Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Bookmark and Share

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 3 September, 2017

“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

Righteousness by Faith Alone (2)
The Justification of the Ungodly  [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: Romans 4:1-25
Text: Romans 4:4-5

I. The Debt of Works Excluded
II. The Characteristics of Faith Explained
III. The Nature of Imputation Implied
Psalms: 63:1-8; 50:1-6; 14:1-7; 32:1-5

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

Worship and Images of God  [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: II Corinthians 3:1-4:18
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 35

I. The Wrong Ways
II. The Right Way
Psalms: 122:1-9; 50:7-12; 81:1-8; 100:1-5

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:

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

The Covenant Reformed News for July and August are available on the back table, as are free copies of the 2017 Acts of Synod of the PRC.

The second offering this morning is for the building fund.

The Council presents the following for the vote of male confessing members: 1) approval for Ivan Reid for another 3-year term as elder and 2) approval for Julian Kennedy for another 3-year term as deacon. A brief meeting to vote on this will be held tonight after the evening worship service.

The Tuesday Bible Study meets this week at 11 AM to consider the year of jubile.

Family visitation: Tuesday, 5 September, 7:30 PM - Jennifer Hanko (Stewart/Reid)

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846 MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Haak is “The Creation” (Gen. 1:1).

Monday catechism classes begin 11 September. Those who have not yet gotten all their books should check out the back table.
5:45 PM - Corey & Katelyn (Beginners OT, Book 1)
6:30 PM - Taylor, Josh, Bradley & Samuel (Juniors NT)
7:15 PM - Jacob, Alex & Nathan (Heidelberg Catechism, Book 1)

The Council meets Monday evening, 11 September, at 8 PM.

Belgic Confession Class meets on Wednesday, 13 September, at 7:45 PM at church. We will be starting Article 33 on the sacraments.

Ladies Bible Study begins on Friday, 15 Sept., at 10:30 AM at church continuing with our study of Proverbs, beginning with the study on “Hatred.” All ladies are welcome.

S. Wales Lecture: Rev. Stewart will speak on “Martin Luther and God’s Saving Righteousness” in Margam on Thursday, 28 September, at 7:15 PM.

CPRC Reformation Conference: Prof. Engelsma will speaking here on Saturday, 21 October, at 11 AM on “Martin Luther: Theologian of the Glory of God” and at 1 PM on “Justification in Paul and in James.” (Lunch will be served between the two lectures.) Plan now to attend! Flyers are available on the back table.

Offerings: General Fund: £1,336.36.

Translations: 3 Hungarian.

PRC News: Rev. Guichelaar declined the call to Immanuel PRC (Lacombe, Alberta); their new trio is Cands. Feenstra, J. Langerak and Regnerus. Cand. DeBoer accepted the call to Edgerton PRC. Cand. Smidstra accepted the call to First Holland PRC.

This Tuesday, 3 men (a pastor and 2 elders) from a group of 6 churches in Namibia will be arriving in Michigan to meet with the Contact Committee to continue discussions of the similarities and differences between their newly forming group of Reformed churches and our denomination, and to seek guidance from the PRC in the early years of separation from their apostatizing mother denomination.

On 31 August, Prof. R. Cammenga and Rev. Wm. Langerak left for S. Korea as representatives of the PRC Contact Committee, as authorized by Synod 2017. They will be following up on contacts with individuals and with churches. In addition they have been requested to speak at a Reformation conference, as well as in three different Reformed seminaries, several churches, and to various groups. They plan to return on Monday, 11 September.

Faith Is Compelling Evidence

Brian D. Dykstra

“The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1a).

In the April 2005 issue of Sky & Telescope, Richard Fienberg, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, wrote an article titled, “Evolution: We Can’t Sit Idly By.” Fienberg expresses his frustration with Christians who are attempting to have creation or “intelligent design” taught in public schools as a theory on equal footing with the theory of evolution. Fienberg writes,

Science, like so many other things these days, is under attack by religious fundamentalists, and if you think the only field in the crosshairs is biology, you’re wrong. If our public-school students are to learn that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, as some Christian fundamentalists would like, then virtually all of modern science from astronomy to zoology, goes out the window.

As usual, those who believe in creation are thought of as being unintelligent and incapable of critical and independent thought. Such charges are made with varying levels of politeness but they are made nevertheless. Here is Fienberg’s contribution to the charge: “To me, the real culprits are a lack of understanding about science among the public and a severe shortage of critical thinking.”

Later in his article Fienberg writes,

In everyday speech, “theory” means “tentative idea,” so it’s no wonder that some people think the “theory” of evolution is no more solid than the “theory” of creation by an intelligent designer. But in science, a theory is much more robust than an idea. It’s a coherent set of principles that naturally explains multiple phenomena and makes predictions that can be tested. If the theory passes the tests, it gets stronger and gains acceptance. If not, it gets modified or, if that doesn’t work, discarded.
Evolution is a fact, just as gravity is a fact. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is still around for the same reason that Einstein’s general theory of relativity is still around: it successfully explains what we observe in nature, even as new discoveries come along.
I’m prepared to accept that the universe was created “as is” by an intelligent designer—as soon as somebody shows me some compelling evidence. Just don’t try to convince me by citing gaps in our knowledge. Biologists don’t (yet) understand all about how the eye evolved, just as cosmologists don’t (yet) understand all about what triggered the Big Bang. But that doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and say, “God did it.” If God exists only in the gaps, then God is diminished, rather than glorified, with each new discovery—hardly satisfying for people of faith.

In the last paragraph quoted above, Fienberg claims to be open-minded to the possibility of intelligent design. However, without faith, no evidence will be compelling enough for him. The evidence required by Fienberg would be that of the laboratory, not that of faith in God’s Word. So fallen man has the audacity to stand in the presence of God who has established the natural laws of the universe, refuses to listen to the clear testimony of both creation itself and God’s Word, and then insists that God convince man of His existence by following the rules of a laboratory in which one of the first items to be discarded is His inspired Word!

When discussing the issue of creation and evolution in our classrooms, our students must remember what faith is. Too often they fall into the trap of thinking that faith is simply believing what they cannot prove. The problem with this definition is that it makes our faith to be no different from the “faith” of the Muslim or Hindu, for they also believe what they cannot prove. Faith is compelling evidence because it is a living bond between the believer and God, so that we are convinced that what God tells us in His Word is true.

Being bound to God by the living bond of faith, we believe the creation account of Genesis. Genesis means beginning. It tells us of the beginning of the universe, the beginning of the family, the beginning of the struggle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and the beginning of the covenant. Genesis tells us of origins. The creation account of Genesis must also be the origin of our thoughts and observations of creation. We are mistaken if we assume we can start from another origin of thought and be brought to believe in God as the intelligent designer.

Man’s sinful pride is also evident when Fienberg states that biologists and cosmologists are not yet able to explain everything they observe. Although there are gaps in scientific knowledge, the impression given by Fienberg is that scientists are confident that some day these gaps will be filled. Although the increase of scientific knowledge in the last fifty years is amazing, and the pace of discovery is increasing, new discoveries always bring new questions. There will always be gaps in man’s knowledge. Creation is finite but the mind of man is even more so.

Fienberg is correct, however, when he speaks of God being unsatisfying if He were to exist only in the gaps of scientific knowledge. This “God in the gap” is seen in our science class discussions. Many of my classes over the years have felt they could win an argument with any evolutionist by asking where all the matter for the Big Bang came from. Since that is a question evolutionists cannot answer, students think they can then simply say that God did it. Because we can always have the last word in such a discussion, we win! No! Covenant children must learn that any scientific discussion must start with the assertion of the reliability of God’s revealed Truth. Of course, such an assertion will result in ridicule in many circles today. Unfortunately, such ridicule can also be expected on campuses of many Christian colleges. So be it.

Here is Fienberg’s next to last paragraph:

For decades we’ve worried that our kids aren’t learning enough science. Now we see the result: most adults don’t even know what science is anymore. Things will only get worse if religious beliefs about scientific facts are taught as part of science in our classrooms.

Be thankful to have schools where science is taught from the only true origin. Being the Editor-in-Chief of a well known astronomy magazine gives Fienberg the opportunity to see the handiwork of God in the heavens. Yet he has not been given eyes to truly see.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.” This declaring is a recounting. The heavens recount what they have heard and know of God’s glory. The heavens declare this before a very large audience, so the message of God’s glory is not whispered or muttered. Even though the universe also suffers because of the fall of Adam, its created head, the heavens yet declare God’s glory with an expansive, beautiful, glorious shout.