Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for May 16, 2021 *(Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, May 16, the twentieth Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Isa55 1 2With joy and thanksgiving, today we gather in worship of our triune God through our Savior Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit. May we worship our sovereign King in spirit and in truth and give Him the glory due to His name.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. ~ Isaiah 55:1-3

  • If you are visiting 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.
  • Prof. R. Dykstra is considering the call to Byron Center PRC (MI). He plans to answer by June 6.

  • The Council of Hudsonville PRC announces a new trio: Revs. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC, Dyer, IN), W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC), and Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace, Spokane, WA). The congregational meeting to call one of these men is planned for May 16, after the evening service. *UPDATE: Rev. W. Bruinsma has received this call.
  • The Consistory of Wingham PRC announces a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC), S. Regnerus (Lynden PRC, WA), and M. De Boer (Edgerton PRC, MN). The congregational meeting is on hold due to current covid restrictions in Ontario.
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Prof. D.Kuiper and Rev. D.Noorman in Byron Center PRC; Rev. R. Hanko in Crete PRC (IL); Prof. R. Dykstra and Prof. D.Kuiper in First PRC-Holland; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. C.Griess in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. C.Spronk in Kalamazoo PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. D.Lee in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.

    May we also continue to pray for all the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot receive pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions) and which is also under new lockdown orders, meaning that the church's in-person worship and other meetings are suspended for the time being. May the Lord encourage their hearts during these difficult times and soon open the way for them to gather in person again.

  • 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...
    • two of our younger ministers had new additions to their families this past week? On Monday, Rev. S. Regnerus and his wife Tori had their first child, a boy, whom they names Gerrit James; and on Tuesday, Rev. D. Noorman and his wife Carissa had their second child, a daughter whom they named Quinn Renae. Hearty congratulations on God's covenant blessings!
    • there's a special writing contest this summer for children, young people, and adults? Here's the special word that's out: Beacon Lights is excited to announce that we will be sponsoring a summer writing contest! This contest is for anyone entering seventh grade or older during the 2021-2022 school year and will include monetary prizes for the top FIVE entries in each of the four age groups. Follow the link from the “Contact Us” tab of the Beacon Lights website or use the web address below for more details! https://beaconlights.org/contact-2/summer-writing-contest/ 

GT PRC 2007 2
Georgetown PRC, Hudsonville MI, host of this year's PRC Synod

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Pulpit supply for Covenant ERC, Singapore: The Dykstras returned safely this past Monday. The Smidstras are finishing their quarantine in Singapore (May 20). He will be live-streaming his sermons today from the hotel room (see note below under Covenant ERC news).

  • Classis East met this past Wednesday May 12 at Trinity PRC, concluding its work around midnight. Reports are being distributed to the congregations.

  • PRC Synod 2021: Pre-Synodical Service will be held on Monday evening, June 7, at 7:00 P.M. in Georgetown PRC. Rev. R. VanOverloop will preach the sermon. Synod will begin its 2021 meetings on June 8, at 8 A.M. in Georgetown PRC. Seminary graduation will take place, D.V., on Thursday, June 10 in Georgetown PRC, at 7:30 P.M. Prof. D. Kuiper will give the address.

sem front may 2019 1

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary completed its schedule of final exams this past week, which concludes the second semester. We now enter our spring/summer break. Continiue to pray for the seminary in all her needs. The seminary will be open daily during the spring and summer, except for holidays (M-F, 8-5).
  • After five plus months serving Covenant ERC in Singapore, Prof. R. Dykstra and his wife Carol returned home safely this past Monday.
  • With joy the faculty announces that it has licensed student Matthew Koerner (sophomore) to speak a word of edification in the churches.  We are grateful for the brother’s progress to this point in his training.
  • Senior student Josiah Tan (Covenant ERC, Singapore) plans to be examined at the PRC Synod beginning on June 8 in Georgetown PRC. Seminary graduation will take place, D.V., on Thursday, June 10 in Georgetown PRC, at 7:30 P.M. Prof. D. Kuiper will give the address.
  • Work has begun on the Spring 2021 issue of the PRTS Journal is available. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please call or email the seminary.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.
  • Special Notice for Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2021 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 31st. 

