by Danny E. Olinger
The theme of the 2016 Thank Offering in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is “Abounding in Hope.” It is taken from the apostle Paul’s benediction in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
In the context of Romans 15, Paul is addressing those who disagree about how to approach things—the weak and the strong, the believing Jew and Gentile. They may have different opinions. They may approach Christ in different ways. But the apostle declares that what they share in believing in Jesus is the joy and peace of the kingdom. They share this, despite their differences, because the God of hope is at work in them through the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they might abound in hope. Read more
by Stephen J. Tracey
As we commemorate the Reformation, it is appropriate to begin by considering preaching. The late Hughes Oliphant Old reminds us that “the classical Protestant Reformation produced a distinct school of preaching. It was a preaching of reform, to be sure, but it was also a reform of preaching” (see The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, vol. 4, p. 1). The danger is that discussions of preaching may reduce to mere pontification. That is not only ironic, in view of the Reformation, but also not helpful.
By the time of the Reformation, preaching had been effectively sidelined by the Mass. It is not that there was no preaching, or that all preaching was of a low standard. Rather, it was gradually replaced by rites and ceremonies. As A. M. Renwick remarks, “The rites performed by the officiating priest were all that mattered and the proper place of preaching in the church was lost sight of” (The Story of the Scottish Reformation, p. 17). Read more