Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

The Reformation and the Bible

This Reformation Day lecture was published in the May 1, 1941 issue of the Standard Bearer and was delivered and penned by Herman Hoeksema, pastor of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI and professor in the PRC Seminary.

* Lecture delivered on Reformation Day, 1940.

Tonight we celebrate the beginning of the Reformation of the church. We may, indeed, and often do speak simply of the Reformation, and every Christian that has any knowledge of the history of the Church knows that the Reformation of the sixteenth century is meant. Not, indeed, as if it were the only reformation of the Church in history. There have been others. In a sense we may even say that the Church is always, is continually reforming. But the Reformation of the sixteenth century concerns the entire Church in every land and of all the succeeding centuries. And, therefore, when one speaks of the Reformation without further qualification, it is understood that the movement is meant that was begun on the thirty-first of October four hundred and twenty three years ago.

It was on that night, the eve of All Saints Day, that Dr. Martin Luther nailed his famous ninety five theses to the door of the castle-church in Wittenberg, an act that was destined to have far greater consequences than its author even remotely surmised. These theses purposed to be nothing more than a protest against the sale of indulgences as it was conducted in those days. An indulgence, as you know, was a certificate of the forgiveness of sins signed by the pope. The pope, being in need of special funds for the building of the St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, had conceived of the idea of issuing a large number of these indulgences and offering them for sale to the people. It so happened that a particularly shameless monk, Tetzel by name, conducted this sale in a manner that was especially offensive, in the neighborhood of Wittenberg, where Dr. Martin Luther taught and preached. And learning of the methods of this monk, and hearing of his approach to Wittenberg, Luther’s fiery indignation was aroused, and he expressed this indignation in his ninety five theses, which on that night of the 31st of October, 1517, he nailed to the church-door, that on the (following day all might read and catch the fire of Luther’s indignation. Little did Luther himself realize the full implication of this act. Certain it is that he did not intend a break with the church. Yet such it was. The ninety five theses, which meant to be merely a protest against some of the corrupt practices of the church, was the beginning of the liberation of the church from the bondage of Roman Catholicism. It was in the truest sense of the word a declaration of freedom.

However, one who says this must needs say more. He must define this freedom of the sixteenth century. There are those in our day, who have long departed from the faith of the Reformers, who, nevertheless, claim them as their spiritual ancestors. They deny the Christ the Reformers confessed, they spurn the righteousness in the blood of the cross Luther so earnestly sought and so strongly emphasized ever since he found it; they must have nothing of the authority of the Scriptures which the Reformers held high; yet they also speak of the Reformation as the liberation of the church. They present the matter as if what Luther did on October 31st, 1717, was but the beginning of the movement that found its climax in the declaration of the autonomy of man, of reason. Luther, they say, liberated us from the tyranny and domination of the hierarchical church; modern thought only continued the same movement and also freed us from the tyranny of the book, meaning the Bible. To examine this claim and to expose its falsity we can do no better than to speak to you on: The Reformation and the Bible.

I will try to show you that the Reformation was:

A liberation of the Bible;
A liberation toward the Bible;
A liberation according to the Bible.

I. Not infrequently the Reformation is confused with and placed on a par with what is known as the Renaissance, or the revival of learning and art. And it is a result of this confusion when the Reformation of the sixteenth century is described as the liberation of the human reason from the shackles of all authority. Arthur Kenyon Rogers makes this error in the following paragraph from his “A Student’s History of Philosophy”: “Beyond Italy the Renaissance took on a somewhat different form. In Germany, where it was grafted on a type of mind naturally profounder and more religious, and where the religious life had already been deepened by the mysticism of Eckhart and Tauler and the Brethren of the Common Life, its most characteristic product was the Reformation of Luther; even Humanism in its German form, as typified in Erasmus and Melanchthon, shows strong religious sympathies. But the Reformation is an expression of the same revolt against authority. By its doctrine of justification by faith apart from any external mediation, and by its appeal to immediate Christian experience, it stood for individual freedom as against the pretensions of the Church,” p. 209-10.

It would be difficult to find a paragraph more crowded with errors than the one I just read. It presents the Reformation as a form of the Renaissance, which it certainly was not. It even declares that in Germany the Reformation was a product of the Renaissance, which it could not possibly be, even as light cannot be the product of darkness, grace of nature, faith of reason. Without further limitation it declares that the Reformation was an expression of the same revolt against authority as the Renaissance, which it certainly was not; in fact, with far more justice it may be said that the Reformation was a return to true obedience and subjection to authority. Nor is it true, that the Reformation made an appeal to Christian experience, least of all the experience of the individual freedom as against the pretensions of the Church, even this individual freedom may not be interpreted as the autonomy of the human mind and reason. The writer of that paragraph may, from his own viewpoint, have understood the Renaissance, he utterly failed to see the significance of the Reformation.

What, then, was the nature of the liberating movement of the Reformation? My first answer to this question is, that it liberated the Bible itself. You may, perhaps, remark that this is a somewhat strange expression. You object, perhaps, that the Word of God it always free and that it is quite impossible to put it in bondage. And this is true, of course, if you mean by the Word of God, the almighty and efficacious Word God Himself speaks. That Word is irresistible and certainly is never bound. And it did its work all through the ages, even in the darkest of periods. It was the cause of those separate movements that prepared the Reformation, connected with the names of John Huss, John Knox, the Waldenses and Albigenses, and to an extent Savonarola in Italy, and the Brethren of the Common Life in the Netherlands. It also prepared the Reformation in the soul of Luther, before it finally broke forth into a blazing fire on that memorable eve of All Saints Day in 1517. But what cannot be done to the Word of God as God Himself speaks it, certainly may be and often is done to the Word of God as we possess it in written form, in the Bible. It can be put into bondage. And this was actually done as it still is done by the Roman Catholic Church. It was from this bondage that the Reformation liberated the Bible.

In two respects the Bible was put into bondage by the Romish Church before the Reformation. First of all, it was buried under a pile of tradition, by which the Holy Scriptures were gradually being replaced. Doctrines and institutions of men were placed on a par with the Word of God. By this accumulation of tradition we are referring to the teachings of the fathers, the decrees of the ecclesiastical councils, and the official declarations of the Pope in matters concerning faith and walk. These were considered to be of equal authority with the Scriptures themselves. They were appealed to as the end of all argument. And it can readily be surmised that gradually they occupied a place of more importance and greater authority than that of the Bible. It must ever be so. Even with us, who theoretically hold that the Bible is the last and only court of appeal, and that all human doctrines and institutions and declarations, even the confessions themselves must be judged by it, it proves to be extremely difficult to revise or recant a declaration by the Church, once the Church has spoken. Witness the three errors of 1924. But how easy, then, it must be for tradition to gain the first place and the greater authority, when once it is admitted that it stands on a par with the Scriptures! Doctrines and practices of men took the place of the Bible; the latter was relegated to oblivion; its direct testimony was withheld and suppressed; and the Church, i.e. the Church Institute, i.e. the clergy culminating in the infallible Pope, became the final court of appeal! The authority of the Word of God had been subjected to the authority of the Word of Man!

As a necessary corollary to this first instance of putting the Bible into bondage, the Church also declared that she only, the Holy Mother Church, had the authority and the power to interpret the Holy Scriptures, and that all the individual members of the Church on earth were obligated to abide by that interpretation, to receive it as infallible, and never to believe or to teach anything repugnant to that interpretation by the Church. Free exegesis of Holy Writ was thereby strictly forbidden. Always one who would interpret the Bible, were he ever so able and learned, was bound to inquire, first of all, what was the explanation of a certain passage offered by the Church, and by it his own was bound beforehand. The result was, too, that the Bible was withheld from the laity. The Church, and by the Church Roman Catholicism ever means the clergy, the priest, the Pope, alone has the promise of being guided by the Spirit into all the truth. It is, therefore, dangerous for the common member of the Church as an organism to have the Bible in his possession, to read it and to study it for himself. Many passages are hard for him to understand, and without the guidance and authority of the holy Mother Church, he will readily distort them to his own destruction. Hence, it is better for him to come into contact with the Bible, not directly, but indirectly, that is, only through the interpretation of the Church, in whose infallible guidance he must have implicit faith.

Such were the views and practices of the Romish Church with respect to the Bible. That this is no mere Protestant opinion, but the actual stand of the Roman Catholic Church even today, may be gathered from the declarations of its councils and Popes. Shortly after the Reformation has become an accomplished fact the famous Council of Trent began its sessions, which were continued over a number of years. In its session of April 8, 1546 that body of Roman Catholic divines declared that: “seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten traditions, which, received from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down even unto us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand: the Synod following the example of the orthodox fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament—seeing that one God is the author of both—as also the said traditions, as well those pertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession.” It goes on to enumerate the books that are considered canonical, including in them also the apocryphal books, and it declares at the same time, that only the Latin translation of the Bible known as the Vulgate shall be held as authentic; and it threatens with the curse all that refuse to receive as sacred and canonical this Vulgate edition of the Bible, together with all the traditions of the Church. Schaff: Creeds of Christendom, II, 81, 82. And it continues: “Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, it decrees, that no one relying on his own skill, shall,—in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine,—wresting the sacred Scripture by his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which Holy mother Church,—whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scripture,—hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never intended to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established”, ibidem, 83. We could quote more, but this is sufficient to establish the truth of our contention, that the Bible was subjected to and held in bondage by human presumption of authority.

From this human bondage of the Bible the Reformation liberated the Word of God by declaring and insisting upon two truths. In the first place it announced the sufficiency of Holy Scripture. By this doctrine the Reformers did not intend to despise tradition. They well understood that also the Church of the past was led by the Holy Spirit, and they were far from that undenominationalism and “open Bible Churchism” of today, that would pretend to act as if our generation were the first that approached Holy Scripture and interpreted it. But they certainly did emphasize that no other word than the pure Word of the Gospel was necessary unto salvation for any man. They rejected tradition as being of the same value and authority as the Bible. Clearly this is already annunciated in the Formula Concordiae, which declared in Art. I: “We believe, confess, and teach that the only rule and norm, according to which all dogmas and all doctrines ought to be esteemed and judged, is no other whatever than the prophetic and apostolic writings both of the Old and of the New Testament, as it is written (Ps. 119:105): ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.’ And St. Paul saith (Gal. 1:18): ‘Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed.’”

“But other writings, whether of the fathers or of the moderns, with whatever name they come, are in no wise to be equaled to the Holy Scriptures, but are all to be esteemed inferior to them, so that they be not otherwise received than in the rank of witnesses, to show what doctrine was taught after the Apostles’ times also, and in what parts of the world that more sound doctrine of the Prophets and the Apostles has been [preserved,” Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, III, 93, 94.

Clearly this is also expressed in the “Ten Conclusions of Berne,” which in its second article declares: (translated from the German) “The Church of Christ makes no laws and precepts outside of the Word of God; whence it follows that all institutions of men, called Church-ordinances, cannot bind us except in so far as they are founded in and commanded by the Word of God,” Schaff, III, 209. And in the First Helvetic Confession we read (Art. I): “The Holy, divine, biblical Scripture, which is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and proclaimed to the world by the Prophets and Apostles, is the very oldest, most perfect and most exalted doctrine, and it alone comprehends all that is conducive to the true knowledge, love and glory of God, to real and true piety, and to a pious, honorable and godly walk of life”. And in the second article it declares that the Holy Scriptures shall not be interpreted in any other way than in its own light. It further declares in Art. Ill that we will esteem those holy fathers, that did not deviate from this sound rule of interpreting Scripture, not only as true interpreters, but also as chosen instruments of God through whom God spoke and worked. And in the fourth article of this confession all other teachings and institutions of men, leading us away from the living God, are declared to be vain and powerless, be they ever so beautiful and attractive, respected and venerable with age. And this is emphasized also in our own Netherland or Belgic Confession of Faith, which devotes an entire article to the sufficiency of Holy Scripture, as follows (Art. VII): “We believe that these Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation, is sufficiently taught therein. For since the whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written in them at large, it is unlawful for anyone, though an Apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures; nay though it were an angel from heaven, as the Apostle Paul saith. For since it is forbidden to add unto or to take away any thing from the Word of God, it doth thereby evidently appear that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects. Neither may we compare any writings of men, though ever so holy, with those divine Scriptures; nor ought we to compare custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times or persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, with the truth of God, for the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself. Therefore we reject with all our hearts whatsoever doth not agree with this infallible rule, which the Apostles have taught us, saying, Try the spirits whether they are of God; likewise, If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house”.

And over against the Roman Catholic view that the Scriptures can only be interpreted by the Holy Mother Church, the Reformation proclaimed the principle of the perspicuity of Scripture. The Word of God is clear to all. It must be interpreted, not in the light of an officially established interpretation, but in its own light. Exegesis must be free. Not even dogmatics, not even the confessions of the Church may dominate exegesis. And the Bible is sufficiently clear to be given to and interpreted by all believers. No, indeed, the Reformers did not favor the view that every individual Christian must interpret the Bible apart from the Church of the present and of the past. They had a clear conception of the Church and of the calling of the Church to preach and preserve the Word of God. The individual believer cannot with impunity disregard his organic relationship to the Church. But the fact remains, that the interpretation of the Bible cannot be the privilege of a distinct class, even though they be the officebearers of the Church, but must be granted to every believer. The Church must not speak instead of the Bible, but must merely be instrumental in letting the Bible speak for itself. Hence, the Bible was translated into the language of the people, so that all might have access to its treasures. The Reformation conceived as a liberating movement, first of all liberated the Bible from Roman Catholic shackles!

II. The foregoing already suggests that the Reformation at the same time was a liberation toward the Bible. By this I mean to express the idea, that the Reformation meant to be a movement to subject all men and the whole man to the authority of the Scriptures. The very fact that they liberated the Scriptures from the shackles of human oppression, clearly shows this. Why did the Reformers consider it so important so paramount that the Bible should be permitted to speak for itself to the hearts and consciences of men? Only because they regarded the Scriptures as being the Word of God, and, therefore, as being the final court of appeal, as having absolute authority, to which man must subject himself.

It is here that the Reformation principally differs from modernism, and stands diametrically opposed to it. I have already mentioned that even the moderns of today claim to be sons of the Reformation. They see in Martin Luther the herald of liberty, in whose steps they follow; they evaluate the Reformation as a great liberating movement, the work of which they, the moderns have carried on and still do carry forward. They look upon the Reformation as but another phase of the Renaissance. Both aimed at liberty. Both freed man from bondage, the latter in the sphere of science and art, the former in the sphere of religion. But they are mistaken, and the error they make is a very fundamental one. It is this: while the modernist declares the autonomy of Man, the Reformation insisted on the authority of Holy Scripture. The modern philosopher, scientist, preacher, will have nothing of authority. Man is the measure of all things. Freedom of thought means to him absolute independence of the human mind. But the Reformation insisted: “Das Wort sollen sie stehen lassen!” The Holy Scriptures were the sole criterion and source of our knowledge of God and salvation. It bound man’s mind and conscience to the Book!

This (philosophy of the autonomy of man, which makes man the measure of all things, which makes him the creator of his own world, the creator ultimately of his own God, received its most modern form in the preceding century, but is, nevertheless, very old. Always it found its adherents and prophets, that proclaimed it in some form or other. Principally it really dates back to the time when the devil subverted the Word of God into the lie: “Ye shall be like God.” It reveals itself in three different, more or less clearly distinct forms, according as it declares the autonomy of the human mind, the reason of man; the autonomy of the human feeling, experience; or the autonomy of the human will or conscience. In the first form it is known as Rationalism; in its second appearance it is Mysticism; in its third manifestation it is Moralism.

Rationalism is the philosophy that seeks the source and principle, the norm and criterion of all knowledge and truth in the human mind. Reason is supreme. And it is independent. It may not be bound by any objective authority. It is its own authority. It will know only that which can and does arise in the mind of man. Whatever is contrary to reason, and whatever is beyond or above its scope of comprehension, it denies. It will have nothing to do with revelation. Its attitude to the Holy Scriptures is that of a superior. It does not submit but rule. It does not listen but judge. And whatever cannot stand before the bar of Reason in the Bible must needs be rejected. And as human reason is needs limited to the things that are seen and heard, and the Word of God deals with things which eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, neither have arisen in the heart of man, it stands to reason that Rationalism is essentially and ends up in Agnosticism, which is Atheism. It is the philosophy of the fool, that saith in his heart: “there is no God.” Needless to say that the liberation of the Reformation has nothing in common with this licentiousness of Rationalism.

Mysticism also declares the autonomy of Man and finds the source of all knowledge and truth in the subject, but in distinction from Rationalism it makes feeling or experience the court of final appeal, whether it be the experience of the individual or of the Church. It declares that the letter, meaning the Bible, is dead, it is the Spirit that quickeneth. It has a wrong conception of the relation between the Word and the Spirit. It denies that God has once spoken His Word, that His Word of revelation is perfect and complete, and that now the Spirit does, indeed, speak and can only make that Word quick and powerful like a two-edged sword, but that He never speaks another Word than that which is revealed in the Bible. It also elevates the authority of Man above that of Scripture, denies, in fact, the authority of Holy Writ. And since also the feeling or experience of Man is limited to the things that can and do arise in the heart of Man, and the Word of God deals with those things that can never have their origin there, Mysticism like Rationalism terminates in the morass of Skepticism and Agnosticism. And again we say, that the Reformation of the sixteenth century stands diametrically opposed to modern Mysticism.

The last form this philosophy of the autonomy of Man assumes, we said, is Moralism. It also denies the authority of the Bible, and makes the sense of moral obligation, the conscience, the moral judgment the source of all knowledge and truth, the measure of all true religion. All men have an eradicable sense of obligation, the consciousness of a must. From this sense Moralism attempts to conclude that there must be a God who causes this sense of obligation, who says to all men: “Thou shalt.” But from this consciousness they also derive the contents of their religion and worship of God. Man’s morality is the source and criterion of all truth and goodness. The objective criterion of the Scriptures is denied. Only as a moral code or textbook can certain parts of Holy Writ, especially the Sermon on the Mount, be useful. Like Rationalism and Mysticism also Moralism declares the absolute autonomy of Man. And again, it is easy to see that modern Moralism (falsely claims any affinity with the Reformation of the sixteenth century.

For, over against all these philosophies the Reformation loudly and clearly and very insistently proclaims the absolute authority of the Holy Scriptures. That the Bible is the Word of God, and that, therefore, the whole Church and every individual believer must unconditionally submit to the authority of Scripture, of the written Word, is the formal principle of the Reformation. It did not proclaim the freedom of Man from the Bible, but his liberty to subject himself to the authority of the Bible only. That was the clear-cut truth the Reformers preached and which they never tired of reiterating. That was the strength of the Reformation. That was the ground of its unshakable conviction, even as it is the cause of the lack of conviction in our miserable age and of the modern church that they refuse to acknowledge the authority of Holy Writ! Many a passage from the official creeds of the churches of the Reformation I might quote in support of this statement, but I will limit myself to the following from the French Confession of Faith, Art. V: “We believe that the Word contained in these books has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from Him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all the rule of truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for our salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it or to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations, or edicts, or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but, on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them.” This was the formal principle of the reformation, and this principle we must maintain if we would be sons of that Reformation and perpetuate the liberty it inaugurated!

III. And thus I naturally approach my last point. For, the liberation of the Bible was accomplished, in order to restore the liberty toward the Bible, the liberty that consists in submitting to the sole authority of Holy Scripture; and this last liberation is necessary in order to make us truly free. There is no other liberty than that which is through the Word of God, and we have no other Word of God than that which we now possess in the Bible.

For what is true freedom? It cannot possibly be the same as human autonomy and absolute independence. It cannot be the state in which man is his own law, creates his own world, makes his own God, is the criterion of all things. It is not the condition in which man thinks as he wills, wills as he desires, acts as he pleases, without being limited and determined by any objective norm or standard. For man is not his own maker, but he is and remains a creature. He is not above, but under the law in the good sense of that word. And true liberty for him consists in this that with all his inner being and outward action, with mind and will and all his desires and powers he is in harmony with God. To please to do the will of God and to be able to do it,—that is liberty in the highest sense, nay, in the only true sense of the word.

But man has not this freedom. He is, on the contrary, in bondage. For he sinned and he is a sinner. He is in the bondage of condemnation, for he is guilty and is held under the sentence of death, and he knows it. He has no peace, because he is not a free man. And he is in bondage under the dominion of sin, a slave of the devil. He will not, and he cannot, and he cannot will to will and to do the will of God. Nor can he ever liberate himself from the shackles of his bondage. For he can neither atone for his sin, nor deliver himself from corruption. All his life he is in the fear of death; and there is no way out!

Martin Luther was conscious, painfully conscious of this bondage of condemnation and sin. And he understood that only in righteousness could there be liberty, the liberty for which his soul yearned. Hence, it became the supreme question of his life: how can a man be righteous with God? And as he sought an answer to that urgent question, the Church confronted him. And as a faithful son of the holy mother Church he recognized her, and anxiously turned to her for an answer to his question: how can a man be justified before God? And the church answered: you can obtain forgiveness and righteousness by way of confession to a priest; and Luther did so, but found no peace. The church answered: you can obtain righteousness by doing the good works prescribed by the church; Luther did so, but his question still remained. The church said: seek righteousness in the way of self-denial and self-chastisement; and Luther tells us that he tormented himself to death to make peace with God, but in vain. The church advised that he should make pilgrimages to Rome, and Luther went to the Papal city, only to find bitter disappointment. The church offered indulgences to bring peace to his troubled soul, but it was of no avail. And he tells us that although in those days he tormented himself, he found nothing but unrest and darkness.

The evangelical preaching of the town preacher at Erfurt had first brought him to a consciousness of sin and sent him in quest of righteousness and peace. That same preacher had boldly exhorted his readers to read the Bible. And Luther had gone in search of a Bible, but found none. For the Bible was an unknown quantity in those days, not only with the laity but with the clergy as well. And those that should have been preachers of the Word of God were deceivers, mockers, extortioners, lazily drifting along on the current of ecclesiastical tradition. The Bible was not to be found, and the question in Luther’s soul became more urgent all the time, especially when a dangerous illness attacked him, and when a friend of his was struck by lightning at his side. It was the desire to find an answer to his question that induced him to abandon the study of law and to seek peace within the walls of the convent in Erfurt. There he found his answer, though he did not at once recognize it. And the answer came to him from an old Bible, which he found in the convent, locked to a chain and buried under the dust of years. From that volume of Scripture the wonderful words came to him and remained lodged in his soul: “The just shall live by faith!”

It was, however, not until later that the full significance of these words dawned upon him. In fact, only on his return from his visit to the seat of Roman hierarchy did the words strike him in their full force, and were they applied to his heart as an answer to his anxious question. In Rome he had been amazed and shocked by the corruption of the church as it was represented by the higher clergy. Thoroughly dissatisfied, and pondering all the time upon his spiritual problem, the old words rushed back into his consciousness, now, however, with all their peace affording power: “The just shall live by faith.” Luther had found peace through the Bible as the Word of God, applied by the Spirit unto his heart; and, though at the moment he knew it not, God had prepared him at the same time for the work He had to do for him: to liberate the Bible from the bondage of the Church, in order that the Church might be called to return to the Bible, and through the Bible find liberty!

Another way to liberty there is not. For only if the Son shall make us free, we shall be free indeed. His cross and resurrection are the power to cut the shackles of our condemnation; by His Spirit He makes us free from the dominion of sin. And this liberty is not only proclaimed to us in the Gospel, but given unto us through that Gospel. The assurance that our sins are forgiven, and that we are righteous before God, set at liberty, cannot rest on anything less than the Word of God Himself. And that Word God by the Spirit of Christ speaks to us through the Word. To sweep away the hierarchical powers that would deprive the Church and the individual believer of that liberty which we have in Christ through the Word,—this is the great significance of the Reformation!

Let us learn the lesson. Let us be Reformed, indeed, but Protestant Reformed always, always zealously defending and jealously watching over the formal principle of the Reformation. Always the danger is lurking that the word of man, be it in the form of ecclesiastical declarations, creeds and confessions, private opinions and false doctrines, interposes itself between the Word of God and our faith. This may never be! Confessions are good and they are necessary. But never may they be more than means to bring to us and to (preserve for us the Word of God. And always must they be tested by and judged in the light of the Word of God as we possess it in the Holy Scriptures. Then, and only then, shall we preserve the precious heritage God again bestowed upon His Church in the world through the Reformation of the sixteenth century: the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free!

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for October 17, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, October 17, the forty-second Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Psalms 27 8This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps.118:24). On this new Lord's Day we bring our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving unto our sovereign God, who is worthy of all honor and glory. With the psalmist may we boldly say in Christ Jesus,

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:4-6

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.

  • Last Sunday Rev. D. Lee accepted the call to Kalamazoo PRC. He and his wife are moving into the parsonage this week and he will be installed by Rev. C. Griess on Nov.7, D.V.

  • Today Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) declined the calls to Doon PRC and Hudsonville PRC.

  • Last Sunday Rev. R. Barnhill declined the call to Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA.

  • The Council of Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA) has a new trio of potential pastors to the congregation of Rev. D. Noorman (Southwest PRC), Rev. C.Spronk (Faith PRC) and Rev. Dan Holstege (Missionary, Philippines). The congregation will call next Sunday, Oct.24.

  • Wingham PRC has announced a new trio of Revs. D.Holstege, D.Kleyn, and D.Lee. The congregation votes today.
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. R. Hanko in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. Rev. M. Kortus (2 weeks) in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. M.DeVries in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J.Mahtani in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. J.Maatman in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. J.Smidstra in Wingham PRC.  We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that...
    •  these congregations are having Reformation Day lectures this year?
      • Covenant of Grace (Spokane, WA): Friday, October 22 at 7 p.m. Prof. Cammenga will speak on "The Reformation's Recovery of Marriage and the Christian Family".
      • Crete PRC (IL): Friday, October 29, 7 p.m. Mr. Dan Van Uffelen will speak on "Post Tenebras Lux: The Vocation Reformation."
      • Hull PRC (IA): Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m. Prof. Kuiper will speak on “Luther Burning the Papal Bull: Encouragement to Flaunt Church Discipline?
      • Loveland PRC (CO): Thursday, October 21, 7 p.m. Prof. D.Kuiper will speak on "Luther Burning the Papal Bull: Encouragement to Flaunt Church Discipline?”
      • Pittsburgh (PA) PRC: Friday, November 5, 7 p.m. Rev. W. Bruinsma, on the life and labors of Augustine of Hippo.
      • Randolph PRC: Friday evening, November 5, 7:30 P.M. Rev. Guichelaar plans to give a presentation on the CRC split from the RCA in 1857.
    • Doon PRC (NW Iowa) is undergoing a building addition? Today's bulletin announced what progress can mean: On October 17 and 24 we will be unable to enter through the south doors of the building. Either of the north doors can be used to enter the building, and the ushers will usher from both of the front doors of the sanctuary.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Concerning Rev. D.Holstege and family:
Rev. and Sis. Leah Holstege and family have now received the necessary documents and permission from the Philippine Government to return to the
Philippines. They are scheduled to return on Nov. 17, the Lord willing. Upon arrival, they will undergo a mandatory quarantine. Let us pray for them as they make preparations for their return. (Provident PRC bulletin)

sem front Oct 2021 2

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week the seminary completed its eighth week of the new school year (2021-22). Students have been taking mid-terms exams. This week Thursday and Friday (Oct.21-22) is the annual reading recess. Remember to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they conduct the day-to-day work. The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • The Spring PRT Journal is now available in its digital forms on the seminary's website and in print. If you wish to pick up a copy, stop in at the seminary. If you want to be added to our mailing list, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary.
  • Don't forget that the seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well.
  • Coming this month - Oct.28 & 29! Seminary Conference on Preaching: You sit under the preaching of the gospel every Lord’s Day. What do you hear? What do you desire to hear? What is God doing in your soul through the preaching? How do you respond to the preaching, to its admonitions, to the call of the gospel? The conference speakers will address these and other related questions. Four speeches will be given, at 4:00 and 7:30 on Oct. 28 and 29. Trinity PRC is hosting this event. Everyone who sits under the preaching of the Word is cordially invited to attend. The conference will be livestreamed for people who are interested but unable to join in person. (*see attachment for the conference flyer!)
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

Berean PRC New worship place 2014
Building of Berean PRC, Manila

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Today's bulletin: The Lord willing, we will be having our annual Reformation Day Conference on the 3rd and 4th of Nov. Mark your calendars down sent out the invites! Based on the reformational principle of Semper Reformanda, which means, "Reformed and always reforming", the theme of the 2021 RDC is “Always Reforming in Me”. The first speech is entitled, “The Word and Creeds in Me”. There, we would treat the question of how should God’s Word and the Reformed Confessions relate to our personal lives. In the second speech, “The Reformation Living in Me” we will be looking at the life of Martin Luther and the
      reformation, with the special focus on how we can live out the reformation personally in our lives in our present-day to the glory of God.
    • A new issue of "Reformed News Asia" is out - #64 - October 2021. Be sure to check it out for the latest news from our sister!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A.Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to his flock in Ballymena.
    • Plan to attend this year’s Reformation Day Lecture on Friday, 29 October, entitled “Fulgentius of Ruspe, the Sixth-Century N. African Church and God’s Saving Will.”
    • Be sure to check out the newest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - September 2021. Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V.Ibe led the services today.The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, will join us in our
      worship services today via live streaming at our Facebook page.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D.Kleyn will lead our worship services today. A livestream of our services will be provided at the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page.
    • The Classis meeting of the PRCP is scheduled for Monday, November 1, at 9:00 a.m., to be held at the Berean PRC in Antipolo City.

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Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you, on Sermonaudio, or on your favorite podcast - wherever you are!

WBruinsma 2017

  • For the next four months Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on his series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Hebrews 11:4 and titled "Abel's More Excellent Sacrifice."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not begin today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

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What are you reading for Reformation month? This fine collection of essays will inform and inspire you to carry on the work of reformation!

  • Are you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

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

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Christ’s Return

The Reformed faith looks forward confidently to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ on the clouds of heaven. In Matthew 24 Christ speaks of signs which precede His return. We see those signs being fulfilled today. We do not know the day or the hour of His return, but we know that it must be at hand. This ought to impress the church with the urgency to carry out its tasks faithfully to the end. It must preach the Word; it must evangelize; it must teach the children so that they may be prepared for the evil days which come upon the church. And the earnest prayer of the church is for Christ’s coming: “Even so, come Lord Jesus, quickly!” (Rev. 22:20).

The above [the complete pamphlet] is not designed in any way to be an exhaustive treatment of the “Reformed” faith. It should however, give a “thumbnail” description of that faith which has been held so precious through the centuries. On the basis of the glorious truths for which many gave their lives, we also would desire to seek fellowship with those who love these same truths so as to encourage and strengthen one another in the most holy faith.

Taken from Rev. R.Hanko's pamphlet "What Is the Reformed Faith?"

Read more...

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for October 10, 2021 *(Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, October 10, the forty-first Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Ps26 8This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps.118:24). On this new Lord's Day we bring our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving unto our sovereign God, who is worthy of all honor and glory. With the psalmist may we boldly say in Christ Jesus,

I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. ...My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD. ~ Psalm 26:5-8,12

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.

  • Last Sunday (Oct.3) Rev. D. Lee received the call to Kalamazoo PRC. *UPDATE: Today he accepted this call. We rejoice with him and with the congregation in God's provision of a new undershepherd.

  • Today Rev. R. Barnhill declined the call to Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering calls to Doon PRC and Hudsonville PRC. He plans to answer them by October 17.

  • *UPDATE: Wingham PRC has announced a new trio of Revs. D.Holstege, D.Kleyn, and D.Lee. 
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. K.Koole in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. S.Regnerus (2nd week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. J.Marcus in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. D.Lee in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. J.Holstege in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. D.Holstege in Wingham PRC.  We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

  • Did you know that...
    • the PRC Canadian churches will celebrate their national day of Thanksgiving tomorrow, October 11? Edmonton, Immanuel (Lacombe), and Wingham will hold a special worship service tomorrow morning to remember the Lord's goodness and grace. Let us join them, since praise and thanks is always fitting!
    • these congregations are having Reformation Day lectures this year?
      • Covenant of Grace (Spokane, WA): Friday, October 22 at 7 p.m. Prof. R. Cammenga will speak.
      • Crete PRC (IL): Friday, October 29, 7 p.m. Mr. Dan Van Uffelen will speak on "Post Tenebras Lux: The Vocation Reformation."
      • Loveland PRC (CO): Thursday, October 21, 7 p.m. Prof. D.Kuiper will speak on "Luther Burning the Papal Bull: Encouragement to Flaunt Church Discipline?”
      • Lynden PRC (WA): This Friday, October, 15, 7:30 p.m. Rev. R. Hanko will speak on “Senseless Stocks and Blocks or Believers and Saints?"
      • Pittsburgh (PA) PRC: Friday, November 5, 7 p.m. Rev. W. Bruinsma, on the life and labors of Augustine of Hippo.
    • the Reformed Witness Hour (PRC radio/internet program) has a special anniversary this month (in fact, this week, to be precise)? This is the notice found in PRC bulletins today: With thankfulness to God, the REFORMED WITNESS HOUR COMMITTEE celebrates 80 years since the first broadcast of the RWH on October 12, 1941. Over 4,100 weekly programs have aired on radio, and more recently on Internet, in North America and abroad during these years. We thank the people of our churches who faithfully have taken on the long-term commitment of praying and giving to support this radio ministry. We especially want to thank the pastors who have given of their time to produce the sermons for our broadcasts. Will you please pray that God will continue to use the RWH to glorify Himself, to gather His elect, and to build up His church worldwide?

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Sem front Oct 2018

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week the seminary completed its seventh week of the new school year (2021-22). We thank the Lord for His faithfulness and blessing to this point. Remember to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the day-to-day work. The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • We express our sympathy to Prof. B. Gritters and his wife and family in the death of his mother this past week in Redlands, CA. May the Lord comfort their hearts in Christ in their earthly loss of a dear saint.
  • The Spring PRT Journal is now available in its digital forms on the seminary's website and in print. If you wish to pick up a copy, stop in at the seminary. If you want to be added to our mailing list, contact Sharon, the seminary secretary.
  • Don't forget that the seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well.
  • Coming this Fall! Seminary Conference: You sit under the preaching of the gospel every Lord’s Day. What do you hear? What do you desire to hear? What is God doing in your soul through the preaching? How do you respond to the preaching, to its admonitions, to the call of the gospel? The conference speakers will address these and other related questions. Four speeches will be given, at 4:00 and 7:30 on Oct. 28 and 29. Trinity PRC is hosting this event. Everyone who sits under the preaching of the Word is cordially invited to attend. The conference will be livestreamed for people who are interested but unable to join in person.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

Matthew 28 19 20

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Today's bulletin noted that the Word of God should be precious to us and used by us diligently. Listen to these words of pastor J.Tan: Shall I set that letter from God aside, and think “ah, read it later” Or worse, cast it aside like we do to our junk mail? No! This word is necessary! I need this letter, this word of God to know my God. These are the Words of Life for to know God is life eternal! Apart from scriptures there is no saving knowledge. Apart from scriptures I would not know the meaning and purpose of my life and existence. Apart from scriptures I cannot know my Covenant God. The scriptures are on a level necessary all by its own.
    • A new issue of "Reformed News Asia" is out - #64 - October 2021. Be sure to check it out for the latest news from our sister!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A.Stewart continues to minister the Word faithfully to his flock in Ballymena.
    • Plan to attend this year’s Reformation Day Lecture on Friday, 29 October, entitled “Fulgentius of Ruspe, the Sixth-Century N. African Church and God’s Saving Will.”
    • Be sure to check out the newest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - September 2021. Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V.Ibe led the services today. The online class/study of the Church Order of Dordt is scheduled tonight @ 7P.M. We will treat Art. 40 of the CO, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: The Elders will lead our worship services today using video recordings of sermons from the PRCA. A livestream of our services will be provided at the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page. Rev. D. Kleyn will be visiting the Bearers of Light Community Church in Guiguinto today, God willing, to preach and teach there.
    • The PRCP seminary classes will begin again this Tuesday, October 12, after having a one-week mid-semester break. The classes will be taught face-to-face now in the temporary location of the seminary library in Antipolo. Let us pray for the Lord’s blessing on our seminary student, Bro. Ace Flores, and on the instructors. We also pray the Lord will be pleased to provide other men who desire to study in seminary and to become ministers of the Word.

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

WBruinsma 2017

  • For the next four months Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on his series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Hebrews 11:3 and titled "The Voice of All Creation."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not start today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

church today Ref church DJE
What are you reading for Reformation month? Try out this pamphlet for starters!

  • Are you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

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

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Missions

The Reformed faith firmly believes in the calling of the church to go out into all the world to preach the gospel. It will have nothing to do with a “hyper-Calvinism” which would neglect this great task of the church. Jesus Himself mandated the disciples, and then the church, to go into all the world to preach the gospel (Matt. 28:19). Though it is surely true that God will save His people whom He has chosen from eternity, it is likewise true that He has determined that this is to be done in the way of the faithful preaching of the gospel both within the church and on the mission field. God alone knows those who are His. The church goes forth under Christ’s mandate in order that those chosen of God may also be brought to the cross of Jesus Christ.

