“Brethren, Pray For Us” (I Thessalonians 5:25)
God’s church is a catholic or universal church in every nation, tribe and tongue of the earth. Each nation has its particular sins and evil culture. God calls us all to separate ourselves from those things in our particular lands which are in rebellion against his word. To each part of his church (in America, in the Philippines and wherever else) God extends the call to “come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17).
By the power of that call in the preaching of the gospel and by the power of God’s almighty, sovereign grace, we “come out.” But still the church in this world is always a remnant, “as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city” (Isa. 1:8). Therefore, God in his grace also uses other means to empower us to be separate. Because the church is a mere remnant battling the wickedness in whatever land she has her existence, God also gives us the help and encouragement of true, fellow believers wherever they may be in the world.
As Paul requested the Thessalonians to pray for him and his fellow preachers of the gospel, so the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines request the prayers of the PRC in America, also the young people of the PRCA. Because we are one in the Reformed faith, we can mutually encourage each other and pray for each other. To help you do that more knowledgeably, this article hopes to supply you with a deeper knowledge of the churches and mission work in the Philippines, and of the particular culture, circumstances, and struggles in which God has seen fit to place this part of his church.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
There are presently three congregations in the Federation of Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines: Berean Protestant Reformed Church, Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church, and the Protestant Reformed Church in Bulacan.
Many of the original members of the Berean Protestant Reformed Church came from the World-Wide Church of God, a cult that denied the Trinity and also promoted Old Testament practices, such as a seventh day sabbath and the Old Testament feasts. God’s effective word called them out of that and brought them along a pathway directed by him to the Reformed truth as confessed in the Three Forms of Unity. Rev. Vernon Ibe is the pastor of the Berean PRC which now numbers 25 families. The church has approximately 15–20 young people and young adults.
The Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church has its background in the Foursquare Gospel Church, which is an Arminian and Pentecostal denomination. Again, God in his sovereign grace and according to his way and time for them, called them out of that denomination. The congregation previously numbered in the hundreds, but as it began and continued on the path of reformation under the preaching of Rev. Leovy Trinidad, many of those members fell away. The congregation now has 13 families, with approximately 10 young people and young adults.
The Protestant Reformed Church in Bulacan began as a congregation in the Jesus Our Hope for the Nations Ministries denomination. These are Pentecostal and Arminian churches. By various means, God brought PRCB’s pastor, Rev. John Flores, to see the truth, and as he learned he also taught his congregation the Reformed faith. According to God’s providence they eventually left their previous denomination, also losing many members along the way, and became a Reformed church. They number 17 families, with approximately 15 young people.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rev. Daniel Kleyn and the other pastors and office bearers of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP) are involved in the denominational work of these three churches.
Currently the Classis of the PRCP is working toward establishing sister church relations with the PRCA.
* Pray that God will prosper this process, so that the power of the truth to unite Christ’s church throughout the world may be demonstrated.
The Classis of the PRCP is also working toward the goal of having their own seminary in Southeast Asia.
* Pray that God will give us grace not to “despise the day of small things,” as there are already small steps being taken to obtain this goal, according to his will.
* Pray that God will direct committed young men to become ministers of the gospel in the churches here.
The churches in the PRCP are small in size. Many in them are new to the Reformed faith. Sometimes the number of men available for office is limited.
* Pray for wisdom for the current office bearers.
* Pray that God will continue to give godly, faithful men to the PRCP to serve in the offices of elder and deacon, so that God’s people may be fed in the green pastures of his word and may dwell in peace and safety in the congregations.
In the Philippine culture, as in North America, the structure of the family is under attack. In America, divorces and remarriages are the order of the day. While in the Philippines divorce itself is not prominent (because of the presence of the Roman Catholic Church) there are still many broken marriages, separated couples, and couples living together without marriage. A problem unique to the country of the Philippines is that in many marriages one or the other spouse works overseas to supply the financial needs of the family. This can have devastating effects on marriages and on the family and therefore, if practiced in the church, is also a danger to the church.
* Pray that the families of God’s people here may be aware of the wrong practices in their culture and may stand firm against the devil’s onslaughts in this regard. Pray that God will give them grace to maintain godly marriages and homes.
As young people in the PRC in America, whose families have been in the church for generations, we can take it for granted that our families are united as one in the church, and that our parents (and grandparents) are godly examples to us. But on the mission field it is often the case that God has called one or two family members out of darkness into his marvelous light, but not others.
* Pray for the children and young people who do not have godly parents to guide them, that they may stand firm.
* Pray for the men and women whose spouses are unbelieving, that they may have the grace to be an example of Christian piety to their unbelieving spouses, and remain diligent in teaching their children the ways of God.
* Pray that God will convert the unbelieving spouses, if it is his will.
* Pray that God will help the fathers to be faithful, strong leaders of the home, that mothers may train up their children in the fear of the Lord, and that children learn the ways of God from a young age.
As young people yourselves you can have a special prayer for the PRCP young people united to you by faith:
* that you and they stand against the temptations of an evil world.
* that you and they find godly mates, united with them in the truth of God’s word.
* that you and they establish solid Christian homes and marriages that serve, under God’s blessing, the continuation of the covenant in the generations to come.
* that you and they prepare yourselves for the time when you will be the leaders, fathers, and mothers in God’s church.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Besides the work with and of the PRCP federation, the PRC in America is pursuing a lot of other mission work in the Philippines. We have a number of other groups that we are working with, so that, if it is God’s will, they may one day become organized into congregations and join the federation of the PRCP.
On the mission field there is so much that needs to be taught. The Reformed faith is all-encompassing. There is not one area of our lives that it does not touch. God’s word rules (or ought to rule!) not only what we believe, but also all of our church life, all of our family life, all of our work, school, and pleasure. New converts (and we too!) need to be taught to “stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein” so that they (and we) may “find rest for our souls.” (Jer. 6:16)
* Pray for wisdom for Rev. Kleyn in teaching these things, that they may be taught in a timely manner, in the right order, and in the right way.
Provident Christian Church in Manila is a group started by a man from the Brethren denomination 24 years ago. By means of Reformed men on the internet and also a Reformed Baptist pastor who assisted them for a while, God has led them on a pathway toward Reformed and continuing reformation. We have been working with them for the past three years. They have a deep love for the doctrines of TULIP and ask many questions. The group numbers 40–45 members, including also a good number of young people and young adults.
* Pray for the members of Provident, that they, with us, continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ—in the Reformed truth and life.
Once a month we travel to Bacolod City, where Rev. Kleyn teaches Reformed doctrine to a group of 15–20 people. The main contact in the group there is a family we have known for many years. They were members of a Reformed Church in Bacolod, but by God’s grace, see many wrong practices and beliefs in that church. Their heart’s desire is that a Protestant Reformed Church may be started in Bacolod.
* Pray, that the Lord will add to the group there “such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47)—men and families who are committed to the way of truth and eager to learn.
Rev. Kleyn also teaches classes to two different groups of pastors, one in Metro Manila, the other in Sipalay on the island of Negros.
There are many other contacts who buy our books, request occasional speaking or preaching, and others who keep in touch via email. There are also outreach groups that the congregations in the PRC in the Philippines are working with.
* Pray that the work in all these places and groups may prosper under the Lord’s guidance and according to His will.
* And pray for another missionary, or even two, if it is God’s will. The PRC in America has been calling for a second missionary for 1 ½ years now. The need is urgent and the work great. Pray that God will lay it on the heart of a man to come and help spread the gospel in this part of the world.
Brethren, pray for us! Pray that God’s will may be done, that his cause may be advanced, and that his kingdom may come in our hearts, in the church, and on the mission field until the day of our Lord Jesus’ return. Come Lord Jesus! Come quickly!
*Sharon is married to Rev. Daniel Kleyn, missionary to the Philippines