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For more information on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church,
including details of our various congregations, please visit our
denominational website at
The views expressed are those of the editor and contributors
and are understood to refect generally the theological position
of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, unless otherwise stated.
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guarantee its publication. Contributors should recognise that
all articles are also liable to editing and alteration without
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and postal address of the contributor is supplied. The preferred
method of submission is electronically as a Word document.
'Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est'
the Reformed Church is always reforming
Gareth Burke
33, Onslow Gardens,
Phone: 07803 282489
Spiritual Pacemen...................................
Baptism - Andy Hambleton....................
25 Year Anniversary................................
Save the dates.........................................
The Return of Christ................................
The 5 Solas...............................................
Are You Saved?.......................................
Meet Pablo................................................
Book Reviews..........................................
Dear Rev...................................................
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The recent obituaries for Sir Christopher Chataway proved to be interesting reading. His full life of
82 years was lived at a hectic pace. During his life he knew some success in four different felds
broadcasting, politics, business and athletics. All those who have commented on his life make
the interesting observation that he, along with Chris Brasher, was Roger Bannister's paceman on
that blustery afternoon in Oxford in May 1954 when Bannister broke the four minute mile.
That's got me wondering as to what exactly was the role of the paceman. 'm assuming, as one
who claims no knowledge of matters athletic, that the role of the paceman was to both encourage
and to challenge Bannister in his record breaking run. He would undoubtedly have needed the
presence of other athletes of similar ability to run alongside him and to push him to the limits of his
athletic ability.
t seems to me that in the Christian life we need to have some pacemen to both challenge and
encourage us as we run towards the fnishing line of heaven. f we have turned from our sin and
are trusting for salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, then we have begun the race that is the
Christian life. The race is not easy. Many are the temptations and struggles that we face along the
way. But there are pacemen whose lives of faith and perseverance inspire us as we run towards
the line. n Hebrews 11 we have details of men and women of faith who knew massive struggles
but kept pressing forward, looking to God for strength and keeping their eyes fxed on 'the glory
that is to come'. f you have faith in Jesus but are struggling just now why not reach for your Bible,
open at Hebrews 11, and draw inspiration from Abraham, Joseph, Moses and all the
others who are set before us?
Let these men and women of faith be our pacemen as we run
towards heaven. ndeed once you fnish chapter 11
allow your eye to glance down to the opening
verses of chapter 12 think they'll stir
you in your own soul as you
journey to glory.
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Within the space of this short essay will focus on four main
areas of interest concerning baptism, each of which are emphasised
in chapter 28 of the Westminster Confession of Faith ("WCF).
Under each heading, will briefy outline the teaching of the
Confession, demonstrating these principles from Scripture.
The Meaning of Baptism
WCF 28.1 states that baptism is a "sacrament. The
Westminster Shorter Catechism succinctly defnes a sacrament as
"a holy ordinance instituted by Christ; wherein, by sensible signs,
Christ, and the benefts of the new covenant, are represented,
sealed and applied to believers (WSC 92). Note that the WSC
speaks of a threefold function of the sacraments: frstly to represent
(or we might say signify) Christ and the benefts of the new
covenant, secondly to seal these same things, and thirdly to apply
them. n unpacking the meaning of baptism from WCF 28.1, it will be
helpful to keep in mind these three functions.
Firstly, then, as a sacrament baptism functions as a sign. As
such, baptism should be considered a "picture of the gospel. n
God's grace to his people he has ensured that all fve human senses
are engaged in our reception of the gospel. Through the preaching of
the word we hear the gospel, whereas in the sacraments of baptism
and the Lord's Supper we see, feel, taste and touch the divinely
ordained representations of that same gospel. By so doing, the Lord
has ensured that his people can be encouraged and strengthened
through every avenue possible. t is for this reason that the reformers
sometimes called the sacraments "visible words. t is not that in the
sacraments we get a "better gospel, rather we are helped to get
the same gospel better, as our understanding and assurance of that
gospel is expanded through the use of the sign.
Chiefy, baptism signifes cleansing, repentance and union
with Christ. The use of water in baptism is a sign of the cleansing
associated with regeneration and the forgiveness of sins (see, for
example, Titus 3:5 and 1 Peter 3:21) offered to us in the gospel.
Baptism also functions as a sign of repentance, as those who are
called turn to the Lord and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).
As with every aspect of our redemption, both the cleansing and
the repentance that baptism signifes are only possible through
union with Christ. For this reason, John Murray held that union with
Christ ought to be considered the primary signifcance of baptism.
This paper by Andy HambIeton on the subject of Baptism
was recentIy submitted to the Training of the Ministry and
Admissions Committee as part of the rigorous appIication
process that appIicants to the EPC must pass through prior
to being recognised, by presbytery, as suitabIe candidates
for the ministry. We pubIish it in this issue of the magazine
as it is undoubtedIy worthy of a wider circuIation.
Paul speaks of being "baptised into Christ (Romans 6:3), and by
implication we can also say that we are baptised into the church,
which is Christ's body (1 Cor 12:13). Baptism, them, signifes being
united with Christ, and thus becoming united to his people also.
Secondly, baptism functions as a seal (cf. Rom 4:11). As such,
baptism is the way that God confrms that we belong to his covenant
people, showing that we belong to the visible church. n bygone
eras, seals on letters were used to show authenticity, and to show
that the contents of the letter were verifed by the person whose
seal they bore. Today, a seal on a passport or birth certifcate gives
that document authenticity, confrming the person's belonging to
the state in the eyes of the state. By placing its seal on a passport,
the state declares, "this person is one of ours. n a similar way, the
Lord places his seal on his people, showing that they belong to his
covenant people in his eyes.
n times when their assurance wavers, they may look back on their
baptism and see that the Lord has set his seal on them, declaring
"you are one of mine. Of course, baptism does not guarantee
salvation, but nonetheless it is a means by which God strengthens
and confrms us in our faith.
Thirdly and fnally, the WSC states that a sacrament is a means
by which God applies the benefts of the New Covenant to his
people. n other words, baptism is a "means of grace. Contrary
to the Zwinglian view of the sacraments as "nudum signum
(empty signs), the Westminster Standards rightly argue that in the
sacraments there is a real, active presence of Christ, by his Spirit.
For Zwingli, the sacraments are signs in the sense that they are
like a signpost, pointing to something utterly separate from itself.
For Calvin, the sacraments are signs more like a kiss is a sign of
love, flled with the reality which it signifes. t is in this sense that
the Shorter Catechism speaks of Christ and the gracious benefts
of the new covenant being "applied to God's people through the
sacraments, just as love is shown to the beloved through the sign of
a kiss.
Of course, it is necessary to ensure that our belief in the real
spiritual presence of Christ in the sacraments does not lead us to
confuse the sign and the thing signifed, which would result in the
belief in baptismal regeneration (see the later section on the effcacy
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As a seal, baptism therefore functions to build up
the assurance of God's people.
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of baptism). Again, the words of the Shorter Catechism give clarity
"Q91. How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?
Answer: The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not
from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only
by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by
faith receive them.
The Shorter Catechism rightly shows that though Christ is truly
present by his Spirit in the sacraments to apply his benefts to his
people, there is nothing 'magical' in the sacraments. Rather, the
effcacy of the sacraments comes only through the blessing of Christ
who works by his Spirit in those who receive the sacraments with
faith. t is in this sense that the sacraments are means by which the
benefts of the new covenant are applied to God's people.
The Mode of Baptism
WCF 28.3 simply states that "dipping of the person into the
water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by
pouring, or sprinkling water upon the person. Of course, this point
is refuted by Baptists who hold that immersion is the only legitimate
mode of baptism. n support of their view, Baptists argue that
the Greek word for "baptise necessarily means to immerse, and
that certain descriptions of baptisms in the New Testament imply
immersion. For example, John the Baptist chose a location for
his ministry where the water was plentiful (John 3:23); people are
described as going "down into the water and coming up out of the
water again (Matt. 3:16), and in Acts 8 Philip takes the Ethiopian
eunuch down from the chariot, presumably to a nearby river or lake
in order to baptise him. Furthermore, Paul's use of baptism as a
sign of union with Christ in his death and resurrection (in Romans
6:1-6 and Colossians 2:11-12) is taken by Baptists to imply that
the only appropriate mode of baptism is immersion, which vividly
portrays burial and resurrection with Christ.
n response to the arguments in favour of immersion as the
only appropriate mode of baptism, it is necessary frst of all to
point out that the descriptions of baptisms in the New Testament
cited by Baptists are inconclusive. Of course, they may very well
describe full immersion, but it is not necessary for them to do so.
John's choice of a location with plentiful water could have as much
to do with the number of people to baptise rather than the mode
which he employed. Likewise, "going down into the water does
not necessarily imply going under the water, and may simply mean
stepping into the water. Arguing that these descriptions force us to
accept full immersion is stretching the meaning of the words too far,
reading this into the text rather than out of it.
We turn, then, to the meaning of the word "baptise, and here
we note that there are occasions in Scripture when the word simply
cannot mean immersion. John Murray, in "Christian Baptism notes
that in Leviticus 14:6, 51 the priest is to take two birds, slay one, and
"baptise (LXX) the live bird in the blood of the dead bird. Here, the
word "baptise cannot mean immersion (unless the bird the priest
killed was always signifcantly larger than the one he didn't kill). The
pre-dinner washings of Luke 11:38 are unlikely to have involved
every diner having to be fully immersed in water before sitting
down to eat. Furthermore, there are various occasions in the New
Testament when certain pourings and sprinklings are overtly referred
to as "baptisms. Hebrews 9:10 speaks of the various "sprinklings
(v13, 19, 21) of the Old Testament law as "baptisms, and in Acts 2
the pouring out of the Spirit (in fulflment of Joel 2) had previously
been described by Jesus himself as a "baptism in Acts 1:5.
n accordance with WCF 28.3 it can therefore be seen that
whilst "to baptise can indeed refer to immersion, it is not necessary
to render it as such. Within Scripture there is more than suffcient
evidence to show that "baptise has a broader meaning than simply
to immerse, and is used also to refer to the sprinkling and pouring of
water, oil, blood or other liquids.
The Subjects of Baptism
As with the mode of baptism, so also the appropriate subjects
of baptism is an area of controversy. On the one hand, credobaptists
(those who believe in "believer's baptism only) argue that since
the New Testament does not command the baptising of infants, and
that since baptism is always linked to a profession of faith, baptism
should therefore only be administered to those who have reached
an age where they have been able to profess faith. Contrary to this,
WCF 28.4 states that "not only those that do actually profess faith
in and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one, or both,
believing parents are to be baptised.
