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PRC Weekly Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church News - July 23, 2017 ***(Updated)

Psalms 37 5On this fourth Lord's Day of July 2017 (July 23) we may report on the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • On July 16 Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) declined the call from First PRC (Holland, MI).
  • On July 16 the congregation of Southwest PRC (Grandville, MI) voted to extend a call to Candidate Justin Smidstra.
  • On July 2 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD). *UPDATE: This morning he announced that he had DECLINED this call.
  • The Council of Edgerton PRC announces a trio of Rev. Huizinga (Redlands, CA), Candidate Matthew De Boer, and Candidate Justin Smidstra. *UPDATE: Tonight the congregation voted to extend a call to Cand. Matt DeBoer.
  • The Council of Zion PRC has drawn up a new trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. B. Huizinga (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA), A. Lanning (Covenant ERC, Singapore), and Candidate J. Holstege. *UPDATE: Cand. J. Holstege received this call on July 23.
  • The Council of First PRC of Holland, MI announces a new trio from which to call a pastor: Rev. G. Eriks, Rev. C. Spronk and Candidate J. Smidstra. The congregation will vote next Sunday morning, July 30.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • DgKuiper 2017The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. On July 2 he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post (cf. picture below).
    • Rev. Kuiper's farewell from Edgerton PRC is planned for Sunday, August 13.
    • His installation as professor is planned for Wednesday, Sept.20, in Faith PRC, D.V.
  • The Contact Committee is sending Prof. R. Dykstra and Rev. J. Engelsma to Australia to visit the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches on behalf of the PRC. They will be taking part in a two-day Reformation Day conference, attending the meetings of the Presbytery of the EPC, and preaching in the EPC. The 2015 Synod of the PRC approved holding a conference with the EPC on the ground that “such face-to-face meeting and discussions with the men of the EPC are excellent ways both to make the corresponding relationship meaningful and to further the relationship.” Prof. and Mrs. Dykstra leave July 18, and will return (after a time in Singapore) August 16.  Rev. and Mrs. Engelsma will leave July 24 and return August 7. All the Lord willing.

  • Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS  - This from Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland:

The Stewarts will be in N. America from 17 July to 14 August. The Lord’s Day schedule in the CPRC while Rev. Stewart is away is as follows:
23 July - services led by the elders with DVDs (Pastor preaches in Spokane, WA)
30 July - Rev. McGeown preaches while Rev. Bleyenberg takes services in the LRF (Pastor preaches in Edmonton and Lacombe, Alberta, Canada)
6 August - Rev. Bleyenberg preaches (Pastor preaches in Lynden, Washington)
13 August - Rev. Bleyenberg preaches, with tea after the evening service—Group A on the tea rota (Pastor preaches in Providence and Hudsonville in Michigan)
20 August - Rev. McGeown preaches (Pastor preaches in the LRF)

 

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 2 Byron Center PRC voted to call Rev. A. Spriensma (her pastor) to serve as home missionary.
  • The Council of Doon PRC announces a new trio from which to call a missionary to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines: Rev. Allen Brummel (Heritage PRC in Sioux Falls, SD), Rev. Clay Spronk (Faith PRC in Jenison, MI), and Rev. Richard Smit (First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI). Doon plans to vote on Monday, July 24. *UPDATE: Rev. C. Spronk received this call from the congregation.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Today Rev. D.Holstege will preach both times. Also, beginning next week, Rev. Holstege plans to start giving brief instruction on the articles of the Church Order (CO). The goal is to prepare PCC for organization as a Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. Kleyn and Sem. Kortus will worship with the Maranatha PRC today.

    • Rev. and Sharon Kleyn and Matt and Sarah Kortus traveled to Negros for the pastors classes in Sipalay this past Monday-Wednesday.

  • And from the bulletin of the Berean PRC in Antipolo City (where Rev. V. Ibe is pastor) we find these significant announcements:
    • The visit and fellowship of our pastor, Rev. Holstege and Seminarian Matt Kortus with the saints in Sitio Karugang, Gabaldon NE on Friday (July 21, 2017) went well. Rev. Ibe led the saints there in their study of the Essentials of Reformed doctrine on lesson #11.

    • The next 7M is scheduled on July 25, 2017 at Provident Christian Church in Provident Village at 9:30 A.M. Seminarian Matt Kortus is scheduled to give a speech on ‘Theistic Evolution,’ the Lord willing.

