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New Horizons

July, 2010: Chronicles of a Reforming Church

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Chronicles of a Reforming Church: Part 1: The Transition of the Elders

Circa 1992, I took a deep breath and set to preaching through the book of Revelation—how difficult could it actually be? I raced along swimmingly for about four or five chapters (really only three) before I was greeted by a conscience-condemning experience right in the pulpit. The convicting episode had to do with me allowing a commentator to have more influence over my opinion than he should have.

Commentaries are valuable tools. Consulting a commentary is like having a conversation with an erudite scholar holding well-thought-out biblical convictions. But when you get right down to it, it's still just somebody's opinion. I was preaching on a passage that I didn't truly understand. I figured this commentator, since he wrote a book, must have had a better grip on the issue than I, so I just took his word for it. Read more

Sacrificial Servants

Presbyteries give a gift to every group being received as a mission work. As a presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church responds affirmatively to the request of a group of people asking to be received as a mission work, its first thought is to give it the gift of a body of elders.

These elders serve both the presbytery and the new mission work. They are the presbytery's representatives, given to help the young church develop into a mature congregation. They provide the spiritual care and oversight needed by members of a mission work. When an organizing pastor is brought onto the scene, he joins them in taking care of God's church. Read more

Don Duff Retires

When Donald J. Duff turns over his responsibilities to George Cottenden at the General Assembly in July, Don will retire after serving as the first full-time and the longest-serving stated clerk in the history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. (The two men are pictured above, standing.) He leaves with his passion for the church that he learned from his missionary parents, Clarence and Dora Duff.

Don was born in Ethiopia in 1938. His family soon had to leave Africa during World War II. They moved to Colorado, where his father ministered in the coal mining town of Oak Creek. In 1943, his father traveled alone to Eritrea, and twenty-two months later Dora, Don, and his sister Dorothy were given visas and sailed in a military convoy to Eritrea. In 1953, Don and Dorothy sailed by themselves from Africa to America to finish high school in New Jersey. Read more

Desert Bloom in Amarillo

(Editor's note: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church will be celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary in June of 2011. In anticipation of that milestone, New Horizons is running a yearlong series of historical remembrances.)

I came to Reformed theology and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church on separate tracks that providentially merged. I had become a Christian out of high school, and in college I was taking a philosophy course from a Christian instructor at West Texas State University. During that time, in the fall of 1977, Christianity Today did a cover article on Cornelius Van Til. At that point, I had been reading Francis Schaeffer. In the Christianity Today article, I read that Van Til had taught Schaeffer. I thought I might as well read the guy that taught the guy that I'd been reading. I went down to the local bookstore with the title Defense of the Faith. The guy said, "I've never heard of it." He looked it up and couldn't find it. Finally, he got out the big tome, Books in Print. He said, "Oh yeah, here it is. South New Jersey. It'll take a month to get here." I couldn't wait to get it. Read more

2010 Timothy Conference

"Please accept my deepest thanks for the wonderful conference and relay them to all who were involved. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to hear my son try to relay everything he came away with on our trip home from the airport. He gained so much from both the formal and informal talks, as well as his fellowship with young men who have a desire to please the Lord. The conference definitely rekindled his desire for godliness in his own life and his pursuit of some kind of mission work."

And so we relay the thanks of one mother, speaking on behalf of the other parents, to everyone who supported the 2010 Timothy Conference with their prayers and contributions to Worldwide Outreach. Through your love and concern for the work of the whole church, fourteen young Orthodox Presbyterians were able to be present for two days of conference lectures at Greenville Seminary in South Carolina and Matthews OPC in North Carolina. Particular love and effort came to the fore from those who provided food and hospitality for the young men: Tony and Kathleen Curto, Jeff and Jennifer Cleveland, Mrs. Herma DeBoer and her daughter Katelyn, and pastoral intern Joby Fowler. Dinner and devotions in the "great hall" of the Cleveland home will be a special conference memory. Read more

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