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PRC Weekly Congregational, Denominational, and Mission News - June 11, 2017

Ps14 2 lakeOn this Lord's Day dated June 11, 2017 we may report on the following news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields:

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. N. Decker (Trinity PRC) is considering the call from Southwest PRC (received May 21). He plans to answer it by June 25.
  • Rev. C. Griess (Calvary PRC, Hull IA) is considering the call from Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, AB (received May 28).
  • From its new trio of Revs. N. Decker, C. Griess (Calvary, Hull, IA), and R. Kleyn (Spokane, WA), the congregation of Zion PRC (Hudsonville/Jenison, MI) voted TODAY to call Rev. N. Decker to serve as her first pastor.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

  • The delegation from the PRC Contact Committee and Faith PRC to the BERG in Giessen, Germany concludes its visit and labors today, returning tomorrow, D.V. May God grant His blessing on this trip and give a safe return to the couples (Rev. & Mrs. K. Koole, Mr. & Mrs. Pete Vander Schaaf, and Mr. & Mrs. Dave Bouwkamp).
  • This second notice was also sent out this week from the Sated Clerk of Synod concerning the convening of the PRC 2017 Synod this week:

The pre-synodical service will be held Monday evening, June 12, at 7:00 p.m. in Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. G. Eriks, president of Synod 2016, will preach.

Synod convenes Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. The seven seminarians who will be examined at synod will preach their specimen sermons on Tuesday. The oral exams will take place on Wednesday and Thursday – the schedule can be found on the prca.org website (http://www.prca.org/current/news), below in image form, and attached here in pdf.

Graduation is scheduled for Thursday, June 15, at 7:30 pm. in Hudsonville PRC. Prof. B. Gritters will deliver the commencement address on “The Ministry: An Existence, Not An Occupation.” The pre-synodical service and the graduation exercises will be streamed live at http://hudsonvilleprc.org.

Remember the synodical delegates in your prayers as they oversee the exams of the seminarians and as they deal with all the other matters brought before them. May God grant insight and wisdom in the deliberations so that the decisions  edify the church and glorify God.

MISSION NEWS:

  • On May 28 Rev. C. Haak declined the call from Byron Center PRC to serve as a home missionary.
  • On May 14 the congregation of Doon PRC voted to extend a call to Rev. H. Bleyenberg to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines. In order to properly consider this call, Rev. Bleyenberg and his wife are currently visiting the field for two weeks (June 9-22). We pray God's blessing on them as they consider this special call (for more on this, see below).
  • From the Provident Christian Church for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • We welcome everyone here today. A special welcome to any visitors. May the Lord give us joy in worship, for His glory and for our blessing. Rev. Kleyn will preach for us in the first service today, and Rev. Bleyenberg in the second. Next Sunday, the Lord willing, Rev. Holstege will preach for both our worship services.
    • We welcome Rev. Heath Bleyenberg and his wife Deb into our fellowship today. They are visiting the Philippines for 2 weeks while Rev. Bleyenberg considers the call to be a missionary here. We pray God will use the visit as a means to make the answer to the call clear. Rev. Bleyenberg plans to answer the call on June 25.
    • The Wednesday night Bible study will be held this week, June 14, at 7:30 p.m. Rev. Bleyenberg will be giving a special lecture on how to read and study the Word of God. All are encouraged to attend.
    • The Classis of the PRCP is scheduled to meet tomorrow, June 12, starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Maranatha PRC in Valenzuela. You are welcome to attend and observe the meeting of Classis.

 Below is a picture posted recently on the Kleyn's blog (along with others) about a new young people's forum called "Reformed Discussion Table":

RD Table 2017 2

And this week Mrs. Stephanie Lanning (wife of Rev. A. Lanning, pastor of Covenant ERC in Singapore - blog is "Stories from Singapore") posted some recent pictures of a wedding there, as well as of the last delegation to Kolkata, India (April 2017). We include one of the latter pictures here - from the church camp that was held.

Kolkata camp 2017 1

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PRC Synod 2017: Initial Notice of Pre-Synodical Service, Convening, and Seminarian Exam Schedule

HudsonvillePRC picNext week Tuesday, June 13, the PRC Synod of 2017 will begin its meetings at Hudsonville PRC. Below is the initial notice from the Stated Clerk, Rev. Ron Van Overloop.

SYNOD 2017 NOTICE:

eriks 02The pre-synodical service will be held Monday evening, June 12, at 7:00 p.m. in Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. G. Eriks, president of Synod 2016, will preach.

Synod convenes Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. The seven seminarians who will be examined at synod will preach their specimen sermons on Tuesday. The oral exams will take place on Wednesday and Thursday – the schedule can be found on the prca.org website (http://www.prca.org/current/news), below in image form, and attached here in pdf.

Graduation is scheduled for Thursday, June 15, at 7:30 pm. in Hudsonville PRC. Prof. B. Gritters will deliver the commencement address on “The Ministry: An Existence, Not An Occupation.” The pre-synodical service and the graduation exercises will be streamed live at http://hudsonvilleprc.org.

Remember the synodical delegates in your prayers as they oversee the exams of the seminarians and as they deal with all the other matters brought before them. May God grant insight and wisdom in the deliberations so that the decisions  edify the church and glorify God.

Synod exam schedule 2017 Proposed Page 1

Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - June 2017

Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter

MMcGeown 2017 2

Rev. Martyn McGeown

38 Abbeyvale, Corbally, Co. Limerick, Ireland

http://www.limerickreformed.com/

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

Yesterday, we had unusual visitors at the evening service—two Mormon missionaries! I recognized them as such by the little “elder” badges on their shirts. Barry Purcell was on his way to worship when he was accosted by the Mormons. He asked them if they had a “spare hour.” When they answered in the affirmative, Barry invited them to our service to, as he put it, “hear the truth.” My sermon was “Buying and Not Selling the Truth” (Prov. 23:23), the family visitation text. True to their word, the Mormons stayed for an hour (Barry forgot, he said, that the service lasts one and half hours), so they stayed for a good part of the sermon. I hope that they heard something that opened their hearts to the truth of God.

I have been preaching from Proverbs of late—not an actual series, just some “gleanings” you might say. One of the members expressed interest in the book so I chose a few texts that struck me as interesting: “Jehovah’s Name: A Strong Tower,” “Death and Life in the Power of the Tongue,” “The Beginning of Knowledge,” “Wisdom’s Cry,” “Jehovah’s Eternal Wisdom,” and the aforementioned family visitation text. Before that, I preached a series of seven sermons on the feasts of Leviticus 23: (“Jehovah’s Holy, Joyous Feasts”) and a series of twenty sermons on “The Miracles of the Great Physician.”

Our Bible studies also continue. The main one on Tuesday is studying Romans where we have reached chapter 12, the applicatory section of the book. With the Mansonas, we are studying Daniel where we are in the apocalyptic section of chapters 7-12. Last week, we looked at the Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9. Catechism is finished for the season—Chester and Dale Mansona have completed Essentials for Reformed Doctrine, while two of my two nieces (Anna and Lily Foster) have completed New Testament History for Beginners. In September, DV, Sebastian Kuhs (who will be six years old in July), will begin catechism for the first time. That will be an exciting day for him and his parents.

We have also continued the “Back to Basics” lectures. The most recent ones were “The Christian’s Hope in Death,” “What Are Good Works?” and “Who Is the Holy Spirit?” We intend to have more such lectures in the coming months, DV. The last lecture in Wales (6 April) was on the Trinity with 11 in attendance. Because the dear lady who opens the Round Chapel forgot about the meeting, we had to arrange an impromptu meeting in a public house, which was an unusual venue for our lecture!