Space will not allow for a lengthy discussion of who are the
rightful recipients of baptism, but would like to briefy outline what
consider to be the main reasons why the infants of believers ought to
be baptised:
i) Often, paedobaptists (those who believe in the baptism of the
infants of believers) are accused of 'arguing from silence' that the
infants of believers ought to be baptised, given that there is neither
an explicit command nor a concrete example of this taking place
in the New Testament. This argument, believe, backfres on the
credobaptist. t is true that there is no explicit New Testament
command to baptise infants (or to refrain from doing so, for that
The total lack of such a dominical or apostolic directive implies
that the same administration carries over into the New Testament.
Hence the 'silence' of Scripture on this point creates a much greater
problem for the credobaptist than it does for the paedobaptist. n the
However, given that throughout redemptive
history God's covenants always included the
children of the believers (see for example
Genesis 15:18), it would be necessary for God to
specihcally reveal to the New Testament church
that this family-oriented administration had
become obsolete, and that now only those of an
age at which it is possible to profess faith should
be considered members of the
covenant community.
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absence of specifc revelation excluding the infants of believers from
the covenant people of God, we must assume that they still belong,
and can receive the sign of belonging.
ii) Following on from this, the huge importance of Peter's statement
in Acts 2:38-39 can be seen. Speaking at Pentecost, Peter not only
fails to redefne the administration of the covenant of grace so that
it excludes the children of believers from the New Covenant, but
instead he deliberately reaffrms the administration of the Covenant
of Grace, loosely quoting from Genesis 17:9, 12 in order to show
that the promises of God are for the believer, his children, and the
Gentiles who are far off whom God will call to himself.
Coupled with the lack of a command to withhold baptism from the
infants of believers, this presents a very frm case to consider the
infants of believers as members of the covenant community, and
therefore legitimate recipients of the sign of baptism.
iii) Passages such as Colossians 2:11-12 and Romans 4:11 show
an important amount of continuity between the Old and New
Covenant signs which further undergirds the belief that the children
of New Testament believers should be treated in the same manner
as the children of Old Testament believers. Colossians 2 makes a
connection between circumcision and baptism, sowing that they
both speak of Christ's saving work, whereas Romans 4 shows that
the thing signifed and sealed by circumcision (the righteousness
received by faith) corresponds to the meaning of baptism (see
earlier). Whilst the bloody rite of circumcision anticipated the blood
which was yet to be spilt, the bloodless rite of baptism assures us
that the blood has now been shed, and the cleansing it has secured
is ours in him who has already bled so that sins can be forgiven (Heb
iv) n the glorious blessings of the New Covenant we see how
the work of God expands in various ways compared to the Old
Testament arrangements: from the Jews to the Gentiles; from
Jerusalem and Judea to the ends of the earth; the work of the Spirit
abounds as Christ bestows gifts on all his people; the sign of the
covenant is given not only to males but to females also. Amidst all
of these areas of expansion, it would be odd to fnd that in one area
alone (the status of the children of believers) the grace of God had
retracted and become narrower. f the children of believers were
worthy recipients of the sign of the covenant in the Old Testament, it
would be ftting that they are fully included in the New Testament era
as well, an era marked by a greater outpouring of God's grace.
v) Whilst it must be admitted that there are no explicit mentions
in the New Testament of the infants of believers being baptised,
it is often overlooked that household baptisms were clearly
commonplace in the New Testament church (see, for example, Acts
16:15, 31, 1 Cor. 1:16). Of course, this is not to assume that in any
or all of these households infants were baptised, but rather to show
that the New Testament Scriptures point us to the fact that, just as in
the Old Testament, God deals with his people as whole households,
not merely as individual adults (see also 1 Cor 7:14).
There is more that could be said here, but the fve points above
shows the main Scriptural background to WCF 28.4.
The Efhcacy of Baptism
WCF 28.5 and 28.6 both refer to the effcacy of baptism, looking
at the issue from different angles. First of all, WCF 28.5 refutes the
teaching of baptismal regeneration (that is, the typically (though
not exclusively) Roman Catholic tendency to confate the sign of
baptism and the regenerative work it signifes so that they become
one and the same thing). Contrary to this, the Confession makes
clear that "grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed
unto [baptism], as that no person can be regenerated, or saved,
without it; or, that all that are baptised are undoubtedly regenerated.
t is easy to demonstrate this truth from Scripture: the penitent
thief was not baptised and yet was saved, whereas Simon Magus
was baptised and yet was shown to be unconverted. n a similar
way, Old Testament examples show that sacraments have never
been "inseparably annexed to saving grace. As Paul points out in
Romans 4, Abraham was justifed before he was circumcised. n
contrast to this, shmael, though circumcised, was not saved.
WCF 28.6 also refers to the effcacy of baptism, asserting
that the effcacy of baptism is not tied to the moment in which it
is administered. nstead, the grace signifed and sealed by the
sacrament of baptism is "offered, "exhibited and "conferred to
those to whom such saving grace belongs, according to the counsel
of God's will, in his appointed time. n short, the Confession here is
making clear that the effcacy of baptism lies within God's sovereign
will (regardless of whether it is an adult or an infant who is being
Of course, in the case of baptised infants, when they have reached
the age of discretion they must profess faith for themselves (which,
if they have been regenerated, they will do). t must also be noted
that both for those baptised as infants and those who are baptised
as adults, a later day may come when they reject the promises of the
gospel and turn away from the grace that has been offered to them.
Given that the effcacy of baptism is not tied to the moment of
its administration, it is therefore unnecessary to re-baptise someone
who has previously been baptised, fallen away from the faith, and
been restored, as is indicated by WCF 28.7.
Andy Hambleton grew up in Yorkshire and
studied at Durham University prior to joining
the staff of Duke Street Church, Richmond,
where he served in a number of capacities.
Having completed studies with Cornhill and
Reformed Theological Seminary (USA) he
was recently licensed as a candidate for
EPC ministry. Andy is married to Mary and
they have one daughter, Sadie.
The saving grace which baptism signihes and
seals is given to those whom God has chosen,
at the time when he works by the Spirit to
regenerate them (in infancy, or later in life).
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Dear Editor,
Scripture evidence is scanty but insists on the "whole day being the Lord's. n the early church times were determined by:
(1) when the facilities were available (Was it siesta time for Paul in hall of Tyrannus?) or
(2) when the members could come, as many were slaves (1 Cor.11 v 33 after work?) or
(3) when there was a good speaker available (Troas Acts 20 all night)
The Puritans generally had a morning worship and an afternoon lecture often at 4pm.
The Victorians found that people would come to see their new gas lighting so that they had an early evening service time to preach the
gospel. s this why we meet at 7pm?!
n the early days of the EPC a neighbour objected to an all-night prayer meeting in the Alliance Hall as he was trying to sleep!
Today churches here and in England with scattered members often have two services with a shared meal in between to avoid excess
travel. Others have Bible study, worship and preaching, followed by the Lord's Supper and spend three hours together on the Lord's
Day mornings. Godly people, then, have used common sense and sought to meet their people's needs and fnd the best time for local
people to hear the gospel. The ages of members and their children, plus the times when the local community might come to hear,
should determine our times. The best way to determine the latter is to ask during door to door visiting when would be suitable for
Sunday services or children's club ("by all means reach some). Each session should prayerfully and lovingly work out their own times.
We won't all be the same.
John Grier
The congregation at Groomsport Evangelical Presbyterian church wish to record their
thanks to the Rev Jeff Ballantine who recently reached a mile stone in his ministry
when he celebrated twenty-fve years preaching. After the evening service on Sunday
26th January 2014 a monetary gift presentation was made by senior elder, Mr Dobbin
Kelly, and treasurer, Mr Dougie Glover, to the Rev Ballantine.
Sheena was presented with an arrangement of fowers by her little fock
of Sunday School pupils. A tea was later provided by the ladies of the
congregation with lots of delicious baking.
Jeff commenced his ministry in the Lisburn Road, Belfast, congregation.
He was then called to minister in a church plant in the Bangor area.
nitially services were started in a local hall in Bangor nineteen years
ago. The denomination then acquired land in Groomsport where a new
building was constructed. Jeff has overseen the start of the ministry,
reaching out to the local community and working with
forty to ffty young people on a Friday night. Also a work
started among young mothers and carers who bring along
their pre-school children.
Rev Ballantine has been a faithful servant to the
preaching of the word over the past twenty-fve years and
we as a congregation wish God's blessing on him and
Sheena for the days that lie ahead.
Well done good and faithful servant!
Submitted by Angus Macleod
for the edifcation of the Lords people
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The Return of Christ
Part 8 - 'The FinaI Judgement'
In the last article we were considering the encouraging and
uplifting subject of the resurrection of the body.
In a future article we will think about the remarkable and
'mind stretching' subject of the transformation of the
creation but as we contemplate the return of Christ we
have to come to terms with the fact that while it is a day of
unequalled glory for the believer it is, for the unbeliever, a
day of dread and woe. As such we must turn out attention
to the Final Judgement.
When wiII the FinaI Judgement occur?
The consistent teaching of the New Testament is that the day of
Christ's return is the Day of Judgement. Various passages support
this view such as John 5: 2529, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:
11-15 and especially Matthew 25:31:

'When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels
with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.'
t is diffcult to speak about an exact chronology in relation to the
events of the last day. The various remarkable happenings will
probably occur simultaneously but for those who like things set out
in an orderly scheme it would seem that after the resurrection of the
body and prior to the transformation of the creation Christ will sit
down upon the throne of judgement.
Who is the Judge?
This question is largely superfuous as it is evident from the various
texts already quoted that Jesus Christ himself is the supreme judge
before whom all men will stand. Matthew 25: 31, John 5: 27 and
Philippians 2: 10 all state this very clearly. But, lest there be any
doubt, let's listen to the Apostle Peter as he preaches Christ to those
who had gathered in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea:
' is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the
dead.' (Acts 10:42)
While there is no one who can fulfl the role of Judge apart from
Jesus Christ himself it would appear that the angels will be quite
actively involved in the work of judgement. ndeed it would appear
form 1 Corinthians 6: 2 & 3 and Revelation 20:4 that the saints will in
some way share in the work of judgement but the role of the angels
is clearer. n Matthew 13:41 and again, similarly, in Matthew 24:31
we are told that the angels will be the messengers employed by
Christ to gather in the elect and also to bring before the throne those
who 'practice lawlessness'.
Who wiII be Judged?
The simple answer to this question is that every individual of the
human race who is alive at Christ's coming and all who have ever
lived throughout the generations of time will be judged. Everyone.
'We shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.' (Romans
14:10 See also 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Revelation 20: 12).
Satan and the fallen angels will also be ushered into the presence of
the Judge as both Jude and Peter maintain (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6).
