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New Horizons

September, 2008: The 75th General Assembly

New Horizons Cover


The Seventy-fifth General Assembly

After forty years, attending general assemblies of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church can feel like déjà vu all over again. Each annual gathering, of course, has its distinctive features and flavor. But year after year a dozen standing committees report on their work and plans, and such reports usually don't differ much from ones delivered twelve months before. The agenda doesn't change a lot.

This doesn't mean that assemblies have little to offer those who attend. On the contrary, coming together to do the important work of Christ's church with about 135 other commissioners (ministers and ruling elders) is a heady and blessed experience. New friendships are formed and old ones renewed. Advisory committee meetings and full business sessions come packed with useful information and, quite often, afford stimulating and challenging discussion and debate. More important, as the "governing body of the whole church" (Form of Government, XV, 2), the general assembly plays a crucial role in shaping the worship, life, and witness of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Read more

A Person—Not a Cause

Someone once said that inertia is the greatest force in the universe. While we would not wish to subscribe to this overstatement, since it dishonors God and his power, it is nevertheless true that inertia poses a very real danger to the church of Jesus Christ.

Far too many churches (I speak of no particular denominations or congregations) are content with "being there" as its own justification. They believe that they do not need to do anything beyond what is necessary for mere continued existence. This is the road that leads to the error of the church of Ephesus, in its beginning stage (Rev. 2:1-7), and the Laodicean error, in its ultimate expression (Rev. 3:14-22). Therefore, Orthodox Presbyterians may be grateful to God for the wake-up call that the larger evangelical community has received from such things as the "purpose driven" series of books. We can be sincerely grateful that a blow has been struck against the stagnation of the church. Along with our gratitude, however, there ought to be some hesitancy before we "jump on the band wagon." Read more

The Very Latest Thing

Dear James,

I am glad to hear that you have settled into your sophomore year at school, though "settled" seems hardly the word to describe campus life. Ben told us about your visit to the new church planted close to campus. As shocked as you seemed to be, it does not surprise me to learn that something called "the Journey" would prove so popular among your classmates. Read more

Helps for Worship #32: The Benediction

"And He lifted up His hands and blessed them." (Luke 24:50)

When worship is ended, it is important to realize that we do not go out into the world on our own, but in the strength and with the gracious promises of the same God who called us to worship and who has spoken to us by his word. This promise of grace is called "the benediction" (which comes from the Latin word "to bless"). The benediction, like the salutation, is the blessing of Christ on his gathered people. It is spoken by a minister who officially represents the ascended and reigning Lord Jesus. Read more

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