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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 29, 2023

Psalm 85 8Today, January 29, is the fifth Lord's Day of this year of our Lord 2023. Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news. It is our hope that these reports not only inform you but also give you opportunity to pray for the needs of these churches and mission fields throughout the world.

As we have entered this new year, we do so in glad and grateful worship of our sovereign, saving God and King. To Him we owe our all and to Him we commit our way in 2023, day by day. 

If you are new to this website and the PRCA, we invite you to join us in worship today or on any of the Sunday's of this year at one of our local congregations near you, or listen online.

Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps. ~ Psalm 85:7-13

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS 

  • Rev. N. Decker is considering the calls to Loveland (CO) PRC (received Jan.15) and Georgetown PRC (received Jan.22).

  • Last Sunday Rev. W. Langerak (Trinity PRC-Hudsonville, MI) declined the call from Hosanna PRC (Edmonton, AB).

  • Last Sunday Randolph PRC (WI) voted to extend a call to Rev. M. DeBoer (Edgerton, MN).

  • Last Sunday Doon PRC voted to call C. Spronk (Faith PRC).

  • Hull PRC's Council announced a new trio: Revs. J. Holstege, D. Noorman, and S. Regnerus. The congregational meeting will be held Monday, January 30.
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. K. Koole in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. D. Kuiper and Rev. J. Maatman in First PRC-Grand Rapids; Prof. C. Griess and Rev. J. Holstege in Georgetown PRC; Rev. T. Miersma in Hosanna PRC, Edmonton, AB; Rev. G. Eriks and Rev. J. Mahtani in Hudsonville PRC; Elder in a.m.; Rev. M. DeBoer in afternoon (3 p.m.) in Hull PRC; Rev. M. Kortus (1st week) in Loveland PRC; Rev. C. Haak in Randolph PRC May we count it a blessing of our church federation that we can help one another in these needs. Let us remember to pray for the men who supply these pulpits and for the vacant congregations. And may we continue to pray for men to hear the call to serve as pastors and missionaries!

  • Officebearer Resources: This is the time of year when new officebearers (elders and deacons) are installed into office. This special notice is to inform you that there is a special webpage on this site devoted to resources for officebearers - sermons, seminars, articles, seminary syllabi, etc. And the PRC Seminary bookstore has many fine books for officebearers.

  • Congregational Evangelism:
    • Hope PRC-Grand Rapids, MI: "Reformed Witness Lecture-Podcast Committee: We will conclude our year of Rev Heys devotions at the end of January and then, starting in February, we begin a new series of meditations from the Beacon Lights. We will also publish an additional Back to Basics podcast and continue the 5-part series on God’s Everlasting Covenant of Grace by Prof Hanko."
    • Zion PRC, Jenison, MI: "Community Bible Study will meet this Wednesday [Feb.1] to study the rest of John 10. Please consider inviting a neighbor or acquaintance and attending with them!" [meeting in the out-buildin on SW side of church]

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

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Classis East: (The full public report is attached to this news post)

  • At its Jan.11-12, 2023 meeting, Classis East approved First PRC of Holland’s request for “a special day of prayer in response both to recent and past cases of abuse in our denomination.”  Classis designated this Tuesday, January 31, 2023, as the special day of prayer. May the Lord speak to us out of His Word and hear our cries for mercy, for help, and for hope as we respond to this grievous sin in our midst.

First PRC-Grand Rapids, MI - Mexico Trip: "This Thursday, February 2, several men from our congregation will travel to Tabasco, Mexico to visit the Independent Reformed Orthodox Presbyterian Church. This is a small congregation that asked us to assist them in clearing brush from a newly acquired plot for a future church building. The intent is to use this service project to explore future contact and work with this church. The delegation consists of Prof. Griess, Bryan Pastoor, Jeff Thompson, Jordan Whiteley and Dwight Quenga. They plan to return February 9. Our prayer is that the Lord will bless these efforts."

Contact Committee Notices:

  • On behalf of our Contact Committee, a delegation of Rev. and Mrs. Mike De Vries and Mr. and Mrs. Pete Vander Schaaf plan to visit Covenant PRC of Northern Ireland from January 26 - February 6, D.V. They will be conducting the annual church visitation with the council. Rev. De Vries will be leading the worship services on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 and a presentation/discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 1, D.V. May the Lord be with our delegation and make this a fruitful visit with CPRCNI.
  • Rev. and Mrs. Bill Bruinsma and Mr. and Mrs. Dave Kregel returned from their visit to Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore this past Tuesday, Jan.24.
  • "This week Tuesday [Jan.17], a delegation from the Contact Committee consisting of Rev. and Mrs. Martyn McGeown and Mr. Sid Miedema, will travel to the Philippines for our annual visit with the PRC in the Philippines. We are thankful that this visit is now possible after removal of travel restrictions on account of COVID. Our delegation will have some overlap with a delegation from the FMC. Our delegation plans to meet with the PRCP's Contact Committee, meet with our missionaries and with as many of the PRCP members as possible, and Rev. McGeown will preach in their churches where possible. They plan to return home near the end of the month, D.V. May the Lord bless this visit with our sister in the Philippines and grant safe travels to our delegation."

Home Mission News: "Zion PRC would like to inform the denomination that the installation of Rev. James Laning as domestic missionary will take place at our evening worship service on February 5. Upon his installation, Rev. Laning will begin a period of training to prepare himself for the unique challenges of his work. Please remember this brother in prayer as he devotes himself to the great commission of our Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations, including our own. You are warmly invited to attend the installation service. “I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” John 4:35."

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The winter wonderland returned to West Michigan this past week

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The second semester began for PRTS this past Tuesday, Jan.24. The 2nd semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website. Continue to hold the faculty, students, and staff in prayer as they resume their normal labors and studies.
  • Auditor notice! Seminary classes for the second semester began on Tuesday, January 24. Prof. Cammenga’s Dogmatics class is open to auditors. The locus is eschatology which is the study of the last things. Prof. Kuiper’s classes of Medieval Church History (a study of the history of the church AD 590 to the time of the Protestant Reformation) and Reformed Symbols (a study of the Canons of Dordrecht) are open as well. If you are interested in attending, please contact the seminary at 616-531-1490 to find out the day and time the class you are interested in will meet.
  • Prof. R. Cammenga spoke for chapel this past week. This Wednesday Rev. J. Smidstra will.
  • The Fall 2022 issue of the PRT Journal  is available in print and digital formats. The print copies were mailed out in late December to those on the mailing list. The digital editions have been posted on the seminary's website (use the link provided here). This latest ssue features articles by Prof. Griess (Calvin and the third mark of the true church), Prof. Kuiper (seminary history, chap.2), Prof. Gritters (introduction to an old article on mental illness by Herman Hoeksema and a book review article), plus numerous book reviews. If you want to be added to our mailing list (either print or digital) or wish to pick up a copy, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • The seminary is open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., including the library and bookstore. PRC members and friends are welcome to visit and make use of these resources.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website - and don't forget the blog!

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Pastors J. Tan and M. Wee are faithfully serving the CERC. In her bulletin today, pastor Wee had these thoughts on the recent Chinese New Year celebration:  "Many of us probably had a busy first half of the week celebrating Chinese New Year, with family reunions and visitations. Hopefully you had some time to catch your breath in the second half of the week. Even as the world around us continues its never-ending pursuit of material prosperity, bowing down to the gods of money and fortune, let us not forget our identity as Christians, those who seek true spiritual riches and a better, heavenly country. As others see us live that way, setting our affections on things above and not on things below, we shine with the light of Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”."
    • The last issue of Salt Shakers is still available - Issue 67, September 2022. Especially for young people, the magazine is edifying for ALL readers!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena. IN her bulletin today is this note: "We welcome Rev. & Dawn DeVries and Pete & Dorothy VanderSchaaf. Rev. DeVries will be preaching for us today and next Lord’s day."
    • The January 2023 newsletter has been published for the PRCA. Read about the exciting work going on in the CPRC!
    • The January 2023 issue of "Covenant Reformed News" was published this month!  Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart (the blessings of the messianic age) and R. Hanko (relics and Elisha's bones-2).
    • The CPRC YouTube channel may be found here.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. M. McGeown led her services today. We also find these special notes concerning the delegations there this month for the annual church visitation: "We wholeheartedly praise our LORD for the visit we had with the delegations from CC [elder Sid Mediema and Rev. McGeown], FMC [elder Doug Brands], and Doon PRC [Bro. Caleb Woiwood]. May God continue to prosper His causes in and for the truth we share and thus united for our greater good as sister churches [PRCA – PRCP]. Soli Deo Gloria!" And, "Rev. Martyn McGeown [Providence PRC] and his wife, Sis. Larisa is scheduled to return to Grand Rapids MI. tomorrow the Lord willing. We thank the LORD for the wonderful and sweet fellowship we enjoyed with them in and around God’s Word. May God’s traveling mercies be upon them for their safe journey back to the U.S. tomorrow, God willing."
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D. Kleyn led her worship services today.

Reformed Resources for Education, Edification, and Evangelism

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Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

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  • This month Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA PRC) continues to speak for the RWH program. He is delivering messages on various Bible passages related to David and the kingdom of Israel. Today's message is titled "God Sends Ahab Strong Delusion" based on 2 Chronicles 18:4-34.
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

Ecclesiastes TMiersma 2023
New biblical resource available from the RFPA! Add this title to your home library for study of a difficult book of the Bible.

  • Reformed Book Outlet logoAre you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and 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 (downtown Hudsonville, MI) has now opened its new store in downtown Hudsonville! The new location is at 3472 Harvey St. in Hudsonville. Regular hours are Tuesday - Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-1.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

"How can a Christian recognise that something is a true church, so that he can become a member?

