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May 26, 2003 Q & A

Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the OPC

Question:

I notice on your website that the OPC has established ecclesiastical fellowship with a number of Reformed denominations. But I notice that the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in America is not one of them. I am curious as to why.

Answer:

Thank you for your question. The OPC does not have ecclesiastical relations with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church because the latter has embraced the practice of ordaining women as ministers, elders, and deacons. This is not to say that we do not regard them as a true church of Jesus Christ, but the Apostle Paul is clear on the subject in 1 Timothy 2:12-14 concerning the role of women in the church. (A similar point could be argued from 1 Corinthians 11:3, although we will not take time to argue that in detail here.)

Now, the OPC does approve of woman teaching small children and young people up to the age of adolescence. Also women may teach women in the church. But above the ages of youth, men should be the teachers.

Even though in many circles this doctrine is held in contempt, note that in Genesis 2:18 God said, "I will make a helper suitable for him." Woman was created not to compete with man, but to complement him in his labors.

In Ephesians 6:4 fathers are addressed to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Verses 1 & 2 refer to both parents: "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise)." Honor includes obedience (as in verse 1), especially with children still in the home. Fathers are given ultimate responsibility, although both parents are to be obeyed.

In Scripture headship is nowhere divided, as though there were two heads in a home. In a well-ordered Christian home, headship is shared. Nevertheless, the father is the person of final authority. In the passages cited from 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, it is clear that there should be male headship not only in the home, but also in the church.

I hope this answers your question. And please feel free to return to our website with further questions.

 

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