SS April 2021
The latest issue of Salt Shaker is out! *See note below

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • From the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin today: Beloved in the Lord, this morning we welcome Rev Smidstra to our worship service. Rev Smidstra will bring God's word to us via live streaming from the hotel where he is currently serving the stay home notice.We commemorate today, one of the greatest events of the history of redemption, the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven (40 days after His resurrection last Thursday). Rev Smidstra will preach on this glorious account of the ascension this morning.
    • CERC has also returned to increased covid restrictions due to an increase in cases in the country. The congregation is divided into 4 groups which will rotate for in-person services. All other church meetings are suspended or will be held online. Let us remember them in prayer during this time.
    • The April 2021 issue of Salt Shakers is now available! Visit the link to read the edifying articles. Espeically are young people are encouraged to do so!
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word in person to the saints in Ballymena.
    • The April issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" was recently published - be sure to make it part of your reading!
    • Rev. M.McGeown continues to minister the Word virtually in Limerick until he is able to come to the U.S. to serve Providence PRC. To read his last update (newletter), visit this page. But read this update in today's bulletin: The government has relaxed restrictions so that we are now permitted to gather again for public worship. We are thankful to our heavenly Father for this development. “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD” (Ps. 122:1).
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • The latest Philippine Newsletter may be found here.
    • Berean PRC bulletin: Rev.Ibe will lead us in our worship services today, D.V. FYI, live streaming of our worship services will be available on Berean PRC Facebook page. The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us in our worship services via live streaming at Facebook live, Lord willing.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. R. Kleyn will preach for us today, the Lord willing. The live streaming of our services will be available on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page.
    • PRCP Seminary News: The seminary completed its classes for this current school year this past Friday. The students will now have their exams. May the Lord strengthen them to give a good account of the things they have learned.

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!

RKleyn RWH

  • Rev. R.Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) is currently doing a series on the Gospel according to Mark. Today's message is based on Mark 3:1-6 and titled "The Healing of a Withered Hand."
  • 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. Have you listened lately?
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet (see the attachment to this news post for the latest one - April 2021). 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 Commitee 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

WhyPsalter 1

 Do you know why we sing from the Psalter, versifications of the Psalms? Find the answer in this resource.

  • Want to learn 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.

  • Reformed Book Outlet news: The Reformed Book Outlet has reopened and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). If you have any needs during this time, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Christian liberty is in all its parts a spiritual matter, the whole force of which consists in giving peace to trembling consciences, whether anxious and disquieted as to the forgiveness of sins, or whether their imperfect works polluted by the infirmities of the flesh are pleasing to God, or whether they are perplexed as to the use of things indifferent. It is perversely interpreted by those who use it as a cloak for their lusts that they may licentiously abuse the good gifts of God, or think there is no liberty unless it is used before men, and in using it pay no regard to their weak brethren. But by this the sins of the present age are made more numerous. For there is scarcely any one whose means allow him to live sumptuously, who does not delight in feasting, dress and the luxurious grandeur of his house, who wishes not to surpass his neighbor in every kind of delicacy and does not plume himself amazingly on his splendor. And all these things are defended under the pretext of Christian liberty. They say they are things indifferent. I admit it, provided they are used indifferently. But when they are too eagerly longed for, proudly boasted of, and indulged in luxurious profusion, things which otherwise were in themselves lawful are certainly defiled by these vices.

John Calvin (taken from Trinity PRC's bulletin this week)

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for May 9, 2021

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, May 9, the nineteenth Lord's Day of this year 2021.

Isa 58 13With joy and thanksgiving, today we gather in worship of our triune God through our Savior Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit. May we worship our sovereign King in spirit and in truth and give Him the glory due to His name.

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. ~ Isaiah 58:13,14

  • If you are visiting 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.
  • This week Thursday evening, May 13, the PRC congregations will gather in worship for Ascension Day, commemorating the glorification to heaven of our great Savior-King, Jesus Christ. Visitors are cordially welcome to join us. For service times, visit the churches webpage here. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Psalm 68:18

  • Last Sunday Rev. R. Van Overloop (Grace PRC, Standale, MI) declined the call to Kalamazoo PRC.
  • Last Sunday Byron Center PRC extended a call to Prof. R. Dykstra (PRCA Seminary).
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Prof. D.Kuiper and Rev. G.Eriks in Byron Center PRC; Sem. J.Tan and Prof. B. Gritters in First PRC-Holland; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J.Marcus  in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. J.Maatman in Kalamazoo PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Prof. R.Cammenga in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.

    May we also continue to pray for all the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot receive pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions) and which is also under new lockdown orders (for up to 6 weeks), meaning that the church's in-person worship and other meetings are suspended for the time being. May the Lord encourage their hearts during these difficult times and soon open the way for them to gather in person again.

