A Few Words
Hello, and welcome to my site. I am many things. I am a Reformed Presbyterian, a father, and a software engineer by trade. I love spending boring time with my family, gaming, cycling, and writing. I built this website, firstly, as a location for some of my writing and random musings as well as a place to offer my services to the public.
I am the father of my beautiful daughter, Aniah. She is five years old, full of energy and has the largest heart and biggest personality of any five year old I’ve ever met. She starts kindergarten in the fall!
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What is a
We Are Reformed
As Calvinists, we subscribe to what is often referred to as The Five Points of Calvinism which goes by the acrostic TULIP:
- T - Total Depravity
- U - Unconditional Election
- L - Limited Atonement
- I - Irresistible Grace
- P - Perseverance of the Saints
Not all Presbyterian & Reformed (P&R) denominations are the same; however, among all of the conservative P&R denominations who are members of the North American Reformed and Presbyterian Council (NAPARC), they all share in common the love for the historic confessions. For the Dutch and German Reformed, their primary Confessional standards are the Three Forms of Unity which include the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort.
For Scottish Presbyterians (like me -- though I'm not Scottish), founded by John Knox, our primary Confessional standards are called the Westminster Standards, named so because they were created in Westminster Abbey. These include the Westminster Confession, Westminster Shorter Catechism, and Westminster Larger Catechism
The Reformed believe that God deals with His people primarily through the workings of Covenants wherein each Covenant in a fuller revelation of the Covenant of Grace pointing us to Jesus Christ and the fulfillment that we find in the New Covenant. We believe that God has worked through two primary covenants:
- The Covenant of Works (Do this and you shall live)
- Adamic Covenant (Part 1)
- Given to Adam in the garden - "... but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” - Genesis 2:17 (ESV)
- Adamic Covenant (Part 1)
- The Covenant of Grace (It is finished)
- God saves sinners through Christ alone - This is true in both the Old and New Testaments
- The CoG is broken up into several Covenants that slowly "unravel" the mystery of God's plan of redemption through Jesus Christ:
- Adamic Covenant (Part 2) - Genesis 3:15
- Noahic Covenant - Genesis 9:8-17
- Abrahamic Covenant - Genesis 12:1-3 & Genesis 15
- Mosaic Covenant - Exodus 19-~24
- Davidic Covenant - 2 Samuel 7
- The New Covenant - Luke 22
For a great layman's resource on Covenant Theology, I recommend Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson.
Because we believe God when he promised to Abraham to be his God and his children's God forever, we baptize our children as an initiation into the New Covenant. We do not believe baptism is the direct cause of regeneration, but, like circumcision which it replaces, it places a sign upon that child and the child is granted membership into the covenant. The child is admitted to the Lord's Supper once they are able to confirm their baptism with a credible profession of faith. Unlike Baptists, we do not believe that the thing signified must be there before the sign is given, thus eliminating the distinction between the sign and the thing signified. Like Ishmael and Isaac, our children receive the sign, and then we rejoice when God is shown faithful in granting our prayers and gifting the child with faith (the thing signified).
We Have A Presbyterian Polity
Presbyterian polity (or church government) is made up of the local session/deaconate, presbytery and general assembly. Ultimately, the name Presbyterian comes from the Greek word presbuterion which simply means:
properly, a council (group) of elders; a team of elder-overseers serving a local church who lead (feed, shepherd) the people of the Lord (cf. 1 Tim 4:14).
This simply means that our church is led by ordained men called “Elders”. See the accordion below to see more.
The local congregation is the heart of Presbyterianism. In the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, there are three recognized "offices". These include:
- Ruling Elders
- Teaching Elders
The Ruling Elders are ordained men elected by the congregation and they have the primary role of making sure the church is run in an orderly fashion. They teach the congregations and are the shepherds of their souls. Men seeking election as ruling elders are examined and presented by the session which is made up of both the Ruling and Teaching elders of the congregation.
The Teaching Elders are our Pastors. They are not actually members of the congregation in which they serve (although their wives and children do become members). Instead, they retain membership in the Presbytery in which they serve. Before they may teach in the OPC, they must be examined and ordained by a Presbytery.
The Diaconate is a group of ordained men elected by the congregation. Whereas the session of the congregation is tasked with shepherding the souls of their congregation, the diaconate is tasked with shepherding the physical bodies of the congregation. They are regularly checking in on people making sure they have food to eat, jobs to pay their bills, etc. They are an essential (but unfortunately often overlooked) office of the church. They serve not only their own local church (although they are the primary recipients of the diaconate care) but also the surrounding community and even further. The diaconate is not a member of the session, but are an invaluable office nevertheless.
The Presbytery is the next "level" of Presbyterian governance. The presbytery is a regional body consisting of ruling and teaching elders that serve within that region.
The Presbytery is tasked with handling discipline cases that the local session cannot resolve on its own, discipline cases involving teaching elders, the examination and ordination of potential teaching elders, as well as handling many other things that have an effect throughout the region.
It is also from the Presbytery level that issues are sent to the General Assembly for consideration.
The General Assembly (GA) is a delegated assembly (in the OPC -- other denominations have undelegated GAs) of ruling and teaching elders from the various presbyteries throughout the country/world.
The GA is considered the "last stop" for consideration of issues that have moved out of Presbytery. It is here that changes to our Book of Church Order are considered, study committees are commissioned, and various other high-level activity occurs.
Although the GA appears to have a lot of "power", because of the horizontal structure of Presbyterianism, any major issue that is "passed" by the GA is sent back to the Presbyteries for voting. In most instances, the GA simply provides "guidance" or "suggestions" for the Presbyteries to follow.