News from All Churches
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
16 February, 2017
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Rev. and Sue VanOverloop (Grace PRC) and Sid and Lisa Miedema (Byron Center PRC) stayed with us at the CPRC manse from Friday 12-Saturday 21 January. It is especially enjoyable when our annual church visitors come with their wives!
As well as preaching at both Lord’s Day services, Pastor VanOverloop led a Tuesday morning Bible study on “Paul’s Prayers for the Ephesians” and gave a Wednesday night lecture on “Content With Who I Am in Christ.” The Ballymena Guardian and the Belfast News Letter carried articles promoting this speech. The congregation and visitors appreciated Rev. VanOverloop’s ministry.
Building the wall in Nehemiah 3 was the theme of this year’s official church visitation with the CPRC Council (Monday, 16 January). What a great example to the church of all ages: In Nehemiah’s day, everyone joined in the work despite the opposition of the ungodly!
Our congregational dinner in the Ross Park Hotel was a good night of fellowship (Friday, 20 January). Our thanks to William Graham for his fine work as the after-dinner quizmaster. Besides our four church visitors, most of the congregation, and a good number of friends, our nephew Travis Hanko (Grace PRC) was also present at the dinner, having flown to Northern Ireland for a couple of days during a university course in the Netherlands.
Alicia Prins and Dana VanDyke (Trinity PRC) were in Northern Ireland in late December, staying with David and Kirstin Crossett. Our thanks to them and the church visitors for bringing over a good number of books for our church.
Rev. McGeown’s New Book
The CPRC Bookstore has been getting out a lot of RFPA literature of late, including Prof. Hanko’s excellent book, Corrupting the Word of God: The History of the Well-Meant Offer.
Our current bestseller is Rev. McGeown’s Called to Watch for Christ’s Return (www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore/ calledtowatch.html). Apart from our BRF Conference books, which we sell at a very low cost, no other book has sold so many copies in such a relatively short period.
Our biggest difficulty lies in keeping up a stock of them through couriers travelling from Grand Rapids to the CPRC or the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF). For the present, I am holding off sending articles on Called to Watch for Christ’s Return to the Ballymena press because we are running low.
Three weeks ago, I e-mailed a piece to newspapers in the Cookstown area of Northern Ireland, where Pastor McGeown was brought up and where most of his family live. The Mid-Ulster Mail put it on their website and linked to it from their Facebook account. They also published it in full and prominently in their weekly printed version, along with two photos of the author and his book (2 February). This garnered more sales than any such article we have had published in any (secular) newspaper before. Hopefully, some of the new people reading this superb book on Matthew 24-25 and the end times will develop a spiritual taste for the truth of the biblical and Reformed faith, and will want other materials from the CPRC Bookstore in the future.
The ministry of the blessed Word continues in the CPRC in various forms. On Tuesday mornings, we have been tracing the Old Testament’s teaching on holy wars from the Pentateuch through the historical books, especially Joshua and Judges.
We recently concluded six Wednesday night classes on “The Government of and Offices in the Church” (Belgic Confession 30). We refuted Charismaticism, Episcopalianism, and Anabaptism by insisting on only and all the three permanent, ordinary, and biblical church offices: pastors, elders, and deacons. On this scriptural basis, we then considered church office-bearers in connection with the Spirit of Christ, good order, and broader assemblies (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgic confessionclass.htm). It was good to have with us in the class two visitors from the Republic of Ireland, one from Co. Wexford and one from Co. Limerick, Colm Ring of the LRF.
Last Sunday's services included the 31st sermon on “The Life of Jacob,” the longest series I have preached (www.cprf.co.uk/ audio/OTseries.htm). Stephen Murray has already produced two of the three box sets on Jacob (CD or DVD), covering sermons 1-12 entitled “Jacob’s Birth, Blessing, and Young Family” (Gen. 25-31) and sermons 13-22 on “Jacob’s Enemies: Laban, Esau, and the Canaanites” (Gen. 31-35).
The last two months have been very quiet on the translation front, with just 10 added to our website: 5 Spanish, 2 Hungarian, 2 Indonesian, and 1 Portuguese (www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm). However, we have also received our first ever subtitled video. Tibor Bognár, who was at the 2016 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference, added Hungarian subtitles to a YouTube video of my sermon on “The Sovereignty of God (I).” This video is atop our special Hungarian page, which contains some 185 translations (www.cprf.co.uk/ languages/hungarian.htm).
With 2017 being the 500th anniversary of the great Protestant Reformation, the CPRC is delighted that Prof. Engelsma has agreed to come to Northern Ireland to give some speeches in October and early November, and to preach on three Lord’s Days. We are holding a mini-conference on Saturday, 21 October, DV, the week before the PR Seminary conference in Grand Rapids. This also means that I am released to preach for the LRF on Sundays 29 October and 5 November, when Rev. McGeown is to be in the US to speak at Reformation conferences in Michigan and Colorado, respectively.
