News

"I Am for Peace"

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

Meditation on Psalm 120: 2,6,7

 "I Am for Peace"

Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue…My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalms 120- 134 are titled, “Song of Degrees” or “Song of Ascents”. The fifteen psalms are called the “Pilgrimage Songs”, sung as God’s people would travel to Jerusalem for the three great feasts of the old covenant religious calendar. How fitting they are for all believers in this world. We journey through the week, looking forward to Sunday when we can go to church to hear the gospel of peace. All of our life is a pilgrimage, with eager expectation to the time when God delivers us from this vale of tears to the Jerusalem which is above. In this pilgrimage, we sing songs of pilgrimage.

When we stand for God and His kingdom, we can expect to be slandered by a world that is opposed to God and his Word. But how sad it is when the slander and hatred come from those of our own household. If this psalm was written by David, he knew the slander of those from whom he should not expect it. Having fought battles for King Saul, David was forced to flee as King Saul sought to kill him as a troubler of Israel. Later in his life, David fled from the wrath of his own son, Absalom. Absalom presented himself to the people as one who would judge them and give them justice over against his father who was getting too old or careless. In this way, Absolom stole the hearts of the men of Israel ( I Sam. 15:4-6). Absalom lied to his father, telling him that he wanted to fulfil a vow made in Hebron to serve the Lord. But instead he gathered a strong conspiracy against his father.

Slander and lies bring disharmony, hostility, and opposition. Over against this, the Psalmist said, “I am for peace.” He desired peace with God, peace with his brethren, and even with his enemies. How is this possible? It is only as we are justified by faith alone that there can be peace with God and peace with our neighbor. By nature, as the Heidelberg Catechism instructs us, we hate God and hate our neighbors. When the psalmist stated that he was for peace, he implied his hatred for lies, strife, war, deceit, and slander.

What anguish the psalmist endured in his soul because of slander and lies. He cried, “Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.” The psalmist had confidence. He cried unto the LORD, and he heard me (vs.1).” God hates slander. What will be given to the liar and false tongue is “sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper” (vs. 4). God will shoot His hot arrows at those who slander and tell lies. This is true both now in time, and unless repented of, eternally.

This psalm is correctly the first psalm of ascent, because it is the desire of the child of God to be delivered, brought up to Jerusalem, which means, “city of peace”. The Psalmist felt as if he wa in the midst of the wicked nation of Japheth, north of Israel, or a ruthless nation from Ishmael, southeast of Israel. Both nations are used figuratively in vs. 5 to represent the psalmist’s feeling of isolation even though he resided in Israel. In Jerusalem was the temple where the peace offering was made. Jehovah spoke peace to His own through the offering.

Ultimately, this psalm finds its highest realization in Jesus Christ. “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” Jesus lives in perfect harmony with His Father in heaven. He came to make the peace offering, taking away the sins of His people. He makes the church a place of peace. How His soul was distressed when He was slandered during the duration of His ministry. He was slandered by the leaders in Jerusalem. They said He cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub, a troubler of Israel, and guilty of blasphemy because He made himself equal with God. His disciples were called liars when they said that Jesus rose from the dead. God delivered Jesus from lying lips and deceitful tongues when He raised Him from the dead and Jesus ascended into heaven.

There is a sense in which all Christians live in Meshech and Kedar; the world is no friend to grace or to God. It is easy for us to feel out of place in a world where values are the opposite of truth. God, the gift of salvation, the hope of eternal life, and our obedience to God’s laws receive mockery. When we stand for the unbreakable marriage between a man and a woman, when we oppose abortion, when we say that there is only one way to the Father, and when we hold the truth of a six-day creation, we are slandered as those that are narrow-minded, bigoted, and mean spirited. It is to be expected. Although we are in the world, we are not of it. “My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.”

