From the Editor. In 1980, at my first General Assembly in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the late Bernard “Chip” Stonehouse exhorted rookie commissioners to wait five years before we opened our mouths in debate. Fresh out of seminary, I thought my Old School theology made my theological position superior to Chip’s on most questions. However, I am pleased to have heeded his exhortation. Over the past several decades I have been privileged to observe and participate in a system of church government based on principles that are self-consciously biblical. It has been difficult at times to learn to think and communicate in a way different from my native egalitarian—read Congregational— instincts.

The question that comes after we learn to think before we speak is: How do we speak when we do? Over two decades ago Elder Jim Gidley, moderator of the 67th General Assembly, addressed the 68th General Assembly in 2001 with an exhortation based on Romans 12:1, titled “A Living Sacrifice.” May this powerful encouragement to love and humility help set the tone for our upcoming assembly.

Alan Strange provides his commentary on the last three chapters of the Form of Government. This invaluable resource for officers and others will be published early next year.

Two reviews remind us of a better way of interpreting Scripture. T. David Gordon’s review article, “Dueling Methods,” reviews Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew by Hans Boersma, a systematic theologian, and Five Things Biblical Scholars Wish Theologians Knew by Scot McKnight, a biblical theologian. 

Interestingly, McKnight misses Craig Carter’s important work on premodern exegesis in his bibliography.[1] Boersma, on the other hand, not only includes Carter in his bibliography but also refers favorably to David Steinmetz’s famous 1980 article, “The Superiority of Pre-critical Exegesis.”[2] The revival of interest in more ancient ways of interpreting Scripture and doing theology is a salutary movement. Richard Muller has demonstrated conclusively that Post Reformation scholastic theologians, contrary to popular opinion, built their systems on sound exegesis, imitating a Pauline hermeneutic. Which brings me to the next review.

William Edgar reviews The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis: How Great Books Shaped a Great Mind by Jason M. Baxter. The least explored aspect of Lewis is his Medievalism. It shaped his epistemology along premodern lines, thus, like Boersma, inviting us to seek and enjoy a supernatural hermeneutic, while eschewing a positivism that reduces our view of Scripture and reality to the mundane.

Back to the subject of church government, Ryan McGraw reviews a book on a subject rarely published today, church government. Guy Prentiss Waters’s Well Ordered, Living Well: A Field Guide to Presbyterian Church Government is a readable, fair, and convincing treatment of the subject, showing how biblical church government fosters the health of the church.

Our poem in this issue is by Mark Green, a sonnet meditation on Daniel 3, “Daniel’s Hope.”

The cover picture is of the 82nd General Assembly (2015) at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds



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] Craig Carter, Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2018).

[2] David C. Steinmetz, “The Superiority of Pre-critical Exegesis,” Theology Today 37 (1980).

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