Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church


Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 29 April, 2007


"God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of

the earth" (Psalm 74:12)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Different Responses to the Preaching (II)

Matthew 13:1-23

I. The Thorny Soil

II. The Good Soil

Psalms: 148:1-10; 84:1-6; 49:6-13; 19:7-13


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Our Only Comfort

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, I Corinthians 3

I. What It Is

II. How Great It Is

III. How It Is Enjoyed

Psalms: 147:1-8; 84:7-12; 103:6-13; 1:1-6

For audio cassettes or CDs of the worship services, contact Sean Courtney (

CPRC website:


Quotes to Consider:

Herman Hoeksema: "How often are we, in our actual life, far below the standard that is set up in the first question and answer of the Catechism! Yes, we are Christians, and we belong to Christ ... But what becomes of ‘living and dying in this comfort’? Where is the manifestation of this ‘happy life-and-death’ in our everyday walk and conversation? ... Is the Lordship of Jesus Christ really the dominating factor in our life?" (Triple Knowledge, vol. 1, p. 49).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

The April issue of the C. R. News is on the back table.

Catechism: Catechism classes are now finished for this season. A word of thanks to parents for your work in preparing your children for catechism.

Council Meeting: Tuesday, 7 PM at the manse.

Our Mid-Week Bible Study will be held Wednesday, at 7:45 PM at the manse. We will study I Thessalonians 4:14ff. on the "rapture."

Membership Class: Thursday, 7:30 PM at the Hallidays.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 29 April (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "To God, My Exceeding Joy, I Will Go" (Psalm 43).

Last Week’s Offerings: General Fund - £585.80. Donations: £3.55 (books).

May Day Outing: Because we were unable to arrange the boat trip, we plan to meet for a picnic at Glenarriff Forest Park at 11 AM, weather permitting. Sausages will be provided, but bring anything else you may want for lunch. A sign-up sheet is on the back table.

CPRC Website: Six more Portuguese translations were added to the "Languages" page, as was a Burmese translation of the Heidelberg Catechism.

Advanced Notices: (1) Lecture on "Homosexuality: What Does the Bible Teach?" Friday, 11 May, 8 PM, Ballymena Protestant Hall (2) The CPRC plans to have a stall at the agricultural shows in Ballymena on Sat. 26 May, and in Antrim on Sat. 28 July (3) South Wales Lecture, "The Psalms versus Common Grace," Friday, 8 June, at 7:15 PM

PRC News: Prof. Hanko was admitted to hospital on Friday due to chest pain. It was discovered that he has several blood clots some of which are in his lungs (pulmonary thrombosis). He is being given blood thinners and pain medication, but may have to remain in hospital for as long as 10 days. If you would like to send him an e-mail go to and note that he is at Blodgett Campus. Rev. Mahtani will submit to surgery tomorrow to help him overcome his sleep apnea. Let us remember these brothers and their families in our prayers. Peace PRC plans to call from a trio of Revs. Slopsema (First, MI), Kuiper (Randolph, WI), and Koole (Grandville, MI).

This is a continuation from last week’s bulletin of the 10th e-mail sent by Prof. Engelsma to the forum on justification

There is a reason why the Federal Vision (FV) denies the "active obedience" of Christ. This reason is that the FV teaches that we ourselves must obey the law for ourselves and that the good works we perform in obedience to the law are part of our righteousness with God in justification. Denial of the "active obedience" of Christ is part and parcel of the FV’s false doctrine of justification by faith and works. By faith we receive Christ’s righteousness consisting of the full pardon of sins (although this is not true either for the FV, for it is possible for someone who receives the benefit of Christ’s suffering and death to fail to perform good works and thus fall away and perish in hell, which implies that he never did receive full pardon and indeed that Christ never satisfied for his sins at all). We must add to this righteousness the righteousness of our own obedience to the law, which, says the FV, is possible for us with the help of God’s grace.

Basically, the teaching on this point of the FV is that the righteousness demanded by God and His law is two-fold: paying the penalty for sin and obeying the law. Christ gives sinners the former; sinners must provide the latter for themselves.

Further, the denial of Christ’s "active obedience" serves the conditional theology of the FV well. The heresy is rooted in and stands or falls with the doctrine of a conditional covenant. According to the FV, one’s remaining in the covenant and one’s continuing to enjoy the salvation of the covenant is conditioned upon his own covenant faithfulness, that is, his performing the good works that God and His law demand.

Demonstrating that error in one important aspect of the truth of the gospel necessarily involves error everywhere, the FV is forced to teach that the obedience God and His law demand of us is not perfect obedience (which of course none is able to give), but only imperfect obedience. This is good enough for God. But remember our own obedience is, according to the FV, part of the righteousness with which we must be justified before the judgment seat of God, now and in the final judgment. Therefore, it is the teaching of the FV that the thrice-holy God is satisfied with imperfect, sin-tainted righteousness. This is nothing less than the denial of God.

I have demonstrated these errors especially in my book, The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers and the recent article in the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, "The Covenant of Creation with Adam."

In spite of the dreadful errors expressed and implied by the denial of the "active obedience" of Christ by the FV, the movement and its teachers have been protected, defended, and tolerated in the supposedly conservative Presbyterian and Reformed churches to this day. Nor is there any sharp, blunt condemnation of the movement and its teachers by the magazines, seminaries, or theologians in these churches. Why not?

If, in fact, Christ is our righteousness, not only regarding "passive obedience," but also regarding "active obedience," by faith we receive by legal reckoning all the righteousness that God and His law demand; all our righteousness in the matter of justification is the obedience of Christ in our stead; and our covenant relationship, like salvation, is unconditional. This means that we do not obey the law, as we certainly do and must do, to fulfil a condition, to work up a righteousness with God that is still lacking after Christ’s death and resurrection, or to complete the work of Christ of satisfying the law’s demands for righteousness.

Our obedience to God and His law has quite a different explanation and motive.

Once again, then, the question: Is the righteousness imputed to the believer only the "passive obedience" of Christ or also an "active obedience"?

Give the question thought.

Study what the confessions and the Bible teach about this.

I will return to this question next time.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma