Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
18 December, 2017
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Visit of the Engelsmas
We greatly enjoyed the visit of Prof. and Mrs. Engelsma (19 October-6 November). The CPRC invited them for two main reasons. First, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and our congregation wanted to celebrate this wonderful occasion. Prof. Engelsma is a man who embodies the Reformation, so we asked him to give lectures on this great theme and preach in the CPRC. Second, the latter enabled me to fill the pulpit of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), while Rev. McGeown was in America speaking at Reformation conferences in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Loveland, Colorado.
Our Reformation commemorations began with a half-day conference on Saturday, 21 October. Prof. spoke powerfully on “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God” and “Justification in Paul and in James,” while the ladies served a lovely lunch between the two speeches. Carolyn and Erik Prins (Trinity PRC) were present, as were three friends from Wales and a brother from England, plus local visitors.
Prof. Engelsma's other lectures dealt with key figures and truths of the Reformation: “Martin Luther: Man of Conviction” (Friday, 27 October) and “Calvin's Doctrine of the Covenant” (Friday, 3 November).
The 6 Sunday sermons by Prof. Engelsma also addressed vital Reformation subjects. All of his 10 public speeches are online on audio and video, with the latter including some question-and-answer sessions. They were made into an attractive box set of DVDs or CDs. It is available for £10 in the UK and $20 in the US (inc. P&P).
We paid for advertisements twice in the Belfast News Letter and the Ballymena Guardian. The latter paper also published two articles about Prof. Engelsma's visit. The saints in the CPRC were very encouraged by our brother's labours in our midst. A good number joined us live online, and his videos have received a lot of attention.
The CPRC now has over 2,000 videos on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI). Very appropriately for a congregation that is called the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, our 2,000th video was Prof. Engelsma's lecture on “Calvin's Doctrine of the Covenant.” Our thanks to Stephen Murray, our audio-visual man, for his labour of putting the videos online every week for many years. It is working too, for we have now had over 1/4 million video watches on our YouTube channel.
Over 3,000 people have subscribed to the CPRC Facebook page. Though this is hardly what Mark Zuckerberg intended, it has helped us get out the Reformed faith and reach new translators.
In our online languages section, Hungarian saw the biggest growth in the last two months, thanks to Bálint Vásárhelyi and Tibor Bognár. With their 10 recent written translations, we now have 216 pieces in Hungarian (www.cprf.co.uk/languages/hungarian.html). We also added a second sermon video with Hungarian subtitles: “The Sovereignty of God (II).” Now we have 27 videos in 4 foreign languages: Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, and French (www.youtube.com). We added 3 more Russian pieces, including material from Prof. Engelsma's Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel, and 3 Danish pieces, thanks to a faithful pastor from Denmark. A brother in India translated “Knowing the True God,” a pamphlet by Rev. Houck, into Hindi. Is this the first Protestant Reformed writing online in Hindi?
The CPRC has used various means to honour the work of Jesus Christ through the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. These include Prof. Engelsma's excellent Reformation speeches, letters in the local press, five installments on “What Is a Protestant?” in the Covenant Reformed News and a 12-sermon series on the great Reformation truth of “Righteousness by Faith Alone” (Rom. 4).
Other recent writings on this subject include “The Reformation and the Nature of the Church” for the Standard Bearer, “Martin and Katie Luther: A Reformation Marriage” for the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, and “Martin Luther and God's Saving Righteousness” for the British Reformed Journal.
I spoke on “Martin Luther's Great Discovery” for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship on Saturday, 28 October. An encouraging number attended, including some people we had never seen before, and we had a good question session afterwards. At this meeting in Limerick and at Prof. Engelsma's lectures, we sold books, and CD and DVD box sets at reduced prices.
In order to promote the Reformed Witness Hour (RWH) in the British Isles, we posted RWH booklets along with the Covenant Reformed News. The RWH gave us these spare copies for free and we waited until we had gotten enough of them across the Atlantic before mailing them with the News. Hopefully, more people will tune in to the RWH radio programme that we sponsor and that is broadcast from outside Londonderry in Northern Ireland on Sunday mornings (8:30-9:00 A.M. on Radio North/Gospel 846 AM or MW) or go to their website (www.reformedwitnesshour.org).
The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference on “The Reformed Family— According to the Word of God” (21-28 July, 2018) is drawing nearer. Booking forms, including prices, are (or very soon will be) online (www.britishreformed.org). You are all very warmly invited to join us at Hebron Hall in South Wales. Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning will be our main speakers. It promises to be a rich time of fellowship and growth under the Word of God.
Thank you for your support and prayers, and for your cards. Our covenant “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love” (Heb. 6:10). May the Lord be with you all!
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart