A Day in Pittsburgh with Two Faithful Friends

I went to Pittsburgh today for a short visit with John Rodgers, the former president and dean at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, and Philip Houghton, the pastor of an Episcopal parish church in Bedford, Pennsylvania. John has been a leading voice for orthodox conviction and Christ-centered ministry in his church for five plus decades. When I asked him how and why he joined the Episcopal Church, after being a Presbyterian as a child, he told me of a visit to a local Episcopal church youth group for the purpose of meeting girls during his high school years in St. Louis. When John discovered the solid Reformed heritage of The Thirty-Nine Articles, beautifully linked with liturgical worship, he was hooked. Phil, on the other hand, was a Roman Catholic as a child, came to saving faith later, served in Vietnam, and then went to Westminster Seminary. He had more than one struggle with some of the more rigid Reformed stalwarts during his three years on the Philadelphia campus during the 1960s. But at Westminster he eventually came into the Episcopal Church as well. As odd as this might seem, since Westminster is a leading conservative Reformed institution, Phil eventually realized that he would never fit in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). Through the friendship and life-changing influence of the late Dr. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, who for some years taught at Westminster, Phil found his church home. Both John and Phil have faithfuly preached the gospel and suffered opposition from liberals in their church. Both remain faithful to their call. I happily count both as good friends and thank God upon every remembrance for their lives and encouragement to me, especially today. I am blest to have so many friends who love the gospel and Christ’s church as these two men do. I am also encouraged that I get to share such precious personal time with men of faith and courage like John Rodgers and Phil Houghton.