But when it is fellow Christians who charge us with being hyper-Calvinists, unscientific, narrow when it comes to Sabbath observance, etc., we feel it and we feel isolated. When the devil stirs up disharmony and bitterness even in our own churches, how sad and distressed we are. Who can bring harmony and peace back? We must look and go, as the psalmist did, to the only one who can help. “In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.” We look to Jesus, the Prince of peace, who by His offering for our sin brings peace with God and peace between fellow believers. We need to go the cross of Calvary and confess our sins of bitterness, hostility, false accusations and slander. With Him there is plenteous forgiveness and deliverance from the power of sin. By His grace we have peace with God, who hates slander, as well as peace with our fellow believers. May we, by the work of the Holy Spirit, be able to say on our pilgrimage to the city of peace, “I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” May we strive to live in harmony and love in righteousness.

Near the end of the Songs of Ascent, we have Psalm 133:

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” “...for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”

Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - June 2020

Covenant Reformed News


June 2020 • Volume XVIII, Issue 2



Faith Alone and Imputation

In three previous issues of the News, we have been considering Romans 4:2: “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” Let us now see how the argument of this Scripture applies to various groups.

Judaism teaches that obedience to the Torah merits before God. Roman Catholicism claims that man’s own good works, performed by cooperating with divine grace, are a crucial component in his righteousness before Jehovah. According to the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision, one’s personal obedience to the Most High in this life is part of the basis of one’s justification on the last day. In Islam, keeping sharia law in the service of Allah obtains righteousness before him. The liberal Protestant looks to his churchgoing, saying of prayers, etc., as grounds for his acceptance with God. The “man in the street” thinks that, since he is a “good person” who has (supposedly) “never hurt anyone,” God would never cast him into hell.

All such foolish claims constitute boasting—people boasting to themselves and boasting about themselves to others. But such boasting is of no value before the holy God of heaven. He beholds sin in all that we do (Rom. 3:9-20; Isa. 64:6). His standard is not human or religious opinion but His own perfect moral law (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). He is the One who sees the heart, which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), with all its evil intentions and motives (Heb. 4:12). As the infinitely majestic One, He demands that He always be glorified as the supreme goal of all our thinking, speaking and doing. The Psalmist was right: “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Ps. 130:3).

Thus justification cannot be by man’s works, even in the tiniest little part. This shuts us up to the grand gospel truth that father Abraham was justified by faith alone, which is developed in the three clauses of Romans 4:3.

This verse begins, “For what saith the scripture?” Literally, it refers to “the scripture,” namely, Genesis 15:6, which is quoted in the rest of Romans 4:3. This verse from the first book of the Bible is the locus classicus for justification by faith alone in the Old Testament, being cited in Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23, and explained in Romans 4.

“For what saith the scripture?” Romans 4:3 continues, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The text does not say, “Abraham worked, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” or even “Abraham believed and worked, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” The Scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

Romans 4:2 rules out in toto man’s works in his justification, while verse 3 mentions faith as the only means of justification. To echo the apostle’s earlier statement, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (3:28).

“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (4:3). There are three key words or phrases in the last clause. First, “it” refers back to “believed” and so speaks of faith. Second, “counted” means imputed or reckoned to one’s account. Third, “counted … for righteousness” is equivalent to God’s gracious justification, His declaration that we are righteous or just in His sight.

Here again we oppose not only Rome, but also the New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision. In their corruption of the gospel, all of these heretical movements attack gracious imputation. Yet father Abraham’s being counted or imputed righteous occurs in Genesis 15:6, the foundational Old Testament Scripture, which is quoted in Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23, and developed in Romans 4 as the equivalent of justification.

Regarding the truth of imputation, the Canons of Dordt reject the classic Arminian heresy which states, “God, having revoked the demand of perfect obedience of the law, regards faith itself and the obedience of faith, although imperfect, as the perfect obedience of the law, and does esteem it worthy of the reward of eternal life through grace” (II:R:4).

Of course, “faith itself” is not “perfect obedience” to Jehovah’s holy law and it is absurd to reckon that He would regard or impute it as such. Nor can the infinitely just God reckon man’s imperfect obedience as if it were a full and complete keeping of His pure moral standards. The Canons are correct: “these [Arminians] proclaim, as did the wicked Socinus, a new and strange justification of man before God, against the consensus of the whole church” (II:R:4).