The fact that believers are going to appear before the judgement
seat of Christ has created a diffculty in the minds of some
Christians. f we are 'in Christ' and have died 'in Him' have our
souls not been immediately ushered into the presence of Jesus in
heaven? Why then do we need to appear before Christ on the Day
of Judgement? There is surely no doubt over our eternal destiny.
All of this is true but we must not misunderstand God's purpose in
bringing believers to stand before Christ on the great day.
As the Catechism so helpfully puts it we will not appear before the
Saviour because there is some doubt over our standing in Him but
to be 'openly acknowledged and acquitted' by the Saviour. t is an
opportunity for Jesus to declare, concerning those on his right hand,
'these are my people whom love. These are my people for whom
lived and died'.
What wiII be judged?
f everyone is going to stand before the judgement seat of Christ,
then everything is going to be laid bare on that day. Our words,
motives, thoughts, actions and attitudes will be exposed.
'For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that
each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what
he has done, whether good or bad'. (2 Corinthians 5:10. See also 1
Corinthians 4:5)
n the vivid parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus indicates that
the good works of the saints will be revealed on the last day while in
Matthew 12:36 his focus is on the speech we have uttered from our
Those who are troubled about the fact that the saints are going
to appear before the Lord in judgement are also disturbed at this
idea of our lives being totally exposed on that day. Matthew 25 is
essentially comforting for the true Christian as Jesus is commending
his people but the other passages referred to in this section are
chilling and disturbing. Will my sins be laid bare for all to see on that
A A Hoekema in 'The Bible and the Future' provides a comment
which is in accord with the teaching of scripture on this vexed issue
and provides much comfort to God's people who are troubled by
this matter.
'But the sins and shortcomings of believers will be revealed in the
judgement as forgiven sins, whose guilt has been totally covered by
the blood of Jesus Christ.'
How wiII men be judged?
This question could have been framed in various ways. The issue
which we're trying to address and understand is what standard
the Lord will use in judging those who stand before him. t has
become fashionable in many church circles to suggest that men will
be judged according to the light that they have received. n other
words if you live in some dark corner of the earth where the gospel
has never been preached and you have never had any access to
the Word of God either spoken or written then you will be judged
according to the life you have lived. You will be judged by your
works, by your good deeds.
Such a view is contrary to the clear teaching of Jesus himself.
n John chapter 3 at verse 18 the Saviour made it very clear that
the all important factor for determining man's eternal destiny is his
relationship to himself.
'He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not
believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God'
Surely this should stir us into action? Men and women are perishing
having never heard about Jesus. We have the message in our
hands. Let's not hold back. Let's, with urgency, do all we can to
make Christ known to the many people groups who as yet have not
heard his Glorious Name.
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As sinners we "...come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
However, through the application of all the Solas so far we are led to
the fnal triumph, "The Glory of God Alone.
Our Aim For Life The Glory Of God Alone
Within the '5 Solas' there is a natural progression. Scripture was the
formal cause of the Reformation, Faith was the material cause of the
Reformation, and the Glory of God is the foundational, natural aim or
end of the Reformation. (Bucey, 2012) As the moon can only refect
the light of the sun, the Christian can only refect the Glory Of God.
Psalm 19:1 reminds us of God's way of displaying His Glory in
creation: "The heavens declare the glory of God... So how do we as
saved sinners refect God's Glory?
Refecting the Glory Of God Alone is not simply about what we
do but is about our internal disposition and attitude. Refecting
God's Glory should be the desire, objective, and purpose of every
Christian. When this is our desire, our desire is Christ! His Trinitarian
nature, life, death, resurrection, accession, intercession and future
return. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Our Declaration In Life - The Glory Of God Alone
We are justifed by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ
alone. Our salvation is then lived out and our lives evidence or
declare our salvation. Ephesians 2:8-10 explains, "For by grace are
ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of
God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are dispositional but fnd
reality in our 'good works.' What we do expresses what we have
become in Christ. James Buchanan highlights the theological
division between 'actual' and 'declarative' justifcation. ".good works
being the effect and evidence of faith, and, as such, the sign and
tokens of justifcation.
He shows us that, ".they cannot form any part of the ground on
which faith relies, or on which justifcation depends. Nor can they
come in, as an intervening cause or condition, between faith and
justifcation, for they follow after faith, whereas every believer is
justifed as soon as he is united to Christ. They are the works of
believing and justifed men; and no works can be acceptable to God
while men remain in a state of unbelief and enmity. (Buchanan, p.
Our Duty In Life - The Glory Of God Alone
Practically, how can we live lives to the Glory Of God Alone?
Scripture gives some examples we can follow:
- Abraham was strong in faith which gave glory to God (Romans
- Romans 15:7 advises that we are to receive others as Christ
received us, " the glory of God.
- Galatians 6:14 reminds us of our focus, "But God forbid that
should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
n "A Body of Divinity Thomas Watson deals with the question, "what
is the chief end of man? His twofold answer indicates that the Glory
of God is intrinsic but glory is also to be ascribed to God.
