Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 8 November, 2015
“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
The Interlude and the Seventh Trumpet (2)
The Mighty Angel’s Solemn Oath
Scripture Reading: Revelation 10
Text: Revelation 10:5-7
I. The Formula of His Oath
II. The Content of His Oath
III. The Significance of His Oath
Psalms: 145:1-8; 119:1-8; 104:1-7; 98:1-9
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
Walking in Newness of Life
Scripture Reading: Romans 6
Text: Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33
Psalms: 122:1-9; 119:9-16; 51:5-12; 119:57-64
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services,
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart
or the elders
CPRC Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live Webcast:
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
CPRC Facebook: www.facebook.com/CovenantPRC
Quotes to Consider
Herman Hoeksema on Revelation 10:7: “At this stage six seals
have already been broken, and six trumpets are already
blown. But the mystery of God has not yet been fulfilled. It
is still waiting. Of that mystery His servants the prophets
had already spoken: for they had repeatedly made mention of
the great day of the Lord, of the dominion of the Lord God
Almighty, of the new heavens and the new earth. But still
the world is as before. Still the wicked world exists. Still
the blood of the witnesses of Christ flows as ever. Still
the world serves its idols and demons, and commits the most
terrible sins. But now the time is near” (Behold He Cometh,
Herman Hoeksema on Lord’s Day 33: “But the question is not
at all how and when you were converted, nor whether you had
an experience of conversion several years past, but whether
you are converted today. For whether you were converted
suddenly or gradually, as far as the beginning of your
conversion is concerned, it surely is only a beginning. It
must continue throughout your whole life ... Nor must we
ever imagine that conversion gradually becomes less
necessary as we grow in grace. The contrary is true. Always
there is with the Christian the old man, seeking to regain
his former dominion. And never does he get rid of the body
of this death. Always the new man in Christ must watch and
pray and fight the good fight” (The Triple Knowledge, vol.
3, p. 103).
Announcements (subject to God’s will)
Letters from Limerick and the Philippines are on the back
Monday evening’s Catechism classes:
5:45 PM - Taylor, Josh, Corey, Bradley & Samuel (Beginners OT, book 2)
6:30 PM - Alex & Nathan (Seniors OT)
7:15 PM - Jacob, Joseph & Chris (Heidelberg Catechism, book 1)
The Council meets this Monday evening, 9 November, at 8 PM.
The Tuesday Bible study meets at 11 AM to study the
background of apostasy in Israel’s kingship.
The Belgic Confession Class will meet this week Wednesday at
7:45 PM to study the perspective of Article 27 on “The
Catholic Christian Church.”
The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel
846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev. Bruinsma is entitled “God’s
Judgment on Ungodly Sinners” (Jude 14-16).
S. Wales Lecture: Rev. McGeown will give a lecture on
“Spiritual Gifts” in Port Talbot, S. Wales, at 7:15 PM on
Thursday, 19 November.
Offerings: General Fund: £724.95. Building Fund: £284.42.
Website Additions: 5 Hungarian translations.
PRC News: The new trio for a second missionary to the
Philippines is Revs. Griess (Calvary, IA), Huizinga
(Redlands, CA) and J. Laning (Hull, IA).
A Plea for Creeds (concluded)
Rev. Ron Hanko
Objections to Creeds
Some of the objections that are raised against creeds we
have already dealt with, but there are other, more important
objections, as well. Some say that having creeds denies the
unique authority of Scripture, and that the creeds, in fact,
take us away from Scripture and lead to the neglect of
Scripture in the church. Others say that creeds cause
division in the church of Christ, even that they are the
primary cause of division between Christians. Both of these
objections are easily answered.
As far as the authority of Scripture is concerned, the
creeds when properly used neither push aside the authority
of Scripture nor draw Christians away from Scripture.
Rather, they point to the Scriptures and serve as a kind of
“map” of the teaching of the Word. This they do especially
by the numerous references to Scripture that are found in
most creeds. No doubt there are a few who attach too much
authority to the creeds, but the creeds themselves claim
that Scripture is the only authority and show it is by
referring to it.
From that point of view they do the same thing that the
preaching does—they compel believers to search the
Scriptures to see if the things taught in them are true (cf.
Acts 17:11). Like a map they even show where to begin in
searching the Scriptures. Indeed, in our experience, it is
in those churches that do not have or use creeds, where
there is appalling ignorance of the teaching of Scripture.
