In harmony with the principles of holy Scripture and our Three Forms of Unity, the PRC through its Committee for Contact with Other Churches maintain full sister church relationships with two foreign churches and a corresponding relationship with one other foreign denomination.
83 Clarence Street,
Ballymena BT42 3NR, Northern Ireland
Services: 11:00 A.M. & 6:00 P.M.
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 851View items...
11, Jalan Mesin #04-00
Standard Industrial Building
Worship Services: 9:30 A.M. & 2:00 P.M.
Pastor (Interim): Rev. Arie denHartog
148 Bishan Street 11 #06-113
Singapore 570148View items...
For information on this small Presbyterian denomination in Australia with whom the PRCA have a "corresponding relationship", visit their website.View items...
"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has just released the April 2016 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#37),their youth magazine.
Once again the "SS" is filled with interesting and edifying articles, and our PRC young people especially are invited and encouraged to read it.
Below you will find a note from the "SS" Committee introducing the contents of this issue and images of the cover and table of contents. The entire issue is also attached here in pdf form.
We are pleased to bring you Issue 37 of Salt Shakers! Though various circumstances caused the delay of this issue from March to April, we are conscious of the grace of our Lord in sustaining the work of this Reformed magazine. Due to the delay, we will be on track to publish Issue 38 only in July. We thank our readers for their patience and covet your continued prayers for the work.
As Reformed young people, we love our magazine. As always, we trust that God will use these feeble and imperfect works for the edification of many.
Soli Deo Gloria, Chua Lee Yang
From our sister church in Singapore, Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, comes the latest issue of REFORMED NEWS ASIA, containing updates on congregational events and publications. Browse the content below and follow the imbedded links to discover more.
“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?” (Isa. 51:12-13).
The practical importance of these inspired words rests upon three facts. First, we are tempted to fear, to fear man. Second, we are sinfully inclined to forget, to forget God. Third, we are tempted to fear man and forget God because of Babylon. Over a century after Isaiah’s prophecy, Israel was taken captive to Babylon. We too live in the Babylon of this evil world, which in 1,001 ways encourages and commands us, “Fear man! Forget the Lord!”
We also need to understand that the verses quoted above constitute part of Jehovah’s response to Israel’s earnest prayer for God to “awake” and wield His mighty arm to redeem His people, as He did when He destroyed the Egyptians at the Red Sea (9-10). Not only does Jehovah promise to ransom His beloved church (11) but He also addresses their fears. Our gracious Father is very practical here, showing His care for His children. He knows that His people’s request for deliverance is mixed with some sinful fear of man, for He sees the hearts of all.
Thus God provides Israel with a twofold comfort. First, He promises to redeem them (a direct answer to their stated request). Second, He addresses their fears (an important response to their unstated struggle).
Various lessons arise out of this for us today. We see here that true believers can and do struggle with the fear of man, to varying degrees and at certain times. You must not think like this: “There is some fear of man in my heart. Therefore, I am not a Christian.” Just look at Israel here. In Isaiah 51, the saints make a powerful and persuasive prayer (9-10), yet God detects some unbelieving fears in their hearts (12-13).
We also learn from this passage that our prayers, even godly prayers, may arise in connection with our fears. So do not think like this either: “There is some sinful fear in my heart. Therefore, God will not hear my prayers.” For what do we learn regarding Israel in Isaiah 51? That Jehovah answered their requests (11-16), despite the fact that their prayers were mixed with some fear of man.
All this encourages us to go to our heavenly Father when we are troubled and fearful. Jehovah alerts Israel to her fears and helps her against them (7-8). Israel prays for redemption (9-10). God promises to ransom her (11) and reasons with her about her fears (12-13). He works in a similar fashion with us too!
When we are afraid or anxious, we must not be reticent in approaching His face or in admitting our unbelieving fears to Him (and seeking His forgiveness and strength to overcome our fears). By His grace, He pardons us and sanctifies us and comforts us. From your reading, singing and meditating upon the Psalms, you know of the many times the Psalmist did this and found relief in his God. We must heed the blessed exhortation: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16)!
It is easy to understand how the Jews were tempted to fear ancient Babylon. Theirs was the army that destroyed Judah and Jerusalem. Babylon was possessed of military power, an imposing legal system and hugely impressive buildings. Babylon was confident in, and proud of, its achievements and abilities. This ethos was evident throughout its mighty empire. This is not unlike the modern Babylon of the world in our own day!