On Saturday (July 8), the men of the PRC Philippine's Delegation along with the Steering Committee members of the PRFA visited with the families and individuals of the PRFA at their homes.  Brother Eric Mescallado and Rev. Kleyn visited some of the families together and Rev. Flores and Seminarian Matt Kortus visited the other half of the fellowship.  The Kleyns' recently posted pictures and descriptions of this trip. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

Leyte July 2017 1
The PR Fellowship gathered for worship in Albuera, Leyte.

 Leyte July 2017 2
Sem. Matt Kortus with some of the members with whom he visited.

And Mrs. S. Lanning recently posted some pictures on her blog about the recent installlation of new officebearers in our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC. Below are a couple from that post.

officebearer installation 2017
The new officebearers in the CERC.

laying hands 2017
The laying on of hands on the newly installed officebearer.

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PRC Weekly Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church News - July 16, 2017 *(Updated)

Psalms 19 1On this July 16, 2017 Lord's Day we give the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • This morning Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) announced his DECLINE of the call from First PRC (Holland, MI).
  • On July 2 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD).
  • The Council of Edgerton PRC announces a trio of Rev. Huizinga (Redlands, CA), Candidate Matthew De Boer, and Candidate Justin Smidstra.
  • The congregation of Southwest PRC (Grandville, MI) calls July 16 from a trio of Rev. Jon Mahtani (Cornerstone PRC- St. John, IN), Candidate Joe Holstege, and Candidate Justin Smidstra. UPDATE: Cand. Justin Smidstra has received this call.
  • The Council of Zion PRC has drawn up a new trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. B. Huizinga (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA), A. Lanning (Covenant ERC, Singapore), and Candidate J. Holstege.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. On July 2 he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post (cf. picture below).

DgKuiper 2017

  • The Contact Committee will be sending Prof. R. Dykstra and Rev. J. Engelsma to Australia to visit the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches on behalf of the PRC. They will be taking part in a two-day Reformation Day conference, attending the meetings of the Presbytery of the EPC, and preaching in the EPC. The 2015 Synod of the PRC approved holding a conference with the EPC on the ground that “such face-to-face meeting and discussions with the men of the EPC are excellent ways both to make the corresponding relationship meaningful and to further the relationship.” Prof. and Mrs. Dykstra leave July 18, and will return (after a time in Singapore) August 16.  Rev. and Mrs. Engelsma will leave July 24 and return August 7. All the Lord willing.

  • Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS  - This from Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland:

The Stewarts will be in N. America from 17 July to 14 August. The Lord’s Day schedule in the CPRC while Rev. Stewart is away is as follows:
23 July - services led by the elders with DVDs (Pastor preaches in Spokane, WA)
30 July - Rev. McGeown preaches while Rev. Bleyenberg takes services in the LRF (Pastor preaches in Edmonton and Lacombe, Alberta, Canada)
6 August - Rev. Bleyenberg preaches (Pastor preaches in Lynden, Washington)
13 August - Rev. Bleyenberg preaches, with tea after the evening service—Group A on the tea rota (Pastor preaches in Providence and Hudsonville in Michigan)
20 August - Rev. McGeown preaches (Pastor preaches in the LRF)

 

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 2 Byron Center PRC voted to call Rev. A. Spriensma (her pastor) to serve as home misisonary.
  • The Council of Doon PRC announces a new trio from which to call a missionary to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines: Rev. Allen Brummel (Heritage PRC in Sioux Falls, SD), Rev. Clay Spronk (Faith PRC in Jenison, MI), and Rev. Richard Smit (First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI). Doon plans to vote on July 24.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Sem. Matt Kortus will lead both our worship services today. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. Holstege will preach both times. Also, beginning next week, Rev. Holstege plans to start giving brief instruction on the articles of the Church Order (CO). The goal is to prepare PCC for organization as a Protestant Reformed Church. You can find the CO in the back of the Psalter.

    • Rev and Sharon Kleyn and Matt and Sarah Kortus plan to travel to Negros for the pastors classes in Sipalay this Monday-Wednesday. May God grant them a safe and blessed trip.