  • 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.

TrinityPRC new sanctuary 2018
Trinity PRC, Hudsonville MI. host of this week's Classis East meeting

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • The Lord in His providence was pleased to deliver Prof. Robert Decker to glory this past Wednesday, May 5. Prof. Decker faithfully served the Protestant Reformed Churches in the capacity of pastor and professor for over 40 years. We thank the Lord for the gift of servants in His church. The funeral was held Saturday. Please remember to keep his widow Marilyn and the Decker family in your prayers during this time. John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

  • Pulpit supply for Covenant ERC, Singapore: The Dykstras will leave Singapore Monday morning (see note in CERC bulletin below). And from First PRC-Holland's bulletin today we have this update: The Smidstras are doing well under quarantine in Singapore. They report that they are being well taken care of by the saints there! They learned this week, however, that due to the rise of COVID cases in Singapore, as well as rising cases globally, the SHN period for travelers will be extended from 14 days to 21 days. This means they will be quarantined until May 20. May the LORD continue to bless them with health and patience as they wait on Him.

  • Classis East meeting: Classis East meets this Wednesday May 12 at 8:00 am at Trinity PRC.
  • Prof. David Engelsma will be discussing his commentary on the Belgic Confession this week Wednesday, May 12, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. EST on the national radio program "Iron Sharpens Iron" with Chris Arnzen. You can tune in using the following link: https://www.ironsharpensironradio.com/.

Front May 2020 3

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary completed its fifteenth and final week of classes last week; final exams will be held this week. Pray for the students as they take these exams and remember the rest of the seminary in your prayers too.
  • After five plus months serving Covenant ERC, Prof. R. Dykstra and his wife Carol plan to leave Singapore Monday morning and return to the States. May the Lord grant traveling mercies to them.
  • With joy the faculty announces that it has licensed student Matthew Koerner (sophomore) to speak a word of edification in the churches.  We are grateful for the brother’s progress to this point in his training.  All scheduling of Mr. Koerner must be done through the seminary, either by sending a request to the seminary secretary, Miss Sharon Kleyn, or the rector, Prof. R. Cammenga.
  • Work has begun on the Spring 2021 issue of the PRTS Journal is available. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please call or email the seminary.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.
  • Special Notice for Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2021 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 31st. 

CPRC News Header

SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • From the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin today: Note from the Dykstras: We find ourselves at the end of a most enjoyable five months in your congregation. Your amazing hospitality and extraordinary care for us was overwhelming. ...We thank God for the privilege of being able to live and work here for these months. God be praised for the love and encouragement you demonstrated to us. We have no doubt that your will care for the Smidstras will be equally gracious.
    • Re the Kolkata, India mission (CERC bulletin last week): Do remember Rev Emmanuel and the fellowship in Kolkata in your prayer. Due to the serious COVID 19 situation in India, they have to stop gathering in Church for worship on Sunday. Rev Emmanuel will be conducting the worship services through livestreaming. Pray that the members could have the resources to access the online services. Pray also for their physical and spiritual wellbeing as they battled through these difficult times.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word in person to the saints in Ballymena.
    • The April issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" was recently published - be sure to make it part of your reading!
    • Rev. M.McGeown continues to minister the Word virtually in Limerick until he is able to come to the U.S. to serve Providence PRC. To read his last update (newletter), visit this page. But read this update in today's bulletin: We are thankful that, from tomorrow (10 May), inter-county travel and public worship services of up to 50 people are permitted. We plan to meet for worship at the hall next Sunday for the first time since 20 December 2020.  “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the LORD.”
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • A new Philippine Newsletter was recently released! Read it at the link provided here.
    • From Berean PRC in Manila: Rev. D.Kleyn will lead us in our worship services today. The live streaming will be available on Berean PRC Facebook page. ...Rev. Ibe and Deacon Rudy San Juan are visiting with the saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. Rev. Ibe is scheduled to lead them in their Worship Service at 9am, Lord willing.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. R. Smit will preach for us today, the Lord willing. Next Sunday, Rev. D. Kleyn is scheduled to preach for us. The live streaming of our services will be available on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page.
    • PRCP Seminary News: Online classes are continuing at present, with the semester coming to an end soon.

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!

RKleyn RWH

  • Rev. R.Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) is currently doing a series on the Gospel according to Mark. Today's message is based on Mark 2:23-28 and titled "Legalism and the Sabbath."
  • 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. Have you listened lately?
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet (see the attachment to this news post for the latest one - April 2021). 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 Commitee 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

BL header lighthouse

 Young people, are you using the Beacon Lights magazine to grow in your faith and walk with the Lord?

  • Want to learn 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.

  • Reformed Book Outlet news: The Reformed Book Outlet has reopened and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). If you have any needs during this time, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This Week's Thought for Contemplation

Q. 46.  How dost thou understand these words, “He ascended into heaven”?
A.  That Christ, in sight of His disciples, was taken up from earth into heaven; and that He continues there for our interest, until He comes again to judge the quick and the dead.

Q. 47.  Is not Christ then with us even to the end of the world, as He hath promised?
A.  Christ is very man and very God; with respect to His human nature, He is no more on earth; but with respect to His Godhead, majesty, grace, and spirit, He is at no time absent from us.

Q. 48.  But if His human nature is not present wherever His Godhead is, are not then these two natures in Christ separated from one another?
A.  Not at all, for since the Godhead is illimitable and omnipresent, it must necessarily follow that the same is beyond the limits of the human nature He assumed, and yet is nevertheless in this human nature and remains personally united to it.

Q. 49.  Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension into heaven?
A.  First, that He is our advocate in the presence of His Father in heaven; secondly, that we have our flesh in heaven as a sure pledge that He, as the Head, will also take up to Himself, us, His members; thirdly, that He sends us His Spirit as an earnest, by whose power we seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, and not things on earth.

~ Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 18 on Christ's ascension to heaven

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In Memoriam: Prof. Robert D. Decker, 1940 - 2021

DeckerRD ObituaryProf. Robert Dale Decker, age 80 of Jenison, while surrounded by his loving family, departed this life to behold his Lord and Savior face to face on May 5, 2021.

Robert attended Grand Rapids Christian High, Calvin College, the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary and then received his Master of Theology degree from Calvin Theological Seminary.  He spent his life serving the Protestant Reformed churches as a pastor in Doon, Iowa, and South Holland, Illinois, and 33 years as a professor in the Protestant Reformed Seminary. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter and Dorothy Decker. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 59 years, Marilyn Poelstra Decker, by his children Deborah Altena (Doug), Daniel Decker (Denise), Timothy Decker (Kathy), and Jonathan Decker (Sarah), and by his nine loving grandchildren, and three precious great-grandchildren. He also is survived by his sister Mary Potjer (Carl), his sister Doris Hoksbergen (Ken), and his brother James Decker (Nancy). 

The funeral service will be held at 12:00 noon, Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church, 7146 48th Avenue, Hudsonville MI 49426, with Rev. Carl Haak and Rev. Nathan Decker officiating.   Visitation will be 4:00-7:30 pm, Friday also at Georgetown PRC, and again on Saturday 10:30-11:30am prior to the funeral service.

(Facial coverings and social distancing observed/required at visitation, all current church worship restrictions will be observed during the funeral service.)  Private interment will be in Georgetown Twp. Cemetery. 

Memorial contributions to the Protestant Reformed Seminary.  You can watch livestream at www.georgetownprc.org

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PRC and Sister-Church News Highlights for May 2, 2021 *(Updated)

The following are special highlights of PRC and sister-church news for this Sunday, May 2, the eighteenth Lord's Day of this year 2021.

psalm 2 1Today we rejoice to gather in worship of our triune God through our Savior Jesus Christ and by the power of His Holy Spirit. May we worship our King in spirit and in truth and give Him the glory due to His name.

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. ...Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. ~ Psalm 2:6,7, 11,12

  • If you are visiting 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.
  • Today Rev. R. Van Overloop (Grace PRC, Standale, MI) declined the call to Kalamazoo PRC.
  • The Council of Byron Center PRC has formed a new trio: Rev. R. Barnhill (Peace PRC), Prof. R. Dykstra (PRCA Seminary), and Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC). A congregational meeting will be held, D.V., following the evening service tonight. *UPDATE: Prof. R. Dykstra has received this call.
  • Classical appointments and pulpit supply for today in the vacant PRCs: Prof. D.Kuiper and W.Langerak in Byron Center PRC; Prof. R.Cammenga and Rev. J.Mahtani in Hudsonville PRC; Prof. B.Huizinga and Rev. C.Haak in Kalamazoo PRC; Prof. B.Gritters and Rev. C.Griess in Providence PRC. We thank the Lord for this blessing of our church federation to help one another in this need.

