Throughout most of American Presbyterian history, the prevalent assumption has been that old things are dead and new things are vital and alive. Generally speaking, this was an important dynamic in the controversies between the Old and New Side Presbyterians of the colonial era, and the Old and New School Presbyterians of the nineteenth century.

Oldlife.org challenges this assumption partly because it seems patently disadvantageous for Reformed Protestants to make it. The Reformed faith may not be as old as Rome or Constantinople, but its most reliable guideposts are—to put it bluntly—old. At the same time, many Reformed Protestants consider themselves conservative, a disposition that is also oriented to the past and conserving as much of it as possible. Old life indicates that the old things are actually valuable and capable of sustaining authentic Christian faith, and that historic Reformed Protestantism specifically embodies a piety as vigorous and alive as any of its rivals.

The Old Life Theological Society has existed for over a decade, the creation of D. G. Hart and John R. Muether. Its aim has been to point the way back to the health and vigor of historic Reformed Protestantism. The Society is the sponsor of the Nicotine Theological Journal, a quarterly dedicated to Reformed faith and practice. The idea behind the NTJ was clear in our first editorial. Although the editors, Muether and Hart, are known to enjoy a good cigar and even to smoke bad ones, they remain convinced that you don’t have to smoke to get the NTJ.

D. G. Hart is an elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, serving on the session of Calvary OPC in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He is the author most recently of From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism (Eerdmans, 2011) and Between the Times: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Transition, 1945-1990 (Committee for the Historian of the OPC, 2011).

John R. Muether is an elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Historian for the OPC, and serves on the session of Reformation OPC in Oviedo, Florida. He is the author most recently of Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman (P&R Publishing, 2008) and co-editor of Confident of Better Things (Committee for the Historian of the OPC, 2011).

Together Hart and Muether have written, Fighting the Good Fight: A Brief History of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Committee for the Historian, 1995); With Reverence and Awe: Returning to the Basics of Reformed Worship (P&R Publishing, 2002); and Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism (P&R Publishing, 2007). They are currently writing a contemporary case for being Protestant.

21 thoughts on “About

  1. Dr. Hart, have you ever thought about getting into doing Machen as a character-persona like Clay Jenkinson does Thomas Jefferson, Merriweather Lewis, Teddy Roosevelt and Oppenheimer for the TJ hour? You could do Machen, Mencken, and others at local libraries where the OPC has a presence. It could be a ministry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently went to the see the movie J. Edgar and all I could think about was J. Gresham. Many similarities.



  3. D. G. Hart is an elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, serving on the session of Calvary OPC in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

    My latest New Horizons suggests it’s instead a church in Hillsdale, MI. I’m willing to be corrected here..


  4. Eleni, Not if you judge solely by Nicea. But if you judge by Trent, well, not so good. Even worse is Roman Catholicism post Vatican 2. Do they believe Nicea? Trent? How would you tell from whom they let teach theology at their official universities?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Correction appears unnecessary.



    This is an interesting blog (insert emoticon). I may just keep reading.


  6. Dear Rev. Hart,

    Greetings in the name of our Savior. I am Felipe Sabino, Christian editor and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church of Brazil.

    I am currently editing a festschrift. I am writing to ask you to kindly consider contributing to the festchrift.

    Perhaps you would be able to contribute with an essay about smoking and reformed faith.

    It might even be something you have yet unpublished. Lenght varies; average will be around 10 thousand words; some will go up to 15 thousand and some will be shorter.

    Thank you very much for your attention.


    Felipe Sabino


  7. Erik Charter,

    Hoping you and your family are well!

    Just read that you are living in a van, and really hope it’s a joke.

    Praying for you regardless!



  8. Indeed both Roman Catholicism and many modern (now postmodern) Protestants are surely NOT creedal, save in name and tradition only, but sadly we are seeing the real essence of Gentile Apostasy in our Western culture! I have myself been both a classic and a Reformed Anglican for well over 40 years now, having left Irish Roman Catholicism after Vatican II, etc. But, sadly there is not much difference between Catholic eschatology and Protestant eschatology, especially these days! WE are surely living at the End of the Age, and I have been a Zionist Christian (per se, or intrinsically) , i.e. pro Modern Israel since about 1993, not long after being in Gulf War 1, and living and teaching in Israel. Yes, I am Historic Pre-Mill and Post-Trib, with something of the PD or Progressive Dispensationalism. And yes, I have been (past tense) both A-Mill, as Post-Mill, but those days are now long gone!

    *Btw, I like old John Frame very much – and count him something of a mentor type – and call myself something of a conservative Neo-Calvinist, as both Frame and Poythress. But surely depart from the old-school Protestant Eschatology, big time! It will be interesting, and deeply so (sadly so), to watch both the USA and the British culture’s go down in modernity & postmodernity, and Gentile Apostasy (in the main). But of course Christ is always LORD! Come Lord Jesus!


  9. Dr. Hart, did you ever receive that book that was from Machen’s library? It was sent to you a few years ago.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.