Here We Stand.

Book Review “Here We Stand”, Commemoration of 500th anniversary of the Reformation, edited by Ron Cammenga, RFPA 2018, 197 pages, softback.


Just another book on the Reformation or so I thought! My initial wrong attitude was swiftly replaced by appreciation as I got into the book. What I particularly liked about it was that it majors on the main effects of this great work of God’s Spirit half a millennium ago. In fact the chapters outline the vitally important changes that occurred in this period of the history of the church. First there was the struggle for assurance and justification by faith, then the return to Scripture alone as the sole authority, then there was the priesthood of all believers, the recovery of right worship and the regulative principle, the refutation and exposure of the errors of the radicals and finally the vital importance of the Reformed confessions in the establishment of Reformed churches all over Europe but especially in the Netherlands.

There were other very important truths developed e.g. scripture interprets scripture, the Spirit and word are never separated, the doctrine of the covenant, the importance of membership in a true church. If I have one criticism it is that at least one of the  contributors mentions little of the politics of the time and the armed struggle that was undertaken  by many in the churches that had a significant bearing on the Reformation and the establishment of the Netherlands as a nation but then again perhaps that would have been majoring on a minor! The Reformation was primarily a spiritual battle and victory not a political one! I highly recommend this book as a succinct account of this marvellous period in church history.

Dr Julian Kennedy, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.

God’s will that his people enjoy assurance.

“The Roman Catholic Church of Luther’s day and the Roman Catholic Church of today not only deny the possibility of the assurance of salvation, but deny that assurance is the will of God for his people. That is the stranglehold that the Roman Catholic Church has on its members…Luther understood from scripture that it is the will of God not only to save his people, but also to give those whom it is his will to save the assurance of their this life here and now. He contended that this is the normal experience of the Christian.” (See I John 5:11-13)

From “Here we stand”  Editor Ronald Cammenga

Reformed and always being re-formed.


No Reformed church or denomination can ignore the principle of SEMPER REFORMANDA. The calling is for the church always to be examining herself in the light of the word of God, and then making necessary correction based on that Word of God. There never is a time when the church may rest satisfied with herself.

Whether it is the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism and Canons of Dordt) it is incumbent upon members, office bearers and synods to be like the Bereans checking in Scripture whether these things (in their creeds or statements of faith) are so (Acts 17:11).

Prof. Barrett Gritters  Standard Bearer  December 15th 2017 page 125

Reformed Christian thinking.


…if we turn now to the unfolding of the excellence of Reformed doctrine, let us take note of the principle of the Reformed faith, which is to exalt and to glorify God to the very highest, and to humble man to the deepest depths. We see then immediately a most noteworthy difference from all other teachings outside the Reformed faith, since they all, no matter how in principle they may differ, agree in this one point: they seek the ability to draw near to God from a power in themselves, while the Reformed faith supposes as a principle an immediate work of God in man for him to come to God. Because of this, it is also true that all who cleave to doctrinal teachings outside of the Reformed faith, including those who only in name are affiliated with the Reformed system, discover that they are compatible, and having a similar outlook, they can unite; but they always are opposed to the true confessors of the Reformed worship of God, because Reformed believers start from a principle that diametrically contradict theirs.
And now proceeding from this eternal principle of God, the true member of the Reformed church confesses an eternal, triune, covenant God as the one principle of his salvation. He confesses that the triune God through mutual consultation, in eternity past, without beginning, has determined the salvation of everyone who will be called in time. He confesses that it is the Holy Spirit, through the application of the elective grace of the Father and the Son’s blood of reconciliation, who brings that salvation to his heart. The person called of the Lord senses that he has been translated into a new life through the powerful and irresistible working of that Spirit. Having been transported into the new life in that faith, he by that faith receives the assurance of this salvation and realizes that in fact he has been purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ and belongs to Him.
He confesses that he has received peace with God through God’s work in him, that he may now worship God the Father as his Father, because he is covered by the surety-righteousness of his Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He confesses that, as a consequence of this abounding grace, he senses a strong inclination to glorify God continually through His law and His commandments, so that it is his desire to honor God above everything and to love his neighbor. He now feels that he is God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus unto good works, which were ordained for Him so that he may walk therein. Since he feels that the principle of his blessed hope is not in him or in anything from him, but is wholly derived from a power of God in him, he confesses especially that he has, according to the scriptures, an assurance of his salvation in Christ Jesus, because of which he, like Job, may say, I know that my Redeemer liveth (Job 19:25).
However, since God is his teacher who instructs him in true doctrine, and since he discovers nothing for his salvation in himself that is not of God, he discerns clearly that the doctrine in which he awaits his full salvation by God is the fundamental principle of the knowledge that will be revealed to him in eternity, that he may truly know God the Father in Jesus Christ whom He has sent. This causes him to be assured that the doctrine that is from God and returns to God and that he confesses by God’s grace is the one doctrine of God’s good pleasure.
It is superfluous to present more support for the excellence of Reformed doctrine, far above other teachings that are foreign to it, since it is sufficient to demonstrate its godly principle and to regard all competitors as having no value whatsoever. If we compare the doctrine the spirit of this age has produced with the Reformed doctrine as I have explained it, then it will not be difficult to apply to those who oppose this faith the saying of the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees in His day: You are from below, earthly, while of the Reformed faith it can be said, You are from above out of heaven (John 8:23).
If we examine the development of these two diametricaly opposing principles, what do we see? That by the one, having been puffed up with the idea of his own worth, man is urged along in his sinful existence and all his actions necessarily are marked by this pride, while the behavior of him who is ruled by a godly principle is inclined toward the honor of God’s name and is always directed toward a sanctified purpose. If we proceed further and investigate how these two completely opposing principles exercise a powerful influence upon a whole nation, so that from the one nothing but the turmoil of the evil inclinations of man must be manifested and, no matter how covered up and hidden from view, the proud heart of man becomes the motivator of all its deeds, while the other principle, always leading to God and His commandments, works a quiet and peaceful existence of heart and spontaneously provides to everything the essence of what is just, holy, honorable, and fitting- having made that examination, it should not be too difficult to see how we have fallen away from our fathers and have become estranged from their virtues and values.

Marvin Kamps
1834: Hendrik De Cock’s Return to the True Church, pp. 88-91



Reformation today

Reformation today
As necessary as in 1517

Why? Because as Jeremiah says, “Ye trust in lying words. My house is being abused. THERE ARE ABOMINATIONS in my worship. Jer. 7:8, 11, 30. Christ’s rare violence was seen when he saw the place of his worship being abused.


Millions steeped in tradions and superstition of false religion in Roman Catholicism*.
Millions more are members of or adhere to false and departing churches.
*Mary venerated. She is never portrayed as co-redemptrix or someone to pray to in all N.T. Scripture does not say she was sinless and taken miraculously into heaven. The infinite God cannot have a mother, only the incarnate Son of God.
*Idolatrous mass. The once-for-all sacrifice of Christ substituted by a daily ritual that is supposed to atone for sin.
*Priests and pope usurp the headship of Christ in his church.
*Justification (forgiveness) by faith and works substituted for true faith alone that leads to assurance hence no assurance for those seeking to merit.
The upshot of all these abominations will be to be driven from Christ out of his dwelling place into damnation.
False and departing churches that allow hymns and songs that are not God-breathed, shallow homilies take the place of doctrinal preaching, women and homosexuals given office, there is belief in universal atonement and free will, on-going miracles and miraculous spiritual gifts-these will inevitably join together under the false prophet of antichrist and worship him!

Come out from among them and seek the truth in Scripture and a true church.

Dr Julian Kennedy, Deacon, Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena.

CPRC Day Reformation conference

A day of blessed teaching by Prof. David J. Engelsma.

  1. Luther-Theologian of the Glory of God

Luther was a theology professor, a teacher of pastors at a seminary in Wittenburg, Germany. His nailing of his 95 protesting theses on the cathedral door was part of his calling to defend the truth of the gospel of grace. He was just obeying his call and this gave him the right to protest (Just as Christ pointed to his lawful calling as a priest by John’s baptism when asked by what authority he cleansed the temple). Teaching that glorifies God and humbles man is invariably correct. Luther’s last words (written) were,”We are beggars, this is the truth.”

God is glorified in his salvation, in granting the means (faith) and in his sovereign predestination of all things.

Two of Luther’s most important works were, “Bondage of the will” and “The Babylonian captivity of the church.”

Sin is coming short of the glory of God hence is it not sin to attend a church that in it’s teaching and practice comes short of that glory by not adhering to the regulative principle of worship, maladministration of the sacraments and lacking good Reformed preaching?


2. Luther on James and Paul.

Anyone who believes in salvation by works and faith has no real faith! (JK). Such a person aligns himself with the doctrine man has a free will. The Federal Vision heresy teaches that salvation depends on the faith and the works of all baptized i.e. it is conditional.

Real faith excludes works-it states faith alone! Justification comes before any good works (JK).

Basics of Biblical interpretation:

1. No contradictions in Scripture.

2. Scripture explains scripture, the clear explain the unclear.

From Rom. 3:28, 4:5 and Gal.2:16 we see faith receives Christ and his righteousness leading to assurance.  Paul’s teaching is that the legal declaration by God in heaven AND the subjective assurance in the believer are two sides of one coin (Rom.5:1).

James 2:14 ff are speaking about the public demonstration of one’s faith before others. “Show me thy faith!” (James 2:24)

Note that the final judgment will be on works that either demonstrated faith or unbelief. God’s record of people’s works will demonstrate to all whether they possessed salvation by faith (JK).

