so the warning is pertinent and needed.

There is also the carnal seed born in the church who do not show their ungodly colours until they become young people or confessing adults.

The grace God gives to a congregation creates a sphere of Christ’s gracious workings in saving His church. The congregation as a whole and each individual in it is called not to use this grace of God in vain. 

Everyone knows that, when a farmer irrigates his field, he waters weeds, as well as his crop. But the weeds receive the water in vain. Indeed, the watering causes them to grow rapidly and manifest themselves as weeds. So it is in the church. Hebrews 6:7-8 uses this figure too.

Question 2: “When Paul writes in II Corinthians 6:2, ‘Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,’ is he not implying (a) that salvation is available to all who hear, and (b) that their receiving of it depends upon their response to this message, and (c) that God, through the apostle’s beseeching (1), is Himself expressing an ardent desire for all to respond immediately and be saved?”

For some strange reason that I will never understand, the phrase “now is the accepted time,” along with “now is the day of salvation,” is interpreted to mean that an invitation of the gospel is addressed on that very day to those listening, and that, if they do not do something about it and accept Christ, they will lose all opportunity to be saved. This interpretation is a favourite of Arminian evangelists who want to scare people into believing—something they find profitable to do for they believe that a man’s final salvation depends on the choice of his own will and not on God’s sovereign power to save whom He will. What nonsense!

The apostle refers in II Corinthians 6:2 to the entire new dispensation. With the coming of Christ and His glorious work, salvation now comes through Christ’s power to gather His church from all nations on the earth. It is no longer limited to the Jewish nation, where the saints knew the gospel through types and shadows. I might add that, after all, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8). Today, as well as when the apostle wrote these words, is the day of salvation. It is always, in the new dispensation, the day of salvation.

At the same time, God confronts everyone who hears the gospel with His solemn and urgent command to repent of their sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.  So the church is ordered to preach the gospel that God saves sinners through faith in Jesus Christ, and ministers are called to command all to repent, turn from their sinful way and believe on Christ. The command to all to repent is “serious,” as Canons of Dordt III/IV:8 expresses it. God is earnest and not playing games when He commands all who hear the gospel to repent and to believe in His Son.

Question 3: “Most commentators believe that II Corinthians 6:2 teaches that the grace of God spoken of in the text  means the gracious offer of the gospel offer of reconciliation and pardon, which can be accepted or rejected. What can be said about this?”

Those commentators are wrong. Those who defend an ineffectual divine wish to save the reprobate are guilty of blaspheming Him by insisting that He is unable to save those whom He desires to save. Let us hold fast to the truth and give glory to God.

Question 4: “Does not Proverbs 1:28 (‘Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.’) imply that wicked reprobate individuals can truly express a desire for salvation and for God’s mercy?” 

This question appeals to Proverbs 1:28 in an attempt to prove that a man apart from saving grace is able truly to pray to God; hence, to do good. However, the Bible teaches that it is not possible for the unregenerated person to do good (Rom. 3:12), not even to pray rightly (Prov. 28:9). Though the wicked despise God’s law, walk in their own lusts and mock the truth of Scripture, they do know that God is God, and that He is almighty and able to do all things. They also know that when they die they will have to face the Judge of all men. So it is that these same wicked people, when they are in extreme danger or distress, often cry out to God to rescue them. In World War II, the saying was common: “There are no atheists in foxholes.” The meaning was that, in the front line of combat, the danger of being killed was so great that soldiers prayed that they might be spared. These were the same men who cursed and swore, and visited prostitutes when they could. So, after the danger was over, they went back to their wicked ways.

We are told in Scripture that, when our Lord returns, the wicked will cry for the mountains to cover them to hide them from the face of Christ (Rev. 6:16-17).

I recall that, when I was a child and a spectacular display of northern lights ignited the whole sky, the emergency facilities and newspaper offices were swamped with terrified people who thought that the end of the world had come. When they were assured that it was only filled with northern lights, they went back to their evil ways.

But God will not hear such cries, for their motive in praying was only to save, if possible, their own hides, while they hate Him and His sovereign rule in all their life, and use Him as if He were some sort of magician who will deliver them by His magic.

