Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Trusting in the LORD

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Trusting in the LORD

Meditation on Psalm 125: 1,2

They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.”

There are two beautiful comparisons made in these two verses. Believers are compared to Mount Zion and the mountains round about Jerusalem are compared to the LORD surrounding his people. Both pictures reveal the unshakeable and unmovable status of the trust of believers and the security of believers. What comfort that gives us in these times of agitation, distress, dread, and fear. Are you distressed over your sin? Perhaps you have heard evil news about your or a loved one’s health. Are you going through trouble with a family member, co-worker, or fellow saint? Then there is always also the attacks brought against believers by the devil and the ungodly world around us. But, unlike Peter who looked at the storm-tossed sea, we fix our eye upon the LORD.

Verse one deals with the conscious activity of faith. Believers trust in the LORD. That trust is worked in us by God. That trust comes from a true knowledge of God. How can you trust a doctor unless you know that he is competent to treat your specific ailment? Likewise one cannot trust God without knowledge of Him. God reveals Himself to us in nature, in the Scriptures, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. The activity of true faith, as we know from Lord’s Day 7, is a sure knowledge of what God reveals in His Word and a hearty confidence, assurance, and trust.

The object of our trust is not in ourselves, doctors, politics, or anything but “in the LORD.” We know Him in His names, His virtues, and His wonderful works.

The word, “LORD”, in all capital letters is Jehovah. He is all powerful. He is all wise. He is all sufficient. He does not change, unlike the circumstances in our lives. He is always present, unlike Baal who appears to be sleeping or on a vacation as Elijah suggests to the false prophets. Jehovah is the name of our covenant God in Jesus Christ. Believers were given by God to Christ in eternity. Christ was given by God to us in His incarnation, suffering and death on the cross. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that we are united to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who works and strengthens faith in us.

Believers who trust in the LORD are stable and unmovable right now, (not “shall be” as the italicized words in our text). The picture drawn for us is that of a mountain in all of its grandeur, height, and steadfastness. The rain and snow fall upon it and the winds blow, but the mountain stands, nothing threatens it. How unlike they are than the sand dunes of Michigan which are threatened by strong winds and high lake levels. The dunes are blown or washed away. As boys and girls sing, “The foolish man built his house upon the sand…The wise man built his house upon the rock…So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is not just any mountain. There were larger mountains. But Mount Zion was where Jerusalem (the church) was established. In Jerusalem was the temple with the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat. God dwelt there in fellowship with His people!

Oh, at times we might be shaken by doubt or fear. But nothing in this world or even death itself can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. He works in us to draw us back in faith and trust to Himself. The stability of the believer is not in himself but in the LORD. Those words, “in the LORD” are the key to this text. It is the Lord who establishes our hearts as He established the mountains. It is the LORD who surrounds us as the mountains surrounded Jerusalem. The believer cannot be moved, not so much because his trust is so great, but rather, Jehovah is ever present and all powerful. He always surrounds His people like As the three friends of Daniel were not touched by the flames in the fiery furnace because of a fourth individual that appeared with them, so God surrounds His people. The object of believer’s trust is in the LORD alone! Can you put your name in the text and say, “I, trusting in the LORD, am like Mt. Zion!

The psalm ends with the blessed serenity of the believer: “but peace shall be upon Israel.” God will give peace to those who trust in him. There is inner peace, calmness of heart, and confidence. The true believer is unmovable, for ever abiding in the love of God.

What time I am afraid I put my trust in Thee; In God I rest, and praise his word, so rich and free. In God I put my trust, I neither doubt nor fear, for man can never harm with God my helper near. In God, the Lord, I rest, his word of grace I praise, his promise stands secure, nor fear nor foe dismays.”  ~ Uzziah C. Burnap 1895

Never a trial that he is not there, never a burden that he doth not bear; never a sorrow that he doth not share, moment by moment, I am under his care. Moment by moment I’m kept in his love, moment by moment I’ve life from above; Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine, moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.”  ~ May Whittle Moody 1870-1963

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side! Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; Leave to thy God to order and provide, In every change He faithfully will remain. Bew still , my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”  ~ Jean Sibelius 1865- 1957

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Reformed News Asia - June 2020

Issue 60
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.
NEWPamphlet!

Please click the picture to get the online copy of the pamphlet.
Questions in the Bible - Exodus, Ruth, 1 Samuel
By Prof Hermon Hanko

This project was inspired by 'Pastoral Voice' written by Rev. Andy Lanning for CERC in Oct 13-Jan 14 which covered 6 questions in Genesis.

There are many questions within the Bible, 2,540 to be exact.

The Christian Literature Ministry has shortlisted and compiled a list of them based on certain criteria:

i) Can be linked to Christ
ii) Significant in history of church
iii) Spiritual lesson for us
iv) A question we may also ask

After 6 years of effort, 12 books of the bible have been completed. In addition to the 6 meditations from Rev. Lanning, the writers are: Prof. Herman Hanko, Rev. Richard Smit and Rev. Cory Griess. We are grateful for their labour of love.

May you benefit spiritually from the meditations, and pray with us that gradually we may compile more meditations from questions in other books of the Bible.


Click here to 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.
Unfolding Covenant History: From Samuel to Solomon - Volume 6
by David J. Engelsma

From the RFPA website:

After a fifteen-year hiatus, and fourteen other published titles, Prof. David J. Engelsma continues the Unfolding Covenant History series, a covenantal exposition of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament history covered in this volume is extensive, covering the account of the life and significance for the covenant of Samuel, Saul, David, and Solomon. This is the history recorded in 1 and 2 Samuel; 1 Kings 1–11; 1 Chronicles 10–29; and 2 Chronicles 1–9. In addition, the volume takes into consideration other passages in scripture (Psalms) that reflect on this history.

This history is also rich in significance with regard to the development of God’s covenant and covenant dealings with his people. It includes the institution and early functioning of the office of the prophet; the institution of the office of king; the stark contrast between the people’s choice as king, in the charismatic, but reprobate, Saul, and God’s elect, David; and the realization of the fellowship of the covenant in the Old Testament in the temple. Among the fascinating and controversial events of the history on which the volume sheds light is the appearance to Saul of the “witch of Endor.”

 
Audio Recordings
Over the past 2 months, we were glad to have Bro Josiah Tan back with us. He was able to give us a series of exhortation on the Feasts in Leviticus.

Click to listen to them:

The Passover of the LORD
The Feast Of Unleavened Bread
The Feasts of First Fruits
The Feast of Pentecost
The Feast of The Trumpets
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Save the date!

21 24 Dec 2020 - Church Camp 2020
 
 
Past Events...
 
CERC 33rd Annual Congregation Meeting

CERC concluded our 33rd Annual Congregation Meeting on 27 June via an online platform. We thank God for keeping us and for providing for our needs over the past 33 years. We are thankful to God for providing us Office bearers, namely 2 Elders and 1 Deacon who have been elected at the ACM. We pray for all the Office bearers that God will grant them the grace, strength and wisodom in their calling. 
 
CERC Activities (May - June)

Due to the current situation, most Church activities for these months have been cancelled or postponed. Worship services, bible studies and meet-ups have been brought online.However, with the relaxing of the restrictions, we might be able to conduct congregational worship in smaller numbers. We thank God and let us continue to pray for God's guidance and His will for the days ahead. 
 
CERC Kolkata 

We continue to remember our brothers and sisters in CERC Kolkata Fellowship who have been affected by the pandemic and the disastrous trail of the Super Cyclone. Let us pray for our Missionary Pastor as he cares for the saints in Kolkata. Do pray that the Lord will protect and preserve them.

 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers

Salt Shakers is a bi-monthly magazine published by the youth in Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). Included in each issue are writings pertaining to bothReformed doctrine and practical theology. Contributors to Salt Shakers include our pastor, youth and members of CERC, and pastors and professors from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Salt Shakers also features articles from the Standard Bearer and other Reformed publications. Click here to access.

 
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 • www.cerc.org.sg 
 
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The Great Escape!

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

The Great Escape!

Meditation on Psalm 124: 6,7,8

Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

The title of this meditation might sound like the escape of a person out of a prison or a soldier escaping from the clutches of the enemy army.  I think of my father’s imprisonment by the German army when they invaded the Netherlands in World War II. He and several of the prisoners were able to escape the prison before they would have been taken away to one the German work (death) camps. The Holy Spirit led David to write this psalm, probably after his son Absalom with many followers pursued him over the Jordan River, and the LORD gave David a great victory over his enemies.

The church in this world is surrounded by enemies. There is first of all our own sinful flesh, which we have to fight against every day. Second, there is the world that is not a friend to grace, but hates and pursues the followers of Jesus. Third, our “adversary the devil, like a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” Apart from divine support, the church of Christ would quickly fall before its raging enemies. Several examples are given in this psalm. The enemies are like a hungry animal, ready to eat us up like a little morsel of meat. The wicked are like the undertow of Lake Michigan, which would suck the swimmer under and away from shore, or like a tsunami wave that wipes out complete villages. The last example in the psalm is that of a professional trapper in the woods who snares his prey in his net.

What kinds of snares are set before you to catch you unawares? Great are the temptations of our sinful  flesh: sexual lust, greed, pride, worldliness, drunkenness, bitterness, anger, and revenge. There are the snares of the world with flattery, pleasure, attention, or the threat of violence, ridicule, persecution, and death. Satan has a whole legion of demons with him who has had 6000 years of practice at seducing, tempting, and deceiving God’s saints. How can the church stand up to such power? How are you and I able individually to withstand them? The only reason the people of God continue in this world is the almighty power of their God. His strength is all sufficient. What would the people of God have been like if the Lord was not on their side?

Enoch, prophesying against the wickedness in his day, would have been killed if God had not translated him up to heaven. Noah and his family were the lone survivors when God saved him and his family with a flood. Israel would have been left under Pharaoh’s cruel slavery and the death of all their male infants in the time of Moses except for the Lord’s ten plagues against Egypt.. Unless the LORD fought for Israel against the Canaanites, the thick walls of the cities and the giants of the land would not have been conquered. The Midianites swarmed the land of Israel in the time of Gideon, but with the Lord on their side, Gideon with  only 300 Israelites won a decisive battle and routed the enemy. So we can continue to go through the history of the church. Over against the cruelty of the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestants were imprisoned, tortured, and put to death. But nothing was able to stop God’s reformation of His church!

The LORD changes not, nor does His compassion fail. He is on our side. We might despair when we see the world that we live in grow increasingly wicked and ferocious, and in the church we see great apostasy, slander, and schism. But our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. His purpose is to save us alive.  We must confess, “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when wicked men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick.” This is the believers’ confidence.  God is on His throne. If God is for us, who can be against us? Believers can rejoice in the promise of Jesus Christ, “ I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. All authority belongs to our Christ. We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. All the power of our sinful flesh, the world, and Satan and his host cannot destroy the church because the infinite strength of the Creator defends and helps us. “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” This verse is used in many Reformed churches to open their worship services.

Looking at the unrest today in the world and even in the church, what comfort to say, “Our help in in the name of Jehovah who made heaven and earth.” He is on our side! We are escaped from the hands and plots of our enemies.

Now Israel may say, and that in truth, If that the Lord had not our right maintained, If that the Lord had not with us remained, Wen cruel men against us rose to strive, We surely had been swallowed up alive.”

