Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 30
generation shall praise thy works to another,
declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)
- 11:00 AM
Moving House for
God’s Church (4)
Ruth’s Godly Resolution to Move to Join the Church [download]
Reading: Ruth 1
I. She Moved
Despite Worldly Loss
II. She Moved
Despite Bad Examples
88:9-15; 105:6-12; 45:6-11
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
House for God’s Church (5)
Ruth’s Amazing Faith in Moving to Join the Church [download]
Reading: Ruth 1
I. Her Profound
II. Her Deep
III. Her Blessed
88:13-18; 84:4-11; 27:1-5
Stephen Murray (email@example.com) for CDs of the
sermons and DVDs of the worship services.
Quote to Consider:
David J. Engelsma: "Naomi is herself responsible
for her impossible situation. She and her husband sought the world and
opened up their children to marriage with the heathens. Her present
distress is the fruit of her own doing as chastisement of the Lord ...
Also today Christian parents find themselves in similar circumstances
because of their own folly in leaving or minimizing the importance of
the true church and thus contributing to the marriage of their children
to unbelievers. They are unable to call their own children with their
children’s mates to the right worship of God, to a godly life, and to
membership in the true church. They find themselves virtually forced to
give to their children weak, compromised, and bad advice on fundamental
spiritual matters" (Unfolding
Covenant History, vol. 5, p. 198).
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
We welcome Jennifer Hanko back into our midst.
A new Covenant Reformed
News is available on the back table today with articles on
"Mount Sinai (1)" and "A Proper Use of Marijuana?"
The council received and granted a request from
Philip & Susan Hall to have their daughter, Katelyn Joy, baptized.
is scheduled for next Lord’s Day morning, 6 February.
Standard Bearer subscriptions are due—£16.50.
This can be paid to Rev. Stewart, who will then pay the RFPA for you.
PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex
PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea
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
Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM.
We’ll continue Article 8 on the significance of the Holy Trinity for our
understanding of creation and providence and redemption.
Thursday’s Membership class is at 7:30 PM.
This Friday, 4 February, at 7:30 PM in Lurgan Town
Hall, Rev. Stewart will give a lecture on "Predestination: What the
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Christian View of
Children" (Psalm 127:3) by Rev. R. Kleyn.
Offerings: General Fund - £432.90. Donations:
£35 (CDs), £10 (CDs), £10 (DVDs), £20 (DVDs).
PRC News: Hope PRC’s trio is Revs. denHartog,
Koole and W. Langerak. Edgerton PRC called Rev. W. Langerak. Rev. Marcus
declined the call to Wingham.
A Review and Defence (Excerpt 2)
Rev. A. Stewart
1) "But That’s Just Engelsma’s View!"
Both during and after the e-mail discussion and now
since the publication of
Bound to Join, Prof. Engelsma’s treatment of the necessity of
joining a true church has provoked controversy. Many have been deeply
appreciative but some with whom I have corresponded—not just in the
British Isles and the United States but also from further afield, such
as Scandinavia and Africa—have opposed the teaching. One frequent
response to the position that "outside the church there is no salvation"
(Latin: extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is "But that’s just
However, it was the fathers in the early church, such
as Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258) and Augustine of Hippo (354-430), the
great theologian of grace, who coined and promoted the maxim "outside
the church there is no salvation," as Engelsma notes (p. 5).1
J. N. D. Kelly, an acknowledged authority on patristic theology, states,
"Cyril of Alexandria [d. 444] was voicing universally held assumptions
when he wrote that ‘mercy is not obtainable outside the holy city.’"2
The church fathers have been followed in this position by the historic
Christian church in both West and East, which has seen extra
ecclesiam nulla salus as a faithful summary of biblical teaching.
What about the great confessions of the Reformation?
We turn first to the Belgic Confession (1561), a creed of the
denomination to which Prof. Engelsma belongs and which he quotes
frequently in Bound to Join. Article 28 is entitled "That Every
One Is Bound to Join Himself to the True Church:"
We believe, since this holy congregation is an
assembly of those who are saved, and that out of it there is no
salvation, that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may
be, ought to withdraw himself, to live in a separate state from it;
but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with
it; maintaining the unity of the Church; submitting themselves to
the doctrine and discipline thereof; bowing their necks under the
yoke of Jesus Christ; and as mutual members of the same body,
serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents
God has given them. And that this may be the more effectually
observed, it is the duty of all believers, according to the word of
God, to separate themselves from all those who do not belong to the
Church, and to join themselves to this congregation, wheresoever God
hath established it, even though the magistrates and edicts of
princes be against it, yea, though they should suffer death or any
other corporal punishment. Therefore all those, who separate
themselves from the same, or do not join themselves to it, act
contrary to the ordinance of God.
Echoing the early church with its ark imagery, the
Second Helvetic Confession, written by Heinrich Bullinger in 1562
and revised in 1564, also teaches extra ecclesiam nulla salus:
But as for communicating with the true Church of
Christ, we so highly esteem of it, that we say plainly, that none
can live before God, which do not communicate with the true Church
of God, but separate themselves from the same. For as without the
ark of Noah there was no escaping, when the world perished in the
flood; even so do we believe, that without Christ, who in the Church
offereth himself to be enjoyed of the elect, there can be no certain
salvation: and therefore we teach that such as would be saved, must
in no wise separate themselves from the true Church of Christ (17).3
The Second Helvetic Confession was accepted by
Reformed churches not only in Switzerland but also in Scotland (1566),
Hungary (1567), France (1571) and Poland (1578). In fact, it is one of
the most widely accepted confessional statements among Reformed
Christians throughout the world.
The Westminster Confession of the 1640s, on
behalf of Presbyterianism in the British Isles, declared,
The visible church, which is also catholick or
universal under the gospel, (not confined to one nation, as before
under the law,) consists of all those throughout the world that
profess the true religion, and of their children; and is the kingdom
of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which
there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (25:2).
From these confessions of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, we see that extra ecclesiam nulla salus
was creedal in the churches of the Calvin Reformation in Ireland,
Scotland, England, the Lowlands, France, Switzerland, Hungary, and
Poland. Since then, with this truth being taught in the Westminster
Standards (in which the Westminster Confession is included)
and the Three Forms of Unity (to which the Belgic Confession
belongs), this has been the confessional position of Presbyterian
churches in the British Isles and around the world and the Dutch
Reformed churches in the Netherlands and globally.4
Moving from the Reformed confessions to Reformed
theologians, pride of place goes to that blessed son of France, John
Calvin (1509-1564). What did he say? Engelsma himself tells us in
Bound to Join, especially in Letters 6-10, which chapters include
lengthy quotations from the Genevan Reformer. Moreover, most of Calvin’s
writings urging believers to join a true church have recently been
conveniently collected in the book
Come Out From Among Them that Prof. Engelsma frequently cites.5
... to be continued
Arthur Cushman McGiffert observes, "The difference at this point between
Cyprian and earlier Christians was not that he asserted that no one
could be saved apart from the church, for upon this there was general
agreement from primitive days, but that he identified the church with a
particular institution" (A History of Christian Thought, vol. 2
[New York: Scribner’s, 1933], pp. 30-31).
2 J. N. D.
Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (USA: HarperSanFrancisco, rev.
1978), p. 403.
Hall (ed.), The Harmony of Protestant Confessions (USA: Still
Waters Revival Books, 1992), pp. 214-215.
other two creedal documents in the Three Forms of Unity also have
something to say in this area. In Lord’s Day 38 of the Heidelberg
Catechism, the answer to the question "What doth God require in the
fourth commandment?" includes "that I, especially on the sabbath, that
is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear
his word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and
contribute to the relief of the poor, as becomes a Christian." The
Canons of Dordt teach that Jehovah’s "supernatural operation" of
grace in us is by means of "Word, sacraments, and discipline" and so we
must not "tempt God in the church by separating what He of his good
pleasure hath most intimately joined together" (III/IV:17). Likewise,
God "preserves, continues, and perfects" His "work of grace in us" "by
the hearing and reading of his Word, by meditation thereon, and by the
exhortations, threatenings, and promises thereof, as well as by the use
of the sacraments" (V:14).
Calvin, Come Out From Among Them: ‘Anti-Nicodemite’ Writings of John
Calvin, trans. Seth Skolnitsky (Dallas, TX: Protestant Heritage