I think that at this point the real question should be asked: “If God truly loves them with a divine love, why does He not hear their frightened cries? If He really loves them and they cry to him, is it not cruel to ignore them?”    Prof. Hanko
 

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 28 September, 2017
 7:15 PM

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart
(pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, N. Ireland)

Subject:
Martin Luther and God’s Saving Righteousness
 
NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

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

Celebrating
500 Years
of the Reformation

----
Reformation
Conference


Saturday, 21 October, 2017
11 AM -  “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God”
1 PM - “Justification in Paul
and in James”
(lunch served between the two lectures)

Friday, 27 October, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Martin Luther: Man of Conviction”

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

Speaker
 Prof. David J. Engelsma 

emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Venue
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

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

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach at both CPRC services,
11 AM & 6 PM, on Lord’s Days 22 & 29 October and
5 November


Watch www.cprc.co.uk or contact us at (028) 25 891851 
for more details closer to the event 
Knowing God in the Last Days
Commentary on II Peter

Mark Hoeksema
(93 pp., hardback)

Knowing God in the Last Days is an explanation of the second general epistle of Peter to the early New Testament church. The primary theme of the letter is the knowledge of God, a concept that occurs many times and in various contexts throughout the book. The secondary theme of II Peter is the application of the knowledge of God to the last days in which we live. Especially in his third chapter, Peter reveals to the church the knowledge of God as it relates to the end times. Based on exegesis of the Greek text, this commentary gives clarity of explanation to God’s people regarding necessary and important aspects of today’s Christian life. 

£8.80 (inc. P&P)

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

Philemon: An Object Lesson in Forgiveness

9 sermons by
Rev. Martyn McGeown
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set
 
This short New Testament book was written by Paul to Philemon 
regarding his runaway slave, Onesimus, who had recently been 
converted to Jesus Christ. It is, as the title of this 9-sermon series 
by Rev. McGeown puts it, an object lesson in forgiveness!
  
(1) Slavery and the Bible
(2) Greeting a Beloved Brother
(3) Paul’s Commendation of Philemon’s Love
(4) Paul’s Approach to Philemon
(5) Paul’s Heartfelt Plea for Onesimus
(6) Paul’s Consideration of Philemon’s Position
(7) God’s Good Purpose in Onesimus’ Departure
(8) Paul’s Satisfaction of
Onesimus’ Debt
(9) Paul’s Confident Conclusion

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
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PRC Weekly Congregational and Denominational News - September 3, 2017 *(Updated)

matt 18 11On this September 3, 2017 Day of our risen Lord we note the following news and information from PRC congregations, denominational committees, and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • On August 27 Candidate Justin Smidstra ACCEPTED the call from First PRC of Holland MI, declining the call from Southwest PRC. We thank the Lord for leading this candidate to the sure knowledge of God's will and for giving him a place to begin his ministry in the PRC. Plans are being made for him to be examined at a special meeting of Classis East.
  • On August 27 Candidate Matt DeBoer ACCEPTED the call from Edgerton PRC. We thank the Lord for leading him too and for giving him a place in the churches where he can begin his ministry. Plans are being made for him to be examined at the meeting of Classis West in Hull, IA on Sept.27.
  • On August 27 Rev. E. Guichelaar declined the call from Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB). The Council has formed a new trio consisting of Candidates Brian Feenstra, Jonathan Langerak, and Stephan Regnerus. The congregation will vote TODAY following the afternoon service. *Update: Cand. Brian Feenstra has received this call.
  • The Council of Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI) has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Rev. A. Lanning (Covenant ERC, Singapore), and Candidates D. Noorman and Stephan Regnerus. The congregation will vote next Sunday, Sept.10, D.V.
  • On August 13 Candidate Joe Holstege accepted the call to Zion PRC. We praise God for His provision of a place for this candidate and a first pastor for this new congregation. Plans are also being made for him to be examined at a special meeting of Classis East.
  • Rev. T. Miersma (Immanuel PRC, Lacombe) has now officially begun his emeritation as a minister of the Word in the PRC (Sept.1, 2017).
    • His farewell sermon and program were held last Sunday, August 27.
    • Loveland PRC included this appropriate note in its bulletin last week: "Rev. Tom Miersma bids farewell today to the congregation in Lacombe, AB, and lays down the active pastoral labors for emeritation. We thank God for his many years of service, including years as our missionary in Alamosa and Spokane, and pray for God’s continued blessing upon him and his wife Jan as they settle into their new home in Edmonton."
  • From Byron Center PRC's Council:
    • Pastor Spriensma’s farewell sermon is scheduled for September 17 during the morning worship service. His installation as home missionary is scheduled for September 17 during the evening worship service.
    • On August 20 Rev. B. Huizinga (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA) received the call to take the place of Rev. A. Spriensma.
  • Rev. Doug Kuiper (professor-elect at the PRC Seminary) preached his farewell in Edgerton PRC on August 13. He and his family moved to West Michigan that same week and are settling in. He is beginning to participate in the life of the seminary and will soon begin classes at Calvin Theological Seminary for his ThM degree. His installation as professor is set for Wednesday, Sept.20, in Faith PRC, 7 p.m.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