Yet the prophet’s question to Israel is devastating: “who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die” (Isa. 51:12)? For all his pomp, man, even at his best and his most powerful, is mortal. All men have died or are going to die. The great Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has mouldered for over 2,500 years. Likewise, the grave awaits all those who frame ungodly laws to advance their sins and their power. Even the richest and most outwardly prosperous children of Adam are subject to weakness and sickness, pain and ageing—the precursors of death and the everlasting hell that awaits all those who remain impenitent in their sins, and do not seek mercy and forgiveness in the cross of Christ alone.
From the playground bullies to the leaders of our age who misrepresent or mock the Christian faith, and all the wicked who are so highly praised and extolled in our day, as well as the ungodly legislators and rulers of our wicked world—all are mortal and will one day have to stand before the glory of God manifest in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be judged for every thought, word and deed.
Isaiah 51:12 adds that they “shall be made as grass.” The ungodly are fragile and transient, like grass which is cut down and withers away in the desert heat (Ps. 90:5-6), unlike the Word of our God which stands for ever (Isa. 40:6-8).
This is man, fallen and frail man, who is a “son of man” (51:12), just like his father and his father before him: weak, mortal and under God’s wrath. So do not fear him, even if he is rich, attractive and powerful. “Fear God” instead (Ecc. 12:13)! Rev. Angus Stewart
“Listen and Wake Up!” 10 sermons on Isaiah 51:1-52:12, in a handsome box set (CD or DVD), is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £12/set (inc. P&P). Free videos and audios of these sermons can also be found on the CPRC website and YouTube site.
13 April, 2016
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
The CPRC catechism season ended recently (Monday, 4 April) with tests for most of the twelve students. The children did well, with the encouragement and help of their parents.
After 44 classes over almost a one-year period (literally 364 days), we finished our Tuesday morning classes on Hosea. As well as introducing the prophet and his background in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, we covered his teaching on harlotry, children, agriculture, earlier Old Testament history, Jehovah's law, the covenant, and the knowledge of God. Our new subject is the Mosaic law in Exodus-Deuteronomy, with our first few classes considering the food laws.
Our Wednesday night doctrine class on Belgic Confession 27, after detailed study of the church's four attributes of unity, catholicity, holiness, and apostolicity, covered the election and gathering of the church in our last two meetings. Tonight, we will focus on the preservation of the church. These classes also attract a lot of interest by way of the audios on-line. When we first started our studies on the Belgic Confession, almost five years ago, we did not receive that many hits. Now they are regularly among our most listened to audios (www.cprf. co.uk/audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm).
After the 11-sermon series on the three chapters of the ninth minor prophet, “Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord,” we are now on “God's Communicable Attributes.” We have admired His longsuffering, grace, mercy, love, and wisdom. This Lord's Day, we will rejoice in Jehovah's righteousness, D.V.
“Our Identity in Christ” was the subject of the last special lecture in the CPRC (Friday, 18 March) (www.cprf.co.uk/audio.htm#identity). Despite paid advertisements in a local paper, a trailer after our Reformed Witness Hour broadcast, an article in the Ballymena Guardian (17 March), the distribution of hundreds of flyers in the area, etc., it was the worst attendance for any speech in the six years we have been in our church building! We generally find that we have larger audiences for lectures which are more distinctive and/or have an historical aspect.
The day before this lecture, the CPRC had a stall at the annual St. Patrick's Day climb at Mount Slemish, a few miles east of Ballymena. Julian Kennedy, Tommy Duncan, and Marco Barone helped distribute Christian tracts to the hikers.
Last week, we were in South Wales for a speech on “Who Is in the Image of God?” (7 April). Discussions with the saints afterwards were good and the lecture is now on-line (www.cprf.co.uk/audio. htm#identity). As a follow-up, I am planning on “Are Unbelievers in the Image of God?” as the title for the next speech in S. Wales. The false notion that everybody is in God's image is being used to proclaim a love and desire of God for the salvation of all men absolutely, and/or to deny total depravity and eternal punishment, and/or to promote homosexuality and ecumenism with false churches and pagan reli-gions. The imago dei is an important subject also because of the errors involving it!
The CPRC uses the Internet in its witnessing. We are getting almost 2,000 people every day on our main website (www.cprc.co.uk) for written materials. This figure excludes those who listen to our many on-line audios.
The last two months saw the addition of 22 translations to our website (www.cprf.co. uk/languages.htm): 10 Hungarian (by our two trans-lators from Hungary, one of whom, Balint, is coming to this summer's conference in Northern Ireland with his wife, Kati); 5 Czech (by a new translator, Rev. Petr Kulik, who got in touch with us through ordering Herman Hoeksema's Reformed Dogmatics); 3 Spanish (chapters from Rev. Ron Hanko's Doctrine According to Godliness); 2 Italian (Covenant Reformed News articles); and 2 Indonesian (including Prof. Engelsma's pamphlet, “As a Father Pitieth His Children: Reformed Child-Rearing”).
There are now 1,800 videos on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI), thanks to the many hours of work by Stephen Murray putting them on-line. Soon we should reach 200,000 views. The number of people joining us for the live webcasting of our Sunday services and lectures is also growing slowly (www.cprf.co.uk/live.html).
Those of you who have made it to the United Kingdom for all but the most recent British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conferences will have met Michael Kimmitt. Michael has been a major part of the BRF from its earliest days and served as editor of the British Reformed Journal (BRJ) before Rev. McGeown. Our brother went to be with the Lord (13 February), so Mary and I flew over to North Wales to attend his funeral. The next BRJ will contain a memorial to Michael written by another former BRJ editor, Lind-say Williams.
Chester Mansona of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) has recently added about 15 articles from past issues of the BRJ to the BRF website (www.britishreformed.org). New subscribers are al-ways welcome.
The new BRF book, Be Ye Holy: The Reformed Truth of Sanctification, consisting of the speeches at the last BRF conference, is currently being formatted and proofed for publication in the next few months. Any PR church or evangelism committee who would be interested in pre-ordering significant numbers of the book will be offered the work at cost price. Something to bear in mind! I will be sending an e-mail about this to the relevant parties in some weeks' time when we have more facts and figures available, D.V.
Meanwhile, the BRF has been placing advertising, for both the 2016 BRF conference in Northern Ireland on “Behold, I Come Quickly: The Reformed Biblical Truth of the End” and the BRJ, in various British Christian papers. Sadly, the Evangelical Times refused to accept our paid ad for the BRJ and declared that they will no longer accept ads from the BRF or the CPRC. The reason? Because we do not believe that the ever-blessed and omnipotent God earnestly desires to save the reprobate! Faithful creedal Reformed bodies who hold the classic Augustinian position on Jehovah's simplicity and immutability are outside the pale as if they were hyper-Calvinists! Evangelicalism is declining in the UK in numbers, doctrine, and conviction, yet one of the few things they can reject is the truth of God's absolute sovereignty!
Planning for the BRF conference this summer (16-23 July) in Castlewellan Castle is progressing well (http://brfconference.weebly.com). On Monday, 28 March, when driving back after a Lord's Day with the saints in the LRF, Mary and I stopped in at Trim, northwest of Dublin. Though it had come highly recommended, we had not actually checked out this lovely town and its 800-year-old Norman castle before. We were very impressed. It will make an excellent part of one of the conference's two day trips! We are looking forward to seeing both familiar and new faces at the conference in July.
May the Lord be with you all!
Rev. and Mary Stewart
In the last two issues of the News, we saw that the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29) was commended by Jesus Christ for five virtues or gracious activities: love, service, faithfulness, perseverance and good works: “I know thy … charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first” (19). In this concluding article, we will treat the threefold reward of grace that the Son of God gives to His saints at Thyatira and to all who overcome the world, the flesh and the devil by faith (26-28).
First, our Saviour promises, “And he [or she] that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him [or her] will I give power over the nations” (26). This encourages all God’s people to serve in the body of Christ in any way that they can, no matter how small. We are tempted to be discouraged because typically in the church we are only doing little things in a small sphere: “What is my labour in the congregation worth? Surely, it is of little importance!” Perhaps, the children and the elderly are particularly prone to think this way, maybe, in part, because they and their help have been sinfully slighted by more “able” members.
We must be confident of the mind of Christ regarding all our love, service, faithfulness, perseverance and good works in His church, no matter how small or apparently insignificant. The Lord thinks so highly of them—and remember that they are His works in and through us (26)—that He will reward us with the gift of ruling the world! We sow small ecclesiastical labours and we will reap massive cosmic and “political” rewards (cf. Gal. 6:8)! Moreover, we will govern the world from heaven and in the new heavens and the new earth, together with all the glorified saints and in Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 2:26 speaks of our “power [or authority] over the nations.” This too is significant. In this life, few Christians have civil authority (I Cor. 1:26-29). Some in the church are given spiritual authority by the Lord Jesus in the offices of pastor, elder or deacon. Even then ecclesiastical officer-bearers are forbidden to lord it “over God’s heritage” (I Pet. 5:3). “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” is the calling of all believers (Eph. 5:21). Yet, in the next life, Christ Himself will give us all the authority or right to rule over all the nations. This is an authority of which the President of the United States or the leadership of the United Nations or even the Antichrist, the man of sin and son of perdition (II Thess. 2:3), who will come at the end of this age, can only dream. Truly, “the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matt. 20:16)!