KKuiper Watterson baby 2017

From 22 January to 14 May, Kelsey Kuiper from Zion PRC was with us. She is the fourth person (after Briana Prins [Trinity PRC], Bethany Wagenmaker [OPC in Missouri], and Lisa Ong [CERC in Singapore]) to do the study abroad programme at the University of Limerick (UL), which is an excellent opportunity for young people to spend time in Ireland, to learn a new culture, and, above all, to join with the LRF for worship. (Young people: ask your college/university if they can facilitate such a programme. We will be glad to welcome you into the LRF). When she was here, Kelsey attended our worship services and Bible studies, got to know the people of the LRF, and visited many interesting places in Ireland and Europe. She also brought students from UL to our services. I am sure that she would be excited to talk to you about her experiences and to encourage you to visit.

On 28 April, Jonas Barnabas Watterson was born, adding to the children of the LRF. We now have six young children: Sebastian, Penelope, and Felicity Kuhs, and Jason, Eleanora, and Jonas Watterson. It makes for a lively and happy group! Baptism is scheduled for 18 June, when we expect to have Marco Barone, Paula Kuiper (Southwest PRC), and Briana Prins here.

KKuiper LDeJong 2017

Another important visitor in May was Larisa DeJong (Holland PRC). While she was here (yes, we are dating, although our dating until that point had been via the internet, so it was good to be together), she and I were able to spend a lot of time together, visiting Ireland (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), meeting my family, and getting to know the CPRCNI and the LRF. The Lord also gave us beautiful weather, ideal for walks at the Giant’s Causeway, drives in the Wicklow Mountains, and the visiting of castles! The Sunday that Larisa was in Limerick coincided with Kelsey’s last Sunday, so everyone was at my house for food and fellowship after the morning service.

My book, Called to Watch for Christ’s Return, is selling well. A lot of people in Cookstown, where I grew up and where my parents live, have bought the book, many of them through contact with my parents. The feedback that I have received from the RFPA and many of those who have received and read the book has been very encouraging. Thank you!

I will be making my annual visit to the Young People’s Convention in August, DV.

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,

Rev. Martyn McGeown

 

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for June 2017

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

Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI will continues his four-month service for the RWH program, as he begins a series on marriage this month.

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!

Below are the messages scheduled for this month, also in flyer form (attached in pdf).

June 4, 2017 - In the Beginning, God Created Marriage, Genesis 2:18-25

June 11, 2017 - God's Design for Marriage, Genesis 2:24

June 18, 2017 - God's Rule of Conduct for Marriage, Colossians 3:12-13

June 25, 2017 - A Dress Code for Marriage, Colossians 3:12-13

 June 2017 flyer Page 1

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PRC Weekly Congregational and Mission News - June 4, 2017

Pentecost John14 16On this Pentecost Sunday 2017 (June 4) we report on the following news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields:

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • On May 21 the congregation of Southwest PRC voted to call Rev. N. Decker (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville).
  • On May 28 Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) declined the call from First PRC, Holland MI.
  • On May 28 Rev. C. Griess (Calvary PRC, Hull IA) received the call from Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, AB.
  • The Council of Zion PRC (Hudsonville/Jenison, MI) announces a new trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. N. Decker, C. Griess (Calvary, Hull, IA), and R. Kleyn (Spokane, WA).

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

From the bulletin of Grandville PRC we find this news about the delegation from the PRC Contact Committee and Faith PRC to the BERG in Giessen, Germany this week:

Rev and Pat Koole with the VanderSchaafs and Bouwkamps arrived safely in Germany Tuesday morning.  Wednesday Rev. Koole gave his speech at the Seminary about the Covenant and the controversy over conditions in the covenant. They are now at a church camp in which two small Reformed Congregations will listen to 4 speeches on the importance of church membership and then will worship together at the camp on Sunday. The delegates will be discussing various and practical issues with the Elders of THE BERG this coming week.

