What We Believe
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January 2005 New Horizons

Celebrating 25 Years

 

Contents

New Horizons at 25

New Horizons: The Early Years

Want to Pastor a Large Church?

The Method to My Madness

Turning Points in American Presbyterian History

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New Horizons at 25

The General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church has entrusted its denominational magazine, New Horizons , to the Committee on Christian Education for the purpose of informing OPC members and others about OPC ministries and providing instruction on Christian faith and life that is consistent with the doctrinal standards of our church. One of my great privileges in serving as general secretary of the CCE is to edit New Horizons . In fulfilling the GA's directive, I draw upon the collective work of my predecessors in this position. In Roger Schmurr, Thomas Tyson, and Larry Wilson, the OPC has been blessed with three exceptionally godly and gifted men to edit New Horizons . Roger had the monumental task of starting New Horizons from scratch. Ali Knudsen (secretary and proofreader), John Tolsma (graphics), and Susan Schmurr (layout) provided first-rate assistance, and New Horizons was off and running. In reading through the years of Roger's editorship, one sees the work of a brilliant ... Read more

New Horizons: The Early Years

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church didn't always have a denominational magazine. The OPC was founded in 1936, but New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church didn't appear until January 1980. That was mainly due to the fact that the Presbyterian Guardian started in 1935. That independent publication aimed to promote biblical Presbyterianism in the United States. As such, the Guardian often carried news about the OPC, but its goals were broader. But by late 1979, subscriptions to the Guardian had decreased so much that the publication folded. Struggling to Publish In the intervening years, there was talk about starting a denominational magazine. In the early 1970s, George Knight spoke eloquently at a General Assembly about the need for the OPC to represent itself corporately in a publication. Someone proposed that the OPC try to transform the Guardian to serve that purpose. But the editor of the Guardian made it clear that he prized the editorial freedom of the Guardian and would ... Read more

Want to Pastor a Large Church?

Become the editor of New Horizons in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church? As I reflect upon the privilege I had to labor in that job, that question does come to mind. I was sitting in a restaurant in Harare, Zimbabwe, back in 1988, when a member of the Committee on Christian Education (and my colleague on the Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations), G. I. Williamson, voiced this query to me: "Tom, would you be interested in serving the church as editor of New Horizons ?" Without skipping a beat, I answered him in the negative. Well, G. I. merely smiled and allowed the tea to brew. A few weeks later I received a phone call from another Committee on Christian Education member, Don Poundstone. Wouldn't you know, they raised the stakes—now it became "CCE wants you to do it." That definitely got my attention, and the next thing I knew I was installed. I served in that position for eleven years, and now the current editor wants me to reflect on my experience and commit it to ... Read more

The Method to My Madness

People often asked me how I chose topics for the feature articles when I served as editor of New Horizons from January 2001 to March 2004. There was a method to my madness. The March or April issue focused on Christ's resurrection and related themes, the December issue focused on Christ's incarnation and related themes, and the November issue focused on Worldwide Outreach and the Thank Offering. But what about the other eight issues? I earnestly wanted to communicate the full-orbed Reformed ethos, so I took the four membership vows as my starting point. Because there is only one requirement for communicant church membership—a credible profession of faith in Christ—each vow addresses a different facet of the same point. As I see it, that point is: Are you following Jesus Christ? I took the four membership vows and extrapolated themes that they implied. Next, I considered challenges that could be inferred from those themes. Then I sought to cycle through those themes and challenges. Here's the ... Read more

Turning Points in American Presbyterian History

Americans, let us admit, have a problem with history. History is bunk, said Henry Ford. A disdain for the past is a long-established feature of the American temperament. Ours is a culture that achieved political independence and evolved into a world power by jettisoning old-world values. American evangelicals also have a problem with history. For most of them, history is bunk too. The American religious experiment was conceived in nearly Edenic terms: the New Adam and the New Eve starting afresh in a new world. Moreover, American evangelicals are activists and not contemplatives, crusaders and not pilgrims, which only adds to their disregard for the past. In contrast, Orthodox Presbyterians have a far better appreciation for history. It is impressive to see how many members of our churches are familiar with the events surrounding the founding of our church. They know about the Auburn Affirmation and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Some can even identify Eritrea on a map of ... Read more

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