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August 2021 New Horizons

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Report on the 87th General Assembly

 
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God’s Faithfulness in Affliction

The theme that permeated the Eighty-Seventh General Assembly—the faithfulness of God in affliction—was put forth at the opening worship service with the sermon of Claude Taylor, pastor at New Hope Presbyterian in Bridgeton, New Jersey. In his first words, Mr. Taylor told those gathered how he came to have this great privilege. He was standing in the place of his longtime friend and New Hope Church ruling elder David Haney, moderator of the Eighty-Sixth General Assembly, who had died and gone to be with the Lord. Mr. Taylor preached on 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” In the week that followed, testimony abounded from pastors, ruling elders, and committee representatives of God’s goodness during the pandemic. When the commissioners gathered for worship on the Lord’s Day, David VanDrunen preached from Psalm 119:65–80 on God’s goodness and faithfulness in affliction. Then, in the evening worship ... Read more

Questioning Self-Definition

Is there any “givenness” to one’s identity? Or is it malleable, not subject to physical, genetic, or biological realities? Must we be defined by others, or an Other? Or can we choose our own identity, defining ourselves according to our feelings and desires? In 2015, the national news media drew our attention to a controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal. Dolezal had defined herself as, and was living as, someone who was black. A graduate of Howard University, she was professor of African studies at Eastern Washington University and president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP. But she had in fact been born to white parents. When that became public, much of the condemnation of Dolezal stemmed from her dishonesty—her deception had been the basis for the positions she held. But there was also outrage that someone who was white had self-identified as a black woman. Some secular media outlets truly wrestled with the tension of affirming her freedom to choose while also condemning her for ... Read more

Fraternal Address to the PCA General Assembly

Mr. Moderator, fathers, and brothers: My name is Chad Van Dixhoorn, and I bring you greetings from the OPC. It’s important to us that the acronym “OPC” has only one “O,” for we don’t think we’re the “Only Orthodox Presbyterian Church.” Evidences of your commitment to orthodoxy are on display in matters as mundane as your review of presbytery records, or as substantive as your committee’s report on sexuality. We praise God for your constant reference to the holy Word of God in debates and key documents. And since even enemies of the truth can quote the Bible, we are especially grateful when we see church leaders supplying sane scriptural interpretations, offering helpful confessional quotations, and embracing faithful ethical implications. May you remain loyal to your Father’s will in all things. As we in the OPC think about the PCA, items for praise come quickly to mind. We’re grateful that the PCA has continued to own our joint mission of educating God’s people in the ... Read more

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