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Question and Answer

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.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

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.

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 email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

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.

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

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