Out of Many, One: A Motto for Orthodox Presbyterians

Throughout the Revolutionary War, the thirteen colonies struggled to trust one another and work together. In order to defeat the British, they had to see themselves as one. Ben Franklin warned the other leaders of the Continental Congress that they all had to hang together in the struggle for independence, or else they would hang separately as traitors. In 1776, the Great Seal Committee of the Continental Congress chose the Latin phrase e pluribus unum —"Out of many, one"—for the motto of the fledgling United States of America. They recognized that the thirteen colonies would have to stand together or lose their battle. That Latin phrase can still be found on our coins and on the one dollar bill. Many times of testing have come in America's history. The pluribus seems at times more apparent than the unum , but both remain fundamentally true. Maybe the Orthodox Presbyterian Church can learn something from this part of American history. A Presbyterian History Lesson Do we in the ... Read more

The Reality of the Resurrection

I meet a lot of folks who don't really believe in the reality of the resurrection. I am talking about Christians—even Orthodox Presbyterians. They believe many things that they read in their Bibles, but not that there will be a resurrection of the dead. Many folks say they believe in Christ's resurrection. But you can find out very quickly whether or not they really believe in Christ's resurrection by asking them a simple question: Where do you hope to spend eternity? Too many Christians, I'm afraid, would answer, "In heaven." But that answer, if it is without qualification, belies a belief in the resurrection. Body and Soul In the early church, a group of heretics called Docetists did not believe in the Incarnation. They believed that the Son of God only looked like a man—he didn't actually become one. This meant that he only appeared to die on the cross. And then, of course, he did not actually rise from the dead. This is very different from biblical doctrine. God carefully ... Read more

Turning Points in American Presbyterian History
Part 14: Conclusion: Without Illusions

American Presbyterianism turns three hundred this year. But do we have a heritage worth celebrating? Does the Orthodox Presbyterian Church stand on the shoulders of venerable Presbyterian ancestors? Anniversaries provide a good occasion for reflection, not only on the successes of the past, but also on the failings that the study of the past makes all too obvious. One way to assess the strength and vitality of American Presbyterianism is to look at membership statistics. In 2001, there were nearly 5.6 million Americans who identified themselves as Presbyterian—the sixth largest religious affiliation in the United States, behind Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Pentecostals. But that accounts for only 2 percent of the entire American population. Furthermore, only 49 percent of these Presbyterians attend church weekly. The largest denomination, the mainline Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has 2.4 million members, which makes it the tenth largest denomination in the United States. ... Read more

Helps for Worship #7: The Salutation

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:3, etc.) The order of worship, as presented in the bulletin, often uses unusual words, like salutation , invocation , and benediction . All of these terms have a biblical basis. By understanding them, you will have a better experience of corporate worship. Many churches do not have a salutation at the beginning of worship. Believers gather on Sunday. They are called to worship God. They sing. They pray. They listen to the Word of God read and preached. At best, they think of God as speaking to them. The Bible's view of worship is far grander than this! All of the New Testament letters written to churches (i.e., written to be read in churches during a gathering for worship) begin with a greeting (formally known as a salutation), such as the one given at the head of this article. God himself greets his gathered people through the minister. The greeting not only indicates that God himself is with them, ... Read more


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