Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 24
"Happy is he
that hath the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is
in the Lord his God" (Ps. 146:5)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Installation/Ordination of Elder & Deacon
The First Deacons
Historical Origin of the Office
Apostolic Institution of the Office
Lord’s Blessing on the Office
Psalms: 104:1-7; 137:7-9; 75:3-10; 132:11-18
Service - 6:00 PM
Uncursable Church (6)
Israel’s Promised King Higher than Agag
Psalms: 125:1-5; 138:1-8; 104:10-16; 2:6-12
Courtney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for CDs of the
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
This morning, we witness the installation of
Ivan Reid as elder and the ordination of William Graham as
deacon. We are thankful that the Lord has once again provided men for
these special offices in the church and pray that the Lord may bless
them as they take up their labours among us.
On the back table are two new books available
from our bookstore, The Five
Points of Calvinism by Profs. Engelsma & Hanko, and
The Necessity of Reforming the Church by John Calvin. Both books
cost only £5 each.
Those interested in buying the CDs of the BRF
Conference on "The Work of the Holy Spirit," contact Sean Courtney.
The 7-CD set will be available for £10.
Mr. Callender remains in the Royal Hospital in
Belfast (Ward 6A). Please remember him and his family in your prayers.
The Council will meet next week Monday, 1
Sept., at the manse at 7:30 PM.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is "Knowledge vs. Knowledge plus Love"
(I Cor. 8:1-3) by Rev. Bruinsma.
Offerings: General Fund - £545.75. Donations:
£10 (pamphlets), £200 (CDs).
Upcoming Lectures: S. Wales (Friday, 10 October)
and Limerick (Friday, 17 October) on "Marriage, the Mystery of Christ
and the Church"
Website Additions: 3 sermons by
Prof. Engelsma and 1 by Prof.
preached in the CPRC on 3 & 10 August are now on-line. 1 Chinese, 1
Dutch, 2 Russian, 2 Spanish and 7 Portuguese translations were also
PRC News: Providence PRC’s new trio is Candidate
Bleyenberg, Rev. Laning (Hope, MI) and Rev. VanderWal (Redlands, CA).
Calvary PRC announces a trio of Candidate Heath Bleyenberg, Rev. Hanko
(Lynden, WA), and Rev. W. Langerak (Southeast, MI). Rev. Smit (Lacombe,
Canada) is labouring in the Philippines until 1 September. The Berean
PRC of the Philippines has been without a pastor for a year and a half.
Let us remember them and their great need in our prayers. Prof. Hanko is
in Singapore today, preaching for the CERC, and plans to go to the
Philippines this week. Prof. and Mrs. Hanko return home on 15 September.
Hope PRC continues to administer cyclone relief to
the Protestant Reformed Churches in Myanmar. The funds are used
for food and medical expenses. To date, two houses have been rebuilt and
one more is in the process of being rebuilt. Continue to keep the needs
of the saints there in your prayers.
Introduction to the Formula of Subscription
The Formula of Subscription arose out of a desire to
preserve unity in the church, which unity is based squarely on oneness
in doctrine. One who subscribes to (signs) this form expresses his
agreement with the confession of the church.
History. Early in their history, the Reformed
churches displayed great concern for unity and doctrinal purity by
requiring the ministers to sign the two existing creeds—the Heidelberg
Catechism and the Belgic Confession. The great Synod of Dordrecht
(1618-l9) drew up a formula of subscription and required (in the Church
Order, Articles 53 and 54) ministers, professors of theology, and school
masters to sign it. The same synod however left to the discretion of the
individual classes the question of whether and how the elders should
subscribe. In practice, the elders often did so, and the Christian
Reformed Church in America, just four years after her organization in
1857, officially decided that "the formulas are to be unconditionally
subscribed by ministers, elders, deacons, and teachers." Thus Article 54
of the church order was changed by the Christian Reformed Church to
require elders and deacons to subscribe, and the form was altered to
include them. This is the form adopted and still in use by the
Protestant Reformed Churches.
Content. The Formula of Subscription includes
four elements. First, it expresses complete agreement with all the
articles and doctrines of the three Reformed creeds, the Belgic
Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordrecht.
Secondly, the form states a promise to teach and defend these doctrines.
Thirdly, it contains a promise to combat all errors contrary to these
confessions in order to keep the church free from them. Finally, it
expresses a promise to be honest in the churches in all matters of
doctrine, so that if a subscriber later changes his mind or has doubts
on any doctrines, he promises not to promote them, but to bring it to
the attention of his consistory, and to submit to the judgment of the
consistory, classis, and synod.
Importance. The Formula of Subscription requires
complete agreement with all the doctrines contained in the Reformed
creeds. Over the years attempts have been made by various Reformed
churches to soften this declaration of complete agreement with the
doctrines. The result has been accelerated apostasy in such churches.
Time and again the faithful remnant returned to this form, as, for
example, the 1834 Secession and the 1886 Doleantie under Dr. Abraham
Kuyper. Thus it is of utmost importance for the unity and purity of the
church that all office-bearers who sign the formula of subscription do
so with no reservations whatsoever, and that the church hold them to
their promises. Doctrinal purity is vital for the existence of the
church, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). She can expect
God’s blessing in no other way.
The Formula of Subscription
We, the undersigned, professors of the Protestant
Reformed Churches, ministers of the gospel, elders and deacons of the
Protestant Reformed congregation of
.............................................., of Classis
......................... do hereby sincerely and in good conscience
before the Lord declare by this, our subscription, that we heartily
believe and are persuaded that all the articles and points of doctrine
contained in the Confession and Catechism of the Reformed Churches,
together with the explanation of some points of the aforesaid doctrine
made by the National Synod of Dordrecht, 1618-’19, do fully agree with
the Word of God.
We promise therefore diligently to teach and
faithfully to defend the aforesaid doctrine, without either directly or
indirectly contradicting the same, by our public preaching or writing.
We declare, moreover, that we not only reject all
errors that militate against this doctrine, and particularly those which
were condemned by the above mentioned synod, but that we are disposed to
refute and contradict these, and to exert ourselves in keeping the
church free from such errors. And if hereafter any difficulties or
different sentiments respecting the aforesaid doctrines should arise in
our minds, we promise that we will neither publicly nor privately
propose, teach, or defend the same, either by preaching or writing,
until we have first revealed such sentiments to the consistory, classis,
and synod, that the same may be there examined, being ready always
cheerfully to submit to the judgment of the consistory, classis, and
synod, under the penalty in case of refusal to be, by that very fact,
suspended from our office.
And further, if at any time the consistory, classis,
or synod, upon sufficient grounds of suspicion and to preserve the
uniformity and purity of doctrine, may deem it proper to require of us a
further explanation of our sentiments respecting any particular article
of the Confession of Faith, the Catechism, or the explanation of the
national synod, we do hereby promise to be always willing and ready to
comply with such requisition, under the penalty above mentioned,
reserving for ourselves, however, the right of an appeal, whenever we
shall believe ourselves aggrieved by the sentence of the consistory, the
classis, or the synod, and until a decision is made upon such an appeal,
we will acquiesce in the determination and judgment already passed.