I guess it was inevitable that I should become an editor later in life. I was the editor of my high school yearbook for the class of 1967. I enjoyed the collaborative effort. We won the University of New Hampshire high school yearbook award that year. I was somewhat oblivious to the honor as I was headed for a career in architecture, never dreaming that I would end up an editor for sixteen years. There is another irony. I feared public speaking, so my assistant editor, who loved the limelight and was a gifted speaker, happily took that responsibility—then I became a minister, speaking in public for over four decades two to three times a week. God’s ways are indeed mysterious.

Samuel Johnson defined the lexicographer as a “harmless drudge.” He might have defined the editor in a similar fashion, since editor and lexicographer are both word gatherers, but as I begin my seventeenth year as editor of Ordained Servant, I should like to own the “harmless” attribute and eschew the “drudge.” There is, to be sure, drudgery in editing—late submissions, improper formatting, missing citations, etc., but for me, above all, assisting in edifying my fellow church officers brings a joy that easily supersedes the small drudgery.

I am reminded of the classical trio of transcendental realities: the good, the true, and the beautiful. They embody a summary of what I have tried to accomplish in Ordained Servant over the years. The good represents the ethics of the Christian life rooted in the Trinity—a life well lived. The true represents all that our God has revealed in his Word about who he is, how he has redeemed us, and how we are to live before him and with our fellow man. The beautiful is seen in the way the good and the true present themselves in literature, poetry, art, and in all creative human endeavors as well crafted.

I have sought to broaden the exposure of officers to the culture in which we are embedded to witness the gospel. The original intent of OS’s first editor was the laudable goal of revitalizing the offices of elder and deacon. Given the presence of much material on these offices in the OS archives, I have sought to expand the material available to ministers without neglecting the elders. Although, since ministers and elders form sessions, I always have the two offices in view. There are over twenty articles in the OS archives under the topics “Elders” and “Deacons,” besides many more that pertain to those offices such as “Visitation” and Tithing.” Deacons also now have regular denominational summits. Elders are about to receive special attention through a series of podcasts. Serving all three offices remains my goal as editor.

Since our high standard for the ministerial office requires a liberal arts degree, I have sought to help ministers see how that broad exposure to culture relates to the ministry of the Word and their pastoral duties. This has, at times, included reviewing books on important topics written by those outside the Christian faith. I have sought to promote the value of poetry and literature for preachers as an aid to their craft as wordsmiths, but also for the edification and pleasure of all Christians served by our officers. It has been gratifying to have a number of men and women say how much they enjoy the poetry, some of whom were enjoying poetry for the first time. We must ever be in the business of expanding our understanding of our task in the complex world in which we minister.

*          *          *

As I look to the future of my editing task, I realize that an editor is a complex creature, whose perceptions and sensibilities are varied, and thus in my case different in some ways from others who have edited the OPC’s two periodicals. I will continue to attempt to understand what officers in the church need, what might help them fulfill their callings better. I will also continue to unabashedly introduce new ideas and interests of my own, which I hope will expand the interests of officers, intent on ministering to their congregations. This is what editors do. And while I am always seeking to respond to the needs of officers, this personal trajectory is something that editors cannot deny or avoid. That other editors could do better or at least differently I do not deny.

I intend to continue to follow our original mission statement by helping to encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God-glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am always committed to working within the boundaries of our confessional commitment. I have taken a vow to do so.

I want to cover issues that threaten the unity and faith of the church. These issues come from within the church and from outside. They often come from our culture and infect the church. In its worst form these beliefs and practices come in the guise of true spirituality within the church. An example would be the idea of many American Christians that formal membership or a membership role book are unspiritual, when in fact the biblical case for these is overwhelming. This is the spirit of radical individualism in the guise of true spirituality. How easily cultural assumptions can be mistaken for Christian principles and ideals.

As mentioned above, OS will be developing a podcast, initially focused on elders. We are planning a series of interviews on topics specifically related to the various tasks of elders.

I will continue to foster close contact with the Committee on Ministerial Care to stay in touch with ministerial concerns. As my generation of ministers retires from full time pastoral ministry, issues such as retirement, financial planning, ministerial transition, etc., will become more of a concern.

I am always open to new ideas and unsolicited articles and reviews. And I am deeply grateful to all who make OS possible.

Why did I title this article “Grace in Winter”? It is the title of Faith Cook’s book which puts several of Samuel Rutherford’s (1600–1661) choice and eloquent letters into verse.[1] Rutherford said, “Grace grows best in winter.” This little book meant a great deal to me during a difficult time in my ministry in 1989 and after. Each church officer encounters suffering and difficulty in the lives of those to whom he ministers and also experiences this himself in his own life and ministry. In a sense all of life in a fallen world is in the season of winter in desperate need of the light and warmth of the gospel. It is my constant hope that in a small way Ordained Servant helps to alleviate the wintery conditions with which we all deal from day to day and provide a path forward through the snow.

[1] Faith Cook, Grace in Winter: Rutherford in Verse (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1989).

Ordained Servant Online, January 2022.

Publication Information

Contact the Editor: Gregory Edward Reynolds

Editorial address: Dr. Gregory Edward Reynolds,
827 Chestnut St.
Manchester, NH 03104-2522
Telephone: 603-668-3069

Electronic mail: reynolds.1@opc.org

Submissions, Style Guide, and Citations


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Ordained Servant: January 2022

Ordained Servant at 30

Also in this issue

Reflections on Ordained Servant at Thirty

Ordained Servant at Thirty

The Writings of Meredith G. Kline on the Book of Revelation: Chapter 7, “Har Magedon: The End of the Millennium” (1996)

Commentary on the Form of Government of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Chapter 23, part 2

Digital Life Together: The Challenge of Technology for Christian Schools by David I. Smith, Kara Sevensma, Marjorie Terpstra, and Steven McMullen

Duplex Regnum Christi: Christ’s Twofold Kingdom in Reformed Theology by Jonathon D. Beeke

Ordained Servant Survey

The Calendar of Life

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