News

Reformed News Asia - October 2020 (Issue 62)

 
Issue 62
Pamphlets

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.
NEWPamphlet!

Please click the picture to get the online copy of the pamphlet.
Questions in the Bible - Esther, Job, Psalm
By Prof Hermon Hanko

This project was inspired by 'Pastoral Voice' written by Rev. Andy Lanning for CERC in Oct 13-Jan 14 which covered 6 questions in Genesis.

There are many questions within the Bible, 2,540 to be exact.

The Christian Literature Ministry has shortlisted and compiled a list of them based on certain criteria:

i) Can be linked to Christ
ii) Significant in history of church
iii) Spiritual lesson for us
iv) A question we may also ask

After 6 years of effort, 12 books of the bible have been completed. In addition to the 6 meditations from Rev. Lanning, the writers are: Prof. Herman Hanko, Rev. Richard Smit and Rev. Cory Griess. We are grateful for their labour of love.

May you benefit spiritually from the meditations, and pray with us that gradually we may compile more meditations from questions in other books of the Bible.


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.

His Friends and Servants
Tell His Wonders, volume 2


by Nathan J. Langerak

 

From the RFPA website:

By the wonder of salvation in Jesus Christ God establishes a covenant with us his people and makes us his friends and servants. And in his mercy he also makes a promise to us: I will be your God, and I will never forsake you.

God is always faithful to keep the promises he makes to us, even as he kept his promises to the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob. We may suffer terrible troubles in this world like Job or Joseph, but God rules all things for our sakes, and so his plan for us is always good.

As his friends and servants we seek heaven and flee the temptations of the world. The God who delivered his servant Daniel from the lion’s den also delivers us from the devil and keeps us safe until he brings us to heavenly glory.

This second book in the Tell His Wonders Bible story book series includes stories about Job and the patriarchs, Joseph and his brothers, several judges, King David, Daniel and his friends, and more.

Nathan J. Langerak is a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches of America. In addition to the two books in the Tell His Wonders series, he has written Walking in the Way of Love, a two-volume commentary on the book of 1 Corinthians. He and his wife and their six children live in Crete, Illinois.

Michael Welply has illustrated more than eighty books, including The Random House Book of Bible Stories and Biblical Times, published by Simon and Schuster. He has two adult children and three grandchildren. He and his wife live in Levet, France.

For ages: 7-10

 
Audio Recordings
Sermons from Prof Dykstra from Lord's Day 23 to 25.

Lord's Day 23: Justified By Faith Alone: A Benefit Of The Unconditional Covenant
Lord's Day 24: The Place of Good Works in the Covenant
Lord's Day 25: Calling Into Covenant Fellowship
 
Upcoming Events!
 
The Church Camp for 2020 has been cancelled due to the current pandemic situation. Lord willing, the camp committee would be re-scheduling the booking to the following year in June. We pray for God's guidance with regards to this.
 
 
Past Events...
 
CERC Activities

We thank God that we are now able to have up to 100 people returning to church to worship God at each worship service. We are thankful to God, who made this possible for us. May we yearn to be found in His house even though there are restrictions that we have to adhere. 

Over the past month, we are also extremely blessed and thankful to have Prof Dkystra who was able to bring to us God's word via live streaming. We are thankful for the means of modern technology as well as God's goodness towards us.

Other Church activities have been cancelled or postponed or brought online. We thank God in all things and let us continue to pray for God's guidance and His will for the days ahead. 
 
 
Installation and Ordination of Office Bearers

We rejoice in God for providing CERC with willing men who serve in the offices of Elder and Deacon. We thank God that we can witness the installation and ordination of three brothers, despite a delay of about 3 months due to the pandemic. Thanking God for the means of technology, Prof Dkystra was able to conduct the installation and ordination through live-stream from the US - an unprecedented event!  We pray for the Lord's blessings as these new office-bearers undertake their respective callings. May we pray for the Session members that God may grant them wisdom, strength and wisdom in their callings. 

 
Chew Lap Meng - installed as elder
Paul Goh and Chin Yuh Bin - ordained as elder and deacon respectively
 
Ordination of Paul Goh
 
Ordination of Chin Yuh Bin
 
CERC Kolkata 

We continue to remember our brothers and sisters in CERC Kolkata Fellowship who have been affected by the pandemic. Let us pray for our Missionary Pastor as he cares for the saints in Kolkata.

 
Notes
 
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 • www.cerc.org.sg 
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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for November 1, 2020

Is43 1 2The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, November 1, 2020, the forty-fourth Lord's Day of this year.
  • Today Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) voted to extend a call to Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary). We pray that the Lord will show him plainly what His will is.

  • Last Sunday (Oct.25) Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call from Wingham PRC.

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. J.Maatman in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. R.Dykstra and Rev. J.Holstage in Kalamazoo PRC; Sem. J. Tan  and Rev. J.Smidstra in Providence PRC. What a blessing that our PRC federation gives such help to these churches! May we also bring to the throne of grace the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot have pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions).

  • These churches are holding Reformation Day lectures this week: Pittsburgh PRC and Randolph PRC. Below are the details:
    • Pittsburgh PRC: Reserve next week Friday, November 6 at 7 PM for our annual Reformation Day lecture. Rev. Bruinsma will speak on "A Reformed Perspective of John Wesley."
    • Randolph PRC:  On Friday, November 6, at 7:30 P.M., the Randolph PRC Evangelism Committee will be hosting another Reformation Day lecture. This year we will have Mr. Dan Van Uffelen, a church history teacher from Covenant Christian High School in Walker, Michigan, give a presentation on the Reformers’ rediscovery of the biblical doctrine of calling and vocation. What is a vocation? Who has a vocation? What is the purpose of a vocation? What are the implications for your life and for Christian education? Join us as we explore what the Bible proclaims, the Creeds affirm, and the Reformers teach about this grand, often neglected, truth; and be encouraged to "stand at your post" and "wear your mask"! Title of the Lecture: “Post Tenebras Lux: The Vocation Reformation.” Location: Randolph PRC, 229 Hammond St., Randolph.
  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that:
    • the church visitors from Classis East and Classis West have been busy making their annual visits while they have the chance during this pandemic year? We thank the Lord for this important work on behalf of the churches and for her spiritual good. Now, can you name who these visitors are?
    • our seminary professors often make special presentations about the ministry and the need for ministers (including visuals, PowerPoint, etc.) in the PRCs and Christian schools when they go on lectures in various places throughout the country? This is just one more way to make our members (and especially our boys and young men) aware of the urgent need for pastors and missionaries to the bring the gospel to our churches and to the world.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • 2020 edition of the Church Order: The 2020 edition of the ring-bound Church Order book is now available and may be ordered through the PRC Seminary (616-531-1490). As per synodical decision, these books are updated every five years to incorporate new synodical decisions affecting them. In addition to the Church Order, this book also contains such things as the Constitutions of all synodical committees, the Rules of Synodical Procedure, the Explanation of the Rules for Protests/Appeals/Overtures and the denomination's Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. All these are of most practical use to the office bearers. But, all of our families would do well to cultivate a knowledge of and interest in Protestant Reformed church polity. If you already have the six-ring green binder, you need only order the new inserts ($4.00). The inserts with the binder with the 2020 edition is $10.00. Payment can be made to the PRCA after you receive your materials.
  • If you are also interested in Prof. H. Hanko's "Notes on the Church Order" or his "The Believer's Manual for the Church Order," you may find these online on this site (follow the links) or order them in syllabus form from the PRC seminary.

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Special PRC Seminary Notices:

  • Seminary has now completed nine and a half weeks of its first semester. This past Thursday and Friday  (Oct.29,30) were the annual "reading recess," giving the students some extra time to work on their research papers and for the professors to gve some special Reformation Day lectures. Continue to remember the seminary in prayer as we wnter the final third of the semester.
  • *Notice of Licensure: The faculty has licensed student Marcus Wee to speak a word of edification in our churches.  Brother Wee is a member of our sister church, Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.  We rejoice at this milestone in the brother’s preparation for the ministry of the gospel.  Any scheduling of him to lead worship services will be through the seminary faculty.  This also provides us with an opportunity to impress upon our churches and sister churches the great need that we have for students for the ministry.  Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to raise up laborers in His vineyard, Matthew 9:37-38.  For the faculty, Prof. Ron Cammenga, Rector.
  • The second round of practice preaching is scheduled for Nov.16 and 23. Pray for the students as they prepare for this vital part of their training.
  • The Fall issue of the PRTS Journal is being planned and prepared. In the meantime the Spring issue may be found at the link provided, with plenty of good reading material in it.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

CPRC News Header

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSIONS NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • From today's "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin: We are thankful once again that Prof Dykstra will continue to bring God’s word to us this morning. God is good to us. He continued to provide us the preaching of His word even from afar with the use of means that linked us to PRCA. This past week, we have been informed by Prof Cammenga that Seminarian Marcus has been granted a licensure to speak a word of edification in the PRCA. We rejoice in this good news that our seminarian is keeping up with his studies. May we continue to pray for him that God will sustain him and help him to cope with thestudies.
    • And concerning her missionary (Rev. E. Singh) and his work in Kolkata, India, the CERC bulletin today had this note: May we continue to pray for our brethren in Kolkata in the midst of the coronavirus situation over the land. May God keep them faithful and supply their daily needs and a church premise for their worship.
    • This week the October 2020 issue of "Reformed News Asia" was published (#62). Read that issue here.
    • A new issue of Salt Shakers magazine (for young people) is also out - read the October 2020 at this link.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word to the saints assembled in Ballymena.
    • Missionary-pastor M. McGeown reports that Ireland is once again under lockdown and online services only will be held for the near future. Because of the Level 5 lockdown in the Republic of Ireland, Rev McGeown's immigration appointment scheduled for November 6 has been cancelled. The US Consulate advised the McGeown’s that they will not be offering routine appointments during the lockdown.  The next available appointment is in March, 2021. We remember the McGeown’s, the remaining saints of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, as well as Providence Protestant Reformed Church as they await the arrival of their next pastor.  
    • Be sure to read the latest issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" - October 2020 - just out this week!
  • PRC in the Philippines:
    • With strict government limitations on public gatherings still in place due to the pandemic (Metro Manila and nearby provinces are now under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) through November 30), the PRCP pastors and the PRC missionaries carry on with livestreaming of services as well as with online catechism classes and Bible studies. Pray for them and the saints there as they continue to live and labor under these tight restrictions yet.
    • PRCP Seminary News: Let us continue to pray for our seminary instructors and students. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). [Provident PRC bulletin]
    • The PRCP Classis met this past Saturday, October 31, at the Provident PRC Marikina City - via Zoom! It is also in recess and plans to resume on Nov.30.

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

  • Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC) is delivering the messages on the program for the next four months (Oct.-Jan 2021). Today he continues a series on 1 Corinthians with a message titled "Hidden Wisdom Revealed" based on 1 Corinthians 2:7,8,10.
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Play, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.
  • 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 Commitee 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.).
  • Special notices for November: 

    The Reformed Witness Hour is pleased to announce that beginning last month (Oct.) we have added a new broadcast time on Wednesday evenings at 8PM on WFUR-FM 92.9/AM1570 (Grand Rapids, MI).  The RWH will also continue to broadcast at our normal time slot on Sundays at 4PM. We encourage you to listen if you are able, and to promote the broadcast to family and friends when you have the opportunity.

    The Reformed Witness Hour is pleased to announce that beginning last month (Oct.) we have added a new broadcast in the Kalamazoo area at 4PM each Sunday on WKPR-FM 105.1/AM1440. We encourage you to listen if you are able, and to promote the broadcast to family and friends.

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM:

Sb new cover 2017 1
Are you a subscriber to the Standard Bearer? The latest issue (Nov.1, 2020) is a special issue on the French Reformation! For more information

  • For sound, distinctively Reformed literature on a variety of subjects and for all ages - including Reformation titles!, visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association website or stop in at their Jenison (Michigan) location.

  • Be sure to check out the Reformed Book Outlet in downtown Hudsonville, MI and online! As a reminder, their hours of business are currently Tuesday 10-1, Wednesday 1-5, and Saturday 10-1, or send your order to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Are you seeking to learn 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.

This Week's Thought for Contemplation:

The Reformed Church has insisted that justification is by grace through faith and not by human works. Does this mean that our good works have no place in our salvation? The answer is, “No!” Sound Reformed theology insists on works that follow justification as a consequence and evidence of it. The same Spirit who assures us that we are justified also works our sanctification. Sanctification is, as you know, a part of the ‘ordo salutis’, the work of the Holy Spirit applying the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection to believers. There is also an unsound Protestant understanding that eliminates the necessity of works altogether.

Where do good works fit in our salvation?

God has prepared our good works. God has prepared them from before the foundation of the world in His eternal decree. He has prepared every one of our good works, not only in general, but definitely. He prepared good works for the whole church and for every individual believer. These good works manifest the complete glory of God in Christ. He not only prepared the good works, but He prepared us for the good works. (Each human author in the Bible was prepared by God for the writing of the Bible so that in their own style, background, and personality they could infallibly write God’s Word.) So each one of us as believers is being prepared by God for the work He has in mind for us. The purpose is that we should walk in good works. To walk in good works means that we live with our whole heart, soul mind, and strength according to the counsel of God for His glory and the benefit of others.

From Rev. A. Spriensma's meditation on Ephesians 2:10 this past week, "We Are His Workmanship!"

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We Are God's Workmanship! (Meditation on Eph.2:10)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma. 

Eph 2 10

We Are God's Workmanship!

Meditation on Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The Reformed Church has insisted that justification is by grace through faith and not by human works. Does this mean that our good works have no place in our salvation? The answer is, “No!” Sound Reformed theology insists on works that follow justification as a consequence and evidence of it. The same Spirit who assures us that we are justified also works our sanctification. Sanctification is, as you know, a part of the ‘ordo salutis’, the work of the Holy Spirit applying the benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection to believers. There is also an unsound Protestant understanding that eliminates the necessity of works altogether.

Where do good works fit in our salvation?

God has prepared our good works. God has prepared them from before the foundation of the world in His eternal decree. He has prepared every one of our good works, not only in general, but definitely. He prepared good works for the whole church and for every individual believer. These good works manifest the complete glory of God in Christ. He not only prepared the good works, but He prepared us for the good works. (Each human author in the Bible was prepared by God for the writing of the Bible so that in their own style, background, and personality they could infallibly write God’s Word.) So each one of us as believers is being prepared by God for the work He has in mind for us. The purpose is that we should walk in good works. To walk in good works means that we live with our whole heart, soul mind, and strength according to the counsel of God for His glory and the benefit of others.

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. This is not a reference to our original creation in Adam, but to our formation as God’s people in Christ. What a wonderful new creation it is! The original creation was out of nothing. This creation is not simply out of nothing or even of unfit material. It is out of material that was the very opposite of the thing that was formed from it. We were in sin and guilt. We were corrupt. There was no human possibility that we could do good works. But God in Christ Jesus made us His workmanship. God recreated us in Christ! From children who shared the likeness of Satan through the Fall, God made us children of God. From those who were dead in trespasses and sin, we were made alive, prepared to do good works to the glory of His name. By nature, we were enemies of God, Now we are friends and servants of God. Christ merited all things that were required to made us new creatures. In Christ’s ascension into heaven, He received the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Christ. That Spirit He poured out upon His church. Through that Spirit we are created as new creatures who love God and are careful to seek to please the God of our salvation. Let us sing with our children:

Kids under construction, the Lord is not finished with me.

He’s still working on me, To make me what I need to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth, and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be, ‘Cause He’s still working on me. There really ought to be a sign upon my heart. Don’t judge Him yet, there’s an unfinished part. But I’ll be better just according to His plan, fashioned by the Master’s loving hands. In the mirror of His Word, reflections that I see, make me wonder why He never gave up on me. But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray. Remember He’s the potter, I’m the clay. He’s still working on me, to make me what I need to be. (Gaither music)

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for November 2020

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First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for November 2020 on the RWH radio/Internet program.

This month Rev. W. Bruinsma, pastor of Pittsburgh (PA) PRC continues his four-month service for the RWH program. For November he continues a series on the NT book of 1 Corinthians, plus gives a special Thanksgiving Day message. Be sure to tune in (or listen online anytime!) for these important messages. The schedule for this month is laid out below and also attached in pdf form.

WBruinsma 2017

November 1, 2020 - Hidden Wisdom Revealed, 1 Corinthians 2:7,8,10

November 8, 2020 - The Spiritual Man Versus the Natural, 1 Corinthians 2:14

November 15, 2020 - The Church: God's Husbandry, 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

November 22, 2020 - Thanksgiving unto God's Glory, 2 Corinthians 4:15

November 29, 2020 - Take Heed How One Builds, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

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 79th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

DID YOU KNOW? Our weekly broadcast is available as a podcast on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and most other podcast apps. Subscribe today by searching for “Reformed Witness Hour”.

Visit our website for the latest podcast and for other news and information!

