Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 6
"O Lord, open
thou my lips; and my mouth
forth thy praise" (Ps. 51:15)
- 11:00 AM
The Prayer of the Church in Babylon (3)
Vexing God’s Holy Spirit [download]
Reading: Ephesians 4:17-5:12
I. The Terrible
90:1-7; 95:6-11; 143:5-11
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Saved by Grace! [download]
Reading: Ephesians 2:1-22
I. All of Grace
II. Not of
III. Not of
115:1-11; 90:8-12; 116:1-8; 118:20-29
Stephen Murray for CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
& Rev. & Mary Stewart will be in Portugal on 7-11 March.
Tuesday, 8 March, mini-conference in a Presbyterian church near Lisbon:
11 AM -
Rev. McGeown on "Sin: Man’s Problem"
3 PM - Rev.
Stewart on "Sovereign Grace: God’s Solution"
evening lectures will be given at Assembly of God Churches:
Rev. Stewart on "God’s Magnifying His Word"
Rev. McGeown on "What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?"
Rev. Stewart on "Grace Not Works"
With Rev. Stewart away, the catechism classes and the
other meetings he leads are cancelled this week but will resume
Ladies’ Discussion Group - Thursday at 11 AM at
church on Lesson 3 of Ruth.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is "Jesus’ Prayer for Glory Through the
Cross" (John 17:1-5) by Rev. R. Kleyn.
Next Sunday, Rev. McGeown will preach for the
CPRC, while Rev. Stewart preaches for the LRF.
The Lord’s Supper dates are 27 March, 26 June,
25 September and 18 December.
S. Wales Lecture, 24 March: Rev. Stewart on "The
Election of God’s Church"
Offerings: General Fund - £1,032.10.
£100 (CR News), £20 (DVDs).
PRC News: Rev. Langerak declined the call to Hope
PRC. Edgerton PRC will call from a new trio of Revs. Kuiper, Marcus and
A Review and Defence (Excerpt 5)
Peter Y. De Jong (1915-2005), like R. B. Kuiper, was
a conservative theologian in the Christian Reformed Church in N.
America. Below is De Jong’s lengthy exposition of Belgic Confession
Article 28’s statement that "out of it [i.e., the church] there is
In God’s word emphasis is laid upon our spiritual
fellowship with Christ, which comes to expression in sound doctrine
and pure worship. This insistence, however, may not tempt us to
champion the notion that the external and visible form of the church
is of little account. We learn to know God’s church only in and
through its historical manifestation. More than that, the Bible warns
against trusting our subjective judgments while disregarding and even
despising the work of the Holy Spirit in the church of all ages.
Always the individual and social, the personal and communal aspects of
our salvation in Christ are interwoven in New Testament teaching. They
do not exist side-by-side, in isolation from each other. To be a
Christian means to have fellowship with the living Christ and in the
same moment with his people. To break this fellowship lightly, on the
basis of personal prejudices and insights, is to imperil our
salvation. How else could we hear the word of the living God, except
through the preachers whom he has sent? And how could such preachers
receive their commission, except by the church which believes and
lives by the word of God? Aptly does J. S. Whale comment, "Certain it
is that for St. Paul, and for New Testament Christianity, to be a
Christian is to be a member of a living organism whose life derives
from Christ. There is no other way of being a Christian. In this
sense, Christian experience is always ecclesiastical experience. The
gospel of pardon reaches you and me through the mediation of the
Christian society, the living body of believers in whose midst the
redeeming gospel of Christ goes out across the centuries and the
... Wherever the word is purely preached, there is
the church. Constrained by the Spirit who indoctrinates us into the
truth as it is in Christ, those who are saved live in fellowship with
each other. Apart from Christ there is no salvation. And He is pleased
to communicate His grace in connection with the means which He has
instituted and preserved in this world. To separate oneself from the
assembly where the rich Christ is proclaimed in obedience to the
Scriptures is a heinous sin involving most serious consequences.
"Hence it follows," so Calvin warned at this point, "that a departure
from the Church is a renunciation of God and Christ. And such a
criminal dissension is so much the more to be avoided, because, while
we endeavour, so far as lies in our power, to destroy the truth of
God, we deserve to be crushed with the most powerful thunders of his
wrath. Nor is it possible to imagine a more atrocious crime, than that
sacrilegious perfidy, which violates the conjugal relation that the
only begotten Son of God has condescended to form with us" [Institutes
Turning to the Presbyterian tradition, Scottish
theologian David Dickson (1583-1663), the author of the first commentary
on the Westminster Confession, included the following in his
remarks on chapter 25, "Of the Church:"
Question 4. Is there any ordinary possibility
of salvation out of the visible church?
No; Acts 2:47.
Well then, do not the Enthusiasts, Quakers, and
Libertines err, who affirm, That any man may be a true Christian, and
be saved, though he live within no visible church?
By what reasons are they confuted?
1st, Because the Lord Jehovah in his visible church
(ordinarily) commands the blessing, even life for evermore, Ps. 133:3.
2nd, Because the visible church is the mother of all believers, Gal.
4:26. By Jerusalem which is above, I understand the true Christian
church which seeketh its salvation, not by the first covenant of the
law, namely, by the works of the law, but by the second of the gospel,
namely, by the merits of Christ embraced by a true faith; which hath
its original from heaven, by the powerful calling of the Holy Ghost.
3rd, Because they that are without the visible church are without
Christ, Eph. 2:12. 4th, Why are men and women joined to the visible
church, but that they may be saved? Acts 2:47. 5th, Because they that
are without the visible church are destitute of the ordinary means of
life and salvation, Ps. 147:19, 20.
Nineteenth-century Scottish Presbyterian, Hugh Martin
(1822-1885), in his fine commentary on Jonah, declares, "The Gentiles,
as a whole, as nations, were obviously given over in the meantime to the
reign of spiritual death, cast out beyond the pale of that visible
church, within which alone salvation is ordinarily revealed."
Martin’s slightly younger contemporary, A. A. Hodge
(1823-1886), American Presbyterian and representative of "Old
Princeton," had this to say on Westminster Confession 25:2:
But our Confession intends in these sections to
teach further that ordinarily, where there is the knowledge and
opportunity, God requires every one who loves Christ to confess him in
the regular way of joining the community of his people and of taking
the sacramental badges of his discipleship. That this is commanded
will be shown under [Westminster Confession] chapters
xxvii.-xxix. And that when providentially possible every Christian
heart will be prompt to obey in this matter, is self-evident. When
shame or fear of persecution is the preventing consideration, then the
failure to obey is equivalent to the positive rejection of Christ,
since the rejection of him will have to be publicly pretended in such
case in order to avoid the consequences attending upon the public
acknowledgement of him.
From all this, it is evident that extra ecclesiam
nulla salus is not "just Engelsma’s view!" This is the explicit
teaching of several major Reformed and Presbyterian creeds (the
Catechism of the Church of Geneva, the Belgic Confession,
the Second Helvetic Confession and the Westminster Confession)
and the churches in Europe and around the world that have maintained
them, Luther’s Larger Catechism of the Lutheran churches and many
theologians in the history of the Christian church—including some of the
greatest—such as Cyprian, Augustine, Cyril of Alexandria, Luther,
Calvin, Bullinger, Beza, de Brès, Ursinus, Olevianus, the Westminster
divines, David Dickson, van Mastricht, Van Oosterzee, Hugh Martin, A. A.
Hodge, R. B. Kuiper and P. Y. De Jong. Moreover, scholars of historical
Protestant theology, such as Heinrich Heppe and Richard Muller, testify
with one voice that this is the orthodox Reformed (and Lutheran) view.
In this, the Reformers and their successors are following the teaching
of the church fathers, as per patristic scholars, such as J. N. D.
Keith Mathison summarizes well the historic
Reformation teaching (over against that of modern evangelicalism):
Unlike modern Evangelicalism, the classical
Protestant Reformers held to a high view of the Church. When the
Reformers confessed extra ecclesiam nulla salus, which means "there is
no salvation outside the Church," they were not referring to the
invisible Church of all the elect. Such a statement would be
tantamount to saying that outside of salvation, there is no salvation.
It would be a truism. The Reformers were referring to the visible
Church, and this confession of the necessity of the visible Church was
incorporated into the great Reformed confessions of faith.
It should also be noted that many of the above
quotations—especially those of Olevianus, Dickson, Kuiper and De
Jong—provide scriptural proof and give biblical arguments to show that
"outside the church there is no salvation" is not "just Engelsma’s view"
or even merely the Reformed view; it is the teaching of the Word of God!
Bound to Join itself makes this point more fully.