About the OPC
[Click here for Spanish version]
In the next few minutes, we'd like to take the opportunity to help you get to know us better. We're the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Our purpose is simple:
- to bring glory to God through our churches and individual lives
- to make known to the world the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ
Committed to God
You'll find Orthodox Presbyterian churches of many sizes in many communities throughout North America. All are called to demonstrate the love of God and the relevance of Christ's message of deliverance to a society that is weary of sin, hollow materialism, and shattered relationships.
We enjoy meeting together to worship our Creator and Redeemer. In worship, God's people adore him, bring him thanks, ask for his help, and receive the blessing of his presence. Through the preaching of the gospel, God announces his saving acts and calls people to believing and obedient response to his Word.
Through faithful teaching, our members grow spiritually. We seek to obey God's laws because such obedience pleases him. So we not only embrace the teaching of God's Word, but also strive to demonstrate its application in our lives.
Our churches care about people. We show concern for the poor and for victims of such catastrophes as famines and earthquakes. We'll show you this love and concern as you involve yourself with us. Our goal and purpose can be summed up in the motto of one of our congregations, "Preaching all of God's Word; sharing all of Christ's love."
Grounded in Scripture
Our modern age has witnessed the progressive rejection of authority. God's Word, the Bible, has not been spared. However, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church believes that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, the only infallible rule for our faith and conduct.
We believe that the Bible alone gives us the correct knowledge of who God is and how we may please him. It teaches that God the Father gave up his Son Jesus Christ to death on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of his people. We want to share with you the joy that comes from a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Presbyterian in Character
Belief. Our church is not new. We trace our historical roots to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation and its seventeenth-century doctrinal statement, the Westminster Confession of Faith, along with its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church understands the importance of defending and maintaining the truths of God's Word. In fact, in 1936 the Orthodox Presbyterian Church was established as a testimony to the Bible when its authority was denied. Her ministers, elders, and deacons sincerely receive and adopt these Westminster standards as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures and known as the Reformed faith.
Government. From the time of Abraham in the Old Testament, God's church has been led by wise elders, men gifted by God and called to govern his church. The word presbyterian comes from the New Testament Greek word presbyteros, meaning "elder." The Orthodox Presbyterian Church has followed this biblical pattern for church government. Local church elders, along with the pastor, form a "session" to care for the spiritual welfare of our members. Matters of common concern for churches in a given region, such as establishing new congregations and ordaining ministers, are regulated by a body of ministers and elders called a "presbytery." Annually, representatives of our sixteen presbyteries form a "general assembly" to give the whole Church direction and advice.
Why the Name "Orthodox"? Everyone knows that an orthodontist is concerned about straight teeth. The "ortho" in orthodontist comes from the Greek word for "straight." The "dox" in orthodox comes from the Greek word for "thinking." So, in an Orthodox Presbyterian church you will find straight teaching following the long-accepted pattern given in the Bible. We are a church that believes what the Bible says, and we try to put it into practice.
When you visit one of our churches, you will find enthusiasm there about spreading the good news of God's salvation locally and around the world. People of all backgrounds are part of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and you will receive a warm welcome among us. Each local congregation has an important role to play in reaching into its own neighborhood, and then joining others in a worldwide outreach.
As a denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) carries out its mission for this worldwide outreach through three ministry committees: the Committee on Christian Education, the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, and the Committee on Foreign Missions. Each works to accomplish our purpose of bringing glory to God and proclaiming Christ throughout North America and the world, teaching them to obey what he has commanded.
Through the Committee on Christian Education, we help our churches to teach effectively the precious truths of the Reformed faith. We produce Sunday school materials, New Horizons magazine, training materials, a hymnal, and worship aids. Our Ministerial Intern Program helps churches prepare men for the gospel ministry through summer and yearlong pastoral internships. The Ministerial Training Institute of the OPC supplements seminary preparation with courses especially designed to prepare them for ministry.
Through the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, we plant new churches throughout North America. We assist presbyteries in supporting regional home missionaries to identify and develop new church-planting sites and help new congregations find pastors. We have special concern for the urban areas of our country. We conduct training seminars for church planters. We also help established churches reach their communities with the gospel, and provide an OPC Loan Fund that helps congregations in need of new buildings.
Through the Committee on Foreign Missions, we send missionaries to the ends of the earth to establish indigenous Reformed churches. Presently we have foreign mission works in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Suriname, and Uganda. Where appropriate, the preaching of the gospel is accompanied by medical (and other) ministries of mercy. A significant part of the work on our mission fields is dedicated to preparing the next generation of men for the gospel ministry.
Through the generous gifts of God's people within and outside the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the whole ministry of the Church goes forward. This ministry has a single, unified plan of giving called Worldwide Outreach. Gifts may be designated for special purposes, but we think God's people will share more fully in his blessings when they support this whole ministry by making one gift to "OPC Worldwide Outreach."
Take the Next Step
If you're looking for a church that ...
- honors God as the sovereign Lord of the universe
- preaches Christ as the Son of God who died for sinners
- lives by the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit
- insists upon the absolute authority of God's Word
... we invite you to join us in glorifying God through the worship, work, and witness of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Please use our church locator to find an Orthodox Presbyterian Church near you.
If you would like more information about the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, or want to receive a free subscription to New Horizons magazine, you are invited to contact:
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
607 N. Easton Rd., Bldg. E
Willow Grove, PA 19090-2539
Resources for Further Information
- What Is the OPC? This document gives a very detailed account of the OPC's orgins, beliefs, practices, and future. It also contains informative contact information and information on how to join the OPC.
- OPC Historian. The historian publishes a number of books which tell the story of the OPC.
- Machen and the OPC. J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) was the principal figure in the founding of the OPC. See this page for Machen resources.