Special notices for November: 

The Reformed Witness Hour is pleased to announce that beginning this month we are adding a new broadcast time on Wednesday evenings at 8PM on WFUR-FM 92.9/AM1570 (Grand Rapids, MI).  The RWH will also continue to broadcast at our normal time slot on Sundays at 4PM. We encourage you to listen if you are able, and to promote the broadcast to family and friends when you have the opportunity.

The Reformed Witness Hour is pleased to announce that beginning this month we are adding a new broadcast in the Kalamazoo area at 4PM each Sunday on WKPR-FM 105.1/AM1440. We encourage you to listen if you are able, and to promote the broadcast to family and friends.

The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email by simply signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL .  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

And don't forget our Spanish programs on YouTube!

RWH Facebook image

Use the attached flyer (pdf) to spread the news of these important gospel messages!

PO Box 1230, Grand Rapids MI, 49501 | reformedwitnesshour.org | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list to receive the printed booklet of the messages each month, send an email to Judi Doezema at doezema at prca.org.

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Saved by Grace Alone! (Meditation on Ephesians 2:8,9)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma. 

Saved by Grace Alone!

Meditation on Ephesians 2:8,9

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.

These verses are one of the most well-known passages of the Bible. Our text has three parts. The first part tells how it is that God saves. “It is by grace.” The second part speaks of the channel through which this grace of God comes to us. “It is “through faith.” The last part, which is a contrast, tells how God does not save us, and it explains why. It is “not of works, lest any man should boast.”

We had this first clause already in verse 6. Literally, it reads, “By means of grace ye are saved.” It is the grace of God in Christ Jesus. Grace is, first of all, beauty. God is beautiful in Himself. He is gracious. Then it is also grace bestowed upon us. It is grace that is imputed to us. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us by grace. It is also grace in the sense that it is the principle of grace wrought in our hearts. We have that grace and experience it. What is that grace that we experience? It is the work of the Holy Spirit as He has given us new life. We are called out of darkness and given faith. How wonderful when the Spirit causes us to know that we are justified! But the work of the Spirit is not done. He continues to work in us sanctification so that we may live godly lives, saying no to sin and yes to the will of God. The Spirit preserves us so that we do not fall away from God and our faith.

The salvation that is given to us is a present possession that we already have in our hearts and lives, and we are conscious of it. The Spirit is applying to us all the blessings earned for us by our Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are saved by grace “through faith.” The apostle selects faith out of “the order of salvation” because faith is the means whereby we are united with Christ. Through faith we become one with Him. Therefore, through faith we receive all the benefits of salvation from Christ. If one is not united to Christ, they cannot be saved. All the blessings of salvation are in Christ Jesus. So faith is the channel or means of our salvation.

The apostle continues to say that this salvation, this salvation by grace, and this salvation through faith is not of our selves; it is the gift of God. From beginning to end, salvation is of God. He chose us in eternity and gave us to Jesus Christ. God the Son accomplished this salvation by redeeming us from our sin by His death on the cross. God the Holy Spirit applies this salvation to each of God’s children. So salvation is all of God and therefore a gift of God. The emphasis is on God.

The apostle emphasizes once more that salvation is entirely God’s work by adding, “not of works, lest any man should boast.” Our salvation is from God, and the works that we are called to perform are the fruit of that salvation. In being saved in Christ and through the Holy Spirit we naturally bear fruit as the apostle explains in the next verse. All of our salvation is a gift and work of God so that no person may boast of what they have done. One cannot help but think of the lyrics of many songs: “I have decided to follow Jesus.” “I came to Jesus as I was…” “The Savior is waiting for you to open your heart. Won’t you please let him come in?” But there is no boasting whatsoever in ourselves or glorying in self. All of our salvation is of God and in Christ Jesus and through faith. Therefore, in all humility because of our own depravity and God’s rich grace, we shall boast only in God. Oh, how the glory and beauty of God is revealed in our salvation! Are you ready to sing of God’s marvelous grace?

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt! Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured_ There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace. Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within: Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.” ~ Daniel Towner 1850-1919

 

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Covenant Reformed News - October 2020

Covenant Reformed News


October 2020 • Volume XVIII, Issue 6



Thank You and Welcome Back!

We begin this Covenant Reformed News with a hearty and well-deserved word of thanks to Prof. Herman Hanko. He has written in all or almost all of the previous 421 issues since the News was started 28 years ago in November, 1992, by Rev. Gise Van Baren, who is now in glory with Christ. Prof. Hanko is the most prolific writer in the history of the News, with most of his contributions being answers to the questions of our (increasingly international) readers on a whole host of important subjects. Earlier this month, he celebrated his 90th birthday and recovered from COVID-19 by God’s grace. Prof. has decided that it is now time to lay aside his work for the News.

Many thousands of people have read Prof. Hanko’s articles in the fortnightly and then monthly News, which they received by post or e-mail from the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church (CPRC) in N. Ireland or the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) in the Republic of Ireland or other churches (in America, Canada or the Philippines), or viewed on-line (www.cprc.co.ukwww.prca.org). The professor’s contributions have also been sent forth by e-mail in Italian and Hungarian versions of the News to those who subscribed to our translators’ lists. Some of Prof. Hanko’s articles can be read in about 10 other languages on-line (www.cprc.co.uk/covenant-reformed-news). On behalf of all those who have benefited from your writing in the News for almost 3 decades, we extend to you, Prof. Hanko, our sincere gratitude!

Now we cordially welcome our new writer, Pastor Ron Hanko, a son of the professor, who is taking over his role of answering readers’ questions. Rev. Hanko served as the missionary-pastor of the CPRC from 17 March (St. Patrick’s Day) in 1993 to February, 2001. During this time, he preached in many places in the United Kingdom and maintained a wide correspondence with saints throughout the British Isles. All of the first eight volumes of the News, apart from the opening issues in late 1992 and early 1993, were produced by him. Rev. Hanko next served a congregation in Lynden, Washington (USA), before retiring from the pastorate in 2017. After a gap of almost 20 years, welcome back, Rev. Hanko, to the Covenant Reformed News!

Many of Pastor Ron Hanko’s articles in volumes 1-8 of the News were published in his excellent book, Doctrine According to Godliness (£15). His other titles are The Coming of Zion’s Redeemer (£22) and Saved by Grace (£10), co-authored with Prof. Cammenga. Rev. Hanko has other books in the works. The CPRC Bookstore adds only 10% for P&P within the UK. Ordering information for those in the rest of the world (except the US and Canada) is on www.cprc.co.uk/ordering-information; we accept PayPal payments. Those in North America can acquire these books from www.rfpa.org.

 

Rebaptism in Acts 19?

One of our readers has asked about these verses from Acts 19:

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve.

His question is, “Is this not anabaptism? Can you explain or point to any articles addressing it? Would this mean that the baptized converts of John the Baptist were re-baptized with water by the apostles?”

I do not know of any articles addressing this question but have myself written the following in a manuscript of a book on baptism which is to be published by the CPRC, hopefully in late 2021.

Baptists understand the Word of God to be saying here that Paul rebaptized certain persons who had been baptized by John, though they are reluctant to say that Paul did this because he thought John’s baptism was illegitimate. After rebaptizing these people with water, he also laid hands on them so that they received the Spirit and spoke in tongues. He did this because they had not heard of the Holy Spirit.

This misreads the passage. The Baptist reading makes the pertinent part of verse 4 a quotation and then makes verse 5 a reference to what Paul did after he finished speaking. This is the Baptist reading of these verses (notice the quotation marks):

Then said Paul, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they [i.e., the disciples of John the Baptist to whom Paul is speaking] heard this, they [i.e., these same disciples of whom the apostle is speaking] were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

According to this Baptist interpretation, “they” in verse 5 refers to those to whom Paul was speaking and they were baptized with water by Paul in Jesus’ name, having been previously baptized by John. Reading the passage that way, it teaches rebaptism but it also suggests that John’s baptism was not really Christian baptism at all.

The passage should be read in the following way (again notice the quotation marks):

Then said Paul, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they [i.e., the people who came to John’s baptism] heard this, they [i.e., the same people who came to John’s baptism] were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

In other words, “they” refers to the people whom John baptized and verse 5 refers not to Paul’s rebaptizing of certain persons in Ephesus but to John’s baptism of certain people at the Jordan. It also identifies John’s baptism as Christian baptism, not as something that needed to be re-administered.

The proper reading of the passage, therefore makes verse 5 part of what Paul said to these Ephesian disciples and not a description of his rebaptizing them. Indeed, if this is the proper way to the read the verse, then verse 5 is saying that John baptized them, the only time they were baptized, and did so in the name of the Lord Jesus, identifying John’s baptism with every other New Testament baptism.