This notice was also sent out this week from the Sated Clerk of Synod concerning the upcoming 2017 meeting of the PRC Synod:

Synod Notice:  The pre-synodical service will be held on Monday evening, June 12, at 7:00 p.m., in Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church.  Rev. G. Eriks, president of Synod 2016, will preach the sermon.  Synod convenes Tuesday morning at 8:00 in Hudsonville PRC.  Synod is scheduled to examine seven senior seminarians with a view to declaring them eligible for a call.  They will preach their specimen sermons on Tuesday - four preaching at Hudsonville PRC and three at Providence PRC.  Their oral exams will take place Wednesday and Thursday - all at Hudsonville PRC.  Graduation is planned for Thursday evening, June 15 at 7:30 in Hudsonville PRC.  Prof. B. Gritters will deliver the commencement address:  "The Ministry: An Existence, Not An Occupation." The pre-synodical service and the graduation will be streamed live at http://hudsonvilleprc.org.

MISSION NEWS:

  • On May 28 Rev. C. Haak declined the call from Byron Center PRC to serve as a home missionary.
  • On May 14 the congregation of Doon PRC voted to extend a call to Rev. H. Bleyenberg to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines. In order to properly consider this call, Rev. Bleyenberg and his wife plan to visit the field for two weeks in June (9-22). We pray God's blessing on them as they leave this week Friday.
  • From the Provident Christian Church for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Rev. Holstege will preach for us in the first service today. In the second service, Rev. Kleyn will preach a sermon to commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Next Sunday, June 11, Rev. Kleyn will preach in the first service and Rev. Heath Bleyenberg in the second, the Lord willing.
    • The Wednesday night Bible study will meet this week, June 7, at 7:30. Rev. Holstege will continue teaching Heads III/IV of the Canons of Dordt.
    • The Classis of the PRCP is scheduled to meet on Monday, June 12, at the Berean PRC.

 Below are a couple of pictures posted on the Kleyn's blog this past week about a new young people's forum called "Reformed Discussion Table":

RD Table 2017 1

RD Table 2017 2

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Reformed News Asia - May 2017

Issue 40 - May 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!
GOD’S FOREKNOWLEDGE & MAN’S FREE WILL
By Prof Herman Hanko

Do we truly know what the Bible teaches regarding God's foreknowledge, especially with regard to our wills and salvation? Time and again, the truth concerning this has been attacked in order to make room for man's role in salvation.

Readto find out more about what God's foreknowledge truly is!


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.
Gospel Truth of Justification
by Prof David Engelsma

From the RFPA website:

"AD 2017 marks the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation of the church of Jesus Christ. In 1517 the Reformer Martin Luther affixed the ninety-five theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, the act by which Jesus Christ began his reformation of his church. Essential to this Reformation was the gospel-truth of justification by faith alone. This book on justification is intended by the Reformed Free Publishing Association and the author to celebrate that glorious work of Christ.

But the purpose is more than a celebration of the beginning of the Reformation. It is to maintain, defend, and promote the Reformation in the perilous times for the church at present. The doctrine of justification by faith alone is so fundamental to the gospel of grace that an exposition and defense of this truth are in order always. The true church of Christ in the world simply cannot keep silent about this doctrine. To keep silent about justification by faith alone would be to silence the gospel."

 
Audio Recordings
In the months leading up to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Rev Lanning will be preaching on a series from Galatians. Here are the first 3 sermons of the series:

1) The Accursed Preachers Of Another Gospel
2) The Gospel Is Not After Man
3) Paul Withstands Peter
 

 
Upcoming Events!
 
CKCKS Retreat 2017

Venue: Changi Cottage
Date: 22 June (Thu) to 24 June (Sat) 
Speaker: Rev Lanning
Theme: The God of Zion's Youth ( Psalms 48:14)

Sign up now!

For more information, please contact Lim Yang Zhi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
Past Events...
 
