All Articles For Vol 96 Issue 16 5/15/2020

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“Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house….” Psalm 128:3a It is rather strange, if not ironic, that an annual “Mother’s Day” is so widely observed in our times. When we examine current trends and projections for the future, we see that for many—both men and women— marriage and family simply are not considered the way to the so-called “good life.” We see more and more people deciding against marriage, as social pressures to wed diminish and women find it easier to achieve economic independence. We see continuing high levels of divorce, low birth...

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Since taking on the role of contributor to the “All Around Us” rubric for the Standard Bearer, I have regularly taken notice of articles in the media on the subject of the government’s surveillance of its citizenry. It is on this topic that I write, and for reasons that will be laid out at the end of the article, this is a subject well worth our reflection upon as Christians. I begin with developments in China. China is by far the world leader in the surveillance of its citizens. Eight of the ten most surveilled cities in the world are...

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Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 43 Q. What is required in the ninth commandment? A. That I bear false witness against no man, nor falsify any man’s words; that I be no backbiter, nor slanderer; that I do not judge, nor join in condemning any man rashly or unheard; but that I avoid all sorts of lies and deceit as the proper works of the devil, unless I would bring down upon me the heavy wrath of God; likewise, that in judgment and all other dealings I love the truth, speak it uprightly and confess it; also that I defend and...

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Previous article in this series: February 15 2020, p. 229. Having examined the nature of the believer’s good works, we now turn our attention to the historically contentious subject of the function of good works. We know what good works are as the fruits that proceed from the good root of faith, but what function do these works serve in the life of the child of God? We begin with an examination of the relation be­tween good works and justification. We begin with justification because in the daily consciousness of the believer, justification is of first rank among all the...

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Previous article in this series: February 1, 2020, p. 210. Not all godly men will be husbands, and not all godly men will be fathers. But, ordinarily, God’s will is that a man marry and have children. He must know, then, what it means to be a faithful husband and father. The previous article in this series on biblical manhood focused on what it means to be a godly man in marriage. This article addresses how a godly man is to conduct himself as a father. I realize that you young men who are reading this are not yet fathers,...

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There are a number of Protestant Reformed ministers who have passed on to their eternal home, leaving dear widowed wives behind to await the time of their homecoming while they continue to serve the Lord and His people. Do you know how many of these wives remain? Answer later in this column. Congregational activities Let’s just say that at the time of this writing congregational activities are few, and mostly due to the advancement of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our country. Many or most of our churches have canceled or postponed all activities, including Bible studies, catechism, and worship...

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Unfolding Covenant History: From Samuel to Solomon (vol. 6), by David J. Engelsma. Jenison, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2020. $28.95. 224 pages, hardcover. [Reviewed by Rev. David Noorman, pastor of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church in Wyoming, Michigan.] As any reader of the first five volumes of the Unfolding Covenant History series would expect, volume six lives up to its name as a treatment of Old Testament history from a covenantal perspective. The latest volume, From Samuel to Solomon, covers an important and exciting development in the history of God’s covenant: the manifestation of God’s covenant in the structure and...

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Previous article in this series: January 15, 2020, p. 14. In our previous article we noted that the significant doctrinal differences between Reformed and Arminian churches result in differences in their mission work. The overarching difference is that while the Arminian approach is individualistic, the Reformed approach is covenantal. This accounts for a difference with regard to the objects of mission work. In general, the objects of Arminian mission work are individuals, whereas the objects of Reformed mission work are families. Why? Because God, who is Himself a family God, has revealed to us that He wills to save and...

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Most of us know the seven “I am” passages of John (the Bread of life; the Light of the world; the Door; the Good Shepherd; the Vine; the Resurrection and the Life; the Way, the Truth, and the Life), and even that there are ten if you include “I am,” “I am he,” and “I am in the Father.” But do you know the “hereby” passages of John, their significance, or how many there are? We should. For they are as profound as the “I am” texts, and the Spirit similarly calls attention to them. One way is this: “Hereby”...

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In May of 2017, the editorial reviewing Synod 2017 was entitled, “The Pain and Profit of Protests.” I called attention to the reality that although protests and appeals are very painful, their presence and proper treatment are indications “that the churches are healthy and well.” Members who believe to have been wronged by a decision of an assembly have the right to object to the decision. Believers who are aggrieved by an action of a consistory, classis, or synod, have the right to show that the action ought to be discontinued or declared improper. The office of believer gives all...

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