Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 21 April, 2013

"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious,
longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Faith, the Victory That Overcomes the World  [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: I John 5
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 7

I. The World That Is Overcome
II. The Faith That Overcomes
III. The Life of Overcoming
Psalms: 63:1-8; 32:6-11; 55:16-22; 37:1-7

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

John the Baptist’s Public Ministry (16)
John’s Execution   [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:14-44
Text: Mark 6:21-28

I. The Folly of Herod
II. The Scheming of Herodias
Psalms: 84:1-6; 33:1-7; 119:89-96; 94:17-23

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quotes to Consider

Martin Luther: "Faith is God’s work in us, that changes us ... It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever."

Abraham Kuyper: "Herodias was to Herod what Jezebel was to Ahab. In both instances the man was wicked, and in both instances the woman was more wicked. And in both instances the wife went farther in hate, went farther in bitter, deadly hate against a prophet of God. Jezebel hated Elijah; and Herodias hated John, the Elijah of the New Testament. A woman’s heart when it determines evil can still be that wicked. When she chooses to do good, she blesses more than ever a man can. But the moment she surrenders to sin, her hatred toward the men of God is much more passionate, much fiercer, much more fatal. She will stop at nothing then. Think of it! This woman used her own daughter to excite the sensuous passions of her husband, and then she asked her child to ask that the head of a messenger of God be given her as a gift! Such wickedness is still possible. You can trace a woman’s influence in every circle and in every group. You will observe that her influence is active wherever hatred is being fostered against God and His faithful representatives. She may not stand in the foreground but, if you will observe closely, you will detect that she is exerting a real, if secret influence. In short, this is just another instance in which Eve is conspiring with Satan to induce her husband to oppose God" (Women of the New Testament, pp. 58-59).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

Letters from Rev. McGeown and Rev. Bruinsma are on the back table.

Monday Catechism: 7:30 PM - Heidelberg (Timothy)

The Tuesday morning Bible study will be held this week at 11 AM. We will continue our study of preterism.

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this Wednesday, at 7:45 PM, to continue our study of article 21 and Christ’s Melchizedekian Priesthood.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) is entitled "I Am Joseph" (Gen. 44:14-45:15) by Rev. R. Kleyn.

Offerings: General Fund - £824.04.

Website Addition: 1 Chinese ("The Kingdom of God" by Prof. Engelsma) and 2 Burmese (part 1 of Rev. Hanko’s Doctrine According to Godliness) translations.

PRC News: Randolph PRC called Rev. Van Overloop. On Thursday, Rev. Van Baren had a quadruple heart bypass. He is recovering as well as expected.

Book Review

Federal Vision: Heresy at the Root 
by Prof. David Engelsma
Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2012
Hardback, 252 pages


If you attend a Presbyterian or Reformed church, this book is a must read! If you don’t attend a Presbyterian church, you still ought to read this book to understand the nature of a grave threat to the gospel. Heretical teachings also have a way of adapting to affect (infect?) a broader contingent of the church world. The book clearly reveals the shocking nature of a teaching that has found its way into many churches in the USA and is now beginning to find some support and promotion in the UK. 

What is the federal vision? David Engelsma exposes the federal vision (FV) as a body of teaching that denies all the doctrines of sovereign grace, centring on justification by faith alone. The serious nature of the attack on the gospel is clearly seen in the denial of the imputation of Christ righteousness and a redefinition of justification now by faith and works. This denial of the gospel is therefore not a "friendly" difference of opinion between brothers but a fight for the heart of the gospel. David Engelsma is "not afraid to call a spade a spade" and issues a clear warning against this soul-destroying FV teaching. Neither does Engelsma shy from naming and quoting the pedlars of this dangerous vision and making it abundantly clear what they teach and where the dividing lines are.

How, you may ask, did a denial of justification of faith alone occur in apparently conservative churches? It did not spring up overnight in a vacuum. There was development. There is always a history to heresy. David Engelsma traces this denial to its root, hence the sub-title of the book: Heresy at the Root. What is the root? Engelsma locates the origin of the FV in its concept of a conditional covenant. According to the FV advocates, the condition of the new covenant is the faithfulness or obedience of sinful man. Since this is a teaching in Presbyterian churches these are particularly the conditions that covenant children need to fulfil. Following on from this as a consequence is the teaching that justification is not by faith alone but by the good works that faith produces. Correlated with the idea of a covenant dependent upon man’s faithfulness is a denial of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ: "shuffling righteousness around heavenly ledgers," as one FV advocate mocks it. As a stack of dominoes fall, so, following from a covenant dependent on man, do the doctrines of sovereign grace fall: the teaching of an election in time all the way through to a falling from grace. Yes, Engelsma is right, this is "gross heresy."

Where did this all start? FV men do not hide that their teaching is a development of the covenantal teachings of Klaas Schilder and the "Liberated Churches." A road which over the course of 70 years has led us right back to the salvation system of Rome. If we now see the end of a conditional covenant, should we not start reconsidering our idea of the covenant? Should we not go back to the Scriptures and use the confessions as guides to direct our thinking? In the controversy between the Liberated and the Protestant Reformed Churches, we will find in Herman Hoeksema’s position a more sure guide.

I should say something of the style and structure of the book. The book is well written and can be clearly understood by the lay person. It is not written from the perspective of the ivory tower but out of concern for the well-being of the church. It is split in two main parts with a short appendix. The first part is an expanded version of a speech which was given to commemorate the sixteenth-century Reformation. The second part contains Engelsma’s response to a series of questions raised as a consequence of that speech. These questions are helpfully organised under 11 different chapters. The appendix is a review of Ian Hewitson’s erroneous Trust and Obey. The publisher has made a good job of producing the book at a reasonable price.

Brian Harris, South Wales