What We Believe

From the Editor. On occasion I find it useful to introduce a controversial topic. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in a growing number of states, I believe that an article making a case against the Christian’s use of recreational marijuana is important. This is not to say that the use of medical marijuana, which contains much less of the hallucinogen THC, is illegitimate. There is considerable evidence of its medical value. It is interesting to me that those who want to banish tobacco from the planet do not have more concerns with the physical and mental health risks of smoking recreational marijuana, that by its nature contains high amounts of THC (the potency of which has increased dramatically in recent decades). However, Allen Tomlinson’s article “Does the Bible Have Anything to Teach Us Regarding a Christian Using Marijuana?” deals with the question from the spiritual perspective.

David Noe continues to add to his translation of Beza on the Trinity. Special thanks to John Fesko, professor of historical theology at Westminster Seminary California, for his help with the translation of Beza, as a systematic theologian double checking the translation to ensure terminology was consistent with traditional categories—help requested by David Noe. It reminds me of Michael Polanyi’s insistence that true frontier science is a community effort. So, theology.

I review Andy Wilson’s splendid revision of a great classic: The Marrow of Modern Divinity: A Simplified Version of Edward Fisher’s Seventeenth-Century Classic. This carefully edited version of Thomas Boston’s (1676–1732) annotated edition of Edward Fisher’s (1627–1665) The Marrow of Sacred Divinity (>originally published in two parts in in 1645 and 1649) is one the best elucidations of the doctrine of justification available.

Glen J. Clary’s review article, “Recovering the Spirituality of the Church,” explores Alan Strange’s doctoral dissertation The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge. The “question of the province of the church and the nature and limits of its power” as a “spiritual institution” is of tremendous importance to the church today.

Stephen Magee reviews Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, helping us appreciate the value of good literature for ministry.

Finally, our poem this month is by George Herbert (1593–1633) from his magnum opus, The Temple (1633), “The Altar.” This poem is a fine example of concrete poetry, in which the printed poem is in the shape of the poem’s subject—in this instance a church altar. “Easter Wings” is another example in Herbert’s work. I hope this will whet your appetite to read more of this prince of the Metaphysical poets.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds


Subject Index Vols 1–25

  • “Church Government Briefly Considered.” (Greg L. Bahnsen) 4:1 (Jan. 1995): 9–10.
  • “Politics and the Separation of State from Religion.” (Charles H. Spurgeon) 5:1 (Jan. 1996): 14–15.
  • “Charles Hodge on Presbyterian Union & Ecumenicity.” (D. G. Hart & John R. Muether) 7:2 (Apr. 1998): 35–37.
  • “The Spirituality of the Church.” (D. G. Hart & John R. Muether) 7:3 (Jul. 1998): 64–66. [reprinted 15 (2006): 87–89]
  • “Church and State in Historical Perspective.” (Alan D. Strange) 16 (2007): 93–100.
  • “The Decline of Christianity in the West? A Contrarian View.” (T. David Gordon) 16 (2007): 84–93.
  • “What is the State For?” (Gregory Edward Reynolds) 16 (2007): 22–26.
  • “City on a Hill: Caesar’s or God’s?” (Richard M. Gamble) 17 (2008): 127–29.
  • “Christ in the Midst of Culture: The Church as Embassy.” (Gregory Edward Reynolds) 18 (2009): 10–14.
  • “How Does Scripture Speak to Politics?” (Cale Horne) 23 (2014): 98–103
  • “Exercising Wisdom about ‘All Things’” (Andy Wilson) 25 (2016): 47–51.
  • “Living under Foreign Law” (Randy Beck) 25 (2016): 38–42.

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 will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.

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