ephesians 4 3 2

  • From the PRC Contact Committee comes notice of a special trip to South Korea this week by Rev. W. Langerak and Prof. R. Cammenga:
    • On August 31, Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. Wm. Langerak will leave, D.V., for S. Korea as representatives of our denomination's Committee for Contact with Other Churches, as authorized by Synod 2017.  They will be following up on contacts with individuals and with churches.  In addition they have been requested to speak at a REFO 500 conference, as well as in three different Reformed seminaries, several churches, and to various groups.  They plan to return on Monday, Sept. 11.  Pray for them and for the Lord's use of this trip to bring us into close contact with Reformed Christians in this country and in that part of the world.
    • If you would like to read some letters about (Prof. R. Cammenga) and see some pictures of this trip (Mr. John Van Baren), visit the PRC bulletin page under "South Korea Letters - Sept. 2017" in the "PR Churches" folder (for registered users only).
  • Visitors from Namibia and South Africa.  From the Contact Committee:  On Tuesday (Sept. 5), DV, three men from a small group of churches in Namibia will be coming to Michigan to visit with the Contact Committee.  A minister from Namibia, Rev. Jacobus LeRoux, and an elder from South Africa, Joseph Oosthuizen, will be staying for about 10 days. They are joined by another elder from Namibia, Michael Duvenhage (accompanied by his wife Tiene and three children). The purpose of the visit is to continue discussions of the similarities and differences between their newly forming group of Reformed churches and our denomination.  This small group of six churches seeks guidance from the PRCA in the early years of separation from their mother denomination.
  • A new PRC Psalter app (Android) has been developed by Hope PRC member Jonathan Vermeer. You will find it in the Google Play store at this link. The app includes lyrics and tunes to all of our Psalter #s and links to the Psalms themselves. Plus, it has a special "night mode" setting for use in the dark (as, for example, for campfire singing).
  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. C. Haak is True Faith, based on II Timothy 1:12.

 

Philippines missionaries

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 30 Rev. A. Spriensma ACCEPTED Byron Center PRC's call to serve as home missionary. We thank the Lord for providing us a home missionary once again and we pray for pastor Spriensma and Byron Center PRC as they transition to this new position. His installation as missionary is scheduled for Sept.17 during the evening service.
  • On August 20 Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call from Doon PRC to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.

 

  • From the bulletin of Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Rev. Kleyn will preach in our first worship service this morning, and Rev. Holstege in the second. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. Holstege will preach both times. Rev. Holstege will teach the Church Order today from 10:15-10:45 am.

    • Rev. Holstege will teach the Canons of Dordt, Head 5, Articles 4-5 this Wednesday night at 7:30. Join us to learn that “the weakness of the flesh cannot prevail against the power of God who confirms and preserves true believers in a state of grace,” and to hear the call to watch and pray lest we be “drawn into great and heinous sins by Satan, the world, and the flesh” and “by the righteous permission of God actually fall into these evils.”

    • Rev. Kleyn will start teaching the catechism class for the children again this Saturday morning, September 9, at 9:00. The children should prepare lesson 12 in the OT History for Juniors.

    • The Youth Fellowship will meet next, Lord willing, on September 24. On September 17 Rev. Holstege will be going to Bulacan after the worship services to participate in Church Visitation.

    Let's remember these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines in our prayers daily. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace for all their labors.
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Covenant Reformed News - July 2017

Covenant Reformed News

July 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 15


Our Identity in Christ (4)

A significant part of human identity comes through our inclusion in a larger entity, our place amidst a group or groups of other people. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are part of the greatest society and institution in the history of the world! 

We are not merely members of some political party or sports club or social group. We belong to the body of Jesus Christ Himself! We are part of the one, holy, catholic (or universal) and apostolic church. As members of Christ’s body, we have been elected and gathered, we are being preserved and we will be glorified. As those who are in the church, ours is the only group or society which will pass into the new creation.

In the church is our family—for ever! In the church are our friends—for ever! Obviously, our family and friends are part of our identity.

It is our self-identification that we belong to the Triune God and, therefore, are in His church: “One shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel” (Isa. 44:5). We make this declaration of our identity deliberately, unashamedly and gladly.

What is my identity in Jesus Christ as regards the future? It is not like those who know not Christ, who live in the despair, fear, worry, meaninglessness and ignorance of unbelief and hopelessness, without the Bible’s teaching on the last things.

We are strangers and pilgrims here in this world, for our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20). We live by hope (cf. Rom. 8:24-25), for we are assured by the Holy Spirit of our election, redemption, salvation, preservation and glorification.

What about beyond this life? At death, we will be with Jesus Christ our Lord in the presence of God (Phil. 1:21-23). We will join the church triumphant and fellowship with the holy angels. We will be entirely sanctified as regards our spirits or souls.

This age will end with the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the general resurrection. Our dead bodies are not merely fertilizer for trees; they will be transformed into glorified bodies like that of Christ Himself (Phil. 3:21).

The Judgment Day will be the public vindication of the Triune God in all His works. Thus it will also be the justification of His church in Jesus Christ before all men and angels, both good and evil. 

The new heavens and the new earth will be our eternal inheritance as the sons and daughters of the living God. We shall be given new names—perfect, wonderful identities in Christ for ever (Rev. 2:17; 3:12; 22:4)!     Rev. Stewart
 

The More-Loving-Than-God Argument (4)


With this News, I conclude my answers to a reader who wanted responses to questions put to him in support of the notion that God loves absolutely everybody. 

Question 5: “Do you believe God only really cares for a few individuals? If He does, then so should you ... or else you will not be like Him.”

I think this question, to be understood, requires an additional sentence: “If God loves only a few, to be like Him, we should also love only a few; but that would be contrary to God’s command to us to ‘love all men.’” We will assume that this is part of the question.

Though I have already answered this question, I will repeat what I said. God does not love merely “a few;” He loves the world for which Christ died and the world that believes in Christ (John 3:16)—“a great multitude, which no man could number” (Rev. 7:9).

Again, it is clear from Scripture that God loves His elect church and hates the reprobate wicked (e.g., Ps. 5:5). Further, we are to love our “neighbour;” nowhere does God command us to love all men absolutely. We are to love our neighbour for we do not know who are elect and who are not. We are to love our neighbour by preaching the gospel and witnessing to him, for God uses these means to save His elect and to punish those who reject the gospel, “whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:8). If we know that our neighbours are truly elect, we still bring the Word of God to them to teach them, encourage them, comfort them, etc. They are one with us in the household of faith and we do all we can to assist them in their sometimes difficult path.

Question 6: “What if your son is a reprobate? If God desires and intends for him to end up in perdition, and you, being a Christian, who loves his neighbour, want him to be in heaven, are you making yourself more loving than God?”

This is a very strange question. Scripture is clear that God has eternally and sovereignly elected His church. He has also, to manifest His justice, sovereignly determined that some should perish because of their sin. We do not know who are elect and who are reprobate: God does (Rom. 9:1-24).

Hence, we are commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves. We are to do this because God uses our witness, in connection with the preaching of the Word, to save His elect. We witness because we want the elect to be saved and we do not always know, especially outside our family and church, who are elect and who are not.

When we bring up our children, we witness to them (for they too are our neighbours) and do so in our faith in the God who has promised to save us and our children. We know too that the doctrine of sovereign predestination also cuts through family lines. That is, we know that God has not promised to save all our physical children. In the covenant lines, there are “Jacobs” but there are also “Esaus” (Rom. 9:10-13).

