Questions & Answers

What does "Orthodox" mean in Orthodox Presbyterian Church?


I currently attend a Presbyterian church. Looking through the doctrinal statements you have on your website I agree with the teachings of your church. However, my question is why you call yourselves "Orthodox" Presbyterian. Does your church have some of the same practices/doctrines of the Eastern Orthodox church? I just happened to drive by an Orthodox Presbyterian church on my way to a work site today and I thought to myself how odd it was to see those two names next to each other. I would greatly appreciate if you could clarify why you call yourselves Orthodox Presbyterian and if you have any connection to the Eastern Orthodox Church. (I am currently researching Eastern Orthodoxy.)


Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ. You asked about the origin of "orthodox" in the name of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and if we have any connection with the Eastern Orthodox Church.

1. The short answer is "No," for our origins are in the Reformation, which took place in the Western (Latin) Church, not in the Eastern (Orthodox) Church.

2. A slightly longer answer is that "orthodox" (meaning "correct doctrine") was chosen for its contrast to "liberal Protestant" unbelief and not for any contrast to the historic Christianity of the Western Church or for any reference to the Greek Orthodox Church's criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church (although the OPC, of course, would be in agreement with historic Protestantism's criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church).

When the liberals of the large Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA) defrocked Professor J. G. Machen of Princeton Seminary (and six other ministers in other presbyteries) in an administrative move and denied him liberty of conscience to serve Christ in the work at hand that the Lord had given him, a sizable segment of the PCUSA followed the forced exodus of Machen and called themselves the "Presbyterian Church of America." The use of this name was challenged and court action was threatened if the despised "splinter" group did not drop a name that, the PCUSA charged, would be confusing to a large segment of the American public.

A young former student of Machen's at Westminster Theological Seminary, Rev. Everett DeVelde of Baltimore, suggested that the use of the anglicized form of the two Greek words of the New Testament for "correct, straight" ("ortho") and for "doctrine" ("dox") would neatly solve the problem of distinguishing the new group from the old group.

The liberal group, the PCUSA, despised enforcing orthodoxy in its midst. Many of its ministers boasted of their rejection of much of the Westminster Confession of Faith, a historic doctrinal standard of traditional Presbyterianism. More than that, 1500 signed the "Auburn Affirmation," which denied the Bible's teaching on five fundamentals of the historic Christian faith. Many boasted that their heterodoxy enabled them to keep their respectability in society because their new views fit in with modern science and critical Bible scholarship.

DeVelde's suggestion of joining "orthodox" and "Presbyterian" caught on, in spite of some pastors' noting the possibly confusing connection you have suggested. The PC, USA had no objections to the new name. (For further information on the change of name from the Presbyterian Church of America to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, see This Week in Church History.)

I hope that the preceding explanation has been helpful to you.

Taken from the OPC's Question: Meaning of Orthodox

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Why does the Apostle's Creed refer to the holy "catholic" church?


I attended my first Presbyterian service on Saturday night. Of which branch or denomination of the Presbyterian Church I attended, I am not sure. At the end of the service, the pastor asked the congregation to recite "The Apostles Creed." It sounded great until the part about believing in the Holy Catholic Church. Why was this in the passage? I don't understand. I appreciate any help you can give me.


Thank you for your question. Relax. The Apostles' Creed refers to "the holy catholic church" (notice "catholic" spelled with a small "c"). That is different from the Roman Catholic Church (notice the capital "C"), which claims to be the only true church since it claims a direct descent of popes from the Apostle Peter to the present pope.

Of course, their claim is not historical. But this ancient ecumenical creed (the Apostles' Creed) uses "catholic" in its original Greek meaning -- "according to the whole." The meaning of that phrase in The Apostles' Creed is "the true body of believers over all the earth." Similarly, the Nicene Creed confesses "one holy catholic and apostolic church," which is far better. And that creed was written before what is now called the Roman Catholic Church, though not by the apostles themselves.

And Presbyterians, along with many other Protestant churches, have the biblical understanding of succession. I am an Orthodox Presbyterian minister. My ministerial credentials do not depend on ordination on a long chain of ministers leading back the apostles, or as I like to say with tongue in cheek, "laying fat fingers on bald heads."

The catholicity of historical Protestant claims depends on adherence to apostolic doctrine. And that apostolic doctrine is found in the Word of God, especially the New Testament Scriptures which claim Holy Spirit inspiration and infallibility. That does not mean that we downplay the Old Testament, since those Scriptures prepare for the coming of Christ, the Messiah, and the New Testament reveals Christ come and the establishment of the present order. The New Testament was written either by Christ's apostles or those associated with the original apostles, making the Bible from Genesis to Revelation the Word of God. And "catholic" is a good word, in spite of the fact that the Roman Catholics have usurped it to support their doctrine of salvation by works.

Just another word of difference between Protestants and the Church of Rome. Protestantism holds Scripture to be supreme over the church. Even to join the church, and as well to become a minister, I had to affirm the Bible to be "the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice." Rome places the Church (particularly the Pope and his Cardinals) to be over the Bible, that is, whatever the Bible says, the Church, through its councils and the Papacy, give the correct and only true interpretation of the Bible.

That was a long answer. But sometimes one word needs a long interpretation. I hope you have the answer that quiets your mind as to "the holy catholic church." Please feel free to come back with further questions.

Taken from the OPC's Question: The Apostles' Creed

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

What is Covenant Theology?


Are OPC churches "Covenant" churches, and what exactly does that mean?


Yes, OPCs are "covenant churches," but it will require a little more to explain what that means. I'll attempt first to let you see it in a broader fashion and second to show from Scripture that Covenant Theology is biblical.

1. Perhaps a quotation from the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) would be a good place to start. In fact, it would help if you could acquire a copy of that confession (the primary doctrinal standard of the OPC).

The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant" (Chapter 7, Paragraph 1).

At this point let me say that the idea of covenant is involved in all our human relations. Since we are citizens of the USA, our government is required to protect us from harm and danger, protect us by police locally and armies internationally. The relationship between government and people is often based on a contract or agreement or "covenant," implicit or explicit. Marriage is a covenant with obligations and privileges, and the traditional concept of the family is covenantal. So is education at all levels, insurance on life and property. In one way or another, education, insurance, and our banking system are all likewise covenantal.

In terms of the covenant, however, our relationship to our Creator is unique. Human, worldly covenants are negotiated, but God's covenants are imposed by our sovereign Creator. At the heart of the matter, we have no choice whether to be God's image bearers, nor do we have a part in declaring the conditions of the covenant.

God sovereignly sets forth the terms of the covenant. If we continue till death in rebellion against God's lordship over us, we'll be condemned to everlasting punishment in hell as covenant breakers, but the Christian gospel affords heaven to those who come into covenant with God through faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.

The Westminster Confession speaks of two covenants. WCF 7-2 reads,

The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam: and in him to his posterity, on condition of perfect and personal obedience.

Paragraph 3 follows:

Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offereth sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him that they might be saved, and promising to give unto those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them able and willing to believe.

The covenant of works was not abolished by the introduction of the covenant of grace. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). And death is the lot of all mankind, including those who were born dead and the millions of aborted children who never had a chance to do anything good or bad. Romans 5:12 covers that: "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned."

By this verse alone (and it isn't alone), we see that (except for the special cases of those Old Testament saints Enoch and Elijah—see Hebrews 9:27—and those Christians who will be alive and remain to the coming of the Lord), we are all born to die. That is, as a consequence of Adam's breaking God's covenant, Adam's sin brought with it all the miseries of this life, death itself, and (apart from God's grace) everlasting separation between God and man.

So, since Adam failed the obedience test (Gen. 3), a second Adam was needed. That Head of the covenant of grace was Jesus Christ. According to 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, Adam represented all the human race in his failed headship. So. all who died, died because they were "in Adam" (vs. 22), but those whom Jesus died to save (by grace through saving faith) were "in Christ." This comparison and contrast between Adam and Christ is dealt with in verses 44-47.

So our relation to God in Scripture is covenantal. Other Bible-believing churches take a different approach by just speaking of salvation by personal faith in Jesus Christ. That's not wrong—it's just not enough. To replace the covenant, however, near the beginning of the 20th Century dispensationalism (made popular by the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909) was brought in.

Dispensationalism took different forms, but they all made a sharp distinction between Law and Grace, saying that, from Moses to Christ, God dealt with his people through Law. But when Christ the Messiah came and was crucified, Law stepped aside and Grace took over. The problem with that is that there is much grace in the Old Testament and much Law in the New Testament.

In the Old Testament, for example, Psalms 32 and 51 deal with King David's great sin with Bathsheba. By the law David should have died, but the God of grace pardoned him. (See also Ex. 33:19 and 34:6-9). Old Testament saints (Old Testament sinners saved by grace) delighted in God's law, and one good example was the author of Psalm 119 (see verses 77, 92, and 174; compare with verses 16, 24, 47, 143, and 174), but such was also true of the New Testament saints, including the Apostle Paul: "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.... For I delight in the law of God after the inward man...." (Rom. 7:12 and 7:22).

The Bible teaches that one cannot earn the right to heaven by doing good works of the law, but both Testaments also teach that even though we are saved by grace through faith and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9), saved sinners are called to perform good works (Eph. 2:10). Christ said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). In short, we see in the Bible Law and Grace operating in similar fashion in both Testaments.

Understood correctly, both Old and New Testament present the story of how Christ, by his perfect obedience to the Father's will and his substitutionary death on the cross, fulfilled in the New Covenant the requirements of the Old. That is the distinction between Old and New Covenants as well as what brings them together.

Many serious Bible students become confused because they see the various covenants God made with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David as separate and discrete covenants, without any essential relationship with each other. In contrast, we who believe in covenant theology see these covenants as progressive administrations of the one covenant of grace.

It's worth noting that God's gracious promise in Genesis 3:15 was stated on the very day Adam (with whom the covenant of works was made) fell. The serpent (Satan) had deceived Eve, thus bringing her and Adam (whom she convinced that the fruit was profitable) onto the devil's side and abandoning the Lord's side. God said, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise [crush] your head, and you shall bruise his heel." This prophecy is fulfilled and interpreted in Revelation 12. In a word, the promise of Genesis 3:15 covers the whole history and fulfillment of redemption!

Thus dispensationalists (such as C. I. Schofield) are wrong in thinking that God's covenant plan of salvation can be understood by dealing with these individual covenants apart from one other as though they were separate entities. With the exception of the "Rainbow Covenant" (Genesis 9) which had to do with God's promise never again to destroy the earth by flood waters, the other Old Testament covenants had these qualities in common: they were Christological (that is, they were foreshadowing Christ), they were symbolic (blood sacrifices and the feasts in the Mosaic Law), and they were progressive, pointing to the consummation of the ages.

There is one more matter to be considered: the treatment of covenant in the Epistle to the Hebrews. There the "Old Covenant" and the "New Covenant" seem to be set in opposition to each other. How then can they be seen as part of the over-all covenant of grace? In chapter 1:1 & 2 we read: "God, after he spoke long ago to our fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he made the world...."

The amazing contrast between the Mosaic age and "these last days" is the theme of this book. It was written to Hebrew believers during the time of the transition from the time of the Old Testament to the time of the coming of Messiah. The author considers the limited priesthood of Aaron (contrasting it with that of Jesus); the sacrifices of blood (ineffectual, requiring constant repetition); the inferiority of the Jerusalem on earth (compared to the Jerusalem from above—Heb. 12:18-29). And these Christian Jews were smarting under the oppression of those days and were seriously considering returning to their earlier Judaism without Christ. That in itself stirred up the author's heart to warn against "going back"!

But the continuity is still there. Chapter 11 pictures the great company of witnesses encouraging these 1st Century Jewish Christians to keep on running the race (Ch. 12:1-11) because these Old Testament saints had their eyes fixed Jesus. And our dispensational brothers fail to do justice to Hebrews 11:39 & 40: "And all these, having gained approval through faith, did not receive what is promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect." In these words, the writer of Hebrews saw the entire Church of Christ as one body of the redeemed.

I could say much more, but this is as much as you may wish to digest at one reading. The case of people who interpret everything in terms of a number of "dispensations" often don't see the over-all picture of the covenant of grace. It is like the old saying, "They can't see the forest for the trees."

I hope this has been helpful to you. Sometimes the shortest questions deserve the longest answers. If you are so inclined, please return with further queries.

Taken from the OPC's Question: Covenant Theology and the OPC

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Why Traditional Worship?


I have been in several different OPC church services over the years and have wondered why the Doxology and the Gloria Patri as well as the historic creeds are sung/recited in corporate worship. My understanding is that the OPC subscribes to the Regulative Principle of Worship. How do these practices fit into this principle, as they seem to be more of church tradition rather than commanded in the Scriptures?


Like many Reformed denominations, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is committed to the regulative principle of worship, which insists that God requires worship only according to what is expressly commanded in the Bible (Westminster Confession of Faith 21.1ff, Deut. 12:32).

But, as you may know, what the regulative principle allows and disallows is a matter of controversy within the Reformed community. We pretty much all agree that God has commanded that the church sing his praise and offer thanksgiving and that it concern itself with the whole counsel of God.

Insofar as the OPC views itself as the continuation of the Presbyterian Church in the USA as it existed in the 19th century, its “traditions” (as you call them) reflect the view that hymns that conform to Scripture, though not specifically being Bible passages themselves, are consistent with the regulative principle, that is, with what God has commanded. The body of acceptable hymnody would include the Doxology and the Gloria Patri. You might be interested in reading the OPC General Assembly report dealing with exclusive psalmody and related matters, which can be found on the OPC website (

Likewise, our church finds no inconsistency in the use of confessional statements in worship insofar as they accurately present the teaching of God’s Word. The OPC Directory for the Public Worship of God (II.B.3.b) states, “It is … fitting that the congregation as one body confess its common faith, using creeds that are true to the word of God, such as the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.” These creeds are the historic faith of the church and as such are instruments for teaching in public worship comparable to a sermon and are also means of addressing God. Just as prayer in general in worship can be either spontaneous or pre-prepared, so historical declarations of faith directed to the Lord are often prayerful, worshipful acts of commitment and renewal. 1 Timothy 3:16 leaves the impression that creeds were uttered in the worship of the early Church.

It should be noted that even within the OPC there is liberty for the local church not to use the creeds or any particular hymn. Many congregations regularly sing the Psalms, but not exclusively. Some congregations choose to sing only the Psalms without instrumental accompaniment.

I hope this brief answer provides a clearer understanding of the OPC’s use of certain hymns and creeds.

Taken from the OPC's Question: Hymns, Creeds and the Regulative Principle

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Should I attend an OPC when I'm not sure about infant baptism?


Should I attend a local Orthodox Presbyterian Church when I am not sure about infant baptism? I have been in Baptist churches most of my life, but the church I attend does not believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation and the doctrines of grace that I have come to see in the Bible.


The decision to leave one church for another is a difficult one. However, if your church does not confess the sovereignty of God in salvation and the doctrines of grace, your conviction that you need to find a church that does is well founded. Your question whether you should attend an Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) when you are not sure about infant baptism is a natural one, given your uncertainty about the doctrine of infant baptism. While the OPC believes that infant baptism is biblical and that believers should baptize their covenant children, and while all the officers in the OPC (ministers, elders, and deacons) must hold to such a position in order to be ordained in our denomination, such a requirement is not placed on members of the church. We simply require that you be able to answer the following questions honestly:

  1. Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
  2. Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
  3. Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord and do you promise, in reliance on the grace of God, to serve him with all that is in you, to forsake the world, to mortify your old nature, and to lead a godly life?
  4. Do you agree to submit in the Lord to the government of this church and, in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life, to heed its discipline?

If you can answer such questions honestly, I'm confident that you would be welcome in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. We would only ask that your potential differences regarding infant baptism not be an occasion to cause division within the church and that you be open to instruction regarding infant baptism. Lastly, I encourage you to call the pastor of the local OPC church and set up a meeting to talk with him about any questions or concerns you might have. I'm sure he will be more than happy to do this. He also will be happy to take you through an inquirer's class to help you familiarize yourselves with the distinctive beliefs of our denomination.

Taken from the OPC's Question: Should I attend an OPC when I'm not sure about infant baptism?

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Charismata/Gifts of the Spirit?


I am writing a question to you about the “charismata.” I want to know if you teach against speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Holy Spirit. Are your members, pastors and elders permitted and/or encouraged to worship in the Spirit in this manner? I am a Christian who believes that the gifts are in use today, and I would like to know your position.


Thank you for your interest in the Orthodox Presbyterian (OPC) position on the special gifts of the Holy Spirit in relation to our times. We believe that the “charismata” (those first introduced at Pentecost and further dealt with in 1 Cor. 12–14) have ceased with the end of the apostolic age. I will list our reasons for that strong conviction.

1. From the birth of the New Testament (NT) church at Pentecost through to the end of the first century of the Christian era, the church was in her infancy. It was then that the blood sacrifices were done away, as well as the need for Mosaic ordinances, since the veil of the temple was rent (Matt. 27:51, cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). This explains the frequent references to prophetic utterances during the times after Pentecost. The NT books were in the process of being written during those years, hence, the need for special revelations to guide the infant church during those turbulent years.

2. There seems to have been a terminus of the special miracles referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:4–11. That comes at the very end of the Bible in Revelation 22:18–19. One might say, “but those curses against adding to or taking from what is written in ‘this book’ apply only to Revelation.” Does that mean that we can add to, or subtract from, other NT books, but not Revelation? Also, Revelation is placed historically at the very end of the NT era. It was probably written around 95 AD. No NT writing was written later, and John was the last of the apostles to die.

One could also use Luke 16:23–31 (our Lord’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus) with the understanding that Jesus was speaking to Jews before he had been sacrificed. This moves what he said to the end of the Old Testament (OT) era. When the rich man pleads with Abraham to send someone back from the dead to warn his five brothers, Abraham said, “They have Moses and the prophets,” but the man in hell protested, “they will not listen to them.” Abraham said, “If they will not hear Moses and the prophets (i.e., the OT), neither will they be persuaded though someone rises from the dead.”

The meaning is clear: God’s written Word is sufficient! Push that principle back to Isaiah’s time; the same principle applies: “To the law and the testimony. If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn [no hope for the future]” (Isa. 8:20). So, even in the OT era, the recorded Word of God was sufficient. How much more when the last inspired Scripture was written! The Bible is sufficient.

3. The various charismatic gifts referred to in 1 Corinthians 12 were given to the NT church by the Holy Spirit who himself was given at Pentecost (v. 4). But notice in verses 7–8 that it was the Spirit who gave the respective gifts: “one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as he wills” (v. 11—my emphasis). Let me ask a question. By what biblical authority does a church hold that all those baptized in the Spirit should have the gift of tongues? Tongues seem to be elevated above the other gifts, whereas in chapter 14 Paul insists that prophecy was to be preferred in worship because tongues, being private, edified only the speaker, while prophecy edified the whole church.

4. Tongues were for a sign (chap. 14:21–22), and that sign was one of judgment (quoting Isa. 28:9–13). Translations vary, but the deeper meaning is that, like little children babbling without conveying any meaning to their words, so Israel would come under the rule of the Babylonians whose speech would be like a babbling of children to them, but would bring divine judgment.

