Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 8 November, 2015

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind ...” (Rom. 12:2)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

The Interlude and the Seventh Trumpet (2)
The Mighty Angel’s Solemn Oath  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Revelation 10
Text: Revelation 10:5-7

I. The Formula of His Oath
II. The Content of His Oath
III. The Significance of His Oath
Psalms: 145:1-8; 119:1-8; 104:1-7; 98:1-9

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Walking in Newness of Life  [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Romans 6
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33

I. What?
II. How?
Psalms: 122:1-9; 119:9-16; 51:5-12; 119:57-64

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart or the elders

CPRC Website: • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quotes to Consider

Herman Hoeksema on Revelation 10:7: “At this stage six seals have already been broken, and six trumpets are already blown. But the mystery of God has not yet been fulfilled. It is still waiting. Of that mystery His servants the prophets had already spoken: for they had repeatedly made mention of the great day of the Lord, of the dominion of the Lord God Almighty, of the new heavens and the new earth. But still the world is as before. Still the wicked world exists. Still the blood of the witnesses of Christ flows as ever. Still the world serves its idols and demons, and commits the most terrible sins. But now the time is near” (Behold He Cometh, p. 342).

Herman Hoeksema on Lord’s Day 33: “But the question is not at all how and when you were converted, nor whether you had an experience of conversion several years past, but whether you are converted today. For whether you were converted suddenly or gradually, as far as the beginning of your conversion is concerned, it surely is only a beginning. It must continue throughout your whole life ... Nor must we ever imagine that conversion gradually becomes less necessary as we grow in grace. The contrary is true. Always there is with the Christian the old man, seeking to regain his former dominion. And never does he get rid of the body of this death. Always the new man in Christ must watch and pray and fight the good fight” (The Triple Knowledge, vol. 3, p. 103).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

Letters from Limerick and the Philippines are on the back table today.

Monday evening’s Catechism classes:
5:45 PM - Taylor, Josh, Corey, Bradley & Samuel (Beginners OT, book 2)
6:30 PM - Alex & Nathan (Seniors OT)
7:15 PM - Jacob, Joseph & Chris (Heidelberg Catechism, book 1)

The Council meets this Monday evening, 9 November, at 8 PM.

The Tuesday Bible study meets at 11 AM to study the background of apostasy in Israel’s kingship.

The Belgic Confession Class will meet this week Wednesday at 7:45 PM to study the perspective of Article 27 on “The Catholic Christian Church.”

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Bruinsma is entitled “God’s Judgment on Ungodly Sinners” (Jude 14-16).

S. Wales Lecture: Rev. McGeown will give a lecture on “Spiritual Gifts” in Port Talbot, S. Wales, at 7:15 PM on Thursday, 19 November.

Offerings: General Fund: £724.95. Building Fund: £284.42.

Website Additions: 5 Hungarian translations.

PRC News: The new trio for a second missionary to the Philippines is Revs. Griess (Calvary, IA), Huizinga (Redlands, CA) and J. Laning (Hull, IA).

A Plea for Creeds (concluded)

Rev. Ron Hanko


Objections to Creeds

Some of the objections that are raised against creeds we have already dealt with, but there are other, more important objections, as well. Some say that having creeds denies the unique authority of Scripture, and that the creeds, in fact, take us away from Scripture and lead to the neglect of Scripture in the church. Others say that creeds cause division in the church of Christ, even that they are the primary cause of division between Christians. Both of these objections are easily answered.

As far as the authority of Scripture is concerned, the creeds when properly used neither push aside the authority of Scripture nor draw Christians away from Scripture. Rather, they point to the Scriptures and serve as a kind of “map” of the teaching of the Word. This they do especially by the numerous references to Scripture that are found in most creeds. No doubt there are a few who attach too much authority to the creeds, but the creeds themselves claim that Scripture is the only authority and show it is by referring to it.

From that point of view they do the same thing that the preaching does—they compel believers to search the Scriptures to see if the things taught in them are true (cf. Acts 17:11). Like a map they even show where to begin in searching the Scriptures. Indeed, in our experience, it is in those churches that do not have or use creeds, where there is appalling ignorance of the teaching of Scripture. People sit for years in such churches and never seem to learn anything.

