Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Covenant PRC Ballymena, Northern Ireland

Website

83 Clarence Street,

Ballymena BT42 3NR, Northern Ireland

Services: 11:00 A.M. & 6:00 P.M.

RevAStewart

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

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

Covenant Reformed News - August 2015

Covenant Reformed News

August 2015 • Volume XV, Issue 16


The Rock Whence We Are Hewn (3)


In the last two issues of the News and in this issue and the next, we are considering this glorious prophecy of Isaiah: “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (51:1-3).

In last month’s News, we drew attention to the word “alone” in Isaiah 51:2: “Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.” In order to understand the significance of the little word “alone,” let us consider the life of Abraham as recorded in Genesis 11-25, in connection with God’s covenant with the patriarch and his seed.

Abraham was an idolater in Ur of the Chaldees (Josh. 24:2). There were many idolaters in that city, but Isaiah 51:2 states that God “called him alone.” “But what about Terah, Abraham’s father?” someone might object. Abraham was the one who was principally called (Acts 7:2-3) and his father merely accompanied him. Terah never even reached the promised land, for he died in Haran (Gen. 11:32). “But what about Lot, Abraham’s nephew?” Though he made it to Canaan, Lot left Abraham (Gen. 13; 19).

God promised Abraham that He would multiply his seed, so that they would be as numerous as the stars of the heavens and the sand on the beach. Jehovah would make of Abraham a great and mighty nation, and all of the families of the earth would be blessed in him.

There was just one problem! Abraham was an old man—too old to beget children—and Sarah was an old woman—too old to bear children.

Yet whom did God call out of Ur? Just one man—not many men—and that when he and his wife were past having children. As Romans 4:19 puts it, “his own body [was] now dead” (as regards having children) and there was also the barrier of “the deadness of Sara’s womb.”

The rest of the Abrahamic narrative develops this theme. Time and time again, God repeats His promise to Abraham of a vast number of children as his descendents. We read of Abraham’s unbelieving and sinful arrangement with Hagar and the birth of Ishmael, with all the grief that caused (Gen. 16). Finally, Abraham and Sarah have a boy! She was 90 and he was 100. They called their son, Isaac, which means laughter!

Even then, God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, in order to test and purify the old man’s faith (Gen. 22). Later, Abraham’s servant goes to great lengths to obtain a godly bride for Isaac, lest he marry a pagan girl from Canaan (Gen. 24).

Let us now think of this narrative and subsequent history in terms of numbers. Abraham and Sarah are first introduced as two dry sticks, as you might say. After many years and various wrong turns, the chosen son, Isaac, is born, of whom God said, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:7; Gen. 21:12; Heb. 11:18). Later, elect and beloved Jacob is born to Isaac and Rebekah, along with his twin, reprobate Esau, whom God hated (Rom. 9:13). Jacob has twelve sons. When they marry and have children, his family numbers seventy. At the time of the exodus from Egypt, Israel consists of more than two million. In the reigns of David and Solomon, Abraham’s descendents are even more numerous.

Now we can understand the text: “look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged” (Isa. 51:1). That is, consider your origin, consider your origin historically, consider your origin historically in Abraham and Sarah: “Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you” (2).

Now think about the three verbs in the remainder of verse 2: “for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.” God “called” Abraham with the effectual call to salvation in Jesus Christ in the promised land. Jehovah “blessed” him with covenant blessings according to His covenant promises. The Almighty “increased” Abraham so that that one man’s seed grew to seventy and even to millions. This is a wonder of grace! The whole inspired narrative underscores repeatedly and in vivid ways the amazing truth that God alone did it and not man, to whom this was impossible.

Thus the message to Isaiah’s readers, heart-broken over the smouldering ashes of Jerusalem, is that God has multiplied His people from very small beginnings before. He can do it again and He will do it again!

Those who believe this promise are the true children of Abraham (for they follow in their father’s footsteps) and chips off the old block, so to speak, for God “is able of ... stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matt. 3:9). Just like us believing Gentiles!

This then is the connection between verses 1 and 2 of Isaiah 51: “look unto the rock whence ye are hewn” (1), that is, “Look unto Abraham your father” (2). This is not in conflict with looking to the living God in Jesus Christ, as we are commanded to do in Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else,” for six chapters later we are also exhorted, “Look unto Abraham your father” (51:2).

The call to look at Abraham does not mean that he is the object of our faith, as if we are saved by believing in the patriarch. Rather, we look at Abraham to see what God did for him in Jesus Christ. This is a standing lesson to the church, for just as Abraham was once numerically small, so God blesses His church by increasing her.

Next time, we will conclude our study of Isaiah 51:1-3 by looking more closely at the beautiful promise of verse 3 and how the whole passage is fulfilled. Rev. Stewart

The Work of the Holy Spirit (2)

In 2008, the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) held its tenth biennial conference at the Share Centre on the shores of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh, N. Ireland. The subject was “The Work of the Holy Spirit.” Later, the speeches and sermons were published in book form. One reader recently asked me a series of questions about the contents of the book, wanting to have the answers included in the News.

His second question reads,“What is the difference between the Spirit now as the Spirit of the risen Christ rather than just the Spirit of Christ? You mention that the Spirit could not work the reality of salvation because all he had to use was a picture book [The Work of the Holy Spirit, p. 34]. Could you expand on that? I think the footnote on page 35 goes a long way to answering that—the anointing teaches you all things (I John 2:27). The Spirit of truth ... and more truth than before! On the next page you say it was difficult for Old Testament saints to pray and impossible for them to call God ‘Father.’ But nevertheless many examples can be found and there are instances where Israel calls God ‘Father.’”

These are good questions: apparently my presentation at the conference was not as clear as one could wish. I appreciate the opportunity to expand on these things further.

I must, however, make one correction. I did not distinguish between the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of the risen Christ. Rather, I distinguished between the work of the Spirit in the church of the old dispensation and the work of the Spirit that was given to Christ at the time of His exaltation (Acts 2:33).

It is true, though, that there was a certain manifestation of the Spirit of Christ in the old dispensation but then the same is true of Christ Himself, who appeared in the old dispensation as the Angel of Jehovah. So also the Old Testament prophets could not have spoken in such an (almost) New Testament way (e.g., Isa. 53) without speaking in the church of the knowledge given to them by the Spirit, who revealed to them the things of Christ.

However that may be, and without going into the question in detail, there are especially two ways in which the work of the Spirit in the old dispensation differed from the work of the Spirit in the new dispensation. The first is that the Holy Spirit always does His work in the hearts of the people of God through the Word! It is never any different. He binds Himself in an unbreakable bond to the objective Word of God and always works through it. But in the old dispensation, the Word of God came to the church through types and shadows. Christ had not yet come. All the church had were pictures of Chist and His wonderful works.

As everyone knows, as nice and as accurate as a picture may be, it is not the reality. I cherish a picture of my wife, but I would far and away rather have her with me. So it was with the Old Testament church. The Word that came through pictures, which the Holy Spirit used, was subject to the same limitations as a picture always is.

In the new dispensation, with the work of Christ and the reality embodied in the New Testament Scriptures, the Spirit gives us a much clearer understanding of the great mystery of godliness, God become flesh (I Tim. 3:16). We see the reality, not a picture.

The second difference between the work of the Spirit in the old dispensation and the new was that God’s people did not hold the office of believers. I do not say that they were not believers, for they were. Read Hebrews 11. But they did not hold the office of believers.

That office of believers had three aspects to it: the offices of prophet, priest and king. No believer held these offices in the old dispensation. The result was that these offices were held by individuals who were chosen by God, anointed with oil and given their assigned work by Him.

If an Israelite wanted to know the will of God, he had to go to a prophet. If the nation wanted to worship God, they had to go to a priest who would make the necessary sacrifices. And when there was no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judg. 21:25).

Each saint in the new dispensation, through the work of the Spirit of Christ, is, in his own right, a prophet (I John 2:27), a priest who can worship God anywhere and at any time (I Pet. 2:5), and a king who rules his own life under Christ, as one who knows and does God’s will (Rev. 1:6).

These are fundamental differences. And we ought to be thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit, who brings us the reality of Christ and all He did through the infallible Scriptures.Prof. Hanko

---------------------------------------------

Westminster Confession VII: “5. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come, which were for that time sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament. 6. Under the gospel, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fullness, evidence and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.”
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
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
Share
Tweet
Forward

Reformation Lectures

"Jan Hus: His Martyrdom and Ecclesiology"

This year is the 600th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Czech pre-Reformer Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake at the Council of Constance in southern Germany in 1415. Join us at this special Reformation lecture to learn of this great man, what he stood for and what the lessons are for us today.

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

----------
S. WALES

Thursday, 8 October
7:15 PM

at The Round Chapel
(274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB)

----------
N. IRELAND

Friday, 30 October
7:30 PM

at Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
(83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR)

ALL WELCOME!

Faith Made Perfect


by Herman Hanko
304 pp., hardback

This eminently practical book by Prof. Hanko gives instruction for living the Christian life in many of its aspects. A salient feature is the relation between justification and works, which James explains by the examples of Abraham and Rahab. Buy Hanko on James and benefit spiritually!

£16.50 (inc. P&P)


Order on-line or
Post orders to:
CPRC Bookstore,
c/o Mary Stewart,
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, Ballymena, BT42 3NR

In N. America, please
order from the RFPA

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!


The Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law

8 classes on
Belgic Confession 25 plus
3 sermons on Hebrews 13
on CD or DVD in an attractive box set

What is the ceremonial law of the Old Testament? How did this law increase and decrease through the Scriptures? How would you prove its abolition from the New Testament and even the prophecies of the Old Testament? How does this enrich our understanding of Jesus Christ, Christian liberty and the unity of the Scriptures?!
£12/box set (inc. P&P)

Listen free on-line or
Post orders to:
CPRC Bookstore,
c/o Mary Stewart,
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, Ballymena, BT42 3NR

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!

Read more...

Covenant PRC N.Ireland Newsletter - August 2015

Our sister church in Northern Ireland, Covenant PRC, Ballymena, has just released her latest newsletter. In this August 2015 issue her pastor, Rev.Angus Stewart, reports on the latest activities inside and outside the congregation, with special mention of their trip to the U.S. and the Haak's visit to Northern Ireland while they were absent.

Updates are also provided on their witness in their community and country, through their website, lectures, sermons, and printed materials.

Be sure to read this newsletter below to be better informed of what our "sister" and her pastor are doing in the British Isles. This newsletter is also attached here in pdf form (see below).

CPRCNI Newsletter Aug2015 Page 1

CPRCNI Newsletter Aug2015 Page 2

Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - June 2015

CPRC News Header

Covenant Reformed News

June 2015 • Volume XV, Issue 14


The Rock Whence We Are Hewn (1)

In the sixth century BC, Jerusalem was devastated by the Babylonians. Its temple, its palace, its houses, its city walls—all were reduced to rubble by the ungodly invaders. Along with that, there were very few people of God left. Many were slaughtered or died of famine or diseases. Others were scattered, never to return, and many apostatized.

It is harder for us to understand their deep grief at the physical desolation of Jerusalem, for many of us have never experienced anything like this; we probably have more of a sense of their hardship due to their fewness.

So what does Isaiah do, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to encourage God’s small band of afflicted people? What does he draw upon from earlier biblical history? First, he has recourse to the Abrahamic covenant and the narrative concerning Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 11-25. Second, the prophet writes of Eden, the paradisaical garden of the Lord in Genesis 2-3.

This is what we read in Isaiah 51:1-3: “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

The introductory address, “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness” (1), does not refer to those Israelites who sought after righteousness by works and who went about to establish their own righteousness. “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone” (Rom. 9:31-32; cf. 10:3).

Instead of self-righteous hypocrites, God is here speaking to the godly, those who fear the Lord and obey the voice of His servant, the Messiah (Isa. 50:10); those who know righteousness, those who have God’s law in their heart (51:7).

The righteousness of these people is the imputed righteousness of justification (45:24-25). They are also righteous with the infused righteousness of sanctification so that they obey God’s Word not to merit but out of gratitude. They “follow after righteousness” (51:1) by pursuing it diligently.

Let us earnestly follow after righteousness in God’s way and “hearken” to the prophet in the next issue of the News. Rev. Angus Stewart

Interpreting Old Testament Prophecy (2)

A brother from continental Europe writes, “In a recent conversation, I was told that, when Jesus comes back, He will arrive on the earth on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4) and come through the Golden Gate. I found it a really strange and false idea, but I couldn’t think of a good argument against it. (Personally, I reckon it’s senseless to talk about the place of Christ’s return as, first, it shall be seen from each point of the earth, and also the earth and heavens shall be destroyed, and, second, we cannot imagine that event and the Bible also uses only pictures for illustrating it.) If you have a brief answer, that would be nice for me.”

I answered the question that is quoted above in the last News by addressing the issue of hermeneutics or the interpretation of Old Testament prophecy. Now I have two additional points that I would like to make, before presenting positively the meaning of Zechariah 14:4.

1) The first point is a question that arose out of what I wrote last time (it would be good if you would re-read that). That question is: Who are the true children of Abraham?

The premills and Baptists claim that the true children of Abraham are ethnic Jews. Their theology is based on this assumption, that Abraham is the father of Jews only.

The truth is that they are dead wrong. In fact, if a Baptist or premill can show me one passage anywhere in Scripture where the expression “seed of Abraham” or “children of Abraham” is used to refer to Jews only, I will publicly apologize in the News. I am convinced that the Bible never uses the expression “seed [or children] of Abraham” to refer to Jews only.

The expression is found early in sacred history. It is used in connection with the establishment of God’s covenant with Abraham. This important event is recorded for us in Genesis 17. There God tells Abraham, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (7).

God Himself explains what He means by “thy seed after thee.” He speaks of an “everlasting covenant.” It seems to me that this term does not and cannot mean, as Baptists insist, that God establishes a temporal covenant with Abraham. If such is the case, words no longer have meaning.

I know, the Baptists say that the word “everlasting” in Scripture sometimes means “temporal” or “a long time.” It is more than passing strange that those who are so insistent on interpreting Scripture literally, should suddenly want to interpret “everlasting” as “temporal.” Are they not being “hoisted on their own petard”?

But, if that is not enough, to God the question of who are true children of Abraham is so important that He even changed the patriarch’s name from Abram to Abraham to express in his name that Abraham is not, most emphatically not, the father of Jews only, but also of the Gentiles: “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee” (5).

Paul underscores this truth in Romans 9:6-8: “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” What can be gained by denying this flat-out contradiction of the premill position?

Galatians 3:28-29 is also important in this connection: “There is neither Jew nor Greek ... And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

2) The second point that needs to be made is a refutation of the claim of the premills that they alone take Scripture literally.

I see no need to go into this in detail. The fact of the matter is that the premills themselves do not take Scripture literally and cannot do this. But what is more serious is that by their claim they make the Bible a rather dull book. They are forced to deny that Scripture has in it all kinds of figures of speech: metaphors, similes, apostrophes, symbols and many other sorts of figures. God’s Word is a beautiful book, even as a literary masterpiece. Figures of speech make the truths of Scripture come alive and these figures often carry us away with their pointed and sharp truth.

But, more importantly, by means of figures of speech, Scripture makes clear to us that this earthly (from which all figures of speech are taken) is created after the pattern of the heavenly; that the heavenly is the true reality, while the earthly is the shadow. And, at the same time, these figures of speech tell us to look ahead to that reality that is to come, when this earthly shall be redeemed by Christ and made like to the heavenly.

By rendering ineffective the many figures of speech, the premills also take away the rich, beautiful and important types in the old dispensation that pointed God’s people then, and point us now, to new dispensation realities. The whole subject of types is most interesting and enlightening. Study the subject.

Let us now have the text to which the brother refers, as well as the next verse, with which it is very closely associated, clearly set before us: “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east thereof and toward the west thereof, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zech. 14:4-5).

Below is the positive explanation of the passage given by my son, Pastor Ron Hanko, in his recent book The Coming of Zion’s Redeemer, a commentary on Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

“The literalists believe that Christ will actually stand on the Mount of Olives and that it will split in two when he returns a thousand years before the end to establish an earthly kingdom with Jerusalem as its center. The rest of this chapter, when compared with Revelation 21 and 22, shows that this interpretation is faulty. Even in the prophetic language of the Old Testament, the reference is obviously to the end of all things and not to some period a thousand years before the end.

Especially the last words of verse 5 remind us of the end. The coming of the Lord with his saints is not some coming long before the end, but at the very end. In 1 Thessalonians it is announced by the last trump, not a trump that will be followed by many others. In Jude it is part of his coming for final judgment ...

Christ’s standing on the Mount of Olives, as so much of the book of Zechariah, is symbolic. The point is that through the coming of Christ, God’s people will escape the judgment that is coming—a way of escape will be provided them, something like their escape from Egypt. The walls of the valley that is made between the two halves of the Mount of Olives will be on each side of them like the waters of the Red Sea, and the presence of the Lord will overshadow them as the pillar of cloud and fire did in the days of Moses. They will be protected on every side.

The Mount of Olives stands on the east side of the city of Jerusalem and guards the city on that side. It also, however, cuts off a quick escape from the city on the east, except that in this case God provides a way. The picture is of Jerusalem surrounded by enemies on the north, south, and west, but God opens a way through the mount so that his people are able to abandon the city and escape the city to the east, toward the rising sun.

The passage does not speak of the place to which they escape. The valley of the mountain is the valley that God makes through the Mount of Olives, part of the way of escape. That they escape to the east suggests that their refuge is finally heaven, for in the east the sun rises, and according to Malachi east is the direction from which Christ also comes as the rising Sun of righteousness.

Having escaped, they find their way back to Jerusalem, not Jerusalem as they knew it, nor Jerusalem as it once existed, nor Jerusalem as it comes under the judgment of God, but a Jerusalem that knows no night, from which flow living waters, a Jerusalem in which even the bells of the horses are holy, a new Jerusalem. The picture is somewhat confusing, but the reality is not. The message is the important thing. One must simply overlook the fact that having escaped Jerusalem they are found again in Jerusalem as a place of refuge. The truth is that, having escaped this world, they find their way to heaven” (The Coming of Zion’s Redeemer [Jenison, MI: RFPA, 2014], pp. 394-395).

This book is available from the CPRC Bookstore for £22 (inc. P&P in the UK) or from the RFPA in the US. Prof. Herman Hanko

CPRC Visiting Ministers

Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church and speaker on the Reformed Witness Hour radio broadcast, will be preaching in the CPRC on 19 July and 2 August and in the Limerick Reformed Fellowship on 26 July. Rev. Martyn McGeown of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship will preach in the CPRC on 26 July. All are welcome!

Rev. Stewart's USA Schedule

12 July - 9:30 AM preaching and presentation in Kalamazoo PRC in Michigan
12 July - 5:00 PM preaching and presentation in Cornerstone PRC in Indiana
19 July - 9:30 AM preaching in Loveland PRC in Colorado
19 July - 7:00 PM preaching and presentation in Loveland PRC in Colorado
26 July - 9:30 AM and 7:00 PM preaching in Loveland PRC in Colorado
2 August - 9:30 AM preaching and presentation in Georgetown PRC in Michigan
2 August - 6:00 PM preaching and presentation in Grace PRC in Michigan

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
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

N. Ireland Lecture

"What is a Protestant?"

Speaker: Rev. Angus Stewart

Friday, 26 June
at 7:30 PM


at Portadown Town Hall
(15 Edward Street, Portadown, BT62 3LX)

ALL WELCOME!
----------

South Wales

"The Holy Spirit"


Speaker: Rev. M. McGeown

Thursday, 2 July
7:15 PM


at The Round Chapel
274 Margam Rd., Port Talbot, SA13 2DB
------------


In the Beginning God


by Homer Hoeksema
144 pp., softback

The conflict between creation and evolution as the explanation of the origin of the world is intensifying, and the truth of God’s inerrant Word is increasingly compromised, even in historically Protestant circles. In the Beginning God by Prof. Homer C. Hoeksema, son of Herman Hoeksema, is written in opposition to all forms of theistic evolutionism and in unequivocal defence of the Bible’s teaching on the Bible.

£5.50 (inc. P&P)

Order on-line or
Post orders to:
CPRC Bookstore,
c/o Mary Stewart,
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, Ballymena, BT42 3NR

In N. America, please
order from the RFPA

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!

Samson: Strong in Jehovah, Weak
in the Flesh

8 sermons on Judges 13-16 by Rev. Martyn McGeown
on CD or DVD in an
attractive box set

In the book of Judges, Samson is the last judge and the one who
receives the longest treatment (Judg. 13-16). He is also most
people’s favourite judge and, like us, he is both strong in Jehovah
and weak in the flesh. Fascinating historical and practical material!
£10/box set (inc. P&P)


Listen free on-line or
Post orders to:
CPRC Bookstore,
c/o Mary Stewart,
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, Ballymena, BT42 3NR

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.” Thank you!
Read more...

May 2015 Newsletter from Covenant PRC, N.Ireland

Our sister church in Northern Ireland, Covenant PRC, Ballymena, has just released her latest newsletter. In this May 2015 issue her pastor, Rev.Angus Stewart, reports on the latest activities inside and outside the congregation, with special mention of the Annual General Meeting of the CPRC, the death of two dear saints with ties to the British Reformed Conference, and recent visitors to the congregation.

In addition, Rev.Stewart writes about their upcoming visit to the States (July-August) and his busy preaching and PowerPoint presentation schedule.

Be sure to read this newsletter below to be better informed of what our "sister" and her pastor are doing in the British Isles. This newsletter is also attached here in pdf form (see below).

CPRCNI Newsletter May 2015 Page 1
CPRCNI Newsletter May 2015 Page 2

Read more...

March 2015 Newsletter from Covenant PRC, N.Ireland

Our sister church in Northern Ireland, Covenant PRC, Ballymena, has just released her latest newsletter. In this March 2015 issue Rev.Angus Stewart reports on the latest activities inside and outside the congregation, with special mention of their biennial trip to the States this summer and the 2016 British Reformed Fellowship Conference at a lovely castle in N.Ireland.

Rev.Stewart also reports on his busy activities in the congregation and the work of spreading the Reformed faith through the CPRC website - especially the many translations, including a first pamphlet in Polish!

Be sure to read this newsletter below to be better informed of what our "sister" and her pastor are doing in the British Isles. This newsletter is also attached here in pdf form (see below).

CPRCNI Newsletter March2015 Page 1CPRCNI Newsletter March2015 Page 2

Read more...

Covenant Reformed News - January 2015 Issue

CPRC News Header

Covenant Reformed News

January 2015 • Volume XV, Issue 9

*[Also attached here in pdf form]

The Voice Crying in the Wilderness (4)

The message declared by the voice crying in the wilderness is summarized by the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3-5, which is quoted in Luke 3:4-6: "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

The imagery here is that of a great king travelling in his royal chariot to part of his realm. But the road is poor, for it is crooked and bumpy, with many hills and dips. The way must be fixed since the sovereign is coming. Level it, straighten it and fill in the potholes!

Who is the coming One? Luke 3:4 refers to Him as the "Lord," who is Jehovah, rendered "Lord" in Isaiah 40:3, which also identifies him as "God." Thus, Jehovah God is coming! This proves the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity incarnate.

Luke 3:6 calls Him not merely our Saviour but "the salvation of God." This fits perfectly with the annunciation of the angel Gabriel: "thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21).

Isaiah 40:5 hails Him as "the glory of the Lord." Thus, the message of John the Baptist is centred on the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ and His salvation.

What did John the Baptist command? He commanded the people to prepare the way for the coming king, like those who fix the road before the visit of the sovereign. They were to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, who is the Lord, Jehovah salvation, the glory of God.

But what is it to prepare the way of the Lord? What is the truth conveyed by this attractive imagery? It is summed up in one word: Repent! Matthew 3:2 encapsulates John’s message: "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

What is repentance? First, repentance is a radical change of mind and thinking with regard to ethical and divine things. You no longer imagine yourself to be a good person, for you realize your own sinfulness. As regards your works, you discover that they are not virtuous, never mind meritorious, for they are all "filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). You understand that Almighty God is infinitely holy and not to be trifled with. You see that your security is not to be found in external religious observances or mere church connections. It finally grips you that you deserve to perish in hell for your sins.

Second, true repentance results in fleeing from the wrath to come, in the language of Luke 3:7. The sinner is gripped with a fear of divine judgment and punishment. He no longer loves and rejoices in evil attitudes, speech and deeds, but hates and detests his iniquities as evil that deserves God’s wrath. Thus he earnestly turns from his transgressions, and seeks salvation and eternal life in the cross of Christ.

Third, true repentance issues in confession of sin (Matt. 3:6). No longer do you excuse your iniquity, but you confess sin as sin, worthy of God’s righteous judgment. With grief and sorrow, sins are confessed to God and, where appropriate, to those whom you have wronged or to the church (Westminster Confession 15:6).

Fourth, true repentance brings forth good fruit, what John the Baptist calls "fruits worthy of repentance" (Luke 3:8). Where there is repentance, there is always faith, for these two are inseparable so that you cannot have one without the other. Faith and repentance are produced by regeneration, the new birth, which makes the tree, and therefore its fruit, good, to use the language of the Lord Jesus (Matt. 7:17-18; 12:33, 35). Thus, those who are really repentant bring forth good fruit: they break with sin, they live according to all God’s commandments in principle, they are humble before God and man, they produce good works, they persevere in the truth and they suffer for righteousness’ sake by the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit. Where there is no good fruit, there is no real repentance, merely hypocrisy.

Fifth, there is an important connection between repentance and baptism, both real, inner baptism and external, ritual baptism with water. This is the testimony of Luke 3:3, concerning John the Baptist’s ministry: "And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." John proclaimed an inward, spiritual baptism which renewed God’s elect people so that they would be brought infallibly to repentance and receive the forgiveness of all their sins. This spiritual transformation and acquittal was signified and sealed in water baptism.

In John’s day, the kingdom of God was at hand, so he called people to repent and so prepare for the (first) coming of Christ. In our day, the kingdom of God has come, with the incarnation, cross and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Those outside the kingdom must repent and be converted, humbling themselves as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven, and those who are already citizens of God’s kingdom must continue in the way of repentance and faith (Matt. 18:3-4; Col. 2:6)!

This is the first of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses: "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matt. 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." This was also the message of John the Baptist, as we have seen, and it is and must be the preaching of the true church today! Rev. Angus Stewart

God’s Foreknowledge and Man’s Free Will (1)

One correspondent writes, "Do you realize that God has no foreknowledge outside His creation? He can’t have foreknowledge of His own actions. Remember, He had no beginning and foreknowledge only exists prior to a beginning."

Although the question proceeds on a misconception and has an air of arrogance about it, when it suggests that those who believe in God’s foreknowledge really do not understand what foreknowledge is, the question is worth our consideration.

Another questioner has obviously given the matter considerable thought, but continues to have some problems with the idea of foreknowledge. He writes,

"I understand the passages about ‘before the foundation of the world’ in the light of foreknowledge.

1. What is that foreknowledge? For those He foreknew. What did God foreknow?

2. If the elect are chosen before the foundation of the world outside of foreknowledge of the individual, then, at what point were they ever condemned? I do not see how one can be simultaneously condemned and saved at the same time.

