Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 14 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 (3)

Bearing Your Cross   [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Luke 23:13-38

Text: Luke 14:27

I. The Imagery

II. The Meaning

III. The Necessity

Psalms: 25:1-7; 78:68-72; 72:1-8; 44:17-26


Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Praying the Fourth Petition   [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6

Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 50

I. A Prayer for Our Material Needs

II. A Prayer With Spiritual Implications

Psalms: 122:1-9; 79:1-6; 135:1-7; 37:21-27


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


CPRC website:

CPRC YouTube:

CPRC Facebook:


Quote to Consider:

Prof. Engelsma: "Reformed preaching outside the congregation does not hide from the hearers that the gospel-call is a call to discipleship, to cross-bearing, to self-denial, to Jesus as Lord as well as Saviour. It is sometimes overlooked that in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told the apostles to disciple the nations and that conversion and baptism are followed by instruction "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Evangelism does not end with "getting someone saved," but continues in their being taught to confess the truth in the true church; to love one another; to honour marriage; to submit to civil government; to live in separation from the world and its works; and to keep all the commandments of King Jesus. Reformed evangelism will do this. Much of non-Reformed evangelism leaves this completely out of sight. For this reason, it is also essential in the work of evangelism that those brought to the saving knowledge of the truth be directed to join a true church, a soundly Reformed church" ("Evangelism and the Reformed Faith," p. 13).

Announcements (subject to God’s will):

On the back table are free CDs from Spokane PRC on evangelism and witnessing, as well as free PRC 75th anniversary books.

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 study II Thessalonians 2:3f. on apostasy and Antichrist as precursors to Christ’s return.

Ladies’ discussion meeting will be this Wednesday, 17 November, at 11 AM at church to discuss the "The Golden Key of Prayer" by Rev. Haak. The article is available on back table.

Wednesday Belgic Confession class: 7:45 PM. We will study Article 5 on the how we know that the Holy Scriptures are from God.

Thursday membership class: 7:30 PM on Canons of Dordt III/IV:1f.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Satisfied With Marrow and Fatness" (Ps. 65:1-3) by Rev. Bruinsma.

Offerings: General Fund - £418.55. Building Fund - £432.00. Donation: £200 (DVDs), £49.70 (books), £5 (pamphlets), £6.50 (books), £1,423.33 (from Wellington Protestant Reformed Fellowship in New Zealand).

Website Additions: 1 Greek translation was added.

PRC News: Rev. Haak declined the call to Cornerstone PRC. Rev. A. Lanning declined the call to Wingham PRC. Rev. Eriks received the call to Hope PRC.

This is part 2 of the 42nd e-mail by Prof. Engelsma on justification:

Against this teaching, which was and is fundamental to the Puritan theology and project, it is to be confessed, and preached publicly and from house to house, that God’s act of justifying the elect sinner by faith alone is His forgiveness of the sinner’s sins and imputation of the righteousness of Christ to the sinner’s account in such a way that the sinner is assured of his forgiveness and righteousness and therefore of his present, past, and future salvation.

For, first, as the Reformation declared about justification, it is justification in the forum of the sinner’s consciousness. In the very nature of the case, it is as impossible, indeed absurd, that God should justify the elect sinner (in the forum of his consciousness) but that the sinner is unsure whether he is justified, that is, forgiven and saved, as it would be that a man would hear the judge pronounce him innocent in a courtroom, leave the courtroom an acquitted man, but doubt whether the judge had really declared him righteous with regard to the law of the land.

Second, it is the clear teaching of the Reformed confessions—the blessed fruit of the Reformation (which needs no "furthering" to complete its great work, least of all in the realm of experience, but only demands maintenance and genuine development)—that justification consists of the assurance of his forgiveness by the justified sinner. I may refer to Article 23 of the Belgic Confession (1561). The heading is "Justification." After describing justification, the article adds that the justification of believers, every believer and all believers, "give[s] us confidence in approaching to God [including partaking of the Lord’s Supper]; freeing the conscience of fear, terror, and dread." This is genuine "experience," not reserved for a few special "questors," but the gift of God to all His justified children. This is assurance of justification.

The Heidelberg Catechism explains the fifth petition of the model prayer, "Forgive us our debts," that is, the petition for justification, in terms of the believer’s experience and certainty: "... even as we feel this evidence of Thy grace in us, that it is our firm resolution from the heart to forgive our neighbour" (Lord’s Day 51). The believer, who prays this petition, is and must be sure of his resolution of heart to forgive the neighbour. So is he sure of God’s forgiveness of him.

The Puritan doctrine contradicts the confessions and is therefore un- and anti-Reformed.

Third, the Bible teaches that justification by faith alone includes assurance of justification. The act of justifying assures. Having set forth justification by faith alone, apart from all works of the elect sinner himself, Paul declares in Romans 5:1, "we have peace with God." Peace with God is experience. Peace with God is assurance of the divine pardon and of the divine favour that lies behind the pardon. Peace with God is the benefit of justification for every justified sinner, as belonging to the essence of justification. And, as the apostle significantly adds, this peace is "through our Lord Jesus Christ," not through a lifelong, arduous quest on the part of the believer himself or through a mystical experience that only a few saints ever obtain.

Similarly, Christ bids the sinful woman to "go in peace," that is, at once, having been justified and saved by faith" (Luke 7). This is radically different from, "Go out now on a lifelong quest for peace."

Likewise, the parable of the publican and the Pharisee has the publican going to his home justified (Luke 18). Just as he very much experienced his guilt before being justified (beat his breast, etc.), so also going home justified means, indeed emphasizes, the publican’s assurance of justification. He went home with a smile on his face, leaping and dancing for joy.

Fourth, the faith that is the means of justification is not only knowledge of the gracious, forgiving God in Christ but also "an assured confidence, which the Holy Ghost works by the gospel in my [i.e., every believer’s] heart, that not only to others, but to me also, remission of sin, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits" (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 21).

Fifth, with regard to the somewhat broader truth of assurance of salvation, the Bible teaches that it is the gift of the Holy Spirit to the elect believer by means of his faith in Christ as promised in the gospel (see Romans 8).

To teach justification by faith alone, but then to deny that those who are justified know that they are justified is as much a denial of justification as Rome’s teaching of justification by faith and works, or the teaching of the Federal (Covenant) Vision that one can lose his justification. The effect is the same: doubt of salvation! the paralysing, terrifying doubt of salvation!

What good does justification by faith alone do me if I am not conscious of it, if I do not know it, if I am not certain that God has forgiven me, even me, that Christ died for me, and that God has justified me because He loved me with an eternal love?

Here is the gospel: Believe the gospel from the heart, and thus in Christ presented in the gospel, and in this way, when you believe, you are forgiven, and the Spirit in and with and by this forgiveness testifies with your spirit that you are a justified child of God. Receive this gift of assurance thankfully, and live and die in the comfort of it.

Or, in the words of Paul to the Philippian jailor: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, that is, saved in your consciousness—assuredly saved in your consciousness. And baptism will be the confirmation of this assured salvation.

Thank God for justification by faith alone.

Thank God for the Reformation that was used by Christ to give us the gospel of justification, including its experience.

Cordially in Christ,

Prof. Engelsma

P.S. I am necessarily brief in this defence of assurance of justification and salvation. I recommend to those of the forum who are interested in a more full apology for assurance and a more thorough criticism of the Puritan denial of assurance my chapter in The Work of the Holy Spirit, "The Holy Spirit and Assurance." This is the result of my longstanding distress at the prevailing doubt in certain Reformed churches; my effort to understand whence this doubt arises, especially in view of the fact that one of main purposes of the Reformation was to comfort believers; my recent more thorough study of the issue; my alarm at the energetic efforts of popular theologians and movements to defend and promote Puritan doubt; and my desire that God will deliver some from their bondage of doubt by an exposure of the error of the Puritan teaching on assurance.