April 2015 Ordained Servant

A Journal for Church Officers

E-ISSN 1931-7115


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From the Editor. What sounds in our ears shapes our souls. This is why, amidst the variety of sounds in our lives—many of which are dissonant—we need catechism. The essential truth of God’s Word sounded in our ears is a tool to shape authentic Christian lives. Church officers should already be convinced of this, since we have each taken vows to uphold and promote the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. So Tom Tyson’s article, “A Dozen Reasons Why Catechizing Is Important,” is meant to help us convince our congregants of the necessity of catechizing.

Everett Henes continues on this theme with his review of Donald Van Dyken’s Rediscovering Catechism.

It was G. I. Williamson who helped me, as a young Christian, not rediscover, but discover the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. Tom Tyson provided the stick-figure illustrations. Both men have been pioneers in rediscovering the treasure and blessing of catechizing in our Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. The number of articles dealing with confessions and catechisms (listed below in “from the Archives”), published since the inception of Ordained Servant, under Williamson’s capable leadership, demonstrates the importance these documents in the life of our church. We owe these men a debt of gratitude.

Over the several decades since I was ordained, I have watched that rediscovery unfold as our church has incorporated catechizing into our Great Commission Publications Sunday school curricula and published its first complete volume of the Confession and Catechisms with revised proof texts (The Confession of Faith and Catechisms of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2005).

Jim Cassidy’s review of Grounded in the Gospel by J. I. Packer and Gary Parrett uncovers rich historical material, but disappointing suggestions for catechetical innovations. But the best recent development in this rediscovery of our confessional tradition is found in the scholarly work of Chad Van Dixhoorn. His ground-breaking five-volume Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643–1653 (Oxford, 2012) laid the foundation for his Confessing the Faith: A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith. Bob Letham comments on the general usefulness of this volume in the life and ministry of the church: “As Carl Trueman states, it should be read and used by all elders, by Sunday school teachers, and church members.”

Shane Lems reviews Capill, The Heart Is the Target, and suggests that the book will be a great help to preachers in applying God’s Word.

Finally, a poetic attempt by your editor, to describe the value of catechizing as an antidote to the world’s dissonant sounds.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds


Subject Index

  • “The Nature, Limits, and Place of Exceptions and Scruples in Subscription to Our Doctrinal Standards.” (Gregory Edward Reynolds) 23 (2014).
  • “How Much Catechesis? The Case for a Maximalist Approach to Membership Classes” (Ken Golden) 21 (2012):41–45.
  • “Biblical Theology and the Confessing Church.” (Gregory Edward Reynolds) 17 (2008): 40–47.
  • “Pilgrimage in the Mode of Hope: Thoughts on the Usefulness of Catechism.” (Mark A. Garcia) 16 (2007): 79–84.
  • “The Necessity of a Doctrinal Map” (Gregory Edward Reynolds) 16 (2007): 11–13.
  • “The Religion of the Catechism.” (D. G. Hart) 16 (2007): 73–78.
  • “On Being a Confessional Church.” (Gregory E. Reynolds) 13:1 (Jan. 2004): 11–13.
  • “What Does it Mean to Subscribe to the Westminster Standards?” (G. I. Williamson) 13:1 (Jan. 2004): 8–10.
  • “Confessional Integrity: A Plea for Restraint” (G. I. Williamson) 12:4 (Oct. 2003): i–ii.
  • “Biblical Theology and the Session – Part 1: Redemptive History and the Church’s Confession of Faith.” (James S. Gidley) 9:2 (Apr. 2000): 35–38.
  • “The Confessional Subscription Debate at Westminster Theological Seminary in California.” (Graham Harbman) 9:2 (Apr. 2000): 39–42.
  • “Confidence in Our Brethren: Creedal Subscription in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.” (John R. Muether) 5:1 (Jan. 1996): 2–7.
  • “Editorial [on Subscription Vows].” (G. I. Williamson) 1:3 (Sep. 1992): 49–50.
  • “The Freedom and Limits of Christian Reflection.” (Robert Letham) 6:2 (Apr. 1997): 43–45.
  • “On Being a Confessional Church.” (G. I. Williamson) 5:1 (Jan. 1996): 8–9.
  • “Remarks on Church and Tolerance.” (J. Kamphuis) 3:1 (Jan. 1994): 9–16.

Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God-glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders, and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high-quality editorials, articles, and book reviews we endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.

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

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