CERC Sports Day
This year, our sports day had a change of pace. Instead of starting off the morning of a public holiday with real sports, we met in the late afternoon instead for a walk around Labrador Park. We concluded the evening with devotions and a sumptuous dinner.
One of the groups on its tour around the park
Beautiful view of the harbour from the park
 
CK vs CKS Inaugural Sports Championship
For our CKCKS outing in May, a group of youths gathered in church to make gifts for the parents of the church to show our appreciation to them. Not our typical outing, but it gave the youths a nice opportunity to just sit and chat.
We split into two groups - the "cutters" and the "stickers"
Finished product - a pair of frames with a poem for mum and another for dad
Packing them into nice bags
 
Visitors from USA!
More visitors to add to the list!
Mr and Mrs John Van Baren, and Rev and Mrs James Laning were in town for a brief visit on their way home from Myanmar. It was good to rekindle old friendships!
An excavator-like vehicle at the Singapore Army Open House
Whatchya lookin' at? - Fishes at a wet market
Atop a cool vehicle at the Singapore Army Open House
By an Anglican church in Malacca, Malaysia
Psalm 119:63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.
 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

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

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PRC Weekly Congregational and Mission News - May 28, 2017 *(Updated)

Jeremiah 29 11On this final Lord's Day of May 2017 (May 28) we take note of the following news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields:

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. C. Haak is considering the call from First PRC, Holland MI (received April 30) and plans to answer TODAY. *Update: It was announced that he DECLINED this call.
  • On May 21 the congregation of Southwest PRC voted to call Rev. N. Decker (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville).
  • From Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, AB we find this note: In the light of Rev. Miersma’s impending emeritation, the consistory comes to the congregation with the following trio: Rev. Allen Brummel, Rev. Cory Griess, and Rev. Martin Vander Wal. The congregation will vote TODAY after the afternoon service. *Update: Rev. C. Griess has received this call.
  • From several PRC bulletins we may give this update on Rev. Ron Hanko, pastor of Lynden, WA PRC (this is quoted from Grace PRC's bulletin): "Rev. Ron Hanko (Lynden, WA) was able to return home this past Wednesday and continues his long recovery there. The pathology report indicated that the cancer is removed. We rejoice in this goodness of God."

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

From the bulletins of Grandville PRC and Faith PRCs we learn about a trip to the BERG in Germany this week:

Rev. Koole and Pat will be flying to Giessen, Germany with Pete and Dorothy Vander Schaaf for two weeks on behalf of the Contact Committee to visit the little Reformed Church with whom our churches have had contact for over 10 years. A range of discussion points will be addressed about issues that separate us yet as churches as well as discussing how they can best be a witness to the Reformed faith in Germany. This coming week-end the delegates will attend a conference of a few small groups struggling to maintain a Reformed presence in Germany. Dave and Dawn Bouwkamp from Faith PRC will also be making and participating in this visit.

MISSION NEWS:

  • Rev. C. Haak continues to consider the call from Byron Center PRC to serve as a home missionary. He plans to answer TODAY. *Update: Pastor Haak DECLINED this call.
  • On May 14 the congregation of Doon PRC voted to extend a call to Rev. H. Bleyenberg to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines. In order to properly consider this call, Rev. Bleyenberg and his wife plan to visit the field for two weeks in June (9-22).
  • From the Provident Christian Church and Maranatha PRC bulletins for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Provident CC:
      • Rev. Kleyn will preach during both worship services today. Rev. Holstege is preaching today in the Maranatha PRC in Valenzuela.
      • The Wednesday night Bible study will meet this week, May 31, at 7:30 pm. Rev. Holstege will lead us in a study of the Canons of Dordt, Heads III/IV.
    • Maranatha PRC:
      • Today, Rev. L. Trinidad will lead our First Service and Rev. D. Holstege will lead the Second Service.
      • The regular PRCP Classis meeting is scheduled on June 12, 2017 at BereanPRC at 9:00 a.m..
  • The delegation of Rev. Jim Laning and elder John Van Baren (along with their wives) have now completed their labors in Myanmar and have returned safely to the States this past week. If you missed the daily reports of elder Van Baren, you can still read them on the prca.org bulletins page. Select “Mission Stations” and click on “Myanmar Memoirs” for the updates. Look for the picture links too (below are two from one of the many seminars held).