  • And from the bulletin of the Berean PRC in Antipolo City (where Rev. V. Ibe is pastor) we find these significant announcements:
    • Our pastor, Rev. Holstege and Seminarian Matt Kortus are scheduled to visit the saints in Sitio Karugang, Gabaldon NE on Friday (July 21, 2017). Ptr Ibe will lead the saints there in their study of the Essentials of Reformed doctrine on lesson #12.

    • The outreach work of Bulacan PRC in Albuera Leyte is making good progress, by the grace of God! The saints there were visited by the delegates from Committee #2 of the PRCP on July 7-10, 2017. We heard from Rev. Kleyn that the trip went well as well as the visits and fellowship with the saints there. This visit will further encouraged them in the faith and work towards the institution of a Protestant Reformed church in their midst, if the Lord wills! The congregation is asked to remember them in our prayers!

 The Kleyns' recently posted pictures and descriptions of the recent Classis meeting of the PRCP, as well as of a wedding held in Provident CC. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

PRCP Classis July 2017 1

Provident wedding 2017

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PRC Weekly Congregational and Denominational News - July 9, 2017

Psalms 106 1On this July 9, 2017 Lord's Day we give the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) is considering the call from First PRC (Holland, MI). He plans to answer by July 16.
  • On July 2 the congregation of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) voted to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel (Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD).
  • The Council of Edgerton PRC announces a trio of Rev. Huizinga (Redlands, CA), Candidate Matthew De Boer, and Candidate Justin Smidstra.
  • The congregation of Southwest PRC (Grandville, MI) calls July 16 from a trio of Rev. Jon Mahtani (Cornerstone PRC- St. John, IN), Candidate Joe Holstege, and Candidate Justin Smidstra.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. On July 2 he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post.

DgKuiper 2017

  • The PRC Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

MISSION NEWS:

  • On July 2 Byron Center PRC voted to call Rev. A. Spriensma (her pastor) to serve as home misisonary.
  • On June 25 Rev. H. Bleyenberg (Providence PRC, Hudsonville, MI) DECLINED the call Doon PRC extended to him to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • From Friday (July 7) to Monday (July 10), Rev. Kleyn and Sem. Kortus will accompany a delegation of the PRCP to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte. Pray for safety and a blessing on their trip.

 The Kleyns' recently posted pictures and descriptions of the recent Classis meeting of the PRCP, as well as of a wedding held in Provident CC. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

PRCP Classis July 2017 1

Provident wedding 2017

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New Issue of "Salt Shakers" Magazine - June 2017

SS 43 May 2017 Page 1"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has just released the June 2017 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#43),their youth magazine.

The June 2017 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and profitable articles, and our PRC young people especially are invited and 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.

Beloved Readers,

The Salt Shakers Committee is pleased to publish Issue 43 of Salt Shakers! We apologise that this issue comes behind schedule. We are thankful to all our writers for their excellent contributions!
This issue contains the following articles:
Lest We Forget (III) - Aaron Lim
Scripture's Covenant Youth (VI): Moses - Prof. Herman Hanko
Are Unbelievers in God's Image? (I) - Rev. Angus Stewart
Dare to Stand: Bold Against Asherah - Stephen Regnerus
Space: The World Beyond Earth - Elisa Chew
Media Piracy: A Dire Temptation of Our Day - Dn. Cornelius Boon
Interview With Rev. Emmanuel Singh (II) - Salt Shakers Committee
Our Earthly Labours - Samuel Wee
Tolerate Thy Neighbour As Thyself? - Pastor Andrew Lanning
The Good Steward - Ivan Chew
Christian Denominations (II): Division in the Old Testament Church - Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma
 
We pray you may be edified by the articles in this issue - and urge you to remember to pass the salt!
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang, on behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
SS 43 May 2017 Page 2
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PRC Weekly Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church News - July 2, 2017 *(Updated)

Calvin justif 1On this July 2, 2017 Lord's Day we give the following updates on news and information from PRC congregations and mission fields, as well as denominational activities:

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA) is considering the call from First PRC (Holland, MI). He plans to answer by July 16.
  • On June 25 Rev. N. Decker (Trinity PRC) DECLINED the calls from Southwest PRC and from Zion PRC (Hudsonville/Jenison, MI).
  • The consistory of Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, AB) has formed a new trio consisting of Revs. Allen Brummel (Heritage, Sioux Falls), Eric Guichelaar (Randolph), and Nathan Langerak (Crete, Illinois). *Update: The congregation voted on July 2 to extend a call to Rev. A. Brummel.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Synod of 2017 called Rev. D. Kuiper to serve in the PRC Seminary as professor of church history and NT studies, in replacement of Prof. R. Dykstra. Today he announced his acceptance of this call. We give thanks to God for providing a man for this position, and pray for him and his family as well as Edgerton PRC as he makes this transition and prepares for his new post.
  • The PRC Synod of 2017 concluded its sessions on June 21, at Hudsonville PRC. Summary reports on each day may be found under the synod section of this website.

