From the Editor. Long ago the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville warned of the tendency of American democracy toward radical individualism (Democracy in America, 2 vol., 1835, 1840). In the next century sociologist Christopher Lasch chronicled a growing self-preoccupation (The Culture of Narcissism, 1979). In the past several decades the literature on this subject has multiplied along with the problem. Diana West's The Death of the Grown-up (2007) is a case in point. The flip side of this is the apotheosis of adolescence. Original sin, being what it is, is a rich reservoir of selfishness. But it takes a global village with its electronic Web to bring out the worst in human nature. We will explore this topic in the upcoming year.
Such analyses are helpful for us in understanding the place in which we are planted as an embassy of Christ. But more than understanding is needed for the church to maintain its witness. The Reformed church has a number of unique resources in its heritage to help resist the radical individualism of our culture in which the individual conscience trumps everything. But these must be self-consciously cultivated in the mind and life of our church. The doctrine of the church must be formed in our midst or the spiritual counter-environment will fail in its mission. We might think of this as the structure of the embassy. The church is a confessing community which informs the consciences of individuals, as Peter Wallace points out in his article "Catholicity and Conscience." Catholicity and confession together act as a powerful antidote to the poison of solipsism and self-absorption.
Also in this issue J. V. Fesko reviews the first volume of Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds
From the Archives
"CHURCH; CHURCH MEMBERSHIP; CONFESSIONS; CONSCIENCE"
NOTE: The following list is not exhaustive and does not contain germane articles after 2005.
CHURCH (DOCTRINE OF)
- "A Call to Reformation." (J. G. Vos) 10:4 (Oct. 2001): 82-84.
- "The Church Christ Is Building." (Larry Wilson) 11:3 (Jul. 2002): 55.
- "Corporate Responsibility: What It Is and Why It Is Important." (G. I. Williamson) 5:1 (Jan. 1996): 10-13.
- "Remember the Big Picture." (Bruce Coie) 5:4 (Oct. 1996): 74-76.
- "The Spirituality of the Church." (D. G. Hart & John R. Muether) 7:3 (Jul. 1998): 64-66.
- "About Letters of Attestation." (G. I. Williamson) 5:1 (Oct. 1996): 91-94.
- "Family Matters." (Peter Stazen II) 3:3 (Jul. 1994): 59-63.
- "Sessional Records: The Importance of Maintaining Complete and Accurate Church Records." (Luke E. Brown) 7:1 (Jan. 1998): 22-23.
- "Your People Shall Be My People." (Jack Sawyer) 13:2 (Apr. 2004): 37-38.
CONFESSIONS AND CONFESSIONALISM
- "Biblical Theology and the Session - Part 1: Redemptive History and the Church's Confession of Faith." (James S. Gidley) 9:2 (Apr. 2000): 35-38.
- "The Freedom and Limits of Christian Reflection." (Robert Letham) 6:2 (Apr. 1997): 43-45.
- "Confidence in Our Brethren: Creedal Subscription in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church." (John R. Muether) 5:1 (Jan. 1996): 2-7.
- "On Being a Confessional Church." (Gregory E. Reynolds) 13:1 (Jan. 2004): 11-13.
- "On Being a Confessional Church." (G. I. Williamson) 5:1 (Jan. 1996): 8-9.
- "The Rights of Conscience." (John Calvin) 13:2 (Apr. 2004): 35-36.
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.