The Orthodox Presbyterian Church from 1945 to 1990

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church was formed in 1936 out of the modernist-fundamentalist controversy at a time when figures such as J. Gresham Machen were struggling with liberal influences at Princeton Seminary and the mainline Presbyterian Church. Much has been written on those early years, but a significant gap in the history persisted until recently. For the OPC’s 75th anniversary, the Committee for the Historian has commissioned two books. The first is a collection of essays edited by John R. Muether and Danny E. Olinger titled Confident of Better Things. The second is Between the Times: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Transition 1945–1990 written by Darryl. G. Hart. Hart’s book wonderfully chronicles the OPC during the transition beyond the first generation as the young Reformed denomination sought to find its identity in a changing evangelical world. Today Dr. Hart visits Christ the Center to speak about this important period in American Presbyterianism.


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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

11 Responses

  1. Richard L. Lindberg

    This is a good interview. I’m looking forward to reading Darryl’s book. Listening to the discussion about the benefits of writing the history of the OPC, I am led to wonder when someone will undertake a history of WTS. Mark Karlberg, D. Clair Davis and John Yeo have addressed the history of the seminary in some way or another. Will the seminary let everyone else write its history?

  2. The one other possible reason that the OPC has so many histories of itself, which I was waiting for someone to mention, is its very dis-ease with its own history. Thriving, growing, and future oriented new movements do not spend a lot of time figuring out how to congratulate themselves so early in the game, so to speak. Of course, there are not a large number of other church movements which spend time congratulating the OPC either. They do not tend to make friends. I certainly have a high regard for Machen and kind who not only began the seminary but also established the new denomination. But the OPC is a classic study in missed opportunities and choosing paths that lead to marginalization. What a shame! I don’t think so much firepower has ever met under one roof. I owe so much to those who were at the root of things. But ecclesiology is one course offering the OPC needs to take again.

    1. Sheesh

      You’re not exactly extending the olive branch in your post – friendly guy that you are. You’re a broad evangelical who doesn’t agree with Reformed ecclesiology. Why not just say so and leave it at that?

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  4. Erik Charter

    I am a URC church member and have served as an elder in the past. I enjoyed the book and the Hart interview. It is always interesting when you have him on as a guest. Keep up the great work.

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