That creeds cause division in the church is another red herring. The creeds do not cause the divisions that do exist in the church, but only recognize those that are already there. In fact, insofar as the creeds do teach the truth of Scripture (and we have the promise of Jesus in John 16:13 that they do, though not perfectly), the creeds instead of causing division promote unity. It is, of course, the truth that brings unity. We learn that from Amos 3:3: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” We learn it also from Ephesians 4:15-16: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying [i.e., building up] of itself in love.” The existing divisions, therefore, are not caused by creeds but by a failure to know and submit to the truth. It is the lie that divides, not the truth.

The Usefulness of Creeds

That brings us to speak of the usefulness of creeds, since the very first and one of the more important uses is what might be called their constitutional or unifying use. The creeds of a church are her “banner displayed because of the truth” (Ps. 60:4), and serve as a rallying point for all those who make the same confession of the truth. Thus, the creeds of the Reformed churches are sometimes referred to as the Three Forms of Unity.

Closely related is the apologetic use of the creeds. Apologetics is the defence of the truth of the gospel (the “answer” in I Peter 3:15 is the Greek word “apology”). This apologetic use of the creeds follows from the fact that most creeds were written in defence of the truth of God’s Word. They are the “answer” that the church has given to those who have denied her hope. They were not written in some ivory tower but on the battlefield of faith. The errors they address are still around today. There is nothing new under the sun. So too the Scripture passages they reference help us find a biblical answer when we must stand in defence of the faith.

Then there is also what could be called their juridical use, that is, they are useful in settling and avoiding disputes. They are useful in settling disputes because they show what Scripture teaches, bringing together the teaching of all Scripture on a certain matter. They are useful in avoiding disputes because they set forth the things that are important, thus steering clear of “foolish and unlearned questions” that gender strife (II Tim. 2:23).

Very important is the catechetical use of the creeds. By this we mean that they are used to teach the truth to children and to new converts. They are useful in this respect because they teach the doctrines of Scripture. Anyone who has done any teaching knows that it is almost impossible to learn anything unless the teaching is systematic and carefully arranged in its logical relations. This the creeds do, especially the catechisms which were designed for teaching both young and old.

The creeds can even be used pastorally. They are not cold, abstract statements, but warm, practical expositions of the truth and can be used to direct the attention of those who are in need of pastoral counsel to the Word of God. A good example is the application of the doctrine of predestination in the Canons of Dordt I:13:

The sense and certainty of this election afford to the children of God additional matter for daily humiliation before him, for adoring the depth of his mercies, for cleansing themselves, and rendering grateful returns of ardent love to him, who first manifested so great love towards them. The consideration of this doctrine of election is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of the divine commands, or from sinking men in carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are the usual effects of rash presumption, or of idle and wanton trifling with the grace of election, in those who refuse to walk in the ways of the elect.

Several other uses of lesser importance are the homiletical and the liturgical. Some churches, by way of insuring that the whole counsel of God is preached in the church (Acts 20:27), follow in the preaching at least one service each Lord’s Day, the teaching of a particular creed. In this way all the doctrines of the faith are set forth in the church and the people of God well grounded in the truth. This is the homiletical (having to do with sermon making) use. In other churches the creeds, usually the shorter creeds like the Apostle’s or Nicene Creeds are recited as part of the worship of the church. In this way believers make mutual confession of their faith in obedience to Christ’s command in Matthew 10.

There are, we believe, other uses of the creeds as well, but these are the most important. What needs to be emphasized, however, is that the creeds are of value ONLY if they are used. If they are just matters of the church archives and are left to gather dust in the church, there is no profit at all in having them. Nevertheless, it is necessary to have and use them, as we have shown. The alternative is ecclesiastical chaos, the kind of chaos that is destroying the church today, making her witness ineffective and troubling the lives of her members.

In Jeremiah 6:16, the Lord himself says: “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” The church today says, “We will not walk therein.” Thus, she has no rest, for she has no old ways.