Monday, May 3, 2010

Proud to Be a Member of Pasig Covenant Reformed Church

If you've been on a very long trip, and the destination is some place that has tugged at your heart ways before you even took the first step towards going there, then finally arriving must have felt to you the same way my having become a bona fide member of the only federation of Continental Reformed churches in the country feels to me now—I've arrived!

May 2, 2010 marks the day when I, my wife, and a host of friends, were inducted into the United Covenant Reformed Churches in the Philippines. Pasig Covenant Reformed Church, a member of the UCRCP federation, and the church where we have been attending, went to Tagaytay especially for this momentous occasion when we, former mere attenders, would now be admitted into the fellowship of the visible church as professing believers, now beneficiaries of all the blessings of being a part of the covenant community.

The significance of going up a mountain to meet with God was not lost on me in our trek to the mountainous region of Tagaytay. We were heading up there to confess and proclaim our faith in Christ, with this faith not being grounded on flimsy stuff but on the solid, granite-hard foundation of true, historic, confessional, biblical, Reformed doctrine.

To say that the food was great is an understatement, along with merely claiming that the oxygen-rich air blowing from the trees that surrounded us like sentries on duty did wonders for our minds and bodies; I may be shallow, being one not usually fond of going out (though I am a naturalist at heart), but it was a bit of paradise for me. All this was good since we who were about to undergo doctrinal interview were waging war with the butterflies in our stomachs, and we sure appreciated all the help we could get from both the culinary and "nature" fronts.

As each of the interviewees made their way, coming out victorious (not in the revivalist, triumphalist sense, of course), I was busy memorizing the Heidelberg Catechism's Q1 and 2, as my leakage told me that these two were sure staples. I prayed to the Lord that may He divest me of all pride, as if coming into the interview with an attitude of it as an avenue of showcasing my theological knowledge, realizing that I, in fact, still really know so little, and the little that I do know were all gracious gifts from Him. And so the memorizing continued.

My turn finally came and I was the last to be interviewed. I will not go into the details, but I will surely say that I and my family are tremendously blessed to be under such a knowledgeable, compassionate, and gentle a pastor as Ptr. Nollie Malabuyo.

The conclusion of the interview came with both of us agreeing that having the Lord's Supper celebrated every Lord's Day would be among the key instruments in "hastening" the sanctification of the members of the church, seeing that Holy Communion is not merely "symbolic" or "memorial", but an actual participation in the body and blood of Christ, in a union forged by the Holy Spirit through faith, and therefore immensely beneficial. Horton writes, "The impartation of grace we find in Holy Communion is not a grace that saves but a grace that restores the believer's confidence in the Word's pronouncement, 'Not guilty.' Communion is a refueling station not because we continually need to recover lost merits, but because we need to recover lost steam. We are weak; our hearts are easily cooled, and our souls need to feed on Christ just as truly as our bodies need to feed on bread. Holy Communion strengthens us not only because it symbolizes or represents something great, but because it really is something great. It is the actual nourishment of Christ himself who offers his body and blood for spiritual food. To those wearied by a tough week at the home or office or to those whose consciences never let them forget a sin they commit during the week, the sacrament of Holy Communion is there to communicate Christ and his forgiveness. There is no conscience that cannot be instructed and overcome by this powerful sacrament" (Michael Horton, Putting Amazing Back into Grace (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2002), 191, italics original).

With everyone having been interviewed (all this taking place on Saturday, May 1, 2010), the next critical step was the actual profession of faith which took place the next day, during the Lord's Day service. Needless to say, the preaching was impeccable as Ptr. Nollie preached on the nature of the worship service, bringing to the fore its covenantal nature wherein the covenant between God and His people are renewed in loving dialog. As with every covenant, the ratification came in the form of a meal, this being the Lord's Supper. I distributed the elements and proceeded to draw grace from my union with Christ through the broken bread and wine.

These past two days were pivotal for me and my family, and as we drove down from Tagaytay, I ruminated on this fact and thanked the Lord for my brothers and sisters at Pasig Covenant Reformed Church.

Soli Deo Gloria!


  1. Correction: Ptr. Nollie has just informed me that the induction proceedings that were carried out over the weekend were for membership to Pasig Covenant Reformed Church only, as PCRC is a mission church planted by Trinity United Reformed Church in Walnut Creek, CA, up until it assumes organization when it can then decide to join the United Covenant Reformed Churches in the Philippines. :-)

  2. I sometimes think the Lord's Supper is neglected because we have a faulty view of what it means to "examine ourselves." To gather with the Lord's people and remember together that his body was broken and his blood shed for each and every one of us should remind us that we are his both individually and collectively. There is the basis (if I have understood you correctly) for the joy you have expressed in being a member of the PCRC as it is the basis for our joy in knowing that you are a part of us - even though separated by oceans, Warren.


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