“Blest be the Lord who made us not their prey; As from the snare a bird escapeth free, Their net is rent and so escaped are we. Our only help is in Jehovah’s name, Who made the earth and all the heavenly frame. Louis Bourgeois, 1551

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, June 28 - July 4, 2020

ephesians 1 3Today, June 28, is the twenty-sixth Lord's Day of 2020 (half way through the year of our Lord 2020!); we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

As our PR congregations in the U.S. and Canada continue to worship publicly and a few of our sister churches begin to worship publicly again (in the Philippines), we commit our way unto the Lord of heaven, in whose hands are all our times (Psalm 31:15). And we pray fervently for our fellow saints in those lands and places where tight restrictions remain, trusting that our Lord knows what is best for His own and that He receives our praise and thanks whether it be from church sanctuary or from home.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:1-5

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Many troubles come to the pilgrims in their lives and travels. Often we are fearful and despairing. Is Jehovah still gracious? We have sinned against Him time and time again. But the temple is before us with the altar of burnt-offerings. The temple before us tells us that our God is still there. The LORD is Jehovah God. He is the “I AM”; the self-sufficient, self- existent God who has no needs and changes not. His relationship with His people does not change, no matter how many sins they commit. He is their God who loves them, Yes, He will chastise those whom He loves. But can you smell the smoke of the sacrifices? There is the forgiveness of sins through the blood that is shed in our place. This all pointed forward to the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on Calvary’s cross. Oh, what a day when Jerusalem the holy city comes down from heaven (Rev. 21). Then there will be no more sin!

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "Help for the Weary Pilgrim," his latest special meditation written for these trying times

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  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether in full or in part, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found.

  • Rev. G. Eriks is considering the call to Unity PRC (received June 17). He plans to answer by July 12.

  • Rev. N. Langerak is considering the call from First PRC, Edmonton, AB (received June 21).

  • Following Rev. C. Haak's decline of her latest call, the Consistory of Kalamazoo PRC has formed a new trio consisting of Revs. S. Key (Loveland, CO), R. Kleyn (Spokane, WA), and C. Spronk (Faith).

  • The Council of Grandville PRC recently made two decisions regarding calling a man to serve as minister on loan to Singapore. The first was to honor the request of Covenant ERC to put on hold calling an MOL due to ongoing restrictions in Singapore. And second, to withdraw their trio of Revs. G. Eriks, E. Guichelaar, and R. Kleyn out of wisdom and courtesy to these men. May the Lord soon open the way for calling a MOL again.
  • Did you know... that
    • Mrs. Wilmina Lanting, widow of Rev. George Lanting, passed away this past week in South Holland, IL at the age of 99? We pray for the comfort of the Lanting family in their loss even as we rejoice in Mrs. Lanting's deliverance from this vale of tears. Do you know how many minister widows that leaves in the PRC?
    • some of our churches have resumed the sacrament of baptism - and now the sacrament of the Lord's Supper also? We thank God for these additional means of grace some of our members can receive and witness once again for the strengthening of our faith.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

PRC Synod 2020:

TrinityPRC new sanctuary 2018

  • The PRC Synod 2020 met the week of June 9-12 at Trinity PRC. Below is a brief summary of her work and decisions.  For more details see the daily reports on this section of the PRC website.

sem front june 2020 2

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that may still be held. Continue to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they continue their labors this summer.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. The library and bookstore are also open for use. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.

  • The Fall 2020 semester schedule and calendar has been approved by the Theological School Commitee and posted on the seminary's website. The first semester will begin, D.V. the week of August 24.

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan and his family recently returned safely to the States. Plans are for him to begin his internship July 1 in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. Due to the tight restrictions in Singapore Sem. Marcus Wee and his family are staying in the States this summer.

  • The PRC Synod 2020 approved the entrance of Luke Bomers (Hope PRC, Walker, MI) and Arend Haveman (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) into the seminary this Fall. Both are finishing their pre-sem studies this summer. Pray for them as they prepare to take up their studies for the ministry in a few months.

  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is currently available in digital (pdf and epub) form. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

PRCP Classis Feb2020 2
PRC in the Philippines Classis meeting (Provident PRC)

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today (and recently):
    • Recently, with the relaxing of the Phase 2 Circuit Breakers’ restriction, the church is allowed to conduct congregational worship but with not more than 50 worshippers. However, the social distancing requirements must be strictly followed. One of the restrictions is that the worshippers are not allowed to sing during the worship service. The Session is looking into the possibility of having worship services with 50 people or less at each worship service with all the restrictions. We are working at dividing the congregation into four groups. Do pray for the Session as they decide on this.
    • Due to the Phase 2 restrictions on travels and employment pass approval, Grandville PRC, our MOL calling church, has concurred with Session’s suggestion to suspend the calling of MOL for the time being. Grandville PRC’s consistory also decided to withdraw the trio that was formed on 17 March 2020 of Rev. Eriks, Rev. Guichelaar, and Rev. Kleyn.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Rev. Stewart was interviewed on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio on “Regeneration: God’s Gift of a New Heart” this past Thursday, June25.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - June 2020!
    • Read the new June 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on Facebook Live. The saints in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in services via live streaming on Facebook, the Lord willing. We pray for God’s continued care and blessings upon them in this time of crisis. May God strengthen them with His Word!

~ Maranatha PRC:  

Rev. D. Kleyn, our Missionary will lead the First Worship Service and Rev. R. Smit will lead the Second Worship Service both livestream via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 a.m. And 11:00 a.m. respectively. 

An extension of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila is up toJune 30, 2020. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses. With this, let us pray that the Church’s worship services will return to her normal Church activities.

~ Provident PRC:  Rev. Holstege will preach for our morning worship service today. There will also be a live stream of the worship service (https://youtu.be/8x9CXeHUqfc). The elders will send a link to a worship service of Zion PRC led by Rev. Ron VanOverloop for our afternoon family worship.

~ Re the PRCP Classis held June 12: God be praised beloved for the fruitful work of the Classis of the PRCP held at Provident PRC in Provident Village, Marikina City. One of the highlights of this meeting was the approval of the two brothers from PPRC... as full-time students in our Seminary with the view of serving God as Minister of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP, the Lord willing. We pray for God’s blessings upon them and their families as they prepare for this coming school year.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • 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
*The Reformed Book Outlet in Hudsonville, MI is open once again! And they have a summer reading challenge for you! See below for details.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Would you like to learn more about her? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles 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.
  • *The Reformed Book Outlet  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. As always, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any orders as well!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Beginning this month, Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) will deliver the messages, with a special focus on missions. Today's message is titled "O Zion, That Bringest Good Tidings" based on Isaiah 40:9. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 
CO Retreat 2020 banner

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • The Young Calvinists will be holding a Virtual Young People's Gathering via zoom on August 8 from 11am-5pm. As a small replacement for convention, this will feature a lecture on Heaven by Prof. B. Gritters, mixer games, discussion groups and more! There will also be an indoor and outdoor Singspiration at Fair Haven on Sunday, August 9 at 8pm. Sign up for one or both before July 20 at the following link! https://forms.gle/vhpopvBpDUUYi8bQ8.

  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still on for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.

  • The newest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.
  • Save the date for a Singles’ Conference!  We will host another three-day event in the Grand Rapids area, September 25-27, for singles ages 25+. The weekend will include two speeches, a discussion group, and several social activities.  Plan to attend and be encouraged and edified by other like-minded singles! Stay tuned for more details.

Acts2 38 39

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.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published last month (May). You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of restrictions).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores is leading them by Zoom (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine. Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  restrictions on their travels and labors. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and to be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world continue to experience tight restrictions and limited functions.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Continue to remember our brothers and sisters in CERC Kolkata Fellowship after being battered by the COVID 19 restrictions and disastrous trail of the Super Cyclone. Pray for our Missionary Pastor as he cares for the saints in Kolkata. They still cannot congregate together to worship. Our pastor still faced many issues with livestreaming due to internet connection problem. We are thankful that our Pastor could start bible study at his place and has the opportunities to share the Gospel and Reformed Faith to others. A couple of them are joining his Bible Study. Do pray that the Lord will protect and preserve them.

Myanmar:

  • Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships. Rev. Titus continues to minister the Word to his flock through the means of social media and modern technology.
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Help for the Weary Pilgrim

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Help for the Weary Pilgrim

Meditation on Psalm 121: 1,2,8

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth…The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Psalm 121 is the second of fifteen Songs of Ascent. These are songs that were sung by the Israelites as they travelled to Jerusalem for the three yearly festivals. Some of God’s people had to travel over one hundred miles. As they went up to the temple, they would see the hills or mountains around Jerusalem. Mt. Zion was the mountain on which the temple was built. What great anticipation there was! They could see the temple there! The hills or mountains around Jerusalem were a great place to build the city. These hills served as natural protection from enemies around.

The psalmist expresses his confidence in God’s protecting providence. “I will lift up mine eyes.” This is a gesture of prayerful dependence. “From whence cometh my help?” This is a question, “where does my help come from?” Do we look to the hills for help? No, our dependence is not upon earthly things. The answer to the question asked in vs. 1 is found in vs. 2. “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” He, who created the hills and everything else, is able and willing to help me. There on Mt. Zion is the temple, with the holy of holies, the Ark of the Covenant, and the mercy seat. This was the place for worship of Jehovah. There the Lord dwelt in the midst of His people.

Many troubles come to the pilgrims in their lives and travels. Often we are fearful and despairing. Is Jehovah still gracious? We have sinned against Him time and time again. But the temple is before us with the altar of burnt-offerings. The temple before us tells us that our God is still there. The LORD is Jehovah God. He is the “I AM”; the self-sufficient, self- existent God who has no needs and changes not. His relationship with His people does not change, no matter how many sins they commit. He is their God who loves them, Yes, He will chastise those whom He loves. But can you smell the smoke of the sacrifices? There is the forgiveness of sins through the blood that is shed in our place. This all pointed forward to the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on Calvary’s cross. Oh, what a day when Jerusalem the holy city comes down from heaven (Rev. 21). Then there will be no more sin!

We are weary spiritual pilgrims to that city. We must still wrestle against principalities and powers of darkness as well as our own sinful nature. But Jehovah is our help, someone who comes to our aid by surrounding and embracing us. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved.” He gives us stability in our lives. He will keep us. That word, “keep” or “keeper” is used three times. But that same Hebrew word is used another three times, translated as “preserve”. The psalmist tells us six times in this short psalm that God guards, watches over, and protects us. Why does he mention it six times? There is so much repetition so that it soaks into our consciousness. What anxiety can survive these repeated promises? “Day and night”, “our going out and coming in”: these opposites designate totality. The Lord’s protection is continuous, without interruption, against all kinds of dangers. This does not mean that believers will never suffer, but that God’s providence will guard them from anything that would truly do them harm. He will work all things for their good (Rom 8:28).

Today, as believers, we are the temple of God. He is in you and me. In your pilgrimage in this world, look up and see how precious you are to Him. He is shaping us to prepare us for that city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God. Look ahead as the weary Israelites did in their travels to Jerusalem. Look up! Know who your helper is! Trust him. Love Him. Serve Him.

One of our greatest comforts is to know that God is always the guardian of His people. Even in the greatest trouble, God’s people have no reason to fear. Faith assures the Christian that all will be well. God is always there for us; He never slumbers or sleeps. If God did not spare His Son, but gave Him up for us, then surely He will give us all that we stand in need of. Look ahead! There is the city that has foundations. Look up. Jehovah God is our help and keeper for Jesus’ sake!

Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blest, Beneath thy contemplation sink heart and voice oppressed. I know not, O I know not what joys await us there, What radiancy of glory, what bliss beyond compare!”

There is the throne of David; and there, from care released, The song of them that triumph, the shout of them that feast; And they who with their Leader have conquered in the fight, forever and forever are clad in robes of white. (Bernard of Cluny, 12th century)

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"Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Lamentations 3: 21-24

“ This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.” (Lamentations 3: 21-24)

On Sunday morning and evening, many of our churches have the pleasant task of trying to seat all of our members in the sanctuary for worship. Pleasant, I say; what a nice problem. In an age when many churches have a problem of trying to fill their seats, we have the opposite problem of crowded sanctuaries!  That is said with all humility. God has been, and is, so good. He has blessed us with faithful members who desire to worship and hear the gospel preached!

What is the cause of all of this? It is God’s great faithfulness to us; His mercies are new every morning. This is where the above text comes  and fills us with humility. We do not deserve this blessing.” It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not!”

We as Protestant Reformed Churches do not deserve this. We are sinners who deserve God’s wrath and condemnation.  It is all of His mercy to us in our Lord Jesus Christ! We are Christ’s church. Christ Jesus is continuing to gather and build His church.  By His Word and Spirit we continue to be preserved, so that our church is able to be a light in the midst of great darkness.

We are able to pass on to the rising generations the beauty and greatness of our God and His marvelous works. We are able to reach out to others in our community and share with them the rich and precious heritage that has been given to us.   We are sinners, but listen to the rest of the story: we are redeemed sinners, forgiven all of our sins through the spilled blood of our Lord Jesus. Imputed to us is Christ’s righteousness. We are new creatures, sons and daughters of God by adoption, filled with Christ’s Spirit. And we have a glorious hope! Jesus is coming again. As members of His kingdom, we  will one day be with Him in the new heavens and new earth. Yes, as Jeremiah says in the above text, “therefore we have hope.”

Listen then also to what God says in His Word through Jeremiah (Lam. 3:24- 26): “ The LORD is my portion. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” God is good to His church.

With this glorious truth we press on in our service to Christ. Filled with humility, love, trust, and dependence we serve the Lord with gladness, making known His mercies and faithfulness to the rising generations. To God is the glory both now and forever!

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, June 21-27, 2020

Ps32 8 mountainsToday, June 21, is the twenty-fifth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

As our PR congregations in the U.S. and Canada continue to worship publicly and a few of our sister churches begin to worship publicly again, we commit our way unto the Lord of heaven, in whose hands are all our times (Psalm 31:15). And we pray fervently for our fellow saints in those lands and places where tight restrictions remain, trusting that our Lord knows what is best and that He receives our praise and thanks whether it be from church sanctuary or home.

When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Psalm 56:9-11

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Ultimately, this psalm finds its highest realization in Jesus Christ. “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” Jesus lives in perfect harmony with His Father in heaven. He came to make the peace offering, taking away the sins of His people. He makes the church a place of peace. How His soul was distressed when He was slandered during the duration of His ministry. He was slandered by the leaders in Jerusalem. They said He cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub, a troubler of Israel, and guilty of blasphemy because He made himself equal with God. His disciples were called liars when they said that Jesus rose from the dead. God delivered Jesus from lying lips and deceitful tongues when He raised Him from the dead and Jesus ascended into heaven.

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "I Am for Peace" his latest special meditation

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  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether in full or in part, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found.

  • Last Sunday Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) announced his decline of the call to Kalamazoo PRC.

  • Also last Sunday, Rev. N. Langerak received the call from First PRC, Edmonton.

  • This past Wednesday (June 17) Unity PRC extended a call to Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC).

  • The Council of Grandville PRC recently made two decisions regarding calling a man to serve as minister on loan to Singapore. The first was to honor the request of Covenant ERC to put on hold calling an MOL due to ongoing restrictions in Singapore. And second, to withdraw their trio of Revs. G. Eriks, E. Guichelaar, and R. Kleyn out of wisdom and courtesy to these men. May the Lord soon open the way for calling a MOL again.
  • Did you know... that
    • another COVID-19 casualty is the church nursery? For the special protection of young children our churches too have suspended nursery functions for the time being. Does that mean more little ones are entering the services sooner or that more are staying home with dad or mom until they are ready?
    • on the positive side, some of our churches have resumed the sacrament of baptism? We thank God for this additional means of grace some of our members can receive and witness once again.
    • Rev. A. Stewart will be interviewed on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio on “Regeneration: God’s Gift of a New Heart” this Thursday from 9-11 PM (UK time, which is 4-6 PM Eastern Time)? Be sure to tune in if you can!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

PRC Synod 2020:

Trinity building new part 1

  • The PRC Synod 2020 met the week of June 9-12 at Trinity PRC. Below is a brief summary of her work and decisions.
  • Brief synod summary: On Monday June 8 Trinity PRC hosted the pre-synodical worship service. Rev. Eriks preached on Mal. 3:6-8 with the theme “What Is Required of Synod 2020.” Synod convened on Tuesday morning at 8:00. Rev. Van Overloop was elected as chairman. Synod made decisions regarding its standing committees (Board of Trustees, Catechism Book Committee, Contact Committee, Domestic Mission Committee, Emeritus Committee, Finance Committee, Foreign Mission Committee, Synodical Deputies, and Theological School Committee). In its treatment of the Theological School Committee’s report, synod approved the admittance of two students into our seminary who desire to be ministers in our denomination. Synod treated three protests against decisions of Synod 2019. Synod decided not to sustain the two protests, and it declared the other protest illegal. Synod treated appeals of two individuals against the decisions of Classis East. One individual appealed two decisions of Classis East; synod decided not to sustain his appeal. The other individual’s appeal contained many different sections; synod declared one section of his appeal illegal and decided to reject the other parts of his appeal and uphold the decisions of Classis East. Synod adopted a budget for 2021 and set synodical assessments at $750 per family. Synod 2021 will convene June 8 and will be hosted by Georgetown PRC. For more details see http://www.prca.org/about/church-government/synod.

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PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that may still be held. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. The library and bookstore are also open for use. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available in digital (pdf and epub) form. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan and his family returned safely to the States a week ago. Plans are for him to begin his internship July 1 in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. Due to the tight restrictions in Singapore Sem. Marcus Wee and his family are staying in the States this summer.

  • The PRC Synod 2020 approved the entrance of Luke Bomers (Hope PRC, Walker, MI) and Arend Haveman (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) into the seminary this Fall. Both are finishing their pre-sem studies this summer. Pray for them as they prepare to take up their studies for the ministry in a few months.

