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Question and Answer

Who Is Allowed to Guest Preach?


I am curious if the OPC has any sort of stance on who is allowed to guest preach. I realize that rural churches have fewer choices, but I wonder if the guest pastor chosen should be under any certain guidelines—as in ecclesiastical fellowship with our denomination.


Thank you for your question. There are no particular strictures set forth in the way that you suggest (as to denomination, e.g.), although the session is specifically charged in this way in the Directory for the Public Worship of God:

The session is to give diligence that no person enter the pulpit concerning whose soundness in doctrine and life, or knowledge of Scripture, there is reasonable doubt. (DPW 2.A.3.c.)

Elsewhere, the session is given general oversight of the worship:

The session is charged with maintaining the government of the congregation. It shall oversee all matters concerning the conduct of public worship … (FG 13.7)

… further cementing its role in “guarding” the sacred desk (to use historic language).

All this is to say that while our Book of Church Order does not presume to dictate to sessions who may enter the pulpit (as to his denomination or the like), it does charge and give oversight to sessions in the ways noted above. Particularly, the stricture in the DPW (cited above) means that only men known to be sound (in life and doctrine) should come into the pulpit and, by extension, only sound preaching (in keeping with the Scriptures and our doctrinal standards) should be heard in our pulpits.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those people who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by e-mail. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two (2) weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

© 2019 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church



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