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New Horizons

October, 1997: Death and Dying

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A Christian View of Death and Dying

This has been a year of grieving for many in my congregation. So it has been a good time for us to look again at what the Bible teaches about death, and the hope the gospel offers to believers. Perhaps it will be a good time for you, too, to think about these things.

Three Biblical Truths about Death

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Teach Us to Number Our Days

"Over the hill"—that is American shorthand for getting older, complete with black balloons. If you want to see what this nation thinks of aging, take a look at birthday cards. In America, those cards most often build their humor on the regret and fear we feel about growing older.

The Christian is not to fear growing older, but is to learn to number his days: "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). Read more

The Edge of Eternity

When I was a teenager, our boys' Sunday school class visited northern Arizona. I still vividly remember crawling with perspiring hands to look over the edge of a cliff and its sharp drop down to the Little Colorado River. (It didn't take me long to back away!) Today there is a particular group of people in your community who, spiritually speaking, are "crawling" toward an edge—the end of their life. Soon they will experience death and be ushered into eternity.

I am speaking of the residents of nursing homes and care centers. They easily identify with the psalmist: "We finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away" (Psalm 90:9"l0). Read more

Facing Death and Judgment

Last June my family and I attended a conference on homeschooling. Fourteen thousand people came together on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville for instruction and encouragement.

One evening we were all in the arena, listening to Dr. Mickey Bonner speak on prayer. He spoke of our need to seek God's face earnestly and come before him with a broken and contrite heart. "We must learn to pray with the mind of Christ, and it comes only when we have humbled ourselves before him," he said. "It comes only when we are broken." Read more

The Internet Seminary Unplugged

Computers and the Internet are changing the way we live. From going through the checkout line at the local supermarket to driving a car, we are surrounded by computers. Certainly, Orthodox Presbyterians have much to consider in their use of this new technology to advance the cause of Christ, as the July issue of New Horizons indicated.

Such considerations are especially important in the matter of ministerial training. The article on "The Internet Seminary" suggests that on-line theological education is the wave of the future, and that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church should consider how "to make the most of this opportunity." Yet no matter how seminaries decide to deliver theological education, the OPC needs to examine a number of the author's assumptions before wiring her prospective ministers to—for want of a better name—the Internet Theological Seminary (ITS). Read more

The Grounds for Ending Our Relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the CRCNA

The Sixty-fourth General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church attached the following grounds to its communication informing the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America that the opening of the special "offices of elder, minister, and evangelist" to women (Acts 1995, Arts. 75 and 79, pp. 731-36, and Acts 1996, Art. 75.2, p. 560) is contrary to sound doctrine. References to these documents are abbreviated: Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF), the Belgic Confession (BC), and the OPC's Form of Government (FOG). Italics in each case are added for emphasis.

1. The ordination/installation of women to "the office of elder, minister, or evangelist" is prohibited by Scripture (1 Timothy 2:12). Synod 1995 erred when it set aside a clear Scripture command (1 Tim. 2:12) when it opened the special offices of "elder, minister, and evangelist" to persons biblically prohibited from holding them (Acts of Synod 1995, Arts. 75 and 79, pp. 731-736). The inviolability of the passage is particularly incisive. God declares, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over the man." That this prohibition clearly is an abiding prohibition for the church today is apparent from its context. Scripture gives the reasons for that prohibition by declaring, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve" (v. 13). He then states a second reason for the prohibition, namely, "For Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner" (v. 14). Scripture thus grounds its forbidding of women to rule and teach in the church in the account of creation and the fall. And by grounding the prohibition in these events in the history of redemption, the prohibition is removed from the temporary and culturally conditioned to that of abiding requirement for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read more

The Loan Fund at Work in Bend, Oregon

As we know, the church is the people of God, the body of Christ. This is true whether a local congregation owns a building or not. During the early centuries, the church met in homes, forests, and even catacombs. Thus, the church can exist and function without church buildings.

However, church buildings are a benefit to the church, for they furnish a regular place to meet for worship, fellowship, teaching, and outreach. They help the local congregation establish a visible presence in the community. The building says, "This is where a local congregation of Christ's church meets." Moreover, it is often a matter of wise stewardship for a church to build rather than rent. So, while buildings are not essential to the church, they are beneficial in its ministry and witness. Read more

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