May 2011 Ordained Servant

A Journal for Church Officers

E-ISSN 1931-7115

Special Grief



A Pastoral Response to Complicated Grief

The Danger of Excessive Grief

When Helping Hurts

Wired for Intimacy

The Whole Counsel of God

"If Only"

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From the Editor. Grief comes in many forms. Our pastoral series on ministry to the dying and grieving continues (see "from the Archives" below) in this issue with two articles on special or excessive grief. Pastor Cook deals with "complicated" grief as both a pastor and a trained hospital and hospice chaplain. He very helpfully harnesses the best common grace insights into abnormal grieving in the service of advice to pastors who encounter this sort of grief. Pastor Tracey draws from his well of pastoral experience to bring a gentle warning against excessive grief. He acknowledges his debt to Puritan John Flavel's work A Token for Mourners, recently republished as a separate volume by the Banner of Truth Trust.

Stephen Tracey also reviews the first volume (God's Mighty Acts in the Old Testament) of the ambitious new project (The Whole Counsel of God, 3 volumes) by systematic theology professor Richard C. Gamble.

Pastor Bill Shishko reviews two very practical books dealing with helping the poor in ways that truly help (When Helping Hurts); and the perennial problem of pornography (Wired for Intimacy). Each book comes highly recommended for its respective audience; the former for deacons, and the latter for pastors and elders.

Finally, don't miss another poem by Christina Rossetti "If Only." Although she is well known for the hymns that use her poems for texts ("In the Bleak Mid-winter" and "None Other Lamb"), the rich and varied corpus of her work is largely unknown to Christians. Critic Harold Bloom praises her for her poetic prowess, "endlessly skilled in diction and metric." Combine this literary skill with strong Christian faith and you have a poet in a class with Herbert and Donne.

Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds



  • "A Life and Death Matter." (G. I. Williamson) 8:2 (Mar. 1999): 39-41.
  • "Pastoral Care for the Dying, Part 1." (Gordon Cook, Jr.) 19 OSO (Jan. 2010).
  • "Pastoral Care for the Dying, Part 2." (Gordon Cook, Jr.) 19 OSO (Feb. 2010).
  • "Pastoring the Dying and the Mourning." (Joel R. Beeke) 13:4 (Oct. 2004): 76-87.
  • "Pastoral Response to Grief" (Gordon Cook, Jr.) 19 OSO (June-July 2010).
  • "Books on Grieving: A Bibliographical Essay" (Gordon Cook, Jr. and Gregory Reynolds) 19 OSO (June-July 2010).

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 endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.

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Contact the Editor: Gregory Edward Reynolds

Editorial address: Dr. Gregory Edward Reynolds,
827 Chestnut St.
Manchester, NH 03104-2522
Telephone: 603-668-3069

Electronic mail: reynolds.1@opc.org

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