What We Believe

Then and Now at Palos Heights: 84th General Assembly

When the Forty-first (1974) General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church met on the campus of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, it was a big change. For the first time, the assembly met on a college campus, not at a local OP church or at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. The commissioners stayed in dormitories, not in homes of members, and ate in the dining hall, not in a church’s fellowship hall with meals supplied by the local congregation. Forty-three years later, the Eighty-fourth General Assembly returned to Trinity Christian College on May 31–June 6, 2017, with the innovations introduced by the Forty-first (1974) Assembly still in place. Six ministers—George Cottenden, Donald Duff, Richard Gaffin, Jr., Glenn Jerrell, John Mahaffy, and Stephen Phillips—were commissioners at both assemblies. These fathers in the faith, with a combined 293 years of ministerial service in the OPC, were not mere figureheads at the recent assembly. Mr. Duff nominated ... Read more

A Servant’s Summit: Deacons as Visitors

On a hot afternoon in the suburbs of Chicago, more than two hundred deacons, elders, and pastors from OP congregations across the country hunched over plates of barbecue and settled into visiting with each other on a lawn in front of a residence hall at Wheaton College. It was a fitting way to begin Diaconal Summit III, which would narrow in on a key concept: the powerful potential of a simple visit. While deacons in the OPC serve their congregations in a crucial number of nitty-gritty, practical ways (from unlocking doors to managing funds), the summit in Wheaton emphasized a core pillar of life and ministry for all Christians: to visit widows and orphans, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. The Twin Passions Pastor Nathan Trice, vice president of the Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM), called those two marks of pure and undefiled religion the “twin passions of vibrant Christianity” in his opening sermon from the book of James. The diaconal summit at Wheaton College on June ... Read more

The Reformation on Suffering: Affliction for Christ’s Sake

Vicious violence marked the brief reign of King Frances II of France. His ascension to the throne in July 1559 inaugurated eighteen months of excruciating pain for French Protestants. One historian of that era described the atrocities as follows: “There was nothing but arrestations and imprisonments, pillage of houses, outlawries, and massacres of the servants of God.” The intense suffering of the Huguenots for the gospel moved John Calvin to send a letter of comfort and encouragement to his French brethren. In that communiqué, Calvin reflected on the place of suffering in the life of the believer. He wrote, “Persecutions are the true combats of Christians to try the constancy and firmness of their faith.” This was not the only instance of the persecution of Protestants during the Reformation. Suffering became commonplace for those who left the relative safety of Roman Catholicism. From that experience of affliction arose a ripening understanding of this difficult reality. Simply put, suffering ... Read more


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