June / July 2006
From the Editor. The Evangelical world is again abuzz with commentary on The Da Vinci Codenow it's the movie. Meanwhile, back at his cloistered mansion on the ocean in Rye, New Hampshire, just miles away from where I sit, Dan Brown continues smiling like the proverbial Cheshire cat all the way to the bank. Free publicity is always welcomed.
I promise to make only two brief comments about this latest phenomenon as a segue into this month's (actually it's June/July) topic. Unlike the well focused lens of scientific rationalism, postmodernity specializes in blurring fact and fiction, but not because it thinks there is any distinction between the two. Rather "reality" is thought to be a purely human construct. So the distinction is a fiction of modernity. Thus, history is whatever those in power wish to make it. The reason The Da Vinci Code has such popular appeal is that the relativist mentality, once limited to us sixties radicals, is now the common currency of our culture. Our response should not be a baptized scientific rationalism, since both it and postmodernity have this in common: human autonomypeople rule. This is where we ought to begin in responding to Dan Brown. The rest is mostly preaching to the choir.
The other comment is even briefer: anyone who thinks The Da Vinci Code is well written has never read good fiction. I'm no expert on good fiction, but one does not need to read much in order to see the difference. Thoughtful mysteries written by Chesterton, Sayers, Christie, or P. D. James will do the trick. The quality of the movie is apparently even worse. That's a fact. As Gene Edward Veith opines in his commentary on the movie in this week's World: "Christians trying to convey a far better message should keep in mind that aesthetics really do matter."
Recently I have noticed another blurred focusour understanding of the covenants. Some would say "covenant." Therein lies the blurring. In this case it is thankfully not a blurring of fact and fiction, but of two kinds of covenants: works and grace. Our Confession clearly distinguishes between the two as it seeks to accurately represent Scripture. While we may live with many differences on our doctrine of the covenants, certain elements of the doctrine must be deemed "essential." Since there have been no articles written on this important subject in past numbers of Ordained Servant, I have included a thoughtful article by Stephen Doe on how Calvin dealt with differences among Christians. I hope this will help us in our conversations on this important subject.
As part of our remembrance of our seventieth anniversary as a denomination it is important to go back to our doctrinal roots. This issue deals with a call for clarity on the doctrine of the covenants, along with a review of a new book by Michael Horton, which should help in bringing the confessional doctrine into clearer focus. This review will appear in July.
Our next two online numbers will be doubled up as June/July [15-06] and August/September [15-07]. While we will continue republishing some of the best of past articles, we will also be including more new material along with my editorials. At its spring meeting the Committee on Christian Education gave me permission to publish a 2006 print edition of the journal. This should be available for next year's General Assembly.
In the absence of a printed edition of the latest issues of OS I have no way of knowing if anyone is reading the journal since the inception of our new format in January. If you are reading I'd like to hear your comments.
Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds
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 will endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic Presbyterianism.