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Covenant Reformed News - July 2018


Covenant Reformed News

July 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 3

God’s Wisdom (2)

In the previous instalment, we saw from Romans 11:33-36 that God’s wisdom is both infinite and self-sufficient, just as He is both infinite and self-sufficient. Now we shall turn to Proverbs 8 to make four additional points regarding this divine perfection.

First, God’s wisdom is eternal. Wisdom declares, “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world” (22-26). This is a poetic description of God’s only begotten Son, the eternal wisdom of God (Belgic Confession 8). God never was without His wisdom!

Second, God’s wisdom is omnipotent. Thus He proclaims, “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength” (Prov. 8:14). God’s wisdom never fails, nor is it ever impotent or weak. The divine wisdom never desires an end without obtaining that end by using the most appropriate means.

Third, God’s wisdom is true. He professes, “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips” (7). Jehovah never lies as a means to attain His end. The all-wise God never adapts Himself to uttering falsehood.

Fourth, God’s wisdom is righteous. The divine wisdom states, “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them” (8), for “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (13). God’s wisdom is always virtuous and perfectly good; it never resorts to wickedness.

In keeping with this, we read in Proverbs 6, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (16-19). Here we learn that the Most High hates and abominates iniquity, the bodily parts employed in sin and wicked people.

The God who is wise in His Persons and perfections is also wise in His eternal decree. The purpose or goal of the whole created universe is that infinite majesty is ascribed to God through all eternity: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever” (Rom. 11:36). Absolutely “all things,” “yea, even the wicked,” are means to that supreme end (Prov. 16:4). Everything is decreed, created, preserved and used by Jehovah for His honour, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen”!

In God’s eternal wisdom, all things are adapted to the highest end: His glory! Jesus Christ serves Jehovah’s honour. The elect church serves the Lord Jesus, the great servant of the Trinity, and so God’s glory. Reprobation serves the elect church which serves Christ and so God’s praise, as do “all things” in creation and providence, in heaven and in earth. All of this is according to God’s wisdom in His eternal decree or counsel.

God’s first work outside Himself is that of creation—the product of astounding wisdom! “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens” (Prov. 3:19).

No wonder the divine wisdom confesses, “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men” (8:27-31).

Genesis 1 describes the all-wise God’s preparation of the world for man. He created the sky on day two for man needs air to breathe. The dry land and vegetation of day three provided terra firma and food for humanity. The sun, moon and stars of day four give us light. The fish, birds and animals made on days five and six serve mankind in many ways. All these things are perfectly adapted as means to serve man as the subordinate end, so that man may serve God his Creator (Belgic Confession 12).

Yet foolish man claims that the universe is not the product of the wisdom of God. Instead, it is a random occurrence involving trillions of accidents merely according to lucky chance and going all the way back to a gigantic explosion. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). 

Let us also consider Jehovah’s great work of providence: His upholding, governing and directing of all things, according to His eternal purpose. Think of all the stars in the heavens, the myriad fish in the depths of the sea and the many nations of the earth. What infinite and omnipotent divine wisdom is required to sustain and rule over 7 billion people every second of every day! We sing with the psalmist, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (104:24).

Of all the figures in the Old Testament, it is perhaps Joseph’s life that most displays God’s wisdom. Delivering the family of Israel from the famine in Canaan was the end for which Jehovah employed him: “God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20; cf. 45:5, 7-8). The strange means to achieve that wise end included the sin of Joseph’s ten brothers in selling him into slavery; his imprisonment for a crime that he did not commit; his interpretation of the dreams of the butler, the baker and Pharaoh; etc.  Rev. Stewart

Did God Pray to God? (1)

A reader asks, “In the garden of Gethsemane, did Christ pray to the Triune God and thus to Himself, as the Second Person? Or is it wrong for us to say that He who is God prayed to God?”

The question the reader asks is a difficult one. It deals with the great mystery of the Trinity, that God is three in Person and one in essence or Being. It also deals with the doctrine of Christ, the eternal Son of God in our human nature, a nature that was like us in all things except our sin. The creeds of the church have defined this doctrine thus: The Second Person of the holy Trinity, namely the Son, united in His Person the fulness of the divine nature and a complete, though sinless, human nature. Our Lord Jesus Christ was as much a human as any of us. In fact, Paul tells us in Romans 8:3 that Christ came “in the likeness of sinful flesh:” not in sinful flesh but in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came with all the weaknesses of our flesh, the powers of which were eroded by sin and subject to death.

It feels here as if one ought to take off his shoes for he is standing on holy ground. About all we can do is bow in awe and wonder at the marvel of Immanuel: God with us. One hears the voice of the Canons of Dordt warning us that we ought not inquire too far into the deep things of God. Our minds are so small, our understanding so limited and our thought so under the curse of death that we, it seems, should put our hands on our mouth lest we say something foolish and thus put a blemish on our infinitely holy God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Yet the Bible tells us that our Lord prayed. He prayed often and He sometimes prayed all night. He prayed to God and addressed God as His Father. How are we to explain this?

The explanation that Christ prayed only to the First Person of the Trinity will not do, for that position makes a division between God the Father (and the Holy Spirit) and God the Son. Israel must learn to say, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). The Scriptures teach us everywhere that the Triune God is one God. Not the First Person of the Trinity to the exclusion of the Second and Third; not the Second Person of the Trinity to the exclusion of the First and Third. God is eternally three Persons in one divine nature—always and in all He does.

