Below you will find special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this twentieth Sunday of our Lord's year 2022, May 22.
Because our Lord is risen from the dead on the third day, as He promised, today, on this first day of the week, we gather in worship as members of our living Savior's church. With gratitude and gladness we bring our praise to our triune God for fully accomplishing our salvation in His Son and by His Spirit. We cordially invite you to join us in worship on this day and on any Sunday.
Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies. ~ Psalm 54:4-7
If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.
- This Thursday evening, May 26, the PRC congregations will gather in worship to commemorate the glorious ascension into heaven of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please join us in praising our Savior as we remember His finished work on earth and His ongoing work in heaven to save and glorify His church. Check the worship service times of the church near you at this link.
- Last Sunday Rev. J. Smidstra (First PRC-Holland) declined the call to Doon PRC. He is considering the call to Hudsonville PRC (received May 11).
- This morning Grace PRC voted to extend a call to Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC).
- Rev. J. Marcus plans to be installed as Peace PRC's new pastor on Sunday morning, June 12, with Rev. J. Engelsma leading the service.
- Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. R. Barnhill in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. S. Regnerus (2nd Sunday) in First PRC, Edmonton, AB; Prof. B. Gritters and Rev. J. Smidstra in Grace PRC; Prof. B. Huizinga and Rev. M.McGeown in Hudsonville PRC; Rev. J. Engelsma in Peace 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.
- Special PRC Evangelism/missions notices:
- The Council of Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) has formed its first trio for the calling of a home missionary: Revs. A. Brummel (Calvary), J. Smidstra (First-Holland), and Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC).
- Byron Center (MI) PRC: The Evangelism Committee is making a special effort to invite their friends and neighbors to the Ascension Day service on May 26. This past week members met to distribute flyers in the community. They have also sponsored a special annoucemement on the Reformed Witness Hour program in the Grand Rapids, MI area for today and last Sunday.
- First PRC-Grand Rapids, MI: "Join us for a Mexico Outreach Update/Singspiration on Sunday, June 12 at 7:30 PM here at First PRC GR. Plans are being finalized for trips to two different areas in Mexico this summer. Come and learn more about this work. Also, hear an update on the book translation work that we are involved with. A collection will be taken to help cover the costs of this outreach. A light lunch will be served following that evening service."
- Hope PRC-GR (today's bulletin): "The Myanmar committee reported that it held a video conference with Rev. Titus, Elder Naw Taung, and Deacon Joseph regarding their labors as officebearers and the life of their congregation. Although the saints in Myanmar live in constant danger due to civil unrest, their faith is strong."
PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS
- Classis East met on Wednesday, May 11. Here is a brief summary of the meeting. The full report may be found on this page.
Classis East convened Wednesday, May 11, in Zeeland, MI. First PRC of Holland hosted the meeting at Redeemer Christian School. Rev. Lee presided as chairman. The council of Georgetown PRC approved Rev. Carl Haak’s request for emeritation and brought the request to Classis for its approval. Classis approved the request and expressed deep appreciation and thanks to God for Rev. Haak’s 43 years as a faithful minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Rev. Haak’s emeritation will begin on September 1, 2022. Classis advised two consistories to proceed in their work of Christian discipline; advising one consistory to announce the name of an impenitent confessing member; advising the other consistory to proceed with the erasure of an impenitent baptized member. A pulpit supply schedule was adopted for Grace and Hudsonville PRC’s. Classis received a report from its special committee, appointed in January, to study how to handle sexual abuse cases. The expenses of Classis totaled $1,162. The delegates appreciated the hospitality of First PRC of Holland, especially the women on the catering committee. The next meeting of Classis East will convene at 8:00 AM on September 14, 2022 at Byron Center PRC.
The Seminary hosted the junior students from Covenant Christian HS in Grand Rapids this past Friday, May 20.
PRC Seminary Notices:
- The seminary has now completed its second semester and entered its summer break. Continue to pray for the faculty, students, and staff as we enter the summer months with other labors and activities planned.
- Last Friday, May 20, the seminary hosted 94 junior students plus three church history teachers from Covenant Christian HS in Grand Rapids (see photo above). They enjoyed a pizza lunch before breaking up into four (4) groups to hear presentations on the history and work of the seminary (Prof. B. Gritters), the library and tour of building (Prof. B. Huizinga, student life (Sem. M. Koerner), and PRC archives (Mr. C. Terpstra). It was a great blessing to be able to do this once again.
- Sem. Marcus Wee has completed his four-year program and will be examined at the PRC Synod in June before returning to the CERC in Singapore. Sem. Isaac Peters has completed a special three-year program and will be returning to the EPC in Australia. A graduation program for these men is planned for June 16 at Zion PRC.
- Prof. B. Huizinga submitted his ThM thesis (on the idea of the rewards in the covenant of grace in Reformed theology) last month and sat for its defense this past Tuesday, May 17. This is the final step in his three-year process of obtaining this degree. In addition, he also plans to take on two more courses in OT Studies this Fall from Prof. Cammenga and will be preparing for these this summer. Prof. R. Dykstra has officially ended his teaching at the seminary as of this semester and Prof. D. Kuiper will be taking over the rest of his classes in this coming year. Prof. C. Griess continues working toward his advanced degree and is taking some summer courses as well.
- With joy the faculty announces that it has licensed student Arend Haveman to speak a word of edification in the churches. We are grateful for the brother’s progress to this point in his training. All scheduling of Mr. Haveman must be done through the seminary, either by sending a request to the seminary secretary, Miss Sharon Kleyn, or the rector, Prof. R. Cammenga.
- The spring 2022 issue of the PRT Journal is at the printers, but the digital editions are on the seminary's website. This issue will feature the speeches from the seminary's fall 2021 conference on preaching, 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.
- 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.
- Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
- Pastor J. Tan is faithfully serving the CERC each week as her pastor. Their bulletin this week included this note concerning their mission work in Kolkata, India: "Session meets together every two months with our Missionary Pastor Singh to update and share with each other all that is happening in our mission field in Kolkata India. Here are some updates and prayer request from last week’s meeting with Pastor Singh. We give thanks to God that He has moved the hearts of the government in the land to lift all COVID restrictions and life has since returned to pre-covid days. With this development, church activities and evangelism will be unhindered. It is our goal that in due time the fellowship will be instituted as a church. For that, according to the principles in the book of Acts, there must be office bearers, elders and deacons. Please pray for the following two men who have shown great interest and have finished the office bearer training course with Pastor Singh."
- The CERC is also planning her next church camp on June 10 and 11, which includes speeches by pastor Tan , an interactive workshop, and activities.
- Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
- Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to the saints in Ballymena.
- A March newsletter has been released by the CPRC. Visit this page to read it and catch up on all the exciting news out of Ballymena!
- Sign up for the 2022 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland from Saturday, July 9, to Saturday, July 16. The speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Prof. Brian Huizinga will lecture on "Union With Christ." For information see the website (http://brfconference.weebly.com).
- The April 2022 issue of "Covenant Reformed News" was published at the end of the month. Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles by Revs. A. Stewart and R. Hanko.
- PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
- A new Philippines mission newsletter has just been published in April. Read the news from the Far East here.
- Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V. Ibe led the worship services today. In addition: "Elder Umali and deacon Julius Arragona are scheduled to visit the saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija today, D.V."
- Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. R. Smit preached and lead her worship services today.
- The PRCP Seminary: "Seminary Classes are finished for this current school year and the final exams will take place from May 19- 25, the Lord willing. Let us remember our student, Bro. Ace Flores, in our prayers."
- This month Rev. R. Kleyn (First PRC-Grand Rapids, MI) continues speaking for the RWH. The focus will be a series on the life of Joseph. Today's message is based on Genesis 43:15-44:13 and titled "Loving Discipline."
REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM
Want to know the distinctive Reformed tradition and practices of the PRC? Look up this valuable resource!
- For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including church history and Bible study materials - visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.
- The Reformed Book Outlet (downtown Hudsonville, MI) is temporarily closed while it moves into a new building that is being renovated. See the following note for details.
- 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.
- The PR Sunday School Association also publishes complete OT and NT Bible Story Lessons for young children and older children. Visit this page to learn more.
This Week's Thought for Contemplation
"Forgiveness or remission of sins is not exactly the same thing as justification. Justification is very similar to forgiveness of sins and they are related, but we should distinguish them from one another. Justification is more than forgiveness of sins; it includes forgiveness of sins, but it includes more. Forgiveness is God’s act of sending away our sins, while justification is God’s act of declaring that we are righteous. When God declares that we are righteous, he means that we are in perfect harmony with his standard which is revealed in his law. If you will, forgiveness is the negative side of justification: if God forgives us, we have no guilt, but what about positive righteousness? In justification God imputes or reckons Christ’s righteousness to our account. Or forgiveness is the non-imputation of sin, while justification is by the imputation of righteousness.
When we pray for forgiveness we ask that God would be “pleased for the sake of Christ’s blood not to impute to us poor sinners our transgressions, nor that depravity which always cleaves to us” (Heidelberg Catechism A 126). The Catechism also closely connects the forgiveness of sins to justification: “What believest thou concerning the forgiveness of sins? That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long” (Q&A 56). That is, strictly speaking, what the remission of sins is—God not remembering our sins. The Catechism adds, “but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God” (A 56). That is justification, which is closely connected to the forgiveness of sins, although not identical to it. Similarly, the Belgic Confession does not say in Article 23 that the forgiveness of sins is justification, but that “[in the forgiveness of sins] our righteousness before God is implied.”
Also, justification concerns our legal state or status: it is God’s unchanging declaration that we are righteous received by faith alone. We can speak of justification in different senses or we can say that there are multiple declarations of righteousness. To that we will turn next time, God willing."
~ Rev. M. McGeown in a recent blog post, "Preaching Repentance and the Forgiveness of Sins (4): Forgiveness of Sins"