Robert Campbell, who has recently
completed his theological studies at the
Whitefeld College of the Bible, has a
particular interest in rish Presbyterian and
Reformation Church History. Currently
residng in Londonderry with his wife and
young son, he also 'heads up' the Twelve
Stones Media Company. He has preached
in a number of EPC congregations. Robert
has recently developed an interesting
website detailing the history of some of our
Presbyterian forefathers check it out at
Watson points out that we ascribe glory to God when, "...we aim
purely at His glory preferring God's glory above all other things. We
glorify God by an ingenious confession of sin, by believing, by being
tender of His glory, by fruitfulness, by being contented in the state in
which Providence has placed us, by working out our own salvation,
by living to God, by walking cheerfully, by standing up for his truth,
by praising him, by being zealous for his name, when we have an
eye to God in our natural and in our civil actions, by labouring to
draw others to God; by seeking to convert others, and so make them
instruments of glorifying God. We glorify God in a high degree when
we suffer for God, and seal the gospel with our blood, when we give
God the glory of all that we do, by a holy life. This entire chapter is
worthy of our study. (Watson, pp. 10-18)
Something For Everyone - The Glory Of God Alone
Before the Reformation it was believed that the only way to serve
God was by taking holy orders and removing oneself from the
normal world. People with 'ordinary' jobs were viewed as second
class citizens leading to a two tier system. The Reformation changed
this - all work and activity that was not sinful could and should be
done to the Glory of God whether a plough boy or dish-washer.
Perhaps the greatest lesson this generation can learn is that each
person in their situation can live a life to the Glory of God. God calls
people to different roles and situations, so that He can be glorifed
in all places, at all times. Remember, "Whether therefore ye eat, or
drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians
Bucey, C., 2012. The 5 Solas. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 29 6 2012].
Buchanan, J., 1867. The Doctrine of Justifcation: an outline of its
history in the church and of its exposition from scripture. 1997 ed.
Edinburugh: Banner of Truth.
Watson,T., 1692. A Body of Divinity. 1997 ed. Edinburgh:The Banner
of Truth.
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The Apostle John writes to believers who are somewhat
concerned about assurance. 1 John 5:13: "These things have
written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that
you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may
continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
n chapter 1 he presented the Gospel to them, and if they
believed in Jesus, who He is and what He has done then they
would be saved, even if other new teachers were telling them
they had got it all wrong.
n Chapter 2, John gives his readers a series of three tests.
f they sit these tests, they will discover if they are Christians
or not. They are designed to strengthen them and encourage
them. encourage you to sit these tests for yourself, because
they build you up spiritually. Remember these will not tell you
HOW to be saved, John has already given us that in chapter
1, rather these tests are about how you can KNOW you are
1. The Love Test. V3-6.
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep his
t sounds reasonable enough, doesn't it. Quite a good frst
question to get.
t's not hard to understand do you keep his commandments?
What would you say to that question?
Some in Ephesus were not too happy about this frst question.
t wasn't a good question at all they thought. There were some
who said " know God and that is what matters. And to a
certain extent they were right knowing God is what matters.
The problem was that they knew a lot about God, but they
didn't know him Biblically, they had no relationship with him,
indeed the bottom line was that they didn't love Him.
n his Gospel, John quoted Jesus (John 14:15) "f you love Me,
keep My commandments. So he knows there is a very serious
problem if they say " know Him but have no interest in keeping
His commandments. John speaks plainly in v4, such a person
"is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Are you lying to yourself? Do you think you're saved because
you know all about God, all about Jesus, all about Christian
theology? The real test says John is love! Can you say with the
psalmist in Psalm 116:1 " love the LORD...? The psalmist no
doubt knew that he failed to keep the commandments fully, but
in Psalm 130:3-4 he says "f You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You,
that You may be feared.
Real Christians are those who holds these words dearly.
They rely upon them, for they know that they still sin, and far
too often. The test is seen in how they act when they do sin.
They are like a little girl all dressed up for a birthday party.
She gets out of the car and runs excitedly into her friend's
house, but on the way she runs through a muddy puddle (it
seemed like a good idea at the time). She is flthy and she
knows it! She knows the lengths mummy has gone to, to make
her so beautifully dressed, and she runs back to mummy, heart
broken, but wanting to be clean again. And she knows mummy
will make things right.
The Christian wants to be clean,
because they love the Lord.
They might fall into a lot of muddy puddles, but they keep
running home to their Father for cleansing. Non-Christians are
more like pigs; when they see a muddy puddle, they jump in
and wallow in it, no regrets they love to be dirty.
You have sinned today but what have you done about it? f
you love the Lord you'll quickly run to Him to be made clean
again. That's the test.
2. The Church Test. V7-11.
f the love test was all about love to God, the church test is
all about love to each other within the church. John writes to
those whom he loves, he is concerned about them, concerned
enough to sit down and write this letter to them.
Verse 7 begins with "beloved or "brethren, and both describe
who he is writing to.
He loves them dearly because they are his brothers, but like
any church some of them are a bit confused, some of them are
a bit shaky, some are strong, others not so strong. Some know
their theology alright, but perhaps are lacking in love.
John writes to them all, to the good, the bad and the ugly! He
loves God's people, those for whom Jesus died. John, it seems,
it well qualifed to set this second test.
This test centres on one commandment, an old one and yet
a new one at the same time. t was an old commandment
from Leviticus 19:18 ". you shall love your neighbour as
yourself. but also called a new commandment by Jesus
in John 13:34 "A new commandment give to you, that you
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Robert comes from Co. Fermanagh, where
he was brought up on a dairy farm. After
studying Biology at Queen's University
Belfast, he worked in environmental
monitoring for the university for 8 years,
specialising in spiders. After working
one year as student worker in his home
congregation of Stranmillis, Robert
trained for the ministry in the Reformed
Presbyterian Theological College. He
became minister of Knock in January 2009.
love one another; as have loved you, that you also love one
another. Christ's own example brings a new dimension to the
love we are to have for our fellow believers. We are to love
them as Christ has loved us! t was when we were yet sinners
Christ died for us. When we had no time for Him He loved us.
He loved us at great cost, with His own life blood shed upon
the cross.
Do you love your brother or sister in Christ like that? Take a
moment to consider some folk from your own congregation. He
might be a pain in the neck! She may have said terrible things
about you. He may not want to sit in the same pew as you.
But Christ's command comes with great challenge: "love one
another, as have loved you.
John talks about loving and hating, darkness and light. He
doesn't speak about the twilight of; "well don't hate him, but
don't really like him either. f you're in the light you will love
says John. Otherwise you must be in the dark and you're
failing the test.
We have all failed this test at some point, and failure to love
the Lord's people seriously weakens our assurance. But like
the frst test there's a way to resit the exam, fee to Christ for
forgiveness and cleansing frst of all, then go to your brother
and put it right.
A breather.
n the middle of these tests, John no doubt knows that those
most sensitive to the Word and Spirit of God will be feeling
the pinch, and so he gives them a tonic for their assurance in
verses 12-17. He speaks to all true believers and reminds them
just who they are and who they're not.
He writes to "little children those who are young in the faith,
not that long converted. To fathers those who have been
Christians for a long time, mature in the faith. To young men
and women those who are in the thick of it, having to fght
their corner day after day at work.
As this letter was read out in their church you can imagine
every true Christian saying to themselves Yes! That's me!
Praise God!
Your sins are forgiven, you know Jesus, you know the eternal
God, you have overcome the wicked one, because you are in
Christ you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you!
And not just who they are, but who they are not:
You do not love this world or what it offers, you do not yield to
the lusts of the fesh, or the "must-haves of this world, you're
not a boaster either. ndeed you now sing
'I will not boast in anything,
no gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection!"
And then fnally the third test:
3. The Gospel Test: v18-27.
The Truth is out there. but so too are lies: there are always
those who seek to deceive God's people. The language of
heresies may change over the years but the substance of them
remains the same. Most revolve around the Person and work
of Jesus. But any new doctrine that goes against the Gospel as
John has outlined in the frst chapter is just plain wrong. ndeed
John goes further in his language says that if we do not love
and follow the Christ of Scripture, then we follow antichrist!
Some new teachers were selling a different Jesus; one who
doesn't forgive sin, one who is not the second Person of the
Trinity, one who is something less than God incarnate. ndeed
some were saying that as long as you knew God, you didn't
need Jesus at all. John saw this for what it was it was a
disaster! t completely undermined the whole Gospel!
So he calls them back to what every real Christian knows in
v24: "Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the
beginning. f what you heard from the beginning abides in you,
you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
What was it they heard in the beginning - the beginning of their
Christian life?
The Gospel of course! He is calling them back to the truth they
believed when they frst were saved: They believed that God
was holy, and that He must punish their sin. They believed that
Jesus died in their place, and so they turned from their sin and
trusted Jesus for forgiveness.
Don't imagine that you can outgrow the Gospel, don't imagine
you need to move on to something new, or something extra
The test of being a real Christian is that you still love the
How do you score in the tests?
They are the marks of a real Christian, by them you know you
are saved.
You love the Lord Jesus, you love His Church, and you still love
the Gospel!
Abide in Christ, says John, and when He appears, you will not
be ashamed.
PabIo Mandresa was recenIty appointed by the
CrosscoIIyer/Somerton Rd Session to the post of
Church PIanter in Hope FeIIowship , North BeIfast.
The Editor recentIy caught up with him and asked him
a few questions:
1. Pablo - please tell us a little about where you come
from - your early life, your family, schooling etc
was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Like
most people, my family participated in all the rituals of
the Roman Catholic Church, even though they are not
committed to their faith. This is the situation in Argentina:
about 85% of the population declare themselves to be
Roman Catholics. When was growing up enjoyed going
to the local parish church. learned my Catechism and
received some of the sacraments, like frst communion.
However, in my third year of grammar school, became
fascinated with the Reformation: was attending a Scottish
school, and this was an important subject.
2. How about your spiritual pilgrimage - how did you
come to faith in Christ?
t was not until my university years when received a
Gideon New Testament that started reading the Word of
God regularly. As said before was fascinated by church
The process of my conversion was long and many people
were involved. The most important was one of my best
friends who surprised me with his confession " am a
Christian! We started to read, pray, and study the word
of God together. We are still very close friends and we
continue growing together in the knowledge of our Lord
Jesus through Skype and e-mail.
When God called me to Himself He also called me to
work. From the beginning got involved in different
ministries - the Gideons, short term missions, praying and
working towards unity in the local churches, evangelism
and preaching.
3. Could you kindly share with us a little about your
family - Victoria and the children?
After two years, my wife Victoria also became a Christian.
She is also from a Roman Catholic background. n 2004,
the family grew and we moved to a small Anglican chapel
where a revival was starting. We received a lot of teaching
and encouragement from the leaders and confrmation
that we, as a family - since now we had Priscila our
daughter- were called to work as overseas missionaries.
n 2006, we joined OM Ships. We worked with them
almost two years in the communication department
onboard Logos and Logos Hope until 2008.
Nathanael joined the family three years ago. He was born
at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.
