Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena BT43 5DR
Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 6 October, 2013
"But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious,
longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15)
Morning Service - 11:00 AM
Holding the Mystery of the Faith
Scripture Reading: I Timothy 3
Text: I Timothy 3:9
I. What Must Be Held
II. How It Must Be Held
Psalms: 24:1-6; 47:1-9; 139:17-24; 119:57-64
Evening Service - 6:00 PM
The Man of Sin (7)
The Man of Sin Revealed and Destroyed
Scripture Reading: II Thessalonians 2
Text: II Thessalonians 2:8
I. His Revelation
II. His Destruction
Psalms: 96:8-13; 48:1-6; 10:13-18; 50:1-6
For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart or the elders
CPRC website: www.cprc.co.uk
CPRC YouTube: www.youtube.com/cprcni
Quote to Consider
John Owen: "The duties that
God, in an ordinary way, requires at our hands are not
proportioned to what strength we have in ourselves, but to
what help and relief is laid up for us in Christ."
Prof. B. Gritters: "There
will be no struggle by Jesus Christ with Antichrist. In a
moment of time, where the entire history of the world
climaxes, Christ in an instant will destroy the man of sin.
Therefore, do not fear! The truth of the Antichrist is
dreadful. The church must suffer under him, too. But we are
not to fear for a moment. And when you see the Antichrist in
the future, be not in terror. For in that darkest hour the
world has ever known, we will be doing the same as we have
all our lives, waiting ‘with uplifted heads’ for the coming
of Jesus Christ, who will redeem us from all distress" ("The
Antichrist," pp. 23-24).
Announcements (subject to God’s
This morning, we witness Philip
Hall’s installation into the office of deacon. May
the Lord bless him as he continues in this calling.
The second offering this
morning is for the building fund.
Our worship services are now being streamed live
on the internet. They can be viewed at 11 AM and 6PM at
Bradley, Samuel (Beginners NT) - 5:30PM
Alex, Nathan (Juniors OT) - 6:15PM
Jacob, Joseph (Seniors OT) - 7:00PM
Timothy (Essentials of Reformed Doctrine) - 7:45PM
Tuesday Bible study meets
at 11 AM to study Christ’s Sabbath arguments involving the
cermonial law and His identity.
Belgic Confession Class
meets this Wednesday at 7:45 PM to continue with article
21b, on Christ’s life and death in connection with His
The Council will meet
Thursday, 10 October at 7:30 PM at the church.
The Reformed Witness Hour
broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) by Rev.
Bruinsma is entitled "The Shepherd of the Covenant" (Isa.
Rev. & Mary Stewart, Rev.
McGeown and Marco Barone will travel together to the U.S. on
Monday, 14 October. Rev. Stewart is to speak at the
Heidelberg Catechism Conference being held on 17-19
October in Grand Rapids. The Stewarts and Rev.
McGeown will leave the U.S. on Monday, 21 October.
Ballymena Lecture: Rev.
Stewart will give a lecture on "War and Peace in the
Heidelberg Catechism" on Friday, 1 November, at 7:30 here at
S. Wales Lecture: Rev.
Stewart will speak on "Original Sin" on Thursday, 7
November, 7:15 PM, at a new venue, the Round Chapel, Margam,
Offerings: General Fund -
Website Additions: 1 Hiligaynon, 1 Spanish, 1
Afrikaans and 2 Italian translations.
Introduction to the Formula of
The Formula of Subscription
arose out of a desire to preserve unity in the church, which
unity is based squarely on oneness in doctrine. One who
subscribes to (signs) this form expresses his agreement with
the confession of the church.
Early in their history, the
Reformed churches displayed great concern for unity and
doctrinal purity by requiring the ministers to sign the two
existing creeds—the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic
Confession. The great Synod of Dordrecht (1618-l9) drew up a
formula of subscription and required (in the Church Order,
Articles 53 and 54) ministers, professors of theology, and
school masters to sign it. The same synod however left to
the discretion of the individual classes the question of
whether and how the elders should subscribe. In practice,
the elders often did so, and the Christian Reformed Church
in America, just four years after her organization in 1857,
officially decided that "the formulas are to be
unconditionally subscribed by ministers, elders, deacons,
and teachers." Thus Article 54 of the church order was
changed by the Christian Reformed Church to require elders
and deacons to subscribe, and the form was altered to
include them. This is the form adopted and still in use by
the Protestant Reformed Churches.
The Formula of Subscription
includes four elements. First, it expresses complete
agreement with all the articles and doctrines of the three
Reformed creeds, the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg
Catechism, and the Canons of Dordrecht. Secondly, the form
states a promise to teach and defend these doctrines.
Thirdly, it contains a promise to combat all errors contrary
to these confessions in order to keep the church free from
them. Finally, it expresses a promise to be honest in the
churches in all matters of doctrine, so that if a subscriber
later changes his mind or has doubts on any doctrines, he
promises not to promote them, but to bring it to the
attention of his consistory, and to submit to the judgment
of the consistory, classis, and synod.
The Formula of Subscription
requires complete agreement with all the doctrines contained
in the Reformed creeds. Over the years attempts have been
made by various Reformed churches to soften this declaration
of complete agreement with the doctrines. The result has
been accelerated apostasy in such churches. Time and again
the faithful remnant returned to this form, as, for example,
the 1834 Secession and the 1886 Doleantie under Dr. Abraham
Kuyper. Thus it is of utmost importance for the unity and
purity of the church that all officebearers who sign the
formula of subscription do so with no reservations
whatsoever, and that the church hold them to their promises.
Doctrinal purity is vital for the existence of the church,
the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). She can
expect God’s blessing in no other way.
The Formula of Subscription
We, the undersigned, professors
of the Protestant Reformed Churches, ministers of the
gospel, elders and deacons of the Protestant Reformed
of.............................................., of Classis
......................... do hereby sincerely and in good
conscience before the Lord declare by this, our
subscription, that we heartily believe and are persuaded
that all the articles and points of doctrine contained in
the Confession and Catechism of the Reformed Churches,
together with the explanation of some points of the
aforesaid doctrine made by the National Synod of Dordrecht,
1618-’19, do fully agree with the Word of God.
We promise therefore diligently
to teach and faithfully to defend the aforesaid doctrine,
without either directly or indirectly contradicting the
same, by our public preaching or writing.
We declare, moreover, that we
not only reject all errors that militate against this
doctrine, and particularly those which were condemned by the
above mentioned synod, but that we are disposed to refute
and contradict these, and to exert ourselves in keeping the
church free from such errors. And if hereafter any
difficulties or different sentiments respecting the
aforesaid doctrines should arise in our minds, we promise
that we will neither publicly nor privately propose, teach,
or defend the same, either by preaching or writing, until we
have first revealed such sentiments to the consistory,
classis, and synod, that the same may be there examined,
being ready always cheerfully to submit to the judgment of
the consistory, classis, and synod, under the penalty in
case of refusal to be, by that very fact, suspended from our
And further, if at any time the consistory, classis, or
synod, upon sufficient grounds of suspicion and to preserve
the uniformity and purity of doctrine, may deem it proper to
require of us a further explanation of our sentiments
respecting any particular article of the Confession of
Faith, the Catechism, or the explanation of the national
synod, we do hereby promise to be always willing and ready
to comply with such requisition, under the penalty above
mentioned, reserving for ourselves, however, the right of an
appeal, whenever we shall believe ourselves aggrieved by the
sentence of the consistory, the classis, or the synod, and
until a decision is made upon such an appeal, we will
acquiesce in the determination and judgment already passed.