Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for December 12, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, December 12, the fiftieth Lord's Day of this year 2021.Isaiah 7 14

This 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 Creator and Redeemer, who is worthy of all honor and glory.

Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. ~ Isaiah 7:10-16

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.

  • Rev. J. Langerak (Heritage PRC) is considering the call to Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA). He plans to answer this call by Dec.19.

  • Rev. C. Spronk is considering the call to Hudsonville PRC. He plans to answer by Dec.19. He is also considering the call to Doon PRC.

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. R. Hanko in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. R. Barnhill (2nd week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. T. Miersma in First PRC, Edmonton; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. J. Slopsema in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J. Mahtani in Hudsonville PRC; Rev. R. Kleyn 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.

  • Watch for and attend these upcoming Christmas programs/singspirations in the PRC congregations:
    • This afternoon after the service the Christian Fellowship Society of Hull PRC invited the congregation to a singspiration.
    • Tonight at 6:45 after the evening service, the Georgetown PRC Choir (Hudsonville, MI) will be leading the audience in an evening of Christmas praise. Special numbers will include audience singing, a piano solo, and several selections by the Voices of Victory. Come share the joy with us!
    • The Crete YPS (IL) will host a singspiration Sunday evening December 12.
    • The Edgerton PRC Young People will host their annual Christmas Singspiration on Sunday December 19 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton (Minnesota). A collection will be received to offset the cost of attending the Young People's Convention.
    • Heritage PRC (Sioux Falls, SD) will hold their congregational Christmas program on Dec.19 after the evening service.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

From the PRC Contact Committee: This week Wednesday ]Dec.15], a delegation from the Contact Committee will travel to Singapore, D.V. This is a normal annual visit, visits which have lately been curtailed due to Covid. The purposes of the visit are to conduct Church Visitation with the Session of CERC, to relieve Pastor Tan of pulpit duties for a couple of weeks, and to further strengthen our relationship with the CERC. Please pray for Prof. Dykstra and David Kregel and their wives as they travel in the next week, and continue to pray for all those in other lands who we have come to know and love.

sem sign Nov 2020

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week the seminary completed its fifteenth and final week of regular classes, and now enter the week of exams. Remember to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they finish the first semester this week.
  • Seminary will break from Dec.19-Jan.2, the weeks of Christmas and New Years Day. The 2022 Interim course will run from Jan.3-Jan.12. Prof. R. Dykstra will be teaching The History and Principles of Christian Education. Watch for a notice soon about auditors!
  • The seminary's special conference on preaching was held on Oct.28-29 at Trinity PRC. If you were unable to attend and would like to listen to the speeches, they are available here and here. The videos have also now been posted to the seminary YouTube channel.
  • The Fall 2021 issue of the PRT Journal is about ready for the printer. If you missed the Spring issue, it is currently available in its digital forms on the seminary's website as well as 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.
  • The seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The bookstore is a good place to find gifts for the Christmas season! The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well. Feel free to call in advance for help with any questions.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Hope PRC - Myanmar: Regarding the work in Myanmar, the Council reports that they were able to video conference with Rev. Titus recently and that he is recuperating well. Htay Nine is giving a word of edification over video to the congregation as they are not currently able to gather for worship. These messages are supervised by the elders and Rev. Titus reviews them prior to being delivered. [in her bulletin today] Let us remember to bring to the Lord the needs of this pastor and these saints in their difficulties.

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • This week church visitors from the PRC Contact Committee will travel to Singapore to meet with the CERC. We pray for a profitable visit for Prof. R. Dykstra and elder D.Kregel.
    • From Today's bulletin: We must not stand aloof from the afflictions of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the PRCA in their controversy. We cannot. Since the inception of our church here in Singapore, we have been through some of the most painful afflictions as a church together. “ ...Now is the time to show that love and care to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the US. Yes, there are differences of culture and experiences, but nothing can hinder the unity and bonds of love that we have in Christ Jesus. We are called to especially pray for them.
    • The latest issue of Salt Shakers magazine - the October issue (#66) - is available online. Our young people and young adults are especially encouraged to read it.
    • The last issue of "Reformed News Asia" is October 2021 - #64. 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 the saints in Ballymena.
    • The last CPRC newsletter - November 2021 - is available on the website! Visit this page to view it and read it (*cf. the newsletter column on the right side of the webpage).
    • Be sure to check out the new edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - November 2021 - just out this past week! Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • The Kleyns left for the USA this week, especially to spend time with family. They will also go to Iowa since Rev. Kleyn is scheduled to preach in Doon PRC on Dec. 31, Jan. 1, and Jan. 2. They plan to return to the Philippines on Jan. 4, Lord willing.
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. V.Ibe led the services today.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. R.Smit led her services today. 

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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

  • Currently, Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on a series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Heb.11:20 and titled "By Faith Isaac Confers the Blessing."
  • "The REFORMED WITNESS HOUR (RWH) COMMITTEE thanks you, PRC members, friends, and donors, for your prayers and financial support during 2021.  As you plan for your year-end giving, we ask that you prayerfully consider helping with one of these current RWH costs: continued broadcasts on WYLL in the Chicago area and extended Internet outreach through our website (reformedwitnesshour.org), social media, and SermonAudio.  Thank you for your continued support of this important PRC ministry."
  • 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

*DECEMBER SALES!*

The Coming of Zion's Redeemer: The Prophecies of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi

Born For Our Salvation: The Nativity and Childhood of Jesus Christ 


Two books, one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament, united by a common theme: the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Be filled with awe at the work of the incarnate Christ, Lord of lords, the One who is, was, and is coming!
 
A timely and uplifting gift for you and for others!
  • 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 running their 25% off sale for the month of December again this year. This sale includes 25% off most books, Bibles, and Bible covers. Come visit us Tuesday - Friday from 10am-5pm, or Saturday from 10am - 1pm!

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

"But there in that manger we see the revelation of God’s glory! The world did not see it then, nor do the wicked see it yet today. That is why the story is embellished with quaint little manger scenes. There are shepherds around a tiny manger with an image of Christ in it. There are three Magi (as if anyone knows if there were 3), there are peaceful looking sheep, and, oh yes, let us not forget a little drummer boy. But then, why bother with a manger scene? St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus, with Rudolph and the other reindeer—these really do a better job in revealing what Christmas is all about. The unbelieving world does not see God’s glory revealed in that manger. The lowly birth of our Savior does not make the season bright! But we see the glory of God revealed to us there! There is no doubt that we see and full well understand the shame that surrounded the birth of our Savior. Not only was He born in a cattle stall but, what is more, the glory that was Christ’s as the Son of God was veiled over in human flesh. Christ looked like any other baby boy as He lay there in that manger. Who could see in His face the very Son of God—divine? But we look upon that Christ child with the eyes of faith! And we see Him for who He really is! He is God with us—our Immanuel!

"God has manifested Himself in our flesh. The Son of God came down from His glory on high and visited us poor sinners. And He did this in order that He might deliver us from our sin! We were lost people of God! We were lost and condemned in our sin. The only thing we deserved from God is condemnation and death. God’s curse lay upon us. But God in His great mercy and grace sent forth His Son in order to redeem you and me from sin and death. God in His great love for us sent His Son in order to satisfy His justice and make us righteous before Him.

"But do you see what all of this is, people of God? All these are the attributes of God, which together make up His glory! All these virtues, all these perfections of God, are evident in the birth of Jesus! And it is for that reason that the birth of Christ is in fact the very revelation of God’s glory! In Him all the virtues of God are revealed to us! And for that reason we praise God today. Glory to God in the Highest! Now we can understand why the angels were singing the praises of God there in the hills of Bethlehem."

Excerpt from a Reformed Witness Hour sermon by Rev. W. Bruinsma in 2014 titled "The Song of the Angels."

Read more...

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for December 5, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, December 5, the forty-ninth Lord's Day of this year 2021.Ps33 8

This 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 Creator and Redeemer, who is worthy of all honor and glory.

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. ~ Psalm 33:1-4

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 Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA) voted to call Rev. J. Langerak (Heritage PRC).

  • This past Monday Doon PRC extended a call to Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC).

  • Rev. C. Spronk is considering the call to Hudsonville PRC. He plans to answer by Dec.19. 

  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J. Engelsma (2nd week) in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. R. Barnhill (1st week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. T.Miersma in First PRC, Edmonton; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. K.Koole in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. W.Langerak in Hudsonville 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.

  • Watch for these upcoming Christmas programs/singspiration in the PRC congregations:
    • Tonight Young Calvinists will be hosting a singspiration for all young people and young adults tonight! It will be hosted at Hope PRC (Walker, MI) at 8 PM. Come enjoy a night of singing as we celebrate the holiday season!

    • On December 12 at 6:45 after the evening service, the Georgetown PRC Choir (Hudsonville, MI) will be leading the audience in an evening of Christmas praise. Special numbers will include audience singing, a piano solo, and several selections by the Voices of Victory. Come share the joy with us!
    • The Crete YPS (IL) will host a singspiration Sunday evening December 12.
    • The Edgerton PRC Young People will host their annual Christmas Singspiration on Sunday December 19 at First Reformed Church in Edgerton (Minnesota). A collection will be received to offset the cost of attending the Young People's Convention.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Front snow Nov29
The view this past Monday morning, Nov.29, after the second measurable snow in West Michigan

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week the seminary completed its fourteenth week of the first semester, with one week left before exams. Remember to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they move toward the end of the semester. You will find the semester schedule and calendar posted on the seminary's website.
  • The seminary's special conference on preaching was held on Oct.28-29 at Trinity PRC. If you were unable to attend and would like to listen to the speeches, they are available here and here. The videos have also now been posted to the seminary YouTube channel.
  • The Fall 2021 issue of the PRT Journal is being put together. If you missed the Spring issue, it is currently available in its digital forms on the seminary's website as well as 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.
  • The seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The bookstore is a good place to find gifts for the Christmas season! The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well. Feel free to call in advance for help with any questions.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

CPRC News Header

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • India missions update from Georgetown PRC (in her bulletin today): The Tamil translations of Heidelberg Catechism and Church Order have been finalized and approved by Pas. Paulraj. While the Church Order is ready-to-print, some page-layout needs yet to be done. Proof reading and editing of the Tamil translation of Canons of Dordt is under way. A harmonizing of the 3 Forms of Unity is also being done so that the whole 3FU will have the same flow of language and terminology. The translation into Tamil of the 2nd chapter of Rev, Bruinsma’s studies in Doctrine is underway. Pray for this work of translation. Pray for our beloved brothers and sisters in India in the PRCV and English church.

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • From Today's bulletin: A Blessed Lord’s Day to you. As you step out from a weary weak past in to the rest of this first day of the week, may you find the peace that our Lord Jesus Christ promises to give us. We come out of the week past spiritually drained, spent, worn out. The spiritual battle against sin is intense. But now is time to rest. Now God calls us to rest our weary heads in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Come hear the comforting words from the Chief Prophet in the preaching. Come hear what our only high priest has done and is doing for us. He redeemed us completely from sin and death and now ever intercedes for us. May all your fears melt away as you stand before the regal splendor of our King. Of the one who has gathered us, new visitors, regular worshippers and members today. Who defends and preserves us every second of our lives. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
    • A new issue of Salt Shakers magazine is out! The October issue (#66) is available online. Our young people and young adults are especially encouraged to read it.
    • The last issue of "Reformed News Asia" is October 2021 - #64. 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 the saints in Ballymena.
    • There's a new CPRC newsletter available this month! Visit this page to view it and read it (*cf. the newsletter column on the right side of the webpage).
    • Be sure to check out the new edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - November 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: Rev. R. Smit led the services today. Rev. Ibe and elder Alann Penaverde are scheduled to visits the saints in Gabaldon today. Rev. Ibe will lead them in their worship service, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D. Kleyn led her services today. The Kleyns plan to leave for the USA this week, D.V, especially to spend time with family. They will also go to Iowa since Rev. Kleyn is scheduled to preach in Doon PRC on Dec. 31, Jan. 1, and Jan. 2. They plan to return to the Philippines on Jan. 4, Lord willing.
    • PRCP Seminary: Final exams in the Seminary are scheduled this week.

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

  • Currently, Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on a series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Heb.11:17-19 and titled "Abraham Offers Up Isaac."
  • "The REFORMED WITNESS HOUR (RWH) COMMITTEE thanks you, PRC members, friends, and donors, for your prayers and financial support during 2021.  As you plan for your year-end giving, we ask that you prayerfully consider helping with one of these current RWH costs: continued broadcasts on WYLL in the Chicago area and extended Internet outreach through our website (reformedwitnesshour.org), social media, and SermonAudio.  Thank you for your continued support of this important PRC ministry."
  • Did you read the November RWH newsletter? Visit the link to do so today and keep up with what is happening on the program and website!
  • 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

Nov 2021 booklet cover 2
Would you like to read the RWH messages as well as listen to them? Check out the November 2021 messages in this booklet. They are published monthly and may be sent to your address if you desire. Just contact the RWH at reformedwitnesshour.org. 
The pdf of this booklet is attached to this news report for your convenience.

  • 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 running their 25% off sale for the month of December again this year. This sale includes 25% off most books, Bibles, and Bible covers. Come visit us Tuesday - Friday from 10am-5pm, or Saturday from 10am - 1pm!

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Christmas in His Fear

When we celebrate Christmas In His Fear then we go to Him and praise Him for the gift of all gifts that He has given us. We go to Him in prayer. We go to Him in His house of worship. We acknowledge this great and glorious gift and do not hide it from ourselves and from our children by a host of worldly, material gifts that we give and receive from men. When we celebrate Christmas In His Fear, Christ and the loves of God in sending Him to be our Savior occupies the central part of our celebration; and the greater part of our activity on that day revolves about Him. When we celebrate Christmas in His fear we gather in all humility and joy before His feet to be taught by Him anew and more richly the glorious truths of the birth of His Son. 

And he who truly celebrates Christmas in His fear will not be able to hold back his songs of praise to God. With the holy angels he shall sing: Glory to God in the highest. He will sing of the true peace that God has wrought in this Son for those who are the men of His good pleasure and will glorify Him for it. And as the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God and telling all whom they met what they had seen and heard, the covenant parent will also want to have the day filled with such praise and glory to God by his children and will take them along to God's house of worship that they too may hear of all this wonder of God's grace. 

Christmas celebration In His Fear is celebration before His face. It is celebration in the consciousness that He accomplished all these things that the Church of Christ might live before His face in everlasting glory. And it is celebration that responds to that glorious truth. 

From an article written in the Dec.15, 1955 issue of the Standard Bearer by Rev. J. Heys.

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Covenant Reformed News - November 2021

Covenant Reformed News


November 2021 • Volume XVIII, Issue 19



Jehovah’s Departure From His Apostatising People

The Bible uses especially three images for Jehovah’s departure from His apostatising people. First, in the days of Bezaleel’s tabernacle, the ark of the covenant was taken (I Sam. 4). Second, in the days of Solomon’s temple, the God of glory rode off in His angelic chariot (Eze. 10). Third, in the days of the New Testament church, the candlestick or lampstand is removed (Rev. 2:5).

What does it mean when the Almighty declares that terrifying word: “Ichabod” (I Sam. 4:21)? Ichabod means “no glory,” referring to the absence of God’s glory for His “glory is departed from Israel,” as the text explains (21). “Ichabod” is the declaration that the glorious Triune God has left His unfaithful people, those who once were His church in their generations, those who falsely claim to belong to Him.

Though the word “Ichabod” was uttered at the loss of the ark from Israel’s tabernacle (I Sam. 4), Ichabod well describes the departure of God’s glory from the temple in Old Testament days (Eze. 10) or a congregation or denomination in the New Testament era (Rev. 2:5).

The glory of the blessed Trinity is revealed in the face of our Lord Jesus according to the sacred Scriptures. Christ is “the glory of the Lord” and “the glory of God” (II Cor. 3:18; 4:6). The Son of God and Son of man is “the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:8; James 2:1). He is this as the One who fully satisfied for all the sins of God’s elect through His bitter and shameful death on the cross. He is this as the mighty resurrected Saviour, who ascended into heaven and now powerfully rules over absolutely all things.

The apostasy of a church is well described as Christ’s removal of its candlestick or lampstand (Rev. 2:5), for it has been overcome with the darkness of unbelief and sin, and no longer shines forth the light of God’s Word. The gospel of the incarnate Son, who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5), is no longer proclaimed and maintained there. Thus the Lamb of God judges a congregation or denomination by removing its candlestick or lampstand.

The truth of the Lord Jesus is lost, first, through the corruption of church discipline when wicked living and false doctrine are swept under the carpet or even promoted. Second, a congregation or denomination falls away when it baptizes those who lack a credible profession of faith and/or their young children, or when it pollutes the Lord’s Supper by allowing anyone who wants to partake without proper supervision by the elders (open communion), etc. Third, apostasy develops through deceitful preaching, including the false doctrines of salvation by man’s free will (Rom. 9:16; Eph. 2:8-9), an impotent God who desires to save everybody but does not and cannot (Ps. 115:3; Rom. 9:10-24), an errant Bible (John 10:35; II Tim. 3:16), etc.

In Ezekiel’s prophecy, it is the abominable idolatry of chapter 8 and the gross wickedness of chapter 9 that lead to the departure of God’s glory in chapter 10. In the book of Revelation, a church whose candlestick or lampstand is removed (2:5) becomes a “synagogue of Satan” (2:9; 3:9)!

This biblical imagery and teaching helps us understand the last 2,000 years of church history. The glory of God has left Jerusalem in Israel and Antioch in Syria, the two most prominent churches in the book of Acts. The divine chariot has departed from (what is now called) Turkey, where the most famous ecumenical creeds were written: the Nicene-Constantinopolitan (325, 381) and the Chalcedonian (451). Faithful teachers of God’s sovereign grace, such as Augustine of Hippo (354-430) and Fulgentius of Ruspe (c.467-c.532), once served the church of North Africa but, since the seventh century, this region has been under Islam. By and large, the gospel departed from Southern Europe as Semi-Pelagianism and Roman Catholicism took hold. The Word of God was strong in Bohemia in the fifteenth century in the days of Jan Hus but now the Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of atheism in the world. With the coming of the Protestant Reformation, Wittenberg, Geneva, Heidelberg and Cambridge became bastions of God’s truth, but His glory has long since departed from them. What about Congregationalist New England or Presbyterian Princeton in the USA? The gold has become dim (Lam. 4:1)!

It is not that there are no believers in these universities or cities or regions. Nor are churches or missions in these places doomed or pointless. But clearly Antioch, N. Africa, Prague, Geneva, etc., are far from what they once were, though, even in these locations, “there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5).

God’s wonderful chariot has departed from some areas and ridden into others, like Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia. In these places, the Word of life is having more of an impact than ever before, though, of course, there are struggles there too. The whole catholic or universal church consisting of all the elect of all nations must be gathered. All of the sheep out of every kindred, tribe and tongue must see the glory of God in Jesus Christ by faith alone (Isa. 66:18-19)!

The departure of God’s chariot from the temple in Ezekiel 10 is a warning to His people in all ages, including us. Our calling is to love, confess and obey God’s truth by His grace alone. We must look to our Lord Jesus—His perfect life, His atoning sacrifice, His omnipotent intercession and His second coming—for our justification, sanctification and our all, for it is in Christ alone that God is pleased to dwell among us in mercy by His Holy Spirit. Rev. Angus Stewart

 

Children of Wrath and a Changeable God?

“What about Ephesians 2:3’s reference to believers once being ‘children of wrath, even as others’? We believe that God is unchangeable in His being, attributes, works, etc. But how do we explain the ‘change’ in the lives of God’s elect from formerly being in a state of wrath to being in a state of grace? Doesn’t this indicate a ‘change’ in God’s relationship to us? One moment He is only wrathful toward us because we are not yet in Christ and in constant rebellion, and then, when we are saved, we are no longer in that state? Doesn’t this indicate a change in God’s dispositions towards men? (And therefore He is not ‘absolutely’ unchangeable but is changeable in one sense?)”

There are several things that need to be emphasized in answer to this question.

First, God’s unchangeableness or immutability must not be questioned or denied. He establishes this important truth in Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not.” He uses there the name Jehovah, “I am that I am” (Ex. 3:14-15) which not only reveals His immutability but shows that there is no past, present or future in Him. As the “I Am,” with no past, present or future in Him, there cannot possibly be any change in Him or in His dispositions. If He is changeable, He is not God: “the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent” (I Sam. 15:29).

Barthianism and Open Theism both teach that God is changeable but, sadly, so do many evangelicals. Trying to maintain God’s immutability while at the same time denying it, they say things such as, “God decrees for Himself a series of different dispositions,” i.e., He eternally decrees that He will change His mind, first being gracious to some and then sending them to hell or first declaring in the gospel that He wants them to be saved and afterward eternally punishing them. Such denies God’s unchangeableness.

Our salvation and well-being depend on God’s unchangeableness. Because He does not change, the sons of Jacob, both in the Old and New Testaments, are not consumed (Mal. 3:6). He is unchangeable as God, unchangeable in His eternal decrees, unchangeable in His attributes, including His love, grace and mercy, for what we call His attributes are simply descriptions of who and what He is. He is unchangeable in His works and ways, and in His revelation of Himself, so we may safely put our trust in Him.

Second, wrath and love (or mercy) are not opposites, nor mutually exclusive. This is a mistake that is often made. That God can be, and is, angry with His people whom He loves is not the same as hating them. Hatred is the opposite of love; anger is not. God eternally loves His people, yet before a believer is converted and when he walks in sin thereafter, God is angry with him and reveals His anger in chastisement. Anger can be loving and love can reveal itself in anger. God’s anger with His people is eternally loving. Indeed, a love that does not become angry at sin and excuses or overlooks it is no love at all. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” (Heb. 12:6-8).

As Hebrews suggests, this is true even in family life. Those of us who are parents do our children a great wrong when we are not angry with their sins and do not show our anger in punishing their sins. That anger must be directed and controlled by love, but a father who constantly overlooks and ignores the sins of his children is showing that he really does not love them. Children understand that and, especially in the case of covenant children, expect and even want their parents to correct them.

We who are saved, therefore, were children of wrath even as others. Though we are among God’s elect and loved by Him from eternity, until we were regenerated we were under His wrath. Indeed, it is an awareness of the awful wrath of God against sin that is one of the first proofs that a person is being spiritually awakened by His Spirit.

We are children of wrath by our first birth and by nature as children of Adam, born and conceived in sin. We are that even as others for, apart from God’s grace, we are no different from those who perish, no better, no more worthy of salvation. The only difference is that God, “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5).

We experience God’s anger too, when we are rebellious and disobedient. He chastises us, and we know and feel that He is angry with us for our sin. For a child of God, that is unbearable and it is often used by God to turn us from our sins back to Himself. That was David’s experience: “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4). It was only when he confessed and forsook his sin that he experienced once again the favour of a reconciled God.

God’s displeasure and wrath with sin is revealed nowhere more clearly than at the cross where, in just anger, He punished our sins to the utmost, while at the same time revealing His great love for us. That was true of Christ also. God was never so pleased with His beloved Son as when He bore without complaint Jehovah’s punitive wrath. Surely the cross proves that wrath and love are not opposites or incompatibles.

Third, the change in our experience from being children of wrath to children who know God’s mercy and favour is a matter of our experience and not of change in Him. He is forever and unchangeably a God who hates and punishes sins, “not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness” (Ps. 5:4). He is also forever and unchangeably a God of mercy who has eternally and unchangeably loved us and who, when we sin against Him, reveals that unchangeable love in angry chastisement. His anger and chastisement are both loving and saving, for, as we have seen, the revelation of His unchangeable anger with sin is one of the means He has ordained to bring us to repentance and faith in Christ.

There are few things more wonderful than to experience the favour of God after being conscious of His wrath and displeasure for our sin. God says, “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (Isa. 54:8). And we respond, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). Rev. Ron Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: https://cprc.co.uk/ • Live broadcast: cprc.co.uk/live-streaming/
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • www.youtube.com/cprcni • www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
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Reformed Witness Hour Newsletter - December 2021

News from the
Reformed Witness Hour for December 2021

 

Upcoming Broadcasts for December

 

 
For December, Rev. Bruinsma continues his series on Faith from Hebrews 11 and gives special messages for Christmas and the end of the year. Rev. Bruinsma is the pastor of Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Church in Pittsburgh, PA. 
December 5
Abraham Offers Up Isaac 
Hebrews 11:17-19

December 12
By Faith Isaac Confers the Blessing
Hebrews 11:20

December 19
The Song of the Angels (Christmas)
Luke 2:13,14

December 26
God's Saints Preserved (End of Year)
Psalm 37:27,28
Listen to the current message here
 
 
Reformed Witness Hour Overview

The Reformed Witness Hour is a radio and internet program committed to the proclamation of God’s Truth—that He is pleased to gather His people to Himself in the way of repentance and faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We broadcast on stations in the United Sates, Canada, and Northern Ireland and post our messages on our website and sermonaudio.com.


