Protestant Reformed Church
Lord’s Day, 15
after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep
of thy mouth" (Ps. 119:88)
Morning Service -
The Holy Spirit in
Praying in the Spirit [download]
I. The Meaning
II. The Manner
III. The Objects
Psalms: 122:1-9; 18:43-50;
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Office-bearers and Divisions in the Church [download]
I Corinthians 1:14-17
I. Some Introductory
II. A Systematic Exposition
III. The Practical
Psalms: 145:1-8; 19:1-8;
Contact Sean Courtney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for
CDs of the sermons.
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
Quote to Consider:
John Calvin on Ephesians 6:18: "There is not a
moment of our life at which the duty of prayer may not be urged by our
own wants. But unremitting prayer may likewise be enforced by the
consideration, that the necessities of our brethren ought to move our
sympathy. And when is it that some members of the church are not
suffering distress, and needing our assistance? If, at any time, we are
colder or more indifferent about prayer than we ought to be, because we
do not feel the pressure of immediate necessity,—let us instantly
reflect how many of our brethren are worn out by varied and heavy
afflictions,—are weighed down by sore perplexity, or are reduced to the
lowest distress. If reflections like these do not rouse us from our
lethargy, we must have hearts of stone."
Announcements (subject to God’s will):
Amanda Hamill returned home from hospital this
past Monday and is recovering well. Alex Buchanan’s surgery on
Friday went well. The doctors put vents in his ears and found his
adenoids also needed to be removed. He returned home Saturday afternoon.
John McAuley and the Murrays thank the
congregation for their visits, e-mails, cards, and prayers after the
death of their son and brother, David McAuley.
Standard Bearer and a Sioux Falls newsletter are on the
back table today.
Monday, 7:00 PM - Campbells at the manse
PM - Murrays
PM - Hamills
1:00 PM - Beginners OT Class at the manse
Ladies’ Bible Study meets this Tuesday, 17 Mar.,
10:15 AM, at the Raineys.
Midweek Bible Study meets on Wednesday, 7:45 PM
at the manse. We will consider I Peter 2:9-10 on "The Church, the New
The Reformed Witness Hour next Lord’s Day
(8:30-9:00 AM, on Gospel 846MW), is entitled "Jesus Brought to Golgotha"
(Mark 15:15-23) by Rev. Haak.
Lectures: S. Wales, Fri., 20 March, 7:15 PM - John Calvin’s Battle
for the Reformation
Fri., 27 March, 8 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (2)
Thurs, 23 April, 7:30 PM - Calvin’s Battle for the Reformation (2)
Offerings: General Fund - £471.60. Donation:
Website Additions: A new "Lord’s
Day Resources" page was added as were 4 Italian translations,
including John Calvin’s
Brief Confession of Faith.
PRC News: Doon PRC plans to call a second
missionary to the Philippines from a trio of Revs. Den Hartog
(Southwest, MI), J. Laning (Hope, MI), and D. Kleyn (Holland, MI). The
organization of Covenant of Grace PR Fellowship in Spokane, WA, into an
instituted church will take place on Tuesday, 31 March.
Luther’s Open Letter (III)
Last time, we took a glimpse at education in the
Middle Ages to understand the challenges Luther faced in his proposal to
reform the educational system monopolised by the Roman church. In his 25th
of twenty-seven proposals for reform Luther wrote, "What else are the
universities, if their present condition remains unchanged, than as the
book of Maccabees says, 2 Macc. 4:9, 12: ‘Places for training youths in
Greek glory,’ in which loose living prevails, the Holy Scriptures and
the Christian faith are little taught, and the blind, heathen master
Aristotle rules alone, even more than Christ."
This month we will see what Luther says about the
dominant position Aristotle held in education and the loose living at
the universities which Luther mentions only briefly. These are two major
matters which Luther wants dismissed from the universities. Another
significant part of his 25th proposal, with which I will not
spend any time, is his desire to "blot out" the study of the Canon Law,
laws which governed the behaviour of the clergy. Next time (D.V.) we
shall see what Luther wants introduced in the universities.
Aristotle (384–322 BC) is a well-known, ancient Greek
philosopher. He was a student of Plato, another famous Greek
philosopher, and the teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle wrote
many books on a wide variety of subjects. Students in Rome’s schools
during the Middle Ages invested great amounts of time and energy
studying Aristotle because Rome had such a high regard for him. An
article written by J. J. O’Connor and E. F. Robertson states Aristotle’s
importance, "Aristotle, more than any other thinker, determined the
orientation and the content of Western intellectual history. He was the
author of a philosophical and scientific system that through the
centuries became the support and vehicle for both medieval Christian and
Islamic scholastic thought: until the end of the 17th
century, Western culture was Aristotelian. And, even after the
intellectual revolutions of centuries to follow, Aristotelian concepts
and ideas remained embedded in Western thinking." Aristotle’s influence
on Western culture, great as it was and is, may have been even greater
had not the Muslims destroyed the great library at Alexandria which
contained a large collection of ancient texts.
As you read the following quotations from Luther’s
Open Letter, keep in mind that Luther is addressing what was a major
part of the course of study in Rome’s schools. The young men who spent
many weary hours mastering such books were being groomed for positions
of leadership in the church. Aristotle’s ideas were not treated as
heresies which must be fought. Their instructors asserted that
Aristotle’s books contained truth.
Of Aristotle’s most studied books, Luther says, "In
this regard my advice would be that Aristotle’s Physics, Metaphysics,
On the Soul, Ethics, which have hitherto been thought his best
books, should be altogether discarded, together with all the rest of his
books which boast of treating the things of nature or the things of the
Spirit. Moreover no one has so far understood his meaning, and many
souls have been burdened with profitless labour and study, at the cost
of much precious time. I venture to say that any potter has more
knowledge of nature than is written in these books. It grieves me to the
heart that this damned, conceited, rascally heathen has with his false
words deluded and made fools of so many of the best Christians. God has
sent him as a plague upon us for our sins."
Luther then gives some specific criticism concerning
Aristotle’s works. He continues, "Why, this wretched man, in his best
book, On the Soul, teaches that the soul dies with the body,
although many have tried with vain words to save his reputation. As
though we had not the Holy Scriptures, in which we are abundantly
instructed about all things, and of them Aristotle had not the faintest
inkling! And yet this dead heathen has conquered and obstructed and
almost suppressed the books of the living God, so that when I think of
this miserable business I can believe nothing else than that the evil
spirit has introduced the study of Aristotle. Again, his book on
is the worst of all books. It flatly opposes divine grace and all
Christian virtues, and yet it is considered one of his best works. Away
with such books! Keep them away from all Christians!"
Luther finishes his treatment of Aristotle with this,
"I should be glad to see Aristotle’s books on Logic, Rhetoric
and Poetics retained or used in an abridged form as text-books
for the profitable training of young people in speaking and preaching."
Such use of textbooks and instruction continues. Our
college and university students continue to do the same with today’s
instruction. They study the material given in class, read the texts, and
pass the instruction through the "Reformed filters" they have acquired
in their years in our Christian schools to keep what can be beneficial
for a godly life.
We use the texts of the ungodly for study in our
schools. The theory of evolution dominates today’s culture and thinking
as much as Aristotle once did. The dominance of evolution is most easily
seen in today’s science, history and social studies textbooks. I believe
it is good to expose our students to this socially dominant world and
life view. Our children can more effectively battle the lie when they
Luther does not give details about the "loose living"
which prevailed in the universities in this 25th
proposal for reform. There are hints, however, concerning this troubling
matter in later passages of his Open Letter.
Luther laments, "Next comes the abuse of eating and
drinking which gives us Germans a bad reputation in foreign lands, as
though it were our special vice. Preaching cannot stop it; it has become
too common, and has got too firmly the upper hand. The waste of money
which it causes would be a small thing, were it not followed by other
sins—murder, adultery, stealing, irreverence and all the vices." How
prevalent were such sins in university life? Society’s vices are not
diluted in university life. Yet, it is enough to make one weep that
there were vices so deeply ingrained in the people, even in those of the
church, that Luther felt compelled to write "preaching cannot stop it."
(What might be our sins which give us a reputation in society at
large from which preaching has not yet been able to purge us?)
Another hint at the loose living which prevailed in
the universities is given when Luther writes about those attending
school, "But now every man is drawn to the priesthood or the monastic
life, and among them, I fear, there is not one in a hundred who has any
other reason than that he seeks a living, and doubts that he will ever
be able to support himself in the estate of matrimony. Therefore they
live wildly enough beforehand, and wish, as they say, to ‘wear out their
lust,’ but rather wear it in, as experience shows."
As we know, true Reformation has two parts. Evil must
be eliminated, and what is godly must be practised. We have seen what
Luther wanted expelled and eliminated from university life. Next time
(D.V.) we shall see what Luther wanted introduced and practised.
Mr. Brian Dykstra, teacher at Hope Protestant Reformed Christian