A Journal for Church Officers
by Calvin R. Goligher
by Gregory Edward Reynolds
by T. David Gordon
by Alan D. Strange
by An Older Elder
by T. David Gordon
by William Edgar
by Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)
From the Editor. The history of the ancient church is probably not on the top of the reading list of most pastors. In recent decades there has been a push in the broader evangelical community to view the ancient church as if the Reformation never happened. But it would be a shame to neglect the riches present in the writings of our earliest church fathers. Calvin Goligher, in his article “A Guide to the Second Century Church,” presents us with several excellent reasons to explore and appreciate this historical and theological territory.
I present chapter 6, “God’s Method: Proclamation,” of my book The Voice of the Good Shepherd. I examine a topic often overlooked in assessing Paul’s theology of preaching: the distinction between a herald and a persuader in first century Roman culture. The difference explains much about Paul’s controversy with the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 1–4, as well as expanding our understanding of Paul’s theology of preaching as proclamation.
When I left seminary (Westminster Theological Seminary, 1979), I was a fan of what is known as the Majority Greek Text, which underlies the King James Version and the New King James Version. After several years of sermon preparation using the third edition (1975) of The Greek New Testament of the United Bible Society (UBS 3), I realized that the UBS edition gave me access to a much wider variety of Greek manuscripts than either the Textus Receptus of Erasmus or the Majority Text. Concern with the accuracy of the Greek text is the concern of what is called Lower Criticism, whereas Higher Criticism calls into question the divine authority of the text.
Since there seems to be a renewed interest in textual criticism and the best text for faithful sermon preparation, I have asked T. David Gordon, retired professor of religion and Greek at Grove City College, to reflect on this subject.
Alan D. Strange continues his “Commentary on the Book of Discipline of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church” with chapter 6, dealing with censure and restoration. This chapter is also used frequently by sessions as they seek to bring judicial matters to a just and merciful conclusion that edifies the church and glorifies its head the Lord Jesus Christ.
An Older Elder presents us with letter no. 7 to a younger ruling elder. He discusses the problem of discouragement. These letters are well worth reading aloud at session meetings or shared in print with younger elders, as many sessions are presently doing.
T. David Gordon’s review article, “Real Differences: The Danger of Radical Individualism,” looks in depth at sociologist Jean Twenge’s latest offering: Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future. This timely book will help officers understand the differences among various generations. Twenge also makes some predictions which seem wise and gives us a heads up for helping Christians avoid the worst of what Twenge predicts. Since the quest for self-fulfillment of radical individualism is contrary to the biblical quest for Christlikeness, Christian leaders have all the truth needed to counter such a trend.
William Edgar’s “Big Answers to Big Questions” reviews the two latest books of Os Guinness: The Great Quest and Signals of Transcendence. Guinness’s lifelong pursuit of apologetics and evangelism presents us with a unique contrast between the two books. The Great Quest is, as is typical of Guinness’s writings, an argument for Christianity, whereas Signals of Transcendence simply tells ten compelling stories of the unique ways that the Lord had created a hunger for the gospel in ten individual lives. One is the fascinating story of his own wife, Jenny’s, conversion out of the dazzling world of being a Vogue model.
Our poem this issue is unusual in that it is unlike anything I have published since 2009 (137 poems in all). It is a poem in praise of another poem—a kind of a seventeenth-century blurb. The tribute, or ode, is for John Milton’s (1608–1674) famous epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), by his friend and fellow poet, Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)—“On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost.” The poem was first published in the second edition of Paradise Lost, in 1674.
Most of Marvell’s English poems, Miscellaneous Poems, were published three years after his death in 1681. I have chosen to reproduce the original spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization found in the Bodleian Library’s manuscript with extensive additions acquired in 1946. This retains Marvell’s sense of emphasis and meter. This was intended to be his complete poems but was never published.
Notice how Marvell reflects on his early reservations about Paradise Lost but slowly came to deeply appreciate Milton’s accomplishment. Ironically, Marvell’s poem is written in rhyming couplets but ends approving of the form. The lack of rhyme was somewhat controversial in his day, although it had been around since Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1616/17–1647), introduced it. It is known as blank verse or unrhymed iambic pentameter, but it is not to be confused with free verse in that the former maintains consistent meter, whereas the latter has neither meter nor rhythm. Shakespeare wrote his plays in blank verse, but not his sonnets.
The cover is a drawing by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), the Venetian architect and artist famous for his etchings of the ruins of antiquity. The second-century Roman Pantheon was dedicated by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 126 AD. In 609 AD it became a Roman Catholic church (Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres or Basilica of St. Mary and the Martyrs).
Blessings in the Lamb,
Gregory Edward Reynolds
FROM THE ARCHIVES: “CHURCH HISTORY” (cumulative index available here)
“The Use and Abuse of Church History.” (J. G. Vos) 5:2 (Apr. 1996): 39–41.
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, confessional Presbyterianism.
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