Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 25 October, 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
Baptism: The Washing Away of Sins
Scripture Reading: Acts 9:1-22
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27
I. The Heresy Regarding It
II. The Truth of It
III. The Need for It
Psalms: 104:1-7; 118:1-7; 25:1-7; 51:7-14
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Calling of Elders
Scripture Reading: Titus 1
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 31
I. Hold Fast!
Psalms: 122:1-9; 118:8-14; 112:1-6; 119:33-40
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services,
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart
or the elders
CPRC Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
CPRC Facebook: www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
Quote to Consider
John Calvin: “Perhaps someone will object: why, then, did
Ananias tell Paul to wash away his sins through baptism
[Acts 22:16; cf. ch. 9:17-19] if sins are not washed away by
the power of baptism itself? I reply: we are said to
receive, obtain, and acquire what, according as our faith is
aware, is shown forth to us by the Lord, whether when he
first testifies to it, or when he confirms more fully and
more surely what has been attested. Ananias meant only this:
‘To be assured, Paul, that your sins are forgiven, be
baptized. For the Lord promises forgiveness of sins in
baptism; receive it, and be secure’ Yet it is not my
intention to weaken the force of baptism by not joining
reality and truth to the sign, in so far as God works
through outward means. But from this sacrament, as from all
others, we obtain only as much as we receive in faith. If we
lack faith, this will be evidence of our ungratefulness,
which renders us chargeable before God, because we have not
believed the promise given there. But as far as it is a
symbol of our confession, we ought by it to testify that our
confidence is in God’s mercy, and our purity in forgiveness
of sins, which has been procured for us through Jesus
Christ; and that we enter God’s church in order to live
harmoniously with all believers in complete agreement of
faith and love” (Institutes 4.15.15).
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
The October Covenant Reformed News, Rev. Stewart’s
bi-monthly letter to the PRC and daily meditations for
November are available on the back table.
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 Tuesday Bible study will meet 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 start Article 27 and a new section on the
doctrine of the church.
Ballymena Reformation Lecture: Rev. Stewart will speak on
“Jan Hus: His Martyrdom and Ecclesiology,” this Friday here
at the CPRC. Flyers are available on the back table to pass
out to family and friends, etc.
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Bruinsma is entitled “Reserved
unto Eternal Fire” (Jude 5-7).
The Council’s next meeting is Monday, 9 November, at 8 PM.
Offerings: General Fund: £607.37. Donation: £200 (DVDs).
Website Additions: 3 Spanish translations.
PRC News: Rev. Eriks is considering the call to be a
missionary to the Philippines.
A Plea for Creeds (continued)
Rev. Ron Hanko
The Work of the Spirit in the Church
The second way of demonstrating the necessity and importance
of creeds is by way of reference to the promise of Jesus in
John 16:13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,
he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of
himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:
and he will show you things to come.” This promise of Jesus
is fulfilled as the Holy Spirit gives God’s people the
ability to understand the Word of God.
The creeds are one of the fruits of that work of the Spirit.
To deny the usefulness of creeds and their place in the
church is to deny that the Spirit of truth has worked in the
church of the past or at least to deny that His work has any
relevance for the church today. By so doing the church today
cuts herself off from the church of the past, denying the
fundamental unity of the church in all ages. This is one of
the great weaknesses of the church today, that she has no
ties to the church of the past—does not know the history and
lessons of the past, nor the battles the church has fought,
nor God’s faithfulness to His church through all the ages.
She tries to stand completely on her own against the forces
of evil, instead of seeing herself as part of that great
“army with banners” that is “fair as the moon, clear as the
sun” (Song 6:10).
Not only that, but by cutting herself off from the church of
past, the church today says in effect that every generation
must start all over in its searching of the Scriptures and
pursuit of the truth. Thus she sets herself an impossible
task—a task that is either set aside as too great so that
there is little knowledge of the truth in the church or
which leaves her no time for other things.
This is well-stated by the Presbyterian author, G. I.
The Bible contains a great wealth of information. It isn’t
easy to master it all—in fact, no one has ever mastered it
completely. It would therefore be foolish for us to try to
do it on our own, starting from scratch. We would be
ignoring all the study of the Word of God that other people
have done down through the centuries. That is exactly why we
have creeds. They are the product of many centuries of Bible
study by a great company of believers. They are a kind of
spiritual “road map” of the teaching of the Bible, already
worked out an proved by others before us. And, after all,
isn’t this exactly what Jesus promised? When he was about to
finish his work on earth, he made this promise to his
disciples: “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will
guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). And Christ kept his
promise. When the Day of Pentecost came, he sent his Spirit
to dwell in his people. The Holy Spirit was poured out—not
on individuals, each by himself, but on the whole body of
Christian believers together (Acts 2). And from that time
until this, he has been giving his church an understanding
of the Scriptures. It is no wonder that the church expressed
itself from very early times through creeds.
And right here we see one of the most important things about
a creed that is true to the Bible—it remains true down
through the ages. It does not need to be changed again and
again, with each generation, because it deals with things
that are unchanging. Thus, an accurate creed binds the
generations together. It reminds us that the church of Jesus
Christ is not confined to one age, just as it is not
confined to any one place. In other words, there is a unity
in what Christians have believed, right down through the
ages. Just think of it: when we confess our faith together
... we join with all those believers who have gone before
us. Does not this demonstrate that there is indeed just one
Lord and one true faith?4
The Importance of Doctrine
The third line of reasoning in defence of creeds makes
reference to II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works.” It is the reference to doctrine that
is important here.
Strictly speaking, Scripture is not doctrine (the systematic
exposition of the truths of Scripture in their relation to
one another). This is implied in II Timothy 3:16 in that
Scripture is said to be profitable for doctrine. And we
should notice, too, that doctrine is the first thing that
Scripture is profitable for. Creeds are doctrine. They take
all the passages of Scripture regarding a certain teaching
and put them together into a statement of that doctrine and
then show also how that doctrine relates to others. They
are, doctrinally, a “setting in order of those things which
are most surely believed among us” (Luke 1:1). Now it ought
to be evident to everyone that a good part of the opposition
to creeds is rooted in the fact that doctrine is very
unpopular today. In spite of II Timothy 3:16-17, there is
neither teaching of, nor interest in, doctrine any more and
so the creeds, which are statements of doctrine, are either
despised or set aside.
If Scripture is profitable for doctrine, then the church
does right in setting forth doctrine in her creeds. If
doctrine is as important as the Word indicates, then the
church ought to have such doctrinal statements.
4 G. I. Williamson, The Heidelberg Catechism
(Presbyterian and Reformed, 1993), p. 3.