About us

We are two Christians that share a common theological outlook and (in consequence) a substantially common outlook on culture. Therefore, it seems fitting to share a common outlet for commenting on such themes.

That common theological outlook is adequately summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) and Catechisms. It happens that both of us are members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), which is a denomination exercising discipline in terms of that confessional family.

However, we hope to engage Christians of many persuasions, subject only to the rule that discussion should focus on establishing premises and refining arguments leading to valid conclusions. In short, we are not interested in shouting shiboleths or waving banners, nor in having others do so to us.

In keeping with that project, we hereby clarify that our posts will be serious and sometimes provocative, but never professing to be the last word on a subject. On the contrary, we hope to offer the first word on many subjects: at least, the first for many in our circles. Hence our moniker: First Word.

Michael R. Butler

Mike is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Faculty at Christ College, Lynchburg, Virginia. He has completed graduate work in Philosophy.

Timothy J. Harris

Tim is a practicing engineer and has completed graduate work in Physics (MS, UVa), Electrical Engineering, and Theology (MAR, WTS).

mug shot

Here we are with Witherspoon in Princeton, ca. 2004.

Guide to Navigating Site

Essays when posted will appear in the main screen area. However, the topic or category of each essay will be chosen carefully and the index of topics on the right column of the screen will serve the long-term reader as a more useful guide to find essays of interest.

We hope that many essays are of longer-term interest than the morning news, and can foresee discussions under some spanning months or even years.

For this reason, we establish certain rules for posting comments. Only arguments (in the philosophical sense), as well as questions, answers, and additional relevant thoughts are allowed. No invective or name-calling will be permitted (except of course as satire, especially as to public figures). Posts may be edited for brevity, or moved to Padded Room if off-topic.

A rule added 6/08: Any comment that announces, “this will be my final post on the subject,” thereby grabbing the last word by fiat, will, at our discretion, either have the offending phrase deleted, or be deleted in its entirety.

The topic “Current Flux” is an exception to the long-term nature of posts, and is meant to be a running commentary on current events in church or state.

The page “Padded Room” is available for apropos nothing comments, requests, etc.

How to Contact Us

e-mail may be sent to:

jamesthornwell at yahoo.com

which (to prevent spam) will be forwarded to the appropriate “real” email. (For ” at ” make the usual substitution.)

Please indicate who the recipient should be.

Be patient! It may be a couple days before email is sorted out.

4 thoughts on “About us

  1. I would like to compliment you guys on how well yur site works. Rather than have to squirrel around trying to find my last comment, your side bar on the right gives me all the current comments for the day.

    Nice job!

    Nice site!

    Now…..if I can just get you guys to the original Church our Lord established upon St. Peter!

    LOL!!

    Brother Ed — former PCA member 13 years

  2. My church membership is, as of today, in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, United States. My congregation is located in Buford, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.

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