Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 19 December, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)



Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Epistle of Christ    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: II Corinthians 2:14-3:18

Text: II Corinthians 3:3

I. Its Writing

II. Its Manifestation

III. Its Ministers

Psalms: 147:12-20; 83:9-18; 119:1-8; 40:8-11


Evening Service - 6:00 PM




Contact Stephen Murray ( for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services.


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome Jessie Li from the Limerick Reformed Fellowship to our worship services this morning.

The Lord’s Supper scheduled for this morning has been postponed until the morning service on Sunday, 2 January, due to the inclement weather.

A new issue of the Standard Bearer and a newsletter from the Philippines are available on the back table today.

A sign-up sheet for the congregational dinner is on the back table. The dinner will be held at Leighinmohr Hotel in Ballymena on Friday, 14 January, at 7:00 PM.

With joy, Julian & Marie Kennedy have been received as members of the CPRC. Having met with the Council, the Kennedys showed good knowledge and agreement with the doctrines of the CPRC and a desire to walk a new and godly life. They previously were members of Landsdowne Baptist Church in Bournemouth.

Catechism classes: Cancelled because of the snow.

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We’ll continue II Thess. 2:3f. on "the son of perdition."

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will begin Article 8 on the Trinity.

Membership class: Thursday, 8 PM on Canons of Dordt III/IV:10f.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Song of the Angels" (Luke 2:13-14) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Next Sunday, Rev. McGeown will preach at both CPRC services (26 December) and Rev. Stewart will preach for the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

Offerings: General Fund - £519.70. Donation: £100 (CR News), £200 (DVDs).

Upcoming Lectures:

Wednesday, 12 Jan., 7:45 PM - "Sins Against the Holy Spirit" (Rev. Kuiper)

Friday, 21 Jan., 7:15 PM in Porthcawl, S. Wales (Rev. Stewart)

Friday, 4 Feb., 7:30 PM in Lurgan Town Hall - "Predestination" (Rev. Stewart)

Website Additions: 1 Portuguese, 1 Tagalog and 2 German translations were added.

Prof. Engelsma’s Reformation Day speech against the Federal Vision heresy, "Federal Vision, Unconditional Covenant, and the Reformation’s Gospel of Grace," is now on-line,

PRC News: Rev. Eriks received the call to Trinity PRC. Hope PRC’s new trio consists of Revs. Hanko, Koole and Spronk. Cornerstone will call from a trio of Revs. Bruinsma, denHartog and Van Overloop.

This is part 2 of Prof. Engelsma’s 44th e-mail on justification:

The Reformed Synod of Utrecht (1905) settled this difference (as well as other differences). It declared in effect that the teaching of eternal justification has biblical basis and may not be condemned as illegitimate, or heretical, while at the same time affirming the necessity and centrality of justification by faith. Because this is one of the very rare official church decisions on the controversy over eternal justification, I quote the synodical decision on eternal justification in full.

Concerning the second point, the eternal justification, synod declares that this expression itself does not occur in our confessions, but that on that account it may not be disapproved any more than the expression Covenant of Works, and such like, which are simply theological terms; that it is incorrect to say that our confessions know only of a justification out of and through faith, seeing that both the Word of God in Romans 4:25 and our Confession in Article 20 emphatically speak of an objective justification sealed in the resurrection of Christ, which, in order precedes subjective justification; and further as concerns the case itself all our churches heartily believe and confess that Christ in the counsel of peace has given himself from eternity as surety for his people, and has taken their guilt upon himself, even as he thereupon, through his suffering and death on Calvary, gave himself a ransom for us and reconciled us with God, while we were still enemies, but that it must be maintained just as definitely, on the basis of the Word of God and of the Confession, that we, personally, become partakers of this benefit only by a true faith: reason why the synod earnestly warns against every presentation of the matter which either denies the eternal surety of Christ for his elect or the demand of a true faith to become justified before God in the tribunal of the conscience.

Before entering into the issue itself, and setting forth what Scripture and the confessions teach about eternal justification, I make some preliminary observations that are important for our examination of the doctrine of eternal justification.

First, Scripture does not expressly teach eternal justification, much less emphasize this aspect of justification, if indeed it is a biblical aspect of justification. That is, there is no text that states, "Believers have been justified from eternity," as there are many texts that expressly state that God justifies sinners by faith. Whether Scripture teaches eternal justification by implication (which is also a form of biblical teaching) remains to be seen.

Second, the Reformed confessions do not expressly teach justification in eternity, as they do teach justification by faith in time. Although defenders of eternal justification sometimes appeal to the Westminster Confession 11:4 as explicitly teaching the doctrine, the appeal is mistaken. The article does not state that God justified the elect in eternity, but that God eternally decreed to justify the elect in time by faith: "God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect." The article concludes, it should be noted, this way: "Nevertheless they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them." Whether the creeds do, in fact, teach eternal justification by implication remains to be seen.

Third, both Old and New Testaments repeatedly speak, expressly, urgently, and emphatically, of justification by faith, that is, of justification in time and in the sinner’s consciousness. In perfect accord with Scripture, all the Reformed confessions teach justification by faith.

In the light of these truths in Scripture and the confessions concerning justification, it is evident that there may be no teaching of eternal justification that in any way minimizes the importance and necessity of justification by faith. No Reformed theologian or minister may teach eternal justification in such a way that he plays eternal justification off against justification by faith as the real justification, whereas justification by faith is merely an awareness of justification that took place in the decree. Justification by faith is real justification. One who is not justified by faith is not justified and saved. This does not imply that there is no eternal justification, or that eternal justification is not real. But it guards against any conception of eternal justification that is, or leads to, antinomism.

In view of the many explicit statements of justification by faith alone both in Scripture and in the Reformed confessions, the preacher of the Word of God as summarized in the creeds is duty-bound to make justification by faith the main, constant emphasis of his preaching and teaching, not eternal justification. A Reformed preacher who is always emphasizing eternal justification to the relative minimizing of justification by faith, whether in time spent on these subjects or in the obvious importance ascribed to them, errs, and errs seriously. He is not being faithful to Scripture, even though it may be the case that Scripture does imply eternal justification and therefore require it to be taught.

The main theme of the book of Romans—outline of the gospel of grace—is justification by faith alone, grounded in and having its source in election, not eternal justification.

Then we may, and ought to, face the question, Does the Bible teach, by clear and necessary implication, eternal justification, and if so, how?

This question I intend to answer with you in the next instalment.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma