From the Editor. In this double issue Andy Wilson explores a topic that is always in view in every human culture—happiness. Since there is little consensus in our pluralistic society, it is important to distinguish a Christian view, which is rooted in the historic incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wilson also reviews a popular book on happiness from a secular perspective, The Good Life. It is important, especially for church officers, to know what the best secular thinkers are thinking. They often have excellent insight with good advice because of God’s common grace to all his image bearers. Also, in this case it is nice to contrast a secular view of happiness with a biblical view.

I present chapter 5 of my book The Voice of the Good Shepherd. Chapters 3 and 4 dealt with the primacy of preaching in the Bible and church history. Chapter 5 begins part 2 of the book (chapters 5–8), “The Good Shepherd Speaks Today,” and sets forth an understanding of preaching as a medium in “God’s Medium: Tongues of Fire.” This situates preaching among all media of communication, distinguishing it as a natural medium in the midst of a plethora of electronic inventions. The hubris of post-Enlightenment modernity leads us to believe that electronic means are always superior; thus, Christians and their leaders need to be encouraged to highly value live pastoral preaching, i.e., the regular preaching in the local church.

Alan D. Strange continues his “Commentary on the Book of Discipline of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church” with chapter 5 dealing with cases without full process. This chapter is used frequently by sessions and should be paid careful attention to.

An Older Elder presents us with letter #6 to a younger ruling elder. He discusses the importance of elders getting to know their pastors. These letters would be worth reading aloud at session meetings or shared in print with younger elders.

Ryan McGraw presents a mixed review in his review article “Muddying the Baptismal Waters?” He reviews Washed by God: The Story of Baptism by Karl Deenick, applauding his coverage of the history of baptism, including its Old Testament roots. However, several important weaknesses that McGraw discovers in the book “stem from a defective view of the sacraments in relation to the covenant of grace.”

John Fesko’s review of The Holy Spirit by Robert Letham recommends the book as a “very good contribution to the field” but suggests three ways to enhance the book: 1) covering the nineteenth-century development of the doctrine; 2) referring more to the Westminster Standards; 3) expansion of some important sections of the book.

In Servant News, I am repeating our announcement from last month. The board of trustees of Great Commission Publications is seeking a new executive director as Mark Lowery intends to retire after his many years developing the Sunday School curriculum (as well as many other publications) and his recent years of guiding this joint venture between the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America through the difficult time of the pandemic.

As of July 1 the Mobi format will no longer be available for Ordained Servant or New Horizons. Over time it has proved to be difficult to set up and access. Our webmaster Stephen Pribble will be sending around a more extended explanation.

Our poem “Sonnet LXXII” (72) by Edmund Spencer (1552–99) is from Amoretti (little loves), a book containing eighty-nine sonnets and several poems. It was published with Epithalamion, a long poem in honor of his bride, in 1595. Spenser was one of the greatest English poets of his age. This sonnet was written about the courtship of Spenser’s wife and laments mortality but resolves to find a bit of heaven on earth. Notice that earth is an anagram of heart.

The cover photo is of John Stark, whose victory at the battle of Bennington (VT) marked a turning point in the Revolutionary War. I have chosen it as a pointer to heaven where our real happiness lies.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds

FROM THE ARCHIVES: “HAPPINESS” (cumulative index available here)

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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