From the Editor. In this issue of OS Professor Kloosterman reviews Professor VanDrunen's new book A Biblical Case for Natural Law, and VanDrunen responds.
On a different topic from our October issue Pastor Garcia writes a clarification of his review of Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry (CJPM), and Professors Godfrey and VanDrunen respond to Garcia's review.
"Can't we all just get along?" We all recognize this statement in context to be a cover up of the truth—a denial of criminal activity. But in the church we should be growing in exercising charity to all, especially those with whom we disagree. However, this does not deny a salutary place for theological debate, or even for drawing lines where Scripture and Confession demand. For example, as editor Scott Clark says in CJPM, covenant nomism and federal theology cannot both be correct. The recent General Assembly's "Report on Justification" asserts this unequivocally, reiterating the covenant theology of our Confession.
If Ordained Servant were a commercial enterprise I'm sure my publisher would be patting me on the back for creating a stir, and hence garnering readership. However, my publisher is the Committee on Christian Education, tasked with serving the whole church in its endeavor to inculcate historic Christianity. Part of my duty is to publish views that may differ from my own but represent ideas that are within the bounds of our confessional standards.
Please allow me to outline my policy on book reviews. It is, by the way, always open to revision. The recent responses—some favorable and some unfavorable—to the Garcia review of CJPM have forced me to formulate these more carefully.
1. In taking the views of the entire OPC into account in making editorial decisions, as the editor of OS, I will choose to publish articles and reviews with which I may not wholly agree. I will not publish articles or reviews that express views that are clearly contrary to our doctrinal standards. But especially with reviews, it should be kept in mind that these are one man's opinion, and do not represent the editor or the denomination. Our published editorial policy is clear on this: "views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent the position of Ordained Servant or of the Church."
2. When a review is critical of material published by someone within the circle of Reformed churches, I normally ask the author(s) if he (they) would like to respond. It is not my purpose to be controversial, but rather to promote healthy conversation within our confessional context on disputed issues of major importance to our ministry as the church. I do encourage a tone that is irenic, especially in more polemical interchanges or critiques. I will never rewrite a review, but I will make suggestions during the editorial process to clarify or to modify the tone of a piece. However, when all is said and done, the author takes full responsibility for what he has written.
In the particular case of CJPM I was not fully aware of the contents of the book, as I had not read it (I don't read every book that I send out for review, and in this case the review was unsolicited, so I did not have a copy in hand) at the time I published the review. Now that I have read portions of the book, I can say that I would recommend it simply because it is part of the Reformed conversation on this important topic, and because I find myself in sympathy with most of its essential emphases.
Blessings in the Lamb,
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.