Orthodox Presbyterian Resources
Besides owning a copy of a good translation of the Bible, what are some other resources that members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and serious inquirers into the OPC would do well to own? Below is a suggested list of OPC resources:
(1) The Confession of Faith and Catechisms of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church with Proof Texts (Willow Grove, PA: The Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church; Copyright 2005 by The Orthodox Presbyterian Church)
Because the Bible is God’s infallible Word, it is the primary Standard of the church, the only infallible rule for faith and practice. The OPC unashamedly upholds the historic Protestant position of Sola Scriptura (“Scripture Alone”)! Unlike the Holy Scriptures, which are infallible Divine Revelation, the Confession and Catechisms of the church are fallible, human summaries of what the church believes the Bible teaches. Therefore the Confession and Catechisms of the OPC are regarded by the church as secondary standards. (Thus there is a process in the church for amending these secondary standards if the church becomes convinced that any of its teachings are inconsistent with or contrary to God’s Word; whereas the Holy Scriptures cannot be amended, for they are the infallible Word of God.) At the same time, while the OPC is a Biblical church (seeing the Bible alone as the only infallible Rule of Faith, the final Norm of Christian Faith which norms all lesser norms), it is not a biblicist church (i.e., the individualistic approach to Bible reading which denies the importance of reading the Bible in the fellowship of the church; biblicism is the “just me and my Bible and the Holy Spirit, apart from the church’s reading of Scripture” approach to the Bible which is so prevalent in the evangelical Christian world today). The OPC and her church officers sincerely receive and adopt these secondary standards as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures. These documents are therefore part of the Constitution of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, being the doctrinal standards of the church, subordinate to the Word of God. Serious-minded church members and inquirers would do well to familiarize themselves with these important documents, and to have a copy on hand in their homes for reference and consultation.
(2) The Book of Church Order of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 2011 Edition (Willow Grove, PA: The Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church; Copyright 2011 by The Orthodox Presbyterian Church)
If the Bible is the church’s primary Standard, and if the Confession of Faith and Catechisms are the church’s secondary standards, then the OPC Book of Church Order contains its tertiary standards. But its status as the church’s tertiary standards does not thereby make the Book of Church Order unimportant. Its principles and rules are regarded as being in conformity to and good applications of the general rules of God’s Word. This Book of Church Order (or “BOCO”) contains the OPC’s Form of Government, Book of Discipline, and Directory for the Public Worship of God. As such it too is part of the Constitution of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. All OPC church officers (Ministers, Ruling Elders and Deacons) in their ordination vows officially approve of the government, discipline and worship of the OPC as set forth in the BOCO. While it is not always exciting reading, and while it is in places written in a rather dense, semi-technical style; yet any serious-minded church member or inquirer who wants to understand how the OPC governs itself; or how church members are to be provided with pastoral oversight, care and discipline; or how the OPC understands and seeks to carry out the principles and practices of Reformed worship; would do well to study the BOCO and have a copy on hand for reference and consultation. One of the most important reasons why I believe that every OPC church member or member family would do well to own a copy of the OPC’s BOCO is because this book outlines the rights and privileges of church members, and gives guidance and direction to church members for how they should go about seeking redress for grievances should they have any complaints or concerns against the leadership of the church or against any other church members. Therefore the BOCO is an aid to maintaining the unity, purity and peace of the church. These documents enjoy a rich historical pedigree and are time-tested, having proven their usefulness to the church over time.
These first two items can be ordered here: https://store.opc.org/searchresults.asp?searching=Y&sort=13&cat=1817&show=10&page=2
(3) The Trinity Hymnal, Revised Edition (Atlanta, Philadelphia: Great Commission Publications, Copyright 1990, Great Commission Publications, Inc.)
While the OPC does not require local congregations to use the Trinity Hymnal, at the same time the original version of this hymnal was produced by the OPC, and thus enjoys the denomination’s sanction and approval. (The 1990 revision of the hymnal was an ecumenical effort of both the OPC and the Presbyterian Church in America – PCA – which is a sister denomination in fraternal fellowship with the OPC.) While this hymnal is not perfect, overall the hymn and psalm selections are biblically and theologically rich, deeply edifying, and serve as an excellent manual for Reformed worship and praise. I would encourage OPC church members and inquirers to consider not only owning a copy of the Trinity Hymnal, but using it at home in the context of family and personal worship. The theology and the worship of the church are meant to reinforce each other, and the Trinity Hymnal is an excellent resource for worship that brings together the richness of Reformed theology and Reformed worship. All serious-minded OPC church members and inquirers would do well to own a copy of the Trinity Hymnal.
The Trinity Hymnal can be ordered from Great Commission Publications: http://www.gcp.org/Products/CategoryCenter/HYMN!PEW/hymnals.aspx
(4) Fighting the Good Fight: A Brief History of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church by D.G. Hart and John Muether (Philadelphia, PA: The Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Copyright 1995 by The Committee on Christian Education and the Committee for the Historian of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church)
While the gospel of Jesus Christ transcends culture and personality, at the same time every church body and denomination has its own culture and personality. In order to understand and appreciate the culture, personality and “ethos” of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, serious minded church members and inquirers would do well to learn something about the history of the OPC. Fighting the Good Fight is a very readable, straightforward and relatively brief (209 pages) history of the OPC. Reading this book can help you and your family come to a deeper appreciation of what God has done in and through the OPC, and it will help you to better understand OPC Identity. I strongly commend this book to all OPC church members and inquirers.
This book can be ordered here: https://store.opc.org/searchresults.asp?cat=1818
(5) New Horizons in The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (a publication of The Committee on Christian Education of The Orthodox Presbyterian Church)
This is the OPC’s denominational magazine. Every OP church member has a right to a free subscription to this magazine. (If you are an OPC church member but are not receiving New Horizons, speak to your pastor about this and ask that he arrange for you to get your free subscription.) This is an excellent resource for helping OPC church members to keep abreast with what is going on in the OPC. Each issue contains feature articles as well as reports on Foreign Missions, Home Missions, Christian Education, and Stewardship. It also contains a prayer calendar, book reviews, and letters to the Editor. Again, all OPC church members and inquirers are encouraged to get a subscription to New Horizons.
If you are not a member of the OPC but would like a subscription to New Horizons magazine, go here for details: https://store.opc.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=New%2DHorizons