Currently there is an excellent article up on the OPC website, written by the Rev. Larry E. Wilson, on “Practical Presbyterianism.” It is the current feature article on the website, and may be found here: http://www.opc.org/feature.html
This article is reprinted from the June-July 1991 Edition of “New Horizons” magazine (the denominational magazine of the OPC). But even though it was written more than 20 years ago, in my opinion its contemporary relevance still stands out.
For example, one of Rev. Wilson’s statements in the article, which he makes in reaction to the scandal produced by the sinful behavior of certain televangelists, and in reflecting upon Paul’s instructions to Timothy in First Timothy 5:17-25, is as follows: “One way that we honor Christ’s representatives is by steadfastly refusing to recognize as office-bearers those who are not lawfully ordained and installed. There’s no shortage of self-ordained “ministers” on radio and TV and throughout our communities. But if they don’t have a lawful calling, then it’s our duty under Christ not to honor them as ministers. Verse 18 expands on the “honor” that’s due to those who are lawfully ordained and installed: “For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’ ””
I am convinced that many of the problems we see today within the broader Christian world in America (for example, the fragmentation and cultural marginalization of Christianity, the prevalent anti-institutional church, anti-clergy sentiment in our broader culture, loss of respect for the church in society, the weakening of the church’s gospel witness, etc.), while rooted ultimately in the sinfulness of God’s professed people, is rooted proximately in such factors as: the radical individualism and “democratization” of American Christianity (to borrow from the title of Nathan Hatch’s book The Democratization of American Christianity); the prevalence (and hype) of parachurch revivalism; the denigration of church office; a low ecclesiology* (or no ecclesiology) among professing Christians in America; a low view of the solemnity and seriousness of Divine worship; and the culture of celebrity, which leads to the elevation of certain celebrity preachers – often self-appointed, self-ordained, unaccountable ones – to a place where he/she can do wrong (“touch not the Lord’s anointed” sometimes gets thrown in the face of those who would dare to criticize such “famous” celebrity preachers). In the words of Rev. Wilson, many of our problems today in American Christianity stem from the fact that God’s professed people fail to “seek the Lord and practice presbyterianism.”
May we heed Rev. Wilson’s exhortation: “Christians sometimes fail to obey God’s instructions regarding the selection and treatment of elders. This sets the scene for grievous scandals. We can avoid many of these problems if we faithfully follow our Lord. Trust and obey! Keep seeking the Lord and keep practicing presbyterianism.” Preach it, brother!
*Ecclesiology =The doctrine of the church.