From the Editor. Public profession of faith stands at the center of the church’s ministry. The Ordained Servant archives yield three articles on this subject published in 2002 and one in 2005 (see below). Over a year ago Pastor Ken Golden sent me his excellent booklet "The OPC Class," used in preparation for membership in his congregation. Because many pastors have developed similar booklets, and due to its length, it is not suitable for publication in these pages. However, Ken has written a fine article to remind us of the importance of thorough preparation for communicant membership in the visible church: "How Much Catechesis? The Case for a Maximalist Approach to Membership Classes." In light of the general ignorance of the Bible that is characteristic of our times, it behooves us to takes this subject seriously.
For those who may not have public profession booklets available, I have provided PDF versions of Ken’s booklet "The OPC Class," as well as my own, first written in 1982, first published in electronic form in 1998, and revised several times since: "Making A Good Profession: A Course in Basic Christian Faith and Practice in Preparation for Making Public Profession of Faith." I have also included a booklet, perhaps not as common in our churches, written for covenant youth, generally under the age of sixteen: "Jesus Is My Lord and Savior: Public Profession for Covenant Youth."
After becoming a communicant member of Christ’s church, then what? Pastor Joel Beeke ably addresses this question in his article "Marks of a Faithful Church Member." This would make an excellent handout at the conclusion of a membership class.
Wayne Sparkman, my old friend and Westminster Theological Seminary classmate, and director of the PCA Historical Center in St. Louis, provides us with a thorough review of Confident of Better Things: Essays Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Finally, our poet of the month is a little known eighteenth-century American poet, Phillis Wheatley. Born in Boston, she was a slave child of seven or eight and sold to John and Susanna Wheatley in Boston on July 11, 1761. It was not common for American women to be published in those days; but it was especially uncommon for children of slaves to be educated at all. Her gift of writing poetry was encouraged by her owners, who taught Phillis to read and write, with her first poem being published at the age of twelve," On Messrs. Hussey and Coffin." Phillis's popularity as a poet both in the United States and England ultimately brought her freedom from slavery on October 18, 1773. Her sacred verse is a treasure to be enjoyed.
Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds
From the Archives "COMMUNICANT CHURCH MEMBERSHIP"
- "Bringing Our Children to Communicant Church Membership." (John R. Hilbelink) 11:1 (Jan. 2002): 17-20.
- "Covenant and Conversion." (Peter J. Wallace) 14:2 (Sep. 2005): 31-39.
- "Helping Covenant Children Make Profession of Faith." (J. Peter Vosteen) 11:1 (Jan. 2002): 15-16.
- "Is My Covenant Child Ready for Communicant Church Membership?" (David Barker) 11:1 (Jan. 2002): 10-14.
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.