From the Editor. Beginning a new year always draws me to contemplating the tangible realities of an embodied life. While I am a fan and regular beneficiary of electronic media, I also seek to be alert to their liabilities. “Analog Elegy” is a brief reflection of what we are losing.
John Murray described union with Christ as covenantal, spiritual, vital, and mystical. “Nothing is more central or basic than union and communion with Christ. . . . [Union with Christ] underlies every step of the application of redemption.” Those who wish to put a wedge between Calvin and his successors, on this or any other theological topic, will need to contend with John Fesko’s powerful argument to the contrary in his lead article this month, “Union with Christ and Reformed Orthodoxy: Calvin vs. the Calvinists?”
As we celebrate Luther’s epochal spiritual challenge in the nailing of his now famous Ninety-Five Theses to the Wittenberg Castle door 500 years ago in 1517, John Muether, our denominational historian, presents a chronological series of brief articles on the Reformed Confessions, beginning with “Zwingli’s Sixty-Seven Articles (1523).”
Danny Olinger continues his biography of Geerhardus Vos with Chapter 4: “Reformed Biblical-Theological Beginnings.” This is a thrilling account of one of the major contributors to the theology and life of our churches. Speaking of which Darryl Hart offers an informative and challenging inquiry into the relationship among mainstream culture, Presbyterianism, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in “Presbyterians and the American Mainstream.” And don’t miss his review of Walter McDougall, The Tragedy of U.S. Foreign Policy: How America’s Civil Religion Betrayed National Interest—a challenge to the church’s alignment with American exceptionalism.
In honor of the early creeds spawned by the Reformation, Ryan McGraw reviews a new English translation of a seminal treatise of Reformed Scholasticism from 1625, Synopsis of a Purer Theology. It was composed by four professors of Leiden University (Johannes Polyander, Andreas Rivetus, Antonius Walaeus, and Anthonius Thysius). The price of this academic publication will prevent most of us from owning this volume, but Ordained Servant readers should be aware of it.
Finally, the superb Christina Rossetti has some useful thoughts for the new year in her poem “Old and New Year Ditties.”
Blessings in the Lamb,
FROM THE ARCHIVES “UNION WITH CHRIST”
Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God-glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders, and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high-quality editorials, articles, and book reviews, we will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.
Endnote John Murray, Redemption—Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), 161.