4. How did a man from Argentina end up in Belfast!
As soon as we ended our commitment with the ships
God brought us to Belfast to study at Belfast Bible College
where obtained a BA in Theology with the University of
Cumbria and Victoria a Diploma in Theology. We thought
that we were going somewhere else overseas after
fnishing our studies but as you can see, God has
other plans.
5. You are now involved in church planting in Hope
Fellowship North Belfast - how do you see the work
developing and for what can we pray?
believe God is at work in the hearts and minds of the
people of North Belfast. For the moment, He has sent us
children and youth, about 30 or more in total. believe
these are the fruits of the work and prayer of the people
of God during previous years. My aim is to make them
the disciples of Jesus Christ and collaboraters in building
His church. Please pray that we will love them and their
families with the same love Jesus shows us and that we
would be able to communicate the Gospel in a relevant
and incarnational way. When say we, it is because
am not alone in this journey. Apart from the support of
my family, work alongside David Burke and a group of
people that have a heart and a vision for the people of
our community. Please also pray for us that we would
grow stronger in our faith and as a team. Perseverance is
essential for our task ahead.
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Evangelical Holiness and other addresses RRP: 6.00 Our Price: 4.50
Author: by Iain H Murray
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Published: 2013
These fve addresses are a must read for 2014. Why?
The frst address explains that the most important priority in our secular, godless society is holiness, outstripping and undergirding evangelism
and defence of the faith. Murray gives us the doctrinal background, nature and practice of holiness. He shows where we have often gone wrong.
The next shows how, when evangelicals abandon Biblical inerrancy, they inevitably wreak havoc in their churches in a generation.
The third chapter, on the nature and prevention of apostasy, is sadly necessary when we think of those who have gone out from us, and also the
weakness of our own hearts. t may well occupy a larger part of scripture than of our teaching.
The most challenging lecture to me personally was on the benefts and dangers of controversy. This is also crucial to a denomination like ours,
born out of controversy and continuing to contend for the faith. Our members (or their parents/grandparents) often paid a large price for leaving
mixed denominations. Murray pleads for wisdom which is "frst pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated to reign among us. t is
all too easy to nurse a continuing hurt and think that we are exempt from this scripture.
The last chapter has been available in booklet form "Rest in God the fourth commandment is for today. After showing his Bible basis the
author gives practical counsel including this. "The answer for parents who have children or young people in their families who, as yet, have no
heart for spiritual things has to be along the lines of making the day as bright and happy for them as possible while not neglecting the obedience
God requires.
Read this book, give it, but above all practise it. ain Murray has hit the nail on the head, or rather all fve nails!
John Grier (Belfast)
'But I Say To You.' RRP: 9.99 Our Price: 5.99
Author: John Stott
Publisher: VP
Published: 2012
221 pages, paperback.
This book, written some 43 years ago, is like a breath of fresh air and is just as applicable to our Christian life today as it ever was. t is for
both new and mature Christians because as you read each chapter, it will be an introduction or a re-examination of so many things that we
are challenged with at the beginning of our Christian walk. His pastoral approach will cause you to think of your frst love, and it will take you to
those wonderful truths that you eagerly treasured during your early days of conversion.
With regard to his chapter on Morality outward or inward - we are reminded that love is sometimes blind and it will be the commandments of
God that will chart the pathways of love. This whole section directs us to matters of the heart based on the teachings of Jesus, where we get a
correct interpretation and therefore a true understanding of the Law. From the Puritans, Stott shows the unity of Law and Love. t is the Law that
sends us to the Gospel that we may be justifed, and then the Gospel returns us to the Law to see how we might live for God. Jesus, Stott says
does not make neat distinctions between Law and Love.
On the subject of worship he reminds us to be careful not to come to the worship service with our minds left behind. We are to take care about
forms of worship which appeal to the senses and emotions but do not engage the mind (heart). Stott uses the principles as drawn up by the
early Reformers in the Book of Common Prayer to show how the Word of God was used to stimulate the worshipper to a heart-felt response to
God. The Service, the Sermon and the Sacrament seek a response of worship.
Stott's comments on tradition and scripture will cause us to realise how we in evangelical congregations, have not always discerned between
the two and then he brings us to see something of Christ's view of scripture. The Jews studied Scripture diligently as an end in itself but missed
the Person they were all about. He shows that Christ, as our greatest teacher bears witness to Scripture, and Scripture bears witness to Christ.
About Sadducees and Pharisees he has much to say and we need to listen carefully. Here is an opportunity to check our hearts, whether
through slackness or false piety we have fallen into the way of the Pharisee or Sadducee. The Sadducee is exposed by Jesus as being ignorant
of God's Word and the Pharisee is noted for the introduction of tradition and man-made rules that had the effect of weakening the Law to
something merely skin deep.
The Tax collector's prayer - read Stott's exposition about that Pharisee in the church of srael! Do we lack warmth, is the church for saints or
sinners, is holiness a respectable comfortable seat on Sunday and how would we welcome a notorious prostitute to our services? He says that
only the power of God will deliver us from a judgemental attitude and only the power of God will enable us to show the compassion of Christ.
A must read or re-read.
Allan Baird (Belfast)
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gcu s/cuId /uvc bccr wcrc suppcrtivc.
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t/irgs - v/g dccs s/c vurt tc gc tc Cuwcrccr?
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rcuIitg is t/ut gcu vcuIdr't bc gcirg. 9curds /urs/
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