"To gain the proper perspective with respect to our subject, we must go back in our thoughts to Old Testament days. You will recall that in the land of the captivity in the days of Darius the Mede the enemies of Daniel persuaded the king to issue a decree that no one, for a period of thirty days, should ask anything of any god or man, except of the king. In that connection we read that when Daniel knew of the king's decree, he deliberately went to his house and prayed three times daily with his windows open toward Jerusalem, even as he did aforetime (Dan. 6:4-10).

"What motivated Daniel?

"The answer is undoubtedly expressed in the song of the captives, Psalm 137:5-6: 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.' That was Daniel's faith. He lived by this faith, so that he was ready even to die for it, as became evident when he allowed himself to be cast into the den of lions.

"The situation of the child of God in the twentieth century is indeed different than was Daniel's. It is much more complicated. Then there was only one place in all the world where God's people could properly serve Him. Zion in that day was limited to the land of Canaan and the city of Jerusalem and Mount Zion. Today that is different. The church of Jesus Christ has broken through its national boundaries and is established throughout the world. Besides, there is the complication that there are many who claim to represent that church and who go by the name of that church and who claim as the church to proclaim the gospel and to administer the sacraments in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not require much insight, therefore, to discern that the situation is far more complex today.

"But while the situation is different, the principle remains the same.

"If things are spiritually right with God's people, if they live from faith and according to the standard of the Word of God, then the driving impulse of their life is the same as that of Daniel. It is faith's urge to seek Zion, the true church. Moreover, as it was with Daniel, so it will be with God's people today: if that is the driving urge of their life, then no sacrifice will be so great as to keep them from following that impulse.

~ Taken from the resource "The Marks of the True Church" by Homer C. Hoeksema, one of this month's featured items

Read more...

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 22, 2023 *(Updated)

Psalm 84 2Today, January 22, is the fourth Lord's Day of this year of our Lord 2023. Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news. It is our hope that these reports not only inform you but also give you opportunity to pray for the needs of these churches and mission fields throughout the world.

As we enter this new year, we do so in glad and grateful worship of our sovereign, saving God and King. To Him we owe our all and to Him we commit our way in 2023, day by day. 

If you are new to this website and the PRCA, we invite you to join us in worship today or on any of the Sunday's of this year at one of our local congregations near you, or listen online.

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. ~ Psalm 84:1-4

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS 

  • Last Sunday Rev. N. Decker received the call from Loveland (CO) PRC.

  • Today Rev. W. Langerak (Trinity PRC-Hudsonville, MI) declined the call from Hosanna PRC (Edmonton, AB).

  • Today Randolph PRC's (WI) voted to extend a call to Rev. M. DeBoer (Edgerton, MN).

  • Last Sunday Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) announced his decline of the call to Hudsonville PRC.

  • *UPDATE: Yesterday Georgetown PRC voted to call Rev. N. Decker (Grandville PRC).

  • **UPDATE: Yesterday Doon PRC voted to call C. Spronk (Faith PRC).

  • Hull PRC's Council announced a new trio: Revs. J. Holstege, D. Noorman, and S. Regnerus. The congregational meeting will be held Monday, January 30.
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Elder-led in a.m.; Rev. R. Barnhill at 7 p.m. in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. D. Kuiper and Rev. W. Langerak in First PRC-Grand Rapids; Prof. C. Griess and Rev. E. Guichelaar  in Georgetown PRC; Rev. T. Miersma in Hosanna PRC, Edmonton, AB; Prof. R. Cammenga and Prof. R. Dykstra in Hudsonville PRC; Elder in a.m.; Rev. A. Brummel in afternoon in Hull PRC; Rev. K. Koole (2nd week) in Loveland PRC; Elder-led in Randolph PRC May we count it a blessing of our church federation that we can help one another in these needs. Let us remember to pray for the men who supply these pulpits and for the vacant congregations. And may we continue to pray for men to hear the call to serve as pastors and missionaries!

  • Officebearer Resources: This is the time of year when new officebearers (elders and deacons) are installed into office. This special notice is to inform you that there is a special webpage on this site devoted to resources for officebearers - sermons, seminars, articles, seminary syllabi, etc. And the PRC Seminary bookstore has many fine books for officebearers.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

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Classis East met for two full days Wednesday and Thursday (Jan.11,12) at Grandville PRC. (The full public report is attached to this news post)

  • An appeal was treated in closed session, and therefore, the details of the case cannot be shared publicly. It can be said that classis made some decisions in response to the appeal and approved the appointment of a committee to work with the involved consistory and appellant; we pray these actions will assist in bringing the case to a God-glorifying resolution.
  • First PRC of Grand Rapids officially notified classis of the resignation of brother Rodney Kleyn from the ministry in the PRCA.
  • Grace PRC asked for and received permission from classis to distribute a clarification of language used in a handout that was previously distributed to the denomination.
  • First PRC of Holland’s request for “a special day of prayer in response both to recent and past cases of abuse in our denomination” was approved. Classis designated January 31, 2023 as the special day of prayer.
  • Elected as primi synodical delegates: Revs. Decker, Eriks, Langerak, Mahtani, Spronk, and elders Randy Dykstra, Joel Minderhoud, Tim Pipe Jr., John Van Baren, Dan VanUffelen. And as secundi synodical delegates: Revs. Bruinsma, Dykstra, McGeown, Noorman, Smidstra and elders Andy Bylsma, Josh Hoekstra, Steve Kuiper, Peter VanderSchaaf, Dirk Westra. 
  • Classis also treated an overture from Providence PRC “to be forwarded to Synod 2023 to commission G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to perform a full, independent, third-party investigation or assessment of the Protestant Reformed Churches.” Classis decided to appoint a committee to study the overture further and to recess until March 15, 2023. Therefore, on March 15, 2023 classis will reconvene at 8:00 am at Grandville PRC to treat the committee’s recommendations regarding the overture.
  • May God use the decisions of classis for the welfare of His church, and may He guide the study committee in its work for the benefit of our churches in responding properly to the grievous sin of sexual abuse.  (summary from Rev. C. Spronk, stated clerk) 

    Contact Committee Notices:
  • On behalf of our Contact Committee, a delegation of Rev. and Mrs. Mike De Vries and Mr. and Mrs. Pete Vander Schaaf plan to visit Covenant PRC of Northern Ireland from January 26 - February 6, D.V. They will be conducting the annual church visitation with the council. Rev. De Vries will be leading the worship services on Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 and a presentation/discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 1, D.V. May the Lord be with our delegation and make this a fruitful visit with CPRCNI.
  • "On behalf of the Contact Committee of the PRCA, Rev. and Mrs. Bill Bruinsma and Mr. and Mrs. Dave Kregel plan to visit the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore from January 11 - 24, 2023, D.V. They will be conducting Church Visitation with the session of CERC. Rev. Bruinsma will be leading the worship services on January 15 and 22, and giving two speeches. May the Lord make this a fruitful visit and grant traveling mercies to this delegation."
  • "This week Tuesday [Jan.17], a delegation from the Contact Committee consisting of Rev. and Mrs. Martyn McGeown and Mr. Sid Miedema, will travel to the Philippines for our annual visit with the PRC in the Philippines. We are thankful that this visit is now possible after removal of travel restrictions on account of COVID. Our delegation will have some overlap with a delegation from the FMC. Our delegation plans to meet with the PRCP's Contact Committee, meet with our missionaries and with as many of the PRCP members as possible, and Rev. McGeown will preach in their churches where possible. They plan to return home near the end of the month, D.V. May the Lord bless this visit with our sister in the Philippines and grant safe travels to our delegation."

Foreign Mission News: (from Doon PRC's bulletin, calling church for the Philippines): "Caleb Woiwood and Doug and Lisa Brands leave this week Wednesday [Jan.11] as the annual FMC delegation to the Philippines. We pray God’s blessing on their travels."

Home Mission News: "Zion PRC would like to inform the denomination that the installation of Rev. James Laning as domestic missionary will take place at our evening worship service on February 5. Upon his installation, Rev. Laning will begin a period of training to prepare himself for the unique challenges of his work. Please remember this brother in prayer as he devotes himself to the great commission of our Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations, including our own. You are warmly invited to attend the installation service. “I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” John 4:35."

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Sem students collaborating on an assignment during the January Interim

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The Seminary's 2023 Interim course on Reformed-Christian Ethics taught by Prof. B. Gritters ended this past Wednesday (Jan.18). The second semester begins, D.V., on Tuesday, Jan.24. The 2nd semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website. Sem. M. Koerner returns for this final semester following his recent internship. Continue to hold the faculty, students, and staff in prayer.
  • Auditor notice! Seminary classes begin for the second semester on Tuesday, January 24. Prof. Cammenga’s Dogmatics class is open to auditors. The locus is eschatology which is the study of the last things. Prof. Kuiper’s classes of Medieval Church History (a study of the history of the church AD 590 to the time of the Protestant Reformation) and Reformed Symbols (a study of the Canons of Dordrecht) are open as well. If you are interested in attending, please contact the seminary at 616-531-1490 to find out the day and time the class you are interested in will meet.
  • At the end of 2022 the print copies of the Fall 2022 issue of the PRT Journal  were mailed out to those on the mailing list. The digital editions have been posted on the seminary's website (use the link provided here). This new issue features articles by Prof. Griess (Calvin and the third mark of the true church), Prof. Kuiper (seminary history, chap.2), Prof. Gritters (introduction to an old article on mental illness by Herman Hoeksema and a book review article), plus numerous book reviews. If you want to be added to our mailing list (either print or digital) or wish to pick up a copy, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • The seminary is open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., including the library and bookstore. PRC members and friends are welcome to visit and make use of these resources.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website - and don't forget the blog!