He, as the Triune God, is Father. He is the Father of all His elect family. The Triune God begets them through regeneration. He loves them eternally. Not one of the three Persons love the church; not two of the three Persons loves the church. All three Persons in the union of one nature or essence unchangeably and eternally love the church.

On the other hand, the Triune God did not become man. The First Person, the Father, did not become flesh. There was an old heresy condemned by the church as Patripassianism, the notion that the Father suffered on the cross. The ancient church father, Tertullian, explained that to mean that those heretics put to flight the Holy Spirit and crucified the Father (Against Praxeas 1).

Because the Lord our God is one Lord, it is impossible that one Person of the holy Trinity does some work to the exclusion of the other two Persons. Yet there is a certain priority of Person in each work. The Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 8 speaks of God the Father especially in connection with our creation, God the Son and our redemption, and God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification. Thus the revelation of God includes the truth of three Persons in God united in their essence and work.

The key is the word “revealed.” God reveals Himself through these works as the God who is three in Person and one in essence.

That Christ is divine need not be proved here. Every creed of the Christian church, beginning with Nicea in AD 325, teaches this biblical doctrine emphatically. Nicea even says of Christ that He is “true God of true God.” Not to be overlooked is our Lord’s emphatic statement to the Jews: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).  Our Saviour cannot possibly mean that the First Person of the Trinity and Christ, to the exclusion of the Holy Spirit, are one.

John 1:1-3 speaks of the logos, another name for Christ, as the One through whom God, the Triune God, created all things. The same is true of Colossians 1:16 and Hebrews 1:2. Even in the Old Testament, Christ, called by the name “wisdom,” is spoken of the One through whom the world was made (Prov. 8).

Nor is the Holy Spirit neglected in the work of creation (Gen. 1:2).

The Second Person of the Trinity was not the author of redemption alone. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (II Cor. 5:19). Nor is God spoken of here as the First Person of the holy Trinity. The Triune God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ.

Did Christ, in His human nature, pray to the Triune God, addressing Him as His Father? Of course, He did. Moreover, when He prayed to the Triune God, calling Him “my Father,” Christ said, “not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). The first will here is Christ’s human will and the second will is that of the Triune God.

It is at this point that the miracle of the incarnation becomes very deep and Scripture has very little to say about it, for our understanding is very limited. Most probably the Bible is silent because we are too lacking in understanding to grasp the mystery of God become flesh (I Tim. 3:16).

When our Lord asked who touched Him, after a woman was healed by making contact with the hem of His robe unbeknownst to Him, Christ’s human nature was reflected in this consciousness, according to which He, in fact, did not know who touched Him. The same is true of Jesus when He said that He did not know the time of His second coming (Matt. 24:36), where Christ refers to the Triune God as “my Father.” However, according to His divine nature, He knew all things!  Prof. Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
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Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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South Wales Lecture

FRIDAY, 31 August, 2018
 7:15 PM

Rev. Angus Stewart

Christ Our Sacrifice in Isaiah 53
Leviticus 1-7 sets forth 4 bloody sacrifices and the 6 stages in offering them. Isaiah 53 extols God’s suffering servant using sacrificial language and ideas. Come to learn more of our Saviour’s redemptive work, fulfilling the Old Testament sacrificial system!

Margam Community Centre
Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP

Behold, I Come Quickly

by David J. Engelsma
& Andrew Lanning
(174 pp., softback)

This superb new book sets forth the Reformed and biblical truth of the end in ten relatively short chapters!
1. The Second and Quick Coming of Christ: The Signs 
2. The Reformed Belief Concerning the Rapture and the Antichrist
3. The Coming World-Conquest of the Beast From the Sea
4. Jesus’ Coming as a Thief in View of Great Apostasy and Abounding Lawlessness
5. The 2 Witnesses of Revelation 11
6. The Final Judgment
7. Methuselah
8. The Hope of Creation for Christ’s Coming
9. Disorderliness and the Second Coming of Christ
10. Dispensationalism, J. N. Darby and Powerscourt
Only £5.50 (inc. P&P)

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Earnestly Contending for the Faith (Vol. 2)

8 sermons on Jude 12-25 on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

 What terrifying imagery does Jude use regarding heretics? What has Enoch to do with the Lord’s second coming? How should we witness to those ensnared in filthy errors? There is lots to learn from the second half of Jude!

1. Images of False Teachers (12-13)
2. Enoch’s Prophecy (14-15)
3. Complainers! (16)
4. Mockers in the Last Time (17-18)
5. Dividers! (19)
6. Keep Yourselves in the Love of God (20-21)
7. Two Ways of Witnessing (22-23)
8. Jude’s Concluding Doxology (24-25)

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - August 2018

Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
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Monday, August 6, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

This is my first newsletter as a married man: as all of you know, Larisa (DeJong) and I were married on April 6. We honeymooned in California (April 9-17), beginning in San Francisco and traveling southwards on Highway 1 to San Diego, and stopping for a few days to stay with Travis and Kayla Feenstra (Kayla is one of Larisa’s cousins), during which time we spent a few days with the saints in Hope PRC (Redlands, CA). Married life is a great blessing for both of us and Larisa is settling well into life in Ireland: she has already learned to drive a man-ual (“stick shift”) car, having mastered the clutch and the art of navigating roundabouts, for example; she is getting used to grocery shopping, cooking/baking with the metric system; and she is acclimatizing to doing laundry in a rainy country without a dryer. She also hopes to compensate for the lack of fresh Michigan fruit (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are expensive here) by growing her own. (We shall see how that goes in the Irish climate.) In addition, we have made good progress in our application with the Irish immigration service for permanent residency for Larisa in Ireland.

McGeowns Aug 2018
Rev. and Larisa McGeown cutting cake

Unusual for newly married couples is the number of wedding receptions (and cake-cutting ceremonies) that we have had: we cut cake on April 6, then at a second reception for my Irish/Northern Irish relatives/friends in Cookstown on May 12, and then finally in Wales on May 24, when some of the women brought a cake for us after one of the speeches! As I always say, you can never have too much cake, especially if it is chocolate cake!

While I was in the USA for the wedding (with all the preparations that such things entail, including entertaining my family—my parents, siblings, brother-in-law, and three nieces—who were there for the occasion, and spending time with my American friends), Jonathan Langerak, now pastor-elect Langerak, was ably holding the fort: he and his grandparents, Harry and Evelyn Langerak, occupied my house during that time, and Jonathan preached, taught catechism, and led Bible study: the saints greatly enjoyed his ministry; our only regret is that he was not able to finish his sermon series on Jonah, for which he has an open invitation to come back.

JonL Hogan Kelly
Pastor-elect J. Langerak with Jimmy Hogan and Noel Kelly

My last newsletter was March 2, so I did not mention the kerfuffle we had on March 4: on that Sunday morning we arrived at the hall to discover that the access code had been changed and that the employees at the building did not know the new one. After some scrambling, we all managed to get to the Wattersons’ house by about noon (about 30 minutes outside of Limerick city centre), but because one of our regulars had to pick up his wife at 1 P.M. we decided to shorten the service and rearrange the order so that he could hear the preaching: I preached the sermon at the beginning of the service, prayed the congregational prayer after the sermon, and cut the number of psalms down to two. Thankfully, we were able to have the full service at the right time (although again at the Wattersons’ house) that evening. Such flexibility is necessary on the mission field.

Recent sermons in Limerick have included a series on Romans 1:18-32 (“The Operation of God’s Wrath in the World”) from February 11 to March 18, a series on Romans 5:6-11 (from April 29 to May 20), and a series on Hebrews 12:12-17 on “Responses to Chastisement” (from June 3 to July 15). Yesterday, I finished the section of Christ’s humiliation in the Heidelberg Catechism with “Our Saviour Descending into Hell,” a sobering and comforting section of the great Reformation catechism. Catechism for the children finished in May: Sebastian Kuhs and Jason Watterson successfully completed Old Testament History for Beginners (Book 1), as did my two younger nieces, Lily and Hope, while my older niece, Anna, finished Old Testament History for Juniors. We look forward to resuming catechism in September, when Penelope Kuhs will be joining the class for Old Testament History for Beginners (Book 2).

My catechumens are very intelligent, which a few stories will illustrate. When asked: “What sign did Rahab put in her window to show the Israelites that it was her house?” Sebastian Kuhs (then aged 6) answered, “A sign that said, ‘I love God.’” When I explained that it was more of a secret sign that the people of Jericho would not understand, namely a piece of scarlet rope, Sebastian referred to it as a “nothing sign,” for it was a wordless sign! Moreover, when I asked how an army might conquer a walled city such as Jericho, Sebastian answered, “A trebuchet!” When I expressed surprise, Sebastian began to explain what a trebuchet is. “I know what a trebuchet is,” I responded, “but how do you know the word trebuchet?” It is always a delight to teach children the Word of God. May the Lord bless His Word to their hearts and lives!

In addition, Colm and Irini have been taking an Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class on Saturday mornings. We have made very good progress, for both are very keen to learn. We finished Lessons 1-7 on Theology proper. Irini is on vacation for a few weeks in Greece, but after she returns we hope to continue with Lesson 8 on Creation.

On May 25 the Irish electorate voted to remove the right to life of the unborn from the Irish Constitution. Around that time (May 16), I was interviewed on a radio station in Cork (Life FM) in connection with a lecture I gave on “The Bible and Abortion” in Limerick (May 19). I reported more fully on the referendum in the August 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer.

The British Reformed Conference (July 21-28) has just ended: it was such a wonderful, spiritually uplifting, and encouraging week: excellent speeches, delightful fellowship, enjoyable activities, and good food. The airlines managed to make the return journey from Wales to Ireland unpleasant, however: although we should have been back in Limerick on Saturday (July 28) at about 10:30 am, we arrived at 1 A.M. on Sunday morning (July 29)! Although we were tired, we had our two worship services and a congregational get-together with food in the afternoon. It was good to have many pre- and post-conference visitors: Joanna Koerner, Danae Overweg, Kristen Pawloski, Rose and Kate Doezema, Emily Feenstra, Rachel Buiter, and Dave and Linda Poortinga stayed at our home (not at the same time). The Poortingas left this morning—our next guests will be (this evening) Lidi Cecilio (from Brazil) and (on Friday) Joshua Harris (from Wales), DV. Others visited the LRF, but did not stay at our house: Ed Bos, Phil Harbach, Christine Wierenga, Hannah Bos, Marco Barone, Paula Kuiper, and Greg, Candace, Patrick, and Megan Duerr. Visitors are always welcome!

Pray for us, as we do for you,

In Christian love,
Rev. Martyn & Larisa McGeown


Covenant Reformed News - June 2018


Covenant Reformed News

June 2018 • Volume XVII, Issue 2

Does God Change? (2)

The question addressed in the last Covenant Reformed News brought up Ephesians 2:3, which describes believers prior to their conversion: “Among whom [i.e., the ungodly] also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Some wrongly understand “wrath” as the equivalent of hatred. Thus they teach that God hates the elect before He regenerates them. Since Scripture clearly declares that Jehovah loves His chosen ones before their spiritual birth (4-5), before their physical birth (Rom. 9:10-13), before the cross (I John 4:9-10) and even before the foundation of the world (Jer. 31:3), their doctrine is that God both loves and hates those chosen in Christ prior to their conversion.

If the Most High is able both to love and hate His elect before their effectual call, then, they claim, He can both love and hate the reprobate, those from whom He sovereignly wills to hide spiritually the gospel so that they do not believe and are not saved (Matt. 11:25-27). The Westminster Confession summarizes the Bible’s teaching on reprobation: “The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice” (3:7).

The intent of their appeal to Ephesians 2:3 is to support the well-meant offer: an earnest (though completely useless) divine desire or wish to save all men head for head. This position needs, first, a general or universal love or grace of God which passionately wills to save the reprobate, that is, to elect, redeem, regenerate, effectually call, give faith and repentance to, justify, illuminate, indwell, sanctify, seal, preserve, comfort and glorify those whom He has eternally appointed “to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.” What a glaring contradiction!

Second, this view requires an explanation or justification of a divine attitude—or, rather, attitudes!—of hatred and love towards the reprobate. Hence the appeal to Ephesians 2:3. If God can both love and hate the elect (prior to their regeneration), then He can both hate and love the reprobate (in time)!

The first insuperable problem with this scheme is that Holy Scripture nowhere teaches that Jehovah loves the reprobate. Instead, it repeatedly states that He eternally and justly hates them for their sins (e.g., Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5-6; Prov. 16:4-5). Whereas the dogma of the well-meant offer is “Jacob have I loved and hated, but Esau have I hated and loved,” what the Bible actually says is this: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:2-3).

Second, if the Most High really hates all the objects of His wrath, then He even hates the Lord Jesus! Scripture reveals that Christ is our propitiation (Rom. 3:25; I John 2:2; 4:10), that is, the One who, under the terrible burden of God’s wrath, bore the punishment due to the elect for all their sins (Heidelberg Catechism, A. 17).

Third, and similarly, if Jehovah hates all the objects of His wrath, then He also hates believers! Thus holy David speaks of his experience of Jehovah’s “wrath” and “hot displeasure” (Ps. 38:1), and “anger” and “hot displeasure” (6:1). Every saint knows this divine chastening (1), “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6; cf. 7-8).

What a wretched, comfortless message for the child of God that necessarily follows from the erroneous interpretation of Ephesians 2:3 by those who twist it in support of their well-meant offer: not only did Jehovah hate each and every saint before their regeneration, but He also hates us now, after our conversion! What a terrifying thought for the distressed Christian: “God loves and hates me, and He also loves and hates those who will perish everlastingly!”

So what, positively, does the phrase in Ephesians 2:3 mean? By itself, “the children of wrath” could refer to people who indulge in sinful anger. The other option is that the text refers to God’s wrath. I am not aware of anyone who holds the first position.

While the elect were unregenerate, we were under “the wrath of God,” for we walked in “ungodliness and unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). In this, we were just like the reprobate, as Ephesians 2:3 says, “even as others.” Moreover, we “were by nature the children of wrath” (3). That is, we did not become such by, for example, picking up vicious habits but we were born totally depraved. We were the children of wrath innately and inherently, as those conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5).

The elect before their new birth were under God’s wrath and, especially at certain times, we deeply felt it! We experienced guilt, shame, the fear of death and the apprehension of hell awaiting us, as those who were not right with God and under His wrath.

Jehovah never has hated and never will hate His elect in Jesus Christ; we are the objects of His love alone—eternally and unchangeably (Eph. 1:4; 2:4). It would have been unjust for God to lavish the experience of this love upon us while we walked in unbelief. Instead, He manifested His righteous wrath upon us in our sins.
Through faith in Christ, we are now reconciled to God and know His love towards us. If we walk impenitently in iniquity, our loving God shows us His anger and chastises us, in order to bring us back into the enjoyment of His fatherly embrace.  Rev. Stewart

Divide the Baby in Two!

A reader asks, “When Solomon ordered a living baby to be cut in half (I Kings 3:23-28), was he not guilty of sin against the sixth and/or the ninth commandments?”

We must, first of all, have the situation before us. Two female prostitutes came to Solomon with a problem. Each of them had given birth to a baby which they took with them to bed each evening. During one night, one mother lay on her baby and smothered it. But she exchanged her dead baby for the living baby, and acted as if the living baby were her baby and the dead baby were her friend’s baby. They could not resolve the dispute between them, so they went to King Solomon to settle the problem.

We must remember that this incident is recorded in Scripture in order to demonstrate the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon was the wisest man in the world at that time for, in answer to his prayer, God had given him this amazing wisdom (5-14). As such, he was a type of Christ, the eternal wisdom of God (Prov. 8; I Cor. 1:24; Col. 2:3). From a certain point of view, it is surprising that the Bible should choose this incident in Solomon’s reign to demonstrate his profound wisdom. After all, both women were prostitutes and one would expect that they would be punished for their immoral lives.

