Patricia E. Clawson
This spring men who serve or are seeking to serve as officers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church have an opportunity to become better churchmen, learn under a new instructor, and, for many, this education may end up only costing the price of a few books.
The Ministerial Training Institute of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church provides training through its course offerings for OPC pastors, licentiates, men under care of a presbytery, and ruling elders. The Spring 2020 classes feature Book of Discipline, Form of Government, and Defending the Faith.
Mark Bube, general secretary for the Committee on Foreign Missions, is stepping to the lectern to teach the Book of Discipline course. As the newest instructor, Bube brings 37 years of experience as a ruling elder, as well as serving as the 58th moderator of the General Assembly (1988), and parliamentarian for more than half a dozen GAs.
He’ll remind students that discipline involves shepherding sheep and not winning court cases. “Biblical church discipline is done in love, not to punish, or even worse, get revenge,” said Bube. “The idea in biblical church discipline is not about ‘throwing the book’ in frustration at a wandering sheep, but rather trying to work lovingly with that sheep, whenever possible using the facts that are already agreed upon, to begin the process of bringing that sheep back home.”
In the Form of Government course, Alan Strange, church history professor at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, will instruct students on how to fulfill their ordination vows as they serve the local church, presbytery, and general assembly. Strange will help them to understand the principles of Presbyterian government found in Scripture and how that informs how to do everything decently and in order.
William Dennison, professor of interdisciplinary studies at Covenant College, will teach Defending the Faith (Presuppositional Apologetics). This course is geared to help students understand how Cornelius Van Til’s critical analysis aids in researching, reading, teaching and preaching the biblical text. Although Van Til has been criticized, Dennison challenges church officers to study what Van Til actually taught.
Classes begin February 3 with online reading and writing assignments. The semester culminates in a three-day Intensive Training from May 12-14 at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois. Non-commuting students travel on May 11 and return home on May 14.
Travel scholarships are available and usually reimburse the bulk of the travel costs for OP ministers, licentiates, and men under care. Tuition is free for those students. OP ruling elders and non-OP officers pay for their travel and tuition costs.
Transportation in the Chicago area, food, and lodging at the home of church members are provided for free. Students are responsible to obtain the required books. All students pay a $50 registration fee, which is fully refundable upon passing the course.
Applications and additional information are available on the the MTIOPC page.
Registration deadline is January 27, 2020. Applications and the registration fee must be sent to:
Committee on Christian Education
607 N. Easton Road, Building E
Willow Grove, PA 19090
For more information, contact Pat Clawson, MTIOPC coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.