Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church


Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 28 February, 2010


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and

things wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Outrage at Gibeah (6)

Benjamin Back From the Brink    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Judges 21

Text: Judges 21

I. The Sorrow of Israel Over Benjamin

II. The Provision of Wives for Benjamin

III. The Grace of God Towards Benjamin

Psalms: 119:33-40; 53:1-6; 103:8-15; 68:25-30


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Pitching Your Tent Toward Sodom    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Genesis 13

Text: Genesis 13:5-13

I. The Meaning

II. The Reason

III. The Consequences

Psalms: 122:1-9; 54:1-7; 119:113-120; 73:4-9, 12


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

CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube Site:

Quote to Consider:

Prof. Engelsma: "The excommunication and near destruction of Benjamin are God’s doing. ‘The Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel’ (Judges 21:15). The covenant includes severe judgment upon transgressors of the covenant. Divine judgment falls on the city of Gibeah, the tribe of Benjamin, and all Israel. All the inhabitants of Gibeah are killed, and the city is burned. All the Benjamites are put to death—men, women and children—except for the six hundred men who escape. Even the animals are slain. The cities of Benjamin are burned" (Unfolding Covenant History, vol. 5, p. 25).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

On the back table are new Standard Bearers, the February issue of the CR News, the Reformed Perspectives (with an excellent article on "Antithetical Catechism Instruction for the 21st Century") and a Philippines missionary letter.

David Crossett leaves tomorrow for India as part of his PhD course. May the Lord be with him until he returns to us on 1 July.

The Council meets tomorrow evening, 7:30 PM at the manse.


Monday, 6:30 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea Campbell at the manse 

Tuesday, 7 PM - Jacob & Nathan at the Buchanans 

Tuesday, 8 PM - Mark & Lauren at the Hamills 

Wednesday, 1 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 4:7f. on watching unto prayer, love and hospitality.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Prayer of the Christian Soldier" (Luke 11:4).

Ladies Bible study meets this Thursday, 4 March, at 10:30 AM at the Murrays to finish Lesson 4 and start Lesson 5 of Keeping God’s Covenant.

Upcoming Meetings: 

Shannon, Co. Clare, Thursday, 11 March - Bible study on salvation 

Limerick, Friday, 12 March - "The Real St. Patrick" 

Ballymena, Friday, 9 April - "Preaching: The Voice of Christ"

We will have preparatory on 14 March with a view to celebrating the Lord’s Supper on 21 March.

Website Additions: 3 Italian, 1 German and 1 Portuguese translations were added.

Offerings: General Fund: £377.90. Donations: £3,000 (Building Fund), £30 (CR News).

PRC News: Holland calls tonight from a trio of Revs. Kuiper, J. Laning and VanderWal. Bethel’s trio is Revs. Den Hartog, Koole and VanderWal. Byron Center and Cornerstone called Rev. Spriensma. Hull called Rev. W. Langerak.

Luther’s Letter in Behalf of Christian Schools (II)

In our first look at "Luther’s Letter in Behalf of Christian Schools," we saw Luther’s observation of the condition of Germany’s monasteries and schools since the beginning of the Reformation. Also, he recognized the spiritual battle with Satan which was taking place in education. Finally, Luther encouraged the establishment of good Christian schools while the German people were blessed with the opportunity.

In the next section of this letter, Luther treats the subject of why he writes to the mayors and aldermen of German cities when Scripture clearly speaks of parents educating their children. Luther, anticipating this protest from the civil authorities, writes, "But all that, you say, is addressed to parents; what does it concern the members of the council and the mayors? That is true; but how, if parents neglect it? Who shall attend to it then? Shall we therefore let it alone, and suffer the children to be neglected? How will the mayors and council excuse themselves, and prove that such a duty does not belong to them?"

After imploring the civil government to step into the gap to educate children, Luther identifies three causes of parents’ neglect to meet what Luther sees as their obligation.

In the first place, there are some who are so lacking in piety and uprightness that they would not do it if they could, but like the ostrich, harden themselves against their own offspring, and do nothing for them. Nevertheless these children must live among us and with us. How then can reason and, above all, Christian charity, suffer them to grow up ill-bred, and to infect other children, till at last the whole city be destroyed, like Sodom, Gomorrah, and some other cities?

In the second place, the great majority of parents are unqualified for it, and do not u[n]derstand how children should be brought up and taught. For they have learned nothing but to provide for their bodily wants; and in order to teach and train children thoroughly, a separate class is needed.

