Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Covenant Protestant Reformed Fellowship



Rev. Angus Stewart

Lord’s Day, 7 September, 2003


"I was glad when they said unto me, Let 

us go into the house of the Lord"

(Psalm 122:1)


Morning Service - 11:00 AM
The Calling of Elders
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 31, Titus 1:9f.
I. Hold Fast!
II. Exhort!
III. Convict!
Psalms: 111:1-2, 7-10; 78:42-48; 119:33-40; 112:1-4

Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The New Birth (2)
The Agent of the New Birth
John 3:4-7
I. The False Views
II. The True Views
III. The Vital Implications
Psalms: 146:1-7; 78:49-54; 51:6-12; 92:1-6

Quote to Consider:

John Calvin on Titus 1:9: "Holding fast the faithful word. This is the chief gift in a bishop [or elder] ... a bishop [or elder] should hold it fast, so as not only to be well instructed in it, but to be constant in maintaining it. There are some fickle persons who easily suffer themselves to be carried away to various kinds of doctrine; while others are cast down by fear, or moved by any occurrence to forsake the defence of the truth. Paul therefore enjoins that those persons shall be chosen who, having cordially embraced the truth of God, and holding it firmly, never allow it to be wrested from them, or can be torn from it. And, indeed, nothing is more dangerous than that fickleness of which I have spoken, when a pastor [or elder] does not stedfastly adhere to that doctrine of which he ought to be the unshaken defender. In short, in a pastor [or elder] there is demanded not only learning, but such zeal for pure doctrine as never to depart from it."


Catechism and Bible Study start this week (DV). Catechism begins with Essentials Lesson 16A on Monday, 7:30 PM, at the Crossetts. Bible Study will be at the manse on Wednesday at 8 PM. We will study Eschatology & Time.

To coincide with the beginning of catechism, there are copies of a Standard Bearer article, "Feed My Lambs—Command to Catechize," by Prof. Engelsma on the back table. Everyone is encouraged to pick one up.

5-a-side football is planned for this Friday, at Antrim Forum, 8-9 PM.

The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day, 14 September, (8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846AM/MW) is "Holy Scripture #6—It’s Clarity" (Deut. 30:11-14).

Upcoming Lectures:

Friday, 26 September, 8 PM, Ballymena Protestant Hall: "Why Did God Create the World?"—A Tercentenary Appreciation of Jonathan Edwards"
Thursday, 30 October, 8 PM, Omagh Community House: "Does God Desire to Save the Reprobate?—Calvin Versus Pighius"
Friday, 31 October, 8 PM, Ballymena Protestant Hall: "Does God Desire to Save the Reprobate?—Calvin Versus Pighius"

Prof. & Mrs. Hanko plan to be in N. Ireland from Saturday, 29 November to Monday, 15 December. More details later.

Last Week’s Offerings: £664.40.

PRC News: Faith PRC called Rev. Cammenga (Southwest). Classis East meets this Wednesday. Classis will examine Bill Langerak who has accepted the call to Southeast PRC. In harmony with the decision of Synod 2002 regarding confession of faith on the mission field, the consistory of Southwest PRC has approved the confessions of faith of 10 individuals of the Pittsburgh Mission. Barring lawful objections, the public confessions of faith will take place 21 September. We rejoice in the fruit of the mission labors in Pittsburgh as is evidenced in the confessions of these brothers and sisters.


The calling of elders regarding false teachers and false teaching:

"If the wolves of whom Paul speaks really looked like wolves there would be little trouble in spotting them. The threat of theological wolves lies in their appearing in sheep’s attire. Just as the Devil may either play dead (though he never is!) or don the garb of ‘an angel of light’ (II Cor. 11:14).

Therefore, the Apostle admonishes elders to be always on guard against enemies of the Church, from without and especially those from within ...

Never lose sight of one fundamental principle: error is overcome only by truth. What the true Church stands for remains her strongest bulwark against doctrinal deviation. Keep before yourselves as elders, and before the congregation through sound preaching and instruction, the fundamentals summarized in your creeds and confessions. These are the foundation stones of a strong and healthy congregation, and the touchstones of departure from orthodoxy. Examine "new" doctrines, and different emphases, in the light of your doctrinal standards—and the wolves will not escape detection for very long. The Church falls prey to heresy only after she has first dulled her sensitivity to the truth of her confessions. A creed or confession gathering dust on the shelf, or glass-enclosed in the Church’s trophy case, threatens no wolves. You must be determined and persistent in creating a high degree of doctrinal awareness in your congregation. This will ever be the strongest antidote against infection by theological error.

Wolves invade the Church, or arise within her, on two fronts: in doctrine and in life. What is believed may be corrupted, or what is done may be perverted. Against both—and they are intimately related—the eldership must be on guard ...

The error that concerns Paul most of all in his two letters to Timothy is speculation and idle disputation. These are carried on, of course, under the guise of ‘understanding’ the truth. They may be detected for the wolves they are by contrast with the very practical character of Biblical truth. The Bible is not given to fuel gossip, inspire speculation, or stimulate talk ...

Be alert, then to the dangers inherent in talk which only issues in more talk. Suspect theological ideas which are simply entertained as interesting possibilities ... All these fall under Paul’s condemnation of ‘forever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth’ (II Tim. 3:7), that is talk which never issues in obedient behavior. Worst of all, speculation presumes itself to be high service of God and the Church. Discourage it.

It is, moreover, of the nature of speculation never to reach certainty. It thus always impedes action for God in the world. One problem seemingly resolved opens upon two or more problems yet to be tackled, a fact which shows God’s own abhorrence of the idle speculation which Paul condemns—and so must you!"

(Berghof & DeKoster, The Elders Handbook, A Practical Guide for Church Leaders, pp. 241-243)