Sell Me On the OPC

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Backwoods Presbyterian, May 20, 2008.

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  1. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Alright. I want to hear all I can get on the OPC.
  2. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

  3. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

  4. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    You dont want to be sold on the OP. Stay ARP or go RP. We are Seceders!
  5. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I know that kind of info. I want to hear "people in the pew" type stuff, general experience, etc... Reason being there is not exactly a "plethora" of open pulpits in the ARP and I want to know what is out there.
  6. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I'd go RPCNA in a heartbeat, honestly, if I had to. Read my last post for why I'm asking for info.
  7. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The Orthodox Presbyterian Church

    I don't know if you want the view of an outsider who was once a member...

    We were members of a local OPC congregation for about a year. I would not say anything in derogation of the OPC merely because our own, individual beliefs were quite a bit more RPW-oriented than those we found in the OPC. Our experience was extremely idiosyncratic. Locally (I don't know about nationally, although we have been subscribers and readers of "New Horizons," the denomination's magazine, for about 8 years), due to my reading "New Horizons" every month, I see the OPC in a distinct state of flux. It has changed quite a bit since we left in 2001. I believe that its orders of worship, music, services, other practices, etc. differ from locale to locale, minister to minister.

    I should probably just be quiet and let others take over. The OPC is a good place to worship the Lord for a lot of people; it just wasn't my cup of tea.

    Any place that exalts Christ and in which the real Gospel is preached is worthy of a Christian's consideration, for we are to hie to those requirements. Did our local OPC do that? Yes.

  8. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    We have 13 open pulpits right now.
  9. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    How many are "Full-Time"?
  10. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    There are two that are considered to be 'tent making' ministries. The rest are full time. (One of which is close to you- in New Castle.)
  11. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I know of the one in New Castle. I actually think they are ready to call a Pastor.
  12. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    Then make that 12!
  13. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

  14. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

  15. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Cast your bread on many waters, and pray that God in His providence will direct your steps. And remember, if you're committed to pursuing the pastorate, there is no easy pastorate or church situation anywhere. Every pastorate is difficult and possesses unforeseen and unforeseeable pitfalls. You're engaging in spiritual warfare, and the compatibility of any particular ecclesiastical setting cannot be calculated or anticipated, as anyone would desire, from a human assessment by the consideration of any denominational structure. Count on the unexpected, and assume for yourself a posture of utter dependency upon the Lord our God.

    With that said, there is, to be sure, in our labors joy unspeakable and full of glory.

  16. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Appreciate that Casey.
  17. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I am genuinely curious as to the OPC's "milieu" and the general "vibe" in the OPC. In honesty I am drawn much more to the OPC given what I hear on these boards having no real experience with either.
  18. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, there's your problem right there, Margaret. We're really more into vigorously strong coffee than tea - and our doughnuts are really, really fresh, much better than those stale old PCA doughnuts! :D
  19. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    It's better than the PCUSA!
  20. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

  21. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Well so is a warm sock.
  22. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    For the most part each OPC church has its distinct flavor if you will. Some are more redemptive historical in preaching some are more systematic. In some congregations the RPW is a little loose while others strive for biblical worship. The pastors are trained thoroughly and under go strict examination before given a pastorate. Some churches prefer hymns some prefer psalms it kind of depends on the session and the individual church.

    To get an understanding of where the OPC came from I would recommend reading this book.

    Lest We Forget
    Last edited: May 21, 2008
  23. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    When I went looking for my current call, I considered congregations in the PCA, OPC, and ARP. I probably should have looked a little closer at the RPCNA. I’d have had no problem with the Free Church of Scotland Continuing, if they had openings other than church planting in this country. But, I’d done that for several years in a difficult situation. After the death of a spouse, I wasn’t emotionally up to starting a church from scratch. I also stayed away from the smaller Presbyterian groups because I’ve noticed a tendency toward extra-confessional distinctives and dominate personalities.

    I clearly stated my position on things which meant a lot to me, and the minimum conditions of a call I could accept. I even wrote a paper entitled “Why you probably don’t want me as your pastor,” which I didn’t circulate; but it helped me think through not “selling” myself to some congregation which would be displeased with the person they got.

    I serve an OP congregation in Boise, Idaho. They are small, and in some ways are starting over after past difficulties. However, there is a qualified and unified session in place, they can afford to pay my salary, and I haven’t been hampered in my preaching or ministry. I was a good match for them and they for me. I wouldn’t be a good match for the average OP congregation.

    However, our Boise congregation is about as close to a strict confessional, Regulative Principle congregation one will find within the OPC. We have simple but reverent worship, don’t acknowledge so called “holy” days, have no choir or special music, and sing Psalms. We’re not officially EP, but are almost such in practice, singing at least two selections from the Scottish Psalter and one or two from the Trinity Hymnal, most often Psalms, each service.

    Though the lack of uniformity in OPC practice sometimes bothers me, I am glad for the stability found in the courts of the church. Biblical discipline is administered, but with a deliberate regard for the rights of the accused and a concern for due process. Presbytery and General Assembly are conducted in such a manner that everyone who has an opinion or argument may be heard.

