By Leon Lagerstam
(Used by permission of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.)
MOLINE — Instead of an impossible-to-reach utopia or corrupt dystopia, the Rev. Ken Golden picks a “Presbytopia.”
Rev. Golden, lead pastor at Sovereign Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Davenport, said the made-up word means “old place.” It’s also the title of a book Mr. Golden wrote to explain what it means to be Presbyterian.”
It is designed to interest Christians of all denominations, he said, and is all about “going to an old place for new ways.
“Old things have fallen on hard times,” he wrote in a “Before we begin” book introduction. “They’re often considered to be outdated and ill suited for modern life.
“But old places have value,” he wrote. “Rather than obsolete and out-of-touch, they can be knowledgeable and experienced places full of old truth that never grows stale.”
Rev. Golden’s book is divided into three parts: Christian Essentials, Reformed Distinctives and Means of Grace.
The essentials are what people must believe to make a credible profession of faith, a Presbyterian requirement. Distinctives are what people are taught in a Presbyterian church. Means of Grace explain how Christians grow in their faith, he said.
Before writing “Presbytopia,” Rev. Golden had written a book review of someone else’s work in a similar literary genre. It was a hard book for others to read and understand, he said, making him believe others would think it’s well over their heads.
So instead of being so critical of someone else’s work, Rev. Golden said he chose to “put my money where my mouth was” and “came up with my own book,” and make it more accessible and understood by all, he said.
“It’s not ‘Dick and Jane,’ but it has a logical sequence, and you don’t need a dictionary or glossary of terms to read it,” he said.
For those who like such glossaries, he’s also included a brief seven-page appendix at the end of the book defining terms from “Adam as the first human being and federal head of the human race …” to explaining “Unconditional Election — God’s choosing His people apart from any foreseen qualities such as faith or obedience.”
Rev. Golden also provided a five-page sample liturgy in a second appendix, as well as discussion questions at the end of each section.
“People who have been going to church, but who are thinking of digging deeper into their faith, would find this book a good place to start,” Rev. Golden said.
According to earlier reports, the church was founded in 2008 to “fill a spiritual need in the area for a Bible-based, Christ-centered church that taught historic Presbyterian and Reformed beliefs.”
(First posted in Dispatch/Argus under the title “Sovereign Grace mines old places mined for new ideas“)