From the Editor. What are the three most published books in the English language? Most would guess one correctly, the Bible; fewer would guess Shakespeare; probably almost no one would guess Agatha Christie. Shakespeare in second and Christie in third is linked, I believe, with what a great influence God’s Word had on both. George Morrison makes this case in his 1928 book Christ in Shakespeare: Ten Addresses on Moral and Spiritual Elements in Some of the Greater Plays.[1] This month four hundred years ago Shakespeare’s first folio edition was published in London. For those interested, there are fascinating articles at the Folger Library website (https://www.folger.edu/explore/shakespeare-in-print/first-folio/) and the Fine Books and Collections website (https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/news/shakespeare-first-folio-major-celebration-folger). Also, this is the 100th anniversary of Robert Frost’s fifth book of poetry, New Hampshire, which begins with the long poem “New Hampshire” and includes “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” with its own biblical reference.

Our main article this month is Pastor Allen Tomlinson’s “Do! Do! Do! Back to the Same Old Legalism.” The Martha Complex has been a problem among believers since Adam’s fall and is especially noted by Luke (10:38–42). While Tomlinson addresses pastors in terms of their preaching, much of this article applies to every member. I remember speaking with a pastor’s wife years ago who deeply resented being labeled a Martha, because she was tasked with work that others should have been helping with. Tomlinson emphasizes the centrality of God’s grace in service.

Chapter 8 of my book on homiletics, The Voice of the Good Shepherd, deals with “Hearing God’s Word in the Modern World.” This is as beneficial for worshippers as it is for preachers. I cover “Dangers to Avoid” and “Attitudes and Practices to Cultivate.”

Alan Strange completes his excellent “Commentary on the Book of Discipline of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church” with chapter 9, dealing with complaints. This commentary will be published sometime next year.

An Older Elder presents his penultimate offering in “Letters to a Younger Ruling Elder, No. 9: The Elder, the Session, and Leadership.” I hope that many sessions will read and discuss these thoughtful letters.

I rarely review books that will not be useful for the officers of Christ’s church, but now and then I find a book that seems to be popular among our brothers and sisters that raises red flags for me. Meredith M. Kline’s review article “A Tale of Two Exegetes” compares the exegesis of key Old Testament passages in Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible with Meredith G. Kline’s own work. Both Kline and Heiser have a strong commitment to the supernatural, invisible world presented in the Bible, but Kline’s exegesis is more clearly in keeping with the hermeneutics of the Bible and the Westminster Confession.

Nathan P. Strom reviews Lane Tipton’s new book, The Trinitarian Theology of Cornelius Van Til, in his review article “Cornelius Van Til’s Trinitarian Theology.” This formidable theologian, apologist, and churchman formed a large part of the original foundation of the OPC, as John Muether demonstrates in his biography of Van Til.[2]

This month, Shakespeare’s poem “Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun” looks at death positively, implying the blessing of the ultimate sabbath rest. The poem comes from his play Cymbeline, Act IV.

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] George H. Morrison, Christ in Shakespeare: Ten Addresses on Moral and Spiritual Elements in Some of the Greater Plays (James Clarke, 1928).

[2] John R. Muether, Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman (Phillipsburg, NJ, 2008).

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