Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 7
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)
- 11:00 AM
Outrage at Gibeah (3)
A Whole Tribe Put Under Discipline!
Reading: Judges 20:1-25
I. The Levite’s
Benjamites’ Wicked Refusal
50:7-15; 101:3-8; 75:2-8
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Believers’ Children and Their Baptism
Reading: Genesis 17
Catechism, Lord’s Day 27
I. The Baptist
View of Believers’ Children
II. The Reformed
View of Believers’ Children
III. The Baptism
of Believers’ Children
102:21-22, 25-28; 50:16-23; 127:1-5; 128:1-6
Courtney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for CDs of the sermons
and DVDs of the worship services.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
CPRC YouTube Site:
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
Mr. Callender returned home from the hospital
this past week.
7:00 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse
PM - Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans
PM - Mark & Lauren at the Hamills
PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Midweek Bible study meets this Wednesday at 7:45
PM at the manse. We will be studying I Peter 4:2-6 on wasting one’s life
with worldly parties.
Stephen Rushton arrives this Friday. He will be
worshiping with us next Lord’s Day and returning home again on Monday,
The Stewarts and Stephen Rushton will be travelling
to Limerick on Friday where Rev. Stewart will give a lecture on
"Preaching: The Voice of Christ."
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Husbands, Love Your Wives"
(Song 1:9-11) by Rev. R. Kleyn.
Ladies Bible study meets next week Thursday, 18
February, at 10:30 AM at the Murrays to study Lesson 4 of Keeping
Lectures in Limerick: Friday, 12 March - "The
Real St. Patrick"
Elder Brian Crossett is to go to Grand Rapids for
Martyn McGeown’s graduation (DV) and to attend the PR Synod in June.
The official opening of our church building is
on Thursday, 5 August, with Prof. Hanko bringing the Word. This date
will enable some PRC members in the British Isles for the BRF Conference
(7-14 August) to attend the dedication.
The Council has written a letter to the PR
Theological School Committee recommending Francesco De Lucia for
the PR Seminary to start studies in September.
Offerings: General Fund: £743.60. Donations:
£5 (DVDs), £100 (CR News), £100, £10 (CR News).
An audio version of the Standard Bearer is now
available on-line (www.southeastprc.org/standard_bearer_audio.cfm).
From Doon PRC Council: "On behalf of the Berean
Protestant Reformed Church in the Philippines (BPRCP), we thank you
for your donation to the Berean Benevolence Fund. Due to the
overwhelming response of the PR denomination, including your donation,
the disaster relief needs have been met and all of the affected members
of the Berean PRC and their contacts have been cared for. We ask for
your continued prayers for the BPRCP and our missionaries as they
continue in their labours."
PRC News: Rev Koole declined Holland. Rev. J. Laning declined
Cornerstone; their new trio is Revs. Bruinsma, A. Lanning and Spriensma.
This is part 1 of the 37th e-mail from Prof.
Engelsma on justification.
Dear European Forum,
In this instalment of our study of the biblical and
Reformed doctrine of justification, we conclude our consideration of the
important relationship between James and Paul on justification—a
consideration begun in instalment 34.
As I indicated at the end of the previous instalment,
I now respond to the fear, or charge, of those who oppose justification
by faith alone that this doctrine fails to motivate church people to
live energetic holy lives of good works, if it does not lead them to be
careless and profane. It is this fear, evidently, that underlies, not
only the open teaching of justification by faith and works by Rome,
Arminians and the men of the Federal (Covenant) Vision (hereafter, FV),
but also the more subtle form of justification by works consisting of
the teaching of a conditional covenant (that is, that the covenant, the
covenant promise and final covenant salvation depend on the child’s
performing the works of faith and obedience as conditions.
This fear, or charge, as the case may be, is the
attack on justification by faith alone by the Roman Catholic Church
(hereafter, RCC) to which the Heidelberg Catechism is responding
in Q. & A. 64: "But doth not this doctrine [of justification by faith
alone, set forth and defended in Q. & A. 60-63] make men careless and
The fear, if fear it is, or charge, that
justification by faith alone makes people careless or even profane, so
that, in order to achieve godly living and good works, the church must
teach justification by faith and works and a conditional (covenant)
salvation, is an utterly mistaken and wicked fear. It is the fear of
Uzzah that without his help the ark of the Lord would fall and be
broken, so that he laid his unclean hands on that holy thing, for which
sin the punishment was instant death and damnation (II Sam. 6:1ff.).
It is the fear of unbelief. Unbelief does not trust
grace to save the elect believer to the uttermost, that is, to sanctify,
as well as justify, to deliver from the power of sin as well as from the
guilt and shame of sin. And unbelief does not trust grace to save,
because it does not know the grace of God.