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Georgetown PRC re her work in Vellore, India: (In today's bulletin) "From the India Mission Committee:  With the approval of our council, the India committee had begun planning to send a delegation of four people to India in February. However, in God's perfect counsel, the trip has been postponed due to Pastor Paulraj's health. It has been three years now since we have taken a trip to India due to the pandemic and we hope to plan a trip for later this year (fall or toward the end of the year). We are very excited to reconnect personally with the saints in Vellore once again! Having face-to-face time with Pastor Paulraj and Kasthuri, the elders and deacons and the GFH staff has been a very important part of our work since we first traveled there in 2008. It serves to strengthen our bond and makes the reality of Christ's universal Church very tangible."

  • Hope PRC re work in Myanmar (from today's bulletin): "The Myanmar Committee reported that it held a video conference with Rev. Titus, Elder Naw Taung, and Deacon Joseph. Despite the tyranny of the military and widespread crime and social disorder in that land, Rev. Titus and his congregation are physically and spiritually healthy. Hope PRC of Myanmar worships regularly and attracts visitors. We are thankful that the Lord has given Rev. Titus strength to complete the first draft of his Burmese Old Testament. He now begins the work of revision. Because Thailand is not as open to travelers from Myanmar as it was before, the committee changed its plans and hopes to fly Rev. Titus and his family to Michigan rather than sending a delegation to Thailand. The council approved a two-week visit from Rev. Titus, his wife Certe, and his four children in March or April. The council will keep the congregation informed as plans develop according to the Lord’s will."

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Pastors J. Tan and M. Wee are faithfully serving the CERC. In her bulletin today, pastor Tan commented on the PRC delegation that has been visiting there for her annual visitation: "This will be last Lord’s Day our esteemed church visitors and their wives will be with us. They would return back to the States on the 24 Jan 2023, 10:15 am. These two men had their work cut out for them: Preaching, speeches, and the church visitation this past Thursday. We thank God for this meaningful and encouraging church visitation!" And pastor Bruinsma also left them with some words: "There is a certain aspect of this communion [of the saints] I wish to emphasize while Elder Kregel, his wife Mary, my wife Mary and I are yet with you. We share in that communion with you. The body of Christ is universal. So are her members. We belong together with you in the church of Christ in this world. We are so grateful that we have been able to share for a few short days in your fellowship here. We have learned a lot from you. We thank the Lord for your lively faith, and encourage you to persevere in your life and labors in the church. We have truly experienced the communion of saints in your midst. Perhaps we have not been able to sit and visit with each of you individually, but your presence among the saints in church is in itself an encouragement to us. What a glorious church to which we belong! What a glorious Savior we serve! May God continue to prosper you."
    • Don't forget the last issue of Salt Shakers is available - Issue 67, September 2022. Especially for young people, the magazine is edifying for ALL readers!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena.
    • The January 2023 newsletter has been published for the PRCA. Read about the exciting work going on in the CPRC!
    • The January 2023 issue of "Covenant Reformed News" was published this past week!  Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart (the blessings of the messianic age) and R. Hanko (relics and Elisha's bones-2).
    • The CPRC YouTube channel may be found here.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V. Ibe led her services today. We also find this special note concerning the delegations curently there for the annual church visitation: "Rev. Martyn McGeown [Providence PRC] and his wife, Larisa, and elder Sid Miedema [Unity PRC-Hudsonville] arrived safely last Wednesday [January 18] evening. Rev. McGeown and elder Sid Miedema are part of the visiting delegates [Contact Committee of PRCA] for the annual visit with the PRC in the Philippines. The delegation from the CC of PRCA will have some overlap with a delegation from the FMC. Elder Doug Brands with his wife, Lisa arrived safely as well last January 12, and the next day, Caleb Woiwood from Doon PRC arrived safely in the morning of January 13. Rev. McGeown and elder Sid Miedema represent the Contact Committee of PRCA, elder Doug Brands represents the FMC-PRCA, and Bro. Caleb Woiwood represents Doon PRC. The delegations from CC, FMC, and Doon PRC are scheduled to meet with the PRCP’s Committee 1 on Saturday, January 21 at 8:30 AM at the Berean PRC building, God willing. We thank the LORD for saying that now this visit is possible since travel restrictions were removed on account of COVID. We pray that God will prosper this visit with us and with the missionaries from PRCA and with as many of the PRCP members as possible. Rev. McGeown is scheduled to preach at Provident PRC in Marikina in both of their worship services on January 22, and at Berean PRC in both of their worship services on the following Sunday, January 29, all the LORD willing."
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. M. McGeown led her worship services today.

Reformed Resources for Education, Edification, and Evangelism

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Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

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  • This month Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA PRC) continues to speak for the RWH program. He is delivering messages on various Bible passages related to David and the kingdom of Israel. Today's message is titled "Halting Between Two Opinions" based on 1 Kings 18:20-39.
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

SB Jan 15 2023
Are you a Standard Bearer subscriber and reader? Read the meditation from the second issue of this year and learn how to subscribe!

  • Reformed Book Outlet logoAre you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and 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 (downtown Hudsonville, MI) has now opened its new store in downtown Hudsonville! The new location is at 3472 Harvey St. in Hudsonville. Regular hours are Tuesday - Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-1.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

"As adopted sons and daughters of God, we desire to grow in spiritual discipline. If discipline is commitment, resolve, resolution, or purpose, then spiritual discipline is the commitment and resolve to serve God in his kingdom. The spiritual disciplines of the Christian life are activities that arise out of this commitment and purpose, and thus activities that aim at the glory of God and growth in holiness. These activities are many and varied, including, but certainly not limited to, public worship, family devotions, private devotions, and Bible memorization. All the activities can be summed up with one word: worship. We will explore these spiritual disciplines in future posts.

"These spiritual disciplines are an aspect of our life of sanctification: our life of separation from sin and consecration to God. These disciplines belong to the category of good works. Our Heidelberg Catechism, in Lord’s Day 33, defines good works as “Only those [works] which proceed from a true faith, are performed according to the law of God, and to his glory; and not such as are founded on our imaginations or the institutions of men.”

"This pursuit of godliness has a source: true faith. Faith is the bond that unites us to Christ. Only those who are united to Christ (the elect), and have his life coursing through their spiritual veins, will exercise themselves unto godliness. This purpose to serve God in his kingdom is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in the fertile soil of the regenerated heart. By the work of the Spirit of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus we are strengthened and enabled to live this life.

~ Taken from the resource Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life; An Introduction by Rev. R. Barnhill

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Covenant Reformed News - January 2023

Covenant Reformed News


January 2023  •  Volume XIX, Issue 9


 

The Blessings of the Messianic Era

New Testament believers, Galatians 3:26 asserts, “are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The word “children” here is literally “sons.” According to its context, God’s (human) “sons” are contrasted with unbelievers (e.g., Heb. 12:5-8) or the contrast is between the New Testament church as a mature son—and in which believers are “sons” (Gal. 4:5-6)—over against the Old Testament church as an immature child.

The latter is the idea here (1-7). The New Testament church is a grown-up, mature, adult son, whereas the Old Testament church, was an immature child who was placed under the Mosaic law as a “schoolmaster” to guard, discipline and supervise him (3:24, 25; cf. 4:2). Thus Galatians 3:26 begins with the word “For,” indicating that it gives the reason for verse 25: “after that [the] faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children [i.e., sons] of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (25-26).

Consider a man who wants a babysitter or a childminder to look after himself! He desires to get back into the playpen and start playing with a rattle again. He longs for someone to walk him by the hand to kindergarten or primary school. Everybody would rightly think, “That guy has a massive psychological problem!”

Likewise, what are we to make of groups in the New Testament age who want to go back to keeping the Mosaic law, including the ceremonial and/or civil laws? The Hebrew Roots movement seeks to bring back the system of laws in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy! The Christian Reconstructionists desire to restore the civil laws in the Pentateuch! The dispensationalists look forward to the return of the ceremonial and civil laws of Moses in their future, earthly, literal millennium!

Don’t any of these groups understand the glorious privileges and dignity of the New Testament church? The full and profound faith concerning the incarnation and cross of the eternal Son of God has come (Gal. 3:25)! Don’t you get it? The days of the Mosaic pedagogue are over for “we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (25)! Don’t you see? The New Testament church is now grown-up and mature, “For ye are all the children [i.e., sons] of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (26)!

Paul explains, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (27). This refers to our real, inward, spiritual baptism into the Lord Jesus, which is signified and sealed by the sacrament of water baptism in the name of the Triune God.

Our baptism is far better than circumcision. First, unlike the rite of circumcision, baptism is not bloody or painful. Second, unlike the Old Testament ceremony of circumcision, water baptism is catholic or universal, for females as well as males.

By God’s grace, we “have put on,” and so are clothed with, “Christ” Himself (27). In Him alone, we have both imputed righteousness and imparted sanctification, and all the blessings of salvation. We do not physically wear the rough garment of a prophet, the white linen of a priest or the royal robe of a king. We are clothed with Christ Himself. Thus we appear before God clothed in Him, with His standing, character, graces and life.

What a garment! Consider its extent: it covers us completely. Consider its permanence: it never wears out and it is never taken off. Consider its possession: it is really and truly ours by faith alone in Jesus! This heavenly clothing covers my nakedness, protects my weakness, expresses my allegiance and makes me beautiful.

One could argue that the “For” at the beginning of Galatians 3:27 gives a reason why New Testament believers are God’s sons: “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (26-27). It is also true that the “For” at the beginning of Galatians 3:27 gives a reason why New Testament believers are not required to keep the Mosaic civil and ceremonial laws: “But after that [the] faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster … For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (25, 27).

The apostle adds, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (28). This is one of the most foolishly and wickedly perverted texts in Scripture. It is often appealed to as if it supported unbelieving feminism’s usurpation of church office by women (cf. I Tim. 2:12).

Galatians 3:28 has been abused in this way for many decades by extremely liberal churches and theologians, like Krister Stendhal, a Swedish Lutheran. But this text is not dealing with church office; deacons, ruling elders and teaching elders are treated in I Timothy 3, Titus 1, etc. The subject in Galatians 3:28 is salvation in Jesus Christ in the New Testament age for the catholic or universal church! It is dealing not with the special offices of pastor, elder or deacon but with the office of believer!

In its context, Galatians 3:28 speaks of the development of the history of redemption from the age of the Mosaic law to that of the New Testament gospel. The salvation which we have in our incarnate, crucified and risen Lord Jesus is far richer and deeper than that presented by Mosaism!

“There is neither Jew nor Greek” (28) for, in the Christian era, there is no national or ethnic distinction in salvation. Hence all the Old Testament laws regarding unclean foods (Lev. 11; Deut. 14), the land of Canaan, worship at a physical tabernacle or temple, etc., are abrogated. There is now full equality of salvation in Christ irrespective of all nationality!

Moreover, “there is neither bond nor free” (Gal. 3:28). This declares the end of the Mosaic laws regarding the children, wounding, goring and releasing of slaves (e.g., Ex. 21). There is full equality in Jesus in the New Testament church, for we are all Christ’s slaves and the Lord’s free men (I Cor. 7:22).

Also “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28). The days in which females do not partake of the initiatory sacrament (i.e., circumcision) are over, for now both genders are baptized. The Mosaic legislation concerning men and women as regards purification after childbirth (Lev. 12), bodily discharges (Lev. 15), pilgrimage to an earthly holy place, inheritance, military service, etc., is rescinded.

Why? “for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28)! The full equality in salvation of all believers in the New Testament age and the unity of the catholic or universal church rest upon our spiritual union with Christ! Rev. Angus Stewart

 

Relics and Elisha’s Bones (2)

We continue with this question, submitted by one of our readers: “If God forbids us to have relics or to venerate the dead, why was the soldier resurrected from the dead after touching Elisha’s bones in II Kings 13:20-21?”

We have seen that the veneration of relics is both foolish and sinful. Though spittle and clay, handkerchiefs, garments, Peter’s shadow and Elisha’s bones were used in healing the sick and raising the dead, there is no power in them and they may not be worshipped. They were only means used by God and by those He sent. He alone, in Christ, may be worshipped, as the first two commandments require.

It is worth noting that God does not work such miracles or any miracles through men any more, miracles such as were done by Elisha’s bones, by Peter’s shadow or by handkerchiefs and aprons from the hand of Paul. In the New Testament, such miracles were signs of an apostle: “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (II Cor. 12:12). Though there are those who claim to be apostles today, their claims are bogus, for one of the qualifications of an apostle was that a man be an eyewitness of the risen Christ (I Cor. 9:1).

Do we not believe in miracles, then? We do. All God’s works are miraculous. He works every day in the sea what Jesus did by the Sea of Galilee when He multiplied fish. God performs every year in the fields what Christ did when He fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 with miraculous multiplications of bread. God also does things in our lives for which there is no “natural” explanation. Some are healed by God’s hand when the doctors have given up and all available medicines have failed. Some are rescued from death when there is no human power that could have rescued them. God still works miracles, but not now by men and never by relics.

What, then, is the point of the narrative in II Kings 13 and what is its purpose in God’s Word? A correct answer to this question will help us see that the story of the man raised by Elisha’s bones has nothing to do with the veneration of relics.

II Kings 13:20-21 reads, “Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” That is one of only ten such miracles in the Bible (counting the resurrection of Jesus) and of three in the Old Testament.

The miracles of the prophet Elisha are unique in the Old Testament. More than any of the other miracles of the Old Testament, they pointed ahead to Christ’s miracles. No one in the Old Testament except Elijah and Elisha raised the dead; only Elisha multiplied food (II Kings 4:42-44); he alone healed a leper (5:1-14); only he paid someone’s debt by a miracle (4:1-7). The correspondence is not perfect but many of Elisha’s miracles are similar to those of Jesus. Also, apart from Moses, Israel’s great lawgiver, the miracles of Elisha are more numerous than those of any other Old Testament figure.

Is there, then, a correspondence between the miracle recorded in II Kings 13 and the work of Jesus? We believe there is: that what happened when that man was raised by Elisha’s bones is similar to what happened at the death of Jesus: “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matt. 27:50-53).

In both cases, we see the victory over death that Jesus brings and the power of God in Jesus to bring life out of death. His death is the death of death and the beginning of our new life. This is the point of the story of Elisha’s bones. It is not an encouragement to look for and keep relics or to put our trust in things, but a reminder that death is swallowed up in victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, a reminder that “if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him” (II Tim. 2:11). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). That is the good news of the gospel, not the fact that handkerchiefs and aprons, clay and spittle, and old bones were once used by God to heal or to bring people back to this life.

Raised from the dead by the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we begin already in this life to live as citizens of the kingdom of heaven and to experience a severing of the ties that bound us to this fallen world: “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “For our conversation [i.e., citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).

When we die, it is the death of Jesus that makes the burial of our bodies only a “sleep” until He comes again. It is Christ’s death that ensures our presence in Paradise at the moment of death and that guarantees the resurrection of our bodies at the end of this age. This is the point of the narrative in II Kings 13. Having begun already in this life the life of heaven, we “go on unto perfection” and to that glory which no eye has seen or ear heard—all by the power of Jesus’ death and His resurrection!  Rev. Ron Hanko

 

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  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • www.youtube.com/cprcni • www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 15, 2023 *(Updated)

Psalm 83 18Today is the third Lord's Day of this year of our Lord 2023. Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news. It is our hope that these reports not only inform you but also give you opportunity to pray for the needs of these churches and mission fields throughout the world.

As we enter this new year, we do so in glad and grateful worship of our sovereign, saving God and King. To Him we owe our all and to Him we commit our way in 2023, day by day. 

If you are new to this website and the PRCA, we invite you to join us in worship today or on any of the Sunday's of this year at one of our local congregations near you, or listen online.

Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: ...Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. ~ Psalm 83:1-5; 16-18

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS 

  • Last Sunday Rev. J. Smidstra (First PRC-Holland) declined the calls from First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) and from Hull PRC (NW Iowa).

  • Today Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call to Hudsonville PRC.
  • Rev. W. Langerak (Trinity PRC-Hudsonville, MI) plans to answer the call from Hosanna PRC (Edmonton, AB) next week.

  • Loveland (CO) PRC will call today from their first trio of Revs. N. Decker, J. Maatman, and J. Smidstra (Rev. S. Key became emeritus on Jan.1). *UPDATE: Rev. N. Decker has received this call.

  • The Council of Georgetown PRC has a new trio from which to call her next pastor: Revs. M. DeBoer (Edgerton PRC), N. Decker (Grandville PRC), and J. Smidstra (First PRC-Holland). The congregational meeting is planned for Jan.22 after the evening service.

  • Doon PRC's Consistory has a new trio from which to call her next pastor: Revs. M. Kortus (Hope PRC-Redlands), D. Noorman (SW PRC), and C. Spronk (Faith PRC). The congregational meeting is scheduled for January 22 after the morning service.

  • Randolph PRC's (WI) Council presented the following trio for the congregation’s consideration: Revs. M. DeBoer, N. Decker, and D. Norman. A congregational meeting to extend a call to one of these men is set for January 22 after the morning service.
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. H. Bleyenberg (2nd week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. D. Kuiper and Rev. D. Lee in First PRC-Grand Rapids; Prof. C. Griess and Rev. C. Haak in Georgetown PRC; Rev. T. Miersma in Hosanna PRC, Edmonton, AB; Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. G. Eriks in Hudsonville PRC; Rev. S. Key in Hull PRC; Rev. K. Koole in Loveland PRC; Rev. J. Laning (2nd week) in Randolph PRC May we count it a blessing of our church federation that we can help one another in these needs. Let us remember to pray for the men who supply these pulpits and for the vacant congregations. And may we continue to pray for men to hear the call to serve as pastors and missionaries!

  • Officebearer Resources: This is the time of year when new officebearers (elders and deacons) are installed into office. This special notice is to inform you that there is a special webpage on this site devoted to resources for officebearers - sermons, seminars, articles, seminary syllabi, etc. And the PRC Seminary bookstore has many fine books for officebearers.

  • Evangelism Activities
    • Byron Center (MI) PRCThe Community Bible Study meets this Thursday, January 19, at 7:30 PM at church. Join us for our ongoing discussion of John 18 starting at verse 8.
    • Zion PRC (Jenison, MI): Community Bible Study will next meet this Wednesday [Jan.18] to take up the study of John 10. Please consider inviting a neighbor or acquaintance and attending with them! [Meets in the fellowship building]

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

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Grandville (MI) PRC, host of Classis East meeting

Classis East met for two full days Wednesday and Thursday (Jan.11,12) at Grandville PRC.

  • An appeal was treated in closed session, and therefore, the details of the case cannot be shared publicly. It can be said that classis made some decisions in response to the appeal and approved the appointment of a committee to work with the involved consistory and appellant; we pray these actions will assist in bringing the case to a God-glorifying resolution.
  • First PRC of Grand Rapids officially notified classis of the resignation of brother Rodney Kleyn from the ministry in the PRCA.
  • Grace PRC asked for and received permission from classis to distribute a clarification of language used in a handout that was previously distributed to the denomination.
  • First PRC of Holland’s request for “a special day of prayer in response both to recent and past cases of abuse in our denomination” was approved. Classis designated January 31, 2023 as the special day of prayer.
  • Elected as primi synodical delegates: Revs. Decker, Eriks, Langerak, Mahtani, Spronk, and elders Randy Dykstra, Joel Minderhoud, Tim Pipe Jr., John Van Baren, Dan VanUffelen. And as secundi synodical delegates: Revs. Bruinsma, Dykstra, McGeown, Noorman, Smidstra and elders Andy Bylsma, Josh Hoekstra, Steve Kuiper, Peter VanderSchaaf, Dirk Westra. 
  • Classis also treated an overture from Providence PRC “to be forwarded to Synod 2023 to commission G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to perform a full, independent, third-party investigation or assessment of the Protestant Reformed Churches.” Classis decided to appoint a committee to study the overture further and to recess until March 15, 2023. Therefore, on March 15, 2023 classis will reconvene at 8:00 am at Grandville PRC to treat the committee’s recommendations regarding the overture.
  • May God use the decisions of classis for the welfare of His church, and may He guide the study committee in its work for the benefit of our churches in responding properly to the grievous sin of sexual abuse.  (summary from Rev. C. Spronk, stated clerk)

    Contact Committee Notices:
  • "On behalf of the Contact Committee of the PRCA, Rev. and Mrs. Bill Bruinsma and Mr. and Mrs. Dave Kregel plan to visit the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore from January 11 - 24, 2023, D.V. They will be conducting Church Visitation with the session of CERC. Rev. Bruinsma will be leading the worship services on January 15 and 22, and giving two speeches. May the Lord make this a fruitful visit and grant traveling mercies to this delegation."
  • "This week Tuesday [Jan.17], a delegation from the Contact Committee consisting of Rev. and Mrs. Martyn McGeown and Mr. Sid Miedema, will travel to the Philippines for our annual visit with the PRC in the Philippines. We are thankful that this visit is now possible after removal of travel restrictions on account of COVID. Our delegation will have some overlap with a delegation from the FMC. Our delegation plans to meet with the PRCP's Contact Committee, meet with our missionaries and with as many of the PRCP members as possible, and Rev. McGeown will preach in their churches where possible. They plan to return home near the end of the month, D.V. May the Lord bless this visit with our sister in the Philippines and grant safe travels to our delegation."

Foreign Mission News: (from Doon PRC's bulletin, calling church for the Philippines): "Caleb Woiwood and Doug and Lisa Brands leave this week Wednesday [Jan.11] as the annual FMC delegation to the Philippines. We pray God’s blessing on their travels."

Home Mission News: On Nov.20 Rev. J. Laning (Hull PRC) accepted the call from Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) to serve as denominational home missionary.  From Zion's bulletin today we learn that the Council has set Feb.5 in the evening for the installation of Rev. Laning as home missionary.

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A good number of visitors are attending the 2023 Interim course on Reformed-Christian Ethics

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary is now between semesters, with the 2023 Interim currently taking place (see next note for details). The second semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan.24. The 2nd semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • Seminary Class on Ethics. You are invited! From January 9-18, Prof. Gritters is teaching an 8-day interim course on Reformed-Christian Ethics (M-F from 9-11:30 AM, with a coffeebreak halfway through).There are 3 days left in the class and visitors are still wlecome to join the sessions this week Monday to Wednesday.
  • Auditor notice! Seminary classes begin for the second semester on Tuesday, January 24. Prof. Cammenga’s Dogmatics class is open to auditors. The locus is eschatology which is the study of the last things. Prof. Kuiper’s classes of Medieval Church History (a study of the history of the church AD 590 to the time of the Protestant Reformation) and Reformed Symbols (a study of the Canons of Dordrecht) are open as well. If you are interested in attending, please contact the seminary at 616-531-1490 to find out the day and time the class you are interested in will meet.
  • Sem. M. Koerner (4th year) has finished his six-month internship in Hope PRC-Grand Rapids under Rev. J. Mahtani (July-Dec. 2022). He and the seminary secretary, Sharon Kleyn, were joined in marriage this past Friday, Jan.13. He will return for his final semester on Jan.24.
  • At the end of 2022 the print copies of the Fall 2022 issue of the PRT Journal  were mailed out to those on the mailing list. The digital editions have been posted on the seminary's website (use the link provided here). This new issue features articles by Prof. Griess (Calvin and the third mark of the true church), Prof. Kuiper (seminary history, chap.2), Prof. Gritters (introduction to an old article on mental illness by Herman Hoeksema and a book review article), plus numerous book reviews. If you want to be added to our mailing list (either print or digital) or wish to pick up a copy, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • The seminary is open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., including the library and bookstore. PRC members and friends are welcome to visit and make use of these resources.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website - and don't forget the blog!

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Pastors J. Tan and M. Wee are faithfully serving the CERC. In her bulletin today, pastor Wee commented on the PRC delegation that is there for her annual visitation: "This Sunday and next, we welcome Rev. Bruinsma to our pulpit, to preach to us the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma has been in the pastoral ministry for 44 years, spending the last 6 as pastor of Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Church, formerly a mission field of the PRCA. He and his wife Mary visited us in 2016 where he helped conduct an examination for our missionary pastor Rev. Emmanuel Singh, and spoke for our Reformation Day Conference. Let us warmly welcome the Bruinsmas into our fellowship, together with Mr. Dave Kregel and his wife, Mary. The Kregels have a special love for the saints in Singapore, as seen by their many visits, even willing to put aside last year’s nightmare of COVID-19 quarantine and cockroaches to make the trip over once again! Indeed, love “beareth all things”. We hope that their experience this time will be a more positive one. Please continue to commit the church and the Council in prayer, as we hold our Council meeting this Thursday 19 January, and as we have the practice of church visitation."
    • Don't forget the last issue of Salt Shakers is available - Issue 67, September 2022. Especially for young people, the magazine is edifying for ALL readers!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena.
    • The January 2023 newsletter has been published for the PRCA. Read about the exciting work going on in the CPRC!
    • The December 2022 issue of "Covenant Reformed News" was recently published!  Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart (the abrogation of the Mosaic law) and R. Hanko (relics and Elisha's bones).
    • The CPRC YouTube channel may be found here.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V. Ibe led her services today. We also find this special note concerning her mission endeavors: "The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, NE., will join us in our worship services today via Livestream at our Facebook page, D.V."
    • Provident PRC bulletin: "Elder Jun Armas will lead for us in our worship services today and will use Video recordings of sermons of Prof. Brian Huizinga from the PRCA for the preaching of God’s Word in our worship services today. Next Sunday, Rev. M. McGeown will lead and preach for us in our worship services at both times, D.V." And  this because "Rev. D. Kleyn and Rev. R. Smit are in Southern Negros Occidental to visit contacts and to preach and teach there."

Reformed Resources for Education, Edification, and Evangelism

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

WBruinsma 2017

  • This month Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA PRC) continues to speak for the RWH program. He is delivering messages on various Bible passages related to David and the kingdom of Israel. Today's message is titled "Israel Rebels Against David's House" based on 1 Kings 12:16, 28-30.
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

SB Jan 15 2023
Are you a Standard Bearer subscriber and reader? Read the meditation from the second issue of this year and learn how to subscribe!

  • Reformed Book Outlet logoAre you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and 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 (downtown Hudsonville, MI) has now opened its new store in downtown Hudsonville! The new location is at 3472 Harvey St. in Hudsonville. Regular hours are Tuesday - Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-1.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

"That peace which is God’s peace in Jesus Christ is the glad tidings of the gospel.  It is God’s great work of grace, which God has established with His people in Jesus Christ that He should be our God and Father.  Man did not earn it. Man cannot make such a peace.  This peace alone abides.  It is God’s gift in Jesus Christ, imparted by His Spirit, the Comforter.  By the power of that peace with God we are born anew, called out of the world that perishes into a new and abiding relationship with God -- to know Him in His love through faith in Jesus Christ.  In the light of that peace of God, the world’s peace and its labor for a peace of its own without God is nothing but the false and proud attempt of sinful man to obtain his own peace and salvation by his own works. Against it the Word of God declares, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8.

"God’s Word therefore commands all men to repent of their sin, to turn from the false peace of this world which cries, “Peace, Peace,” when there is no peace, and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  To such who by His grace repent and believe, He promises forgiveness of sins and life eternal, even His everlasting peace.  “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27."

~ Taken from the resource "An Abiding Peace" by Rev. T. Miersma

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Covenant PRC-N. Ireland Newsletter - January 2023

CPRC News Header
Ballymena, N. Ireland
5 January, 2023

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

At the start of this new year, we thought it would be good to update you on the Lord’s work in our midst, and to thank you for your prayers and support.  We appreciate the cards and e-mails that some of you have sent us, though we are not able to respond to all of them.  We trust that this letter to all will also serve as a satisfactory reply to those who have contacted us.

Members

Since our last letter, two covenant children have been baptized in the CPRC:  Elsie (9 October), a daughter of David and Kristin Crossett, and Jude (11 December), a son of Joe and Lisa McCaughern.  Elsie’s grandparents, Bob and Carolyn Prins, and her uncle Andrew from Trinity PRC in W. Michigan were present, as were many of Jude’s relatives, on these respective blessed occasions.

Billy and Val McCaughern, Jude’s grandparents, were received as members on 25 December, when they were able to join the rest of the confessing congregation at the Lord’s table.  Billy had been an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.  It is lovely to have them with us.

Some of the saints pointed out that there had been times when the volume of the audio of the Sunday services pumped into the cry room was too low.  A technician fitted an amplifier control button in the room in time for the worship services on 16 October, so now those with small children in the cry room can hear well.

On 19 October, Timothy Spence left for Australia, stopping off for a few days in Singapore to enjoy fellowship and worship with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, our sister church.  Tim is working as a doctor in Australia for a year or so and has settled in well with the saints in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Launceston, Tasmania, pastored by Rev. Mark Shand.

This year, there are 26 children in five catechism or pre-confession classes.  The mid-year tests took place last week (18 December) and the kids did well.  Last Friday, we held a games night at church, which was well attended by both adults and children (30 December).

Teaching

In the late summer, we completed an 11-sermon series on Psalm 69, entitled, “The Most Avoided Messianic Psalm.”  Psalm 69 is appealed to thrice in the Gospel According to John (2:17; 15:25; 19:28-30), twice in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (11:9-10; 15:3) and once in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles (1:20) regarding Christ’s ministry and cross, and those who betrayed and reproached Him.  Why then does most of the church world avoid this inspired messianic song?  Because it includes imprecations, teaches particular atonement, and opposes both a desire of God to save the reprobate and a universal or common grace.  Moreover, Psalm 69 clearly records the sovereign will and prevailing prayers of our Lord Jesus Himself, especially from the cross (www.youtube. com/playlist?list=PL2Y5Eq5r6y2EbmQYH8fHr1kU0khongBB6)

“Faith or Works” is the title of the series of 10 sermons on Galatians 3.  Over against all Judaizing, Galatians 3 contains powerful teaching on justification in Christ (13), the Seed of Abraham (16), and by faith alone without works (1-14).  It explains more clearly than any where else in Scripture the relationships between the Abrahamic covenant promise, the Mosaic law and the New Testament faith (15-29).

Our Tuesday morning classes on “Saving Faith:  A Biblical and Theological Analysis” have been progressing well.  In the last few months, we considered faith in connection with, first, authority and, second, reason.  Many err by placing the authority for their faith in the wrong place: the Roman magisterium, science, a charismatic minister, political correctness, fallible tradition, one’s own intellect, etc. (cf. I Cor. 2:5).  We looked at Scripture’s teaching on natural revelation, natural theology, natural religion and natural law, and contrasted this with Thomas Aquinas and Roman Catholicism, before turning to John Calvin’s biblical theology regarding the sensus divinitatis and the semen religionis, namely, the ineradicable sense of divinity and seed of religion in every human being, as well as man’s conscience as an essential part of his humanity under God—things that the spirit of our age is trying desperately to stamp out!

The Ballymena Times onine version carried a short article I sent in regarding our Wednesday night “Classes on the End Times” (16 September).  In our seven classes on “The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9,” we presented and critiqued Dispensationalism’s literalist view of Daniel 9:24-27, considering the first 7 weeks, the middle 62 weeks, and the 70th week.  Then we explained the correct and historic teaching of this powerful passage in terms of seven key words, all of which begin with the third letter of the alphabet:  Christ, cross, covenant, chronology, coming, counsel and comfort in Daniel 9:24-27.

Then we had six classes on “The Signs of Christ’s Return,” considering them collectively or as a group.  We introduced, identified, and classified the eschatological signs spoken of in Scripture, before turning to their idea and characteristics, as well as people’s responses to them.  We also looked at the Old Testament and the signs of Christ’s second coming, and we compared and contrasted them with the signs of the end of the world in Judaism and Islam (www.cprc.co.uk/belgic-confession-class).

Prof. Engelsma’s two volumes on The Church’s Hope were published at a good time for these classes on the last things and many attendees have bought them.  Stephen Murray, our audio-visual man, has produced box sets of the two sermon series (on Psalm 69 and Galatians 3) and the two topics in eschatology (“The Seventy Weeks of Daniel 9” and “The Signs of Christ’s Return”).  All the Lord’s day sermons and the Wednesday night doctrine classes are recorded and placed on our website (www.cprc.co.uk), but not our more informal Tuesday morning meetings.

Others

In the 153 days since our last letter (5 August), we have added 125 translations in 11 languages (www.cprc.co.uk/languages).  All of The Reformed Worldview book by Profs. Hanko and Engelsma is now on-line in both Polish and Russian.  Through the fine work of Lilian from Kenya, our new translator into Swahili, the major African language in eastern parts of that vast continent, we now have 37 articles in her native tongue.  Of the 207 languages on our website, Spanish is the one that receives most hits.  In the last year or so, the Covenant Reformed News has gotten a lot of translations. Now for every English article in the News, we average more than two translations.

Lilian Kenya transl CPRC 2023

Lilian and her daughter

Here are the translations that Mary has put on our website in the last 5 months or so:  35 Polish, 23 Russian, 22 Hungarian, 21 Swahili, 12 Spanish, 5 Afrikaans, 2 Chinese (by a new translator in Malaysia), 2 Telugu (Apostles’ Creed and Heidelberg Catechism), 1 Tagalog, 1 Italian, and 1 Arabic (Canons of Dordt).

Late in the summer, Mary and I visited places in and around the historic border between England and Wales (22-26 August).  We had two major purposes: first, to meet friends and give a lecture in South Wales on “The Two Ages in Eschatology” (25 August), and, second, to check out possible venues for BRF conferences and places suitable for the day trips that would occur during such conferences.  We visited three possible conference sites, and spoke with managers and staff.  We toured abbeys, aqueducts, battlefields, bridges, canals, museums, Roman remains, interesting towns, etc., so as to make recommendations for the BRF Council.

In our last letter, we mentioned the subject and speakers that were chosen for the next BRF conference by the attendees at July’s BRF conference in Northern Ireland.  Now we can also announce the BRF Council’s decision regarding the venue and dates.  The BRF has booked Cloverley Hall in Shropshire, England, near the border with Wales (www.cloverleyhall.org) for a week (3-10 August) in the summer of 2024.  We are looking forward to Prof. Brian Huizinga and Rev. Ronald Hanko unfolding to us wonderful truths in the area of eschatology concerning the glorious return of our Saviour!  The conference is now less than 19 months away.

Cloveryley Hall BRF 2024

Cloverley Hall

May the Lord preserve and bless you in this coming year, as we look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

In Him,
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 8, 2023 ***(Updated)

Psalm 82 8Today is the second Lord's Day of this year of our Lord 2023. Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news. It is our hope that these reports not only inform you but also give you opportunity to pray for the needs of these churches and mission fields throughout the world.

As we enter this new year, we do so in glad and grateful worship of our sovereign, saving God and King. To Him we owe our all and to Him we commit our way in 2023, day by day. 

If you are new to this website and the PRCA, we invite you to join us in worship today or on any of the Sunday's of this year at one of our local congregations near you, or listen online.

God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. ...Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations. ~ Psalm 82:1-4, 5

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS 

  • Today Rev. J. Smidstra (First PRC-Holland) declined the call to First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI - received Dec.18). *UPDATE: He also declined the call from Hull PRC (NW Iowa).
  • Rev. W. Langerak (Trinity PRC-Hudsonville, MI) is considering the call from Hosanna PRC (Edmonton, AB - received Dec.25).

  • Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) is considering the call to Hudsonville PRC (received Dec.14). He plans to answer next Sunday.

  • The Council of Georgetown PRC has a new trio from which to call her next pastor: Revs. M. DeBoer (Edgerton PRC), N. Decker (Grandville PRC), and J. Smidstra (First PRC-Holland). The congregational meeting is planned for Jan.22 after the evening service.

  • **UPDATE: Doon PRC's Consistory has a new trio from which to call her next pastor: Revs. M. Kortus (Hope PRC-Redlands), D. Noorman (SW PRC), and C. Spronk (Faith PRC). The congregational meeting is scheduled for January 22 after the morning service.

  • ***UPDATE: From Randolph PRC (WI): "The council presents the following trio for the congregation’s consideration. Rev. Matthew DeBoer, Rev. Nathan Decker, and Rev. David Norman. We have set a congregational meeting to extend a call to one of these men for January 22 after the morning service."
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. H. Bleyenberg (1st week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. D. Kuiper and Rev. M. McGeown in First PRC-Grand Rapids; Prof. B. Huizinga and Rev. G. Eriks in Georgetown PRC; Rev. T. Miersma in Hosanna PRC, Edmonton, AB; Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. J. Smidstra in Hudsonville PRC; Rev. S. Key in Hull PRC; Prof. C. Griess in Loveland PRC; Rev. J. Laning in Randolph PRC May we count it a blessing of our church federation that we can help one another in these needs. Let us remember to pray for the men who supply these pulpits and for the vacant congregations. And may we continue to pray for men to hear the call to serve as pastors and missionaries!

  • Officebearer Resources: This is the time of year when new officebearers (elders and deacons) are installed into office. This special notice is to inform you that there is a special webpage on this site devoted to resources for officebearers - sermons, seminars, articles, seminary syllabi, etc. And the PRC Seminary bookstore has many fine books for officebearers.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

Grandville small

Classis East will meet this Wednesday, Jan.11, at 8:00 am at Grandville PRC. The agenda has weighty matters; let us be in prayer for the delegates as they deal with Christ's work in the churches. May they be given the grace and wisdom of His Spirit.

Contact Committee Notices: On behalf of the Contact Committee of the PRCA, Rev. and Mrs. Bill Bruinsma and Mr. and Mrs. Dave Kregel plan to visit the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore from January 11 - 24, 2023, D.V. They will be conducting Church Visitation with the session of CERC. Rev. Bruinsma will be leading the worship services on January 15 and 22, and giving two speeches. May the Lord make this a fruitful visit and grant traveling mercies to this delegation.

Home Mission News: On Nov.20 Rev. J. Laning (Hull PRC) accepted the call from Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) to serve as denominational home missionary. 