The Lord Jesus describes our reward further in this second statement: “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:27). You will have recognized that this verse cites Psalm 2:9, which is an Old Testament prophecy of the coming Messianic king. However, the “he” in Revelation 2:27 is the individual believer, as a consideration of the verse’s last clause and a comparison between verses 26 and 27 makes clear.
The idea is that Christ receives from the Triune God the authority to smash the ungodly nations. He then shares this holy duty with His elect, redeemed, regenerated and glorified people. Thus we are speaking here of our union with the Lord Jesus, especially in His kingly office (cf. Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 32). It also must be pointed out that we will be administering God’s judicial sentence upon His enemies and not our own sinful, personal vengeance during our earthly lives.
Again, the difference between our good works and our reward as God’s people is startling. In this life, we serve the body of Christ with love and faithfulness; in the next life, we are given the power to destroy the wicked! The text is very graphic. Whereas Christians are currently more used to wielding a vacuum cleaner or a pen or a spade, in the age to come God will give us “a rod of iron,” with the impenitent wicked being clay pots. We will shatter and smash them into pieces, even tiny shivers! This will happen not by political revolution nor by civil rebellion but by our spiritual glorification.
Our Lord Jesus also makes a third promise regarding our eternal inheritance: “And I will give him the morning star” (28). What is meant by “the morning star”? Christ Himself explains at the end of this book of Revelation: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (22:16).
If it strikes you as strange that Christ should give Himself to us as the morning star, you should recall that the Lord Jesus, the bread of life, gives Himself to us as the bread of life (John 6). In general, what else does our Redeemer give us apart from Himself and all things in Him?
So what is the idea of Jesus Christ as “the morning star”? It is an image of beauty and light, heavenly beauty and light. Moreover, the morning star is the herald of the dawn of the new day of rich covenant fellowship with the Triune God after death and in the new heavens and the new earth for ever!
Listen to Christ’s words: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Rev. 2:29). This includes, beloved child of God, believing, remembering and drawing comfort from Christ’s rich promise of a glorious reward to all who overcome by His grace! Rev. Angus Stewart
“The Seven Churches in Asia,” 12 sermons on Revelation 2-3 in an attractive box set (CD or DVD), is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £12/set (inc. P&P). Free video and audio of these sermons can be found on the CPRC website and YouTube site.
A reader from N. Ireland sent this question for consideration in the Covenant Reformed News: “Does Genesis 10:1-5 suggest a plethora of languages (dialects?) before Babel?” I am not quoting the text to which the brother refers because it gives us some of the genealogies of the sons of Noah. The reader himself can look up the verses.
What the questioner apparently assumes is that Genesis 10 precedes the confusion of languages in Genesis 11 chronologically (i.e., as regards time). However, that assumption is wrong.
It is true that the confusion of tongues at Babel is recorded in the next chapter but it is clear that the chronologies of Genesis 10 go beyond Babel chronologically, for verse 25 refers to the “division” at Babel.
In speaking of the children of Shem, Moses tells us that the covenant line that ultimately brought forth the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, was from this son of Noah, not Japheth or Ham. This was in fulfilment of Noah’s prophecy in Genesis 9:25-27. In connection with the line from Shem to Eber, Genesis 10:25 states, “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided.” Then Scripture gives us the line of Joktan, Peleg’s brother in the rest of Genesis 10. The covenant line, through Peleg, is picked up again and extended in Genesis 11:16-32 from Eber to Abraham.
So the answer to the question above is simply this: Genesis 10 records genealogies chronologically beyond the division of the people at Babel. Scripture then goes on to record for us what took place at Babel in Genesis 11.
The event of Babel was such a tremendous event and so important for an understanding of Bible history that I am going to take the liberty to go beyond the question and say a few things about Babel.
The confusion of languages at Babel was not simply a work of God in which He gave various groups of people a language that they had never had before. The word “languages” is used in Scripture to designate much more than languages. It refers to the fact that God divided all the people of the earth into races. In fact, it was most likely that the three major “races” were created by God at Babel: the Jews and Arabians from Shem; the white race from Japheth; and the yellow and black races from Ham. Each race was not only different in colour, but also different in physical and psychical characteristics.
Gradually, as the races moved in different directions, each race was also given different parts of the world for its possession. Then each race, separated geographically, was in turn divided into individual nations.
God made such differences between the people for two important reasons.
The negative reason was a blow sent to men to prevent them from forming prematurely the Antichrist. Nimrod, the obvious leader of all that lived under his rule, was bent on building a tower that would keep all the peoples of the earth together so that they could accomplish a one-nation world to make war against God (Gen. 10:8-10). That effort, in building the tower of Babel, would have meant the obliteration of the line of God’s covenant and the prevention of the birth of Christ.
Henceforth, because of Babel, the history of the world is characterized by repeated warfare between the races and the nations in the endeavour of each to build a one-rule empire, but one in which each nation wants to be superior to all the others, e.g., Babel, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The line temporarily ends with Rome, because the new dispensation is the time of the gathering of a catholic church. When that elect church is nearly gathered, the final Antichrist will rule.
In discussing all this, Scripture describes what happened at Babel as the “deadly wound” of one of the heads of the beast which will be “healed” (Rev. 13:3). The last Antichrist succeeds, under the sovereign providential government of Christ, to unite the world in one kingdom over which he rules. Babel was God’s way of preventing Antichrist’s rule until the catholic or universal church is gathered.
That is the positive purpose of Babel. Dividing the world into races and nations, God gathered a truly catholic church from all nations and tribes and tongues. I am not speaking of the false Roman Catholic Church but of Christ’s universal church of those elected from eternity, redeemed in the cross and preserved unto glory by the sovereign mercy of the living God.
I cannot go into the beautiful doctrine of the catholic church here. It is sufficient to say that it takes an almost infinite variety of people to reveal fully the riches of God’s grace! God’s grace is so rich and full that it is like a diamond, each facet of which reveals another colour found in one beam of light. Babel has served its purpose and all the catholic church will be gathered! Prof. Herman Hanko (ermeritus PRC Seminary)
Homer C. Hoeksema: “Finally, for a little while at the very end of history, the wicked world will apparently succeed in overcoming the effect of Babel’s deadly wound; but that will be only to enable the final kingdom of Antichrist to fill the cup of iniquity to the very last drop in order that the wicked may be cast out into the everlasting confusion and desolation of which Babel is a picture. The only true and lasting unity is made from all the nations of the world in our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and raised, through his Spirit, beginning on the day of Pentecost. There the difference in tongues falls away, so that in Christ Jesus the elect, new humanity, the church, is united in the bond of faith. That kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ shall have the everlasting victory. Babel is the name of the world. Babel is the world’s essential character. God confused them, and he shall confuse them in the end and forever. But they who love the Lord Jesus Christ shall inherit the everlasting kingdom” (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 2, pp. 79-80; available from the CPRC Bookstore for £18, plus £1.80 P&P).
An attractive box set of 9 CDs entitled “The Church’s Invisibility, Unity and Catholicity,” on Belgic Confession 27, is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £10/set (inc. P&P). Free audio of these classes can be found on the CPRC website.
(1) S. Wales Lectures
"The Love of the World"
Both John and James (and therefore the Holy Spirit) forbid friendship with the world (I John 2:15-17; James 4:4). But what is “worldliness”? How can I avoid worldliness, on the one hand, and world flight (Anabaptism), on the other hand? Come to hear the truth from the Word of God!
Speaker: Rev. Martyn McGeown
Thursday, 25 February - 7:15 PM
at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)
(2) "Who Is in the Image of God?"
In discourse by Christians, there is a lot of talk about the image of God. But what actually is it? Are unbelievers also in the image and likeness of God? What does Holy Scripture say? What is the testimony of the Reformed confessions? And why is the issue of the image of God so important?
Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart
Thursday, 7 April - 7:15 PM
at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Rev. Nathan Decker (Trinity PRC) and Elder Pete VanDerSchaaf (Faith PRC) were this year's church visitors (9-16 January). Besides their official visitation with the CPRC Council (11 January), Rev. Decker did a fine job with both Sunday services, a Bible study on the purpose and role of our ecumenical and Reformed creeds, and a special lecture on “God's Beautiful Covenant of Grace” (13 January).
As well as advertising the speech by word of mouth, flyers through peoples' doors, a trailer after our Northern Ireland Reformed Witness Hour broadcast, notification through the Covenant Reformed News and Facebook, the Ballymena Guardian (7 January) and the Belfast News Letter (9 January) carried short articles. Even the latter, though only one paragraph and tucked away at the bottom of a piece about Christians in the Ulster rugby team, brought a lady visitor. The lecture was well attended and has received a lot of hits on-line (audio and video). A good number of books were sold.
While Rev. Decker was preparing his speech, Pete helped us collate and staple hundreds of copies of the new CPRC Book Catalogue (www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore/BookstoreCatalogue2016.pdf).
Our two American brethren also visited a number of our members in their homes. Their last evening with us was occupied with our annual congregational dinner. Rev. Martyn McGeown, Manuel Kuhs, and Chester Mansona of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), as well as other friends of our congregation also joined us. Erik Prins (Trinity PRC) even flew in from Germany. The length to which single men will go for a good meal! William Graham, as always, gave a superb quiz, and Pete may be the only church visitor who has ever been on the winning team!
Our last lecture in the Round Chapel in Port Talbot in South Wales went very well (28 January). The subject, “Our Identity in Christ,” covered the loss of man in contemporary secular thought and presented the comfort of our union with the Lord Jesus.
David Hutchings, a friend in South Wales, has been promoting the speeches that Rev. McGeown and I give in Port Talbot. Through the special Facebook page he created for this purpose, three new contacts came to this lecture. Two other young men also attended for the first time. Twenty-two people were present—a good number for us. Some £200 worth of books and box sets of CDs and DVDs were sold, and a lot of free PR pamphlets were taken.
The speech was followed by a good and wide-ranging question time. Though I only touched on the subject in passing, “Our Identity in Christ” raised queries in many minds about the image of God, so I told the saints that it will be the subject of my next lecture in South Wales, DV.
The Belfast News Letter (29 January) published a letter I submitted on “Deformed Lutheranism and Unreformed Rome Commemorating the Reformation Together” (www.cprf.co.uk/articles/lutheransromereformation.html). We reprinted about 800 copies of Rev. Ron Hanko's very short but incisive pamphlet, “Some Further Objections to the Free Offer of the Gospel” ( www.cprf.co.uk/pamphlets/furtherobjectionstofreeoffer.htm ).
Our latest box set of CDs and DVDs contains 8 sermons on “The Interlude and the Seventh Trumpet” (Rev. 10-11). Since they cover the mighty angel astride land and sea, and the two witnesses, they have proven especially popular on YouTube.
The preaching of late is on the second table of the law (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Days 39-44) and the three chapters of one of the less-known, but significant, minor prophets: “Zephaniah and the Day of the Lord.” Recently, Tuesday morning classes on Hosea have covered Israel's kingship and God's covenant. Our Wednesday night class has been exploring two attributes of Christ's church: catholicity and holiness (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgicconfessionclass.htm). All are beautiful and rich subjects, for there is such a depth to God's Word!
The last couple of years have seen a number of large expenditures (for a church our size), most of which consisted of one-off items. Just when our bank account was running low, on top of the generous giving of the congregation, we received substantial donations from outside the church from saints in Northern Ireland, Australia, the U.S., and England. The Lord graciously provides for His people at the right time.
Since my last bimonthly letter, we have added 26 translations to our website ( www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm ). These have involved believers in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America: (Brazilian) Portuguese 4 (including a very lengthy article, “The Image of God in Man: A Reformed Reassessment”), Hungarian 6 (Covenant Reformed News articles), Italian 3 (by Marco Barone), Afrikaans 5 (by Nic Grobler, a Reformed elder in South Africa), Indonesian 5 (including Rev. A. Brummel's pamphlet, “Bringing Forth Children in an Age of Selfishness”), and Korean 3 (by a Korean theological student in W. Michigan).
As you should have seen from the bulletins in the various Protestant Reformed Churches, the booking form for the 2016 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference is now available (http://brfconference.weebly.com/). You are warmly invited to join us at Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland for a week this summer (16-23 July). Prof. D. Engelsma and Rev. A. Lanning are our speakers on “Behold, I Come Quickly: The Reformed, Biblical Truth of the End.” Already we have a goodly number of people signed up or seriously considering coming.
May the Lord bless and keep you, your families and your churches in our ungodly world!
Rev. and Mary Stewart