Every so often I like to give tribute to a special servant in the church. Each would be the first to give the glory to his Lord. But such portraits serve as examples for those of us who continue to serve in the church. John Galbraith has been a model of service for me and many in my generation. He is a man of considerable gifts who chose to use those gifts in a humble place. There are many in our church just like him in this respect, who could have gone on to greater places in this world, but have learned along the way the sage summation of poet George Herbert, featured in “Servant Poetry” this month, “Perhaps great places and thy praise do not so well agree.” I know you will enjoy Bill Shishko’s “A Tribute: The Rev. John Galbraith, Mr. OPC.”
Mr. Galbraith is stalwart in believing that a well formed Christian life is rooted in sound doctrine, so we celebrate Reformation month with Professor Carl Trueman’s article on the importance of post-Reformation theology, otherwise known as Reformed Orthodoxy. He builds on the idea that, rather than diminishing Calvin’s theology (“Calvin against the Calvinists”), post-Reformation theologians elaborated the riches of it. Here is why this renewed appreciation for Reformed Orthodoxy, spearheaded by Richard Muller, is important for ministers of the gospel, elders, deacons, and the whole church: “The Revised Historiography of Reformed Orthodoxy: A Few Practical Implications.”
In keeping with the theme of our heritage of sound doctrine, Professor John Fesko reviews two recent books on a much discussed Reformation doctrine “Union with Christ.” He reviews Robert Letham, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology and J. Todd Billings, Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church.
While it may appear that my review article on evangelicals and the new media has nothing to do with sound doctrine, I hope you will discover the old adage that some things are not as they appear. Medium and message, form and substance, are inextricably connected. Calvin understood this in terms of reforming doctrine and worship. The forms of things matter. They communicate content of which they are inseparably a part.
Eutychus II, contrary to rumors, has not fallen out of the upper window to his death. With renewed energy he fulminates against “Performance Sports.”
If you are not content with your humble place serving God in this world, a good dose of George Herbert’s “Submission” is a potent and pleasant cure. He was in a high place in Cambridge University as university orator; and in the king’s court, with hopes of appointment to secretary of state. Those hopes were dashed with King James’s death. The Lord called him to the ministry, where he served until his untimely death the humble country parish of Fugglestone St Peter, in Bemerton Church near Salisbury, England. He used his wit well as a poet, reminding us of Alexander Pope’s observation, “True wit is nature to advantage dressed, what oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” But unlike much of the wit of his age, he used it for the glory of God and the edification of the church. “Submission” is one of the most powerfully beautiful sacred poems in the English language.
Blessings in the Lamb,
From the Archives "DOCTRINE, UNION WITH CHRIST"
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.