October 2022 New Horizons

Theologian and Churchman Richard B. Gaffin Jr.

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Theologian and Churchman Richard B. Gaffin Jr.

Richard B. Gaffin Jr., arguably the preeminent Reformed biblical theologian of the last half century, not only grew up in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but providentially has been involved in its life in remarkable ways. The son of missionaries Richard and Pauline Gaffin, he may have been the first covenant child born—on July 7, 1936, in Peiping, China—in the then twenty-six-day-old Presbyterian Church that J. Gresham Machen and others founded. When World War II broke out and the Gaffin family had to relocate to America, the entire family, including Richard Jr.’s grandparents, Harold and Jesse, poured themselves into Grace OPC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Richard Sr. pastored, Harold served on the session as a ruling elder, and Pauline gave herself endlessly in teaching youth. For Richard Jr., it was an education both in trusting Christ as the one who builds the church and in servant-leadership as modeled by his family members. In November 1947, Richard Sr. returned to China on behalf of the ... Read more

Stonehouse’s Charitable Confessionalism

Although he is undoubtedly a foundational figure of OPC history, details of Ned B. Stonehouse’s life remain vague, his theological contributions are often unrecognized, and the positions he took in ecclesiastical debates are sometimes surprising and even perplexing. Ned B. Stonehouse (March 19, 1902–November 18, 1962) was a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. He was a founding member both of the faculty of Westminster in 1929 and the Presbyterian Church of America (later OPC) in 1936. He married Winigrace (1904–1958; née Bylsma) on August 30, 1927, in Grand Rapids. They had one child, Bernard John (Chip) Stonehouse (1937–1999). After Winigrace died in 1958, Stonehouse married Margaret Robinson in 1959. Stonehouse was an internationally recognized biblical scholar and wrote several books and articles mostly addressing the Gospels and the New Testament canon. He was editor of the Westminster Theological Journal and the ... Read more

Meredith G. Kline: Controversial and Creative

Meredith G. Kline was born a century ago, on December 15, 1922, in Coplay, Pennsylvania. When he was four, his family moved to the Dorchester neighborhood in Boston, where they joined Central Congregational Church. Upon graduation from Gordon College in 1944, his inclination was ministerial preparation at Dallas Theological Seminary. Kline’s mind changed when his mother grieved at the prospect of his moving so far from home, and instead, after their wedding that summer, he and his wife, Grace, moved to Philadelphia where he enrolled at Westminster Theological Seminary. Though Kline had not come from a Calvinistic background, he quickly settled into Reformed convictions at Westminster, especially under the influence of Professor Ned Stonehouse. Particularly helpful in grounding him in amillennialism was his ThM paper on the structure of the book of Revelation. While completing two degrees in three years and raising a family with Grace (two of their three sons were born during his student years), he also ... Read more

Robert B. Strimple on the Image of God

Robert Strimple stands out as quite likely the finest dogmatic theologian to have served the OPC in training men for pastoral ministry. As a teenager in Wilmington, Delaware, he was planning on going to trade school until a high school guidance counselor encouraged his parents to send him to college. The first member of his family to attend college, he graduated as valedictorian from the University of Delaware in 1956. The previous year he had married Alice Simon, whom he met at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He then attended Westminster Theological Seminary, where his chief influences were John Murray and Cornelius Van Til. They helped him to embrace an exegetically rigorous approach to systematic theology, appreciate the deep structures of theological systems, and, in time, migrate into firm convictions regarding paedobaptism. After earning his PhD at the University of Toronto, Strimple taught at the Toronto Bible College before accepting a position at Westminster Theological Seminary. For the ... Read more