Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland
83 Clarence Street,
Ballymena BT42 3NR, Northern Ireland
Services: 11:00 A.M. & 6:00 P.M.
Pastor: Rev. Angus Stewart
7 Lislunnan Rd.
Kells, Ballymena, Co. Antrim
Northern Ireland BT42 3NR
Phone: (from U.S.A.) 011 (44) 28 25 891 851
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
18 December, 2017
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Visit of the Engelsmas
We greatly enjoyed the visit of Prof. and Mrs. Engelsma (19 October-6 November). The CPRC invited them for two main reasons. First, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and our congregation wanted to celebrate this wonderful occasion. Prof. Engelsma is a man who embodies the Reformation, so we asked him to give lectures on this great theme and preach in the CPRC. Second, the latter enabled me to fill the pulpit of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), while Rev. McGeown was in America speaking at Reformation conferences in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Loveland, Colorado.
Our Reformation commemorations began with a half-day conference on Saturday, 21 October. Prof. spoke powerfully on “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God” and “Justification in Paul and in James,” while the ladies served a lovely lunch between the two speeches. Carolyn and Erik Prins (Trinity PRC) were present, as were three friends from Wales and a brother from England, plus local visitors.
Prof. Engelsma's other lectures dealt with key figures and truths of the Reformation: “Martin Luther: Man of Conviction” (Friday, 27 October) and “Calvin's Doctrine of the Covenant” (Friday, 3 November).
The 6 Sunday sermons by Prof. Engelsma also addressed vital Reformation subjects. All of his 10 public speeches are online on audio and video, with the latter including some question-and-answer sessions. They were made into an attractive box set of DVDs or CDs. It is available for £10 in the UK and $20 in the US (inc. P&P).
We paid for advertisements twice in the Belfast News Letter and the Ballymena Guardian. The latter paper also published two articles about Prof. Engelsma's visit. The saints in the CPRC were very encouraged by our brother's labours in our midst. A good number joined us live online, and his videos have received a lot of attention.
The CPRC now has over 2,000 videos on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI). Very appropriately for a congregation that is called the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, our 2,000th video was Prof. Engelsma's lecture on “Calvin's Doctrine of the Covenant.” Our thanks to Stephen Murray, our audio-visual man, for his labour of putting the videos online every week for many years. It is working too, for we have now had over 1/4 million video watches on our YouTube channel.
Over 3,000 people have subscribed to the CPRC Facebook page. Though this is hardly what Mark Zuckerberg intended, it has helped us get out the Reformed faith and reach new translators.
In our online languages section, Hungarian saw the biggest growth in the last two months, thanks to Bálint Vásárhelyi and Tibor Bognár. With their 10 recent written translations, we now have 216 pieces in Hungarian (www.cprf.co.uk/languages/hungarian.html). We also added a second sermon video with Hungarian subtitles: “The Sovereignty of God (II).” Now we have 27 videos in 4 foreign languages: Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, and French (www.youtube.com). We added 3 more Russian pieces, including material from Prof. Engelsma's Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel, and 3 Danish pieces, thanks to a faithful pastor from Denmark. A brother in India translated “Knowing the True God,” a pamphlet by Rev. Houck, into Hindi. Is this the first Protestant Reformed writing online in Hindi?
The CPRC has used various means to honour the work of Jesus Christ through the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. These include Prof. Engelsma's excellent Reformation speeches, letters in the local press, five installments on “What Is a Protestant?” in the Covenant Reformed News and a 12-sermon series on the great Reformation truth of “Righteousness by Faith Alone” (Rom. 4).
Other recent writings on this subject include “The Reformation and the Nature of the Church” for the Standard Bearer, “Martin and Katie Luther: A Reformation Marriage” for the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, and “Martin Luther and God's Saving Righteousness” for the British Reformed Journal.
I spoke on “Martin Luther's Great Discovery” for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship on Saturday, 28 October. An encouraging number attended, including some people we had never seen before, and we had a good question session afterwards. At this meeting in Limerick and at Prof. Engelsma's lectures, we sold books, and CD and DVD box sets at reduced prices.
In order to promote the Reformed Witness Hour (RWH) in the British Isles, we posted RWH booklets along with the Covenant Reformed News. The RWH gave us these spare copies for free and we waited until we had gotten enough of them across the Atlantic before mailing them with the News. Hopefully, more people will tune in to the RWH radio programme that we sponsor and that is broadcast from outside Londonderry in Northern Ireland on Sunday mornings (8:30-9:00 A.M. on Radio North/Gospel 846 AM or MW) or go to their website (www.reformedwitnesshour.org).
The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference on “The Reformed Family— According to the Word of God” (21-28 July, 2018) is drawing nearer. Booking forms, including prices, are (or very soon will be) online (www.britishreformed.org). You are all very warmly invited to join us at Hebron Hall in South Wales. Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning will be our main speakers. It promises to be a rich time of fellowship and growth under the Word of God.
Thank you for your support and prayers, and for your cards. Our covenant “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love” (Heb. 6:10). May the Lord be with you all!
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
18 October, 2017
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
With this year, and now this month, marking the beginning of the 500th anniversary of the great Protestant Reformation, a number of CPRC activities are promoting this glorious movement of Christ's Spirit of truth.
