We are planting the seeds for a new church and praying that the Lord would bring the increase. Since there is no shortage of churches in Cumming, we think it is incumbent upon us to answer the question, 'Why another church?' Allow us to explain.
Part of The Broader Church
First of all, we consider ourselves as part of the 'visible' church, only one local expression of the whole Christian church throughout the earth. Therefore, we are not planting a church because we have nothing in common with other Christian churches in the area. In fact, those who believe in the historic Christian Faith are our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
A People in Need of God's Grace
We are not planting another church because we think we are right and everyone else is wrong. As you can see from the previous paragraph, we are in agreement with those who align with the biblical Christian faith. It is our prayer that we are not, nor come across as a prideful people. We are sinners delivered by the undeserved grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. However, we do hold to several convictions which demonstrate a need for us to form a new church.
A Place for Truth
We desire to send a clear, unequivocal message to our community concerning God's truth. The foundations of our culture have been destroyed and men are doing 'what is right in their own eyes.' (Judges 21:25). It is unfortunate that churches have not always helped, proclaiming confusing messages about the issues of our day. While the bible is clear, some churches have waffled, or outright contradicted the bible's claim concerning issues of gender, sexuality, marriage, race, abortion, and any standard for right and wrong. God has given us His word, and it is therefore the authority for everything we believe and do. We desire to proclaim God's truth clearly. "Sanctify them by Your truth, for Your word is truth.' (John 17:17) Sometimes the truth hurts! Just as antiseptic stings the open wound, so does the truth sometimes sting the conscience wounded by sin.
A Love for The Church and Appreciation for The Past
We desire to promote a sense of community beyond social media. Does it not seem ironic, that in a world of informational overload, notifications, 'likes,' and social platforms, that loneliness is an epidemic in our land? The Bible says, 'It is not good for man to be alone.' (Genesis 2:18). We are social creatures, and as sinful, yet redeemed social creatures, we Christians confess that we need the church of Jesus Christ as we walk through this life. (See Acts 2:42.) Moreover, we desire to be connected to our roots, those Christians who have gone before us in ages past. 'Surely I will remember Your works of old.' (Ps. 77:11) We cherish the history of the church and hold to the biblical creeds and confessions written by our spiritual forefathers who have gone before us.
Faithfulness in Our Beliefs and Conduct
We also desire accountability to other Christians who will hold us accountable. (Hebrews 3:13; Matthew 18:15; Mt. 5:24; Acts 15:1-29) We want to avoid the church dynasty model in which everything is built upon one man (1 Cor. 1:12-13). We recognize that there is 'safety in a multitude of counselors.' Therefore we desire to follow Jesus and rejoice in the gifts He has given to His church-faithful, gifted men who lead us in doctrine and life. (Eph. 4:11-12) We are convinced of the presbyterian form of government. (See Acts 15.)
Worship That is Pleasing to God
We desire to worship God the way He wants us to worship Him. Perhaps motivated by good intentions or selfish ones, many today worship God according to their own imaginations. We believe that God actually tells us how we are to worship Him. (It starts with the second of the ten commandments: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image.' Exodus 20:4). Over the past 40 years or so, the church has been influenced by the church growth movement, the seeker sensitive movement, and the emergent church movement. Research these and you will find how they have caused a shift in the way many Christians once worshipped. We believe Jesus meant it when he said that those who worship God 'must worship Him in spirit and in truth.' (John 4:24). In other words, men must worship God from the heart and according to His word. Yes, we desire worship that is joyful, worship that is vibrant and uplifting, but also worship that brings glory to God and not ourselves. If we want entertainment, we can get that on another day.
Focused on the Lord Jesus
We desire that Christ be at the center of all we do. In everything 'he must have preeminence.' (Colossians 1:18) The Bible is not a self help book, merely teaching how one might improve his or her marriage, or 'live your best life now,' the 'one that you'll love.' The Christian faith will address these and all issues of our time, but as Jesus said, 'without Me, you can do nothing (Jn. 15:5). The Bible is called the 'word of Christ' (Col. 3:16) because it is about Him. Paul determined to know nothing except 'Jesus Christ and Him crucified.' (1 Cor. 2:2). The gospel message reaches into every area of life (Jn. 14:15; Eph. 5:22,25; 6:1, 5, 9), but our focus should always be on Jesus Christ (Heb. 12:1-2). Ethics without knowing and loving Jesus is deadly, to put it mildly. (Matt. 7:22,23; Col. 2:8; Lk. 18:9-18)
Engaged in Evangelism, Outreach, and Discipleship
Since Christ must have the preeminence, and since Christ Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth and the ruler of the kings of the earth (Mt. 28:18-20; Revelation 1:5), and since He has told us to 'go and make disciples,' we desire to make Him known in Cumming and beyond (Acts 1:8). All of this is to say that we desire 'to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!'
While we know that there will be no perfect church this side of heaven, we also know that there will be more faithful expressions of the church, this side of heaven. We know that our very presence in a church will mean that there will be sin in that church. But this shouldn't stop us from desiring true holiness in the Lord (I Peter 1:16).
So we are planting an OPC church, here in Cumming. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church seeks to be faithful in doctrine (orthodoxy), and in all of life. We at Providence have partnered with the OPC because it best aligns with our vision as listed above. It has a long reputation of standing for truth, holding one another accountable (presbyterianism), valuing the church, worshipping according to the Bible, and knowing Christ and making Him known through local and foreign missions.
As we plant these seeds and expect God to bring the increase, come...and grow with us!