    May we also continue to pray for all the needs of these vacant congregations, including Wingham PRC, which cannot receive pulpit supply from the U.S. at this time (pandemic travel restrictions) and which is also under new lockdown orders (for up to 6 weeks), meaning that the church's in-person worship and other meetings are suspended for the time being. May the Lord encourage their hearts during these difficult times and soon open the way for them to gather in person again.

  • 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.

PRC DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

  • Concerning the condition of Prof. R. Decker (from Georgetown PRC's bulletin today): Prof. Robert Decker is now confined to bed as he awaits the moment of his deliverance from this life to the presence of his Savior in Glory. He is content, confesses his confidence in God’s grace, and is thankful to his Lord for His love and faithfulness to him. He and his family wait on the Lord in prayer.  “Thou shalt guide me by Thy counsel and afterward receive me into glory.” Psalm 73:24
  • Classis East meeting: Classis East meets May 12 at 8:00 am at Trinity PRC.
  • Upcoming pulpit supply for Covenant ERC, Singapore (from First PRC-Holland's bulletin today): Rev. and Kelly Smidstra left on Tuesday morning [April 27] and arrived safely in Singapore where they will assist our sister church, Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church, for the summer months. They are now in a two-week quarantine period in a designated hotel. Rev. Smidstra plans to begin regular preaching on Sunday, May 16.

April 2021 sunrise sign

PRC Seminary Notices:

  • The seminary completed its fourteenth week of the semester last week; that means one week of classes before final exams. Continue to remember the seminary's faculty, students, and staff in your prayers as we approach the final part of the semester.
  • With joy the faculty announces that it has licensed student Matthew Koerner (sophomore) to speak a word of edification in the churches.  We are grateful for the brother’s progress to this point in his training.  All scheduling of Mr. Koerner must be done through the seminary, either by sending a request to the seminary secretary, Miss Sharon Kleyn, or the rector, Prof. R. Cammenga.
  • The print version of the Fall 2020 issue of the PRTS Journal is available. The digital copies (pdf & epub) have been posted on the seminary website. Work has now begun on the Spring issue. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please call or email the seminary.
  • For the latest seminary news and information, visit the seminary's website.
  • Special Notice for Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2021 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 31st. 

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SISTER-CHURCH/MISSION NEWS:

  • Covenant ERC, Singapore: 
    • From the "Pastoral Voice" in her bulletin today: We thank God for the safe arrival of Rev and Mrs Smidstra to Singapore. They are now serving their SHN (Stay Home Notice) at Swissotel for the next 14 days. God willing, they will able to move to the Bishan Apartment after 13May. We are thankful to God for their willingness and sacrifice to come to Singapore to assist us. They will be with us for the next 4 months. With the arrival of the Smidstras, we will soon have to bid farewell to Prof and Carol Dykstra. They will beleaving us and journey back to the States on 10 May. We are indeed thankful to God for their ministry in our midst. We are much bless through the preaching and teaching and godly advice from Prof for the last 6 months. May the Lord continue to use them greatly as they prepare to return back home.
    • Re the Kolkata, India mission (CERC bulletin today): Do remember Rev Emmanuel and the fellowship in Kolkata in your prayer. Due to the serious COVID 19 situation in India, they have to stop gathering in Church for worship on Sunday. Rev Emmanuel will be conducting the worship services through livestreaming. Pray that the members could have the resources to access the online services. Pray also for their physical and spiritual wellbeing as they battled through these difficult times.
  • Covenant PRC, N. Ireland and her Limerick, Ireland mission:
    • Rev. A. Stewart continues to minister the Word in person to the saints in Ballymena.
    • The April issue of the "Covenant Reformed News" was published last week - be sure to make it part of your reading!
    • Rev. M.McGeown continues to minister the Word in Limerick until he is able to come to the U.S. to serve Providence PRC. To read his last update (newletter), visit this page.
  • PRC in the Philippines and her mission work:
    • A new Philippine Newsletter was recently released! Read it at the link provided here.
    • From Berean PRC in Manila: Rev. R.Smit will lead us in our worship services today. The live streaming will be available on Berean PRC Facebook page. ...The saints in All of Grace Protestant Reformed Fellowship (AGPRF), Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join in our worship services via live streaming available on Berean PRC Facebook page. Our pastor [Rev. V. Ibe] is scheduled to preach at Provident PRC in Marikina City today by a Classical appointment, D.V.
    • Provident PRC bulletin: Rev. V. Ibe led her services today. Our Wednesday Bible Study has been suspended for now due to the present restrictions and the curfew hours that the government has imposed. Our Bible study will resume again as soon as it is determined that we are able to do so, and the Lord willing.
    • PRCP Seminary News: Online classes are continuing at present.
    • The Classis of the PRCP was able to complete its work this past Sunday. The next Classis meeting is scheduled for June 12, the Lord willing.

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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!

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  • Rev. R.Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) is currently doing a series on the Gospel according to Mark. Today's message is based on Mark 2:18-22 and titled "Joy in the Groom's Presence."
  • 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. Have you listened lately?
  • The Reformed Witness Hour publishes each month's messages in an attractive booklet (see the attachment to this news post for the latest one - April 2021). 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 Commitee 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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 Are you committed to marriage as God ordained it? For a good resource on this subject, read this pamphlet.

  • Want to learn 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.

  • Reformed Book Outlet news: The Reformed Book Outlet has reopened and you are welcome to shop the store in downtown Hudsonville (MI). If you have any needs during this time, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This Week's Thought for Contemplation:

What then shall bring about the kingdom?  

There is only one power: the silent, small, seemingly insignificant, oft despised power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe this. This gospel, by the power of the Holy Ghost, works from within. Quietly, invisibly, yet powerfully and effectively it works its way through the whole man—through the whole church—until the whole is not only affected but purified and made new. Mysterious, other-worldly, yet powerful—such is the working of leaven. Can one see it? Not at all. But trust and wait; it will surely do its work. Either the gospel is the power of that kingdom, or there is nothing that can bring the kingdom to realization.

...It takes time for the preaching of the gospel to work. We must be patient and trust its power. What the gospel brings with its leavening power is far greater than anything which can be found in the world. The gospel penetrates into every part of the life of the elect child of God. … It regenerates and sanctifies. Working from the heart, it floods the soul. It enlightens the mind and renews the will. It makes of a sinner a saint; of a guilt-ridden object of wrath a beautiful disciple who walks in the light of God’s love. It takes away all that is old and makes a new creature conformed to the image of Christ.  

~ Prof. H. Hanko (Mysteries of the Kingdom, pp. 47-49) Found in Covenant PRC's bulletin this week

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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for May 2021

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First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for May 2021 on the RWH radio/Internet program.

This month Rev. R. Kleyn, pastor of Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA, continues his series on the Gospel according to Mark and the life and work of the Savior Jesus Christ. Be sure to tune in for these important messages. The schedule for this month is laid out below and also attached in pdf form.

RKleyn 2020

May 2, 2021 - Joy in the Groom's Presence, Mark 2:18-22

May 9, 2021 - Legalism and the Sabbath, Mark 2:23-28

May 16, 2021 - The Healing of a Withered Hand, Mark 3:1-6

May 23, 2021 - The Pressures of Jesus' Ministry, Mark 3:7-12

May 30, 2021 - The Appointment of the Twelve, Mark 3:13-19

You are encouraged to listen to these important messages and to let others know about them too. Help spread the word about the Reformed Witness Hour, now in its 80th year of broadcasting the truths of God's sovereign, particular, efficacious grace!

DID YOU KNOW? Our weekly broadcast is available as a podcast on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and most other podcast apps. Subscribe today by searching for “Reformed Witness Hour”.

Visit our website for the latest podcast and for other news and information!

And don't forget our Spanish programs on YouTube!

The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email by simply signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL .  Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.

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Use the attached flyer (pdf) to spread the news of these important gospel messages!

PO Box 1230, Grand Rapids MI, 49501 | reformedwitnesshour.org | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list to receive the printed booklet of the messages each month, send an email to Judi Doezema at doezema at prca.org.

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Covenant Reformed News - April 2021

Covenant Reformed News


April 2021 • Volume XVIII, Issue 12



Introducing the Catholicity of the Church

The church of Jesus Christ possesses four (central) attributes: unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. Unlike the other three attributes, some raise an objection against the word “catholicity” or “catholic.” The (readily understandable) problem that they see with the word “catholic” is its association with the word “Roman,” so that, when the word “catholic” is used, some think, “Roman Catholic.” Even though the Roman Catholic Church is a false church, we should not jettison the venerable and, rightly understood, precise and profound theological word “catholic.”

The Apostles’ Creed states, “I believe an holy catholic church.” The Nicene Creed’s formulation is a little longer and more developed: “I believe one holy catholic and apostolic church.” The Heidelberg Catechism asks, “What believest thou concerning the ‘holy catholic church’ of Christ?” (Q. 54). The Canons of Dordt appeal to “the article of faith according to which we believe the catholic Christian church” (II:R:1). Belgic Confession 27 is even headed “The Catholic Christian Church” and begins, “We believe and profess one catholic ... church.” The creeds reflect almost 2,000 years of the use of the word “catholic” and indicate that orthodox Protestantism in the last half a millennium has retained it, even in its confessions.

Our English word “catholic” comes from Greek via Latin and means “according to the whole.” It is a richer idea than “universal” and it more fully captures the profundity of the biblical teaching, being just the right word.

Our approach to the word “catholic” includes two elements. First, where misunderstandings might arise, we explain that it means “universal.” This is what the fifteenth-century pre-Reformer and martyr, Jan Hus, does at the start of his great work De Ecclesia (1413): “But the holy catholic—that is, universal—church is the totality of the predestinate or all the predestinate, past, present and future.” Likewise John Calvin explains, “The church is called ‘catholic,’ or ‘universal’” (Institutes 4.1.2).

Similarly, Belgic Confession 27 states, “We believe and profess one catholic or universal church.” Westminster Confession 25 opens with these words: “The catholick or universal church” (25:1), and later refers to the “visible church, which is also catholick or universal under the gospel” (25:2). Then it speaks of the “catholick visible church” (25:3) and the “catholick church” (25:4), without needing again to add “or universal.”

Second, we bring out the rich idea of the word “catholic,” for “according to the whole” is wider and more profound than “universal.” Thus the Heidelberg Catechism explains the church’s catholicity in terms of its being gathered “out of the whole human race” (A. 54). Lord willing, this and subsequent articles will develop the many blessed aspects of this beautiful truth.

Let us now turn to what we may refer to as the church’s geographical catholicity. God elects, redeems, gathers and preserves a church in the Lord Jesus Christ that consists of people from every country or nation in every continent.

This element of the catholicity of the church has been used polemically in church history, sometimes rightly and sometimes wrongly. The Donatists were a schismatic group in North Africa that existed from the fourth to the seventh centuries. Their theological opponents, like Augustine, criticized them for confining the church to lands south of the Mediterranean. This was a valid point against the Donatists but, it should also be added, catholicity considered alone or abstractly is not sufficient to determine which ecclesiastical group or groups are approved of God.

In his polemic against the false doctrines of the Papacy, Jan Hus pointed out that there are various parts to the church: part under the Bishop of Rome, part in Eastern Orthodoxy, part in Bohemia (where Hus laboured), etc. There was some value in the pre-Reformer’s arguments in his day, though Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are far worse today than they were in the fifteenth century, for both have officially and creedally condemned the Christian gospel of the Reformation, and apostatized.

In the sixteenth century, Rome used (or, rather, abused) the catholicity of the church against the Reformation. “The Protestants,” they claimed, “are mostly holed up in northern Europe, whereas we are strong in southern Europe, we possess the far-flung Portuguese and Spanish empires, and we have a considerable presence in northern Europe too.” The persecution and flight of southern European Protestants is, of course, part of the explanation for this. Moreover, in the last few centuries, the biblical truths of the Reformation have spread through Protestant colonies and missionary work in all continents and all (or almost all) countries and islands.

Belgic Confession 27 explains that Christ’s catholic church is “not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place.” One “place” to which the creed is alluding is Rome, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. “Roman Catholic” is even a contradiction in terms, for the first word refers to a city and the last word means universal. Besides, from 1309 to 1377, seven popes reigned in Avignon in southern France.

Jerusalem is a second “place” on earth to which Jesus’ catholic church is not “bound.” Here the truth stands over against Judaism, as well as (Judaizing) premillennialism and dispensationalism. These eschatological systems falsely teach that, during a literal 1,000 years, the Lord will reign on earth from a throne on Mount Zion, and the land of Israel and its cities will be especially holy. However, Christ’s catholic church neither has nor will have any earthly headquarters or homeland in this age (Phil. 3:20). Rev. Stewart

 

What Happened to the Ark?

In connection with Israel’s return from captivity in Babylon and the fact that the second temple did not contain the ark of the covenant, someone has asked, “What happened to the ark?” Very simply, the answer to this question is that we do not know what happened to the ark. However, there is more that can be said.