Covenant parents’ greatest pain is seeing their children forsake God’s ways and live in the world. As one father, who had a son killed in a car accident and a daughter who went astray, said to me, “Pastor, it was easier to go to the cemetery.”

But covenant parents pray every day, “Thy will be done.” God’s will is absolutely determinative for them. When they see their child go astray, they pray, with earnest cries, that he or she may repent. But if that is not the will of God, they bow before Him who does all things for His own glory and confess Him to be God alone. So David wept bitterly over Absalom his son, and Paul expressed his heart’s desire that all Israel be saved, when he knew that this was not God’s will (Rom. 9:1-5; 10:1-2).  Prof. Hanko
 

The Lambeth Articles (1595)

1. God from eternity has predestined some men to life, and reprobated some to death.
2. The moving or efficient cause of predestination to life is not the foreseeing of faith, or of perseverance, or of good works, or of anything innate in the person of the predestined, but only the will of the good pleasure of God.
3. There is a determined and certain number of predestined, which cannot be increased or diminished.
4. Those not predestined to salvation are inevitably condemned on account of their sins.
5. A true, lively and justifying faith, and the sanctifying Spirit of God, is not lost nor does it pass away either totally or finally in the elect.
6. The truly faithful man—that is, one endowed with justifying faith—is sure by full assurance of faith of the remission of sins and his eternal salvation through Christ.
7. Saving grace is not granted, is not made common, is not ceded to all men, by which they might be saved, if they wish.
8. No one can come to Christ unless it be granted to him, and unless the Father draws him: and all men are not drawn by the Father to come to the Son.
9. It is not in the will or power of each and every man to be saved.

The Lambeth Articles were drawn up by Dr. William Whitaker, Regius Professor of Divinity in Cambridge, with input from Dr. Richard Fletcher (Bishop of London), Dr. Richard Vaughan (Bishop-elect of Bangor) and Humphrey Tyndall (Dean of Ely).

The Articles were formally approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. John Whitgift), the Archbishop of York (Dr. Matthew Hutton) and other prelates convened at Lambeth Palace, London (20 November, 1595). The Archbishop of Canterbury, sent the Lambeth Articles to the University of Cambridge a few days later, not as new laws or decrees, but as an explanation of certain points already established by the laws of the land.

The Lambeth Articles were never officially added to the Church of England’s Thirty-Nine Articles (1563). They were, however, accepted by the Dublin Convocation of 1615 and engrafted on the Irish Articles (1615). In the Church of Ireland, the Lambeth Articles obtained for some time a semi-symbolical authority. It is stated that they were exhibited at the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) by the English deputies, as the judgment of the Church of England on Arminianism.

Sadly, today, most Anglican (and other) churches around the world have fallen into Arminian free-willism, and the faithful Lambeth Articles are either unknown or rejected.
 

What Is a Protestant? (1)

People refer to Protestant congregations, denominations, people, ideas, etc. In the British coronation oath, the monarch avers, “I am a faithful Protestant.” Given differing ideas regarding Protestantism and with 2017 being the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the question, “What is a Protestant?” is especially important.

This question will be answered historically (Where and when did the term Protestant originate? What does this tell us about its meaning?), theologically (What are the key doctrines of Protestantism?) and ethically (What are the crucial aspects of the morality and lives of Protestants?). Our answer will get to the heart of the identity of Protestantism, for we will not deal with secondary or peripheral issues but what Protestantism essentially is.

So what is the historical origin of the word Protestant? The term Protestant arose in what country? Germany (not Britain). In what city? Speyer in southwest Germany. In what century? The sixteenth century. In what year? 1529, twelve years after Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.

To explain more fully, the Imperial Diet (or general assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire met in Speyer in 1529. The Roman Catholic majority decided that Martin Luther was rightfully under the imperial ban (i.e., he was reckoned legally dead, so that anyone was allowed to rob, injure or kill him without any judicial consequences); Luther’s writings and teachings were forbidden; the Reformation was not allowed to spread.

However, six princes and fourteen imperial cities protested against this decision: We must follow our consciences in submission to the Word of God! The preaching of the Holy Scriptures must not be bound!

These Protestants had the same spirit as Martin Luther, who declared in 1521 at Worms, another Imperial Diet, eight years before Speyer, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the Pope or in councils alone, since it is well-known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.” In this famous statement, you will notice that Luther refers three times to the Word of God or the Scriptures and twice to his conscience, for his conscience was bound to the Word.

The first Protestants in 1529 and Martin Luther had the same spirit as “Peter and the other apostles” in Acts 5:29, who testified, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” All these believers in Jesus Christ took a stand for God’s truth before hostile authorities, displaying spiritual courage at great personal risk.  Rev. Stewart
 
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 28 September, 2017
 7:15 PM

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart
(pastor of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, N. Ireland)

Subject:
Martin Luther and God’s Saving Righteousness
 
NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

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

Celebrating
500 Years
of the Reformation

----
Reformation
Conference


Saturday, 21 October, 2017
11 AM -  “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God”
1 PM - “Justification in Paul
and in James”
(lunch served between the two lectures)

Friday, 27 October, 2017, 7:30 PM 
“Martin Luther: Man of Conviction”

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

Speaker
 Prof. David J. Engelsma 

emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Venue
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

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

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach at both CPRC services,
11 AM & 6 PM, on Lord’s Days 22 & 29 October and
5 November


Watch www.cprc.co.uk or contact us at (028) 25 891851 
for more details closer to the event 
Knowing God in the Last Days
Commentary on II Peter

Mark Hoeksema
(93 pp., hardback)

Knowing God in the Last Days is an explanation of the second general epistle of Peter to the early New Testament church. The primary theme of the letter is the knowledge of God, a concept that occurs many times and in various contexts throughout the book. The secondary theme of II Peter is the application of the knowledge of God to the last days in which we live. Especially in his third chapter, Peter reveals to the church the knowledge of God as it relates to the end times. Based on exegesis of the Greek text, this commentary gives clarity of explanation to God’s people regarding necessary and important aspects of today’s Christian life. 

£8.80 (inc. P&P)

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

Philemon: An Object Lesson in Forgiveness

9 sermons by
Rev. Martyn McGeown
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set
 
This short New Testament book was written by Paul to Philemon 
regarding his runaway slave, Onesimus, who had recently been 
converted to Jesus Christ. It is, as the title of this 9-sermon series 
by Rev. McGeown puts it, an object lesson in forgiveness!
  
(1) Slavery and the Bible
(2) Greeting a Beloved Brother
(3) Paul’s Commendation of Philemon’s Love
(4) Paul’s Approach to Philemon
(5) Paul’s Heartfelt Plea for Onesimus
(6) Paul’s Consideration of Philemon’s Position
(7) God’s Good Purpose in Onesimus’ Departure
(8) Paul’s Satisfaction of
Onesimus’ Debt
(9) Paul’s Confident Conclusion

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

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

Reformed News Asia - August 2017 (#42)

Issue 42 - August 2017
Pamphlets
We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
FEATURED Pamphlet!
RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN MARRIAGE
By Rev Wilbur Bruinsma

"Conflict in marriage is inevitable.  It is so because in marriage two sinners are bound together by God.  None of us is free of sin.  And sin is what gives rise to conflict in marriage.  There are disagreements that arise between a husband and a wife.  In fact, it is a wonder that God, almost miraculously, takes two incompatible sinners and makes them one flesh, and then, by His grace, causes them to live together in that peace and that joy which is necessary for marriage."

In a two-part series aired over the Reformed Witness Hour radio broadcast, Rev Bruinsma talks about one of the main causes of conflict in marriage - pride - as well as practices that should be found in every marriage: giving, communication, reading the Word of God together and repentance.

Read to find out more!


Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.

 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
Less Than The Least
by Cornelius Hanko

From the RFPA website:

"Son of Dutch immigrants to America, Rev. Hanko served six pastorates in five states, most notably in First Protestant Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1948–1964), along with Rev. Herman Hoeksema and Rev. Hubert De Wolf. Rev. Hanko poignantly describes the grief caused in the PRC by De Wolf’s heresy and schism (1953).

More than this, Less Than the Least follows Rev. Hanko from his childhood, school days, and seminary training, all the way to his retirement (1977) and beyond.

This delightful book comes complete with photos and appendices."

 
Audio Recordings
2 elders and 1 deacon were recently installed in CERC. Rev Lanning preached the following sermon to encourage them in the joy of an office-bearer:

The Officebearer's Joy
 

 
Upcoming Events!
 
Reformation Day Conference 2017

Come commemorate the 500th year of the Reformation with us this RDC! Details in the poster below.

 
Past Events...
 
Installation of Office Bearers
We thank the Lord for providing CERC with willing men who serve in the offices of Elder and Deacon. We pray for the Lord's blessings as these new office-bearers undertake their respective callings.
Chew Lap Meng installed into the office of Elder
Lim Seow Thong installed into the office of Elder
Lee Meng Hsien installed into the office of Deacon
A resolute "YES" to the questions in the form for ordination of elders and deacons
 
CK/CKS Outing
In our recent CKCKS outing, the youths visited Fort Siloso on Sentosa. This fort was built in the late 19th century to protect Singapore from sea invasions.
Posing with the big guns. Yes Sir!
View of mainland Singapore from Sentosa
Kuang giving us the exhortation.
 
Church Fellowship Outing
Singapore's National Day, 9th Aug, was a public holiday and we took the chance to go for a hike at the new Windsor Park. It was a simple, stroller-friendly hike which was a welcome opportunity for good Christian fellowship.
Kicking it off with singing and exhortation
Plenty of fellowship on the hike
Met some friends along the way
Into the forest! Welcome break from city life.
 
Prof and Mrs Dykstra
Prof and Mrs Dykstra were the latest visitors to the sunny island of Singapore! They dropped by for a week's visit enroute back to USA from Australia. On Sunday, a group stayed back after the second service to attend a Table Talk by Prof Dystra which was followed by a farewell dinner.
 
Marcus and Tze Yan's Wedding
This August, Marcus and Tze Yan were united in holy matrimony. We rejoice with them and pray the Lord's blessings upon their union.

Click on the picture below to view the choir presentation at the wedding, "Day by Day".

 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

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

Read more...

Reformed Witness Hour Messages for September 2017

RWH logo 1

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

haak smallRev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI, completes his four-month service for the RWH program, as he speaks on some key doctrines of the Christian faith: true saving faith, creation, God's mysterious providence, and who Jesus Christ is.

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 76th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

September 3 - True Faith, II Timothy 1:12

September 10 - The Creation, Genesis 1:1

September 17 - The Secret Providence of God, Psalm 57:2

September 24 - Who is Jesus?, Matthew 1:21

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

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

RWH Facebook image

facebook.com/reformedwitness/

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PRC Weekly Congregational and Mission News - August 27, 2017 **(Updated)

 Psalms 119 103On this final Lord's Day of August 2017 (August 27) we note the following news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • This morning Candidate Justin Smidstra ACCEPTED the call from First PRC of Holland MI  and therefore DECLINED the call from Southwest PRC. We thank the Lord for leading this candidate to the sure knowledge of God's will and for giving him a place to begin his ministry in the PRC.
  • This morning Candidate Matt DeBoer ACCEPTED the call from Edgerton PRC. We thank the Lord for leading him too and for giving him a place in the churches where he can begin his ministry.
  • On August 13 Candidate Joe Holstege accepted the call to Zion PRC. We praise God for His provision of a place for this candidate and a first pastor for this new congregation. Plans are being made for him to be examined at the September meeting of Classis East.
  • Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) extended a call to Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph, WI PRC) on August 6. *UPDATE: Today Rev. Guichelaar declined this call. The Council formed a new trio consisting of Candidates Brian Feenstra, Jonathan Langerak, and Stephan Regnerus. The congregation will vote on Sept.3 following the afternoon service.
  • Rev. T. Miersma (Immanuel PRC, Lacombe) continues to make preparations for his emeritation at the beginning of September.
    • He and his wife moved into their new home near Edmonton this week. His farewell sermon and program are planned for the afternoon service today.
    • Loveland PRC included this appropriate note in its bulletin today: "Rev. Tom Miersma bids farewell today to the congregation in Lacombe, AB, and lays down the active pastoral labors for emeritation. We thank God for his many years of service, including years as our missionary in Alamosa and Spokane, and pray for God’s continued blessing upon him and his wife Jan as they settle into their new home in Edmonton."
  • Rev. Doug Kuiper (professor-elect at the PRC Seminary) preached his farewell in Edgerton PRC on August 13. He and his family moved to West Michigan that same week and are settling in. He is beginning to participate in the life of the seminary and will soon begin classes at Calvin Theological Seminary for his ThM degree. His installation as professor is set for Wednesday, Sept.20, in Faith PRC, 7 p.m.
  • From Byron Center PRC's Council:
    • Pastor Spriensma’s farewell sermon is scheduled for September 17 during the morning worship service. His installation as home missionary is scheduled for September 17 during the evening worship service.
    • From the Council's trio chosen for the congregation to vote for a new pastor (Revs. C. Griess, Calvary PRC, Hull; B. Huizinga, Hope PRC, Redlands, CA; and A. Lanning, CERC, Singapore) the congregation voted to call Rev. B. Huizinga on August 20.
  • And Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA) included this note in her bulletin, which we ought not forget: "These candidates are still awaiting calls: Brian Feenstra, Jonathan Langerak, David Noorman and Stephan Regnerus. We continue to pray for them during this time of waiting and that God will confirm their call to the ministry with the objective call from a congregation."