To learn more about us or to make a donation
to our internet and radio ministry, click here.
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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for November 28, 2021 *(Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, November 28, the forty-eighth Lord's Day of this year 2021.Psalm 32 7

This 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 Creator and Redeemer, who is worthy of all honor and glory.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. ~ Psalm 32:1-2,7,11

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 Hudsonville PRC extended a call to Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC, Jenison, MI). He plans to answer by Dec.19.

  • Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA) has a new trio of Revs. J.Holstege (Zion PRC), J. Langerak (Heritage PRC), and D.Noorman (Southwest PRC); the congregation will vote from this trio tonight. *UPDATE: Rev. J. Langerak received this call.

  • The Council of Doon PRC has formed a new trio of Rev. M. Kortus (Hope PRC-Redlands, CA), Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC), and Rev. N. Decker (Grandville PRC). The congregational meeting is planned for tomorrow evening, Nov.29. *UPDATE: Rev. C. Spronk received this call.
     
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Rev. J. Engelsma (1st week) in Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA); Rev. H.Bleyenberg (2nd week) in Doon (IA) PRC; Rev. T.Miersma in First PRC, Edmonton; Rev. J.Holstege and Rev. D.Lee in Grace PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J.Holstege in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. C.Griess 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...
    • Loveland PRC's Evangelism Committee sponsors a special Bible study at Colorado State University in Fort Collins? This note is in her bulletin today: The evangelism committee encourages our young adults and particularly those of college age to attend our last CSU Bible study of this year on December 7th, at 6:00 p.m. in room 308 in the Lori Study Center. Pizza will be served.
    • Immanuel PRC's elders (Lacombe, AB) are leading the services and using video sermons today and last Sunday while her pastor is in Doon PRC for a classical appointment? Not always easy to find pulpit supply in the West, and Canada in particular, but what great good modern technology can be for hearing the Word. Today that word came through Rev. C. Haak and Prof. B. Huizinga.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

General items:

  • Rev. D. Holstege and his wife Leah plan to return to West Michigan from the Philippines this week after finishing up their labors and personal property there. He preached his farewells today in the Berean and Provident PRCs. May the Lord grant them grace as they part the saints there and prepare to take up their life and work in Wingham PRC.
  • Rev. J.Marcus is filling the pulpit of Crete PRC today while Rev. J. Engelsma is in Spokane, WA on classical appointment.
  • In contrast to last year when no annual sister-church visits could be made due to the pandemic, visits are being planned to N.Ireland and Singapore for December and January. May the Lord fulfill these plans and preparations. Details will be provided by the PRC Contact Committee in due time.

Sign Nov 2021

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • This past week the seminary completed its thirteenth week of the first semester, with two weeks left before exams. Remember to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they move toward the end of the semester. You will find the semester schedule and calendar posted on the seminary's website.
  • The seminary's special conference on preaching was held on Oct.28-29 at Trinity PRC. If you were unable to attend and would like to listen to the speeches, they are available here and here. The videos have also now been posted to the seminary YouTube channel.
  • The Fall 2021 issue of the PRT Journal is being put together. If you missed the Spring issue, it is currently available in its digital forms on the seminary's website as well as 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.
  • The seminary library and bookstore are open daily (M-F, 8-5) for any of your book and Bible needs. The bookstore is a good place to find gifts for the Christmas season! The staff is available to assist with any other needs you may have as well. Feel free to call in advance for help with any questions.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.

ephesians 4 3

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore and her Kolkata, India mission work:
    • From Today's bulletin: We now anticipate the next big event of our church, the Christmas Gospel Meeting, diligently organized by the Evangelism Committee. Before you mark your calendars and send our invitations to loved ones for this event, let us remember to pray specifically for the salvation of those who we are working to invite in these next few weeks leading up to the event. Let us pray boldly, knowing our Sovereign God has sovereignly saved us totally depraved sinners. There is no stopping of God’s irresistible grace. Let us also pray submissively and reverentially, knowing that God is please to both through the gospel, soften or hardened hearts, according to God’s good pleasure and eternal counsel.
    • A new issue of Salt Shakers magazine is out! The October issue (#66) is available online. Our young people and young adults are especially encouraged to read it.
    • The last issue of "Reformed News Asia" is October 2021 - #64. 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 the saints in Ballymena.
    • There's a new CPRC newsletter available this month! Visit this page to view it and read it (*cf. the newsletter column on the right side of the webpage).
    • Be sure to check out the last edition of "Covenant Reformed News" - October 2021. Follow the link to read the latest profitable articles.

