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As To Conditions (2)

According to the Heidelberg Catechism, as we have seen, faith is never presented as a condition unto salvation, or as a condition which we must fulfill in order to enter into or remain in the covenant of God. Always it is presented as a means or instrument which is wrought in us by God and given us of Him, by which we are ingrafted into Christ, become one body with Him, and thus receive all His benefits.

Instrument and condition certainly do not belong to the same category of conceptions.

If faith is a condition it certainly is something man must do in order to and before he can obtain salvation. Unless we attach that meaning to the word it has no sense at all. And as I wrote before, in the minds of the people the term condition undoubtedly stands for some notion that makes salvation dependent on something man must do.

If, however, faith is a God-given instrument it is completely outside of the category of condition, for the simple reason that, in that case, it belongs to salvation itself. It is part of the work of God whereby He brings sinners to Christ and makes them partakers of all His benefits of righteousness, life, and glory. And part of salvation cannot, at the same time, be a condition unto salvation.

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RFPA Update newsletter - Summer 2019

RFPA Update newsletter - Summer 2019

IN THIS ISSUE OF THE RFPA UPDATE:

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The Belgic: "A Confession of the Gospel in all its riches"

The Belgic: "A Confession of the Gospel in all its riches"

The Belgic Confession: A Commentary, Volumes I–II by David J. Engelsma. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2018–19. 348 and 382 pages. Reviewed by Dr. H. David Schuringa, a reformed theologian living in West Michigan (as reviewed in the July 24, 2019 issue of Christian Renewal).

The publishing of Dr. David Engelsma’s two-volume commentary on the Belgic Confession is a welcome event due not only to its meaty content but also to meager current resources. The historic confession comprises a complete dogmatics in its own right as it follows the usual outline of the loci with the doctrines of the Word, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Ecclesiology and Eschatology.

Engelsma maintains, however, that though the con­fession is doctrinal and systematic, it is not a sys­tematic theology as such but rather, “the confession of the gospel in all its riches as this gospel is known by every illumined mind and embraced by every regenerated heart” (II:366f.). That is certainly true in large measure, which in turn makes these two volumes Engelsma’s own dogmatics of sorts. What Berkhof did for Bavinck, he does for Hoeksema.

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Belgic Confession (volume 2) chapter preview: Article 25 on "The Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law"

Belgic Confession (volume 2) chapter preview: Article 25 on "The Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law"
IN ONE MONTH volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary will be printed, completing the two-volume set written by Professor David J. Engelsma.

We give to you the full Chapter 19 on Article 25: "The Abolishing of the Ceremonial Law." Read More

Coming in 1 month!

Coming in 1 month!

IN ONE MONTH volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary will be printed, completing the two-volume set written by Professor David J. Engelsma.

We provide you with an excerpt from Chapter 17: Justification as Experience.

Justification by faith alone, without works, not only excludes works from God’s justifying act, but also from the believer’s knowledge and certainty of righteousness with God. If this were not the case, “we should always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be continually vexed.”

Therefore, to teach that in the end the experience and assurance of righteousness with God are realized by the sinner’s good works, or are somehow dependent upon the good works of the sinner, is the denial of justification by faith alone. In that case, faith would need the help of the sinner’s works to give the blessing of justification. Union with Christ and his work would not be enough.

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The Marks of the False Church (concluded)

The Marks of the False Church (concluded)

The identifying mark of the false church is that she lacks the marks of the true church, i.e., the pure doctrine of holy scripture, a pure administration of the sacraments; and the exercise of church discipline in the correcting of sin. Rich in the incidentals of size, ecclesiastical reputation, earthly influence, religious ritual and busyness, and pomp (which, alas, fascinate many professing Christians in every age); she is destitute of the essentials of the body of Jesus Christ in the world. 

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The Marks of the False Church

The Marks of the False Church

". . .As for the false Church, she ascribes more power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in His Word, but adds to and takes from them, as she thinks proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness, and idolatry. These two Churches are easily known and distinguished from each other."—Belgic Confession, Article 29

The "problem" of the article of our Confession of Faith quoted above is its absolute distinction between the true church and the false church. It does not speak of purer and less pure churches, of manifestations of Jesus' body that vary in degree of faithfulness and doctrinal purity; but of "two Churches," the true and the false.

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Coming in 2 months!

Coming in 2 months!

IN TWO MONTHS volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary will be printed, completing the two-volume set written by Professor David J. Engelsma.

An orthodox commentary on the confession, that is, one that is in wholehearted accord with the teachings of the confession, and resolutely faithful to them, will be profitable to Reformed Christians and churches in the twenty-first century, not only for invaluable instruction in the Reformed faith, but also for the maintenance and defense of Reformed orthodoxy.

Founded on holy scripture, the Belgic Confession determines sound doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This doctrine is rich, lovely, and powerful. The confession also authoritatively exposes contemporary heresies. As they read this commentary which proclaims the doctrine and authority of the confession, all believers who love the Reformed faith will be faithfully guided in the truth of the “old paths.”

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The Belgic Confession (Volume 2)

      With the upcoming release of volume two of The Belgic Confession commentary in April 2019, D.V., there will be completed the only full-scale, English-language commentary on the Belgic Confession in print today. This book is not a summary of the Confession, nor a compilation of sermons loosely based on the Confession, but a commentary. It explains the Confession, article by article, doctrine by doctrine. Volume two of this commentary begins with the Confession’s opening article on the doctrine...

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RFPA Update newsletter - Summer 2018

  IN THIS ISSUE: Getting books into eager hands Color House Graphics Tour Upcoming children's books A book contest Author videos New publications Reader feedback RFPA Annual Meeting Reader feedback on T is for Tree FULL ISSUE

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"The best symbolical statement of the Calvinistic system of doctrine"

"The best symbolical statement of the Calvinistic system of doctrine"

An orthodox commentary on the confession, that is, one that is in wholehearted accord with the teachings of the confession, and resolutely faithful to them, will be profitable to Reformed Christians and churches in the twenty-first century, not only for invaluable instruction in the Reformed faith, but also for the maintenance and defense of Reformed orthodoxy. Founded on holy scripture, the Belgic Confession determines sound doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This doctrine is rich, lovely, and powerful. The confession also authoritatively...

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Belgic Confession (volume 1) by David J. Engelsma

An orthodox commentary on the confession, that is, one that is in wholehearted accord with the teachings of the confession, and resolutely faithful to them, will be profitable to Reformed Christians and churches in the twenty-first century, not only for invaluable instruction in the Reformed faith, but also for the maintenance and defense of Reformed orthodoxy. Founded on holy scripture, the Belgic Confession determines sound doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This doctrine is rich, lovely, and powerful. The confession also authoritatively...

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Synods and General Assemblies: The Reformed Church in America (part 1)

The RCA’s Commitment to the Belhar Confession The summer vacation season is over. That means school is about to begin or has begun. It also means that meetings of synods and general assemblies have convened and adjourned. Since the idea of this blog is to write about a variety of topics, not just books, I have decided to write some posts about several of these synods and general assemblies. My purpose is not to write a thorough summary of the activities...

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