I John 2 teaches that good works in the life of a believer confirm assurance.


The Reformation under Josiah

Josiah as King led the Reformation of God’s people in the 7th Century BC.


Reformation consisted:

  • The public reading of the word of God (reading and preaching)
  • The consecration of the people to God by a covenant (confessing church membership in a true church)
  • The removal of all practices and places built contrary to God’s word (i.e. idolatry, icons)
  • The institution of pure worship according to the word of God at Passover. (regulative principle)
  • The deposition and excommunication or death of all false teachers (Church discipline)

II Kings 23 gives the details.

How does your church measure up?

Relevant book

Misplaced loyalty!

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4-5.

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.” Isaiah 52:11-12.

Click on slide to enlarge.

A good read 


What is a Protestant?

This article is part three of a series in my church’s Covenant Reformed News.

CR News

What Is a Protestant? (3)

Martin Luther (1517) Start of Reformation and Protestantism.

“As well as the truth that the Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura), Protestants believe in Christ alone (solus Christus).

The Lord Jesus is both fully God and fully man in one divine Person. He is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, incarnate. As Christ, He is God’s anointed One as promised in the Old Testament. As Jesus, He is the only and complete Saviour. As Lord, He the sovereign governor of all.

We Protestants believe Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, glorious ascension and almighty rule at God’s right hand.

On the cross, our Lord died for all the sins of all His elect people. All our iniquities were “laid on,” imputed or reckoned to Him (Isa. 53:6) and He bore the punishment for them that was due to us. As our only high priest, He continually prays for us, for “he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Heb. 7:25).

In order for God to save sinners, Christ’s cross and intercession are absolutely necessary. It is entirely sufficient for all our salvation. We do not need the pope, earthly priests, Mary or the saints to bring us to God (John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22).

The battle of Protestantism with Rome (and others) is essentially the same as that in Acts 4 between the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders and the apostles, who declared concerning Christ, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (11-12).

Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone (sola fide). Protestantism proclaims that our salvation and perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ is received solely by faith. The forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood and the imputed righteousness of God (the lifelong and perfect obedience of Jesus) is ours by believing—only by believing! Our justification and legal standing before God, therefore, does not need any supplementation by the works of the the saints, the Lord’s earthly mother, the church or ourselves.

This biblical and Protestant truth is just as necessary today over against Rome as it was in the sixteenth century. Sadly, sola fide is also crucial against much of modern day evangelicalism. Some of those who speak of justification by faith alone actually mean justification by man’s free will alone! They teach that the sinner’s salvation is determined by the decision of his own supposed free will, contrary to the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 3:11; 7:18; 8:7) and the united testimony of the Reformation, including Martin Luther’s great Protestant manifesto, The Bondage of the Will (1525).

Sola fide is vital for the comfort and vitality of the Christian every day. Being justified by faith alone, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and blessedness (4:6-9; Ps. 32:1-2)!

To go further, Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone through grace alone (sola gratia). Our salvation is a divine gift, an entirely gratuitous or gracious gift, according to the sovereign favour of our merciful God in Jesus Christ, for we were “chosen … in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Grace alone, both in time (by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ) and in eternity (in election)—this is Protestantism, because this is the teaching of God’s Word: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “So then it is not of him that willeth [so much for man’s free will!], nor of him that runneth [i.e., the exertion of man’s works], but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).

The fifth of the Five Solas is the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). The glory is not man’s (even in the tiniest part), whether by his supposed free will or his good works, for all that is truly good in the believer’s works is entirely by God’s grace (John 15:5; Eph. 2:10). The glory is not even partially the church’s, especially not the false church of Rome nor any other false or departing church.

Salvation is wholly of the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory is alone due to the Triune God: the electing Father, the atoning Son and the calling Spirit. Soli Deo gloria is the message of the Reformation, for “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115:3)!

Philip Schaff, the church historian, sums it up well: “Romanism puts the Church first and Christ next; Protestantism reverses the order. Romanism says, Where the Church is (meaning thereby the papal organization), there is Christ; Protestantism says, Where Christ is, there is the Church. Romanism says, Where the Catholic tradition is, there is the Bible and the infallible rule of faith; Protestantism says, Where the Bible is, there is the true tradition and the infallible rule of faith. Romanism says, Where good works are, there are faith and justification; Protestantism says, Where faith is, there are justification and good works. Romanism throws Mary and the saints between Christ and the believer; Protestantism goes directly to the Saviour. Romanism proceeds from the visible Church (the papacy) to the invisible Church; Protestantism from the invisible Church (the true body of Christ) to the visible … Protestantism is a protest against the tyranny of man on the basis of the authority of God. It proclaims the Bible to be the only infallible rule of Christian faith and practice, and teaches justification by grace alone, as apprehended by a living faith. It holds up Christ as all in all, whose word is all-sufficient to teach, whose grace is all-sufficient to save.”  Rev. Stewart