You Don’t Have to Untuck Your Shirt (partially) to Follow the OPC

First, it was Christianity Today taking a page from the spirituality of the church.

Second, it was the PCA opening the way to be Presbyterian and not evangelical by leaving the National Association of Evangelicals.

Now comes a review of Jake Meador’s new book which seems to stress aspects of Reformed piety that have long been hallmarks of Orthodox Presbyterian expectations. Meador’s case is for ordinary piety (with no reference to shirt-tails apparently):

Meador argues for a Christian culture in which the faithful desire “a simple life of work and prayer in a particular place among a beloved people” (22). They delight in the created gifts of God and the ordinary means of grace in the church, the preached Word of God, and the blessed sacrament. For readers familiar with the arguments for good work, community, and the practice of Sabbath, Meador adds to the conversation a rich archive of Reformed theology, in particular excerpts from John Calvin’s Bible commentaries. According to philosopher Charles Taylor, one of the themes that arose during the Reformation was “the affirmation of ordinary life.” Meador draws from this theme to make his case for ordinary piety.

He even promotes observing the Lord’s Day:

Meador is interested in the teachings and practices that help us journey toward the Eternal City. For example, he suggests we practice Sabbath: on Sunday we can rest from exploitive economies we don’t admire but in which we are inevitably complicit. Preparing for the week ahead, we seek to return to the rhythms of a world sustained by divine love rather than human effort. For Meador, Sabbath also means attending public worship and perhaps going back to the two-service model in which the evening service would function as a time for theological rigor and catechesis. Churches tend to use the morning sermon to invigorate rather than instruct in the faith. The evening service could help Christians recover traditions of theology that would give them the confidence to understand and practice their religion in the world. In this and other instances, Meador strikes a balance between countercultural practices and recovering the traditional patterns of church life.

Holy moly.

The worry from here is an apparently ecumenical approach which could well turn into eclectic piety:

Even among Anabaptists who argue for a strong separation from the state, there is an emphasis on a life shared in common that runs “with the grain of the universe,” the phrase Hauerwas draws from Yoder for the title of his published Gifford lectures. Meador believes that these Protestant sources, coupled with the social ethics of the Catholic church, can help American evangelicals reorient the church: rather than just being an institution for individual fulfillment, the church ought to act as Christ’s body and minister to the wounds in American society at large, including those inflicted by economic inequality and racial injustice.

From my perspective, evangelicals have for so long lacked any rigor or discipline (which usually comes with confessions, church polity, and liturgy) that recommending other sources will only contribute to the phenomenon of boutique congregationalism. Some will be Hybelsian, others Hauerwasian, and still other’s sacramentalian.

Maybe lacking awareness of one’s shirt-tails has its advantages.

6 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Untuck Your Shirt (partially) to Follow the OPC

  1. Old Hipster Pastor: Half-tucked shirt.
    New Hipster Pastor: “Boutique” sabbath observance.

    On a more serious note: Why is it that when a confessional protestant talks about keeping the fourth commandment, he or she is universally ignored or disdained… yet, if a hipster atheist or Jew talks about the “undulating rhythms of sabbath life,” etc., the idea is gobbled up en masse?

    One of the many great things about heaven is that we won’t have to live with this silliness any longer.


  2. D.G.,
    In my short stint in the OPC, there were some transformationalists, some two kingdomers, republication advocates and the one Covenant of Works view, the teaching elder at that time was “Truly Reformed” (TR) but the church was mostly evangelical Presbyterian (think John Frame), some two covenant advocates (see Karlberg’s Engaging Westminster Calvinism) some three covenant advocates (see Scott Clark’s Covenant, Justification and Pastoral Ministry), at least one leaned Theonomic (he was friends with Ken Gentry), some Klinean on creation others six 24 hour creationists (no Day agers to my knowledge? see the works of David Snoke and Hugh Ross) some were Family Integrated (FIC)(home school only, women cannot work and Quiver Fullers) most were presuppositionalists (Van Tillian, no Gordon Clarkians? [The only Clarkians I know are a Reformed Baptist friend and a dear friend and former elder at my church who left to go to a John MacArthur church down the street. I think in part he did not like my Sandemanian teaching. Both of these only agreed with Clark’s apologetics and hated his book on Saving Faith]) except for me of course who is a confirmed classical apologist (and a Sandemanian Baptist). Finally the church was not High Church in that it did not use gowns, chant prayers or use a thurible (I doubt you use a thurible either but I know you like smoke) so I do not know if you would have fit in at this OPC. Just to be fair there seems to be a lot of variety in the OPC.


  3. Curious that along with the vote to distance themselves from the NAE, they voted to sign onto the Nashville statement. On one hand I am surprised the vote was so close (60-40) if Dreher’s letter writer is correct). On the other, I am not entirely clear what it means for a denomination to endorse such a statement. Is the NS now a PCA standard? Or is it completely redundant with the Westminster standards? I don’t know all the details of the LC, so perhaps I have missed the part about transgenderism. If it is covered in the standards, why sign onto the statement. If it isn’t, shouldn’t we update the standards? Or is this what that vote did?


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