  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev. Holstege will lead us in our 1st worship service and Rev. Ibe in our 2nd worship service today, D.V. We welcome Rev. Holstege and Sis. Leah in our pulpit and into our fellowship today. Rev. Holstege will preach his farewell sermon to us this morning with a view to leaving the Philippines to take up the work God has called him to do in Wingham PRC.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. D. Holstege will preach for us today, the Lord willing. He will also be preaching his farewell sermon this afternoon with a view to leaving the Philippines and taking up the work to which the Lord has called him in the Wingham PRC. We welcome him and Sis. Leah to our pulpit and into our fellowship.

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

  • Currently, Rev. W.Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC, Pennsylvania) is the featured speaker, with focus on a series on Hebrews 11. Today's message is based on Heb.11:13-16 and titled "Desiring a Better Country."
  • "The REFORMED WITNESS HOUR (RWH) COMMITTEE thanks you, PRC members, friends, and donors, for your prayers and financial support during 2021.  As you plan for your year-end giving, we ask that you prayerfully consider helping with one of these current RWH costs: continued broadcasts on WYLL in the Chicago area and extended Internet outreach through our website (reformedwitnesshour.org), social media, and SermonAudio.  Thank you for your continued support of this important PRC ministry."
  • Did you read the November RWH newsletter? Visit the link to do so today and keep up with what is happening on the program and website!
  • 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

HHanko summer class federal organic
Check out this new resource, added this week! The lectures from Prof. H. Hanko's summer seminar on "God's Federal and Organic Dealings with Men."

  • 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 running their 25% off sale for the month of December again this year. This sale includes 25% off most books, Bibles, and Bible covers. Come visit us Tuesday - Friday from 10am-5pm, or Saturday from 10am - 1pm!

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Refuge in the Storms
"For the first time, the covenant name of God occurs in the psalm. “God” in the translation of the Authorized Version is in the Hebrew original the name Jehovah. This name of covenant faithfulness, fulfilled in the New Testament in the name Jesus, is added to the name of sovereign power, Adonai, that is, Lord. With regard to all the troubles of earthly life, the psalmist puts his trust in the God of the covenant. In his covenant with the psalmist as a member of Israel, God has promised to be good to the psalmist, not only regarding spiritual life and a future heaven, but also regarding earthly life with all its circumstances here and now. This God can be relied on. He is faithful. In addition, he is mighty to accomplish his promise. He governs health and sickness, prosperity and adversity, success and failure, physical life and physical death. He is Lord of earth, as of heaven.

"The word translated “trust” refers to making the Lord Jehovah one’s refuge. In all the storms of earthly life—the sorrows and disappointments, the loss and shame, the poverty and bereavement, the scorn and persecution—the psalmist makes God his refuge. There will be storms. If there are no storms in the life of the child of God, there is no need of a refuge. If these storms are not violent, there is no need of God as a refuge. To the very last verse, Psalm 73 utterly demolishes the notion that divine love and blessing mean earthly prosperity, ease, and success, whether for the true church (Israel) or for the individual child of God (the psalmist). The psalmist makes God his refuge by believing the covenant promise, “I will be your God, and I will do you good.” With God as his refuge, the psalmist weathers the storms. He bears the troubles patiently. With God as his refuge, the psalmist lets the storms do their profitable work upon him. The troubles work his glory. With God as his refuge, the psalmist will not again stumble and nearly fall, regardless of the severity of the storm in his own life and regardless of the seeming tranquility of the ungodly. God is the “rock of my heart” (v. 26).

~ Prof. David Engelsma in his book Prosperous Wicked and Plagued Saints: An Exposition of Psalm 73 (quoted in a recent RFPA blog post)

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