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New Horizons

August, 2004: 71st General Assembly

New Horizons Cover

Contents

The Seventy-first General Assembly

Amidst the beautiful hills of western Pennsylvania, the Seventy-first General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church convened on Wednesday, June 2, on the campus of Geneva College. There 135 ministers and ruling elders, commissioned by sixteen different presbyteries, met to conduct the business of the church from June 2 to June 9.

Opening Worship Service

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Declaration on Justification

Adopted by the Seventy-first General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

The 71st (2004) General Assembly of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church i) declares its continued commitment to the teaching of the Word of God, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms with regard to the doctrine of justification by faith alone; ii) reaffirms that faith, which is a gift of God, is the sole instrument of justification; and iii) reaffirms the following beliefs: Read more

Fighting the Good Fight in San Francisco

Thirty-one years ago, the Rev. Charles McIlhenny accepted a call to serve as pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. Little did Chuck or his wife, Donna, know what the Lord had in store for them as they began to serve First Church and the community in which they lived. In 1978, Chuck fired the organist for First OPC when he learned that the organist was a practicing homosexual. The organist sued the McIlhennys, First OPC, and the Presbytery of Northern California for violating a city ordinance banning discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation. As far as many scholars can determine, this was the first time in U.S. legal history that immorality had taken on the church for fulfilling its God-given responsibility within the parameters of biblical worship.

With the help of attorney John Whitehead and the financial support of hundreds of individuals and churches across the country to pay for the legal costs, the McIlhennys won the case by arguing protection under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits governmental interference with the free exercise of religion. As a result of their stand, the McIlhennys have endured great suffering. Particularly during the late 1970s and early 1980s, as a result of the negative media coverage surrounding the lawsuit against them, they were vandalized, had graffiti sprayed on their property, received death threats, and suffered a firebombing of their home and church from which they had to flee with their three young children in hand. And yet, throughout such persecution, they counted it a blessing to have the opportunity to give witness to Jesus Christ in such a hostile environment. Read more

 
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