Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Church



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 28 October, 2007


"Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth:

unite my heart to fear thy name" (Ps. 86:11)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM

Gideon, Mighty Man of Valour (8)

Encouragement Through an Enemy’s Dream

Judges 7:9-15

I. The Offer

II. The Dream

III. The Result

Psalms: 90:1-7; 105:15-21; 86:12-17; 27:1-5

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

He Suffered "Under Pontius Pilate"

Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 15; Matthew 27:1-31

I. Why?

II. How?

Psalms: 9:1-9; 105:22-29; 22:11-18; 2:1-8


CPRC website:


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 Hallidays.

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. Donations: £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" (Eph. 5:23).

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 (see has been published and can be ordered through the Evangelical Bookshop in Belfast.

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 replied,

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 Protestantism today.


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 merits.

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,

Prof. Engelsma