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New Horizons

January, 2020: New Horizons at 40

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The entire issue is available in the following formats: PDF  ePub  and  Mobi 

New Horizons at 40

Forty years ago, in December 1979, Roger Schmurr was scrambling to make sure that the inaugural issue of New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church would reach the mailboxes of members and friends on time. Seven months earlier, Schmurr had accepted the call to serve as general secretary of the Committee on Christian Education. Soon thereafter, the Forty-Third (1979) General Assembly assigned the Committee on Christian Education the task of publishing a denominational magazine, and Schmurr found himself named as the editor.

Schmurr knew what the framework of the magazine should be in light of the guidelines that the assembly had passed. The assembly wanted it to include news about the departments of home and foreign missions and Christian education; news about presbyteries, general assemblies, youth events, and diaconal service; a prayer calendar to encourage prayer for these individuals and ministries; and suggestions for stewardship. Read more

Authentic Before It Was Cool

In her thirteen years with New Horizons, Pat Clawson wrote dozens of articles, some on recurring events or conferences in the denomination, and some on perennial issues facing OP members like care for the chronically ill, hospitality, tithing, and adoption. “My goal was to encourage,” she said.

Encourage isn’t a fluff word for Pat. She used it over and over during our phone conversation, and by the time I hit “end call,” some of Pat’s courage had come over the line. Read more

Twenty-Five Years of “Out of the Mouth”

“Out of the Mouth” just celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. The first anecdote ran in New Horizons in 1994, when Jim Scott served as managing editor. His title for it reflects the idiom, “Out of the mouth of babes,” from the King James translation of Matthew 21:16: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.” Although Scott is now retired, his wit guided the editorial decisions behind “Out of the Mouth” for many years.

From the start, “Out of the Mouth” was not about sharing a story of something from a child’s lips that was simply funny or even spiritually profound. Rather, “the idea was to have things that children said that contained an element of truth (especially related to church, God, and the Bible), with of course the typical sincerity or earnestness of children, but which in one way or another did not get it right,” Scott explained. Read more

Machen’s Magazines

To claim that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church would not exist if not for a magazine is a bit of a stretch but has enough proximity to historical circumstances to be plausible. One year before J. Gresham Machen said of the OPC, “a true Presbyterian church, at last,” he had established a magazine, The Presbyterian Guardian, to inform fellow Presbyterians about the latest developments in the PCUSA.

The Guardian was actually the third magazine that conservatives had used to make known their objections to theological liberalism. The Presbyterian, founded in 1851, had been the chief avenue outside theological quarterlies for pastors and theologians in the North to reach a popular audience. Thanks to disagreements about strategy in the controversies of the 1920s, Machen and Samuel G. Craig in 1930 founded Christianity Today (not the one in print today) to express the views of conservatives associated with Westminster Seminary. The Guardian came five years later, once Presbyterians in the seminary’s network divided over the wisdom of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Read more

Ardent Spirits: Presbyterians and Prohibition

January 17 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. From that day forward, the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol was prohibited throughout the United States and its territories.

The accompanying Volstead Act defined “intoxicating beverages” as any that contained .5% or more alcohol by volume and provided the legal apparatus for enforcing the ban. Wine was permitted for sacramental use, and alcohol could still be prescribed by doctors and sold by pharmacies under strict federal regulation, but otherwise “John Barleycorn” had been defeated, and America had gone bone dry—at least officially. Read more

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