Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 29
"God is my
King of old, working salvation in the midst of
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Responses to the Preaching (II)
I. The Thorny
II. The Good
Psalms: 148:1-10; 84:1-6; 49:6-13; 19:7-13
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, I Corinthians 3
I. What It Is
II. How Great
III. How It
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
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
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
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
I will return to this question next time.
Cordially in Christ,