MISSION NEWS:

  • Byron Center PRC Council has made a new trio for home missionary. The trio consists of Revs. S. Key (Loveland, CO), R. Kleyn (Spokane, WA) and A. Spriensma (Byron Center).  *Update: The congregation voted on July 2 to call Rev. A. Spriensma.
  • On June 25 Rev. H. Bleyenberg (Providence PRC, Hudsonville, MI) DECLINED the call Doon PRC extended to him to serve as a third missionary to the Philippines.
  • From the Provident Christian Church bulletin for today we find the following notes concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Today is the beginning of two full worship services at PCC! Let us rejoice and thank God for this evidence of Him building the Church at PCC! We welcome you all and pray that you will be refreshed as we worship the Father today in spirit and in truth.

    • Rev. Holstege will preach for us twice today. Rev. Kleyn will be in Bulacan with Sem. Matt Kortus and his wife Sarah.

    • The 7M pastors classes will be held this Tuesday, July 4, at 9:30 am here at PCC, Lord willing.

    • From Friday (July 7) to Monday (July 10), Rev. Kleyn and Sem. Kortus will accompany a delegation of the PRCP to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte. Pray for safety and a blessing on their trip.

 The Kleyns' posted some pictures and descriptions of the recent visit of Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife, while he was considering the call to be a missionary to the Philippines. Below are a couple of samples. Find more at the link provided.

Bleyenbergs 2017 1Rev. Bleyenberg spoke for PCC's Wednesday night class (usually led by Rev. Holstege on the Canons of Dordt) on "How To Study the Bible."

Bleyenbergs Ibes 2017 2
At the Ibes to say hi.

Mrs. Stephanie Lanning (wife of Rev. A. Lanning, pastor of Covenant ERC in Singapore - blog is "Stories from Singapore") has added to her posts on the recent church camp there.  We include a couple of those pictures here.

 CERC Camp 2017 1

CERC camp 2017 2

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Reformed News Asia - June 2017

Issue 41 - June 2017
Pamphlets
We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
FEATURED Pamphlet!
RESOLVING CONFLICTS IN MARRIAGE
By Rev Wilbur Bruinsma

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

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

Read to find out more!

Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
Less Than The Least
by Cornelius Hanko

From the RFPA website:

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

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

This delightful book comes complete with photos and appendices."
 
Audio Recordings
Here are the 4th and 5th sermons of Rev Lanning's new series on Galatians:

4) Justified By The Faith Of Jesus Christ
5) The Charge Of Antinomianism

Also, click here to access the 4 speeches from our recent church camp.
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Save these dates!

1) 9 Aug 17 - Fellowship Outing

2) 1 Sep 17 - Family Seminar

More details coming soon!
 
Past Events...
 
CERC Church Camp (12-15 Jun)
June's always an exciting month for CERC, with school holidays for the children and many church activities. It's also the time of the year for our annual church camp, one of the highlights of our organic church life.

This year, we returned to one of our favourite camp locations - Awana Genting! Situated up in the mountains of Malaysia, the cooler environment was a respite from the sweltering heat of Singapore. It was also a relief for the 7 Americans that had joined us from PRCA (see if you can spot them!). Given its location, the camp theme - Zion founded on the mountains - was an apt one, and the related speeches and discussions were nourishing for our souls.
GROUP PHOTO! We had quite a turnout this camp, with just over 110 campers.
Our camp speaker, Rev Andy Lanning
One of the 10 discussion groups
Ice-Breakers! Do you know your group members??
Brave souls preparing to embark on an exhilarating, physically-challenging, leech-infested, FUN hike.
Intense game of Captain's Ball during our free time.
The beautiful view from one of the hotel rooms.
 
CK/CKS June Retreat (24-26 Jun)
Another highlight in June (for the young people) is the Covenant Keepers' retreat. Held at Changi Cottage over 3 days, it was a nice way for the youths to spend time together in fellowship and studying God's word. The theme this year was "The God of Zion's Youth".
Group Photo, with first-time chairman, Joseph Teo posing in front.
In a game of Mental Sums, Rachel Buiter (who happens to be going to school for Math), loses to her brother Brian and gets splashed in the face.
The unconventional game of crab soccer. The game eventually ended when the ball got punctured by thorns. How deflating.
Rev Lanning was unable to speak for us in person as he was attending the PRCA Synod. So we watched recorded speeches that he had prepared and sent us instead.
 
7 Young Americans!
More (young) visitors to add to the list! This past month, we welcomed and hosted 7 young Americans from the PRCA: From Hope (Redlands): Brian and Rachel Buiter, Bruce and Emily Feenstra; from Crete: Lydia Smits and Cobie Lenting; from Hope (Walker): Monica Koole.

We had a whale of a time taking them around Singapore, letting them try our foods (including the un-disputably delicious Durian), fellowshipping in church and at the camp/retreat, and simply getting to know one another.
Atop the look-out tower at Pulau Ubin
Volleyball showdown! USA vs. SG - guess who won??
Traveling the Singaporean way - MRT (train system)
Trying out some local delights - dim sum
Farewell Sunday - as usual, our visitors were given a very warm farewell.  During the entertainment segment, they were made to answer questions about Singapore and CERC. For each wrong answer, they all had the privilege of savouring a local dish (:
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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Covenant Reformed News - June 2017

Covenant Reformed News

June 2017  •  Volume XVI, Issue 14


Our Identity in Christ (3)

Men and women truly know and rejoice in their identity as human beings, and as male and female, only in Jesus Christ! We entered our new, spiritual life through the new birth. We had a first, physical birth and we were born again with a spiritual birth. Our first birth was here below; our second birth was from above. For most of us, our first birth took place in a hospital; our second birth was from heaven.

This second birth enables us to understand our earthly identity as human beings and gives us a spiritual and heavenly identity as Christians. Through our new birth, we are children of God in the Son of God, not spiritual orphans. God is our Father, “Our Father which art in heaven,” as the address of the Lord’s Prayer puts it. To Him we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).

As those with a new life through a new birth, we are new men and new women in Christ. As II Corinthians 5:17 puts it, “old things are passed away.” These include the old, sinful ideas of identity—pagan ideas, secular ideas, the vain traditions handed on to us by the world (cf. I Pet. 1:18).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17). This is our new identity and new life in the Lord Jesus.

It is an amazing thing that we find our real identity through our identification with Jesus Christ! What is the believer’s justification? What is the righteousness of God that He imputes and reckons to my account? It is not any righteousness that I have wrought but the righteousness of another, even Jesus Christ.

What is my sanctification? Not any holiness or goodness that I have worked up of myself. It is the holiness of Jesus Christ Himself wrought in me by His Holy Spirit. “Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). I died in the first Adam; I live through the last Adam!

So what has happened to each and every believer? Just what Jesus said! We find our true selves by denying ourselves and losing our lives for His sake (Matt. 16:24-25); we find our true identity by losing our old, sinful identity.

The believer also knows that he or she is not perfect— far from it! “Simul justus et peccator,” as Martin Luther famously put it, that is, “At the same time just and sinner.” The child of God is just or righteous with the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ which is received by faith alone. But also and at the same time, he is a sinner. In me is not only the new man in Jesus Christ but also the old man or indwelling sin. Though the flesh is dethroned and not dominant, it still lusts for sin and against the spirit (Gal. 5:17). There is a battle within us and this too is part of our identity while here in this life. Yet it is the new man that is “me” in the deepest sense (cf. Rom. 7:14-25) for it is dominant and everlasting, whereas my old man will die with my physical death.

This is your identity, child of God. You are a loved person—loved by God. You were loved by Him before you were converted, before you were born and even before the foundation of the world, for you were beloved in Jesus Christ in God’s eternal decree of election!

You are a redeemed person. Jesus Christ bought you back from sin and death and hell by paying the ransom price for you by His blood on the cross! “This is my only comfort in life and death,” says the child of God, according to the opening words of the Heidelberg Catechism, “That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil.”