The last time the ark is mentioned in Scripture is in the days of Josiah, Judah’s last good king. He had the ark put back in the temple: “[Josiah] said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the Lord, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the Lord your God, and his people Israel” (II Chron. 35:3). Apparently, the ark was not where it belonged when he became king, but those Levites who were still faithful had been carrying it around from place to place.

This passage indicates that the ark was around until the time of Jerusalem’s destruction and then was lost when the Babylonians took the city. Perhaps the Babylonians destroyed it as a symbol of Israel’s God and to gain all the gold of which it was made. Tradition, however, says that the ark was hidden in caves or tunnels under the temple mountain or elsewhere, and various groups have looked for it there and in other places, even as far away as Ireland. All we know is that the ark was not in the most holy place of the temple at the time of Jesus.

The Apocryphal book of II Maccabees says that Jeremiah hid the ark before Jerusalem was destroyed: “It was also contained in the same writing, how the prophet, being warned by God, commanded that the tabernacle and the ark should accompany him, till he came forth to the mountain where Moses went up, and saw the inheritance of God. And when Jeremias came thither he found a hollow cave: and he carried in thither the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. Then some of them that followed him, came up to mark the place: but they could not find it. And when Jeremias perceived it, he blamed them, saying: The place shall be unknown, till God gather together the congregation of the people, and receive them to mercy. And then the Lord will shew these things, and the majesty of the Lord shall appear, and there shall be a cloud as it was also shewed to Moses, and he shewed it when Solomon prayed that the place might be sanctified to the great God” (2:4-8). II Maccabees, however, is not inspired and is very untrustworthy. Its account is not to be believed.

British Israelitism, which believes that the Anglo-Saxon races are the lost ten tribes, also holds that the ark will someday be rediscovered. British Israelites are among those who have looked for the ark in Ireland under the Hill of Tara and elsewhere. Appeal is made to II Chronicles 36:18 and Ezra 1:7-11, which do not specifically mention the ark’s being taken to Babylon or returned, though II Chronicles 36:18 does speak of temple treasures being removed by Nebuchadnezzar.

Dispensationalism, with its belief in an earthly future for Israel, including the rebuilding of the temple, also looks for the ark to be rediscovered. One advocate wrote, “The Bible does seem to indicate that the Ark of the Covenant will be rediscovered in the end times. Revelation 11:19, ‘Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.’”

Various movies and books have popularized the idea that the ark still exists and is hidden somewhere, but this is very unlikely. God saw to it that the Old Testament types, including the temple itself, were destroyed, so that His people would look away from those things to Christ who is the fulfilment of them all.

Indeed, even if the ark were found, it would only be an object of historical curiosity and of no more spiritual value than offering animal sacrifices in our day or the discovery of the physical tables of the law—which are now written in “fleshy tables of the heart” (II Cor. 3:3). That is not to say, of course, that there would not be those who would superstitiously worship the ark, but their veneration would be as foolish as that of the Jews who continued to eat the lamb of the Passover while not believing in Christ, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Even in the Old Testament, the ark of the covenant had no power or value in itself. When brought to the battlefield in the days of Eli (I Sam. 4:1-11), it did not guarantee Israel’s success in battle but was captured by the Philistines. When, however, the Philistines assumed that they had prevailed over and captured Israel’s God, He sent plagues wherever they moved the ark until they were forced to send it back.

It must be remembered that the ark in the Old Testament was only a symbol of the covenant God’s promise to live among His people. His presence was not limited to the ark, nor was He always present where the ark resided. When Israel was on its way to Canaan and the tabernacle was moved, the cloud of glory that ordinarily resided in the tabernacle left the ark and the tabernacle to guide the nation to its next encampment.

Even before the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah foretold a time when the ark would no longer be around or necessary: “And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more” (3:16). That day has come and it no longer matters what became of the ark that Moses made.

The truth is that Christ is the true ark of the covenant and the One who must be worshipped. As God lived among His people through the ark in the Old Testament, so He now lives among us through Christ, for in Him “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). As God then revealed Himself to His people from the ark, so He now reveals Himself in Christ. He is the fulfilment of the ark in that in Him mercy and justice meet, just as they did in the Old Testament when the mercy seat, the covering of the ark, was placed over the law. When John sees the ark of the covenant in heaven (Rev. 11:19), therefore, he sees not the old ark of wood and gold, but Christ Himself.

What good, in any case, would a wooden box be to us, though covered with gold? In Christ, we have everything and lack nothing. 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  
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