Grammatically, this is the way to read the verse, since it is verse 6 that mentions Paul once again and continues the story of what he said and did with the word “and.” There is, therefore, no ground to be found for rebaptism in these verses, nor in any other passage of Scripture.

Rebaptism is, in fact, a denial of the great biblical truth that we can only be saved once. No one who believes in the sovereignty of God in salvation, in the redeeming power of Jesus, in the efficacy of the Holy Spirit’s work and in the perseverance of saints, ought to rebaptize, since water baptism is a picture of salvation and ought for that reason to be administered only once. The Reformed creeds state, “Therefore we believe, that every man, who is earnestly studious of obtaining life eternal, ought to be but once baptized with this only baptism, without ever repeating the same: since we cannot be born twice” (Belgic Confession 34) and “The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered unto any person” (Westminster Confession 28:7).

Christ accomplished His atonement once and for all (e.g., Heb. 10:10, 12, 14), and we are born again once and only once. Thus the Reformed faith rejects the errors of those “who teach that it is not absurd that one having lost his first regeneration is again and even often born anew. For these deny by this doctrine the incorruptibleness of the seed of God, whereby we are born again, contrary to the testimony of the apostle Peter: Having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible (I Pet. 1:23).” (Canons V:R:8). Just as each of God’s children receives “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5)—a spiritual regenerating baptism by the Holy Ghost—so this ought to be signified and sealed by only one water baptism.

Let us note, however, that the usual interpretation of Acts 19:1-6 leads inevitably to the conclusion that John’s baptism was not (essentially) Christian baptism and that all John’s disciples would have needed to be rebaptized with water. This would have included Jesus and some of twelve as well. Yet not a hint of such rebaptism is suggested anywhere in Scripture.

What is more, if John’s water baptism was not Christian baptism, then John’s baptizing is of no value as far as determining the mode and subjects of baptism, nor is Christ’s baptism the same as ours. That leaves us with only a few other references to baptism in the New Testament. The Baptist, therefore, with his interpretation of Acts 19 puts himself in a dilemma. Rev. Ron Hanko
 


 

The Great Red Dragon

In the last two issues of the News, we saw the woman, the church, labour in pregnancy with the man child, the Christ (Rev. 12:1-2). Now we turn to the “great red dragon” (3) who is identified as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (9).

Like the description of the woman in Revelation 12:1-2, that of the dragon is not to be taken literalistically. The Devil is not literally a “great red dragon” with “seven heads,” “ten horns” and “seven crowns” (3). Besides being well-nigh impossible to visualise, Revelation 12 calls this a “wonder” or sign (3) that points to Satan as possessing awful characteristics.

In general, the Devil is like a terrible monster: a great dragon with a mighty “tail” (4), 7 heads and 10 horns—unnatural, deformed and hideous!

His power is indicated in three ways. First, his size is “great.” Second, his “tail” casts a “third” of the stars down to the earth (4). Third, he has 10 horns, with horns in the Bible being a symbol of strength (cf. Deut. 33:17; Ps. 92:9-10).

The power of this dreadful dragon is used to bring destruction. He is coloured red, a fiery red, for he destroys like fire and sheds blood. As one who casts a third of the stars to the earth, he is destructive. He is also ravenous, ready to “devour” the woman’s man child (4) for, remember, he was a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).

Clearly, Satan is evil. The Triune God created him an holy angel but he fell into the sin of pride (I Tim. 3:6; cf. Isa. 14:12-14) and so became a hideous monster. The Devil shows his sin in the opening verses of Revelation 12 in that he stands ready to devour Christ as soon as He is born (4). All the iniquity among men and angels is in the image of Satan (John 8:44).

Notice the symbolic numbers associated with the Devil. First, he has 7 heads and 7 crowns, with 7 being the number of the covenant. Satan is, therefore, the counterfeit covenant ruler.

Second, he reigns over his evil dominion by his 10 horns. The horns represent the Devil’s power, as we said earlier, while the number 10 speaks of the completeness—think of the 10 plagues and 10 commandments—of his strength, as measured out by Almighty God according to His holy purpose. In Jehovah’s sovereign plan, Satan uses his God-given strength to deceive fallen men and angels, to attack Christ while He was on earth and to persecute the church, as well as to produce the universal kingdom of the Antichrist, the Devil’s greatest work, whom Christ “shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (II Thess. 2:8-9)! Rev. Stewart

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  
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