Solomon’s decision was not a shot in the dark, so to speak. Nor did he really intend to commit himself to murder, when he suggested that the living child be cut in half. His command to divide the baby in two was based upon a knowledge of human nature, that God has so created women that they have an inner longing to bring children into the world and care for them. A mother would give her life for her child. The baby whom a mother bears is more important than anything else in the world. The baby is part of her life.

Scripture suggests this as well. Where this is not evident in a mother, the horrible power of sin has overcome her. Isaiah reminds Judah of God’s faithfulness, when they claim that He has forgotten them: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” (Isa. 49:15; cf. John 16:21).

One woman who stood before Solomon had such a strong love for her child that she was willing that, rather than see it killed, she would give it to the other woman. On the other hand, that other woman would just as soon see it die, rather than her companion have it. 

What a terrible sin it is for a woman in our day, for no other reason than to satisfy her selfish desires, to abort her baby before it is born or forsake it when it is born. Such a mother acts contrary to her created nature and is so self-centred that she will give up the fruit of her womb. She would rather lose her child than give up her pleasures.

I had an uncle and an aunt who were foster parents to a boy with Down’s syndrome. His biological parents, both with careers, could not be bothered with him. He grew up under Christian influences in the home and church, made confession of faith in the church and still serves as an usher. He is a godly man who is faithful to the truth.

But part of sin in this world is the fact that, if we want something badly enough but cannot have it, we would rather that no one have it. A child, fighting over a toy truck with his brother, would rather that his mother not allow his brother to have the truck either, if he cannot have it. Jealousy is a strange sin! We would rather that no one has what we want than another get it.

There is one more possibility, although it is somewhat speculative. It is, however, possible and there is some reason to adopt it: the true mother of the baby was converted through this dramatic incident in her life. God may have showed her the sin of prostitution, and made her aware of her need to repent and seek His mercy.

If this is true, Solomon may have seen this in her and determined that the baby was her child. The reasons why this could be true are, first of all, that the inspired Scriptures use this incident in the life of Solomon to demonstrate his wisdom. Wisdom in the Bible is a spiritual attribute. James tells those to whom he writes that, if they lack wisdom, let them ask of God (1:5).

There is a worldly “wisdom,” James also tells us, but it is “earthly, sensual, devilish” (3:15). It is a sort of wisdom that solves purely earthly problems. Only God’s people have the true wisdom that is “from above,” and is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (17). Solomon possessed true wisdom which he asked of God.

I cannot imagine that Scripture would use this incident to display Solomon’s wisdom, if that wisdom were merely an earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom. It would, it seems to me, be all that, if Solomon made his decision solely on his knowledge of sinful human nature.

If what I propose is correct, then Solomon saw in the true mother not only a purely natural yearning for her baby but a spiritual love: she viewed her baby as a covenant child who had a place in the church of Christ. The thought of such a baby being slain was more than she could bear. The sin of killing it was almost as bad as that of those Israelites who offered their children to Moloch in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom. It was, she thought, better that her adversary have her baby than that it should die.

Her adversary, on the other hand, did not care about spiritual things. That the infant was a covenant child was of no concern of her, nor did she even think in these terms. Divide the baby in two! That would be better than if her adversary kept the baby, while she had no children.

This interpretation appeals to me very much. Solomon was, after all, a type of Christ. He was a type, as the ruler of a beautiful and wealthy kingdom. He sought the spiritual welfare of those under him. So the Lord Jesus is King of a heavenly kingdom, far surpassing the kingdom of Solomon in glory and riches. Christ establishes His kingdom for His blood-bought people whom He saves in the line of generations: believers and their children who are precious in His sight (Gen. 17:7; II Tim. 1:5). Here was a mother who had no love for God’s covenant, and a mother who suddenly saw the amazing truth that Jehovah saves believing parents and their children to bring them into His own covenant life. She understood that and so did Solomon. He, in his God-given wisdom, knew how covenant mothers love their children! Prof. Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: • Live broadcast:
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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British Reformed Fellowship Family Conference

21-28 July 2018

Hebron Hall
Conference Centre

South Wales

The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God

Prof. David Engelsma
Rev. Andy Lanning

All are welcome to attend the worship services and lectures.

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for the conference programme
or check the conference website
Here We Stand
Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of
the Reformation

(208 pp., softback)

The massive development of the sixteenth-century Reformation included the crucial issues of justification by faith alone, the supreme authority of Scripture and biblical worship. This book also covers two lesser-known, yet highly significant, aspects of the Reformation: the unique progress of the Reformation in the Lowlands and the Reformers’ response to the Anabaptist radicals. The chapters of Here We Stand are written by Prof. Ron Cammenga (editor), Rev. David Torlach, Prof. Barry Gritters, Rev. Martyn McGeown, Prof. Russell Dykstra and Rev. Steven Key.

£8.80 (inc. P&P)
Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Jonathan: David’s Covenant Friend

10 sermons by Rev. Martyn McGeown on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

This new series of sermons from passages in I & II Samuel sets forth the beautiful character of Jonathan: his courage, humility and faithfulness, especially in his covenant friendship with David, a glorious type of Christ our King!  “Whatever fitness he might have shown for the kingdom, had he been called to it, a more unselfish, warm-hearted, genuine or noble character is not presented to us in Scripture than that of Jonathan” (Alfred Edersheim).

