TODAY! Second Radio Interview on 'Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt' with Rev. Martyn McGeown

TODAY from 4-6pm EST, Rev. McGeown will be interviewed by Chris Arnzen on his radio program Iron Sharpens Iron.

The subject will be Rev. McGeown's recent book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt

Visit and click on the livestream box to tune in and listen from any device. The program can also be listened to by phone at (563)999-9206; press #3 for Christian Radio when prompted.

Be sure to tune in later today!


The Pastoral Character of the Canons

There are, undoubtedly, many reasons why wholesale departure from scripture truth is so characteristic of Reformed churches today, but not least among those reasons is the fact that churches and denominations often forget that they are part of the church of all ages, and that, also with regard to doctrine, they stand in organic connection with the church of the past. If the church is faithful to the truth then she is built on the foundation of apostolic doctrine and prophetic teaching, and by the grace of God that doctrine and that teaching is an inheritance received from the faithful church of years past. It is not only to her disgrace but to her own ruin that the church forgets this. 

For Reformed churches, perhaps more than any others, this heritage of truth is to be found in their creeds. Those creeds or confessions are the fruit of hard study, careful interpretation, and life-long defense of the word of God by those who have gone before, and it is through faithful use of those creeds that we as Reformed Christians “come into” our inheritance. The trouble is that Reformed churches today, almost without exception, are churches without a heritage, not because they have discarded their creeds but because they have neglected them. The creeds are useful and profitable only in so far as they are used in the preaching, the teaching, and in all the work of the church. Through neglect of her creeds, a church cuts herself off from the organism of the church and lays herself open to the withering influence of false teaching and worldliness. 


MP3 of Radio Interview with Rev. Martyn McGeown on 'Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt'

On Friday, December  7, 2018, Rev. Martyn McGeown had a radio interview with Chris  Arnzen, the national, religious radio host of Iron Sharpens Iron, on his book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt

If you did not have an opportunity to listen to Rev. McGeown's interview on Iron Sharpens Iron, you can do so now by clicking the link below. 

 Click on the icon to listen.


TODAY! Radio Interview on 'Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt' with Rev. Martyn McGeown

TODAY from 4-6pm EST, Rev. McGeown will be interviewed by Chris Arnzen on his radio program Iron Sharpens Iron.

The subject will be Rev. McGeown's recent book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt

Visit and click on the livestream box to tune in and listen from any device. The program can also be listened to by phone at (563)999-9206; press #3 for Christian Radio when prompted.

Be sure to tune in later today!




Radio Interview on 'Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt' with Rev. Martyn McGeown


NEXT WEEK Friday, December 7, Rev. Martyn McGeown will be interviewed by Chris Arnzen on his radio program Iron Sharpens Iron from 4:00-6:00 pm EST. 

The subject will be Rev. McGeown's recent book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt

Be sure to tune in next week Friday!


Book Review: Grace and Assurance

Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt, by Martyn McGeown. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2018. Hardcover. 384 pages. [Reviewed by Derrick Span, a member of Immanuel Protestant Reformed Church]

Rev. Martyn McGeown's book, entitled Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt, emphasizes the necessity, as Reformed Christians, to thoroughly understand our creeds and confessions. These creeds and confessions exhibit what heresies our fathers fought against and what they clung to with ardent zeal. We might ask what value there is in reading a book about the Canons, or we might object that the Canons, Belgic Confession, and Heidelberg Catechism are only creeds. Should we be spending our time studying these old creeds and confessions when we have big enough problems understanding our Bible? Are we not supposed to hold to sola scriptura? While these areas of concern are essential, they express a misunderstanding that we cannot learn from those who came before us. We must be careful in speaking in that way. Instead, we ought to read and listen to those who fought for the truth, seeking the truth from them. By hearing them, we will be better equipped to read God’s word through an informed outlook. So I encourage the use of this book not just for informing us of what our fathers taught, but as a means to examine what we hold to and whether we maintain the understanding of God’s word. To encourage this mindset, a brief explanation of the book is necessary.

The author’s explanation of the Canons begins with the intent, namely to expose Arminianism as erroneous from the ground up. To accomplish this purpose, our fathers had to explain many different doctrines as clearly as possible to leave no room for Arminianism to stand. Where would they begin? Would they start with the main point that Arminian fought against, i.e., reprobation? As a reading of the Canons would illustrate, they did not begin with reprobation; in fact, they did not for some time. The Canons began with who God is and who man is in relation to God. McGeown and our forefathers teach us a crucial bit of wisdom by starting with God in their explanation.

Continue reading...


Grace and Assurance has arrived!

Rev. McGeown's new book, Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt, has arrived at the RFPA.
Book club members will be automatically receiving this book within the next couple of weeks.
Order your copy today if you are not a book club member!

Rev. McGeown's second book published by the RFPA.

A lovely sight. 

She's a beauty.


Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt

Grace and Assurance: The Message of the Canons of Dordt
by Rev. Martyn McGeown

Four hundred years ago (1618) the great Synod of Dordt met to examine the doctrine of the Arminians. The fruit of their deliberations was the Canons of Dordt, which have defined the Calvinist, Reformed faith for four centuries. Readers unfamiliar with the great Synod might be tempted to think that the Canons would be cold, scholastic theology, the work of hard-nosed theologians and heresy-hunters. Younger readers might be disinclined to read the Canons out of fear that they are too deep and abstract for the ordinary child of God. It is the hope of the author that this book will contribute to the dispelling of those myths.

The Calvinist fathers at the synod were certainly theologians—the finest of that age—but they were especially pastors of souls. They saw Arminianism, as it was popularized by the followers of James Arminius (1560-1609), as a threat to the gospel of grace and, therefore, a threat to the comfort and assurance of God’s children. It troubled pious souls, it upset grieving parents, it caused sensitive, doubting, struggling saints to despair, and it robbed God of his glory in salvation. Conditional theology—that is theology based on the works or will of the sinner—always robs the church of the comfort of the gospel and always robs God of his glory. Only grace, sovereign, particular, efficacious grace, saves; only the gospel of God’s grace in election, the cross, regeneration, and preservation comforts God’s people; and only the gospel of God’s grace ascribes all glory to God in salvation.

Two words sum up the teaching of the Canons of Dordt, which are the original five points of Calvinism—grace and assurance. God’s grace is his favor extended to undeserving sinners: grace that flows from the fountainhead of election, grace that is purchased by Christ for elect sinners on the cross, and grace that is given sovereignly to such elect, redeemed sinners by the Holy Spirit in regeneration. But not only does God save by his grace, he also assures those whom he saves that he has eternally elected, effectually redeemed, and sovereignly regenerated them, and that he will unconditionally preserve them in that salvation forever. To have such salvation and be assured of that salvation both now and forever is to enjoy unspeakable consolation.

Read the Canons of Dordt, believe the gospel of grace expounded and defended by the great Synod of Dordt, and enjoy the comfort and assurance afforded to believers in that gospel.



Retail: $31.95 | Book club: $20.77

(This book will be automatically sent to all our book club members).


Four Hundred Years

For four hundred years, the Canons of Dordt, the product of the seven month long Synod of Dordt, have served as one of the three major creeds of Reformed churches around the world. The Canons have served these churches well. They have been and still remain a bulwark against those who seek to undermine the doctrines of sovereign, particular grace. They have preserved faithful, Reformed believers from the onslaughts of those who wish to inject man’s work into the work of salvation.

The Canons of Dordt stated and defended the doctrines of sovereign grace and rejected the Arminian error of free will, and thereby resolved a raging controversy in the Dutch Reformed Churches concerning the sovereign grace of God.

It is fitting then, this year, to recognize Professor Homer Hoeksema’s exposition of this creed. The Voice of our Fathers is an extensive commentary on the articles drawn up by the great Synod of Dordrecht (1618-19). The introduction and appendices of the commentary include details of the history of the synod.

“Many churches regard them [the Canons] as a dead letter and have relegated them to the dusty shelves of their archives. Many Reformed churches—to their unending shame—ignore, compromise, or deny the teachings of the Canons that they have sworn to uphold. Yet the Canons are just as applicable to the church today as they were when they were adopted.  The truth is the same; the enemy is the same; and the battle is the same. Rightly conceived, the Canons are still a living document that guides the faith and life of the church.”

—Mark Hoeksema, from the foreword

“Let us therefore appreciate the heritage preserved for us in our confessions, and let us give good heed to the voice of our fathers, for in that voice of our fathers is easily detected the voice of the Lord our God himself, as by the Spirit of Christ and through the Holy Scriptures he speaks to us.”

Homer Hoeksema, from the Introduction to the first edition


656 pages, Hardcover, Retail $49.95

Book Club $32.47 USA | $34.96 International

Also available in ebook format



A flyer soon will stress

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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 of these meetings. The focus will be on important developments that are of interest to those who are concerned about the welfare of the church of Jesus Christ.

So we begin with the RCA.

The 2013 RCA general synod met June 20-25 in Pella, Iowa. The RCA is an apostatizing denomination, and sadly the 2013 actions of its synod contributed to its downward spiral.

The RCA synod of 2010 adopted the Belhar Confession as a fourth confessional standard along with the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dordt (the three forms of unity). To exercise mutual oversight Reformed churches exercise what is often called church visitation. In the Protestant Reformed Churches, church visitation is conducted by representatives from each classis visiting the congregations and asking the councils a list of synodically approved questions. I am not sure if this is exactly how church visitation is conducted in the RCA. But I do know that the RCA has a list of synodically approved questions consistories are required to answer. Synod 2013 added to that list a question about the Belhar Confession. Churches in the RCA are now asked, “How have the Belhar Confession and its principles of unity, reconciliation, and justice shaped your congregational life and witness?”

This is a fair and legitimate question. RCA churches are bound by the Belhar confession and must use it. To promote confessional integrity the synod should require the councils to answer a question about their use of the Belhar. This decision to add a question about the Belhar Confession is not really newsworthy except that two RCA pastors, Ben Kappers and Kevin De Young, have expressed disapproval of this decision.

Pastor Kappers writes:

I have no problem with confessional integrity and confessional consistency, but I’d like to know how our congregations and seminaries are being shaped by the Belgic Confession and Canons of Dort as well. I’ve talked with more than a few RCA folks who express more than a little discomfort with the theology of those documents. My confessions professor through MFCA told our class (before Belhar was included in among our confessions) that he had a “love-hate relationship with the confessions.” I suppose my wondering has at its root the question of why we felt the need to add accountability in regards to the fourth confession when it seems most of us don’t really take the first three all that seriously.

Kappers’ raises two issues in this statement. First, he raises the issue of inconsistency. Kappers mentions the Belgic Confession and Canons of Dort because the RCA does not ask councils any questions about those confessions. He apparently believes questions should be asked about all four confessions or none. Second, and more importantly, Kappers expresses that there is widespread rejection of the historic Reformed Creeds—the three forms of unity—in the RCA. Thus, Pastor Kappers admits that “confessional integrity and confessional consistency” do not exist in the RCA.

Pastor De Young also criticized the inconsistency of asking a question about the Belhar Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism and not the other two confessions. And he noted the lack of confessional integrity in the RCA, admitting that the “RCA typically held its confessionalism loosely.”

De Young raises a third Issuehe objects to the Belhar Confession. He explains that he (and others) did not vote for the addition of the Behlar as a confession “because of specific assertions that are problematic and because the three big categories of unity, justice, and reconciliation are easily co-opted by liberal agendas.” But the Belhar was added and now, De Young explains, ministers must vow to subscribe to it when they are ordained or installed, and congregations must report to synod that they are upholding and using it. De Young asks, “How can one be committed to a confessional denomination when it adds a confession you didn’t vote for?”

This is not a hard question to answer. But first the last three words should be changed from didn’t vote for to don’t agree with. How one voted on the question of adding the Belhar as a confession in the RCA is irrelevant at this point. The synodical decision to add the Belhar is settled and binding. Every member of the RCA is bound to confess and uphold the Belhar whether they voted for it or not. Perhaps there are some who did not vote for the Behlar who are ready to confess it and promote it now that the decision has been made. Because they now agree with the Behar confession they can remain committed to the RCA even though they did not vote for it.

But what if a member of the RCA does not agree with the Belhar? Can that member remain committed to the RCA? This is a good question. But it is not a difficult question.

The RCA departed from the three forms of unity and the historic Reformed faith long ago, and Synod 2013 demonstrated a firm commitment to travel the new path set forth by the Belhar.

Those who truly love and confess the three forms of unity necessarily reject the Belhar confession. They also cannot be committed to the RCA.



“General Synod News” on the RCA’s website here:

“What Happened at the RCA General Synod?” by Kevin DeYoung can be found online here:

“General Synod 2013 Recap” by Ben Kappers here:

“2013 RCA General Synod undermines previous Syond’s decision” by Glenda Mathes published in the July 31/August 21, 2013 Christian Renewal


This article was written by guest blogger Rev. Clayton Spronk, pastor of Peace Protestant Reformed Church in Lansing, IL. Rev. Spronk will be blogging for us several times a month, taking us first through a brief study of Richard Smit's newly released book, The Fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If there is a topic you'd like to Rev. Spronk to address, please contact us.


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