 May 2017 seminar 4
Group gathered for one of the seminars on the Reformed doctrine of the church.

RevLaning Titus seminar 2017
Rev. J. Laning and Rev. Titus answering questions after a seminar of the Reformed doctrine of the church.

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Covenant Reformed News - May 2017

 

Covenant Reformed News

May 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 13


Our Identity in Christ (2)

As we saw in the last issue of the News, Western views of man’s identity are becoming more and more secularist and anti-Christian. Though no mortal man knows the future, there are several converging factors that suggest that things are likely to get worse.

First and most obviously, there is evolutionism. It is over 150 years since Charles Darwin’s famous book The Origin of Species was published (1859). Over this period, evolutionary ideas have been working through all areas of human thinking and activity. According to evolutionism, man is merely developed slime. Life is resolutely materialist and meaningless. Thus man does not know, and cannot know, where he came from or where he is going.

Second, there is postmodernism, according to which there is no absolute truth. Truth is subjective. Knowing objective truth would only make people proud. The supposedly omnicompetent state takes care of “truth” for people.

Third, there are powerful political and legal forces, such as the homosexual lobby, which seek to marginalize and silence the Word of God. Man’s identity is continually changing, as homosexual activists and their abettors have progressively rolled out their agenda. More is to come, as people become more and more accustomed to the previous elements and are readied for the next stage.

Fourth, there are technological developments in the spheres of medicine, computing, robotics, etc., as well as in the theory and practice of propaganda to influence the masses.

In all of this, there is an ongoing redefining of man and his identity: redefining humans as animals, redefining the human person, redefining marriage, redefining human sexuality, redefining gender, etc.

Before and alongside this redefining of man is the redefining of God, especially through a false view of love. God’s love is presented as the #1 divine attribute and, in effect, the only divine attribute. God’s wisdom, omniscience, justice, power, unchangeability, holiness, eternity, etc., are dissolved in this false view of love. “So, even if God exists, He is no threat to us or our sinful lifestyle”—such is the thinking of foolish man.

The vague and inoffensive God of sentimental and unrighteous love is being replaced by man, redefined man, with the highest expression of redefined man being the autonomous state. Moreover, the state or nation is increasingly being seen by many as an intermediate stage in the movement towards a one-world government.

All this redefining of man and God serves to soften the world up for the Antichrist or man of sin, who “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (II Thess. 2:4).

Thankfully, we have God’s Word, with foundational truths set forth even on the opening page of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). He is the Maker and Ruler of the universe. As early as Genesis 1, we read of Him as God, the (commanding) Word and the Spirit of God (1-3). Jehovah refers to Himself as both “I” (singular; 29) and “us” (plural; 26), the God who is one in Being and three in Persons.

The truth about man’s origin and nature is that he is the pinnacle of creation, being made on the last day of the creation week. Everything else was formed for him so that he should serve the glory of God (Belgic Confession 12). Man is not the product of cosmic chance and random mutations.

Man was formed from the dust of the earth and by the breath of God (Gen. 2:7). The two aspects of the one divine creation of man correspond to his being both body and soul. So people should be happy “under their own skin,” so to speak!

Man was made in the image of God (1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6), not in the image of an ape. Indeed, man is to exercise godly dominion over all the animals, fish and birds (1:28).

God created humanity in two genders. Christ’s words to the Pharisees two thousand years ago are just as relevant to the politically correct in our own day: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matt. 19:4; quoting Gen. 1:27)? So rejoice in your God-given gender!

Jehovah made mankind for marriage, which is a one-flesh union between one man and one women for as long as they both shall live. As Christ said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). So be content in either singleness or married life (I Cor. 7).

The Most High created man for work. Work for six days to God’s glory in your lawful calling (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11)! Rest in Christ (Matt. 11:28), especially on the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10).

The things in the previous seven paragraphs are based upon the first two chapters of the Bible. They are foundational truths about humanity, and what is good for men and women. But, as our society becomes more humanistic and pagan, even these basic building blocks for man’s life in God’s world are being removed.

We hear a lot in our day about “equality.” The following are key elements in a biblical framework of equality. All human beings are equally created by God. All were equally represented in Adam and fell in him, so that all are equally totally depraved of themselves (Rom. 5:12-21). All should wear clothes to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:21). All are equally governed by God’s eternal decree and providence (Eph. 1:11). So we must know ourselves to be those who are under God’s wise and powerful rule!

Moreover, biblical equality includes the truth that all will stand on the last day before the judgment seat of the Lord Jesus Christ. The exact same gospel comes to all, whether Jews or Gentiles: Salvation is in Christ alone, and all (equally) must repent and believe in Him!     Rev. Stewart

 

The More-Loving-Than-God Argument (2)


In my article last month, I began a series addressing a reader’s concerns over the heresies of common grace and the gracious or well-meant offer of the gospel (the notions that God loves everybody and passionately desires to save those He has eternally decreed not to save). The writer of the question remarked that he had run into various arguments in defence of common grace and the well-meant offer to which he would like answers. I began my response with a general criticism of these heresies but reserved answers to his specific questions for future articles. With this News, I begin my answers. 

One remark, however, before I start. I was astonished to see that all the questions, though fairly lengthy, involved no scriptural proof for the position advocated. Only one biblical passage was mentioned in all six questions. In subsequent letters, the questions continued but involved only one additional Scripture. It is remarkable that the two heresies of common grace and the well-meant offer can be supported for the most part only by human reasoning. Does not that in itself say a great deal about the wrongness of the arguments of those who defend these heresies?

I would also like to make a clarification, lest those who read these articles conclude that the questioner is a defender of these false doctrines. He is not; he merely wants answers to the objections.

Question 1. “God commands us to love one another, to love our neighbour, to love even our enemies. Why? Because God wants us to be like Him and to be Christ-like. He wants us to love everyone the same without partiality, and that love is not a selfish love or something that seeks its own. Therefore, to have a mind-set that says that God only loves a few while also believing that He commands us to love everyone is to make us more loving than God.”

The argument is based on an untrue premise. God nowhere commands us to love everyone. He does command us to love our neighbour but the connotation of the word “neighbour” is much narrower than (absolutely) “all men.” I do not see how it is possible for me to love all men: I do not even know the vast majority of those presently living. I do not understand how I could possibly know and love 7-8 billion people.

The idea is, of course, absurd. Yet, apparently, the defenders of a well-meant offer really mean that, because we must love everyone, God certainly loves everyone. The argument is, of course, that God would not command us to love all men if He Himself does not love all men. But God does not command us to love everyone: He commands us to love our neighbour. The term “our neighbour” is broader than God’s elect: that is true.

Our neighbours are those whom God has put in our path. Our neighbours are our spouses, our parents, our children, our siblings, our fellow church members, our friends, our work mates, our relatives and all whose lives touch ours. Sometimes they get in our way; sometimes they need us. They include the wounded man lying on the side of the road. Our neighbour is someone whom God puts in front of us so that, as we walk our pilgrim’s path in the world, we meet people who, for one reason or another, need our help. 

It is hypocritical, however, when people prate piously about loving someone on the other side of the planet who needs food and who have the loudest word about loving all men, but refuse to love their neighbours nearest to them. They abandon their spouses in favour of another man or woman. They neglect their children, send them to a day care so they can earn more money, and refuse to discipline their children and teach them the ways of the Lord. They too are our neighbours and they are the ones we must especially love. 

God also puts unbelievers on our path so that we bump into them: the man who works next to me in the factory, the passenger on a seat alongside of me in an aeroplane, the man in the ditch who cannot get his car out ...

We are commanded to love them too. We are commanded to love them simply because we are witnesses in this world of Jesus Christ to whom we belong. We have to be witnesses; it is a solemn and urgent command. 

I would like to know from one of these defenders of the spurious well-meant offer how they define love. Do they view it as some sentimental attitude to the down-trodden? But God’s love for His people is a love that seeks the ultimate good for the object, which is a glorious eternity with Him in heaven. Our love for our neighbour is not a sloppy and sentimental love for him; it is love that is an expression of God’s love for us. It means simply that we desire and seek the salvation of our neighbour by witnessing to him. What better thing would anyone want for his neighbour than to seek his salvation? We can surely help him if he has a need but we do so in the name of Christ who has loved us. That is what it means to love our neighbour.

Our neighbour may be someone unexpected; he or she may even be one who hates us. But then too we witness to him or her by explaining the gospel and emphasizing his or her calling before God. It is like the preaching. The church preaches so that everyone who hears knows the truth of the suffering and exalted Lord Jesus, and what God requires. We are to do the same, for the power of our witnessing is the power of the same gospel that saved us. We must tell them that they must repent of their sins and believe in Christ crucified.

How do these people who defend a love of God for all interpret Psalm 5:5-6, Psalm 6:8 (cf. Matt. 7:23; 25:41), Psalm 139:19-22 and countless other Psalms in which the Psalmist prays that God may destroy the impenitent wicked (cf. Prov. 3:33)? I know that some claim that the so-called imprecatory Psalms are not inspired but this is a ruinous lie about God’s Word (II Tim. 3:16).

This argument borders on the ridiculous. 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, 8 June, 2017
at 7:15 PM

NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre
Bertha Road, Margam,
Port Talbot, SA13 2AP

N. T. Wright, Justification and the Reformation

Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart

All welcome!
www.cprc.co.uk

The Gospel Truth of Justification
Proclaimed, Defended, Developed

David J. Engelsma
(528 pp., hardback)

AD 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the great Reformation of the church of Jesus Christ. In 1517, the Reformer Martin Luther affixed the 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, the act by which Jesus Christ began His Reformation of His church. Essential to this Reformation was the gospel-truth of justification by faith alone.
The book is a thorough explanation of the divine, saving act of justification and a vigorous defence of the doctrine, not only against the old heresies of Rome and of Arminianism, but also against the contemporary attacks on justification by the New Perspective on Paul, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and the Federal Vision.


£24.60 (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!
 

Appointing
Office-Bearers and Church Authority

11 classes on Belgic Confession 31-32 (Vol. XXIII) 
on CD in an attractive box set
 
Article 31
The Ministers, Elders & Deacons

(1) The Election of Church
Office-Bearers (Acts 6)
(2) Seeking Church Office: Sinful Motives and Ways (Acts 8:5-25)
(3) The Qualifications for Church
Office-Bearers (I Tim. 3)
(4) Ordination and the Laying
on of Hands (I Tim. 4) 
(5) Equality Among Office-Bearers
(I Cor. 1:10-17)
(6) Murmuring, Strife & Contention Against Office-Bearers  (Num. 16:1-15)

Article 32 
The Order and Discipline of the Church & Its Areas 
(7) Church Authority (Matt. 28:9-20) 
(8) Church Authority: Source & Parties (Isa. 9:1-7)
(9) The Nature of Church Authority
(II Cor. 10)
(10) The Standard of Church Authority (Col. 2:4-23)
(11) Church Authority: Ecclesiastical Laws and Discipline (II Cor. 13)

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

Listen free on-line or
Order from the CPRC Bookstore
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851.

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

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