"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17
As a Christian church, we believe that the Bible is the very Word of God, our all-sufficient rule for Christian faith and practice. The Bible is without error. In fact, since it is God's very Word, it cannot err. The Scriptures reveal God's perfect will for our lives (Psalm 19:7-11); above all they reveal Christ Jesus, the Savior (Luke 24:25-27, 32, 44-45). We believe that the Scriptures were penned by men who were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). God's Spirit uses the Word to convict us of sin (Heb. 4:12), to bring us to faith in Christ (John 3:5-8; 1 Pet. 1:23-25), and to renew us in His holy image (Eph. 4:20-24).
Guilt, Grace, Gratitude
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved." ~ Ephesians 2:4-5
It's the basic outline of the Heidelberg Catechism, but "Guilt, Grace, Gratitude" is also a summary of God's Gospel, the message of good news that identifies who we are and drives all that we do. We believe that every human being (other than Jesus) is a sinner in a state of GUILT before God who originally created us good (Rom. 3:9-20). The full misery of our sinfulness is that, in addition to deserving everlasting punishment, we can do nothing to make ourselves acceptable to a holy God. We are spiritually dead in our sin (Eph. 2:1) so that we cannot please God in the least (Rom. 8:8).
But we also believe in God's amazing GRACE toward His enemies! The Father sent His own Son into the world in order to reconcile us to Himself once and for all (Rom. 8:31-34). