On this forty-seventh Lord's Day of 2018, November 25, we provide the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.
PRC Seminary News:
Dordt 400 Writing contest: Don’t forget that the conference also includes a writing contest with great prizes! Sign up and submit your essay by January 15 at the conference website Dordt400.org
“For your information, the Classis of the PRCP decided on October 31, 2018, that theological instruction of prospective students for the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP should begin in August 2019, the Lord willing. To this goal, Classis approved the recommendation of its Committee 1 that the 3 PRCA missionaries (Rev. Holstege, Rev. Kleyn, and Rev. Smit) be appointed to serve as an initial faculty to assist Committee 1 with the necessary preparations and arrangements for the start of a Protestant Reformed theological training. Currently, much planning and preparation are underway regarding curriculum, instructors, location, and finances. Many of these plans will need to be approved by the Classis in February and June 2019 so that there will be more announcements as August 2019 approaches. Committee 1 and the missionaries covet your fervent prayers to our heavenly Father that He may bless us with the grace and wisdom necessary as we work towards the start of instruction to prospective students next August, subject to His will.”
*Looking for gift ideas this time of the year? How about this new RFPA title? "God’s mercy endures forever. And the same mercy he displayed in the creation of the world and to his people Israel, he also reveals to his children in Jesus Christ. The words of this psalm and illustrator Kathleen DeJong’s beautiful acrylics and line drawings will inspire covenant children and their parents to thank God each day for his unending mercies."
ESPECIALLY FOR PRC YP and YA:
Provident Christian Church (Marikina, the Philippines), which just recently became a thoroughly Reformed congregation (*cf. note below and the most recent Philippines newsletter)
"Pastor and Mary Haak return home from India this Tuesday. We pray for traveling mercies. This past week was spent teaching in the Sola Grate program on Eschatology (30 plus in attendance), leading Bible studies, visits with members of the PRCV, and a Sunday Retreat planned with the English church on Miracles and Infant Baptism. Thanksgiving Day was spent with Pastor Raj and Kasthuri in Pondicherry. The PRCV and Children of the GFH are prospering under God’s Covenant faithfulness and grace."
Rev. Holstege will preach both times today. After the first service, he will finish Lesson 6 and begin Lesson 7 in the Essentials class. The second service will be “Preparatory.” We will be exhorted to prepare for the Lord’s Supper.
December 28, 2018 is the commemoration of the 400th year anniversary of the Synod of Dordt and the conference will be hosted by the Provident Christian Church(Reformed) at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Rev. D. Holstege wil speak on Dordt and the Doctrine of Grace, Rev. V. Ibe on Dordt and Preaching of the Gospel and Rev. R. Smit on Dordt and its concern for faithful Sabbath keeping. Moderator is Rev. D. Kleyn. RFPA books on sells. Registration is P50. Please invite someone with you.
Next week: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both services. He will join the scheduled Church Visitation Committee in PRC Bulacan right after the Second Service.
Let us continue in prayer to the Lord for the fulfillment of the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.
Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and our sister churches, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
A New Reformed Church!
On the fifth of August, after our two worship services, I announced to Provident Christian Church, “You are now officially a Reformed church.” And their response? They clapped their hands, joyously and spontaneously, in thanksgiving to God! “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved” (Ps. 47:1-4).
Before we had lunch together that Sunday, in the fellowship hall downstairs, I briefly explained the following two passages of Holy Writ and applied them to the happy occasion: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thess. 2:15).
The ground of the announcement that Sunday was the official adoption of the Three Forms of Unity by the Steering Committee on July 29. From 2012 into 2018, we missionaries taught them the Reformed symbols: the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt. We also taught them the Church Order of the Protestant Reformed Churches. One of us planted, another watered, but God gave the increase (I Cor. 3:6). Then, on July 29, the Steering Committee adopted the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, together with the Psalter and the Forms in the back of the Psalter.
When I explained to the Steering Committee the implication of adopting the Three Forms of Unity, namely, that they are now officially Reformed, their faces beamed, and they exchanged hearty hand-shakes. We praise our gracious covenant God for guiding PCC to become a Reformed church of Jesus Christ.
More Reformed Believers!
Throughout the months of August and September, the men of the Steering Committee and I visited those who expressed, in writing, a desire to join the now Reformed, Provident Christian Church. We asked them the three questions in the Form for Public Confession of Faith. I explained the questions as follows:
1. Do you believe the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God; do you believe the doctrines of the Apostolic Creed; do you believe the doctrines of the Three Forms of Unity, as taught by us missionaries here in this church?
2. Is it your deep desire, by the grace of God, to hold firmly to this doctrine, to reject all false doctrines, and to strive to keep the commandments of God in a new and godly life?
3. Are you willing to submit to the government of Christ through the office bearers of this church and to the discipline of the elders, if you should become delinquent?
As of now, there are about twenty-five, previously baptized, adult believers at PCC who “have made a confession of the Reformed religion, besides being reputed to be of a godly walk” (Church Order, Article 61). Besides these, there are about fifteen children and young people who will confess their faith, Lord willing, in time to come. We thank our heavenly Father for His work of grace in the lives of these believers.
More Reformed Office Bearers!
Having compiled a list of confessing members, we proceeded to nominate new office bearers at our monthly Steering Committee meeting on September 23. We missionaries advised the members of the Steering Committee, for the sake of a smooth transition, to nominate themselves as the elders and deacons of the congregation.
Brothers Bien Montoya and Alex Dela Rosa were nominated to be elders. Brothers Mitch Suarez and Jun Armas were nominated to be deacons. Those four names appeared in the bulletin on the Sundays of September 30 and October 7 for the silent approbation of the congregation. There were no objections.
The council of PCC, from the left: Bro. Alex Dela Rosa, Bro. Bien Montoya, [Rev. D. Holstege], Bro. Mitch Suarez, and Bro. Jun Armas.
On October 14, I had the privilege of leading the first Reformed installation service of Provident Christian Church. All four men answered “yes” to the three questions in the Form for Installation of Elders and Deacons. All four men then signed the Formula of Subscription in front of church, for all to see. I preached a sermon on Acts 6:1-6 entitled “The First Deacons.” After the service, the whole congregation was invited to stay for lunch and we enjoyed a great time of fellowship.
Recently at PCC, I decided to preach through the book of Titus. What Paul exhorted Titus to do in the churches of Crete struck me as very similar to our task at PCC: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5). Things have now been set in order at PCC. Elders and deacons have been ordained. Lord willing, we will begin administering the sacraments at PCC, for the first time since becoming a Reformed church, this November.
The next step for them is to request membership in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP), which we plan to do at the February meeting of Classis, DV.
A Visiting Pastor and His Family
From October 15-19, Rev. Joe Holstege, his wife Lisa, and their son Jacob visited us here in the Philippines. He had been preaching for the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, a sister church of the PRCA (and soon, Lord willing, also of the PRCP). They decided to hop over the sea to visit us. During their five days here, they were able to experience some Philippine culture and to meet some Filipino believers. On the Wednesday night that they were here, they were able to visit with Rev. Vernon Ibe and his family, to see the new church building of the Berean PRC, and to give a speech at PCC on personal evangelism. I was told that my brother is mas gwapo than me. I will let you figure out what that means and judge whether or not it is true ☺
Pray that Christ will continue to build His church at PCC, and throughout the Philippines, and that He will strengthen these newly Reformed believers to hold fast the traditions they have been taught.
Rev. Dan Holstege