Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Website

83 Clarence Street,

Ballymena BT42 3NR, Northern Ireland

Services: 11:00 A.M. & 6:00 P.M.

RevAStewart

Pastor: Rev. Angus Stewart

7 Lislunnan Rd.

Kells, Ballymena, Co. Antrim

Northern Ireland BT42 3NR

Phone: (from U.S.A.) 011 (44) 28 25 891 851

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

Covenant Reformed "News" - October 2014

CPRC-News Header

 

Covenant Reformed News

October 2014  •  Volume XV, Issue 6


The Voice Crying in the Wilderness (1)


Notice what the Bible highlights regarding John the Baptist. It is not his face or body for he is not a model. It is not his personality for he is not a celebrity. It is not his hands as if he were a craftsman. It is not his feet as though he were a runner or an athlete. Scripture highlights John’s “voice.”

This is not because it had a beautiful or melodious pitch or tone. John’s voice is emphasized because of what it proclaimed: God’s Word! John is called a “voice” because he was a preacher sent by the Lord. John’s was a voice “crying” with power and urgency because of the greatness and burden of its message.

John’s voice cried in the wilderness, where all was still and silent until his proclamation split the air. This is Isaiah 40:3, quoted by all four of the evangelists: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness” (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23).

And what is the proper response to a voice, especially a voice declaring God’s Word and crying with force and vigour? One must listen to such a voice!

The time when the voice cried is carefully delineated in Luke 3:1-2. Seven men are mentioned: Tiberius Caesar (the Roman emperor), four regional rulers of greater Palestine (Pontius Pilate, Herod Antipas, Philip and Lysanias) and two Jewish High Priests (Annas and Caiaphas). Luke even states precisely when the voice began to cry: “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” (Luke 3:1). Scholars say this was AD 26. This remarkable temporal identification would be like someone in a UK context speaking of the nth year of A, the British monarch, when B was the Prime Minister of the UK and C, D and E were the First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, and F was the Archbishop of Canterbury with G his designated successor.

The birth of Jesus Christ is dated according to the reigns of only two people (Luke 2:1-2), whereas the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry is dated according to the reigns of seven people with even the year of the emperor’s reign being given (Luke 3:1-2). The beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry was a few months later and His crucifixion and resurrection occurred a few years later.

Luke is often called “the historian” in part because of the dates he gives (2:1-2; 3:1-2) and the effort and care he took in his inspired gospel account (1:1-4; cf. Acts 1:1f.). Luke the historian fixes the beginning of John’s ministry so carefully because his voice in the wilderness ended the 400 silent years and heralded the coming of the promised Messiah and the kingdom of heaven!  Rev. Stewart

Contact us for a box set of six CDs or DVDs on “John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (I)” by Rev. Stewart (£8 inc. P&P) or listen free on-line or watch free on YouTube.

 

Did Christ Die for Everybody?


Recently in the News, I have been explaining the truth of God’s irresistible grace (vol. XV, issues 3-4) in response to a brother who wanted assistance in his discussions with an Arminian. The Arminian claimed that grace can be resisted. This error leads to another error: all men receive grace to accept Christ. This, in turn, leads to another error: Christ died for everybody, head for head.

The brother wrote, “The argument of the Arminian in connection with John 12:47 is ‘Grace is not irresistible, because otherwise the whole world would be saved ... This text is good [i.e., proves the point] because it gives no chance to the Calvinist to say that the word “world” means “world of the elect ...” The text cannot be talking about the internal or external call. The text says that Jesus came to save the world.’”

The question we face, therefore, is whether or not the Scriptures teach that Christ died for every person, head for head, so that by His death Christ made salvation available to every person who ever lives. This, according to those who claim that Christ did die for every human being, is taught by Scripture’s use of the words “world” and “all” when they are used in connection with His cross. The main texts to which appeal is made are John 3:16, I Timothy 2:4, I John 2:2 and such like verses.

It is interesting that these passages have all been quoted by those who make salvation dependent upon the will of man. This has been the case since the early history of the church. The Semi-Pelagians were guilty of this. Roman Catholicism taught and teaches this doctrine. Although none of the Reformers taught any such thing, the Arminians and Amyraldians taught it. As Arminianism swept Europe and America, the same doctrine became the common view of a church that was falling away from the truth.

But the historical fact is that the Reformers, the great synods of Dordt (1618-1619) and Westminster in the 1640s, and the best theologians in the Reformed and Presbyterian traditions rejected such perversions of the truth. With one accord, they explained the texts in question in a way agreeable to the whole of Scripture and in keeping with the truth of God’s sovereignty. The interpretations of the words “world” and “all” have always been the interpretations of heretics and Roman Catholics with their perverted religion of salvation by the will and works of man.

The word “all” that is found in such passages as I Timothy 2:4 has consistently been understood as referring to all classes and all kinds of people, and not everyone head for head. This interpretation is in keeping with the whole of Scripture and makes most sense in the immediate context. It defines the church as truly catholic, that is, gathered from the entire world. We use the word “all” in the same sense. I read an article in a local newspaper which described a bad fire and remarked, “All of the city were at the fire.” People from hospitals? New-born babies? Aged folk who are bed-ridden? Obviously not. The statement meant: “People from all parts of the city.”

In many places, the word “world” has been interpreted correctly as referring to believers: the world of believers. This is the context of the verses themselves, as anyone who reads John 3:16 can learn by himself. The text needs no interpretation if one explains God’s Word by the well-known rule: Scripture interprets Scripture. Spurgeon has well said, “There is nowhere in the Bible where the word ‘world’ means all men head for head.”

You can find quotations from a long list of theologians who held firmly to the Scriptures and did not try to twist it to suit their own fancies on the website of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church (www.cprf.co.uk/calvinismresources.htm). That web page also contains a link to a manuscript that I wrote (The History of the Free Offer) that will, in revised form, soon be published, DV. It provides quotations, beginning with Augustine (354-430) and throughout the whole history of the church, that reject the interpretation that Christ died for all men absolutely.

The true meaning of the word “world,” when used positively of mankind, is, as Scripture teaches, the world of eternal election and sovereign salvation: the universal church of all believers. God chose us individually so that our names are written in the book of life. God gave us to Christ who died for us (read the whole of John 17 for it is powerful). We are brought into the church by the work of the ascended Christ, through His Spirit, who gathers, defends, preserves and saves to the uttermost those given Him of His Father. We are the true world. We are called that because we are redeemed and saved from every nation, tribe, country, race and people in the world. We are destined to live with Christ forever.

Furthermore, the word “world” reminds us that God saves the entire cosmos, the universe, the whole creation. He created it; He loves it as His own work; He will not let Satan and the wicked world take it from Him; He will glorify it along with His people. That is the “cosmos,” the cosmos of God’s eternal purpose (Rom. 8:19-23; Gen. 9:8-17; Col. 1:13-20).

But there is more. Those who claim that Christ died for all men destroy the cross. That is a terrible sin.

Consider: If the Arminian is right, Christ shed His precious blood for people who are never saved. If Christ’s blood, shed on Calvary, cannot save those for whom He died, it can save no one. It has been well said, “A Christ for everyone is a Christ for no one.” Those who teach this must be careful that they do not crucify the Son of God afresh, because for them there is no repentance (Heb. 6:4-6).

Consider: If only those are saved who by their own free will agree to be saved by believing in Christ, then salvation is dependent on us and God cannot do anything without our consent and help. Such subtracts from the infinitely powerful One who does all His good pleasure (Ps. 115:3; 135:6). It is not the true God revealed in the Scriptures, but a god of man’s imagination, an idol.

Consider that the one and only God of all glory now shares His glory with puny, sinful, wicked man because God can do nothing without man’s help (Eph. 2:8-10)!

Consider: Such terrible views of God make the church a motley throng, a mob, a mass of people, a crowd of those who happen to decide to believe in Christ; when, in fact, the church is a glorious temple in which each elect saint has his own eternally prepared place (Eph. 2:20-22; I Pet. 2:4-8).

Consider: When all the nations of the earth are as grasshoppers in God’s sight (Isa. 40:22), less than a speck of dust in the balance or a drop hanging on the outside rim of a bucket (15)—and totally depraved as well—that the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth (28), the Wholly Other, the God of infinite perfection, the God of glory greater than all the universe, is dependent on me. It makes me shiver in horror to write it.

Let every Arminian remember that he must stand before the judgment seat of Christ and answer especially this one question: What did you do with Christ? Do you want to be among those who say, “I made Christ an ineffectual Saviour who depended on human help?” I for one have no need of such a Saviour. I need one who can save by power that is divine.    Prof. Hanko

Canons of Dordt II, Of the Death of Christ and the Redemption of Men Thereby

Article 8. For this was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that He should confer upon them faith, which, together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and, having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in His own presence forever.

Article 9. This purpose, proceeding from everlasting love towards the elect, has from the beginning of the world to this day been powerfully accomplished, and will henceforward still continue to be accomplished, notwithstanding all the ineffectual opposition of the gates of hell, so that the elect in due time may be gathered together into one, and that there never may be wanting a church composed of believers, the foundation of which is laid in the blood of Christ, which may steadfastly love and faithfully serve Him as their Saviour, who as a bridegroom for His bride, laid down His life for them upon the cross, and which may celebrate His praises here and through all eternity.
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  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.www.youtube.com/cprcniwww.facebook.com/CovenantPRC

 

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September Newsletter from Covenant PRC, N.Ireland

Our sister church in Northern Ireland, Covenant PRC, Ballymena, has just released her latest newsletter. In the September 2014  Rev.Angus Stewart reports on the latest activities inside and outside the congregation, with special focus on the recent British Reformed Conference.

Be sure to read this newsletter to be better informed of what our "sister" and her pastor are doing in the British Isles. This newsletter is also attached here in pdf form (see below).

CPRCNI-Newsletter-Sept-2014 Page 1
CPRCNI-Newsletter-Sept-2014 Page 2

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Covenant Reformed News - August Issue

CR News head

Covenant PRC, our sister church in Ballymena, N.Ireland has recently published her August issue of "Covenant Reformed News". This issues contains edifying articles on "Hating Your Own Life" and "Is Grace Resistible", written by Rev.Angus Stewart, pastor of Covenant PRC, and emeritus Professor H.Hanko respectively.

You are encouraged to make these part of your regular reading, so that you may grow spiritually in the truths of God's Word and the Reformed faith.

The articles are posted separately on our website and are listed here along with the link to it:

"Hating Your Own Life" (1) - Rev.A.Stewart

"Is Grace Resistible? (2) - Prof.H.Hanko

This issue of the "CR News" is also attached here in pdf form.

In addition, below you will find information on obtaining and watching (videos) the speeches given at the recent British Reformed Fellowship Conference on the subject of sanctification.

2014 BRF Family Conference Box Set
“Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification”

9  lectures and 2 sermons plus a bonus disk
on 12 CDs or DVDs in an attractive box set
 
(1) Zealous of Good Works - Rev. McGeown
(2) The Calling to Work Out Our Own Salvation - Prof. Hanko
(3) Only the Holy Shall Inherit the Kingdom - Prof. Engelsma
(4) John Knox: Scotland’s Reformer - Rev. Stewart
(5) The Divine Work of Sanctification - Prof. Engelsma
(6) Sanctification and Justification: Relation and Difference - Prof. Hanko
(7) The Role of the Law in Sanctification - Prof. Engelsma
(8) A Scottish Classic on Sanctification: James Fraser of Alness’
“Explication” of Romans 6:1-8:4 - Rev. Stewart
(9) The Imperfection of Sanctification in This Life - Prof. Hanko
(10) “A Faire and Easie Way to Heaven:” The Threat to
Sanctification of Antinomianism - Prof. Engelsma
(11) The Victorious Christian Life - Prof. Hanko
Bonus Disk: Author Interviews with Profs. Hanko and Engelsma
 
£12/set (inc. P&P)

Watch free on YouTube or
Send orders to:  CPRC Bookstore, c/o Mary Stewart,
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, Ballymena, BT42 3NR
Phone: (028) 25891851 ~ E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church” (not just “CPRC”). Thank you!

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British Reformed Fellowship Conference This Week

Gartmore House ScotlandThe British Reformed Fellowship has its conference in Scotland this week (Saturday to Saturday, July 26 - August 2).  Prof David Engelsma and Prof. Herman Hanko (both emeritus professsors of the PRC Seminary) are the speakers, giving three speeches each on the topic “Be Ye Holy, The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification.” 

The venue is the beautiful and historic Gartmore House in Gartmore, Stirling and a variety of attendees are once again present.

The conference is sponsored by our sister church in Northern Ireland, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena.

For pictures of the conference so far, visit this site of Mr.John Van Baren. He will continue uploading them to this site, so check in on it daily.

You may also enjoy the video he took of the conference farewell psalm-sing from the Scottish Psalter.

Read more...

July Newsletter from Covenant PRC, N.Ireland

Our sister church in Northern Ireland, Covenant PRC, Ballymena, has just published her latest newsletter. In the July 2014  Rev.Angus Stewart reports on the latest activities in and outside the congregation, along with the upcoming BRF Conference.

Be sure to read this newsletter to be better informed of what our "sister" and her pastor are doing and have planned. This newsletter is also attached here in pdf form (see below).

CPRCNI-Newsletter-July-2014 Page 1
CPRCNI-Newsletter-July-2014 Page 2

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May and June "Covenant Reformed News", Plus BRF Conference News!

Covenant PRC, our sister church in Ballymena, N.Ireland has recently published its May and June issues of its "Covenant Reformed News". These issues contain significant articles relating to Pergamos, the church in Asia Minor refered to in Revelation 2, and to the relation between the old and new covenants. The writers are once again Rev.Angus Stewart, pastor of Covenant PRC, and emeritus Professor H.Hanko.

You are encouraged to make these part of your regular reading, so that you may grow spiritually in the truths of God's Word and the Reformed faith.

The articles are posted separately on our website and are listed here along with the link to it:

May 2014 Issue (Vol.15, #1)

"Pergamos: A Church Dwelling Where Satan's Throne Is (1)" - Rev.A.Stewart

"The Old Covenant Broken and the New One Made" - Prof.H.Hanko

June 2014 Issue (Vol.15, #2)

"Pergamos: A Church Dwelling Where Satan's Throne Is (2)" - Rev.A.Stewart

"The Old Covenant Broken" - Prof.H.Hanko

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In addition, the "CR News" provides the latest information on the upcoming British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference to be held in Scotland this summer. If you are still considering going, it is not too late!

Gartmore House-Scotland-2014 BRFConf

British Reformed Fellowship Family Holiday Conference

Gartmore House
Gartmore, Stirling, Scotland
Saturday, 26 July - Saturday, 2 August, 2014

Conference Theme: “Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Doctrine of Sanctification”

Conference Speakers
Prof. David Engelsma
Emeritus Professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament, Protestant Reformed Seminary, Michigan, USA
Prof. Herman Hanko
Emeritus Professor of Church History and New Testament, Protestant Reformed Seminary, Michigan, USA

Conference Addresses
1. The Divine Work of Sanctification (Prof. Engelsma)
2. Sanctification and Justification: Relation and Differences (Prof. Hanko)
3. The Role of the Law in Sanctification (Prof. Engelsma)
4. The Imperfection of Sanctification in This Life (Prof. Hanko)
5. The Threat of Antinomianism (Prof. Engelsma)
6. The Victorious Christian Life (Prof. Hanko)
Special Lecture - To Be Determined 

www.britishreformedfellowship.org.uk
http://brfconference.weebly.com


BRF Conference Update, Including Free Coach!

Since the BRF Conference booking forms were produced, we have had an excellent number of bookings so that Gartmore House (mansion) is now full.
There are still places left in the Craigmore Centre (dormitory) and a new section called the Mews has been opened up to accommodate overflow from the mansion.
The cost for the Mews includes full board and bed linen. These rooms are not en-suite and are part way in quality between the mansion and the dormitory.


Mews (per person)
• Single: £330
• Adult Shared: £280
• Children Shared Mews: £210 (age 12-16), £140 (5-11), £70 (1-4), Free (under 1)

Craigmore Centre (Dormitory)
•    Adult Shared Dormitory: £230
•    Children Shared Dormitory: £175 (age 12-16), £115 (5-11), £55 (1-4), FREE (under 1)

The Covenant Protestant Reformed Church (CPRC) is laying on a FREE 53-seater coach to and from the conference (including ferry fees through Stena in Belfast)!
It will depart from the church car park (83 Clarence Street off the Cullybackey Road, Ballymena, BT43 5DR) on the morning of Saturday, 26 July and return on
the evening of Saturday, 2 August, DV. There are still a few places left, so you are best to book ASAP.

For more information, contact

Mrs. Mary Stewart
7 Lislunnan Road
Kells, Ballymena
Co. Antrim
BT42 3NR
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(028) 25 891851

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