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
28 June, 2018
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
Family visitation in the CPRC has included 24 meetings on 11 different days over 2 weeks (7-21 May). Our Scripture passage this year was Ephesians 5:22-6:8, which deals with the respective callings of husbands, wives, children, fathers, and employees. As always, family visitation was a profitable exercise. Only one visit remains, that with one of our members who is currently studying at a university in Wales.
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 28 May included reports by Stephen Murray (audio-visual), Julian Kennedy (financial), and Rev. Martyn McGeown (missionary). I spoke on our plans for the future, covering events, speakers, books, etc., involving the CPRC in the next year, DV.
In the last year, our best-selling book was Called to Watch for Christ Return by Rev. McGeown, and our best-selling box set (CD or DVD) was “Celebrating 500 Years of the Reformation,” consisting of the 10 speeches and sermons by Prof. Engelsma in the CPRC in the autumn of 2017. The visitors on the written pages of our website (www.cprc.co.uk) have averaged 1,880 per day over the last year, which marks steady growth year on year.
In January - May, 2018, our most hit audio was “Job's Comfort and Our Comfort” (Lord's Day 1). Over the same period, the 10 countries that listened most to CPRC sermons were, in order, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, France, China, Israel, Australia, Qatar, Canada, and South Korea. Turning to the top 10 countries for the written pages on our main website for the first 5 months in 2018, we have the United States, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Peru, Italy, Russia, Germany, and Hungary. If we remove from this list the English-speaking nations (USA at #1, UK at #5, and the Netherlands at #2, for almost all the Dutch speak English), there is a strong correlation between the remaining 7 countries included in the top 10 and the languages in which we have a lot of translations: Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Indonesian, Spanish, and Russian.
The CPRC has (or very soon will have) two new lady members. First, we received the membership papers of Larisa McGeown from First Holland PRC (6 June). Second, Grace Mae was born to David and Kristin Crossett (20 June); she is to be baptized this Sunday (1 July).
Grace Mae Crossett with big sister Sophie
Our Tuesday morning Bible study has moved to the topic of the Old Testament sacrifices. Currently, we are working our way through the 6 main stages in offering bloody sacrifices. So far, we have covered the presentation of the animal, the laying of hands upon the beast, and its slaughter, in connection with our Saviour's cross.
This year, I was the CPRC delegate to the Synod at Byron Center PRC in mid June, my first time at the PRC's broadest assembly since 2002. I hasten to add that there were various good and wholly innocent reasons for my lengthy absence, including that attending Synod means that the CPRC goes without live preaching for a Sunday. This is the first year that Mary's parents will not be able to come to the biennial British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference and the opportunity to stay with them tipped the balance in favour of going to Synod.
It was good to witness the working of Synod, especially since our congregation has no broader assemblies on this side of the Atlantic. I enjoyed fellowship with the ministers, elders, and professors, as well as the brethren from the Philippines and Singapore. I was also pleasantly surprised that I was able to watch other people working while I was largely inactive, with less difficulty than I had expected!
While in Grand Rapids, I gave a speech on “Gottschalk: Medieval Confessor of God's Absolute Sovereignty” in Georgetown PRC and sponsored by Trinity PRC (13 June). This amazing ninth-century monk spent some two decades under house arrest for teaching, by God's Spirit, the truth of unconditional election and reprobation, particular atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. He even boldly and uncompromisingly denied the well-meant gospel offer, in the faithful tradition of Augustine of Hippo and Fulgentius of Ruspe, declaring, “All those whom God wills to be saved (I Tm 2:4) are without doubt saved, nor can any be saved but those God wills to be saved. Nor is there any one whom God wills to be saved, and is not saved, since our God has done all things whatever he willed [Ps. 135:6]. They therefore are all saved—all whom he wills to be saved.” The video of the Gottschalk lecture is on-line, including the slides and the Q. & A. session (www.youtube. com/watch?v=9hKDOcaTbFA).
Our Lord's day in America (17 June) was spent in Chicagoland in 2 churches we had not seen for some years. First, I preached in Crete PRC (Jude 20-21), after we joined the saints the previous day for their annual church picnic. Second, I spoke in Bethel PRC (II Kings 6:8-23), where I also gave a PowerPoint presentation on the witness of the CPRC. Our thanks to Phil and Karen Van Baren and Fred and Rose Iwema for their kind hospitality.