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SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • Due to the Phase 2 restrictions on travels and employment pass approval, Grandville PRC, our MOL calling church, has concurred with Session’s suggestion to suspend the calling of MOL for the time being. Grandville PRC’s consistory also decided to withdraw the trio that was formed on 17 March 2020 of Rev. Eriks, Rev. Guichelaar, and Rev. Kleyn.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Rev. Stewart will be interviewed on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio on “Regeneration: God’s Gift of a New Heart” this Thursday [June25] from 9-11 PM (UK time, which is 4-6 PM Eastern Time).
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - June 2020!
    • Read the new June 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"! 
  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. R. Smit will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on Facebook Live Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via live-stream, the Lord willing.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook. An extension of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila is up toJune 30, 2020. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses. With this, let us pray that the Church’s worship services will return to her normal Church activities.

~ Provident PRC:  Rev. Holstege will preach for our morning worship service today and next Sunday, DV. There will be a live-stream for us who cannot yet come to church (https://youtu.be/Lpv67ESzZpI). The elders will send a link to a worship service and sermon by Prof. Ron Cammenga for our afternoon family worship.

~ Re the PRCP Classis held June 12: God be praised beloved for the fruitful work of the Classis of the PRCP held at Provident PRC in Provident Village, Marikina City. One of the highlights of this meeting was the approval of the two brothers from PPRC... as full-time students in our Seminary with the view of serving God as Minister of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP, the Lord willing. We pray for God’s blessings upon them and their families as they prepare for this coming school year.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • 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.

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The Reformed Book Outlet in Hudsonville, MI is open once again! See below for details.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in the PRC? Would you like to learn more about her? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles 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.
  • The Reformed Book Outlet  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. As always, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any orders as well!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Beginning this month, Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) will deliver the messages, with a special focus on missions. Today's message is titled "Casting Bread upon the Waters" based on Ecclesiastes 11:1. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL.  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 
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ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.

  • The newest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still on for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.
  • Save the date for a Singles’ Conference!  We will host another three-day event in the Grand Rapids area, September 25-27, for singles ages 25+. The weekend will include two speeches, a discussion group, and several social activities.  Plan to attend and be encouraged and edified by other like-minded singles! Stay tuned for more details.

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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.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published last month (May). You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of restrictions).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead them by Zoom (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine. Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  restrictions on their travels and labors. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world continue to experience tight restrictions.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Do continue to pray for our brethren in Kolkata. They are still recovering from the super cyclone that swept across Kolkata as they are still faced with the problems of unreliable internet connections. Last Sunday, they were unable to have live streaming due to internet issues. Pastor Singh has been working very hard during this period. Pray for him as he has Bible studies with some families who are interested in the Reformed Truth. He intends to restart the bible studies for the church as well as office bearer training in the coming week. We were told that they were able to receive food and fuel supplies but the prices have sky-rocketed!

Myanmar:

  • Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships.
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Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - June 2020

CPRC News Header

Dear saints,

Attached is the latest letter from the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Ballymena, N. Ireland.

It contains 5 sections:

  • End of Our Mission Field
  • Coronavirus Lockdown
  • Redirected Labours
  • Main Website Developments
  • Slowly Returning to Normality

Some highlights:

Regarding the number of translations in our top languages, we have 1 in the 500s (552 Italian), 1 in the 400s (483 Portuguese), 1 in the 300s (301 Hun-garian), 1 in the 200s (222 Spanish) and 4 in the 100s (169 German, 161 Burmese, 150 Indonesian and 138 Afrikaans). Especially to help new transla-tors, we created this webpage, “Translating for the CPRC Website: Questions and Answers” (https://cprc.co.uk/articles/translatingforwebsite). This would be a good link to send to anyone you think might be both willing and able to assist us with this project.

We designed, printed, collated and stapled 1,000 copies of a new CPRC Book catalogue (https://cprc. co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Book-Catalogue-2020.pdf).

After a lot of time because of red tape, we man-aged to prove to PayPal that the CPRC is indeed a charity, so that we could qualify for lower charges for using their services on our website. First, Mary enabled people in the UK to pay for our books and box sets of CDs or DVDs on-line by PayPal or bank transfer, and it has been working well (https://cprc.co.uk/bookstore). Second, she set up a donation page, both for people in the UK (who can also contribute Gift Aid) and all the nations of the world by PayPal or bank transfer (https://cprc. co.uk/product/donations). Over the years, many people have asked us to set up such a webpage and several have used this service already. Third, saints from any country outside the UK (except America and Canada, for we do not want to “compete” with the RFPA) can now buy the products in our bookstore through PayPal or bank transfer, with the former being most convenient and least expensive for most people (https://cprc.co.uk/ordering-information). Our first international customer who used PayPal was a brother from France.

May the Lord be with you all,

Pastor Angus Stewart

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"I Am for Peace"

 This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Psalm 120: 2,6,7

 "I Am for Peace"

Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue…My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalms 120- 134 are titled, “Song of Degrees” or “Song of Ascents”. The fifteen psalms are called the “Pilgrimage Songs”, sung as God’s people would travel to Jerusalem for the three great feasts of the old covenant religious calendar. How fitting they are for all believers in this world. We journey through the week, looking forward to Sunday when we can go to church to hear the gospel of peace. All of our life is a pilgrimage, with eager expectation to the time when God delivers us from this vale of tears to the Jerusalem which is above. In this pilgrimage, we sing songs of pilgrimage.

When we stand for God and His kingdom, we can expect to be slandered by a world that is opposed to God and his Word. But how sad it is when the slander and hatred come from those of our own household. If this psalm was written by David, he knew the slander of those from whom he should not expect it. Having fought battles for King Saul, David was forced to flee as King Saul sought to kill him as a troubler of Israel. Later in his life, David fled from the wrath of his own son, Absalom. Absalom presented himself to the people as one who would judge them and give them justice over against his father who was getting too old or careless. In this way, Absolom stole the hearts of the men of Israel ( I Sam. 15:4-6). Absalom lied to his father, telling him that he wanted to fulfil a vow made in Hebron to serve the Lord. But instead he gathered a strong conspiracy against his father.

Slander and lies bring disharmony, hostility, and opposition. Over against this, the Psalmist said, “I am for peace.” He desired peace with God, peace with his brethren, and even with his enemies. How is this possible? It is only as we are justified by faith alone that there can be peace with God and peace with our neighbor. By nature, as the Heidelberg Catechism instructs us, we hate God and hate our neighbors. When the psalmist stated that he was for peace, he implied his hatred for lies, strife, war, deceit, and slander.

What anguish the psalmist endured in his soul because of slander and lies. He cried, “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” The psalmist had confidence. He cried unto the LORD, and he heard me (vs.1).” God hates slander. What will be given to the liar and false tongue is “sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper” (vs. 4). God will shoot His hot arrows at those who slander and tell lies. This is true both now in time, and unless repented of, eternally.

This psalm is correctly the first psalm of ascent, because it is the desire of the child of God to be delivered, brought up to Jerusalem, which means, “city of peace”. The Psalmist felt as if he wa in the midst of the wicked nation of Japheth, north of Israel, or a ruthless nation from Ishmael, southeast of Israel. Both nations are used figuratively in vs. 5 to represent the psalmist’s feeling of isolation even though he resided in Israel. In Jerusalem was the temple where the peace offering was made. Jehovah spoke peace to His own through the offering.

Ultimately, this psalm finds its highest realization in Jesus Christ. “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” Jesus lives in perfect harmony with His Father in heaven. He came to make the peace offering, taking away the sins of His people. He makes the church a place of peace. How His soul was distressed when He was slandered during the duration of His ministry. He was slandered by the leaders in Jerusalem. They said He cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub, a troubler of Israel, and guilty of blasphemy because He made himself equal with God. His disciples were called liars when they said that Jesus rose from the dead. God delivered Jesus from lying lips and deceitful tongues when He raised Him from the dead and Jesus ascended into heaven.

There is a sense in which all Christians live in Meshech and Kedar; the world is no friend to grace or to God. It is easy for us to feel out of place in a world where values are the opposite of truth. God, the gift of salvation, the hope of eternal life, and our obedience to God’s laws receive mockery. When we stand for the unbreakable marriage between a man and a woman, when we oppose abortion, when we say that there is only one way to the Father, and when we hold the truth of a six-day creation, we are slandered as those that are narrow-minded, bigoted, and mean spirited. It is to be expected. Although we are in the world, we are not of it. “My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.”

But when it is fellow Christians who charge us with being hyper-Calvinists, unscientific, narrow when it comes to Sabbath observance, etc., we feel it and we feel isolated. When the devil stirs up disharmony and bitterness even in our own churches, how sad and distressed we are. Who can bring harmony and peace back? We must look and go, as the psalmist did, to the only one who can help. “In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.” We look to Jesus, the Prince of peace, who by His offering for our sin brings peace with God and peace between fellow believers. We need to go the cross of Calvary and confess our sins of bitterness, hostility, false accusations and slander. With Him there is plenteous forgiveness and deliverance from the power of sin. By His grace we have peace with God, who hates slander, as well as peace with our fellow believers. May we, by the work of the Holy Spirit, be able to say on our pilgrimage to the city of peace, “I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” May we strive to live in harmony and love in righteousness.

Near the end of the Songs of Ascent, we have Psalm 133:

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” “...for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”

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Covenant Reformed News - June 2020

Covenant Reformed News


June 2020 • Volume XVIII, Issue 2



Faith Alone and Imputation

In three previous issues of the News, we have been considering Romans 4:2: “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” Let us now see how the argument of this Scripture applies to various groups.

Judaism teaches that obedience to the Torah merits before God. Roman Catholicism claims that man’s own good works, performed by cooperating with divine grace, are a crucial component in his righteousness before Jehovah. According to the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision, one’s personal obedience to the Most High in this life is part of the basis of one’s justification on the last day. In Islam, keeping sharia law in the service of Allah obtains righteousness before him. The liberal Protestant looks to his churchgoing, saying of prayers, etc., as grounds for his acceptance with God. The “man in the street” thinks that, since he is a “good person” who has (supposedly) “never hurt anyone,” God would never cast him into hell.

All such foolish claims constitute boasting—people boasting to themselves and boasting about themselves to others. But such boasting is of no value before the holy God of heaven. He beholds sin in all that we do (Rom. 3:9-20; Isa. 64:6). His standard is not human or religious opinion but His own perfect moral law (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). He is the One who sees the heart, which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), with all its evil intentions and motives (Heb. 4:12). As the infinitely majestic One, He demands that He always be glorified as the supreme goal of all our thinking, speaking and doing. The Psalmist was right: “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Thus justification cannot be by man’s works, even in the tiniest little part. This shuts us up to the grand gospel truth that father Abraham was justified by faith alone, which is developed in the three clauses of Romans 4:3.

This verse begins, “For what saith the scripture?” Literally, it refers to “the scripture,” namely, Genesis 15:6, which is quoted in the rest of Romans 4:3. This verse from the first book of the Bible is the locus classicus for justification by faith alone in the Old Testament, being cited in Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23, and explained in Romans 4.

“For what saith the scripture?” Romans 4:3 continues, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The text does not say, “Abraham worked, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” or even “Abraham believed and worked, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The Scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:2 rules out in toto man’s works in his justification, while verse 3 mentions faith as the only means of justification. To echo the apostle’s earlier statement, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (3:28).

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (4:3). There are three key words or phrases in the last clause. First, “it” refers back to “believed” and so speaks of faith. Second, “counted” means imputed or reckoned to one’s account. Third, “counted … for righteousness” is equivalent to God’s gracious justification, His declaration that we are righteous or just in His sight.

Here again we oppose not only Rome, but also the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision. In their corruption of the gospel, all of these heretical movements attack gracious imputation. Yet father Abraham’s being counted or imputed righteous occurs in Genesis 15:6, the foundational Old Testament Scripture, which is quoted in Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23, and developed in Romans 4 as the equivalent of justification.

Regarding the truth of imputation, the Canons of Dordt reject the classic Arminian heresy which states, “God, having revoked the demand of perfect obedience of the law, regards faith itself and the obedience of faith, although imperfect, as the perfect obedience of the law, and does esteem it worthy of the reward of eternal life through grace” (II:R:4).