In a recent Zion PRC's bulletin was this update from her special committee: "Update from Zion DMC committee: We have been very busy coordinating the move and the work for Rev Laning. Tentatively, the plan is for Rev. Laning to preach his farewell at Hull PRC on January 1, 2023. After that he will be going to Randolph PRC so that he can keep his classical commitment to that congregation for January 8 which will include the baptism of his grandchild. His arrival into our area will be the week of the 16th of January. We are presently coordinating a moving company to move all his belongings to his new home in Jenison from Hull, IA. We have secured a place to live in Glen Eagle condos in the 14th Ave and 44th St area in Georgetown Township. We are also working with him to identify the mission work that he will be doing and coordinating a plan moving forward. We anticipate him taking some classes in regard to this mission work which we believe will take most of his time for the first 6 months of his being here. He is scheduled to preach for Zion PRC on Jan 29 AM and Feb 12 PM. As far as the committee is concerned, we have had regular monthly meetings up to the time that Rev. Laning accepted the call and now that the Lord has answered our prayers and sent us a missionary, we are working hard organizing the work for him and also entering into conversations with him in order to search out the Lords will for him and our congregation. Missions are an important work for the church, and we continue to ask for your prayers for Rev. Laning and his wife as they settle in to our congregational life and take up this great work to the glory of God, the ingathering of the church and also to the coming of Christ when He shall take His completed church home to live with Him forever. We look forward to that day."

Foreign Mission News: (from Doon PRC's bulletin, calling church for the Philippines): "Caleb Woiwood and Doug and Lisa Brands leave this week Wednesday as the annual FMC delegation to the Philippines. We pray God’s blessing on their travels."

Nov 20 post snow 2

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary is now between semesters, with the 2023 Interim (see note below) scheduled to begin tomorrow (see next note for details). The second semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan.24. The 2nd semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • Seminary Class on Ethics. You are invited! From January 9- 18, Prof. Gritters will be teaching an 8-day interim course on Reformed Christian ethics (M-F from 9-11:30AM). If Dogmatics teaches what Christians believe, Ethics teaches how they live. Questions faced include: What is a truly good life? What is the Christian’s relation to the law? Is law contrary to love? May our conscience guide us? What is love? May I hate? May I lie to save my neighbor’s life? What about IVF? May Christians divorce? Separate? Remarry? If you are interested in attending, please call the seminary: 616-531-1490.
  • Sem. M. Koerner (4th year) has finished his six-month internship in Hope PRC-Grand Rapids under Rev. J. Mahtani (July-Dec. 2022). He and the seminary secretary, Sharon Kleyn, will be joined in marriage this Friday, Jan.13, before he (and she!) returns for his final semester on Jan.24.
  • The professors have kept busy over the holiday break finishing first semester work and preparing for the next semester. In addition, there have been many preaching assignments, including out of town (Randolph and Loveland). Prof. Griess has now completed the classes required for his ThM degree and is working toward completing his thesis (to be done in May). Continue to pray for them and the students.
  • At the end of 2022 the print copies of the Fall 2022 issue of the PRT Journal  were mailed out to those on the mailing list. The digital editions have been posted on the seminary's website (use the link provided here). This new issue features articles by Prof. Griess (Calvin and the third mark of the true church), Prof. Kuiper (seminary history, chap.2), Prof. Gritters (introduction to an old article on mental illness by Herman Hoeksema and a book review article), plus numerous book reviews. If you want to be added to our mailing list (either print or digital) or wish to pick up a copy, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • The seminary is open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., including the library and bookstore. PRC members and friends are welcome to visit and make use of these resources.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website - and don't forget the blog!

Map India 1
See the mission news from India below

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • From Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI) re her India Outreach (Vellore PRC and beyond) work with Rev. Paulraj. Recently, pastor Paulraj was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor (on one of his salivary glands), for which he underwent surgery this past Friday. This update was on GT's bulletin today: "Pastor Paulraj’s surgery went well this past Friday. We got word that the surgeons were pleased with what was accomplished. There are no detailed reports as of yet. They love the prayers from GPRC and they continue to be very much appreciated."

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Pastors J. Tan and recently installed M. Wee are faithfully serving the CERC. In her bulletin today was this encouraging update from her mission labors in Kolkata: "This past Thursday, the Council conducted membership interviews for 4 saints from the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Fellowship of Kolkata, India. This was done by Zoom, with Rev. Emmanuel Singh translating. It was a privilege to hear them confess their faith in Christ boldly and sincerely. The saints gave testimony to God’s gracious work in their lives, in calling them out of the darkness of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the errors of Pentecostalism into the precious heritage of the Reformed faith. It was a mutually encouraging time for both the members of the fellowship, and our Council. “Come, let us build!” Do so by praying for the saints in Kolkata. Pray that they will remain strong, even in the face of persecution, which will intensify especially as they join themselves to a true church as members. Our Lord’s words to the church of Smyrna are appropriate to them: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10b).
    • Don't forget the last issue of Salt Shakers is available - Issue 67, September 2022. Especially for young people, the magazine is edifying for ALL readers!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena.
    • A new newsletter has been published for the PRCA (Jan. 2023). When it is posted on the website this week, a link will be provided.
    • The December 2022 issue of "Covenant Reformed News" was recently published!  Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart (the abrogation of the Mosaic law) and R. Hanko (relics and Elisha's bones).
    • The CPRC YouTube channel may be found here.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V. Ibe led her services today. We also find this special note concerning her mission endeavors: "The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, NE., will join us in our worship services today via Livestream at our Facebook page, D.V."
    • Provident PRC bulletin: 

Reformed Resources for Education, Edification, and Evangelism

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

WBruinsma 2017

  • This month Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA PRC) continues to speak for the RWH program. He is delivering messages on various Bible passages related to David and the kingdom of Israel. Today's message is titled "Making a Stand" based on 1 Samuel 17:38-51.
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

SB Jan 1 2023
Are you a Standard Bearer subscriber and reader? Get a preview of the first issue of this year and learn how to subscribe!

  • The Reformed Book Outlet (downtown Hudsonville, MI) has now opened its new store in downtown Hudsonville! The new location is at 3472 Harvey St. in Hudsonville. Regular hours are Tuesday - Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-1.

  • Are you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

"This eternal God will be our guide even unto death. The text, correctly translated, reads, "He will shepherd us." This means God will nourish and feed us. No man does this. Our eternal God does this by His grace and Holy Spirit through those whom He calls. God does this chiefly by means of the preaching of His inspired, infallible Word and by the use of the sacraments. That God shepherds us means as well that He rules us by His grace so that we willingly serve Him in love. God protects us from all our enemies, preserves and sustains us through every trial, every suffering, and through all of our sorrows. God gives us grace sufficient for our every need and guides us every step along our way, the way which He in His wisdom and love has determined for each of us. 

"Our eternal God will shepherd us even unto death. This means simply that from the moment of our birth to the moment of our death God will shepherd us. He never leaves or forsakes us, not for a split second. God cares for us to the very end. 

"And because this is true, nothing can be against us, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. All things are for us! Even death is for us! O, I know, death is horrible from every human point of view. Death is often preceded by terrible sufferings. We saw that with our dear one the past weeks. That strong body became so weak and that booming voice became barely a whisper. Death is the end of all our earthly relations. We have lost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother in the Lord, and a co-worker in the ministry. What is worse, death is the expression of the wrath of God against sin. Death is part of the, curse! It is no wonder that the apostle refers to death as the last enemy (I Cor. 15)! 

"But all that has been changed! Death has been swallowed up in the victory of the cross and resurrection, of Jesus Christ. No longer is death the end. Death is the beginning of perfect joy, of fellowship with our eternal God in glory. God will be our guide; He will shepherd us even unto death, and through death take us to the glory of His presence. 

"And that is absolutely certain. Our eternal God will beour guide. There may be no doubt about this! Our eternal God will surely be our shepherd even unto death. Therefore, God's church shall surely stand."

~ Taken from the SB article "The Eternal God: Our Guide" by Robert D. Decker

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Reformed Witness Hour Newsletter - January 2023

 RWH Logo 2019

News from the Reformed Witness Hour

January 2023

 

W Bruinsma RWH

For January, we have five new messages from Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma. Rev. Bruinsma is the pastor of Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Church of Pittsburgh, PA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 2023

January 1

Jehovah Sees the Heart

I Samuel 16:6-13

January 8

Making A Stand

I Samuel 17:38-51

January 15

Israel Rebels Against David’s House

I Kings 12:16, 28-30

January 22

Halting Between Two Opinions

I Kings 18:20-39

January 29

God Sends Ahab Strong Delusion

II Chronicles 18:4-34

 

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for January 1, 2023

Psalm 46 1 2Today is the first Lord's Day of this year of our Lord 2023. Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news. It is our hope that these reports not only inform you but also give you opportunity to pray for the needs of these churches and mission fields throughout the world.

As we enter this new year, we do so in glad and grateful worship of our sovereign, saving God and King. To Him we owe our all and to Him we commit our way in 2023, day by day. 

If you are new to this website and the PRCA, we invite you to join us in worship today or on any of the Sunday's of this year at one of our local congregations near you, or listen online.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. ~ Psalm 46:1-7

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS

  • Today is Rev. J. Laning's final Sunday in Hull PRC (NW Iowa. This afternoon (2 pm), he preached his farewell sermon and the congregation gave a farewell program for him and his wife Margaret and family afterward. In the weeks ahead they will be moving to West Michigan as he takes up his labors as PRC home missionary (see details below under denominational news). May the Lord be with them and grant them much grace as they make this transition.

  • Today also marks Rev. S. Key's final day as pastor of Loveland PRC, as his emeritation takes effect. This fitting note was found in her bulletin today: "Today is also Pastor Key’s final day serving in the active pastoral ministry in our midst. He does not bid farewell, as he and his wife will remain with our church family as an emeritus pastor. Besides providing pulpit supply for various congregations, he will also continue to assist our congregation as much as possible in teaching catechism, leading Ladies’ Bible Study and preaching occasionally, at least until the Lord provides for us another pastor. We press on in our earthly sojourn, laying hold of the promise in Deut.31:8, “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee: he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”
     
  • Last Sunday Rev. W. Langerak (Trinity PRC-Hudsonville, MI) received the call from Hosanna PRC (Edmonton, AB).