SPECIAL NOTICES:

 

  • From the PRC Contact Committee comes notice of a special trip to South Korea this week by Rev. W. Langerak and Prof. R. Cammenga:
    • On August 31, Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. Wm. Langerak will leave, D.V., for S. Korea as representatives of our denomination's Committee for Contact with Other Churches, as authorized by Synod 2017.  They will be following up on contacts with individuals and with churches.  In addition they have been requested to speak at a REFO 500 conference, as well as in three different Reformed seminaries, several churches, and to various groups.  They plan to return on Monday, Sept. 11.  Pray for them and for the Lord's use of this trip to bring us into close contact with Reformed Christians in this country and in that part of the world.
  • iron sharpens iron logoProfessor David J. Engelsma will be interviewed by Christopher Arnzen on his radio program “Iron Sharpens Iron” on Friday, September 1, from 4-6 PM EST.  The subject will be his recent book, The Gospel Truth of Justification.  You can go to the website  www.ironsharpensironradio.com and click on the live stream it box to tune in and listen from any device.  The program can also be listened to by phone at (563)999-9206, press #3 for Christian Radio when prompted. Now that the live interview is concluded, you may listen to the recorded version here, compliments of the host Chris Arntzen.
  • Psalter app DV 2017A new PRC Psalter app (Android) has been developed by Hope PRC member Jonathan Vermeer. You will find it in the Google Play store at this link. The app includes lyrics and tunes to all of our Psalter #s and links to the Psalms themselves. Plus, it has a special "night mode" setting for use in the dark (as, for example, for campfire singing).
  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. C. Haak is "Christian Education is Covenant Education", Isaiah 38:19.

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 30 Rev. A. Spriensma ACCEPTED Byron Center PRC's call to serve as home missionary. We thank the Lord for providing us a home missionary once again and we pray for pastor Spriensma and Byron Center PRC as they transition to this new position. His installation as missionary is scheduled for Sept.17 during the evening service.
  • On August 20 Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call from Doon PRC to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.
  • From the bulletin of Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Rev. D. Holstege will preach for us both times today and next Sunday, Lord willing.

    • Thanks to our Father in heaven for bringing Matt and Sarah Kortus back to the U.S.A. last week. Rev. Daniel and Sharon Kleyn plan to fly home to the Philippines tomorrow, Lord willing.

    • Rev. Kleyn will start teaching the Saturday morning catechism class again on September 9. So there will be no catechism this Saturday.

    • Rev. Clay Spronk declined the call to be a third missionary in the Philippines. May the Lord prepare and send another laborer for this field soon! For the harvest is great and the laborers are few.

    Let's remember these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines in our prayers daily. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace for all their labors.

The Kleyns' recently posted pictures and descriptions of the summer mission internship of Seminarian Matt Kortus, which ends today. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

 MKortus catechism 2017

Teaching catechism in Provident CC, Marikina

Kortus BulacanPRC 2017
Dinner with the Consistory of the PRC in Bulacan.
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