People sit for years in such churches and never seem to
That creeds cause division in the church is another red
herring. The creeds do not cause the divisions that do exist
in the church, but only recognize those that are already
there. In fact, insofar as the creeds do teach the truth of
Scripture (and we have the promise of Jesus in John 16:13
that they do, though not perfectly), the creeds instead of
causing division promote unity. It is, of course, the truth
that brings unity. We learn that from Amos 3:3: “Can two
walk together, except they be agreed?” We learn it also from
Ephesians 4:15-16: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow
up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted
by that which every joint supplieth, according to the
effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh
increase of the body unto the edifying [i.e., building up]
of itself in love.” The existing divisions, therefore, are
not caused by creeds but by a failure to know and submit to
the truth. It is the lie that divides, not the truth.
The Usefulness of Creeds
That brings us to speak of the usefulness of creeds, since
the very first and one of the more important uses is what
might be called their constitutional or unifying use. The
creeds of a church are her “banner displayed because of the
truth” (Ps. 60:4), and serve as a rallying point for all
those who make the same confession of the truth. Thus, the
creeds of the Reformed churches are sometimes referred to as
the Three Forms of Unity.
Closely related is the apologetic use of the creeds.
Apologetics is the defence of the truth of the gospel (the
“answer” in I Peter 3:15 is the Greek word “apology”). This
apologetic use of the creeds follows from the fact that most
creeds were written in defence of the truth of God’s Word.
They are the “answer” that the church has given to those who
have denied her hope. They were not written in some ivory
tower but on the battlefield of faith. The errors they
address are still around today. There is nothing new under
the sun. So too the Scripture passages they reference help
us find a biblical answer when we must stand in defence of
Then there is also what could be called their juridical use,
that is, they are useful in settling and avoiding disputes.
They are useful in settling disputes because they show what
Scripture teaches, bringing together the teaching of all
Scripture on a certain matter. They are useful in avoiding
disputes because they set forth the things that are
important, thus steering clear of “foolish and unlearned
questions” that gender strife (II Tim. 2:23).
Very important is the catechetical use of the creeds. By
this we mean that they are used to teach the truth to
children and to new converts. They are useful in this
respect because they teach the doctrines of Scripture.
Anyone who has done any teaching knows that it is almost
impossible to learn anything unless the teaching is
systematic and carefully arranged in its logical relations.
This the creeds do, especially the catechisms which were
designed for teaching both young and old.
The creeds can even be used pastorally. They are not cold,
abstract statements, but warm, practical expositions of the
truth and can be used to direct the attention of those who
are in need of pastoral counsel to the Word of God. A good
example is the application of the doctrine of predestination
in the Canons of Dordt I:13:
The sense and certainty of this election afford to the
children of God additional matter for daily humiliation
before him, for adoring the depth of his mercies, for
cleansing themselves, and rendering grateful returns of
ardent love to him, who first manifested so great love
towards them. The consideration of this doctrine of election
is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of
the divine commands, or from sinking men in carnal security,
that these, in the just judgment of God, are the usual
effects of rash presumption, or of idle and wanton trifling
with the grace of election, in those who refuse to walk in
the ways of the elect.
Several other uses of lesser importance are the homiletical
and the liturgical. Some churches, by way of insuring that
the whole counsel of God is preached in the church (Acts
20:27), follow in the preaching at least one service each
Lord’s Day, the teaching of a particular creed. In this way
all the doctrines of the faith are set forth in the church
and the people of God well grounded in the truth. This is
the homiletical (having to do with sermon making) use. In
other churches the creeds, usually the shorter creeds like
the Apostle’s or Nicene Creeds are recited as part of the
worship of the church. In this way believers make mutual
confession of their faith in obedience to Christ’s command
in Matthew 10.
There are, we believe, other uses of the creeds as well, but
these are the most important. What needs to be emphasized,
however, is that the creeds are of value ONLY if they are
used. If they are just matters of the church archives and
are left to gather dust in the church, there is no profit at
all in having them. Nevertheless, it is necessary to have
and use them, as we have shown. The alternative is
ecclesiastical chaos, the kind of chaos that is destroying
the church today, making her witness ineffective and
troubling the lives of her members.
In Jeremiah 6:16, the Lord himself says: “Stand ye in the
ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good
way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your
souls.” The church today says, “We will not walk therein.”
Thus, she has no rest, for she has no old ways.