The Scriptures do not teach that the Triune God regards faith “as if it were” righteousness or accepts faith “instead of” righteousness, as some sort of substitute for perfect obedience to Jehovah’s law. This would be ascribing to man’s faith the place and role of Christ Himself. He is the true substitute of all elect believers, for the Lord Jesus is the One who died on the cross under the wrath of God instead of us, and the One who kept the law of God in our place and for us.

The Bible says that we believe “unto” righteousness (Rom. 10:10) or that faith is reckoned to us “for” righteousness (e.g., Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3, 5, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6), not that faith is imputed to us “instead of” righteousness or “as if it were” righteousness.

Faith’s unique role in justification is that of the means or instrument that lays hold of the righteousness of God in Christ. Faith looks outside itself and away from itself to the righteousness of another, even the Lord Jesus, whose righteousness it appropriates. Faith is counted to us for righteousness as the only means by which we receive Christ’s obedience reckoned to our account! Rev. Angus Stewart

 

The Well-Meant Offer and Organic Unity (1)

I wish to apologize to readers of the News for not answering their questions sooner. One reason was the volume of questions; the other reason was my determination to complete my treatment of God’s organic dealings with His creation over several issues.

This is a fundamental difference between the Reformed faith and the Arminianism that includes the notion of a gracious offer of the gospel in which God supposedly expresses His affection for absolutely all men and, in that love, passionately desires to save the reprobate. This is rank heresy and a denial of God’s purpose in the preaching (Isa. 6:9-10; II Cor. 2:15-17). I have received a number of questions concerning this error and the teaching of Scripture. I will now respond to one of them, Romans 11:28, though briefly, in the light of what I have written earlier.

There is one warning, however. The defence of the gracious offer of the gospel to absolutely everybody is usually done by a very random and sometimes arbitrary choice of texts. Advocates of this view jump rapidly from verse to verse without carefully considering them in the light of the whole of God’s Word.

I follow Martin Luther’s view of Scripture. Heretics, he said, can always find a text that is supposed to prove their point. If one makes this his way of using Scripture, he can make Scripture teach anything he wants to prove. Luther believed that the Scriptures are an organic whole. I believe that too. The whole of Scripture is a portrait of our Lord Jesus Christ, the revelation of the God of our salvation. If one is painting a portrait, one cannot present the subject’s eyes without taking into account the whole portrait.

My Bible teacher in high school, himself belonging to a domination other than the one to which I belong, warned us of taking a verse out of its immediate context and the context of the whole of Scripture. He told us, in an unforgettable illustration, that he could prove from Scripture that we ought soon to commit suicide, quoting the following texts: “[Judas] went and hanged himself” (Matt. 27:5); “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37); “That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).

While that may seem far-fetched, it is like what Arminians do. They quote John 3:16, for example, without considering the following verses or John 17:9 or Romans 9 or our Lord’s prayer in Matthew 11:25-27, where He thanks His heavenly Father that He has revealed the truth to some and hidden it from others.

It is somewhat wearisome to run after these Arminians as they, like bumble bees, flit from text to text without carefully studying any of them. Nor do the defenders of this position do their homework before coming up with question after question. Let them read Reformed literature, such as, Arthur Pink’s The Sovereignty of God or my recent book, Corrupting the Word of God, on the history of the doctrine of the well-meant offer of the gospel. (Both books are available from the CPRC Bookstore for £8 and £15, respectively, plus 10% P&P.)

Now to the Scripture: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom. 11:28).

This verse is a clear illustration of the principle that a text’s interpretation must be considered in the light of its context. The context in Romans 9–11 clearly indicates that Paul is answering the question, If the gospel is being preached to the Gentiles, has God forgotten His people, the Jews? Paul answers, first of all, by saying that election and reprobation were worked out by God throughout the physical descendants of Abraham: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (9:13). Not all Israelites were saved; just read Romans 9:6-8! It is, therefore, a violation of Scripture to interpret “they” in Romans 11:28, as meaning all men head for head. It refers only to the nation of Israel and that as organically conceived.

Because of their unique place in history, the Jews as a nation are not considered as Jews head for head but as a nation that occupies a special place in God’s working out of His purpose of salvation in Christ. The nation of Israel’s special place is defined in Romans 9:4-5. Therefore, as Paul discusses the gospel preached also to the Gentiles, he uses the figure of an olive tree: Israel is the natural olive tree; the Gentiles are of the wild olive tree (11:16-24). Each branch is a generation as it grows. Once a branch of a wild olive tree is cut off, that branch (those who believe not the gospel) is lost forever.

But this is not true of the Jews. Because they are the “beloved,” the nation, organically considered, was cut down but individual Jews can yet be saved, a privilege denied the nations of the Gentiles. This privilege is granted only to the Jews. Election determines who among the Jews is saved. Therefore, the reprobate Jews are “enemies” for the sake of the Gentiles, to make room for these Gentiles in the olive tree (11:11ff.).

The questioner asks for a book that deals specifically with Romans 11:28. Let him order Herman Hoeksema’s commentary on Romans, Righteous By Faith Alone (£20 plus 10% P&P), where he will find a detailed explanation of this matter. Prof. Herman Hanko



Rev. Stewart will be interviewed by phone on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio on “Regeneration: God’s Gift of a New Heart” on Thursday, 25 June, from 4-6 PM (Eastern Time in the US) or 9-11 PM (UK time), DV. Listen live on-line (www.ironsharpensironradio.com). The audio of the previous interview on the new birth, “Supernatural and Infallible Regeneration: Most Delightful, Astonishing, Mysterious and Ineffable” (cf. Canons III/IV:12), is on a special webpage containing sermons, articles, and box sets of CDs and DVDs on this beautiful subject (www.cprc.co.uk/resources-on-regeneration).


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  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.www.youtube.com/cprcniwww.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
Read more...

Reformed Witness Hour Messages for June 2020

RWH Logo 2019

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

This month Rev. Aud Spriensma, home missionary of the PRC (stationed in West Michigan) begins a four-month service for the RWH. For the month of June he brings some special mission-focused messages. 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.

ASpriensma RWH 2020

June 7, 2020 - The God-Sent Ones, John 17:18

June 14, 2020 - Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent, Isaiah 54:1,2

June 21, 2020 - Casting Bread upon the Waters, Ecclesiastes 11:1

June 28, 2020 - O Zion, That Bringest Good Tidings, Isaiah 40:9

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!

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.

Read more...

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, June 14-20, 2020 (Updated)

Ps122 1Today, June 14, is the twenty-fourth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun worshiping publicly again, though it still be with tight COVID-19 restrictions (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). As more of our churches re-open for public worship and others wait for permission (especially our sister churches and the saints in India), we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to rest in His way. Let us remember that together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit we worship unitedly our great and glorious Father, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.

Psalm 11:3-5,7: If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Now that we are finally able to worship together in our churches, may we have a desire and fervent prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” While it is a desire expressed to the church, it is a prayer to God. Lord, reign over my mind, my heart, and the words that I speak. It is a personal prayer. The Psalmist says, “I will now say…” May it not only be the pastors in their private and congregational prayers. May it not only be the prayers of the elders as they guard the faith and life of the church. It must be the prayer of every believing child of God. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” Each true believer needs to pray, knowing the sin within him or herself, how easily words tumble off from our lips, and how sharp and slanderous can be the written page. “God forgive me and help me to be an instrument of peace.”

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "Desiring Jerusalem's Peace" his latest special meditation

***********************

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether in full or in part, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found.

  • With the work of synod this past week, there are many pulpit exchanges and pulpit supplies today. We thank the Lord for the ministry of the Word performed by our pastors, emeritus pastors, and professors. May the preaching of the gospel be precious to us and a blessing to us who hear it.

  • Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) has been considering the call to Kalamazoo PRC. Today he announced his decline of that call.

  • Last Sunday, June 7, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC) declined the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN).

