PRC News Highlights for August 9, 2020 *(Updated)

Colossians 3 12The following are special highlights of PRC News for this Sunday, August 9, 2020, the thirty-second Lord's Day of this year.

  •  Last Sunday Rev. H. Bleyenberg was installed as minister of Immanuel PRC. We rejoice with that congregation in God's bringing to them their new pastor after many months of waiting. May the Lord give him a faithful and fruitful ministry in that place.

  • Today Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC) declined the call from Kalamazoo PRC. We continue to keep the needs of this congregation in our prayers. May the Lord soon provide them with an undershepherd of their own.

  • Rev. M. Vanderwal (Wingham ON PRC) is considering the call to First PRC, Edmonton, AB (received July 26). He plans to answer by next Sunday, August 16.

  • Cornerstone PRC has announced the following trio: Rev. M. De Boer (Edgerton PRC); Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC); and Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC). *UPDATE: Rev. M. DeBoer has received this call.

  • Rev. G. Eriks will preach his farewell sermon to the Hudsonville congregation on Sunday, August 16 and will be installed as Unity PRC's first pastor the following week, August 23, during the morning service.

  • We continue to remember in prayer the needs of Rev. J. Marcus, who awaits a call to the churches, and of Covenant ERC, our sister church in Singapore, as she awaits both pulpit supply from the PRC and a call for minister-on-loan through Grandville PRC - both on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.
     
  • 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.

  • Did you know... that
    • our First PRC in Edmonton is considering several options for church building expansion? This was from her Council in today's bulletin:

      The New Building Committee is presenting THREE options for the congregation to review and consider.  Handouts will be available downstairs in your mailboxOption 1 is the expansion and renovation of our existing building.  Option 2 is the Spring Lake church, at a reduced price.  Option 3 is the purchase of a bare parcel of land for new construction of a church and parsonage.  All of this information is being presented for your consideration only at this time.  An Open House has been scheduled at the Spring Lake church for Saturday, August 15, from 1:00-3:00 PM.  This will be followed by a Congregational Meeting at OUR church at 4:00 PM.  There will be a further Congregational Meeting on Friday, August 21 at 7:30 PM for voting as needed, allowing time for all congregants to consider these options prayerfully.

    • our active emeritus ministers are keeping busy with preaching assignments in the U.S. this summer? Revs. A.denHartog, R. Hanko, K. Koole, T. Miersma, and J. Slopsema have been filling pulpits from Lynden WA to Dyer IN of late. With minister vacations, classical appointments, and vacant congregations, these men are in demand, and we are grateful for their ability and willingness to travel to those churches in need.

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

  • Currently Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) is delivering the messages and this month he is focusing on the truth of God's covenant of grace. Today's message is titled "The Kingdom of David's Seed Established Forever" based on 2 Samuel 7:12-14 Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

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Thought for contemplation:

Are not the servants of the LORD, which serve at night, God’s people as they leave the worship services and go back to their homes and their workweek? Whether it is cleaning the house or feeding the family, or working in the factory or field or office, perhaps our work seems so menial and insignificant. But God has called you to that service. Do it now with all the passion and devotion of serving the LORD. Bless the LORD in all of your labors, even if no one else sees or notices your work!

Why is this important? Did you notice how many times in this psalm the LORD is mentioned? Five times! It is His covenant name that is mentioned, even though that is not readily apparent in the psalm.(Sadly, the KJV authors followed the Jews by replacing the name Jehovah with the word LORD in all capital letters.) He is the great “I AM”. He is faithful even when we are not. He is the creator. He is the one who blesses His people “out of Zion.” He pours out His blessings upon his church through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is worthy of your and my wholehearted devotion, love, and willing service.

From one of this past week's special meditations by Rev. A. Spriensma, PRC home missionary ("The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord")

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The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

The Call to Servants of the Lord to Bless the Lord

Meditation on Psalm 134 

Behold, Bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up you r hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.

This is the last Song of Ascent, and the shortest. What progress has been made as these psalms were put together. At the beginning of these psalms, God’s people were far from the temple, seeing it from afar. But with joy, they kept on going till they were finally at the door of the temple. Entering the temple, they joined in unified worship. “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in were they called to do? These temple servants were the Levites. They were the assistants to the priests. They worked in the temple unity.” Now it was time to go back home. In Psalm 134, there was a call to the temple servants, who serve at night, to bless the LORD.

