Today in OPC History

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October 5

Fighting the Good Fight

On this day in 1994, the Committee on Christian Education received and began reviewing a completed draft of Darryl Hart and John Muether’s popular history of the OPC. Denominational historian Charles Dennison, who was serving as the project editor, suggested the work be entitled, Fighting the Good Fight, borrowing the title of J. Gresham Machen's final sermon before leaving Princeton Seminary in 1929.

Fighting the Good Fight was published in 1995, and received mixed reviews in the pages of New Horizons. In the August-September issue, the Rev. Donald Duff praised the book for the authors attempt to ask and answer questions regarding OPC identity. The OPC has definite theological connections with Old School Presbyterianism, but it is not a fundamentalist, evangelical or distinctly American church. In the October issue, two more reviews appeared. Timothy Roof, a member of then Gwynedd Valley OPC wrote, "There is much here that may be considered somewhat controversial. The authors have taken a stand which Machen took, that the church's only true calling is to proclaim the gospel." The Rev. Chip Stonehouse thought that the biases of the authors went beyond the usual editorial slant and that the book lacked balance. Stonehouse believed that the authors were too critical of former CHMCE general secretary Lewis Ruff and the New Life movement as a whole and had too narrow a view of worship.

Published by the Committee for the Historian and still in print, Fighting the Good Fight has sold over 4,800 copies.

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