  • The Council of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio: Revs. G. Eriks, N. Langerak, and J. Engelsma. The congregation plans to call today from this trio. *Rev. N. Langerak has received this call.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for this Wednesay June 17, 2020. Rev. G. Eriks has received this call.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC made two decisions this past week regarding calling a man to serve as minister on loan to Singapore. The first was to honor the request of Covenant ERC to put on hold calling an MOL due to ongoing restrictions in Singapore. And second, to withdraw their trio of Revs. G. Eriks, E. Guichelaar, and R. Kleyn out of wisomd and courtesy to these men. May the Lord soon open the way for calling an MOL again.
  • Did you know... that
    • our Canadian congregations in Alberta have also begun worshiping again? But Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife continue to wait for the border to open so that they can move and take up the labors in Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, AB. Let us remain in prayer about this need.
    •  that during this time of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines many of our churches are not using the pew Bibles and Psalters but asking members to take their own with them - whether print editions or digital ones? Here's an example from Loveland PRC's bulletin today: Members of the congregation are asked to bring Bibles and Psalters with them, or tablets/phones (in silent mode) with Bible and Psalter apps. If anyone does not have a Psalter to use, please let an usher or an elder know, and we will see that you receive one.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

TrinityPRC front 2

PRC Synod 2020:

  • The PRC Synod 2020 met this past week at Trinity PRC, beginning Tuesday morning and concluding Friday evening. A good spirit of peace and unity prevailed, for which we thank our God. May the Lord bless the decisons reached and prosper His work among us and through us.
  • Brief synod summary: Last Monday Trinity PRC hosted the pre-synodical worship service. Rev. Eriks preached on Mal. 3:6-8 with the theme “What Is Required of Synod 2020.” Synod convened on Tuesday morning at 8:00. Rev. Van Overloop was elected as chairman. Synod made decisions regarding its standing committees (Board of Trustees, Catechism Book Committee, Contact Committee, Domestic Mission Committee, Emeritus Committee, Finance Committee, Foreign Mission Committee, Synodical Deputies, and Theological School Committee). In its treatment of the Theological School Committee’s report, synod approved the admittance of two students into our seminary who desire to be ministers in our denomination. Synod treated three protests against decisions of Synod 2019. Synod decided not to sustain the two protests, and it declared the other protest illegal. Synod treated appeals of two individuals against the decisions of Classis East. One individual appealed two decisions of Classis East; synod decided not to sustain his appeal. The other individual’s appeal contained many different sections; synod declared one section of his appeal illegal and decided to reject the other parts of his appeal and uphold the decisions of Classis East. Synod adopted a budget for 2021 and set synodical assessments at $750 per family. Synod 2021 will convene June 8 and will be hosted by Georgetown PRC. For more details see http://www.prca.org/about/church-government/synod.

Sem front June 2020 1

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that are hoped can still be carried out. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • The professors (5) were all busy at the PRC Synod this past week, serving as advisors to the various committees. For reports on this synod, visit this page.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan and his family returned safely to the States this past week. Plans are for him to begin his internship July 1 in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess.

CPRC News Header

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • Beloved in the Lord, let us come together again this day, joining ourselves to worship via live streaming. May our responses to singing, prayers and hearing of your word today be honoring and glorying to God. We continue to wait upon the Lord regarding His will for us on when the pandemic will end and when He is going to send us a minister on loan.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.

~ Berean PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on YouTube. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via live-stream, the Lord willing.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. R. Smit will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) [started June 1]. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses. With this, let us pray that the Church’s worship services will return to her normal Church activities.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Holstege will preach for our morning worship service today and next Sunday. There will be a live-stream for us who cannot yet come to church due to GCQ restrictions (https://youtu.be/Bt0E3Z3fwZQ). The elders have sent a link to a worship service and sermon by Rev. Stephan Regnerus for our afternoon family worship.

~ Re the PRCP Classis: God be praised beloved for the fruitful work of the Classis of the PRCP held at Provident PRC in Provident Village, Marikina City yesterday at 9 A.M. – 6 P.M. One of the highlights of this meeting was the approval of the two brothers from PPRC... as full-time students in our Seminary with the view of serving God as Minister of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP, the Lord willing. We pray for God’s blessings upon them and their families as they prepare for this coming school year.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

good enough for god DLee Page 1
How can sinners possibly be accepted by the God of perfect holiness and righteousness? Read this valuable resource to learn more!