  • Rev. J. Smidstra (First PRC-Holland) is considering calls to First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI - received Dec.18) and Hull PRC (NW Iowa - received Dec.20).

  • Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) is considering the call to Hudsonville PRC (received Dec.14).

  • Last Sunday Rev. M. DeBoer declined the call from Doon PRC.

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Elder-led in a.m.; Rev. A. Brummel (at 2 p.m.) in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. B. Gritters and Rev. J. Holstege in First PRC-Grand Rapids; Prof. C. Griess and Rev. N. Decker in Georgetown PRC; Rev. T. Miersma in Hosanna PRC, Edmonton, AB; Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. D. Noorman in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. D. Kuiper in Randolph PRC May we count it a blessing of our church federation that we can help one another in these needs. Let us remember to pray for the men who supply these pulpits and for the vacant congregations.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

Home Mission News: On Nov.20 Rev. J. Laning (Hull PRC) accepted the call from Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) to serve as denominational home missionary. 

In Zion PRC's bulletin last week was this update from her special committee: "Update from Zion DMC committee: We have been very busy coordinating the move and the work for Rev Laning. Tentatively, the plan is for Rev. Laning to preach his farewell at Hull PRC on January 1, 2023. After that he will be going to Randolph PRC so that he can keep his classical commitment to that congregation for January 8 which will include the baptism of his grandchild. His arrival into our area will be the week of the 16th of January. We are presently coordinating a moving company to move all his belongings to his new home in Jenison from Hull, IA. We have secured a place to live in Glen Eagle condos in the 14th Ave and 44th St area in Georgetown Township. We are also working with him to identify the mission work that he will be doing and coordinating a plan moving forward. We anticipate him taking some classes in regard to this mission work which we believe will take most of his time for the first 6 months of his being here. He is scheduled to preach for Zion PRC on Jan 29 AM and Feb 12 PM. As far as the committee is concerned, we have had regular monthly meetings up to the time that Rev. Laning accepted the call and now that the Lord has answered our prayers and sent us a missionary, we are working hard organizing the work for him and also entering into conversations with him in order to search out the Lords will for him and our congregation. Missions are an important work for the church, and we continue to ask for your prayers for Rev. Laning and his wife as they settle in to our congregational life and take up this great work to the glory of God, the ingathering of the church and also to the coming of Christ when He shall take His completed church home to live with Him forever. We look forward to that day."

Foreign Mission News: Rev. D. Kleyn and his wife Sharon left the States this past week and returned to the Philippines on Dec.29. We thank the Lord for safe travels and pray for renewed strength for the busy work there.

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PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary has now completed its first semester of the school year. Seminary will recess from Dec.25-Jan.8, but the seminary will be open daily except for the Dec.26 and Jan.2. Interim (see note below) will be held from Jan.9-18, and the second semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan.24. The 2nd semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • Seminary Class on Ethics. You are invited! From January 9- 18, Prof. Gritters will be teaching an 8-day interim course on Reformed Christian ethics (M-F from 9-11:30AM). If Dogmatics teaches what Christians believe, Ethics teaches how they live. Questions faced include: What is a truly good life? What is the Christian’s relation to the law? Is law contrary to love? May our conscience guide us? What is love? May I hate? May I lie to save my neighbor’s life? What about IVF? May Christians divorce? Separate? Remarry? If you are interested in attending, please call the seminary: 616-531-1490.
  • Sem. M. Koerner (4th year) has finished his six-month internship in Hope PRC-Grand Rapids under Rev. J. Mahtani (July-Dec.). He and the seminary secretary, Sharon Kleyn, will be joined in marriage on Jan.13 before he (and she!) returns for his final semester on Jan.24.
  • The print copies of the Fall 2022 issue of the PRT Journal  were recently mailed out to those on the mailing list. The digital editions have been posted on the seminary's website (use the link provided here). This new issue features articles by Prof. Griess (Calvin and the third mark of the true church), Prof. Kuiper (seminary history, chap.2), Prof. Gritters (introduction to an old article on mental illness by Herman Hoeksema and a book review article), plus numerous book reviews. If you want to be added to our mailing list (either print or digital) or wish to pick up a copy, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
  • The seminary is open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., including the library and bookstore. PRC members and friends are welcome to visit and make use of these resources.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website - and don't forget the blog!

Matthew 28 19 20

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • From Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI) re her India Outreach (Vellore PRC and beyond) work with Rev. Paulraj. Recently, pastor Paulraj was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor (on one of his salivary glands), for which he will receive surgery on Jan.27. At that time a biopsy will be taken to confirm diagnosis and treatment. "The doctors have recommended that Paul back away from preaching but he loves to preach, so this Sunday he is doing a combined service with the English and Tamil churches. He is also continuing his video outreach.
    Paul and Kasthuri asks for our prayers for the surgeon as there can be complications from the surgery that can have long term impact. 
    We praise God for giving Paul continued strength to continue at least some of his ministry. Let us continue with fervent prayers for Paul and Kas and Jason and Joanne as they are faced with the challenges of Paul's illness as well as Ammachi's [Kasthuri's mother] decline."

    *UPDATE: Pastor Paulraj's surgery has now been moved up to Friday, Jan.6. Let us be in  prayer for him and his wife as he submits to this surgery.

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Pastors J. Tan and recently installed M. Wee are faithfully serving the CERC. Tomorrow they will hold their annual church retreat to begin the new year, as detailed in today's bulletin: "...on 2nd Jan, we will be having our 2023 Annual Church Retreat organized by Beulah BS group. Pastor Wee, on the behalf of the council will be unveiling the new Church Theme for 2023 & 2024. (hint: found somewhere in Nehemiah chapter 2!). Pastor Wee will be sharing with all of us how the preaching, Adult CI class, Evangelism, and many aspects of our organic church life will be shaped by this new church theme. We hope that each and every one of you can make for this retreat, 10am to 1pm held in church. Lunch will be provided."
    • Don't forget the last issue of Salt Shakers is available - Issue 67, September 2022. Especially for young people, the magazine is edifying for ALL readers!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena. 
    • The December 2022 issue of "Covenant Reformed News" was published this past week!  Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart (the abrogation of the Mosaic law) and R. Hanko (relics and Elisha's bones).
    • The CPRC YouTube channel may be found here.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. R. Smit led her services today. We also find this special note concerning her mission endeavors: "Rev. Ibe and family are visiting [with] the saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, NE., Rev. Ibe will lead them in their worship service at 9 AM and their Bible study on the book of Titus 2 at 10:45 AM."
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D. Kleyn led her worship services today.
    • Rev. D. Kleyn and Sis. Sharon returned safely to the Philippines this past week.

Reformed Resources for Education, Edification, and Evangelism

RWH Logo 2019
Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

WBruinsma 2017

  • This month Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh, PA PRC) continues to speak for the RWH program. He is delivering messages on various Bible passages related to the first coming of Christ in the flesh. Today's Christmas message is titled "Jehovah Sees the Heart" based on 1 Samuel 16:6-13.
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). 

good news afflicted
On this first day of the new year, you will find this resource to be a means of comfort and hope for all you may face in 2023.

  • The Reformed Book Outlet (downtown Hudsonville, MI) has now opened its new store in downtown Hudsonville! The new location is at 3472 Harvey St. in Hudsonville. Regular hours are Tuesday - Friday from 10-5 and Saturday from 10-1.

  • Are you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

"But if we are to give thanks to God for all His spiritual and material blessings, then we must be freed from anxiety.  Jesus, in Matthew 6:19-24, has been speaking so beautifully and profoundly of our relationship to the earthly things.  He has taught us that it is our relationship to the earthly, our perspective and our attachment, that is so often, at bottom, the cause of our spiritual problems.  Our inability to see Father’s wonderful grace and our failure to thank Him is created so often by the relationship in which we stand toward the earthly things.  If we hoard, we become covetous and greedy.  Then we are governed by those things, and we are filled with anxiety that we are going to lose them.  And we do not thank God for them.  Or, if we do not hoard, then we worry.  “Is it going to turn out?  Will I make it?  Will I have enough?”  We become filled with anxiety over those earthly things.  And when we are full of anxiety, then too we cannot praise God or give Him thanks.

"A trumpet cannot blast stirring notes of praise if it has been filled with dirt.  A piano cannot play clear notes if the keys are sticky with molasses.  So also, our hearts cannot thank God if they are choked with anxiety. 

"Our Savior says to us, “Take no thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  Our Savior says, the cure for anxiety is to realize that God will always give us grace for today, so that we may live thankfully and contentedly before Him. 

"As I say, our Lord is warning us that we must not fall into the grips of anxiety over earthly things.  “Take no thought,” He says.  “Do not be seized by anxiety.” 

"We are anxious about everything.  The Lord knows that.  We are anxious about our health, about ourselves, about our inadequacies, about our jobs, about our looks, about getting married, about the church, about the schools, about our children, about our burdens, about money, about possessions, about bills, about payments, about tomorrow.  If we would write a list of all the things over which we tend to worry, the list would go right out the door of our homes.  And, at bottom, we would write, we worry that we are worried so much.  And anxiety or worry chokes not only peace in our hearts, but thanksgiving to God.  We say, “Yes, I suppose I should be thankful today.  But I really can’t because of the load of anxiety, of trouble, of all the problems that I see coming tomorrow.  How can I be thankful today?”

"To begin the life of thanksgiving, the Lord says we must not only be free from greed, the love of money, but we must fight anxiety.  And His main point is this (Matt. 6: 33), “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  The Lord is saying, “Instead of anxiety over your life, over your child, over yourself, make the kingship of God real by faith.  Every moment, hand all over to His Kingly power.  Seek to do His will, in the confidence that He has promised that He will meet all of your needs.”

~ Taken from the radio message "Grace for Today" by Rev. C. Haak

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