I recently picked up a copy of this 2011 publication: Confident of Better Things: Essays Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (ed. John Muether and Danny Olinger). This is a thick book (500 pages) and I haven’t read every essay in it, but I would like to point it out to our readers.
As already noted, this book is a collection of articles and essays gathered to celebrate the 75th year of the OPC (1936-2011). The editors put it this way:
“…We confess that there is no perfect church, that churches as well as individuals are guilty of sin and liable to error. ‘OPC’ does not stand for the ‘Only Perfect Church.’ If anything, the OPC is the church of the broken heart. That is, the OPC carries with it the belief that the way to Christ is found through the conviction of sin. The good news is that sin is dealt with once for all in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and then a new and joyous life follows” (p. 1).
Around 25 men contributed to this collection, including Richard Gaffin, John Fesko, Robert Godfrey, Robert Strimple, and Richard Muller (among many other able scholars, pastors, and teachers). The book has five main sections: 1) History, 2) Theology, 3) Christian Education, 4) Mission of the Church, and 5) Ecumenicity. Each section contains around five essays.
This book isn’t a detailed history of the OPC – although it does contain some OPC history. Between these covers you’ll find the authors explaining the truths of Scripture, the doctrines of Reformation theology, the power of preaching, the motivation for missions, the beauty of the gospel, and the importance of the confessions. More specifically, here are the titles of a few essays: “The Legacy of Charles Hodge,” “Tongues Today?,” “Was Adam Historical?” “Catechetical Instruction in the OPC,” “Called to the Ministry,” and “The Ruling Elder in Church Planting,” among others. So far I’ve enjoyed the article on tongues by Gaffin and the discussion of missions by Mark Bube. I’m also looking forward to reading the chapter on redemptive historical hermeneutics as well as Godfrey’s article on the OPC/URCNA relationship (perhaps he’ll rightly tell the URC to aim towards a more Presbyterian polity! Stay tuned….). Actually, most of the articles look like good reading. I hope to read them over the course of the summer.
If you’re interested, Confident of Better Things is priced fairly (around $14.00). It is well worth the investment. I’m thankful the editors and writers worked together to give the church a fine resource – not just for those in the OPC, but others who appreciate solid, confessional Reformed church piety, practice, and worship.
rev shane lems