The "fear" that justification by faith alone is
essentially the same as the "fear" that the certain knowledge of one’s
own unconditional election and sure perseverance unto eternal life and
glory must lead to a life of disobedience to the law, since one "will be
Underlying the fear of salvation by grace alone is
the notion that the real motivation to holiness and a zeal for good
works must be the conviction that one must himself earn his salvation or
that his salvation depends upon his own good works or that failure to
work means hell. The result in those who are driven by this foolish and
wicked fear is that they live the Christian life like a slave or in
terror. And such motivations make all their supposed Christian life
obnoxious to God.
The Reformed and biblical response to the fear, or
charge, that justification by faith alone makes people careless and
profane is that this is impossible. The teaching of the doctrine has
never made one person careless and profane, although it certainly has
exposed the profanity of many and even hardened them in their profanity,
as they seized on this doctrine to excuse their careless lives and
abused the doctrine. But these are reprobate, ungodly persons in the
audience, whom God wills to harden with the preaching of this grand
gospel truth (Rom. 9:18). These are persons who abuse all the doctrines
of the Christian faith. The fault is not in the doctrine of
justification but in themselves.
Nor has the great act of God of justifying ungodly
persons by faith alone ever made one of them careless and profane.
Rather, it has made every one of them careful to obey the commandments
of the law and holy, that is, devoted to God their justifier in love.
This is not to say that none of the justified has
ever been tempted to abuse (not: rightly use) the doctrine by living a
careless life on the basis of the truth that he is justified by faith
alone. The warning of James 2 makes clear that there were those in the
Christian church already in its earliest days who were tempted to make
the doctrine of justification by faith alone an excuse, if not a reason,
for failing to sacrifice greatly for God’s sake, when called to do so
like Abraham, or for refusing to help the people of God in their need
like Rahab. But this is not right knowledge of the doctrine; rather, it
is misunderstanding. Nor is this lackadaisical attitude and life the
product of justification by faith alone; rather, it is the warring of
the depraved nature against the act of justification.
The explanation why the fear is wrong, that is, why
justification by faith alone does not make men careless, the
Heidelberg Catechism gives in its answer to Question 64, quoted
above: "By no means; for it is impossible that those who are implanted
into Christ by a true faith should not bring forth fruits of
It is impossible that the divine act of the
justifying of the elect ungodly by faith alone, apart from all his own
works, should bring about or lead to or allow carelessness of life.
First, the true faith by which one is justified is
spiritual union with Christ. Spiritual union with Christ brings the life
of Christ into the justified sinner’s heart, so that this sin-overcoming
life of the risen Christ rules in the justified sinner, producing love
for God and love for the neighbour. One can no more be united to Christ
by the faith that justifies and not bring forth the fruits of good works
than a branch can be grafted into a tree and not bring forth, by the
life of the tree, leaves, blossoms and fruit.
The faith that is the means of justification,
therefore, is always also the faith that is the means of sanctification
(God’s work of making the elect sinner holy, so that he obeys the law
and performs good works). At the great Jerusalem synod, where the issue
was exactly that which concerns us now, namely, whether Paul’s doctrine
of justification by faith alone, that is, by grace alone, is not a
dangerous doctrine regarding the Christian life of holiness, so that the
converts, especially the loose-living Gentile converts, should have the
law imposed upon them for righteousness and some conditions unto
salvation added to the gospel, Peter distinctly declared that men are
sanctified by faith alone, as they are justified by faith alone:
"purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:15).
The same Christ who justifies us by faith alone
sanctifies by His Holy Spirit those whom He justifies. He is a complete
Saviour. This is the answer of the Heidelberg Catechism to a
question very much like that which it asks in Q. 64. Question 86 is:
"Since then we are delivered from our misery merely of grace, through
Christ, without any merit of ours, why must we still do good works?" The
mention of merit indicates that the Catechism
again confronts Rome’s fear, or charge, that unless the church puts the
members on the footing with God of earning their salvation by their own
good works, the members will not feel it necessary to do good works. The
answer of the Catechism is, "Because Christ, having redeemed and
delivered us by His blood, also renews us by His Holy Spirit."
Christ is not half a Saviour, delivering sinners from
guilt, but leaving them under the ruling power of sin in their lives.
Having justified, He will also always and at once sanctify. He showed
this in His word to the adulterous woman in John 8: "Neither do I
condemn thee" (free justification consisting of and based on nothing in
the woman); "Go, and sin no more" (an effective word making her holy,
following her free justification, and accompanying it).
... to be continued