Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 6 February, 2011


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

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


Morning Service - 11:00 AM


The Blessed Family Man    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Psalms 127-128

Text: Psalm 128

I. The Way of His Blessedness

II. The Spheres of His Blessedness

III. The Channel of His Blessedness

Psalms: 87:1-7; 89:1-6; 127:1-5; 128:1-6


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Moving House for God’s Church (6)

Naomi Returns to the Church    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1-17

Text: Ruth 1:19-22

I. Bethlehem’s Question at Her Return

II. Naomi’s Confession at Her Return

III. The Providential Timing of Her Return

Psalms: 65:1-5; 89:7-12; 107:31-38; 25:6-12


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quotes to Consider:

J. C. Ryle: "Tell your children of the duty and privilege of going to church, and joining in the prayers of the congregation. Tell them that wherever the Lord’s people are gathered together, there the Lord Jesus is present in a special way, and that those who are absent must expect, like the Apostle Thomas, to miss out on a blessing. Tell them of the importance of hearing the Word of God preached, and that it is God’s ordained way of converting, sanctifying, and building up the souls of men. Tell them how the Apostle Paul commands us not to ‘forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another’ (Heb. 10:25)."

Matthew Henry on Psalm 128:6: "A good man can have little comfort in seeing his children’s children, unless withal he see peace upon Israel, and have hopes of transmitting the entail of religion pure and entire to those that shall come after him, for that is the best inheritance."

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

We welcome Marilyn Adams to our worship services today.

This morning we witness the baptism of Katelyn Joy Hall. May the Lord give grace and wisdom to Philip & Susan and all the parents in the congregation as they raise their covenant children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Standard Bearer subscriptions are due—£16.50. This can be paid to Rev. Stewart, who will then pay the RFPA for you.

Catechism classes:

Monday, 6:00 PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex

Monday, 6:45 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea

Tuesday, 12:15 PM - Beginners NT Class

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We’ll consider II Thessalonians 2:8f. on the man of sin’s destruction, miracles and deception.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We’ll continue Article 8 on the vestiges/footprints of the Holy Trinity.

Thursday’s Membership class is at 7:30 PM.

The Council will hold their monthly meeting this Friday evening at 7:30 PM.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "True Love" (I Corinthians 13:4-8) by Rev. R. Kleyn.

Offerings: General Fund - £1,280.75. Donations: £200, £200, £34 (Lurgan lecture).

Website Additions: Two German translations were added.

PRC News: Wingham PRC will call from a trio of Revs. Bruinsma, denHartog, and Vanderwal. Hope PRC and Edgerton PRC have called Rev. W. Langerak. Cornerstone have called Rev. Van Overloop. Trinity PRC will call from a trio of Revs. Bleyenberg, Koole, and A. Lanning.

Bound to Join: A Review and Defence (Excerpt 3)

Rev. A. Stewart


Calvin teaches "outside the church there is no salvation" in his Catechism of the Church of Geneva (1545), designed for the covenant children of that great Reformation city:

Master - Why do you subjoin forgiveness of sins to the Church?

Scholar - Because no man obtains it without being previously united to the people of God, maintaining unity with the body of Christ perseveringly to the end, and thereby attesting that he is a true member of the Church.

M. - In this way you conclude that out of the Church is nought but ruin and damnation?

S. - Certainly. Those who make a departure from the body of Christ, and rend its unity by faction, are cut off from all hope of salvation during the time they remain in this schism, be it however short.

Philip Schaff points out that Calvin’s Genevan catechism was written in French and Latin and was soon translated into Italian, Spanish, English, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Greek and Hebrew, before adding, "It was used for a long time in the Reformed Churches and schools, especially in France and Scotland."

Near the start of the first chapter of his treatment of the church in Book 4 of his Institutes, Calvin writes,

But because it is now our intention to discuss the visible church, let us learn even from the simple title "mother" how useful, indeed how necessary, it is that we should know her. For there is no other way to enter into life unless this mother conceive us in her womb, give us birth, nourish us at her breast, and lastly, unless she keep us under her care and guidance until, putting off mortal flesh, we become like the angels [Matt. 22:30]. Our weakness does not allow us to be dismissed from her school until we have been pupils all our lives. Furthermore, away from her bosom one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation, as Isaiah [Isa. 37:32] and Joel [Joel 2:32] testify. Ezekiel agrees with them when he declares that those whom God rejects form heavenly life will not be enrolled among God’s people [Ezek. 13:9]. On the other hand, those who turn to the cultivation of true godliness are said to inscribe their names among the citizens of Jerusalem [cf. Isa. 56:5; Ps. 87:6]. For this reason, it is said in another psalm: "Remember me, O Jehovah, with favor toward thy people; visit me with salvation: that I may see the well-doing of thy chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the joy of thy nation, that I may be glad with thine inheritance" [Ps. 106:4-5 p.; cf. Ps. 105:4, Vg., etc.]. By these words God’s fatherly favor and the especial witness of spiritual life are limited to his flock, so that it is always disastrous to leave the church (4.1.4).1

A few pages later the French Reformer declares,

... no one is permitted to spurn its [i.e., a true church’s] authority, flout its warnings, resist its counsels, or make light of its chastisements—much less to desert it and break its unity. For the Lord esteems the communion of his church so highly that he counts as a traitor and apostate from Christianity anyone who arrogantly leaves any Christian society, provided it cherishes the true ministry of Word and sacraments. He so esteems the authority of the church that when it is violated he believes his own diminished ... From this it follows that separation from the church is the denial of God and Christ. Hence, we must even more avoid so wicked a separation. For when with all our might we are attempting the overthrow of God’s truth, we deserve to have him hurl the whole thunderbolt of his wrath to crush us (4.1.10).2

Theodore Beza (1519-1605), Calvin’s successor in Geneva, held the same position:

Finally, we must necessarily confess, since outside of Jesus Christ there is no salvation at all, that anyone who dies without being a member of this assembly [i.e., a true church] is excluded from Jesus Christ and from salvation, for the power to save which is in Jesus Christ belongs only to those who recognize him as their God and only Saviour.

This statement occurs in Beza’s confession, a "very popular" document according to Nicolaas Gootjes. Gootjes argues persuasively that Guido de Brès utilised this part of Beza’s confession in writing Belgic Confession 28.

Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583) was a German Reformed theologian, born in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), who became the leading theologian of the Reformed movement of the Palatinate. As the principal author and interpreter of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), his exposition of "the holy, catholic church" (Q. & A. 54) is especially important. A treatment of extra ecclesiam nulla salus concludes his discussion of this question and answer on the church:

Is there any salvation out of the Church? No one can be saved out of the Church: 1. Because out of the church there is no Saviour, and hence no salvation. "Without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5). 2. Because those whom God has chosen to the end, which is eternal life, them he has also chosen to the means, which consist in the inward and outward call. Hence although the elect are not always members of the visible church, yet they all become such before they die. Obj. Therefore the election of God is not free. Ans. It is free, because God chooses freely both to the end and the means, all those whom he has determined to save. He never changes his decree however, after he has chosen, and ordained to the end and the means. Infants born in the church are also of the church, notwithstanding all the cant of the Anabaptists to the contrary.

What then is it to believe the Holy Catholic Church? It is to believe that there always has been, is, and ever will be, to the end of time such a church in the world, and that in the congregation composing the visible church there are always some who are truly converted, and that I am one of this number; and therefore a member of both the visible and invisible church, and shall forever remain such.


1 A few pages earlier (4.1.1), Calvin uses the biblical imagery of the church as our mother (Gal. 4:26), developed by Cyprian: "You cannot have God for your Father unless you have the church for your Mother."

2 Calvin also states that "no one escapes the just penalty of this unholy separation [from the true church] without bewitching himself with pestilent errors and foulest delusions" (4.1.5).