"As Moses raised up the serpent—

1. Numbers 21:8-9, I am sure we will agree that Christ Himself used this passage as a picture of what He was doing on the cross [John 3:14]. Well, in this picture, all of the people that were bitten had to use their free will and simply looked upon the serpent to live, and all who didn’t died. How can this be a picture of Christ in the Calvinist eye, when looking is an act of conscience and of will?

2. This cannot be an accurate picture, if the consequences are not applied in the same manner.

3. The serpent was never kept away from those who were bitten so that [they] would never be able to look upon it. If salvation is not available to those who are bitten, then it is not an accurate picture."

This last question does not have foreknowledge in mind, but it is so closely related to the subject of foreknowledge that it is well to treat the two together.

First of all, we ought to be sure of what the Bible means by "foreknowledge."

The word is not frequently used in Scripture. It is found only in Acts 2:23 and I Peter 1:2. Its verb cognate, "foreknow," is used only in Romans 8:29 and Romans 11:2.

In Acts 2:23, the word is used to teach us that Christ’s death and all the circumstances of it were brought about by God’s sovereign and eternal counsel. The word "foreknowledge" is, in fact, identified with His counsel.

In the other three instances, the word is used in relation to God’s people: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate;" "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father;" "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew."

Although foreknowledge is distinguished from both predestination and election, it is closely associated with both concepts.

In the Middle Ages, many theologians, committed as they were to the Pelagianism of Rome, defined foreknowledge in the sense of prediction. God was able to predict accurately who would, by his own free will, believe, and, on the basis of man’s own decision to believe, he was elected. The Reformers, without exception, condemned this view as being contrary to the Scriptures and a denial of God’s sovereignty.

But the heresy arose again. It arose in the hypothetical universalism of the Amyraldians in France and in the Arminian heresy of Jacobus Arminius and his followers in the Netherlands. Amyraldianism was condemned in the Formula Consensus Helvetica(1675) and by the Westminster Assembly (1640s), although the Amyraldian position or views like it were defended by a few delegates. The Arminian position was condemned by the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619).

The confessions that arose out of the Reformation are unanimously opposed to a conditional predestination and man’s free will. The Scottish Confession (1560) says, "So that the cause of good works we confess to be not our free will, but the Spirit of the Lord Jesus …" (Art. 13). Regarding free will, Article 10 of the Thirty-Nine Articles(1562/63) of the Church of England states, "The condition of man, after the fall of Adam, is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works to faith and calling upon God." The Lambeth Articles (1595), intended to be added to the Thirty-Nine Articles, though never officially adopted by the Anglican Church, is strong on the doctrine of predestination (www.cprf.co.uk/articles/lambeth.htm). All the other Reformed confessions teach the same truth: the French Confession (1559), the Belgic Confession (1561), theHeidelberg Catechism (1563), etc.

It is faithfulness to the confessions to confess and maintain these truths, and to oppose the heresies that basically arose out of Rome. That most of the church today is unfaithful to her heritage makes no difference; these churches have simply repudiated what lies at the heart of Reformation thought. In doing so, they have rejected Zwingli, Luther, Calvin, Knox and all the later Reformed theologians. Defenders of later heresies must not come up with their denials of foreknowledge, predestination and election, along with their notions of free will and attempt to palm this off on the church as the truth of the Scriptures. Let them do their homework and read Luther’s The Bondage of the Will or Calvin’s God’s Eternal Predestination and Secret Providence. They will soon learn that they stand outside the stream of biblical thought.

If they claim that the Reformation came with novelties, let them go back to Augustine (354-430) and Gottschalk (c. 808-c. 867) to learn that these are ancient truths held by the churches’ greatest theologians.

The only explanation for this consistent emphasis on God’s foreknowledge and the bondage of the will of man is that these doctrines that the Reformers taught are thoroughly scriptural and must be maintained.

We will enter into the subject itself more completely in the next article and answer some of the objections of the gainsayers. I urge our readers to save this issue of the News so that you can refer to it when the next issue comes out to refresh your memories of the questions we are dealing with. Prof. Herman Hanko (emeritus, PRC Seminary)

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
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...
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.
  • Emeritus Committee
  • 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.