Of course, “faith itself” is not “perfect obedience” to Jehovah’s holy law and it is absurd to reckon that He would regard or impute it as such. Nor can the infinitely just God reckon man’s imperfect obedience as if it were a full and complete keeping of His pure moral standards. The Canons are correct: “these [Arminians] proclaim, as did the wicked Socinus, a new and strange justification of man before God, against the consensus of the whole church” (II:R:4).

The Scriptures do not teach that the Triune God regards faith “as if it were” righteousness or accepts faith “instead of” righteousness, as some sort of substitute for perfect obedience to Jehovah’s law. This would be ascribing to man’s faith the place and role of Christ Himself. He is the true substitute of all elect believers, for the Lord Jesus is the One who died on the cross under the wrath of God instead of us, and the One who kept the law of God in our place and for us.

The Bible says that we believe “unto” righteousness (Rom. 10:10) or that faith is reckoned to us “for” righteousness (e.g., Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3, 5, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6), not that faith is imputed to us “instead of” righteousness or “as if it were” righteousness.

Faith’s unique role in justification is that of the means or instrument that lays hold of the righteousness of God in Christ. Faith looks outside itself and away from itself to the righteousness of another, even the Lord Jesus, whose righteousness it appropriates. Faith is counted to us for righteousness as the only means by which we receive Christ’s obedience reckoned to our account! Rev. Angus Stewart

 

The Well-Meant Offer and Organic Unity (1)

I wish to apologize to readers of the News for not answering their questions sooner. One reason was the volume of questions; the other reason was my determination to complete my treatment of God’s organic dealings with His creation over several issues.

This is a fundamental difference between the Reformed faith and the Arminianism that includes the notion of a gracious offer of the gospel in which God supposedly expresses His affection for absolutely all men and, in that love, passionately desires to save the reprobate. This is rank heresy and a denial of God’s purpose in the preaching (Isa. 6:9-10; II Cor. 2:15-17). I have received a number of questions concerning this error and the teaching of Scripture. I will now respond to one of them, Romans 11:28, though briefly, in the light of what I have written earlier.

There is one warning, however. The defence of the gracious offer of the gospel to absolutely everybody is usually done by a very random and sometimes arbitrary choice of texts. Advocates of this view jump rapidly from verse to verse without carefully considering them in the light of the whole of God’s Word.

I follow Martin Luther’s view of Scripture. Heretics, he said, can always find a text that is supposed to prove their point. If one makes this his way of using Scripture, he can make Scripture teach anything he wants to prove. Luther believed that the Scriptures are an organic whole. I believe that too. The whole of Scripture is a portrait of our Lord Jesus Christ, the revelation of the God of our salvation. If one is painting a portrait, one cannot present the subject’s eyes without taking into account the whole portrait.

My Bible teacher in high school, himself belonging to a domination other than the one to which I belong, warned us of taking a verse out of its immediate context and the context of the whole of Scripture. He told us, in an unforgettable illustration, that he could prove from Scripture that we ought soon to commit suicide, quoting the following texts: “[Judas] went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5); “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37); “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).

While that may seem far-fetched, it is like what Arminians do. They quote John 3:16, for example, without considering the following verses or John 17:9 or Romans 9 or our Lord’s prayer in Matthew 11:25-27, where He thanks His heavenly Father that He has revealed the truth to some and hidden it from others.

It is somewhat wearisome to run after these Arminians as they, like bumble bees, flit from text to text without carefully studying any of them. Nor do the defenders of this position do their homework before coming up with question after question. Let them read Reformed literature, such as, Arthur Pink’s The Sovereignty of God or my recent book, Corrupting the Word of God, on the history of the doctrine of the well-meant offer of the gospel. (Both books are available from the CPRC Bookstore for £8 and £15, respectively, plus 10% P&P.)

Now to the Scripture: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom. 11:28).

This verse is a clear illustration of the principle that a text’s interpretation must be considered in the light of its context. The context in Romans 9–11 clearly indicates that Paul is answering the question, If the gospel is being preached to the Gentiles, has God forgotten His people, the Jews? Paul answers, first of all, by saying that election and reprobation were worked out by God throughout the physical descendants of Abraham: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (9:13). Not all Israelites were saved; just read Romans 9:6-8! It is, therefore, a violation of Scripture to interpret “they” in Romans 11:28, as meaning all men head for head. It refers only to the nation of Israel and that as organically conceived.

Because of their unique place in history, the Jews as a nation are not considered as Jews head for head but as a nation that occupies a special place in God’s working out of His purpose of salvation in Christ. The nation of Israel’s special place is defined in Romans 9:4-5. Therefore, as Paul discusses the gospel preached also to the Gentiles, he uses the figure of an olive tree: Israel is the natural olive tree; the Gentiles are of the wild olive tree (11:16-24). Each branch is a generation as it grows. Once a branch of a wild olive tree is cut off, that branch (those who believe not the gospel) is lost forever.

But this is not true of the Jews. Because they are the “beloved,” the nation, organically considered, was cut down but individual Jews can yet be saved, a privilege denied the nations of the Gentiles. This privilege is granted only to the Jews. Election determines who among the Jews is saved. Therefore, the reprobate Jews are “enemies” for the sake of the Gentiles, to make room for these Gentiles in the olive tree (11:11ff.).

The questioner asks for a book that deals specifically with Romans 11:28. Let him order Herman Hoeksema’s commentary on Romans, Righteous By Faith Alone (£20 plus 10% P&P), where he will find a detailed explanation of this matter. Prof. Herman Hanko



Rev. Stewart will be interviewed by phone on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio on “Regeneration: God’s Gift of a New Heart” on Thursday, 25 June, from 4-6 PM (Eastern Time in the US) or 9-11 PM (UK time), DV. Listen live on-line (www.ironsharpensironradio.com). The audio of the previous interview on the new birth, “Supernatural and Infallible Regeneration: Most Delightful, Astonishing, Mysterious and Ineffable” (cf. Canons III/IV:12), is on a special webpage containing sermons, articles, and box sets of CDs and DVDs on this beautiful subject (www.cprc.co.uk/resources-on-regeneration).


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