August / September 2011
From the Editor. The General Assembly celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary was a joy from beginning to end. There were many memorable sermons, lectures, and speeches. And, along with those whom the Lord has given a prominent place in the life of our denomination, there are stalwarts whose labors are largely unknown outside of their local ministriesHarold Dorman is one of them. It is a delight to institute a new feature of Ordained Servant with my interview of Pastor Dorman. Warm thanks for added help in preparing this for publication to Pat Clawson, David Veldkamp, and John Muether.
Also, in honor of our anniversary we have edited versions of the two pre-assembly lectures by John Muether and Darryl Hart. These thoughtful reflections on our past by two superb historians are a welcome aid as we look to the future.
Which reminds me. Permit me to boast a little, since I am an OPC outsiderI've only been in the OPC for thirty-five years. In New England that barely counts for residency.
The Seventy-eighth General Assembly was more like a family reunion than a court of the church. On this occasion this was entirely appropriate. As I reconnected with old friends and met many new ones I was thrilled anewand am still months laterto be part of this family. I suppose we should never tire of the caveat, It's not a perfect family, no family isalthough I confess to weariness in needing to repeat the obvious.
I was reminded that the tendency of denominations to be insular and self-orientedalthough there is always an element of this in every formal groupwas not present. Why? Because most of us have come from other backgrounds, and come into the OPC for strong, principled reasons. While this accounts for many of our differencessome of which have been hotly debated over the yearsit also accounts for our spiritual and intellectual vitality. Rather than thinking of outsiders as an "alien influence," we have welcomed new perspectives on what it means to be Reformed.
Throughout our history we have laborednot always successfullyto make orthodoxy, rather than ethnic origins or cultural commitments the entrance requirement. When we are untethered from these, we have only our weaknesses as fallen human beings, the spiritual gifts that our God has freely given, and God himself as our refuge and strength. Whatever good I have enjoyed, and boast about now, surely it comes from the Lord. In our continuing pilgrimage let us remember to be grateful for that, even as our ultimate boast is in the Lord.
Don't miss Darryl Hart's review of two popular new books which come at American transformationism from different angles. Grudem tries to undergird the American republic with a biblical foundation; while Leithart seeks to demonstrate why Constantinianism is not a dirty word.
Finally, Francis Thompson, well known for "The Hound of Heaven," wrote a shorter poem well worth knowing, "The Kingdom of God."
Blessings in the Lamb,
From the Archives "ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH"
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 endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.