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in the PRC? Would you like to learn more about her? Are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
     
  • The Reformed Book Outlet  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. As always, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any orders as well!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Beginning this month, Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home misisonary) will deliver the messages, with a special focus on missions. Today's message is titled "Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent" based on Isaiah 54:1,2. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

    • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

~ The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by 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.

~ A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!

 SS June 2020 cover
June 2020 issue of Salt Shaker magazine is now available! They are celebrating 10 years - congratulations!

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.

  • The newest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.

greatcommission1

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors

ASpriensma RWH recording May 2020
Home missionary A. Spriensma recording radio messages at Seminary for the Reformed Witness Hour.

  • Remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published last month (May). You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of restrictions).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead them by Zoom (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine. Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.

  • For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world are experiencing severe restrictions too.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin recently: Likewise, do continue to pray for the saints in Kolkata as they are still in the midst of the lockdown imposed by the Indian government and as they recover from the aftermath of the cyclone three weeks ago. Pray that God will provide all the necessary means for our missionary pastor, Rev Singh, to care for His people in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships.
Read more...

Desiring Jerusalem's Peace

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

Desiring Jerusalem's Peace

Meditation on Psalm 122: 1, 8

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD...for my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee”

 

I used these verses this past Sunday as a call to worship when I led the worship service at Peace PRC. It was the first worship service that I have led where the whole congregation was again present. What a joy to be with fellow believers in worship of our God. We love to go to church!

But we need to pray for the peace of the church. Our Synod meets this week with various protests and appeals before them. The peace of Jerusalem is threatened. What a damper on our joy when there is division, disunity, fighting, and schism in Jerusalem, the city of peace. There is disunity because of sin and our sinful natures. Notice, the Psalmist is not praying for a peace from those outside the church who hate her. The Psalmist prays, “I will now say, peace be within thee.” It is a peace that is desired within the walls, within the gates, and within the palaces of the city of God (vs. 7).

God, a God of peace, has broken down the wall of hostility between himself and his justified people through the giving of his only begotten Son for our salvation. Jesus is the prince of peace. Christ by His Spirit gathers God’s people together in corporate worship, as various members of a body. That body is threatened and does not function well when it fights itself. I know that from my own autoimmune disease. There must be real covenant unity and harmony in the church.

This means that we love one another, pray for one another, worship the one true God in spirit and in truth. How terrible when there is disruption of that unity by snide remarks, gossip and slander against others, or the fighting over which ministers we follow. The Apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthian Church deals with the matter of disharmony and fighting: “contentions among you” (I Cor. 1:11) . One said that he was of Paul; another that he was of Apollos; one of Cephas; and still another dared to say that he was of Christ! “Is Christ divided” (I Cor. 1:13)? The elders of the church must guard against and if necessary, discipline those who bring disunity, slander, and schism in Christ’s body, the church.

Now that we are finally able to worship together in our churches, may we have a desire and fervent prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” While it is a desire expressed to the church, it is a prayer to God. Lord, reign over my mind, my heart, and the words that I speak. It is a personal prayer. The Psalmist says, “I will now say…” May it not only be the pastors in their private and congregational prayers. May it not only be the prayers of the elders as they guard the faith and life of the church. It must be the prayer of every believing child of God. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” Each true believer needs to pray, knowing the sin within him or herself, how easily words tumble off from our lips, and how sharp and slanderous can be the written page. “God forgive me and help me to be an instrument of peace.”

And of course, as Christ Jesus came to fulfill the Scriptures, the words of our text are in reality the word of Jesus Himself. “I will now say, peace be within thee.” We have the confidence that God will hear us for Jesus’ sake. This humbles us, knowing that it is not our work that creates peace, but it is the grace of God and the Spirit of Christ working in the hearts and minds of believers.

Why is it that we pray for the peace of the church? We love the church. The Psalmist says, “For my brethren and companions’ sake, I will now say, Peace be within thee.” We desire and pray for peace because of the glory of God is at stake. God hates division, strife, and fighting in His church. God is glorified when God’s saints love and labor together in the gospel because it is all possible by His Word and Spirit.

