From the Editor. The idea of revising our secondary standards (The Confession of Faith and Catechisms) is one that should, by its very nature, stimulate debate. Full disclosure: I am a member of the Committee on Christian Education (CCE) and have thus participated in the discussions that have resulted in the documents produced by the CCE and published in last year’s Minutes of the Eighty-Fifth General Assembly (2018). I am publishing this portion of the CCE’s report this month, which is a response to an overture at the Eighty-Third (2016) General Assembly.

As a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America Dr. T. David Gordon has a vested interest in our proposed revision of our standards since the PCA uses our version of those standards. He offers a cogent argument against revision, “Why We Should Not Revise the Standards: Three Reasonable Reasons (And a Proposed Alternative).”

Musicologist Timothy Shafer reviews Leland Ryken’s 40 Favorite Hymns on the Christian Life: A Closer Look at their Spiritual and Poetic Meaning. In this fine little book Leland Ryken brings all of his poetic experience as a master teacher to bear on the subject of hymnody. It should serve as a salutary antidote to the thinning content of much of what passes for worship song today. Shafer also reviews a fascinating history of the hymnal, Christopher Phillips’s The Hymnal: A Reading History.

William Edgar reviews Os Guinness’s latest offering, Last Call for Liberty: How America's Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat in which Guinness warns of the dire consequences of losing our God-given civic freedoms as a culture.

Wallace King reviews The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860–1865. This diary provides a unique glimpse of the American Civil War through the eyes of a bed-ridden young man, raised in a Southern Presbyterian home and church. LeRoy Gresham is an older brother of Mary “Minnie” Gresham, mother of J. Gresham Machen.

Finally, don’t miss Gerard Manley Hopkins’s delightful and profound poem “Spring.” This Italian sonnet exemplifies the poetic movement from the natural (the octave) to the spiritual (the sestet) order—a skill perfected by Hopkins. It reminds us that whether or not we perceive it, we live in God’s wonderful world.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds


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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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