Thursday, June 12, 2014

Going to see the Orthodox Presbyterians

This will be the third Presbyterian church I've been to during this blog expedition. All branches of Christianity (and religion in general) have a spectrum of belief from conservative to liberal, orthodox to modern. Presbyterianism is no exception. The Presbyterian churches I previously attended were the Presbyterian Church USA and the Japanese Christian Church. Both of them are more theologically modern and, especially on the part of the Presbyterian Church USA I visited, more theologically liberal.

This week; however, I will be attending the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church split from the Presbyterian Church USA in the 1930's over what it saw as an alarming trend towards modernism. As the name implies, they seek to adhere to the traditional, conservative doctrines of Presbyterianism. These include:
  • The Bible is the Word of God, completely free from error and trustworthy in all matters of doctrine and practice.
  • The Bible is the only source of revelation of God.
  • Belief in the Trinity.
  • Total sovereignty of God, nothing is beyond his control or will.
  • Mankind is totally depraved by nature, dead in sin due to Adam's transgression.
  • Christ is fully God and fully man, incarnated through the Virgin Mary.
  • Christ's atonement frees man from the burden of sin and fills mankind with God's redeeming grace.
  • Christ's atonement is limited, only for those God has predestined to save.
  • God predestined the fate of each person. Those whom God has chosen to save will end up in Heaven all others will end up in Hell.
  • Those whom God has predestined to save, the elect, will find his grace irresistible and seek to please him in their lives.
  • Those who believe seek to keep the Commandments because they love God, not in an attempt to earn salvation.
  • Ministry of the Church, particularly of preaching and the sacraments of baptism (both adult and infant) and the Lord's Supper (in which Christ's body and blood is spiritually present among believers).
Additionally, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church generally espouses conservative social values and practices:
  • Prescribed gender roles for men and women.
  • Condemnation of homosexuality.
  • Condemnation of abortion except in the case of the mother's life being in jeopardy.
  • Belief the Roman Catholic Church is in extreme error in doctrine and practice.
  • Barrier method and rhythm method birth control are allowed, while other methods such as morning after pills or IUD's are considered sinful as fertilization may have happened at that time.
  • No sex outside of marriage.
  • Communion for only those who are Christians in good standing with their church and of a similar understanding of God's word.
  • Belief in creationism and denial of evolution.
The church that I'm attending is Berean Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The interesting thing about them is that they do not have a permanent building. Instead, they meet in the chapel of the United Church of Christ here in Ogden. I find this an interesting pairing as the Orthodox Presbyterians are extremely traditional and are theologically conservative, whereas the United Church of Christ is what is referred to as Progressive Christianity which seeks a modern interpretation of scripture, theology, and tradition. I have already covered the United Church of Christ, in fact, it was my very first blog. I may stay for both services just to enjoy the diversity of the Christian spectrum a bit.

Until next time, peace be with you.

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