We desire and pray for Jerusalem’s peace because we care for one another as saints. There is an unbreakable bond between brothers and sisters in the church family. We do not just care about our own interests, but we uphold one another in our thoughts and prayers. As brothers and sisters in faith, we prosper (vs. 7) when there is peace. When there is fighting, suspicion of one another, and even avoidance of one another, the joy of worshipping together is seriously hurt.

We desire and pray for peace in the church for our witness before the world. How our enemies are filled with derision when they hear or see fighting, slander, and disunity among God’s people. Why would anyone want to attach themselves with that kind of body? Why would even our children desire to remain in that kind of body? Those who trouble the church do not show a love for God, a love for Jesus Christ, or love for their fellow saints. There will always be conflicts in the church because we are sinners who have to daily fight against our sinful natures. We forgive one another for our sinful attitudes, words, and actions. Redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and indwelt with his Spirit and Word, we strive for, desire, labor, and pray for the peace of house of God.

“How good and pleasant is the sight when brethren make it their delight to dwell in blest accord;

Such love in peace and joy distils, As o’er the slopes of Hermon’s hills refreshing dew descends:

The Lord command his blessing there, And they that walk in love shall share, In life that never ends” (Psalm 133).

 

Read more...

PRC Synod 2020 - Day 4 (Friday, June 12)

Aerial view Trinity PRC 1
Aerial view of the host church, Trinity PRC (thanks to Nick Kleyn's drone!)

The PRC Synod of 2020 held its fourth and final session today at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

officers 2 2
Officers of synod: Revs.R. Kleyn (V.P), R. Van Overloop (Pres.), C. Spronk (1st clerk), J. Engelsma (2nd clerk)

Synod 2020 Highlights Friday, June 12

Synod spent a large part of the day treating an individual’s appeal which contained several different parts. One part was declared not legally before synod, and after careful deliberation the other legal parts were not sustained.

Synod approved the work of the Special Synodical Committee to Assist Hope PRC, declared that they had fulfilled their mandate, and disbanded the Committee.

Regarding the work of the Domestic Mission Committee, Synod did the following:

• Approved the work of Byron Center PRC Council and the DMC, and expressed appreciation for the work of our home missionary, Rev. Spriensma.

• Mandated the DMC to report to Synod next year with ways that it has increased their efforts to establish a concrete field of labor for the missionary.

• Expressed thanks for the work of Chuck Terpstra and Alex Postma on the website.

• Mandated the DMC to report to Synod 2021 with concrete plans and budget for professionally updating and maintaining our website.

Synod approved “Affirmations Regarding Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender Identity” for the greater legal protection of our denomination.

Synod approved the work of the Stated Clerk, Rev. Van Overloop, and thanked him for his work.

Synod approved the emeritation requests of our emeritus ministers and the widows of ministers.

Synod approved subsidy requests from 7 congregations.


Synod expressed thanks to our Synodical Treasurer, Don Offringa, and Bookkeeper, Pamela Bos, for their labors.

Synod adopted a budget for 2021 and set synodical assessments at $750 per family, down $25 from 2020. Synod carried out annual elections for various committees. Synod set June 8, 2021, as the date for next year’s synod, to be held at Georgetown PRC.

The President, Rev. Van Overloop, concluded by expressing appreciation for the exemplary way in which the delegates worked together on behalf of the churches, and the Vice-President, Rev. R. Kleyn, led the delegates in prayer, thanking God for the strength to do the work and asking for his blessing upon it.

Comm1 2
Committee I

Comm2 2
Committee II

Comm3 2
Committee III

 Comm4 2
Committee IV

Comm5 2
Committee V

sem profs 2 2
Seminary professors

Aerial view Trinity PRC 2

 Thanks to John Van Baren for all the "official" synod pics!

Subscribe to this RSS feed

Contact Details

Denomination

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Reading Sermon Library
  • Taped Sermon Library

Synodical Officers

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Synodical Committees

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact/Missions

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Classical Officers

Classis East
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Classis West
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.