We are in a gracious covenant with the Triune God in Jesus Christ. The Ruler of the cosmos, who inhabits eternity, dwells in the high and holy place with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isa. 57:15). My Maker reveals Himself to me in His beautiful creation all around me, in His infallible Word and in the cross of Jesus Christ.

How else does being in Jesus Christ determine our identity? In Christ, we have “got a life,” abundant life (John 10:10), not a life in the slavery of sin. In Christ, we have purpose: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, A. 1), whereas most people drift through life not knowing what they are supposed to be doing or why they are here.

We have dignity because we are prophets, priests and kings in Jesus Christ, and not mutated protoplasm. This affects our life and work! We are rich for all things are ours, serving our salvation (I Cor. 3:21). We are not spiritual paupers!

We know the difference between right and wrong (ethics) and for us it is not being redefined every few years by new civil laws, opinion polls, the PC elite or the false church. God’s moral law (unlike ungodly man’s law) is written in stone and in our hearts, according to the promise of the new covenant (Jer. 31:33; II Cor. 3:3)!
We know what to do with our bodies. Our bodies are for the Lord and not for fornication (I Cor. 6:13). Our bodily members are to be used as “instruments of righteousness,” not as instruments of uncleanness and iniquity (Rom. 6:13, 19).

In short, in Jesus Christ, we have become truly human, better men and women, those who image God our Creator and Christ our Redeemer. After all, we have been stamped not with 666, the number of the beast, but with the seal of the Spirit!   Rev. Stewart

 

The More-Loving-Than-God Argument (3)


In my last two articles, 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 absolutely everybody and passionately desires to save those He has eternally decreed not to save). With this News, I continue my answers to his questions. 

Question 2. “Jesus told us to love our neighbour as He loves them. If He loves just a few, how come He asks us to love everyone? Does He not want us to be like Him? If Jesus loves only a few, and yet we aspire to love and have concern for everyone, are we not making ourselves more loving than He is?”

This question is very much like the first one (which we covered in the last issue of the News) and has the same errors. It assumes ideas that are unscriptural and untrue.  

The assertion that Jesus loves His neighbours who are all men is a purely human invention that is found nowhere in Scripture. I beg of the objector that he read such passages as John 17:9 and John 13:1. In fact, I know of a minister who used this very argument and so fell into the heresy of Nestorianism, the error that teaches that Jesus has two persons, a human and a divine. This view was condemned by the church early in its history at the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The argument here goes like this: Jesus, in His human nature, loved His neighbour; His neighbour included all men head for head. Therefore, Jesus loved all men in His human nature, while in His divine nature He loved only the elect. That is heresy.

We are in the world and do not know who are God’s elect and who are not. God and Christ know. They love the elect. We are witnesses who are called to love our neighbour. That means that we seek the salvation of all those whom we know and meet in life. God wills that the reprobate hear the gospel, as well as the elect. He uses our witness through the preaching and personal witnessing to save His elect. He also uses our preaching and witness to bring the wickedness of the reprobate to a full manifestation  so that God may be justified in His punishment of those who reject His truth.

What is so hard to understand about that? It is biblical and glorifies God.

The defenders of common grace may not, as they do, argue from our love for all men to a universal love of God. We do not and cannot love all men. In any case, we must not manufacture a god who is like us (Ps. 50:21).

Question 3. “Paul in Romans 9:1-3 and 10:1 reveals that he has an ardent, earnest desire and longing for all his kinsman (head for head) to be saved. Yet you deny that God Himself desires all to be saved. Does not that make you more loving than God?”

At last, we have some texts with which to deal! It is the only appeal to Scripture in all the six questions. It is a relief, for it brings us back to God’s Word, instead of engaging each other in the arena of man’s philosophizing.

Yet I find the argument puzzling. Yes, Paul expressed his desire that all Israel be saved. Moses did something of the same thing when he prayed to God that He would spare Israel after their sin of worshipping the golden calf at Sinai. Moses loved God’s church so much that he was willing to go to hell for them (Ex. 32:32).

Has the defender of common grace never pleaded with God to spare someone whom he loved? His wife dying of cancer? his son who has fled home and lives a godless life?  Have not godly parents, while watching their little child writhe in pain, wished that they could suffer in the place of their child? 

