Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 27
therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and
wherewith one may edify another" (Rom. 14:19)
Service - 11:00 AM
Purposes With Israel in the New Testament Age (10)
God’s Enmity and Love for the Jews [download]
Reading: Micah 7
Fierce Enmity Toward the Jews
Great Love for the Jews
Irrevocable Gifts to the Jews
66:1-7; 46:7-11; 147:12-20; 105:5-10
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Purposes With Israel in the New Testament Age (11)
God Will Continue to Save the Jews [download]
Reading: Romans 11:11-36
I. God’s Way
With the Gentiles
II. God’s Way
With the Jews
Way With All
95:1-7; 47:1-9; 5:4-10; 22:26-31
Contact Sean Courtney
(firstname.lastname@example.org) for CDs of the sermons and DVDs
of the worship services.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
CPRC YouTube Site:
Quotes to Consider:
Herman Hoeksema: "God established His everlasting
covenant with [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] as fathers, not merely as
individuals. And this signifies that He made His covenant not only with
them, but with their seed, in the line of their continued generations.
For their sakes, that is, because of the promises made by God unto these
fathers, the generations of the Jews are still beloved, shall always be
beloved according to the election. This can never fail. God said to
Abraham, and He repeated it to Isaac and Jacob: I am thy God and the God
of thy seed forever. ‘I will establish my covenant between me and thee,
and thy seed after thee, for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto
thee and to thy seed after thee’,—that is the promise. And God is
faithful. He cannot lie. His Word cannot fail. It cannot be brought to
nought. It is true, that this ‘seed’ in the new dispensation assumes a
new aspect: it also includes the Gentiles. We also appropriate the
promise made unto the fathers. We apply it to ourselves. And we have a
right to do this. God has also established His covenant in the line of
our generations. But this does not alter the fact, that for the sake
of the promises made unto the fathers, the promise continues to be
fulfilled in the line of the generations of the Jews, forever, to the
very end. We have become partakers of their salvation, heirs with them
of the same promises. We appropriate the promises made unto the fathers,
because we have been grafted in as branches upon the Israelitish olive
tree" (God’s Eternal Good Pleasure, pp. 486-487).
Herman Hoeksema: "Against this, there is one
more possible objection. The Jews once were possessors of mercy in their
generations, but they despised that mercy; therefore, God is finished
with them. What does the apostle say to this? He says that the same
thing is true of us Gentiles. 'As ye in times past have not believed
God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have
these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may
obtain mercy.' The apostle concludes that when it comes to the principle
of the matter, the position of the Jews who have been cut off is no
different from that of the Gentiles. They have not believed; neither
have we Gentiles" (Righteous
by Faith Alone, p. 567).
Charles Hodge on Romans 11:32: "Here the idea
is, that God, in the dispensation of his providence and grace, has so
ordered things, that all Gentiles and Jews, first the one, and then the
other, should reveal their true character as sinners, and stand out in
history confessed as unbelievers."
John Murray on Romans 11:32: "But in verse 32
the emphasis falls upon that which is common to all without distinction,
that they are shut up to unbelief and fit objects for that reason of
mercy. This, however, is no more all without exception than do
verses 30 and 31 apply to all Gentiles and Jews nor verse 26 to all of
Israel past, present, and future. Thus 'mercy upon all' means all
without distinction who are the partakers of this mercy. Although the
first clause of verse 32 is true of all without exception (cf. Gal.
3:22), it is not apparent that in this instance Paul is reflecting upon
that fact but, after the pattern of the context and in accord with the
last clause, emphasizing that Gentiles and Jews without any difference
are shut up to disobedience."
John Calvin on Romans 11:32: "There is an
emphasis in the word mercy; for it intimates that God is bound to
none, and that he therefore saves all freely, for they are all equally
lost. But extremely gross is their folly who hence conclude that all
shall be saved; for Paul simply means that both Jews and Gentiles do not
otherwise obtain salvation than through the mercy of God, and thus he
leaves to none any reason for complaint."
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
We welcome Anganeta Dyck from Germany to our
worship services today and the next two Lord's Days.
The sign-up sheet for the congregational dinner
(8 January), a new
Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, a new
Standard Bearer, the CR News
and a 2010 Bible reading programme are on the back table.
Standard Bearer subscriptions are due: $25 to
RFPA or £15 to Rev. Stewart.
Midweek Bible study meets this Wednesday at 7:45
PM at the manse. We will consider I Peter 3:15-17 on "Be ready always to
give an answer."
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW) is entitled "Our God and Guide for 2010"
(Ps. 48:14) by Rev. R. Kleyn.
The Council will hold their monthly meeting on
Monday, 4 January, 7:30 PM at the manse.
Ladies Bible study meets Thursday, 7 January, at
10:30 AM at the Murrays to study Lesson 3 of
Keeping God’s Covenant.
Lectures in Limerick:
15 January - "Dispensationalism" (Prof. Dykstra)
February - topic to be decided
March - "The Real St. Patrick"
Offerings: General Fund: £370.00. Donations:
£7 (DVDs), £13 (pamphlets).
Website Additions: 1 Portuguese and 2 German
translations were added.
PRC News: Prof. Engelsma declined the call from
Bethel and they have a new trio of Revs. Koole, den Hartog and
Spriensma. Holland announced a trio of Revs. Koole, Kuiper and J.
Laning. Loveland formed a trio of Revs. Key, Kuiper and Langerak. Byron
Center has called Rev. Eriks.
This is part 1 of the 36th
e-mail from Prof. Engelsma on justification.
Dear European Forum,
In the previous two instalments of this study of
justification, I treated the harmony of Paul and James with regard to
this doctrine, which is, as Calvin described it, "the cornerstone" of
the gospel of grace.
Consideration of the relationship between Paul and
James on justification, in light of the perennial appeal to James 2 by
defenders of works-righteousness, in order to overthrow the truth of
justification by faith alone as taught by Paul in Romans and Galatians
(and many other places), raises the important question as to the
relation of faith and good works in the life of the regenerated child of
God. In the language of dogmatics, this is the relation of justification
Always, those who deny, or subtly compromise, the
truth of justification by faith alone—justification by faith alone—do so
because (they say) they fear that the doctrine of justification by faith
alone fails to motivate church members to be zealous for a life of good
works. Whether they make the charge explicitly (as Rome has always done)
or cleverly suggest this (as the men of the Federal [Covenant] Vision
do), their concern is that justification by faith alone cuts the nerve
of holiness. If justification by faith alone does not cause those who
believe it deliberately to behave wickedly, it diminishes the zeal for
godliness of life.
Since a life of holiness is obedience to the law of
God, the fear of those who oppose the doctrine of justification by faith
alone is that those who are taught justification by faith alone will
"sit loose to the law," if not hold it in contempt.
Theology describes the evil that is the fear of those
who oppose justification by faith alone as "antinomism," or
"antinomianism." This is the evil both of theory and practice that
consists of rejecting the law of God—the ten commandments—as the
authoritative, binding rule of life of the justified sinner ("anti"
means "against," and nomos is the Greek word for "law"). With
this rejection invariably goes a lawless life.
I am not now interested in the question, whether
those who present themselves as fearing that justification by faith
alone hampers, if it does not destroy altogether, a life of holiness do
truly fear this, or whether they hypocritically use the argument in the
interests of their real purpose, which is to destroy the gospel of
With regard to the Roman Catholic Church, I dismiss
this supposed fear out-of-hand, with laughter. Rome interested in
holiness of life? The Rome of the Reformation, with its profligate popes
and priests, the church that was thoroughly worldly from top to bottom,
interested in holiness? The Rome of our day, knowingly embracing the
members of the violent Mafia, welcoming the adulterous Kennedys and
other wealthy celebrities, covering up the buggery of their priests
until the secular media exposed the depravity, and assuring multitudes
of members that they have a good shot at heaven even though they go on
impenitently in disobedience to all of God’s commandments (as long as
they go to confession regularly and perform prescribed deeds of
satisfaction), interested in holiness?
Regarding others, including Reformed and Presbyterian
theologians in the movement that calls itself the "Federal (Covenant)
Vision," who present themselves as genuinely concerned about the lack of
zeal for good works in the lives of many who profess justification by
faith alone and as sincerely zealous for the law of God and whose lives
appear spotless, I note that the Bible never commends heretics,
particularly heretics who oppose justification by faith alone and thus
salvation by grace alone, for their sincerity, but condemns them for
their corruption of the truth of grace.
My interest is not the sincerity of those who oppose
justification by faith alone because of concern for holiness. But my
interest is in the issue itself. I will grant here that some who are
teaching a form of justification by faith and works, particularly some
Reformed and Presbyterian theologians involved in the "Federal
(Covenant) Vision, are sincerely afraid that the Reformation doctrine of
justification fails to produce good works and are sincerely convinced
that a doctrine that makes the sinner’s own good works part of his
righteousness with God as judge now and in the final judgment will
motivate church members to be more obedient to the law of God than
presently they are.
At the time of the Reformation, Rome (hypocritically
and laughably) presented itself as opposing justification by faith alone
because of its fear that Luther’s doctrine would lead to carelessness of
life and even open immorality. In fact, Rome charged this against the
doctrine of justification by faith alone. It is this Roman Catholic
charge against the Reformation doctrine of justification to which the
Heidelberg Catechism is responding in Question and Answer 64. Having
proposed and explained the truth of justification by faith alone, the
catechism asks, "But doth not this doctrine make men careless and
It is this same fear, ostensibly, that fuels the
opposition to justification by faith alone by the men of the Federal
(Covenant) Vision and accounts for their insistence that one’s own good
works are, and must be considered by him to be, part of his
righteousness with God, now and in the final judgment. Only then, they
say, will Reformed and Presbyterian people be motivated to live
obedient, holy lives. This is the main concern, apparently, of Norman
Shepherd in his book, The Call of Grace (P&R, 2000). Making one’s
own obedience, his own faithfulness in the covenant, part of the
"righteousness of faith" is necessary, according to Shepherd, in order
to move the confessing Christian to be holy.
This concern for obedience explains, in part, the
reason why theologians who aggressively promote Christian
Reconstruction, the movement that calls Reformed Christians to
reconstruct all of society as the kingdom of Christ on earth in the
(very real) hope of the golden age of postmillennialism, are also
staunch advocates of justification by faith and works, as supporters of
the Federal (Covenant) Vision—Rev. Steve Schlissel, Rev. Douglas Wilson,
Rev. Steve Wilkins, and others. Christian Reconstruction deplores the
lawlessness, the antinomism, of much of the Christian church. It urges
the law of God as the instrument of the Christianising of society.
Fearing that justification by faith alone weakens personal obedience to
the law and nullifies aggressive social action, Christian
Reconstruction, or at least many of the leading proponents of Christian
action, readily embrace justification by faith and works as taught by
the Federal (Covenant) Vision. (In fairness, I note that some ardent
advocates of Christian Reconstruction, particularly Rev. Joseph
Morecraft, have roundly and publicly condemned the Federal [Covenant]
Vision’s doctrine of justification by faith and works.)
to be continued ...