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News from the PRC and Sister Churches for the Week of December 23, 2018 *(Updated)

matt1 21 2On this fifty-first Lord's Day of 2018, December 23, we provide the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The PRC congregations will be holding Christmas Day morning services on Dec.25 and welcome you to join us in worship of Jesus Christ, the sovereign Savior sent to redeem all who repent and believe on Him. Most services are at 9:30 am local time, but check the website of each congregation for more information. http://www.prca.org/about/listings/churches/usa-canada

  • Last Sunday, Dec.16, Rev. S. Key (Loveland,CO PRC) DECLINED the call from Grandville PRC to serve as the next minister-on-loan to the Covenant ERC in Singapore. Grandville's Council has formed a new trio from which to call a man for this purpose: Rev. Joshua Engelsma (Doon IA PRC), Rev. Garret Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), and Rev. Erik Guichelaar (Randolph WI PRC). There will be a special congregational meeting after the evening worship on Sunday evening, December 30, directly after evening service.

  • On Dec.2, Rev. W. Langerak (SE PRC-GR) received the call from Immanuel PRC (Labombe, AB) to serve as her next pastor. *UPDATE: Rev. Langerak has DECLINED this call.

  • On Sunday, Dec.9, Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville) received the call from Trinity PRC (Hudsonville, MI). 

  • Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) recently voted to approve the purchase of the building and parsonage of 12th Ave CRC (near corner of 12th Ave. and Baldwin St. in Jenison) after that congregation voted to disband and sell her property. Zion plans to worship in her new place for the first time on Old Year's night, Dec.31. We rejoice with them in God's good providence and provision.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

 block walls dec 2018 1
*Work began this week on the block walls on the new seminary addition (see note below)

PRC Seminary News:

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

  • Seminary completed its first semester this past week and will now take a two-week Christmas/New Year break. Pray for rest and refreshment before faculty and students take up their work again in a few weeks. The seminary will be open and staff available during the break, except for the holidays themselves (Christmas Day and New Years).

  • The Fall 2018 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available. The digital (pdf) version may be found here. The print version will be mailed out this week. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the seminary.

  • The January 2019 Interim course will begin on Friday, Jan.4, at 9 AM. In that connection, the seminary sends out this special announcement:

"Seminary Interim Course on Heidelberg Catechism Preaching." Members of the PRCA are invited to Prof. B.
Gritters' interim class at seminary, from January 4 - 15. The class meets for 8 mornings, from 9-11:30. Among other
things, included will be instruction on why catechism preaching is required by the Church Order, proper and improper
methods of preaching the catechism, and discussion on ways to preach the Heidelberg Catechism well. Area ministers
have been invited. Others are welcome to attend. If you are interested, please call the seminary secretary at 616-531-
1490. The class will be live-streamed for those not able to attend in person."

  • Prof. R. Cammenga and his wife Rhonda left this past Wednesday for Singapore for four weeks of service in our sister church, Covenant ERC, on behalf of the PRC Contact Committee.

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

  • SEMINARY WEBSITE NEWS!! A new PRC Seminary website is being developed and is close to launching. Watch for the announcement of that very soon!

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

synod dordt 2

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

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

EPC Winnaleah church outside
*The worship place of Winnaleah EPC, one of the congregations of the Presbyterian denomination with whom PRC has a corresponding relationship.

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Since June of 2018, the PRC has an official sister-church relationship with the PRC in the Philippines, confirmed at this year's synod! We rejoice in this evidence of the Lord's blessing on the work in the Philippines and of the unity of Christ's church, which He gathers from all nations, tribes, and tongues. 
    • From the Berean PRC we find this note today: "Our Pastor [Rev. V. Ibe] is also scheduled to preach at Kerusso Community church today at 3PM and will lead them in their study of the Church Order Arts. 14-16 at 5:30 PM, the Lord willing."
    • And for more on the life and work of our "sisters," read the news under Philippine missions (bulletins).

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, we may note the following items (from her bulletin of Dec.23):
    • "Rev Steven Key has declined the call extended to him to be our MOL. The Consistory of Grandville PRC has
      informed us that they have formed the trio of Rev Garrett Eriks, Rev Eric Guichelaar and Rev Joshua Engelsma
      for the next round of calling an MOL. By God's grace, we continue to pray, "not our will Lord, but Thine, be
      done." For the Lord's will is to be preferred above our own. For it is better, infinitely better, than our will.
      Our desire for an under-shepherd to minister in our midst is after all a desire for God to be most glorified by
      our congregation. He knows our need best. He knows the best time to send us the minister of His choosing.
      May we rest in His perfect will for us."


    • "We bade farewell once again to Rev and Mrs den Hartog last Tue and welcome Prof and Mrs Ron Cammenga
      into our midst past Fri. Prof Cammenga is Professor of Reformed Dogmatics and OT Studies in the PR
      Theological Seminary in the US. He and his wife, Rhonda, are in Singapore for the first time. We pray the
      Lord's blessings upon Prof's ministry in our midst over the next four Sundays and look forward to the time
      we can spend together and get to know one another in the weeks ahead. We are indeed very thankful to
      the Lord for sending us under-shepherds from our sister to care for us over the past year."

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

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

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

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

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday (on radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are)! Today Rev. W. Bruinsma (pastor of Pittsburgh PRC) gives a special Christmas message based on Luke 2:13,14 - "The Song of the Angels" (which you may listen to at this link).

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

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

 BL header lighthouse

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

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

  • The Loveland Young Adults Retreat is scheduled for March 18-21 at the YMCA. Registration is now open! To register, go to lovelandprcretreat.org. Be sure to register early, as registration is limited to 40 retreaters.The speakers will be Rev. S. Key and Rev. R. VanOverloop. The theme is "Ambassadors for Christ", based on the text II Corinthians 5:20.

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

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

Gospel to all nations

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic labors:

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

United Kingdom:

3 missionaries Oct 2017
*Our missionaries in the Philippines: Rev. D. Kleyn, Rev. R. Smit, Rev. D. Holstege (l-r)

Philippine Missions:

  • From Doon PRC's bulletin today we find this significant note:

    Synod 2018 approved Rev. & Sharon Kleyn taking an extended furlough in 2019.  The purpose of the furlough is to give Rev. Kleyn time to take some courses with a view to obtaining an advanced degree, to prepare classes to be taught in the PRCP seminary in the future, and to give both Rev. & Sharon opportunity to be refreshed and to reconnect with family.  Their plans are to leave the Philippines on January 1 and stay in the States until June 18."

  • The latest Philippines mission newsletter was received and recently posted (October 2018) and may be found on this PRC webpage.
  • *Don't forget to follow the Kleyn's blog on life and activities in the Philippines. And that also includes the Holstege's! And don't miss out on the Smits once again too!
  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Maranatha PRC in Valenzuela, the Berean PRC in Antipolo City, and the PRC in Bulacan in the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:

    • Provident CC:
      • Rev. Holstege will preach both times for PCC today. After the first service we will continue our study of the Eternal Decrees of God in Lesson 7 of the Essentials class. Next week, Lord willing, Rev.Holstege will preach in the first service and Rev. Smit in the second.

      • Tomorrow, December 24, we will have an evangelistic meeting here at Provident from 7:00-9:00 pm. Rev. Holstege will speak on the theme, “The Angels Announce the Birth of the Savior.” Afterward, we will enjoy a meal and fellowship with each other. Please come with your families and invite your neighbors!

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

    • Maranatha PRC:
      • Today: our Missionaries, Revs. Kleyn and Smit will lead us in both services respectively. We have our fellowship and Potluck after the service.

      • Next week: Rev. L. Trinidad will us in both services.

    • PRC, Bulacan:
      • Rev. Flores will preach at First Christian Reformed Church of Quezon City. This congregation has interest in the Reformed faith and confessions. He will be preaching on John 6:44, "The Sovereignty of God in Our Salvation."
      • *Rev. Flores and Deacon Castano will visit the PRFA in Leyte this Friday.

    • Berean PRC:  "Rev. Ibe and one of the office bearers is scheduled to visit the saints in Gabaldon on Sunday (Dec.30, 2018). Rev. Ibe will lead them in their worship service, D.V. The Consistory is asking the congregation to uphold the work in Gabaldon in our prayers. May God prosper the labor of our pastor in their midst!"

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

Myanmar:

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

  • We also find this note in Hope PRC's bulletin this week:

"Rev. Titus and CerTi safely returned home this past week after two weeks of preaching in churches and visiting members in the Rakhine State. The activities of Hope continue in Myanmar with a delegation travelling to visit the saints in Yangon. A seminar will be conducted with forty attendees who will travel to Yangon from all over the country of Myanmar. Council members Rev. Overway and Rich Peterson, accompanied by Cal Kalsbeek, John Van Baren, and Seth Kalsbeek plan a January 10 departure and a January 22 return. We pray the Lord’s blessing on all of these labors."

Read more...

New Salt Shakers Magazine - November 2018

"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has now released the November 2018 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#52),their youth magazine.

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

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

SS 50 Dec 2018

Beloved readers,

In God's providence, we have been brought through another year, one closer to the return of our Lord. What roads have we traveled and what choices have we made in the last twelve months?

Where shall the Lord lead us in the year to come? By God's grace we will do this or that, but hopefully reading Salt Shakers (and being edified therein) will be a high priority!

 
Our deep appreciation for all our writers' contributions and our utmost thanks to God for sustaining and sanctifying the work of wretched sinners. 
Inside the September issue:
Editorial: Choices Chua Lee Yang
Scripture's Covenant Youth (XIV): A Nameless Girl Prof. Herman Hanko
Love for God's People - Rev. Steven Key
Quit You Like Men (III) Woon Tian Loong
The Importance of Christian Education Rev. Joshua Engelsma
The Christian in the World (II) The Calling of a Covenant Mother - Dorcas Lee
Signs of Our Lord's Return: North Korean Relations Daniel Tang
Overtaken in a Fault Lim Yang Zhi
History of the PRCA's Missions in Foreign Fields - Rev. Daniel Kleyn
Fellowship with God (I): Grounded on Justification - Rev Nathan Langerak
The (Protestant Reformed) "Declaration of Principles" - Prof. David Engelsma
Book Review: Decisions, Decisions: How (and How Not) to Make Them - Chang Zhi Hui
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang
On Behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
Read more...

News from the PRC and Sister Churches for the Week of December 16, 2018 *(Updated)

1Tim3 16

On this fiftieth Lord's Day of 2018, December 16, we provide the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • On November 25, Grandville PRC voted to call Rev. S. Key (Loveland,CO PRC) to serve as the next minister-on-loan to the Covenant ERC in Singapore. We pray for the Lord's guidance as he weighs this call with the one he has from his current congregation. He plans to answer on or before Dec.23. *UPDATE: On Dec.16 Rev. Key announced his decline of this call.

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

  • Last Sunday, Dec.9, Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville) received the call from Trinity PRC (Hudsonville, MI).

 DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

 sem addit dec 2018 1
*Some demolition work was done this past week on the seminary addition to make room for the new wall (see note below)

PRC Seminary News:

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

  • Seminary completed the regular class schedule this past week; this week the students will be taking their final exams. Remember them in prayer as they take these exams and finish their semester work (papers). Continue to pray for the professors and staff as they carry on their manifold labors and responsibilities.

  • Prof. R. Cammenga and his wife Rhonda leave this week Wednesday for Singapore for five weeks of service in our sister church, Covenant ERC, on behalf of the PRC Contact Committee.

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

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

  • Quote of the week from the seminary's "Monday Note": "The aim is never to master the Word, but to be mastered by it."  (D. A. Carson)

synod dordt 2

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

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

Bulacan bulletin dec16 2018
*This week's bulletin cover of one of our "sisters" in the Philippines; read below about the special visit from the CERC in Singapore.

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Since June of 2018, the PRC has an official sister-church relationship with the PRC in the Philippines, confirmed at this year's synod! We rejoice in this evidence of the Lord's blessing on the work in the Philippines and of the unity of Christ's church, which He gathers from all nations, tribes, and tongues. *For more on the congregation in Bulacan, visit this page. And for more on developments between our "sisters," read the next item and the news under Philippine missions (bulletins).
  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, we may note the following items (From her bulletin of Dec.9):
    • "Elder Leong and Deacon Lee will be making a trip to the Philippines from 15 Dec to 20 Dec 2018 to explore the possibility of having a sister church relationship with the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP). They have been mandated by the Session to: 1. Confirm the unity that we have; 2. Discuss CERC’s and PRCP’s current church relationships and plans (if any) in seeking church relationships with other churches; 3. Gain familiarity with each other; and 4. Discuss the process of establishing the sister church relationship."

    • This week Rev. A. denHartog and his wife will take leave of the saints in CERCS and return to the U.S. In their place will come Prof. R. Cammenga and his wife, who will serve our sister church for the next four Sundays.

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

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

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

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

RWH logo 1

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

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

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

 BL header lighthouse

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

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

  • The Loveland Young Adults Retreat is scheduled for March 18-21 at the YMCA. Registration is now open! To register, go to lovelandprcretreat.org. Be sure to register early, as registration is limited to 40 retreaters.The speakers will be Rev. S. Key and Rev. R. VanOverloop. The theme is "Ambassadors for Christ", based on the text II Corinthians 5:20.

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

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

Dorr library
*Read about the special Bible study here this week.

MISSION NEWS:

  • *Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church. *One of his labors involves this local Bible study as mentioned in today's Byron Center bulletin: "The Dorr Bible study meets this Thursday, December 20, at 7:30 PM. We plan to start our discussion at John 4:1. Please bring friends and join us at the public library in Dorr."
  • Don't forget to follow the Kleyn's blog on life and activities in the Philippines. And that also includes the Holstege's! And don't miss out on the Smits once again too!

JFlores LeyteVisit Nov2013
Rev. J. Flores teaching the gospel in the PR Fellowship in Leyte (cf. note below)

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

    • Provident CC:
      • Rev. Vernon Ibe will preach both times for PCC today. Rev. Holstege will preach for the Berean PRC.

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

      • On Monday, December 24, we will have an evangelistic meeting here at PCC. Rev. Holstege will give a message, followed by a meal and fellowship. Please bring your neighbors.

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

    • Maranatha PRC:
      • Today, our Pastor, Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both services.

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

    • PRC, Bulacan:
      • Rev. Flores will preach at First Christian Reformed Church of Quezon City. This congregation has interest in the Reformed faith and confessions. He will be preaching on John 6:44, "The Sovereignty of God in Our Salvation."
      • *Rev. Flores and Deacon Castano will visit the PRFA in Leyte this Friday.

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

  • *Do not forget Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar (June 2018), visit this page.
Read more...

New PR Theological Journal Now Available - Fall 2018

The PRC Seminary faculty announces that the Fall 2018 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal is now available in pdf form (see attached).

The print issue and the other digital formats (mobi and epub) will be available in a few weeks, but you can begin to read this new issue now in its pdf version.

 PRTJ Fall 2018 cover

As you will see from the cover, the issue is packed with the fruits of solid Reformed reading, research, and reflection - all for the rich benefit of our readers. 

Editor, Prof. R. Cammenga, introduces the issue with these "notes:"

This issue of our journal contains articles that will undoubtedly
be helpful to ministers, elders, and seminary professors and students.
We hope as well that those who do not find themselves at the moment
in any of these categories, but who account themselves “ordinary
believers,” will also be instructed and edified. In the end, this is the
great office in the church, the office of all believer. Each of us, by
God’s grace, occupies this office.

We express thanks to Prof. Douglas Kuiper and Dr. H. David
Schuringa for their contribution, “Prayer of Balthasar Lydius.” If this
is not a name that you immediately recognize, it is one that you will
not soon forget after reading his prayer. It is the prayer that Lydius
offered immediately prior to the opening session of the Synod of
Dordt. So far as we know, our brothers are the first to translate this
prayer into English. Though the synod was a Dutch Reformed Synod,
the prayer was offered up in Latin—still at that time the language of
scholarship and theology. It is a moving prayer by the pastor of the
Reformed church of Dordtrecht where the synod was held. The prayer
breathes the language of Scripture and the deeply held convictions of
the Reformed faith on the part of this servant of God.

Prof. Kuiper has another contribution. It is a continuation of the
bibliography of one of the founding fathers of the Protestant Reformed
Churches, the Rev. George M. Ophoff, fondly referred to even today
as “GMO.” The bibliography contains explanations of the different
types of works produced by one of the original faculty members of the
Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary, as well as an analysis of
the enduring value of that which Ophoff produced in a form in which
it could be preserved for future generations. Ophoff was indeed one
of those men who wrote for the ages.

Prof. Barrett Gritters contributes two articles for this issue of
PRTJ. The first is a continuation of his article in the previous issue
that demonstrates the competency of pastors and elders to care for and
counsel those suffering from depression. Both pastors and elders will
be encouraged, as well as motivated, to carry out their calling with 

respect to those who find themselves “in the depths.” His second
contribution concerns the time-honored practice of family visitation,
a practice that is often threatened and in many churches has been
abandoned. Prof. Gritters’ plea on behalf of family visitation calls
special attention to the positive fruits of this practice in congregations
where pastor and elders take this work seriously.

The undersigned contributes the next-to-the-last section in his
“John Calvin Research Bibliography.” Included in this contribution
are the sections entitled, “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Means of Grace,
Preaching, and Baptism,” “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper,”
and “Calvin’s Doctrine of Human Government and the State.” The
two remaining sections, which we hope to publish in the April 2019
issue, conclude the bibliography with “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Last
Things,” and “Calvin’s View of Worship.” We hope that this research
bibliography will be a helpful resource to all who are interested in
research regarding aspects of Calvin’s life, work, and teachings.

And, of course, what some would regard as the best for last—the
book reviews. Once again, we have a number of book reviews that
summarize and analyze recent publications that may be of interest
especially to ministers, professors, and students, as well as to the
informed lay person. If there is ever a recently published book that
our readers would like to be reviewed in our journal, do not hesitate
to send an email request to the editor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We
are always open to the suggestions of our readers.

Now, take up, read, and enjoy!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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

2 corinthians 8 9 kjv

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

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

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

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

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

 DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

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

PRC Seminary News:

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

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

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

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

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

Dordt400LogoRightMargin2

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

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

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

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

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

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

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

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

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

RWH logo 1

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

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

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

 SaltShakersLogo

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

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

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

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

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

Limerickmeetingplace
*Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Republic of Ireland

MISSION NEWS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more...

Reformed Witness Hour Messages for December 2018

RWH logo 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 77th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

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

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

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

RWH Facebook image

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

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

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

Read more...

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

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

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

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

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

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

 DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

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

PRC Seminary News:

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

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

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

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

Dordt400LogoRightMargin2

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

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

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

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

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

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

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

RWH logo 1

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

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

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

 adult bible 1

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:

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

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

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

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

MISSION NEWS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Covenant Reformed News - November 2018

 
 

Covenant Reformed News


November 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 7



Zechariah’s Day of the Lord (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Order of Regeneration and Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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