Protestant Reformed Church
28 October, 2007
thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth:
heart to fear thy name" (Ps. 86:11)
Morning Service -
Gideon, Mighty Man of
Encouragement Through an
I. The Offer
II. The Dream
III. The Result
Psalms: 90:1-7; 105:15-21;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
He Suffered "Under Pontius
Lord’s Day 15; Matthew 27:1-31
105:22-29; 22:11-18; 2:1-8
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
We welcome Henry & Barb DeVries
from Randolph PRC in Wisconsin to our worship services today.
Everyone is invited for tea at the manse
after the evening service. Please inform Rev. or Mary Stewart if you
are able to come so that we know how much food to prepare.
Catechism classes: Monday, 5:30 PM at the
Murrays Monday, 7:00 PM with the Campbells at the manse Thursday, 7:00
PM at the Hamills
Membership Class: Tuesday, 8:30 PM, at the
Women’s Bible Study meets this Tuesday, 30
October, at 10:30 AM at the Murrays.
Midweek Bible Study on Wednesday at 7:45 PM at
the manse will continue with II Timothy 1:12ff on holding fast the
form of sound words.
This Friday, Rev. Stewart will give a lecture on
"Lessons from the Reformation for Today," in Ballymena Protestant Hall
at 8:00 PM. Next Friday, 9 Nov., he will give the lecture in Limerick
at 7:30 PM.
Offerings: General Fund - £568.40.
£75.50. Gift Aid Returns: £5651.08.
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "To Protest and Provide"
Next Lord’s Day, the second offering in the morning
will be for our building fund.
Jonathan Moore’s book, English Hypothetical
Universalism: John Preston and the Softening of Reformed Theology
been published and can be ordered through the Evangelical Bookshop in
Website Additions: 4 Portuguese translations
were added to the website, as well as a new search engine.
PRC News: South Holland PRC called Candidate
Nathan Langerak to be their pastor. Calvary PRC (Hull, IA) will call
from a trio of Revs. R. Kleyn (Trinity, MI), Slopsema (First, MI), and
VanOverloop (Byron Center, MI). Rev. Key and his wife plan to travel
to Malaysia and Singapore from 29 October -13 November. Rev. Key has
been asked to preach and give a number of Reformation Day speeches
there. Rev. Spriensma and Elder Jim Regnerus (Doon) are in the
Philippines to meet with the saints.
An Excerpt from Prof. Engelsma’s pamphlet "The
Church Today and the Reformation Church: A Comparison"
Calvin wrote, "Christ has so ordered in His Church,
that if [the pure preaching of the gospel] is removed, the whole
edifice must fall" (Institutes 4.1.2). To those who pleaded for
tolerance of doctrinal errors in the name of Mother Church, Calvin
There is something specious in the name of
moderation, and tolerance is a quality which has a fair
appearance, and seems worthy of praise; but the rule which we must
observe at all hazards is, never to endure patiently that the
sacred name of God should be assailed with impious blasphemy—that
His eternal truth should be suppressed by the devil’s lies—that
Christ should be insulted, His holy mysteries polluted, unhappy
souls cruelly murdered, and the Church left to writhe in extremity
under the effect of a deadly wound. This would be not meekness,
but indifference about things to which all others ought to be
postponed (The Necessity of Reforming the Church).
Protestant people, tolerating false doctrine and
clinging to apostate institutes, do not understand that their
ancestors gave up all—for doctrine. They do not understand that
men of flesh and blood like themselves once dared everything and
risked throwing the world into a tumult—for doctrine. They do
not understand any more the words of Luther’s mighty hymn: "Let goods
and kindred go. This mortal life also"—for doctrine.
The gravity of this indifference to the truth is
that it is indifference to the glory of God. God is glorified in the
truth of the gospel; and He is dishonored when men change His truth
into a lie. The Reformation Church burned with desire for God’s glory.
Where is this to be found in Protestantism today? God judges this
contempt for His glory in the gospel, even as He punishes those who
glorify Him not as God when He is revealed in creation (Rom. 1:18ff.).
For a lack of love for the truth, men and women are punished in these
last days by a strong delusion, from God Himself, that they should
believe a lie, "that they all might be damned who believed not the
truth ..." (II Thess. 2:10-12).
All of this—abandonment of the gospel of grace, adoption of the
other gospel of works and free will, and indifference to the truth—can
be summed up as rejection of the Word of God. This was the sin of the
pre-Reformation Church: she rejected the Word by denying the sole
authority of Scripture, and she rejected the Word by repudiating the
message of Scripture—salvation by grace alone. Everything wrong with
that Church could be traced to this evil. This is the evil of
This is part 2 of the 15th e-mail sent by Prof. Engelsma to the
forum on justification
Specifically, however, the question remains, "What
do Moses and Paul mean when they affirm that God counted Abraham’s
faith for righteousness?"
A popular explanation is that Abraham’s act of
believing was accepted by God as his righteousness. This explanation
then proclaims that the sinner’s act of faith, as such, as a fine
decision and spiritual activity of the sinner, is regarded by God as
the righteousness that satisfies Him and the demands of His justice.
Those who proclaim this message, and they are legion today among
so-called evangelicals, fundamentalists, and charismatics, explain
that God in His mercy, knowing that no one can obey the law perfectly
for righteousness, has made an arbitrary decision that He will accept
faith instead as a deed that earns, or obtains, righteousness, so that
the sinner stands before Him as righteous. Jesus, they say, died for
everybody to pay the penalty of sin for everyone. Now if one will only
believe, his faith as a fine act on his part will be counted by God as
his righteousness (even though, of course, it is not righteousness
with God, but merely an act of believing).
For this wicked doctrine of justification, they
appeal to Genesis 15:6. Does not the Bible teach that God counted
Abram’s faith for righteousness?
This was the doctrine of the Arminians at the time
of Dordt. We sometimes forget that, not only did the Arminians corrupt
the truths of predestination, the atonement, man’s natural condition,
the efficacy of grace, and preservation, but they also corrupted the
truth of justification. What their error was the Canons of Dordt
make clear: "The synod rejects the errors of those who teach that the
new covenant of grace, which God the Father, through the mediation of
the death of Christ, made with man, does not herein consist that we by
faith, inasmuch as it accepts the merits of Christ, are justified
before God and saved, but in the fact that God, having revoked the
demand of perfect obedience of the law, regards faith itself and the
obedience of faith, although imperfect, as the perfect obedience of
the law, and does esteem it worthy of the reward of eternal life
through grace" (II:R:4).
The error that faith itself and invariably, with
it, the obedience of faith, are regarded by God as the sinner’s
righteousness with God and deserving of eternal life is as much a
denial of the Bible’s and Reformation’s doctrine of justification by
faith as is Rome’s teaching of justification by works. Indeed, the
error is the same, for the Arminian doctrine makes the sinner’s act of
believing a work that constitutes his righteousness with God and that
The error has a certain plausibility about it.
After all, Scripture states that faith is counted for righteousness.
Also, when one objects that this makes an act of the sinner himself
his righteousness, so that this doctrine of justification denies the
grace of justification, the errorists reply that their doctrine
protects grace because God graciously decided to relax the stringent
requirement of the law for perfect obedience, proposing instead the
much easier requirement of merely believing.
This, however, is not the meaning of Genesis 15:6
and Romans 4:1-5, as we will see in the next installment.
Cordially in Christ,