(1) Jonathan’s Preemptive Strike at Geba (I Sam. 13:3)
(2) Jonathan’s Daring Attack at Michmash (I Sam. 14:1-23)
(3) Jonathan Transgresses Saul’s Oath (I Sam. 14:24-45)
(4) Jonathan Befriends David
(I Sam. 18:1-4)
(5) Jonathan Intercedes for David
(I Sam. 19:1-7)
(6) Jonathan: A Friend in David’s Need (I Sam. 20:1-23)
(7) Jonathan Helps David Flee From Saul (I Sam. 20:24-42)
(8) Jonathan Strengthens David’s Hand in God (I Sam. 23:16-18)
(9) David Laments for Jonathan
(II Sam. 1:17-27)
(10) David Shows Kindness for Jonathan’s Sake (II Sam. 9)

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Philippine Mission Newsletter - July 2018



Rev. D. Holstege (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Rev. D. Kleyn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Rev. R. Smit (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
PO Box 1173 ACPO, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

PRF Leyte 2018

Dear Members of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America and of our Sister Churches. We greet you in Christ with the news that we and our families and the saints here are, by God’s grace, all doing well. We often think of the words of Proverbs 25:25 (“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country”) when news comes our way. We trust it may be the same for you.

The Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (made up of the Berean PRC pastored by Rev. V. Ibe, the PRC in Bulacan pastored by Rev. J. Flores, and the Maranatha PRC pastored by Rev. L. Trinidad) is very thankful to the Lord for the establishment of a sister church relationship between them and the PRCA, as finalized at this year’s PRCA Synod. As many of you know, Rev. Trinidad was able to attend the synod as a representative of the PRCP. He thoroughly enjoyed his time at synod and among the saints in our churches. Upon his return he was very excited to tell us about it. He also appreciated very much (and we do too) the hospitality he was shown. Now that this sister relationship is in place, the PRCP decided (at their June 12 Classis) to pursue next a sister church relationship with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.

As missionaries, we continue to labor in the PRCP churches. We serve as advisors at their classis and consistory meetings, assist in church visitation, serve on their standing committees (for missions, contact, translation, theological training, etc.), give lectures at their conferences, provide teaching in their churches, and regularly provide pulpit supply.

The need for pulpit supply sometimes arises when the pastors are busy on certain Sundays with congregational outreach work (preaching and teaching among various contacts the churches have). It also arises when the pastors are on one of the monthly visits that are made to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Albuera, Leyte (pictured above). The PRFA is now an official mission work of the PRCP, with the PRC in Bulacan as the calling church. For now the PRCB is sending a monthly delegation over a weekend for preaching, teaching, pastoral work, etc. The goal, however, is to call a missionary, and the main preparation that is currently being done for that is to put together a budget for a missionary and his family to serve there. Once this budget has been presented to and approved by Classis (perhaps this coming October), the PRCB will most likely begin the process of calling a missionary from among the pastors of the PRCP.

The standing committees of the PRCP have been busy lately with mission work (the PRFA mentioned above), contact committee work (sister church relationships), translation work (translating the Three Forms of Unity), and theological training (adopting various constitutions, organizing pre-seminary Greek, and preparing a seminary program). As regards the latter, one of our missionaries (namely, Rev. Smit) has been able to devote the majority of his time to assist the PRCP with these seminary related matters. We are very glad that progress is now being made toward the PRCP having a seminary in the near future, the Lord willing. At this point in time, a definite start date has not yet been decided.

The most recent conference in the PRCP was held on May 1. The theme was: “The Power of the Gospel” and the speakers were Rev. Trinidad, Rev. Smit, Rev. Ibe, and I. Approximately 120 attended the conference (pictured below). Sharon, with much help from others, set up a book table and sold close to 200 books. These conferences serve well to bring together not only the members of the PRCP, but many of their and our contacts, too.

PRCP Conf May 2018

As usual, lively discussion followed the lectures with many good questions from the attendees. Here’s a small sampling of the questions asked: Is it correct to say that the gospel adds condemnation to the reprobate who hear it? When did the reprobate become children of the devil? How do you distinguish between true preaching and Arminian preaching? Since we are saved by means of faith, what about children who die before birth or in infancy? Does 1 Timothy 2:4 teach that God does really desire that all men be saved? Can God save without preaching? Weren’t Adam and Eve and the thief on the cross saved without preaching? Can a false gospel save and work faith? What does it mean that we must “work out our own salvation” (Philippians 2:12)? Because regeneration is immediate, is it possible that a regenerated person can live in sin for a long time prior to his conversion and believing?

The Provident Christian Church in Marikina, in which we have been laboring since the end of 2012, is hoping to be ready to join the PRCP sometime in the next six to twelve months, the Lord willing. Rev. Holstege mostly labors in this church. The congregation has come to understand and love the Reformed faith not only through weekly preaching but also through a study of all three of our creeds. Rev. Holstege has also taught them the Church Order. PCC hopes soon to adopt the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order, and then to reorganize themselves as a Reformed church (their background is a mixture of Brethren and Baptist). We are grateful to God for the progress that has been made and look forward to another church being added to the PRCP, the Lord willing.

Due to your generous support of the Philippine Bookfund, we were recently able to expand the use of the fund to include giving a larger discount to churches who buy the books for their church libraries. Recently one of the churches did just that, purchasing over 150 books. In addition to this, Doon and the FMC also recently approved using the funds to subsidize the cost of seminary books for PRCP seminary students. We also continue to use the funds to cover the cost of magazines, pamphlets, and the translation and publication of some PRCA literature into Tagalog (current projects are Come Ye Children and various pamphlets). We express our sincere thanks for your generous gifts toward this fund.

Monthly visits are still being made to the pastors in Southern Negros Occidental. Rev. Smit and I usually make these visits. Rev. Smit is lecturing in Dogmatics (currently in Christology). Recently I completed a study of the Church Order and am now giving lectures concerning the Reformed Creeds. This will eventually include instruction concerning Heidelberg Catechism preaching, something the men have specifically requested. Usually a group of 10 to 15 pastors attend each month (pictured below).

SNegros men 2018 1

Currently Rev. and Leah Holstege and their family are on furlough in the USA. Rev. Holstege has been preaching and giving presentations. From what we hear, the Holsteges are enjoying the time in the churches and the opportunity to be with their loved ones again for a while. The next missionary to be taking a furlough will be myself and my wife Sharon. Synod approved the FMC’s proposal that we take a 4 to 6 month furlough in 2019, especially for the purpose of missionary development. We hope to begin our furlough in January, and my plan is to use the time mainly for further studies in missions as well as for preparing courses that I might start teaching in the PRCP seminary here in the near future. My wife and I look forward to this upcoming furlough.

We thank you for your continued prayers for us and for the saints here. We remember you all in our prayers as well.

In Christian love,
Rev. Daniel Kleyn


Reformed News Asia - June 2018

Issue 49 - June 2018

We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
The Nurture and Discipline of our Children
By Rev. Arie den Hartog

"The covenant family was created by God in His infinite goodness and perfect wisdom to be the ideal institution for the nurture of the children. However, marriage and the family were deeply corrupted and troubled by the fall. What God intended to be a place of order, peace, happiness, and love has been ruined by self-seeking, pride, violence, lust, adultery, and the treachery of ungodly men. Many of the world’s marriages are torn apart by the great evil of divorce. It is no wonder that such homes can no longer be the ideal place to nurture children, where order and structure can be given to their lives, and where they can be taught all the important principles that are absolutely foundational for living."

Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
by Herman Hoeksema

From the RFPA website:

“The vicarious suffering of the Lord must occupy a central place in the consciousness of faith and in the preaching of the gospel. On the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ depends all of salvation.”

So states the author of these powerful meditations on the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, giving us all the reason we need to read them and digest them, to believe on the Christ presented in them and magnify the God of our salvation whose work is set forth in them.

Audio Recordings
Sermons by Rev Den Hartog from Acts 2:

The Coming Of The Spirit Of Christ
The Church Of Pentecost

Upcoming Events!
9 August 2018 - Fellowship Outing

More details coming soon!
Past Events...
CERC Sports Day 2018

This year, under the theme of Old-school sports day, we had a few adaptions of some old games, including badminton, boat rowing, etc. Despite the rain, everyone, both old and young had an enjoyable time of games and fellowship. 
Exhortation by Elder Lim
A badminton passing game with the goal of transferring the shuttlecock from one point to another
Naomi trying her best at one of the games
'GPS' game - transporting items on the floor to a box, by pulling on the strings of the given equipment
Infant Baptism

In May, we were once again blessed to witness the Infant Baptism of Micayla, daughter of Daniel and Isa! We rejoice with their parents, thanking God and praying for God's blessings upon the them as they bring up their covenant child in the fear of the Lord. 
CERC Church Camp 2018

This year's Church Camp was held from June 12-15, at Meleka, under the theme "Holiness, Not A Condition, But A Necessity". We were blessed by the speeches from Rev. den Hartog and the fruitful discussions we had in groups. May we continue to seek refreshment and renewal from our Lord and strive to lead a Holy life!
Mandatory group shot with this year's camp t-shirt
Camp speaker, Rev den Hartog
Discussion groups
One of the camp games - human table football
Soldiers at the starting line
CK/CKS Retreat 2018

Another camp (for the young people) 1 week after church camp was the CK/CKS retreat. This year's camp was held from 21-23 June under the theme: Blessed are the pure in heart (Matt 5:8), with Josiah Tan as the speaker. 
Salt Shakers

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

Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord's Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm ~ 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 ~ Pastor: Rev Andy Lanning  ~ 

Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - June 2018

CPRC NI building

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Ballymena, NI
28 June, 2018

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,


Family visitation in the CPRC has included 24 meetings on 11 different days over 2 weeks (7-21 May). Our Scripture passage this year was Ephesians 5:22-6:8, which deals with the respective callings of husbands, wives, children, fathers, and employees. As always, family visitation was a profitable exercise. Only one visit remains, that with one of our members who is currently studying at a university in Wales.

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 28 May included reports by Stephen Murray (audio-visual), Julian Kennedy (financial), and Rev. Martyn McGeown (missionary). I spoke on our plans for the future, covering events, speakers, books, etc., involving the CPRC in the next year, DV.

In the last year, our best-selling book was Called to Watch for Christ Return by Rev. McGeown, and our best-selling box set (CD or DVD) was “Celebrating 500 Years of the Reformation,” consisting of the 10 speeches and sermons by Prof. Engelsma in the CPRC in the autumn of 2017. The visitors on the written pages of our website ( have averaged 1,880 per day over the last year, which marks steady growth year on year.

In January - May, 2018, our most hit audio was “Job's Comfort and Our Comfort” (Lord's Day 1). Over the same period, the 10 countries that listened most to CPRC sermons were, in order, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, China, Israel, Australia, Qatar, Canada, and South Korea. Turning to the top 10 countries for the written pages on our main website for the first 5 months in 2018, we have the United States, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Peru, Italy, Russia, Germany, and Hungary. If we remove from this list the English-speaking nations (USA at #1, UK at #5, and the Netherlands at #2, for almost all the Dutch speak English), there is a strong correlation between the remaining 7 countries included in the top 10 and the languages in which we have a lot of translations: Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Indonesian, Spanish, and Russian.

The CPRC has (or very soon will have) two new lady members. First, we received the membership papers of Larisa McGeown from First Holland PRC (6 June). Second, Grace Mae was born to David and Kristin Crossett (20 June); she is to be baptized this Sunday (1 July).

 baby grace crosset
Grace Mae Crossett with big sister Sophie

Our Tuesday morning Bible study has moved to the topic of the Old Testament sacrifices. Currently, we are working our way through the 6 main stages in offering bloody sacrifices. So far, we have covered the presentation of the animal, the laying of hands upon the beast, and its slaughter, in connection with our Saviour's cross.

U.S. Trip

This year, I was the CPRC delegate to the Synod at Byron Center PRC in mid June, my first time at the PRC's broadest assembly since 2002. I hasten to add that there were various good and wholly innocent reasons for my lengthy absence, including that attending Synod means that the CPRC goes without live preaching for a Sunday. This is the first year that Mary's parents will not be able to come to the biennial British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference and the opportunity to stay with them tipped the balance in favour of going to Synod.

It was good to witness the working of Synod, especially since our congregation has no broader assemblies on this side of the Atlantic. I enjoyed fellowship with the ministers, elders, and professors, as well as the brethren from the Philippines and Singapore. I was also pleasantly surprised that I was able to watch other people working while I was largely inactive, with less difficulty than I had expected!

While in Grand Rapids, I gave a speech on “Gottschalk: Medieval Confessor of God's Absolute Sovereignty” in Georgetown PRC and sponsored by Trinity PRC (13 June). This amazing ninth-century monk spent some two decades under house arrest for teaching, by God's Spirit, the truth of unconditional election and reprobation, particular atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. He even boldly and uncompromisingly denied the well-meant gospel offer, in the faithful tradition of Augustine of Hippo and Fulgentius of Ruspe, declaring, “All those whom God wills to be saved (I Tm 2:4) are without doubt saved, nor can any be saved but those God wills to be saved. Nor is there any one whom God wills to be saved, and is not saved, since our God has done all things whatever he willed [Ps. 135:6]. They therefore are all saved—all whom he wills to be saved.” The video of the Gottschalk lecture is on-line, including the slides and the Q. & A. session ( com/watch?v=9hKDOcaTbFA).

Our Lord's day in America (17 June) was spent in Chicagoland in 2 churches we had not seen for some years. First, I preached in Crete PRC (Jude 20-21), after we joined the saints the previous day for their annual church picnic. Second, I spoke in Bethel PRC (II Kings 6:8-23), where I also gave a PowerPoint presentation on the witness of the CPRC. Our thanks to Phil and Karen Van Baren and Fred and Rose Iwema for their kind hospitality.

Mary and I then flew to Washington DC for a few days of informative and enjoyable sightseeing at the capital, including Arlington National Cemetery. Arriving in Dublin on Saturday, I preached in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), while Rev. McGeown was in the CPRC.

We brought back a good weight of RFPA books, especially Here We Stand, edited by Prof. Cammenga, and The Belgic Confession: A Commentary, volume 1, by Prof. Engelsma. Chief among the pamphlets we transported home are “The Bible Versus Mormonism” by Rev. Hanko and “Spousal Abuse in the Reformed Community” by Prof. Engelsma. All such materials help our witness to God's truth, and encourage saints in the British Isles and other parts of the world.

On 28 April, Marco Barone was interviewed live by phone on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio in Pennsylvania in connection with his fine book, Luther’s Augustinian Theology of the Cross: The Augustinianism of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation and the Origins of Modern Philosophy of Religion (www.ironsharpens His article on the “500th Anniversary of Martin Luther's Heidelberg Disputation” was published in the English Churchman (27 April & 4 May).

Our thanks to saints from England, Northern Ireland, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois who recently donated to the CPRC Translators Fund. The last 3 boxes of books we posted out went to 2 ministers in Kenya and a Brazilian pastor in the Azores, a cluster of islands in the Atlantic Ocean belonging to Portugal. In the last couple of months, we added 14 translations to our website: Hungarian 7, Greek 4, Swahili 2, and Portuguese 1 (

We are now just a few weeks from the 2018 BRF Family Conference on “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” with Prof. D. J. Engelsma and Rev. A. Lanning in S. Wales (21-28 July). We are delighted that as many as 108 people are booked in, including a good number of our translators.

Some 4,500 copies of the new BRF book, Behold, I Come Quickly, consisting of the speeches and sermons at the 2016 BRF Conference are due to be published any day now. This excellent little volume will be available from many PR congregations in America and Canada, the churches in the Philippines and Singapore, and the CPRC Bookstore of course.

Thank you for your interest and your prayers. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you!

Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart

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