Mary and I then flew to Washington DC for a few days of informative and enjoyable sightseeing at the capital, including Arlington National Cemetery. Arriving in Dublin on Saturday, I preached in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), while Rev. McGeown was in the CPRC.
We brought back a good weight of RFPA books, especially Here We Stand, edited by Prof. Cammenga, and The Belgic Confession: A Commentary, volume 1, by Prof. Engelsma. Chief among the pamphlets we transported home are “The Bible Versus Mormonism” by Rev. Hanko and “Spousal Abuse in the Reformed Community” by Prof. Engelsma. All such materials help our witness to God's truth, and encourage saints in the British Isles and other parts of the world.
On 28 April, Marco Barone was interviewed live by phone on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio in Pennsylvania in connection with his fine book, Luther’s Augustinian Theology of the Cross: The Augustinianism of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation and the Origins of Modern Philosophy of Religion (www.ironsharpens ironradio.com/podcast/april-26-2018-show-with-marco-barone-on-luthers-augustinian-theology-of-the-cross). His article on the “500th Anniversary of Martin Luther's Heidelberg Disputation” was published in the English Churchman (27 April & 4 May).
Our thanks to saints from England, Northern Ireland, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois who recently donated to the CPRC Translators Fund. The last 3 boxes of books we posted out went to 2 ministers in Kenya and a Brazilian pastor in the Azores, a cluster of islands in the Atlantic Ocean belonging to Portugal. In the last couple of months, we added 14 translations to our website: Hungarian 7, Greek 4, Swahili 2, and Portuguese 1 (www.cprf.co.uk/languages.htm).
We are now just a few weeks from the 2018 BRF Family Conference on “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” with Prof. D. J. Engelsma and Rev. A. Lanning in S. Wales (21-28 July). We are delighted that as many as 108 people are booked in, including a good number of our translators.
Some 4,500 copies of the new BRF book, Behold, I Come Quickly, consisting of the speeches and sermons at the 2016 BRF Conference are due to be published any day now. This excellent little volume will be available from many PR congregations in America and Canada, the churches in the Philippines and Singapore, and the CPRC Bookstore of course.
Thank you for your interest and your prayers. May the Lord continue to bless and keep you!
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
19 April, 2018
Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,
The last two months have been very fruitful with regard to Reformed translations (www.cprf. co.uk/languages.htm). We have received 44 articles in 8 different languages, plus Hungarian subtitles to a video in which Prof. Hanko answers a question from Patrick Duerr from Covenant of Grace PRC.
The Belgic Confession is now on the CPRC website in Armenian, thanks to an Armenian brother living in Germany. This is the first time that this creed has been put online. It may even be the first time anyone has translated the Belgic Confession into Armenian.
Ivan Ortu in Sardinia sent us 5 Italian translations. We received 2 chapters of Prof. Engelsma’s Hyper-Calvinism and the Call of the Gospel in Russian, as well as 2 Spanish translations.
A lady in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF) has become our first translator to send us materials in two different languages. As a Greek citizen with Albanian parents, she knows both tongues. From her, we have gotten 8 Greek and 4 Albanian articles.
The 10 recent German translations bring our total in that language to 170. With the 12 new Hungarian translations, we now have 234 articles in that tongue.
These translations are definitely reaching people. In fact, so far in April, 15 of the 20 most hit articles on our website are in languages other than English. It is not an exaggeration to say that our translations receive more hits than our English articles!
Our Translators Fund is very low, since we have lately posted a number of boxes of RFPA and British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) books to our hard working translators in various parts of the world. If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please contact me (pastor @cprc.co.uk).
Ministry of the Word
“Earnestly Contending for the Faith” is the theme for our ongoing sermon series on the Epistle of Jude (www.youtube.com/user/CPRCNI). So far we have covered the first eleven verses. This Sunday morning’s text describes false teachers: “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 12-13).
Our Tuesday morning Bible study recently treated the feast of Pentecost in the Old Testament and its fulfilment in Acts 2. Having covered all three of ancient Israel’s pilgrimage feasts, we are now considering the relationship between Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles, especially noting that Passover, fulfilled in Christ crucified (I Cor. 5:7), comes first and is the basis for the other feasts.
Last night, we had our nineteenth class on “Holy Baptism” (Belgic Confession 34). For the last two months of these classes, we have been considering the inclusion of the children of believers in the kingdom of the Messiah, as prophesied in Isaiah 40-61, Jeremiah 31-32, and Ezekiel 34-37, and as described in the four gospel accounts and I Corinthians (www.cprf.co.uk/audio/belgiccon-fessionclass.htm). It has been very helpful to see so much Scripture teaching the Reformed view of covenant seed in the New Testament age and not that of the Baptists (the little children of believers cannot repent and believe, and so cannot be baptized).
“Feed my lambs” (John 21:15) is Christ’s command to Peter and to the whole of His New Testament church. Upon the conclusion of the CPRC catechism classes, we had our end of year tests. They were all marked today and the covenant children did well. May God bless His Word to the next generation of the church!
The CPRC enjoyed the visits of Herman and Lindy Hanko (Grace PRC), Ed and Jessica Hanko (Lynden PRC), and Stephanie Van Maanen (Hull PRC) in March.
The Ramsay family (Dan, Katie, Olivia, Caleb, and Sophia) from Bristol, England, stayed with us (30 March-2 April). Dan has bought a number of copies of Saved by Grace, by Prof. Cammenga and Rev. Hanko to give to friends, and has attended several lectures in South Wales. Mary and I had dinner with the Ramsays in their home some months ago, and it was lovely to have them with us for a long weekend.
Candidate Jonathan Langerak was Rev. McGeown’s pulpit supply in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF), while he was in America for his wedding and honeymoon with Larisa (De Jong). So the CPRC asked Cand. Langerak to bring a word of edification to us on Sunday 8 April, while I led the worship in the LRF. His grandparents, Harry and Evelyn Langerak, joined him for part of his time in Limerick and all of his time in Ballymena, so they were all able to join the congregation for tea after the Sunday evening service. The three Langeraks brought a lot of RFPA books with them and stayed at the CPRC manse, so we were able to fellowship with them and show them around parts of N. Ireland (4-9 April).
Rev. Stewart (in back) with Harry, Evelyn, and grandson Candidate Jonathan Langerak
At present, Shimone Spyker from Perth, Western Australia is staying with us (17-23 April). She has just returned from Northern Ireland’s north coast with a sun tan, for today is the sunniest and hottest day in 2018 for us.
The Ballymena Guardian published an article I sent them about Marco Barone’s book, Luther’s Augustinian Theology of the Cross: The Augustinianism of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation and the Origins of Modern Philosophy of Religion (12 April, 2018). A member of the CPRC, Marco lives in Ballymena, and the Heidelberg Disputation occurred exactly 500 years ago this very month (25-26 April, 1518). Marco’s excellent book is available on-line through the publisher, Wipf and Stock, as well as Amazon, etc.
Mary and I will be in Grand Rapids during the week of Synod, DV, for I am this year’s delegate from the CPRC. While there, I am to give a speech on “Gottschalk: Medieval Confessor of God’s Absolute Sovereignty” in Trinity PRC (13 June). On the Sunday after Synod, I am to preach in Crete PRC and Bethel PRC in Chicagoland (17 June).
Bishop John Hooper Monument
There are places still available at the 2018 British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference in Hebron Hall, Cardiff (21-28 July). While in South Wales to give a speech on “Angels as Messengers of the Lord” (12 April, 2018), Mary and I visited Gloucester, a destination of one of the Conference day trips. It is a beautiful town with an impressive cathedral, historic docks, and scenic walks. It has a lot of Christian interest, for it is the birthplace of George Whitefield (the eighteenth-century evangelist), the place of the first Sunday school, and the location of the martyrdom of Bishop John Hooper (9 February, 1555) under Bloody Mary, etc. For more information on the BRF Conference on “The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God” with Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, check out this website (http://brfconference.weebly.com). All are warmly welcome!
Please continue to pray for your sister church in Northern Ireland and the Limerick Reformed Fellowship. May the Lord be with you all,
Rev. Angus & Mary Stewart
- Covenant Reformed News - March 2018
- Covenant Reformed News - February 2018
- Covenant PRC, N. Ireland Newsletter - February 2018
- Covenant Reformed News - January 2018
- Covenant Reformed News - December 2017
- Covenant PRC, N.Ireland Newsletter - December 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - November 2017
- Covenant Reformed News - October 2017