God showed Moses and Paul that His will was not to save everyone. Moses learned this when God declared, “[I] will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (33:19). Paul wrote that, in spite of his personal desires, God does not save all Israel; He desires to save (and, therefore, saves) the true Israel of election (Rom. 9:6-8). God does not desire to save reprobate Jews or Gentiles: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (13); “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [or wants to] have mercy, and whom he will [or wants to] he hardeneth” (18); “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing [or wanting or desiring] to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction ...” (21-22).

And so the believer, in his anguish, prays, “Thy will be done,” and seeks the higher purpose in life’s sorrows: the glory of Almighty God.

I might add that neither Moses nor Paul had to go to hell because of their sin or the sin of the church, for Christ suffered for all His church so that, by the power of His particular and efficacious atonement, all the elect are saved from the hell we deserve.

Question 4. “You aspire to treat everyone with kindness (i.e., love them) and share the gospel with them (i.e., you want them to be saved) and yet God only loves a few. Are you making yourself more loving than God?”

It is true that the elect are, according to Isaiah, a hut in a garden of cucumbers, a besieged city and a very small remnant (Isa. 1:8-9). Isaiah was describing the church on earth which, at the time he prophesied, was limited to Israel, an Israel that had become mostly apostate. But the true church for which Christ died is described as being greater in number than the stars in the heavens and the sand at the seashore (e.g., Gen. 22:17). That number cannot be described as “a few,” although it is probably true that the number of the whole church is less than the number of all the reprobate.

Eternally, God chose to reveal and glorify Himself through Jesus Christ and the salvation of the elect in Him (Eph. 1:3-14). Eternally, He determined that the reprobate would serve the purpose of saving the elect (Rom. 9:12)—as the chaff serves the purpose of bringing forth the wheat or as the scaffolding serves the erection of the building itself.

Yet the gospel is preached to elect and reprobate alike, because in the gospel the ungodly also are called to repentance. God’s judgment upon them is just for they have refused His command to repent and believe in Christ. They are damned for their unbelief, according to God’s eternal purpose: “them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Pet. 2:8). The reprobate were appointed to destruction in the way of their unbelief. 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  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • www.youtube.com/cprcni • www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
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South Wales Lecture
Thursday, 6 July, 2017
 7:15 PM

Speaker: Rev. M. McGeown

Subject: Humility

Humility, meekness, lowliness: these are distinct Christian qualities. Why are Christians, and especially Reformed Christians, humble? How do humble believers behave with respect to God, other members of the church and even unbelievers? What do the Reformed confessions teach about humility? What behaviour is consistent with, or inconsistent with, humility?
 
NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

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

Reformation Resources

The 16th Century Reformation of the Church
edited by David Engelsma
(200 pp. Softback)
Twenty-five articles on the Protestant Reformation dealing with its central characters and doctrines.
Stirring stuff!
£7.70

Always Reforming
edited by David Engelsma
(318 pp. Softback)
This superb book traces the continuing reformation in the Netherlands in the 17th and 19th centuries and in the Protestant Reformed Churches in North America in the 20th century.
£9.90 

Portraits of Faithful Saints
Herman Hanko
(450 pp. Hardback)
Inspiring and instructive biographies of over 50 saints from the 1st to the 20th century, including Augustine, Patrick, Alcuin, Bernard of Clairvaux, Beza, de Brès, Tyndale, Ames and Gresham Machen.
£24.20

The Reformed Faith
of John Calvin

David Engelsma
(472 pp. Hardback)
An excellent summary of Calvin’sInstitutes, including explanation, analysis and application for today of this great Reformer’s much-needed teaching.
£19.80

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!

Celebrating
500 Years
of the Reformation

----
Reformation
Conference

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

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

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

Speaker
 Prof. David J. Engelsma 

emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Venue
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

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

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach at both CPRC services,
11 AM & 6 PM, on Lord’s Days22 & 29 October and
5 November

Watch www.cprc.co.uk or contact us at (028) 25 891851 
for more details closer to the event 

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for July 2017

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

Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI continues his four-month service for the RWH program, as he continues 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).

July 2, 2017 - Husband, Love Your Wives, Eph.5:25-27

July 9, 2017 - Husbands, Love with Purpose, Eph.5:27

July 16, 2017 - The Husband is the Head of His Wife, Eph.5:23

July 23, 2017 - To Provide and Protect, Eph.5:23

July 30, 2017 - A Wife's Submission to Her Husband, Eph.5:22-24

RWH Flyer July 2017 Page 1

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