In the third place, even if parents were qualified and willing to do it themselves, yet on account of other employments and household duties they have no time for it, so that necessity requires us to have teachers for public schools ["public" refers to schools open to all children, not just a select few], unless each parent employ a private instructor. But that would be too expensive for persons of ordinary means, and many a bright boy, on account of poverty, would be neglected.

Much has changed in the world since 1524 when Luther wrote this letter. Today the civil government makes the education of children mandatory because civil authorities have an interest in an educated populace for reducing the need for government relief expenditures. Well, we can hope for this kind of fiscal responsibility by our government anyway.

Let’s consider Luther’s three causes for the neglect of education.

First, would Luther be able to make the charge that there are some among us who would not provide an education for their children even though they were able? In our denomination nearly all would agree that some education is necessary for making our way in today’s society. The debate now centres on how much education our children need and what they need to learn. Opinions can vary, legitimately, on these points. As a result our schools provide different programs and classes for our students’ different needs. This is especially true for our older students.

Luther’s second cause for parents neglecting to educate their children is that many parents are unqualified for the task. In the early sixteenth century, parents did not have the opportunity to obtain an education as we do today. How and what to teach were foreign ideas to them. They had no personal experience in academics. They could not simply refer to their memories of how their best teachers did things. Additionally, reading was not even a part of their world. Books were expensive, prohibitively so, and most books were in Latin, not suitable for the common man. The Roman church went so far as to discourage laymen from having their own Bibles, assuring the people in the pews the clergy would take care of that part of their lives for them. It’s no wonder Luther could state parents were unqualified for the task of educating their children.

Today’s parents are more educated. Nearly all of us have had a high school education, and much of that has been in our own Christian schools. Books have been a part of our lives, in many cases since our youngest years. In God’s gracious care for His church He has provided us with a faithful translation of the Bible, the King James Version, much of which was based on the work of those who literally hazarded their lives to translate the Bible into the language of the people. Even our youngest children are familiar with God’s Word. Having a reliable translation of the Bible in our own home is now so taken for granted that we fail to render proper thanks to God. We have many advantages over the parents of Luther’s time in qualifying us to educate our children.

However, our society is vastly different from Luther’s, and it continues to change quickly. The improvement in the level of education of us parents is not enough to offset the great advances in knowledge available today. In the 1940s and 1950s, an 8th grade education was sufficient to compete in the job market. Constant training or retraining was not a part of many workers’ lives. The workplace is a whole new entity today. How many of today’s jobs were around fifty years ago, or even twenty-five? Today’s society requires a whole new set of skills and services. Even the tools and materials we use in the workplace are vastly different from our grandparents. The job market is becoming more specialized as well. It’s challenging enough to keep up-to-date on our own careers, let alone keep an eye on educational trends, materials and methods.

Luther’s third cause of parents neglecting their children’s education is that parents simply would not have the necessary time. It would take time, and plenty of it, to qualify oneself to teach all areas of the curriculum. How many of us can honestly say he or she is qualified to teach everything, especially the areas of math and the various sciences? How confident are most parents with junior high algebra and science, especially if such areas of study were not academic strengths in the days of youth? High school calculus, advanced physics, chemistry or biology anyone? Attempt to learn such material yourself and then prepare lessons, all while meeting the regular God-given responsibilities of the workplace, church, home and family. How many hours are there in a day? Luther expressed the need for hiring trained teachers this way:

Thus, in all the world, even among the heathen, school-masters and teachers have been found necessary where a nation was to be elevated. Hence in the Epistle to the Galatians Paul employs a word in common use when he says, "The law was our school-master."

Since, then, a city must have well-trained people, and since the greatest need, lack, and lament is that such are not to be found, we must not wait till they grow up of themselves; neither can they be hewed out of stones nor cut out of wood; nor will God work miracles, so long as men can attain their object through means within their reach. Therefore we must see to it, and spare no trouble or expense to educate and form them ourselves. For whose fault is it that in all the cities there are at present so few skilful people except the rulers, who have allowed the young to grow up like trees in the forest, and have not cared how they were reared and taught? The growth, consequently, has been so irregular that the forest furnishes no timber for building purposes, but like a useless hedge, is good only for fuel.

We can hope Luther would agree with the claim that much progress has been made in covenant education in the 485 years since Luther wrote his letter to the mayors. Despite the progress, however, we still need our good Christian schools. Have we matured to the point intellectually and spiritually that we have outgrown our need for Christian schools? The work of maintaining Christian education is an ongoing work, as is the work of maintaining and defending the heritage of truth given our denomination through the Reformation. Such is the nature of God’s truth. It is not stagnant, but dynamic. Let’s be grateful for, and maintain, our schools as we and our children walk the life our faithful Father gives us in a changing world.

Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant Reformed Christian School