    When I was received into my current Presbytery, I made known my theological distinctives, took an exception to the American form of WCF XXIII:iii and affirmed the original, and yet was accepted and commended for my examination, probably by some who would have theological differences with me. They've named me as a commissioner to the last two General Assemblies and I'm going again this year.

    I’d likely be a better fit for the FCC or RPCI; but as I’m an American, not living in Scotland or Ulster, I am where God wants me. I find myself able to minister and serve in the church courts with mutual respect for other church officers.

    Most important, the congregation I serve has helped me become a better pastor; and I hope I've helped some of them become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
  24. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    But you can wash the warm sock. I can't wash the PCUSA! PCA or OPC both look great. I wish I had a choice of them here.

    You can also use scissors and make a sock Holy :p

    You can throw out a sock and get a new one. (You should of heard the 'reform' group in our denomination squirm when I asked why we couldn't throw the people in General Assembly out because anybody that believes in women or gay ordination doesn't know what the bible says. The 'reform' group believes in women ordination.)

    I know you are asking about the OPC in relation to ordination. I've learned that local church's vary in adhearance to the 'nation' standards, and both denominations are good. That either one would be alot better than the PCUSA. Of course, I'm a small church in the country kind of person. I don't have experience with either, so I don't have much to add. But to have that choice would be a blessing.
  25. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis


    I know all about your troubles in the PC(USA) Grymir as having left it for good last week. By still attending a PC(USA) seminary and the whole rest of my family attending there churches I get to hear all the good stuff.


    Your message really touched me and I am truly edified by your words. May God Bless your ministry and your congregation.
  26. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    I still have kin in the PC(USA), whom I hope have a genuine saving faith in Christ. I'm grateful for the evangelicals left there. I also have grown children and their families in the PCA. I’m grateful for the existence of those PCA congregations in their community for the sake of my grandchildren.
  27. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    My sympathies to you, Pastor, on your past loss... I pray for the Lord's blessing upon you and your ministry, and His constant friendship and comfort always to be with you.

    Just for the record, the Free Church of Scotland [Continuing] would be quite different than the PCA, OPC or even ARP or RPCNA... Uh, try attending just one of our particular worship services and you'd see immediately... :D

    We are becoming an "indigenously American" denomination here, though, with the remaining obvious tie to Scotland being the use of the 1650 Scottish Psalmody in our instrument-bereft worship... You're certainly right about the "church-planting" aspect of the Continuing, though. It's been 16 months now that my husband and I have been working on this effort - and the Lord is finally gathering together a real congregation. One reason, I think, is that there is such a crying need in the entire Detroit metropolitan area for REAL Reformed preaching and teaching. Frankly, we have absolutely no competition here for what we're doing and since we began holding services last June, we've drawn a total of about 200 different people who wanted to check us out. Some of them have stayed and attend every week; others come and go. We're blessed and grateful for every visit we receive, for we do have a real sense that the Lord does intend to make His Gospel heard here and for Christ to be exalted. Here we are: Presbyterian Mission to Detroit.

    Once again, may the Lord bless you and your ministry with grace, peace and the hope that comes only from Him in ever-increasing abundance!

  28. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Here's a pew-side view of the OPC from someone who has been a member in the PCA as well.

    In addition to my own church, I've had the chance to observe closely two other churches in our presbytery. They all have have very high standards for worship and solid, expository preaching -- the best I've heard anywhere. The desire to honor God and to insist on a high level of scholarship permeates everything I hear and see.

    Our session is active in teaching, administering the sacraments, and gently disciplining the congregation. In totally un-theological terms, they are a bunch of great guys.

    The OPC also tries to free-up its missionaries so they can put their whole effort into the mission or into being rejuvenated by the state-side visits rather than constantly trying to raise money. It might just be my congregation (I doubt it) but I feel much closer to our extended world-side outreach than I ever have in any other congregation.

    I appreciate the consistency I have seen in the OPC as I've had the chance to visit other churches. This seemed lacking in the PCA where some of the churches I visited seemed indistinguishable from non-denominational churches and the regulative principle was ignored.

    Someone else has mentioned the book Less We Forget which does a good job at explaining the history of the OPC and how it struggled from the very beginning against the broad evangelicalism that is constantly challenging reformed churches to this day.

    Is my walk with God closer and more attentive than it was 10 years ago? You can be sure it is. The OPC has been a huge blessing in my life and the life of my family.

    Hope this gives you some insight ...
  29. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Thanks J.
  30. Josiah

    Josiah Puritan Board Senior

    I love this about my church. Recently Phil Proctor, who was on furlow, visited our church in Bothell Wa. and talked to us about the mission field in uganda. He showed us pictures and told us stories that stirred my heart with zeal for the Gospel. I counted it a great blessing to hear first hand about what the Lord was doing in Uganda.

    Our church is putting together a care package for him and his family. Among other things on the list of things for the care package my Wife and I chose to buy him a cigar and some scotch. :p
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