by Danny E. Olinger
The goals, plans, and budgets of these "program" committees are brought together through the Committee on Coordination and presented in a unified fashion to the General Assembly. After the General Assembly does its work of review, correction, and finally approval, the Worldwide Outreach program is commended to OP churches and members, and also to OP friends, for their prayer and financial support. Having received the General Assembly-approved budget for Worldwide Outreach, your local OP church gives accordingly to fund the work of the program committees.
This is how Worldwide Outreach works. From beginning to end, it manifests Presbyterianism. There is connectedness and accountability at every level. The three program committees depend upon the benevolence, prayers, and service of the churches. The churches send delegates to the presbyteries, from which commissioners are sent to the General Assembly. The General Assembly evaluates each program committee, elects its members, and commends a level of fiscal support for Worldwide Outreach to the churches. Each level of the churchcongregation, presbytery, and General Assemblyis represented and indispensable to the healthy functioning of Worldwide Outreach. Read more
by Ross W. Graham
Regional home missionary Jim Bosgraf tells of numerous occasions on which a family or individual from Minneapolis or Duluth or one of the smaller Minnesota communities enquired about helping to start an OP church. "I'd make the seven-hour trip from Illinois to meet with them, but we were never able to see anything happen," said Jim. "With the nearest OP church almost three hundred miles away, we just couldn't follow up effectively."
And so it went, year after year, until two unique events occurred. The first of those events was the retirement of a seasoned pastor and church planter to Minnesota. In late 2001, Rev. Roger Gibbons retired from his pastoral ministry at Knox OPC in Oklahoma City to a home he had built in Garrison, Minnesota. He arrived with a passion to see an OP presence in his adopted home state and with significant skills to work toward that end. Regarding his presence and assistance with home missions in Minnesota, Jim Bosgraf comments, "Roger Gibbons has been the catalyst to draw the pieces together and provide a follow-up presence." Read more
by Gregory E. Reynolds
No, you won't find the word "discarnation" in an ordinary dictionary. I can still remember my dismay in 1998, as I was doing research for a book on preaching and its relationship to the electronic media, when I discovered the First Church of Cyberspace. In 1994, the PCUSA founded this unusual "church" (at godweb.org). Despite its bold assertions of the virtues of the "virtual church," the reality is that the Internet is the perfect medium to transcend the nasty imperfections encountered in the real church. This "church" offers the complete escape from space and time. The site audaciously announces: "We are the first to organize within cyberspace itself ... making connections, building relationships, supporting people who are interested in growing in faith and understanding." One church website designer makes the extravagant claim that "all elements of congregational life can be experienced through the Internet."1 This is precisely what McLuhan meant by "discarnate." This danger represents a modern version of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a syncretistic religion of self-illumination that viewed the material world as evil and thus something to be transcended. Read more
by Thomas R. Patete
What makes a Sunday school curriculum Reformed? Is it the biblical content presented or the teaching methods employed or the way lessons are illustrated? Certainly these elements are driven by and reflect the publisher's theological standards. But it goes much deeper for us here at Great Commission Publications. We operate with the conviction that nurturing covenant children in the faith is a crucial part of Christ's mandate to be disciple makers. And that mandate must be carried out in sync with our heritage and the distinctive doctrines of grace.
by Mark T. Bube
Many of our pastors and sessions received a letter last August from Pastor Bob Eckardt of Cornerstone OPC in Chattanooga, Tennessee, informing them of a last-minute opportunity that had come to the Cornerstone Congregation to bid on a property that seemed ideal for its ministry. A copy of that letter made it all the way to the desk of missionary evangelist Phil Proctor in Mbale, Uganda, and Phil relayed the following message to us in the home office:
God graciously gives us encouragement to lift up the weary head. You brothers, who know the situation here in Africa, will understand why I am so thrilled by this action. Below is an e-mail I sent to Bob Eckardt, pastor of Cornerstone OPC in Chattanooga. In short, they are in a building fund drive.... The Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Uganda (OPCU) voted yesterday to all pitch in together and contribute and send some assistance.Read more
by D. G. Hart and John R. Muether
With political independence for the nation came the opportunity for greater stability within the church. When in 1789 the first General Assembly convened in Philadelphia, it held out the promise of a more uniform and well-organized Presbyterian ministry to the new republic. It named itself the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA). At that time, it consisted of 419 congregations, 111 licentiates, 177 ministers, sixteen presbyteries, and four synods (Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, Virginia, and the Carolinas).
Indicative of the affinities between the new nation and the PCUSA was the election of John Witherspoon to be the moderator of the first General Assembly. He was notable for being the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. A native Scotsman, he had been a prominent leader in the so-called evangelical party in the Kirk. His defense of the faith came to the attention of the trustees of the College of New Jersey (later called Princeton University), who in 1768 called him to be president of the institution. In that position, Witherspoon became a significant mediator of the Scottish Enlightenment to the American colonists. One of his students was James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. Read more