Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 7 November, 2010


"One generation shall praise thy works to another,

and shall declare thy mighty acts" (Ps. 145:4)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Christian Discipleship (2)

Hating Your Own Life   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Matthew 10:16-42

Text: Luke 14:26

I. The Meaning of It

II. The Necessity of It

Psalms: 19:7-13; 78:55-60; 27:9-14; 36:5-11


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Thy Will, Not Mine!   [download]   [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Romans 7

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 49

I. The Meaning

II. The Calling

Psalms: 148:1-10; 78:61-67; 40:6-10; 103:17-22


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quotes to Consider:

Martin Luther: "94. Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their head, through penalties, deaths and hells. 95. And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace" (The 95 Theses).

J. C. Ryle: "There is a common worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough—a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, requires no sacrifice, which costs nothing, and is worth nothing. Remember, you must choose whom you will serve. You cannot serve God and mammon. You cannot be on two sides at once. You cannot be a friend of Christ, and a friend of the world at the same time. You must come out from the children of this world and be separate. You must put up with much ridicule, trouble, and opposition ... You must be willing to think and do things which the world considers foolish and to hold opinions which are only held by a few. It will cost you something. The stream is strong and you have to stem it. The way is narrow and steep, and it is no use saying it is not. But depend on it, there can be no saving religion without sacrifice and self-denial ... I put to your conscience in all affection and tenderness, are you, like Moses, preferring God to the world, or not?" 

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

On the back table are a new free PRC pamphlet entitled "Bringing Forth Children in an Age of Selfishness," a new CR News, and a missions newsletter from Pittsburgh.

Catechism classes:

Monday, 6:00 PM - Joseph, Jacob, Nathan & Alex

Monday, 6:45 PM - Zoe, Amy & Lea

Tuesday, 12:15 AM - Beginners NT Class

Tuesday Bible study: 11 AM. We will start II Thessalonians 2, the famous chapter on the man of sin.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will study Article 4 on the 66 books in the canon of Holy Scripture.

Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM, beginning with Canons of Dordt II:8.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "The Great Tribulation" (Matthew 24:9-10, 21-22) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Offerings: General Fund - £842.60. Donation: £200.

Website Additions: 1 Portuguese translation and 1 German translation were added. A resources page on church government was also put on-line.

PRC News: Rev. Bruinsma declined the call to Edgerton so Edgerton PRC’s new trio is Revs. Kuiper (Randolph, WI), Haak (Georgetown, MI) and Sponk (Peace, IL).

This is part 1 of the 42nd e-mail by Prof. Engelsma on justification:

Dear European Forum,

Before I conclude my study with you of the fundamental gospel-truth of justification by faith alone, considering the relation of justification and election, the future public justification of the final judgment and the contemporary attack on justification from within the Reformed churches by the heresy of the Federal (Covenant) Vision, I briefly take note of an aspect of justification that is overlooked: the assurance of justification by the one whom God justifies.

The glorious truth of justification includes that the Spirit of Christ assures every one whom He justifies by the word of the gospel that he is justified. He assures the justified sinner when He justifies him. He assures him as an aspect of the activity of justification itself.

Not only is the elect, believing sinner justified, but he also knows that he is justified.

It is false doctrine, a denial of the biblical truth of justification, to teach that Christ justifies many through faith in Himself who nevertheless remain in doubt whether they are justified and therefore in doubt whether they are saved. It is false doctrine, a denial of the biblical truth of justification, to teach that assurance of justification comes much later in time than justification itself and that this is the happy possession only of a few believers in this life. It is false doctrine, a denial of the biblical truth of justification, to teach that, whereas justification is a gift of God to His people, assurance of justification is something that only a few believers obtain by their strenuous spiritual work usually over a long period of time. It is false doctrine, a denial of justification by faith, to teach that, whereas justification is a gift to the elect, obtaining assurance is a matter of the believer’s "quest" for it, usually over many years and by dint of arduous struggle.

The error that I am describing, and combatting, is real and widespread in the Reformed churches. It afflicts many confessing Reformed and Presbyterian Christians. The effect of this error is to cast many confessing Reformed Christians into doubt of their salvation for many years, some as long as they live. Another effect of this error is to cause many to rely for assurance of forgiveness and therefore salvation upon a special, extraordinary, mystical "experience" that they desperately long to have. For many, this experience never comes, and they die in the terror that death may usher them into eternal perdition. For a few others, they suppose that they have the "experience" and rely on it, which is worse than the honest doubt of those who lack the experience.

Denial that justification by faith alone includes assurance of justification is the false doctrine that prevails in the Reformed churches in the Dutch tradition that are influenced by the nadere reformatie ("further reformation"). This is a distinct theological movement, which entered the Netherlands in the 17th century from England, that supposes that the sixteenth-century Reformation did not go far enough. Specifically, it did not do justice to "experience." The "further reformation" would complete the Reformation by emphasizing experience. Fundamental to this experience is the mystical experience upon which assurance of salvation must be based and which believers must seek, as a "quest" for years by way of hard spiritual efforts. This movement dominates in such denominations as the Gereformeerde Gemeenten (Reformed Congregations) and related churches in the Netherlands and in the Netherlands Reformed Congregations and Heritage Netherlands Reformed Churches in North America.

Certain Presbyterian churches in Scotland are also heavily influenced by this error. The Banner of Truth promotes this false doctrine, especially (but by no means exclusively) by its promotion of the theology of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a zealous advocate of the error.

What the Dutch churches influenced by the "further reformation" and the Presbyterian churches in Scotland and the Banner of Truth have in common is their embrace of Puritan theology. The Puritans, in their leading representatives, taught that assurance of justification is not part of justification, but is to be obtained by the vigorous quest for assurance.

This teaching is the cause of the wretched, sinful doubt of salvation on the part of multitudes, who profess to believe in Christ, who profess even to be justified (oddly enough), who confess the truths of the Reformed faith, who live godly lives, but who are never certain that they are forgiven and saved and who die in this condition (which is the condition of unbelief).

The evidence of this doubt is that large numbers of church members do not partake of the Lord’s Supper.

I give one statement of this error by a leading Puritan to prove that this was indeed the teaching of the Puritan mainstream, as it is the doctrine today of the disciples of the Puritans, particularly those who promote the "further reformation."

The first conclusion we will begin with and premise as a foundation to what follows, is, that that act of faith which justifies a sinner, is distinct from knowing he hath eternal life, and may therefore be without it, because it doth not necessarily contain prevailing assurance in it. By prevailing assurance, I mean such an assurance as overpowereth doubts and sense to the contrary, so as, in the believer’s knowledge, he is able to say, Christ is mine, and my sins are forgiven; such an assurance whereby a man is a conqueror, as Paul speaks, Rom. 8:37, when he expresseth such strong assurance.

The author of this statement, and ardent promoter of its doctrine, is the Puritan Thomas Goodwin, in his treatise, "The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith."  to be continued ...