Who are these servants, and what was their work? They were gate keepers, guards at the door, singers, janitors cleaning and preparing the temple for the next day’s activities. Theirs was a hard and menial work, working day and night. They would lodge at the temple so that the temple would be ready for the morning services. They “stand” , we read, being ready in their place of service.

They were called to “Bless the Lord.” The word means “to speak well of”. We do not give something to God. The word means to praise the LORD joyfully and willingly. In verse 2, they were told to “lift up your hands in the sanctuary.” In their work in the temple, as they prepare for the sacrifices, and clean the floors of the blood, they were to give themselves wholeheartedly in devotion of God. At night, the crowds and pilgrims are gone, but the activity of the temple was busy. How would these servants carry out their menial jobs? Would they half-heartedly clean the floor, or sleepily guard the doors, or slowly get the materials for the next day ready? No! Even though no one would observe them at their work, they were called to do their work with whole-hearted devotion and love to God!

The literal temple in Jerusalem is no more. What does this psalm say to you and me? Who are these servants, and how are they serving God still today in the night? Are they not the ministers of God’s Word? Yes, you hear them on Sunday as they proclaim the gospel. But as you leave the worship services, do you encourage and pray for your minister as he carries out his work during the week? A lot of the work is done out of your sight. It might seem rather menial: teach catechism, lead societies, lead consistory and council meetings, visit the sick and aged, spend long hours in the study immersed in God’s Word and preparing sermons. It is hard work. How is it done? Is it with the same zeal and devotion as the preaching of God’s Word on Sunday when everyone is watching and listening? “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD.” Oh minister, be devoted to your God and his worship in all of your tasks!

Are not the servants of the LORD, which serve at night, God’s people as they leave the worship services and go back to their homes and their workweek? Whether it is cleaning the house or feeding the family, or working in the factory or field or office, perhaps our work seems so menial and insignificant. But God has called you to that service. Do it now with all the passion and devotion of serving the LORD. Bless the LORD in all of your labors, even if no one else sees or notices your work!

Why is this important? Did you notice how many times in this psalm the LORD is mentioned? Five times! It is His covenant name that is mentioned, even though that is not readily apparent in the psalm.(Sadly, the KJV authors followed the Jews by replacing the name Jehovah with the word LORD in all capital letters.) He is the great “I AM”. He is faithful even when we are not. He is the creator. He is the one who blesses His people “out of Zion.” He pours out His blessings upon his church through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is worthy of your and my wholehearted devotion, love, and willing service.

How we need to ask God for forgiveness when in our everyday work, we carry it out in a careless or detached way. Maybe at times we are even resentful that we have these callings. How often we can waste away our time. We are called to “lift up your hands in the sanctuary.” May we not just go through the motions without passion, or neglect opportunities to serve the Lord with gladness in our everyday occupations. Live consciously before the Lord, and speak well of Him. Whether worshipping in God’s house on Sunday or doing the rather menial tasks of the weekdays, do it for the Lord in loving, willing, and eager devotion! “Bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.”

Ye saints, your joy proclaim and glory in the Name, Of God above; And when the daylight dies, ere sleep shall close your eyes, Let praise to God arise for all his love.”  ~ Felice Giardini

 

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Covenant Reformed News - July 2020

Covenant Reformed News


July 2020 • Volume XVIII, Issue 3



Justification and the Five Solas

Romans 4:1-3 teaches all of the five Reformation solas or alones or onlys. Justification is by faith alone (sola fide). It is not by works: “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God” (2). Justification is only by faith: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (3).

Justification is through grace alone (sola gratia), since it is not by works in any shape or form (2).

Justification by faith alone and through grace alone is taught in Scripture alone (sola Scriptura): “For what saith the scripture [not fallen man or the wicked world or the false church or even the true church]? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (3). Here we have New Testament Scripture quoting Old Testament Scripture (Gen. 15:6). Clearly, Old Testament justification and New Testament justification are the same, though the latter part of God’s Word reveals this truth more fully.

Justification by faith alone through grace alone according to Scripture alone is to the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). When Romans 4:2 says, “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God,” it presupposes that the sinner’s justification is designed to bring glory not to man but to the blessed Trinity.

Justification by faith alone through grace alone according to Scripture alone and to the glory of God alone is in Christ alone (solus Christus). Justification is not by Abraham’s (or any man’s) works (2) and so it must be on the basis of someone else’s righteousness. The threefold promise to Abraham embraced the blessing, the seed and the land, all of which are only in Christ: blessing (Gal. 3:13-14), seed (16, 29) and land (Rom. 4:13; Eph. 1:10). That our justification is in Christ alone is clearly taught in chapters 3, 5 and 10 of Romans, as well as many other places (e.g., Jer. 23:5-6; I Cor. 1:30; 6:11; II Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; II Pet. 1:1).

“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?” (Rom. 4:1). The issue here is not merely what the Bible says about Abraham but also what he personally found, discovered, learned, experienced or came to know. Abraham grasped that if he “were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God” (2). The patriarch understood that he had nothing in which he could boast. He had been an idolater in Ur (Josh. 24:2), and knew that all his works were sinful and could never withstand God’s intense and holy scrutiny.

Positively, Abraham found and discovered, by God’s grace, that justification is by faith alone: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). He knew that he was righteous before God with a perfect imputed righteousness that would stand at the final judgment: the righteousness of God in the coming Messiah. No wonder Abraham rejoiced to see Christ’s day and was glad (John 8:56)!

Have you found what Abraham found: Christ’s righteousness reckoned to your account by believing the gospel? Let us continually learn the riches and depths of this truth in all its glory and comfort! Rev. Stewart

 

The Well-Meant Offer and Organic Unity (2)

1) Another question of a reader is in response to the charge we make against the gracious and well-meant offer, that it teaches that God changes from loving all men to casting them into hell—surely a revelation of divine hatred. But God is immutable, that is, He does not and cannot change. Yet the reader claims that He does change.

“Was there not a moment in eternity when God did not create? Followed by a moment when He was creating all things and then followed by another moment when He stopped or was no longer creating? Isn’t that God changing? God can do whatever He wants, wishes, desires, etc., to do. Therefore, He can choose to ‘love’ an individual for a time, for whatever reason or purpose He deems proper, and then choose to ‘hate’ that same individual, as He pleases.”

The reader has made some serious mistakes in his question. One error is that he speaks of time in God’s counsel: “a moment in eternity.” The fact is that time itself is a creation of God (II Tim. 1:9). God is eternal and He determined that time would be made at the creation of the earth. It is a denial of God’s attribute of eternity to say time is in His decree (or in Him) and it would also mean that God changes, a denial of His immutability.

The second problem with the question is its insistence that God can do what He pleases (irrespective of His Being or nature). This sounds very much like the arguments of the Roman Catholic scholastics who discussed questions such as these: “Since God is omnipotent, can He create two mountains without a valley between or a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it? Since God is omnipotent, can He sin?” The answer to all these frivolous questions is: God can and does only that which is in harmony with His own divine Being or nature, and so also with truth or the law of non-contradiction.

The answer to the reader’s question itself is clear: “I am the Lord; I change not” (Mal. 3:6; cf. Num. 23:19; Heb. 1:10-12). That means exactly what it says. God’s counsel, therefore, is as eternal as He is. History is God working out His eternal counsel, part of which is the creature we call “time.”

The relation between eternity and time is a profound mystery. I have often pondered it and even discussed it with one of my colleagues. But we know that God’s ways are inscrutable and we are mere specks of dust with only a little understanding of His mighty works.

2) The more we come into contact with the gospel, the greater is our knowledge of the way of salvation and the greater is the divine requirement of us. In this sense, the saying of our Saviour in Luke 12:47 holds true: “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” This statement is applied especially to those who labour in the vineyard of the Lord, yet the principle is of far broader extent.

The men of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba will rise up in judgment against the generation of the Jews of Jesus’ day, and condemn them (Matt. 12:41-42), for they, though less privileged, gave more honour to the Word of the Lord. Sodom, Tyre and Sidon will find it more tolerable in the day of judgment than the cities of Galilee where Jesus laboured most (11:20-24), for they never heard the New Testament gospel, which the Jews received in richer measure. Does not this greater responsibility find its explanation in the fact that the preaching of the gospel is, indeed, a wonderful thing?

Generally speaking, the questioner is stating a clear and true principle of one’s relation to the gospel: the closer one stands to the pure preaching of the gospel, the greater is his responsibility. Luke 12:47, referred to by the questioner, clearly states this.

It is well that the implication of this is impressed upon us. We in Reformed and Presbyterian churches have a long and noble tradition to hold, brought to us by the gospel. But what has happened in America and Europe? These same churches have become unfaithful for the most part. Many have fallen away into materialism and worldliness. Many, rejecting the gospel, have joined sects or have abandoned Scripture altogether. Many have corrupted the truth with the heresy of Arminianism. The true church is a hut “in a garden of cucumbers,” a “besieged city,” a “very small remnant” (Isa. 1:8, 9). Think of the judgment that shall come on those who have departed into apostasy in comparison with heathen in the Orient who worship idols of silver and stone. The awful responsibility that is implied in the question makes one get on his knees and beg for mercy.

However, it is not at all the case that Luke 12:47 speaks of the gracious and well-meant gospel offer. There is nothing in the passage referring to God’s blessing upon, or love for, absolutely all who hear the preaching. There is only a warning that their judgment is greater because in unbelief they reject the fuller revelation of the gospel.

When we consider the Scriptures’ teaching, we learn something very different from the Arminian theory. The preaching of the gospel to many who reject it is indeed good. It is like the rain and sunshine that come upon the fields of all farmers. That is not common grace: that is common rain and sunshine. But is not every gift of God good? Does he ever give bad gifts? He sends terrible judgments upon the wicked, but His gifts are wonderful and always good.

If what God does for anyone in giving him his daily bread is good, is the coronavirus bad? Does God suddenly decide to give bad things to man when He usually gives good gifts? What constitutes good gifts? And what constitutes bad gifts? What we like is good? What we dislike is a bad gift? Is good and bad determined by how we feel about what God sends into our life?

I do not understand this type of reasoning. The fact is that God’s gifts in themselves are good. God never gives bad gifts. But is rain grace? Ought the farmer consider the drought that destroyed his crops a bad gift from God? There are a lot of people who, when faced with this dilemma, say, “No, the devil sends bad things; God sends only good things.” When four preachers from four different denominations were quizzed on TV about the terrorists’ destruction of the World Trade Center (11 September, 2001), they were asked by the host, “Did God send this disaster? Or even have anything to do with it?” None would answer in the affirmative. The host was so incensed that, though not a Christian himself, he walked away.

Though all God’s gifts are good, those who use them to sin suffer greater punishment for misusing them. If the prodigal son in Luke 15 was one who misused his portion of the inheritance in riotous living, does that make the father’s gift to him bad? It was good, was it not, regardless of how the wayward son used it? Scripture teaches that all things are good for His people, even calamities (Rom. 8:28), but all things are curses upon the wicked. Read Psalm 73 and Proverbs 3:33.

But we are talking about the preaching of the gospel. Scripture looks at this from God’s side. In Isaiah 55:8-11, we are told that God’s Word never returns to Him void. He does not bring the gospel to all men in grace and then find that men foiled His plans. The gospel is like the rain that God sends. It surely makes the crops grow but it also makes the thorns grow. That is, it is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16) to the elect but it is also the means He uses to harden sinners who reject the gospel. This same figure is found in Hebrews 6:7-8 in connection with the unpardonable sin.

I appeal, finally, to II Corinthians 2:14-17. Paul recognizes that there are many who have heard his ministry but rejected the command that comes to them to believe in Christ. But, he says, in any case, faithful preachers are pleasing to God whether the gospel is believed or rejected, for the gospel always accomplishes His purpose. In some, it continues to bring life, over and over, until it finally brings everlasting life in heaven; but for others, who are spiritually dead, it works death that becomes worse and worse until it ends in hell. But, says Paul, God always makes the preaching of the gospel triumph, for it always accomplishes the purpose He intends.

