Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Bookmark and Share

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 8 May, 2011


"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord

shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM  - Rev. M. McGeown

Isaac Blessing His Sons by Faith    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Genesis 27:1 - 28:5

Text: Hebrews 11:20

I. The Blessing Sought

II. The Blessing Bestowed

III. The Faith Exhibited

Psalms: 107:1-9; 98:1-9; 4:1-8; 108:7-13


Evening Service - 6:00 PM  - Rev. M. McGeown

Faithful Abel’s Better Sacrifice    [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Genesis 4:1-16, 25-26

Text: Hebrews 11:4

I. A Better Sacrifice

II. A Better Motive

III. A Better Testimony

Psalms: 121:1-8; 99:1-5; 37:8-16; 62:1-6


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quote to Consider:

Alfred Edersheim: "Apparently, Eve connected the birth of Cain with the immediate fulfilment of the promise concerning the Seed, who was to bruise the head of the serpent. This expectation ... showed how deeply this hope had sunk into her heart, how lively was her faith in the fulfilment of the promise, and how ardent her longing for it. But if such had been her views, they must have been speedily disappointed. Perhaps for this very reason or else because she had been more fully informed, the other son of Adam and Eve mentioned in Scripture was named Abel, that is ‘breath,’ or ‘fading away’" (Bible History of the Old Testament).

Keil and Delitzsch: "The dwelling place of Esau would be the very opposite of the land of Canaan, viz. an unfruitful land. This is generally the condition of the mountainous country of Edom … the most desolate and barren mountains probably in the world. The mode of life and occupation of the inhabitants were adapted to the country … live by war, rapine and forebooting … In the wild, sport-loving Esau there was aptly prefigured the character of his posterity … a tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the watch on every motion, delighting in mutations …"

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

Rev. McGeown will be preaching for us today. We welcome him, Hank & Barb DeVries from Randolph PRC and Alyssa Klamer from Hope PRC in Michigan to our worship services.

The Reformed Perspectives on Revelation 5:1-7 (part 2) are on the back table.

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM, on II Thessalonians 3:6-15 on withdrawing from disorderly brethren.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We’ll look at Article 11 on the eternal procession of the Spirit.

Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM on Israel.

Sadly, we have discontinued the Reformed Witness Hour broadcast each Sunday on the radio due to financial constraints (and lack of feedback).

Offerings: General Fund - £520.80. Building Fund - £418.70.

Mens Fellowship: The next meeting will be on Saturday, 14 May, at 8 PM at the Kennedys. We will study Daniel 2. A handout is on the back table.

Upcoming Lectures:

"For Whom Did Christ Die?" Thursday, 2 June, at 7:15 PM in S. Wales.

"For Whom Did Christ Die?" Friday, 24 June, at 7:30 PM in Lurgan Town Hall.

LRF News: Terry Casey’s mother-in-law passed away this past week. Chris and Joanne Cesar were blessed with a baby girl on Wednesday. Joanne and Charis are both doing well. Let us pray for the LRF in all of their joys and sorrows.

This is part 2 of the 46th e-mail in Prof. Engelsma’s justification forum:

Today, Reformed and Presbyterian churches with a name for conservatism take their stand with Rome regarding justification, particularly regarding the justification of the final judgment. Throughout this study of justification, I have repeatedly referred to the theological movement that calls itself the Federal (Covenant) Vision (FV) and its outstanding representatives. This movement, pervasive and powerful in a number of reputedly conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches, especially the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), denies justification by faith alone. It teaches justification by faith and by the works that believing sinners do (admittedly, by the grace of God within them). Thus, it is in agreement with the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification, except that the FV denies that the good works of the justified sinner are meritorious. The FV likes the gullible public to suppose that because it denies meritorious good works it escapes the condemnation that the Reformation and its creeds pass on the Roman doctrine of justification. But the denial of merit is of no importance. For the FV teaches that the verdict of justification is based in part on the sinner’s own good works and that the righteousness of the sinner with God, upon which his eternal salvation depends, is partly his own obedience (admittedly, by the help of grace). Whether it affirms or denies "merit," the FV teaches justification by works, and denies justification by faith alone in Christ alone. The doctrine of the FV is essentially one with that of Rome, regardless that the FV denies "merit." It is worth noting that not only does the FV deny that the works of the justified sinner merit, but it also denies that Christ’s obedience merited. Basically what the FV does is dispense altogether with the truth that the justice of God demands obedience that is satisfactory. This is a worse heresy than Rome’s. Rome at least recognizes that someone must satisfy the justice of God, that is, merit.

(Although this is not our concern here, it may not be overlooked that the FV has developed its doctrine of justification by works from its fundamental teaching that the covenant of God with the children of believers is a gracious, saving, but conditional covenant with all the children of believers alike, those who eventually are saved and those who eventually go lost. Since the saving grace of God unites all the children alike to Christ at baptism and since the maintenance of this union and the enjoyment of the salvation of the covenant depend upon conditions that the children must perform, namely, faith and lifelong obedience, also justification—one of the benefits of the covenant—depends upon the work and works of the children. Therefore, justification is partly by works. The FV and all those who teach a conditional covenant deny that God’s eternal election governs the covenant of God with the children of believers, the covenant promise, and covenant salvation. They are willingly blind to Romans 9, which is the apostolic teaching that election [and reprobation] govern the covenant.)

What concerns us here is that the FV and its proponents lean heavily on the final judgment for their doctrine of justification by works. They regard the justification of the final judgment as the all-important, decisive justification. That coming justification, they insist, will be based, in part, on the good works of believers so that the righteousness of sinners that gain them access to the perfected kingdom of Christ in the new world is, in part, their own obedience (admittedly, with the help of grace). Arguing back from the final judgment to present justification, they contend either that present justification is also partly by works, or that the present justification by faith alone is merely provisional and will be, and must be, confirmed or overthrown by the conclusive, decisive justification by works of the final judgment.

Dr. Richard Gaffin of the OPC, longtime professor at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia in the United States, has been, and still is, very influential in spreading the heresy of justification by works in the OPC, as in many other Reformed and Presbyterian churches that receive their ministers from Westminster Seminary. In his 1995 "Lectures on Romans," Gaffin wrote, "Paul is describing [in Romans 2:6-16] the final eschatological judgment as it will take place to all people, Jew and Gentile, believer and non-believer, and it decides ultimate outcomes for all humanity. Life and death situation is in view. Further, this ultimate judgment has as its standard ‘good works.’ The doing of the law will ‘do it’ for believer and non-believer. The positive outcome is explicitly justification. Eternal life depends on and follows from a future justification based upon works and the law."

Note well in Gaffin’s doctrine: The final judgment will be ultimate, decisive "justification." And this justification will be "based upon works and the law." Their "doing of the law" will "do it" regarding eternal life.

Gaffin’s belief of justification by works explains his seven-year long defence of Norman Shepherd at Westminster in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when orthodox men tried to have Shepherd’s doctrine condemned and Shepherd disciplined (something that Westminster and the OPC never did). It also explains Gaffin’s effusive praise of Shepherd’s book, The Call of Grace, in which Shepherd (by now a minister in the Christian Reformed Church) openly denied justification by faith alone and all five of the five points of Calvinism on the basis of a gracious, conditional covenant with all the children of believers alike. It also explains Gaffin’s vigorous, successful defence of John Kinnaird before the general assembly of the OPC in 2003 when laypeople in the OPC tried to have the OPC condemn Kinnaird’s doctrine of justification by works. The statements of Kinnaird teaching justification by works were explanation of the final judgment as justification conditioned by, that is, dependent upon, the obedience and good works of the justified sinner himself—a doctrine Kinnaird had learned, and learned well, from Prof. Gaffin.

Of crucial importance to the doctrine of the FV and its many supporters and proponents in the supposedly conservative Reformed and Presbyterian churches today is the explanation of Romans 2:13. In the quotation of Prof. Gaffin above, you will have noticed that he taught justification by works in the final judgment as the doctrine of Romans 2:13. Romans 2:13 reads thus: "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." The explanation of the text by Gaffin and all the men of the FV is that the text is teaching what is possible, namely, that some men do in fact become just by doing the law; that these men become just by doing the law by means of the work of the Holy Spirit in them by virtue of their union with Christ; that the text is looking ahead to the justification of the final judgment; and that, therefore, justification is partly by faith and partly by the good works of the sinner.  ... to be continued