October 2020 New Horizons

Pandemics, Protests, and Eschatology

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Pandemics, Protests, and Eschatology

Where do we look for help when the world is on fire and so many things seem to be not only out of our control, but headed in a troubling direction? Several years ago, I had the privilege of studying in Holland and attending church there. The minister would begin each sermon by asking the congregation, “On whom do you depend for help and strength?” The congregation would reply with Psalm 121:2: “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” The Dutch city in which I studied was old, beautiful, and full of history. Members of the congregation there could easily remember life during World War II. Their stories of the war were otherworldly and rather moving to me, a young American student. It was almost impossible for me to imagine what people lived through, and then to realize that so many did not live through it. One old man cried while sharing his memories. Perhaps most striking was the sense that he and so many others had before the war of their own peace and safety, of the utter ... Read more

A Faithful Plodder: John W. Mahaffy

This year, OP pastor John W. Mahaffy will celebrate both his fiftieth wedding anniversary to Sipkje (Sylvia) and the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the OPC. The Mahaffys served first for seven years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and then, in 1977, moved up north for forty-three years and counting at Trinity Presbyterian in Newberg, Oregon. Mahaffy’s many years at Trinity have not been marked by dramatic ministry  or exponential congregational growth. In fact, when emailed about being featured in this magazine for his fifty years of pastoring, Mahaffy responded that there was probably a better candidate. (But thanks to Sipkje, he did agree.) As he reflects over the past five decades, Mahaffy’s self-evaluation is self-effacing: “I am certainly not an earth-shaking preacher. I am not one of the intellectual guiding lights of the OPC,” he said. “I am a faithful plodder.” He learned that faithfulness early from his parents, OP missionaries to Eritrea from 1945 to 1966. Mahaffy grew up in ... Read more

Perkins and Machen: An Unlikely Friendship

Two more dissimilar men you could not find. One a seminary professor, the other a small-town pastor. One grew up in Baltimore in comfortable circumstances. The other came from a farm in Wisconsin, living on modest means. One studied at Princeton and was covenantal, the other graduated from the Moody Bible Institute and was a dispensationalist. One was a lifelong bachelor, the other was married with five children. One was a scholar with an international reputation, the other was largely unknown outside central Wisconsin. J. Gresham Machen and Arthur F. Perkins were vastly different men, yet a shared faith in Christ united them in deep friendship. These two men suffered similarly at the hands of the PCUSA, both being unfairly disciplined for resisting modernism. Epistolary Encouragement Their relationship was initiated by Arthur Perkins in a letter of encouragement to Machen written on February 26, 1935. Over the next eighteen months, these men exchanged thirty-two letters and their friendship and ... Read more