Taken from Rev. R.Hanko's pamphlet "What Is the Reformed Faith?"

Read more...

Reformed Witness Hour Messages - October 2021

 

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October 2021

October 3

Faith: A Confident Conviction
Hebrews 11: 1, 2
Rev. W. Bruinsma

October 10

The Voice of All Creation
Hebrews 11:3
Rev. W. Bruinsma

October 17

Abel’s More Excellent Sacrifice
Hebrews 11: 4
Rev. W. Bruinsma

October 24

Enoch’s Translation
Hebrews 11: 5, 6
Rev. W. Bruinsma

October 31

By Faith Noah Prepares an Ark
Hebrews 11: 7
Rev. W. Bruinsma

 

WBruinsma 2017

During October, Rev. Bruinsma will present a series on Faith from Hebrews 11.
Rev. Bruinsma is currently the pastor of Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Church in Pittsburgh, PA.

 

 

 

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Visit our website or go to eepurl.com/gikNsL to sign up for our monthly email. You’ll receive one email each month with RWH news, statistics, interviews, message excerpts, and other great content.

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Reformed News Asia - September 2021 (Issue 64)

Issue 64
Pamphlets

We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
NEWPamphlet!

Please click the picture to get the online copy of the pamphlet.
Questions in the Bible - Jonah
By Prof Hermon Hanko

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

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

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

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

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

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


Click here  to view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.

The Church's Hope: The Reformed Doctrine of the End

by David J. Engelsma


From the RFPA website:

The Christian’s hope is the visible, bodily, glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ on the clouds of heaven with the resurrection of the Christian’s body, the public vindication of the Christian at the last judgment, and the enjoyment of the glories of the new creation.

David J. Engelsma writes on eschatology in the service of the church’s hope. This volume treats the magnificent subjects of the intermediate state and the millennium. The bulk of this book is devoted to a thorough analysis of the millennium, with a vigorous defense of Reformed amillennialism. Especially thorough is Engelsma’s critique of postmillennialism, which he sees as a threat to Reformed churches. Both postmillennialism and dispensational premillennialism subvert the church’s hope. Postmillenialism fixes the believer’s hope on a golden age within history in which the church will be dominant—a carnal victory. Dispensational premillenialism fixes the believer’s hope on a fictitious rapture, which will snatch the church out of the world so that God can fulfill his program in history with the Jews. Both views leave the church unprepared for the future.

As Engelsma demonstrates, the last things—centrally the coming of Christ—are the purpose and goal of all the revelation of God in scripture, from beginning to end. This book will encourage the Christian as he heeds Christ’s instruction regarding that coming: “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).

 
Audio Recordings
Series of Sermons on Pastors and Teachers preached, by Rev Josiah Tan

Pastors & Teachers Given (1)
Pastors & Teachers Given (2): Equipped to Serve
Pastors & Teachers Given (3): Equipping & Serving till arriving at unity
Pastors & Teachers Given (4): Doctrinal Stability
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Stay tuned...
 
 
Past Events...
 
Ordination of Rev Josiah Tan 

We are extremely blessed and thankful to God for providing CERC with a Resident Minister, Rev Josiah Tan, who was ordained on 22 August 2021. It's a joyous matter and we again thank God for his gracious providence. May we continue to pray for Rev Tan as he labours in our midst, that God may give him the utterance to preach God's word, wisdom in all things and that God's name may be glorified.

"And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." Jeremiah 3:15
Ordination of Rev Josiah Tan 
 
Infant Baptism

We were blessed to witness the Infant Baptism of 3 children recently -
Faith Boon, daughter of Cornelius and Jemima
Hayley Ho, daughter of Milton and Celina
Elle Lee, daughter of Michael and June.

Thank God for adding to the church!

 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers

Salt Shakers is a bi-monthly magazine published by the youth in Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). Included in each issue are writings pertaining to bothReformed doctrine and practical theology. Contributors to Salt Shakers include our pastor, youth and members of CERC, and pastors and professors from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Salt Shakers also features articles from the Standard Bearer and other Reformed publications. Click here to access.

 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord’s Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm • 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 • www.cerc.org.sg 
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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for October 3, 2021 (*Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, October 3, the fortieth Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Psalms 25 5This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Ps.118:24). On this new Lord's Day we bring our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving unto our sovereign God, who is worthy of all honor and glory. With the psalmist may we boldly say in Christ Jesus,

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD. ~ Psalm 25:4-7

  • If you are new to this website and are interested in the PRC, we invite you to join us at any of our services (morning and afternoon/evening). For congregations, locations and times, visit this page.
  • Wingham PRC: Last Sunday, as previously approved by Classis East and delegates of synod, and under the leadership of Rev. D. Holstege and the supervision of Unity PRC, new officebearers were installed and the congregation of Wingham PRC was constituted anew. We rejoice with our brothers and sisters there and pray for God's richest blessing upon them as they make a fresh start as a manifestation of Christ's true church in that part of Canada.

  • Kalamazoo PRC: The consistory presents to the congregation a trio of ministers consisting of Rev. James Laning, Hull PRC; Rev. Dennis Lee, formerly of Bethel PRC, Roselle, IL, and Rev. Stephan Regnerus, Lynden PRC, Lynden, WA. Lord willing, a special congregational meeting is planned for... [today] following the evening service, to vote to extend a call to one of these men. *UPDATE: Rev. D. Lee has received this call.

  • This morning Rev. R. Kleyn was installed as the tenth pastor in the history of First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI. Prof. C. Griess led the service and this evening Rev. Kleyn preached his inaugural sermon.

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering calls to Doon PRC (answer by Oct.17) and Hudsonville PRC.

  • Rev. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC, Dyer, IN) is considering the call from Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA). He plans to answer by Oct.10.

  • Due to the meeting of Classis West last week in Crete, there were many pulpit exchanges among the ministers in the congregations today (see below for a partial report).
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J. Marcus in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. S.Regnerus (2 weeks) in Doon (IA) PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. K.Koole in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Prof. R.Dykstra in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. G.Eriks in Kalamazoo PRC; Rev. N.Decker in Wingham PRC.  We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation and the privilege to be able to help one another in this need.

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found. Or you may visit the selected audio sermon page and listen to one of your choice there.

CretePRC
Crete PRC, host of last week's Classis West meeting and Officebearers' Conference

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Classis West met this past week at Crete PRC in Crete, Illinois. Part of their work involved dealing with schism in the First PRC of Edmonton (Alberta). Classis West ruled that the group from Edmonton sending delegates to the Classis had set themselves outside of the PRCA and therefore did not recognize these men as representatives of the lawful congregation nor seat them as delegates. Appealing to the by-Laws of the PRCA (X.A) dealing with “strife and division” in a congregation, Classis ruled that the men delegated were representatives of that part of the congregation that has “revolt[ed] against the constitutional provisions of the Church Order [of the PRC]...and repudiate[d] its obligations as a member church of the denomination.” Therefore, the “adjudication” of Classis is required for the recognition of the “lawful congregation.” Classis declared a protest of the former consistory of Edmonton against the work of the church visitors to be not legally before it, since this group had set themselves outside of the denomination and did not have the right to protest any longer. Classis approved the work of the church visitors with respect to this congregation. Then, with the concurrence of the synodical deputies from Classis East, Classis West approved the request of the remaining members of the First PRC of Edmonton to reconstitute a consistory and thereby reorganize as a Protestant Reformed congregation according to Article 38 of the C.O., under the supervision of Lacombe PRC.
  • At her Sept.8 meeting, Classis East treated a request from Trinity PRC's consistory to proclaim a Day of Prayer in the churches of Classis East on Nov. 2, 2021. A ground for this decision was "Our churches are experiencing great affliction at the present.... This great affliction is evidenced by the ongoing schism that has torn apart the body of Christ, the great need that we as a denomination have for ministers of the Word, and other ongoing afflictions as well."
  • Revs. D. Lee and J. Marcus (both now living in West Michigan) are eligible for calls in the PRC and her sister churches. Let us remember them in prayer as they await new charges.

Sem sign Fall 2018 2

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week the seminary completed its sixth week of the new school year (2021-22). We thank the Lord for His goodness and blessing to this point. Remember to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the day-to-day work. The semester schedule and calendar have been posted on the seminary's website.
  • This past Tuesday, Sept.28, the seminary's faculty and students traveled to Crete PRC in Illinois to participate in the special officebearers' conference. They were edified by the speeches and enjoyed the fellowship of their fellow officebearers and saints.
  • The Spring PRT Journal is now available in its digital forms on the seminary's website. The printed copies should be available this week.
  • Don't forget that the seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well.
  • Coming this Fall! Seminary Conference: You sit under the preaching of the gospel every Lord’s Day. What do you hear? What do you desire to hear? What is God doing in your soul through the preaching? How do you respond to the preaching, to its admonitions, to the call of the gospel? The conference speakers will address these and other related questions. Four speeches will be given, at 4:00 and 7:30 on Oct. 28 and 29. Trinity PRC is hosting this event. Everyone who sits under the preaching of the Word is cordially invited to attend.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • Today's bulletin noted that the congregation was celebrating the Lord's Supper today. It also had this interesting item: "Dear Brethren, since the SMM restrictions on congregational singing, our own church members have been recording Psalter numbers for Sunday worship. To date, we have recorded more than 200 Psalter songs. These recorded Psalter numbers are now available from our website. You can now access the following link or QR code, to listen to the recorded Psalter songs for your own edification and your own learning to be more proficient in singing Psalter. https://sites.google.com/site/cercaudiobackup/psalter-singing?authuser=0
      You may access the psalter songs via www.cerc.org.sg and go to Resources/Sermons & Lectures; then click on “Psalter Singing” for your edification.
    • A new issue of "Reformed News Asia" is out - #64 - October 2021. Be sure to check it out for the latest news from our sister!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland:
    • Rev. A.Stewart continues to bring the word faithfully to his flock in Ballymena.
    • Be sure to check out the newest edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - September 2021 - just out this past week. Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: "In line with the restriction (MECQ) imposed by the National government in Rizal Province from Oct, 01 to 15, 2021, we are not still able to meet and worship God in our church building, today and thus, the preaching of God’s Word will be live-streamed on our Facebook page" by Rev. R.Smit. Rev. Ibe and Elder Penaverde are scheduled to visit the saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Rev. Ibe will give a Word of edification and lead them as well in their study of the book of Ephesians 3 today, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: The congregation is called to gather for worship today. May we delight in doing so, for the Lord our God has graciously given us the opportunity to praise Him together and to feast spiritually on His Word. Rev. D.Kleyn will preach for us today, the Lord willing.
    • Read the last PRC missions newsletter - July 2021.

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

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  • For the next four months Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on his series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Hebrews 11:1,2 and titled "Faith, A Confident Conviction."
  • Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast (Google Music, Spotify, and iTunes), or visit the links provided here to listen to this program. Are you are regular listener? If not, why not start today!
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet. These printed sermons are a great blessing to many and are distributed all over the world, including to many prisoners in the U.S. If you or your Evangelism Committee would like to receive these, let the RWHC know and they will add you to the mailing list (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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REFORMED RESOURCES FOR EDIFICATION, EDUCATION, and EVANGELISM

The Blessedness of Freedom from Condemnation

Check out this month's special resource on sale!

  • Are you interested in learning more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Or are you simply interested in growing in your faith and walk with the Lord? Visit the Resources pages of this website and the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.

  • Do you need some catechism materials for use in your church or family? The PRC publishes catechism materials on Bible history and Reformed doctrine, for children of all ages. Visit this page for more information.

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

  • The Reformed Book Outlet is open and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday (10-5), and Saturday (10-1).

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

The Godly Life

The Reformed faith does not lead men to be careless or profane. This faith does not hold that one can “sin that grace may abound” (Rom. 6:1). Because one is chosen eternally of God, and because Christ died for him, there must evidence of godly fruit. True thankfulness must be seen—otherwise there is no evidence of eternal election. God has chosen His people unto good works (Eph. 2:10) and in order that we should be holy and without blame before Him (Eph. 1:4). There must be no alliance between light and darkness, between the Christian and the world (II Cor. 6:14). The “antithesis” must be evident -- the distinction between the good and the evil is to be seen in the Christian’s life.

Taken from Rev. R.Hanko's pamphlet "What Is the Reformed Faith?"

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