Admittedly, the connection between the Apostle’s saying it is for a sign, and relating it to an earlier parallel in the history of Judah and Jerusalem, is difficult. But the gift of tongues commencing at Pentecost was indeed a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit prophesied in Joel 2:28–32. And the general understanding of these words spoken in a tongue and understood by those who heard them in their native tongue were “the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11).

The “sign” (tongues speaking) drew the crowd. But when Peter rose to explain the meaning of this sudden manifestation, he preached his sermon in a known tongue. And indeed, there were two or three repeats of Pentecostal signs in Acts. First, there is 8:4–27 (though speaking in tongues is not specifically mentioned there). In Acts 10:44–46, tongues are spoken. In addition, tongues occur in Acts 19:1–7. These were delayed-action dispensings of the Spirit with accompanying gifts.

The first group of people in view were Samaritans. They were a mixture of Jews and Gentles. The second took place at the house of Cornelius, an uncircumcised Gentile and his household. The third group was a group of seven men who had heard the ministry of John the Baptist and nothing more till they came in contact with Paul in Ephesus.

In Acts 2:9–12 the company was made up of mostly Jews plus a few proselytes, who were Gentiles-in-blood-turned-Jews through circumcision and ceremonial washings. Samaria was a half-way step from Jews to Gentiles. Cornelius and his household were all Gentiles. The twelve men at Ephesus were an exception in that they’d missed NT history from John to Pentecost—an exception which had to be brought up-to-date. But, assuming that the Samaritans received the gift of tongues, these three were mini-Pentecosts. Bear in mind that the signs of the apostles (2 Cor. 12:12) did not continue in the church after the death of the apostles!

5. There is an argument from the post-apostolic history of the NT church. There is a sudden absence of miracles in general, including references to the gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12–14. It wasn’t till centuries later that “miracles” of any kind were brought into vogue, and those were those “miracles” ascribed to the Roman Catholic “saints”—either attributed to them after their death or attributed to their bones buried in numerous cathedrals. They are as like the miraculous gifts of Jesus and his apostles as black is like white.

Much later, the tragic life of Edward Irving (1792–1834) formed a brief parenthesis in church history in which an attempt was made to demonstrate the continuance of charismatic gifts in the British Isles. Irving was a godly man who thoroughly believed in continuing miraculous special gifts of the Spirit. It was at the height of his brief ministry that attempts were made to send missionaries to evangelize people of strange languages through the gift of tongues. It ended in utter failure. In fact, Irving lived in ill health, dying of “consumption” (tuberculosis) which his “gifts” failed to heal.

It wasn’t till around 1904, in Los Angeles, that the modern “Pentecostal” movement was born. From shortly after the death of the apostles till then (with the exception of the Irving years) these gifts were not significantly claimed in the church of Jesus Christ. Yet there was the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century which brought the church back to the Scriptures. There were the numerous special works of the Spirit in England, Wales, Scotland and America which blessed the church beyond all expectations. During all those in-between centuries, we had the same Holy Scriptures.

The great scholars could have come to the conclusions of the modern charismatic Christians, but they didn’t see it. Some individual churches here and there have yielded to the influence of Pentecostalism, but the Orthodox Presbyterian Church steadfastly resists the doctrine as unbiblical. I have relatives who believe as you do. I love them as fellow Christians. But we disagree on these issues. Why? Because the tendency in Pentecostalism is to emphasize experience over doctrine. The extreme examples is found in the “Vineyard” churches, out of which has erupted the “Toronto blessing” which I believe has lost sight of God’s Word altogether.

Perhaps I’ve given more of an answer than you asked for, but I didn’t want to disagree with any brother or sister in Christ without giving reasons from the Bible. Otherwise, your opinion is as good as my opinion or any other opinion. In Christianity opinions don’t matter unless they are drawn from the Word of God.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

For more please see the OPC's Question & Answer page.