No wonder the apostle says, “who is sufficient for these things?” (16). It is a difficult thing for a minister of the gospel to see the Word of God rejected, especially in his own congregation but also on the mission field. But, Paul goes on to say, “Because of our pain in seeing the gospel rejected, we do not make the gospel more palatable by corrupting it with preaching so that the minister says to the sinner, ‘God loves you and wants to save you’” (cf. 17).

God’s sovereign purpose is always accomplished, not because men reject His love but because He is sovereign in all He does. Let us bow in humility before a sovereign God who does all His good pleasure and worship Him as God alone! Prof. 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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The Benefit of the Communion of Saints

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

The Benefit of the Communion of Saints

Meditation on Psalm 133

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

What an ascent from the first Song of Ascent and this fourteenth Song. In Psalm 120, the psalmist wrote, “My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.” David knew by experience the bitterness occasioned by divisions in families and members of his kingdom. From war and lament, we now have a song of peace and pleasantness. How good and how pleasant and how profitable is the blessing of love and unity. May we learn from this psalm. Two pictures are given to us: the perfume poured out upon Aaron’s head and the dew of Hermon that descends to the mountains of Zion. “Behold!” We are to pause and gaze upon how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity. God looks on with approval.

How good it is. How much better was the love between David and Jonathan than the envy in Jacob’s house, the hatred of the brothers against Joseph. What comfort when there is no strife. Yet we see all too often strife in families and in the church. This is not good nor pleasant. In the church there should be the communion of saints in fellowship and love. Unity reigns because of our oneness of life, oneness in Christ, and oneness of faith. Christian unity is good for ourselves and is good for our brethren. What a testimony it is for those outside that we are striving to bring in. It is hard to invite someone to our churches if we are busy beating each other up in the church. How pleasant when loving hearts can freely associate with others of like nature.

What is this love and unity like? The first picture is of oil poured out on Aaron the high priest’s head. It is a sweet perfume. It is the Spirit that came down upon our Lord Jesus. And that oil flows down to all of Christ’s body, the church. Its blessedness and pleasure is enjoyed by every member of his body. Love flows from the head and falls to the feet.

The second picture is of the dew that fell upon the higher mountain of Hermon. The moisture wafted down to the lesser hills, Zion. How refreshing and enlivening it was in its course. It gave life and growth for all the plants of grace. How copious and far reaching this dew is. It is God’s love to us in Christ Jesus. It enables us to love Him and love one another. How pleasant when God’s saints are one in opinion and judgment. They commune together and join together in duty, serving and glorifying God.

How profitable when God’s saints are bound together in love, instead of making war through strife and bitterness. We read, “for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." God commands His blessing where peace is cultivated. The blessing of blessings is “life evermore.” Do we desire the Lord’s blessing?

The Apostle Paul by the Spirit enjoins us, “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (II Cor. 13:11).

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, August 2-8, 2020

Isaiah 55 6Today, August 2, is the thirty-first Lord's Day of 2020; we may report the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

Let us continue to bring to our Father's throne of grace the special needs of our churches, sister churches, and mission fields during these trying times of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. And while in our Father's presence, may we find peace and hope in His abiding love for us in Jesus Christ, and His will to do us only good - even everlasting good.

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

This house that God builds is a spiritual dwelling place in the hearts of God’s people. The temple that Solomon built was a type of the church. What does the psalmist say about it? He says, “For the Lord hath chosen Zion.” That, my friend, is sovereign election! He has chosen for himself a people. What music in the ears of afflicted David! Zion is chosen by God, and therefore God desired it for His habitation. This is his rest for ever. Here God is pleased to dwell for He says, I have desired it. Does God dwell in your heart?

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "An Habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob" one of his special meditations from this past week

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Hope Redlands Outdoor service July 2020
Hope PRC of Redlands, CA meeting outside for her services - this photo gives you more of the "big picture."

  • Did you know... that
    • Our Hope PRC in Redlands, CA moved her services outside after the most recent lockdown order in that state,  making use of the porches of the PR Christian Schools? And they were able to do it with the whole congregation and still maintain social distancing! We rejoice in this fulfillment of their earnest desire to worship the Lord together.
    • Unity PRC's Sunday School did something special today? Here's the report from her bulletin: Sunday School will meet today until 12:00. We will remain in the sanctuary and Rev. Bill Langerak will give a presentation from his recent trip to South Korea. The congregation is invited tojoin us for this presentation, starting about 20 minutes after the morning service.
    • Two of our professors are doing regular Heidelberg Catechism preaching for vacant congregations? Prof. R. Dykstra is doing so at Kalamazoo PRC and Prof. B. Gritters at Providence PRC (Hudsonville,  MI). This is not uncommon in the West Michigan area, and it is a blessed experience for both parties.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

sem front july 2020

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is now enjoying its summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements (trip to Mexico, PRYP's Convention, etc.), but there are other activities that may still be held. Our professors are staying busy preaching in the churches this summer, in West Michigan and beyond. Continue to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they continue their labors this summer.

  • The seminary is currently open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. The library and bookstore are also open for use. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.

  • The Fall 2020 semester schedule and calendar has been approved by the Theological School Commitee and posted on the seminary's website. The first semester will begin, D.V. the week of August 24. At this point we are planning to have onsite, in-person classes.

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan (5th-year senior) began his internship last month (July 1 - Dec.31) in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. He is busy preaching and being exposed to other practical aspects of the ministry in that congregation. May the Lord will use this part of his training to further prepare him for the ministry of the Word in our sister church in Singapore.

  • The PRC Synod 2020 approved the entrance of Luke Bomers (Hope PRC, Walker, MI) and Arend Haveman (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) into the seminary this Fall. Both are finishing their pre-sem studies this summer. Pray for them as they prepare to take up their studies for the ministry in a few months.

  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is currently available in digital (pdf and epub) form. We are currently working on getting the print edition produced. When that is ready, we will be mailing these out. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!

ephesians 4 3 2

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today (and recently):
    • ...We are glad to be in church to hear the word of God in the assembly of the people of God and to see the beauty of God. God is beautiful because He is gracious. His undeserving favour and His unchanging love to us, sinners, saved us. He gathered us as a company of the redeemed, joined together as one body of Christ, into His church. The church of Jesus Christ is the work God. So we come to the church to worship and to see this amazing grace of God. Pray that God will work in us, a heart of passion and desire towards worship, despite the current COVID-19 situation.
    • Due to the Phase 2 restrictions on travels and employment pass approval, Grandville PRC, our MOL calling church, has concurred with Session’s suggestion to suspend the calling of MOL for the time being. 
    • The June 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #60 - was published and posted this past week. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • She resumed services in July and Rev. A. Stewart continues to lead the services; the CPRC is livestreaming them for those unable to attend.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - June 2020!
    • Read the new June 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC:

Rev. R. Smit will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on Facebook Live.
Rev. Ibe and Deacon Junno are scheduled to visit our brethren and sisters in the Lord in Gabaldon Nueva Ecija today (August 02) and Rev. Ibe will be preaching for them.

~ Maranatha PRC:  

 Rev. L. Trinidad, our pastor, will lead us in both Worship Services live stream via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church, at 9:00 a.m and 11: a.m., Lord willing.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will preach both times today. The worship services will take place again in the house of Elder Bien and will be live streamed on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page and on YouTube. Rev. D. Holstege will teach Lesson 17 in the Essentials catechism class today on Zoom at 1:30.

~ PRCP Seminary news: The Theological School of our PRCP federation plans to begin another year and semester of seminary instruction on Tuesday, August 11. Our seminary students this year are Bro. Jeremias Pascual, Bro. Emmanuel Jasojaso, and Bro. Ace Flores. Our instructors are Revs. D. Holstege, D. Kleyn, and R. Smit. Our seminary faces once again the challenges of instruction during the ongoing restrictions of the coronavirus quarantine. In light of the quarantine in the NCR region, if some members of the PRCP wish to visit in person the classes of Hermeneutics (Rev. Holstege), Church History (Rev. Kleyn), or Reformed Dogmatics (Rev. Smit), then they should contact the individual instructors in advance for details about visiting, especially since in-classroom visits may not be possible in some weeks. Please remember the students and instructors in their work during your family and personal prayers.

~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.

  • The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.

fellowship dinner SNegros Oct 2019
Fellowship dinner in S.Negros, October 2019

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors

  • We remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
    • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
    • But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program for four months (June - Sept.).

Limerick (Ireland) Reformed Fellowship News:

  • Rev. M. McGeown is still leading the services on the mission until he is allowed to enter the U.S. (see next note). They have also just recently restarted live services after the UK lockdown that began in March.
  • He has accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens (see his most recent newsletter).
  • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was just published - July 2020. You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19  restrictions on their travels and labors. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and to be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world continue to experience tight restrictions and limited functions.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: After a commotion from the community because Rev. Singh had started worship services with the maximum number allowed (15) and people didn't think they should meet at all, Rev Singh decided to shift the worship service to his home to calm the situation. We thank God for the saints in Kolkata in their fervent desire for worship despite the opposition they faced from the local community. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Mat 5:11). Pray that God will sustain the saints to be steadfast in the faith and that they be strong in the Lord. Pray for Rev Singh that God will use His faithful preaching of the Word to bring comfort and encouragement to the saints in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships. Rev. Titus continues to minister the Word to his flock through the means of social media and modern technology.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

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

  • At present Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) is delivering the messages and this month he is focusing on the truth of God's covenant of grace. Today's message is titled "I Am Your God (or, God's Everlasting Covenant)" based on Genesis 17:7. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.

  • From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:
    • The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by 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.
    • A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!
  • Are you desirous 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? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.
  • The Reformed Book Outlet  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. As always, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any orders as well!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

 
Yg Calvinists

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • The Young Calvinists will be holding a Virtual Young People's Gathering via zoom on August 8 from 11am-5pm. As a small replacement for Convention, this will feature a lecture on heaven by Prof. B. Gritters, online mixer games, discussion groups and more! There will also be an outdoor Singspiration (young people only) on Sunday, August 9 at 8pm. To help us safely prepare, please RSVP for one or both events by July 20 at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/young-calvinists-virtual. Follow our blog (youngcalvinists.org), Facebook, or Instagram, for upcoming details!

  • PRYP Convention News (good news from Georgetown PRC!): 2021 Young People’s Convention: Our Steering Committee has signed a new contract with Lake Williamson Christian Center for next year.  ...We have reserved the second week in August, arriving on Monday August 9 and departing on Friday August 13, 2021.  There will be no other groups at Lake Williamson on the second week and we would have the camp to ourselves (similar to this year). May the Lord preserve our enthusiasm and bless our plans for our Young People’s growth.

  • The latest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.

  • Save the date for a Singles’ Conference! Lord willing, we will have another short conference for Protestant Reformed Singles (geared towards those ages 25+) on September 25-27 in Grand Rapids, MI.  Rev. Jonathan Mahtani and Rev. Stephan Regnerus have agreed to speak.  To register, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on Facebook.  Registration forms are due by September 7.
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Reformed Witness Hour Messages for August 2020

RWH Logo 2019

First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI and the Reformed Witness Hour Committee announce the messages scheduled for August 2020 on the RWH radio/Internet program.

This month Rev. Aud Spriensma, home missionary of the PRC (stationed in West Michigan) continues his four-month service for the RWH. For the month of August he continues his series on God's Covenant of Grace (if you missed the start of these in July, you may find them on the RWH website!). Be sure to tune in (or listen online anytime!) for these important messages. The schedule for this month is laid out below and also attached in pdf form.

ASpriensma RWH 2020

August 2, 2020 - God's Everlasting Covenant, Genesis 17:7

August 9, 2020 - The Throne and Kingdom Established Forever, 2 Samuel 7:12-14

August 16, 2020 - The Unbreakable Covenant, Psalm 89:3

August 23, 2020 - Walking with God, Amos 3:3

August 30, 2020 - A New Covenant with Israel, Jeremiah 31:31

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 79th 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!

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.

And don't forget our Spanish programs on YouTube!

RWH Facebook image

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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