What We Believe
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Opportunities to Serve the Lord

Vacation Bible school (VBS) is a great blessing because it gives the church an opportunity to do what the Lord has called her to do—proclaim the excellences of our life-giving Lord, fellowship with one another, edify God's people for growth and service, nurture our covenant children, and worship the Lord. For the pastor, it provides an opportunity to do the work of an evangelist and be personally involved in teaching and equipping disciples. What a joy it is to go door-to-door with the children of the church and eyeball them during a lesson! For all the teachers and helpers, VBS opens a door for witness to the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation. It gives covenant young people an opportunity to invite friends and neighborhood children who are without Christ and have no church affiliation to hear the gospel, with the prayer that they might trust in Christ alone for salvation. VBS is a blessing because, though we are weak, our hope and strength are in our strong God, who is able to save... Read more

How Faith Does the Work of VBS

From the earliest days of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, vacation Bible school (VBS) has been a challenge. In the days before New Horizons magazine, a number of articles appeared in the Presbyterian Guardian encouraging churches not to give up holding VBS, despite the difficulty of getting people to say yes when asked to teach or serve. Everyone acknowledged that the time and effort put into VBS were enormous, not to mention the nervous exhaustion of teachers and volunteers who were already busy with life. In recent years, many wives and mothers-historically the backbone of VBS-have worked at jobs outside of the home to help support their families. They struggle to find time for VBS. The perennial question then and now is, "Should we have a summer Bible school?" Many churches have decided that the difficulties outweigh the rewards and have cancelled VBS. Meanwhile, Faith OPC in Pole Tavern, New Jersey, has embraced VBS with tremendous results. The adults see VBS as a blessing to the church and... Read more

Hospitality: Help for the Hesitant

If you break into a sweat at the thought of having a family over for Sunday lunch, or your pulse races when the minister asks you to host a missionary overnight, this article is for you. You're in a quandary. First Timothy 3:2 talks about hospitality as a qualification of overseers. That means your husband, if he is an elder, may have to show hospitality, but not the wife. You're relieved, but in the back of your mind you know you are your husband's helpmeet, so you might have to make the meal anyway. Your temples throb. If you aren't married to an elder, are you off the hook? Not really. In Romans 12:13, Paul instructs us to "seek to show hospitality." He doesn't limit this obligation to those who have a special gift for this sort of thing, or to those who can afford a cleaning lady, or to stay-at-home moms or empty-nesters. Even widows in 1 Timothy 5:10 show hospitality. And there's no mention whether your cooking rivals Betty Crocker's or your house is spotless. So even if we burn frozen pizza, or... Read more

Turning Points in American Presbyterian History
Part 13: Presbyterian Reunion in 1983

For over three million American Presbyterians, the Civil War ended on June 10, 1983, when the Northern Presbyterian Church (UPCUSA) merged with the Southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS) to form the Presbyterian Church (USA). The union was celebrated in Georgia, the state where the division occurred 122 years before. Union was a long time in coming. Sporadic Northern-initiated efforts started as early as 1870, but earnest discussions began after World War II, with the establishment of comity agreements on home and foreign soil, union churches, and eventually union presbyteries. More significantly, Southern Presbyterians gradually caught up to the progressive agenda of the North, approving the ordination of women to the ministry in 1964 and adopting a book of multiple confessions in 1975. In taking the latter step, they followed the North in redefining a confession as a "witness to God's saving activity," rather than the affirmation of specific doctrines. Two controversial judicial cases set the stage for... Read more

Helps for Worship #6: The Order of Worship

"Let all things be done decently and in order." (1 Cor. 14:40 KJV) The word liturgy means "order of worship." It comes from a Greek word meaning "public work," especially as rendered in a religious service. All churches have a liturgy. Some have thought more about what an "order of worship" should be than others have. In all cases, an order of worship guides us as to how we are to do the public work of giving God the glory that is due to his name. Those in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition see the order of worship as a dialogue between God and man. Isaiah 6:1ff. provides the pattern for this understanding. God is present and he is praised. The prophet humbles himself and pleads for forgiveness of his sins. God graciously grants forgiveness. Then God speaks to Isaiah, giving him his commission as a prophet. Isaiah responds in faith and obedience. Those are the essential elements of all worship—personal, family, and corporate. In our "liturgy" (order of worship), note that the dialogue... Read more

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