by Dr. David VanDrunen, WSC Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics, OPC minister, and member of the OPC Committee on Christian Education
The Reformed community in North America will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in 2011. While 75 years is not a long time in light of the whole span of church history, confessional Reformed Christianity has suffered its share of hardships over the past century. Thus to see a Reformed church remain faithful to its biblical moorings, while growing from the original 130 people who constituted the church in June 11, 1936 to some 30,000 members today is cause for gratitude to God.
We at Westminster Seminary California (WSC) are among those with special reason for thanksgiving. The same man, J. Gresham Machen, was the leading figure in the foundation both of the OPC and WSC’s parent, Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). From WSC’s origins in 1980 it has served and been served by the OPC. Today one-third of the faculty are OPC ministers and, according to a recent article by the OPC historian, WSC now trains more ministers for the OPC than any other seminary.
As one who is privileged to serve as both an OPC minister and a WSC professor, I write this article in gratitude for the years past and good hope for strong relations in the years to come. I first recount some important events in the founding of the OPC and note how these events helped to shape the character of the OPC as a Presbyterian, gospel-centered, and doctrinally orthodox church. I conclude with reflections on the importance of WSC remaining faithful to its task of training ministers for the OPC and other Reformed churches.