Question and Answer

The Spirituality of the Church and a GA Conference

Question:

How can the OPC claim to believe in the “spirituality of the Church” when it invites the Vice President of an extreme right wing political think tank to speak at its General Assembly pre-conference on “Marriage, Sexuality, and Faithful Witness”? Does the OPC embrace the Heritage Foundation? If not, why didn’t it invite committed Reformed Christians from other sides of the political spectrum to participate?

Answer:

Thank you for your question. It appears, however, that your understanding of the term “the spirituality of the church” differs from its historic meaning.

The term came to prominence in the 1850s and 60s with the strife in our nation. The northern Presbyterian church made a pronouncement that failure to obey the Federal Government was a sin. The churches of the South responded that the question of which civil authorities to obey (Federal or State) was a political question, not a biblically answerable one. The position that the church could only speak where the Scripture speaks gave rise to the description of this view as “the spirituality of the church.” Matters of concern for the church are those which the Word of God addresses: spiritual matters. Opinions on other matters (things on which the Scripture does not speak) are things indifferent to us as a church.

This particular panelist was regarded as an expert on changes in law with which Christians are now faced, and well known for the depth of her spiritual wisdom.

In a very real sense, this displays the spirituality of the church; we were in large measure indifferent to her political views (though not unaware of them). She was not present to speak or to represent anything but what the Scripture says on the subject matter of the conference. This panelist, as all the speakers, avoided political commentary from any point in the political spectrum. We did not pass judgment on her organization, favorably or otherwise. Our concern was spiritual, not political.


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