We have had 9 sermons so far on Romans 4, the chapter in the Bible that contains the most systematic and doctrinal presentation of the Reformation gospel of justification by faith alone ( www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Y5 Eq5r6y2H6AW_OWwxkj8n18-UulTzl ). It is an amazingly rich and comforting doctrine. Every time that I study justification personally and in my teaching ministry, I am struck more and more with the truth and power of this crucial article of our faith. Despite the devil's hatred of justification and his attacks on it through the Roman church, the New Perspective on Paul, and the Federal Vision, etc., the result is that the Holy Spirit stirs up God's true church and people to search the Scriptures more diligently, and so work a deeper conviction and consolation in us.
On Thursday, 28 September, I spoke on “Martin Luther and God's Saving Righteous-ness” in South Wales. It was good to have another opportunity to study the theology and life of the great German Reformer. Despite receiving apologies from 5 people or parties in the area who regretfully could not attend, we still had a fairly good attendance, and sold several RFPA books and box sets of CDs.
In the last 4 issues of the monthly Covenant Reformed News, I have been answering the question, “What Is a Protestant?” ( www.cprf. co.uk/crnews.htm ). A number of readers have remarked that they found these articles especially helpful and timely. There will be one more instalment on this subject, DV.
All around the world, the commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation held by apostate or departing or nominal Protestant churches are including Roman Catholics among their speakers. The Christian Reformed Church in North America is at this caper, for example, as are some churches in the Philippines, and it is the same, sadly, in Northern Ireland too. I wrote a letter to the Belfast News Letter exposing this sinful compromise in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. A minister in that denomination responded to my two published letters and, hopefully, my third letter will be also printed later this week ( www.cprf.co.uk/articles/ pcireformationcommemoration.html ). If Martin Luther would have been utterly disgusted at this, what must the holy God of truth think of this shameful betrayal of His gospel (II Cor. 6:14-18; Rev. 18:4)!
Two new translators have begun their work for the CPRC website (www.cprf.co.uk/ languages.htm). One is a Russian believer in Belgium, who is helped by his Russian wife. The other is a brother in Australia, who is originally from Brazil and who provides us with Portuguese translations.
We added 21 translations in the last two months: 8 Hungarian (including a section from Prof. Engelsma's Gospel Truth of Justification), 4 Old Church Slavonic (3 ecumenical creeds and Lord's Days 1-12 of the Heidelberg Catechism), 4 Portuguese, 3 Russian (including Rev. Houck's pamphlet, “Jehovah the Savior”), 1 Tagalog, and 1 French.
We now have our first online video in French. A brother from Rheims in northern France added French subtitles to part 1 of a speech I gave in Wales in June entitled “N. T. Wright, Justification and the Reformation.” He is working on part 2. This means that we now
have some videos of speeches given in Italy, Portugal, Northern Ireland, and Wales translated into 4 languages: Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, and French ( www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Y5Eq5r6y2HmXGp8oXTSI2QS6_FJYjyJ ).
The new church season in the CPRC is well underway. We have 9 catechumens in 3 classes on a Monday night this year. This is much fewer than in most of your churches. This means that our children have nowhere to hide!
Our Tuesday morning Bible study covered the jubilee with its 3 main components: the release of slaves, the return of land, and rest from (some) agricultural labours (Lev. 25). Our Lord Jesus Christ preached Himself and His salvation as the jubilee in His hometown of
Nazareth in Luke 4 in fulfilment of Isaiah 61. Now we are studying the Passover, the feast most spoken of throughout the Bible.
Our Wednesday night Belgic Confession class is discussing the sacraments in Article 33. This too brings up the sixteenth-century Reformation because Martin Luther's Ninety-Five Theses, in critiquing indulgences, addressed Rome's so-called sacrament of penance and,
indeed, its whole sacramental system.
Justyn Perry, a brother from Lancashire in England, visited us earlier this month (6-9 October). It is striking how he came to hear about the CPRC. He told us that he has always had a special love for the book of Romans so, seeing a second-hand copy of Herman
Hoeksema's Righteous by Faith Alone in a Christian bookshop, he bought it. He had never read anything so good before and decided to check out the PRC on-line. He listened to a number of PR sermons on SermonAudio, starting with some by Rev. Dennis Lee. Then,
noting the PRC connection with the CPRC and our sticker at the bottom of the inside of the back cover of Hoeksema's book, he contacted me.
In its section on its alumni, The Graduate, the magazine for graduates and friends of Queens University Belfast, included an article and a photo of Rev. Martyn McGeown and his book Called to Watch for Christ's Return. The piece also gave the websites for the Limerick
Reformed Fellowship (LRF), the CPRC, and the RFPA.
Two ladies from the PRC are helping Mary to overhaul our website (www.cprf.co.uk). Given the size of our website, this is a massive job. If you or anyone you know has some time and some computer skills, and is able to do some data entry correctly, please email Mary
We and the saints in the CPRC are looking forward to the arrival of Prof. and Mrs.Engelsma tomorrow morning. We replaced the two broken garage doors at the manse, and bought a large, new bed and sheets for our spare bedroom. We want to avoid the problem of
Isaiah 28:20: “For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.”
Prof. will be speaking twice at a half-day Reformation conference on Saturday (21 October) and giving a speech on each of the following two Fridays, as well as preaching at both services on three Sundays. May the Lord bless these meetings, and the services and saints
in the PRC in the US and Canada!
Rev. & Mary Stewart
- Covenant Reformed News - September 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - August 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - July 2017
- Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - August 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - June 2017
- Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - June 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - May 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - April 2017