May the Lord be with all His believing children, the children of the Reformation,
Rev. & Mary Stewart
On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at a special service held in her sanctuary, Faith PRC gave birth to a new daughter congregation - with the chosen name of ZION PRC.
The plans and preparations for this stretched back into 2016 (and beyond), when the Council of Faith PRC encouraged some of her members to form a new church, to help ease the space limitations due to her steady growth. Soon a number of families committed to doing this, and began holding worship services at Heritage Christian School in Hudsonville, MI. In a matter of months the Council-set goal of 40 families was reached to seek organization as a new PRC.
At the meeting of Classis East in January of this year, the delegates approved the request of these families and individuals from Faith and from a few other local PRCs to proceed with organization, Faith's Council being entrusted with the final steps and organization service. The date of February 8, 2017 was set and on that date the organization was carried out.
Rev. C. Spronk, pastor of Faith PRC, led the service, preaching the message "The Life of a Spirit-Filled Church" from Acts 4:31-32. Following the regular portion of the service, a special congregational meeting was held, in which Zion's male confessing members chose her officebearers from the nominations Faith's Council has approved. Chosen as elders were Gary Kaptein, Howard Pastoor (three-year terms), Randy Dykstra and Brian Decker (two-year terms); chosen as deacons were Justin Koole, Scott Van Uffelen (three-year terms) and Rodney Rau (two-year term).
Zion PRC is still temporarily meeting at Heritage Christian School (miusic room in the NE corner of the building), holding worship services at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Rev. J. Slopsema is leading the morning services and teaching the Heidelberg Catechism. The evening services are supplied by ministers from Classis east and from the PRC Seminary. The congregation cordialy invites you to join them in worship on Sundays and in fellowship at her weekly Bible studies.
We rejoice in God's gracious provision of a new congregation in our denomination, and pray that His richest blessing may rest upon her as she seeks to serve the Lord in her worship and fellowship, to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be a faithful witness in the community in which God has placed her.
"Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." Psalm 48:2
"Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem." Psalm 51:18
The Zion PRC congregation in the Heritage CS gym
The newly formed Council
From left-right: Scott Van Uffelem, Rodney Rau, Justin Koole (deacons); Gary Kaptein, Randy Dykstra, Howard Pastoor, Brian Decker (elders)
Through the Council of Hope PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) comes this December 2016 report from Rev. Titus concerning his labors in Myanmar (Burma).
Greetings in our sovereign covenant Lord's name. I believed that for His mercy you are doing well in this cold winter there.
Here also temperature went down up to 65 DF, so many people caught cold, and myself also got a very strong cold, coughing the whole night, could not sleep well, doctor gave me some injections as well as pills. Last Sunday my congregation had to bear with me my rough voice for too much coughing, but thankfully Lord's Day worship went well.
So, I need to be short this time of report, but very interesting improvement in our government's reforming the country, the Lord willing, next month I will report.
In His providence care we can still have Tuesday Bible class, and we still discussing "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine." We reached lesson 14. We had a great deal of discussions with our reformed truth and our country's so-called Christian view, which is sometimes very different.
I am still very busy, editing my KJV Burmese translation. I started editing the book of 2 Thessalonians and I preached every week from out of that editing. And I reached translating chapter 23 of the book of Deuteronomy. Evening services Heidelberg Catechism, now I reach LD 11.
And every week put out Sunday Digest. I am still translating "For They Truth's Sake" by Prof. Hanko, now I am still translating "Believers and Their Seed." And I reached "Come, Ye Children," by Gertrude Hoeksema, "Ehud Left-handed Judge." Catechism classes, younger one, we started Heidelberg Catechism, by Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma; this week we reach lesson 11. Older youth, I am teaching "Essentials of Reformed Doctrine, A Guide in Catechetical Instruction by Rev. Herman Hoeksema, revised by Prof. Herman Hanko." We are now re-discussion on the points that the youth have to know more, so we kind of free-hand discussions, youth asked me from lessons that they like to know more about or things they did not very clear the first time.
I start translating a new book, "Unfolding Covenant History," by Homer C. Hoeksema, I am translating the chapter "The Creative Work in the Beginning."
Thank you very much for supporting my ministry till today, without your help I cannot do all the things that I do for His people. Please, continue to pray for us, so that the name of the Lord will be glorified here in this land. I and my family also pray always for all of you and your families and congregations. The Lord's blessings to you all.
Rev. Rodney, pastor of Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA, begins his four-month service for the RWH program with a new series on the law of God.
You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 76th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!
Below are the messages scheduled for this month, also in flyer form (attached in pdf).
February 5, 2017 - How I Love Thy Law, Psalm 119:97
February 12, 2017 - No Other Gods, Exodus 20:2
February 19, 2017 - The True Worship of God, Exodus 20:4-6
February 26, 2017 - A Name to Be Reverenced, Exodus 20:7