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Ordained Servant Online

A Journal for Church Officers

E-ISSN 1931-7115

The Future of Calvinism

Ordained Servant Cover

October 2006

From the Editor.The magnificent pallet of fall colors here in New England always evokes thoughts of Reformation history for me. Our annual Reformation lecture is a highlight of the fall's activities, reminding us of our colorful past. This year will mark the twenty-fifth Reformation celebration over which I have presided. This year my thoughts have focused on two significant post-Reformation dates: 1706 and 1936. Two important firsts for American Presbyterians: the first presbytery meeting on American soil; and the first general assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (see link).

But then, lest we get stuck in the past, or mired in ecclesiastical provincialism, the question that should also be on our minds: Whither Calvinism? Does the Reformed faith have a future? Fourteen years ago Jim Gidley lectured at a celebration of Calvin's birthday (July 10) at Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, on "The Future of Calvinism" (see link). His conclusion in this thoughtful piece (republished in this issue) is that the future is always in the hands of our sovereign and gracious God; but our duty is to grow in faithfulness to our calling as God's people in this world. By his amazing grace we have a glorious future, whatever may happen to us between now and then. Wisdom tells us that the past guides our trajectory into the future, and helps us to be faithful to our calling as the church, even in the worst of times.

However, on the immediate horizon there is what appears to be a powerful ray of light penetrating the clouds hanging over the American church, reflected in the September issue of Christianity Today. The feature article is titled "Young, Restless, Reformed: Calvinism is making a comeback-and shaking up the church." After all of the publishing, praying and preaching of the Reformed since the mid-twentieth century and before, there may be a significant change underway. What are we to think? In this issue we shall offer two small explorations of this question.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds

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 Presbyterianism.


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