The Church’s Cultural Bridge
The issue of a cultural bridge remains a critical feature for the OPC's identity. The absence of just such a bridge has proved to be the unexamined dimension to the ecumenical breakdown experienced by the OPC in its quest for union with other American Presbyterian bodies.
The 1975 attempt at union with the former Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod collapsed because the RPCES, a child of fundamentalism and the dissenting Reformed Presbyterian tradition, maintained a cultural vision that could not accept OP disenfranchisement. From the RPCES's point of view, OP disenfranchisement translated into the familiar criticisms that OPs were doctrinal nit-pickers and evangelistically dormant.
Along similar lines, the OP attempts at union with the Presbyterian Church in America collapsed in the 1980s. Behind the scenes, lay the PCA's cultural aspirations. These aspirations are very much at the center of the PCA's identity and rise out of an evangelical social vision of which a large, influential if not dominant national church is an indispensable part. Historically, the OPC has not shared this vision.
Photograph Copyright Kenneth Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence