From the Editor. Two major topics in this month’s OS reminded me of Francis Schaeffer, with whom I studied in the early seventies. Shortly after becoming a Christian, while living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I read everything Schaeffer had written, beginning with The God Who Is There in the spring of 1971, and just before leaving for Switzerland in August, Pollution and the Death of Man. Here I was in the heart of the liberal establishment (I did not attend Harvard but worked for an architect in Harvard Square) reading someone who understood what was going on in the world from a Christian perspective. This was a whole new intellectual and spiritual world for me. Schaeffer was calling Christians to be good stewards of God’s creation, unlike Fundamentalists or many Evangelicals at the time, while critiquing the environmentalist left. On the second topic he was one of the first to note the dangers of ethical and epistemological relativism invading the American academy and the culture.

Even though some on the cutting edge of the Christian environmental movement now reject the word stewardship because they claim the word is never used in Scripture, I demur, because the concept is clearly present in God’s Word. Ecology comes from the Greek word for household (oikos οἶκος) which involves not only a critical understanding of an environment but also the stewardship of that environment. Joseph was a steward of Potiphar’s household. Human beings, made in God’s image, and living in God’s world, are called to be stewards of the created environment.

Jan Dudt’s article “Ecology and Environmentalism: A Christian Perspective” and review of Beyond Stewardship: New Approaches to Creation Care, by David P. Warners and Matthew K. Heun, eds., provide an excellent update of Schaeffer’s fifty-year-old concern. The Reformed doctrine of creation provides a healthy antidote to the worship of creation that motivates much of the environmental movement. Dudt makes this clear along with his critical analysis of the essays in Beyond Stewardship.

Regarding the second issue mentioned above, Danny Olinger’s “Smorgasbord Religion: The New American Spirituality,” reviews a disturbing and important new book, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World by Tara Isabella Burton.[1] The new arena of choice and self-invention created by the electronic environment has radically altered contemporary spirituality, highlighting the development of ethical and epistemological relativism. This review and the book give an accurate picture of the cultural environment in which we minister and seek to plant churches. It should be very useful to pastors and sessions.

On a happier note, William Edgar’s review of The Reading Life: The Joy of Seeing New Worlds Through Others’ Eyes by C. S. Lewis is a fascinating review of Lewis’s concept of deep reading, or as Edgar reminds us, we should let books read us, not vice versa. While the book consists of excerpts of Lewis’s writings, Lewis’s classic on this topic should be consulted for further elucidation: An Experiment in Criticism.[2]

Charles Wingard reviews what looks like an unusually helpful book for preachers, The Preacher’s Catechism by Lewis Allen. It deals with the preacher as well as his task.

Alan Strange continues his excellent commentary on the OPC Form of Government with chapters 5 and 6.

Don’t miss Christina Rossetti’s delightful poem, “Weary In Well-Doing.” The importance of calling and contentment in the Christian life has never been so beautifully said. Emma Mason’s theological biography, Christina Rossetti: Poetry, Ecology, Faith,[3] looks like an engrossing read.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds


Subject Index

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.


[1] Tara Isabella Burton, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World (New York: Hachette, 2020).

[2] C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1961).

[3] Emma Mason, Christina Rossetti: Poetry, Ecology, Faith (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

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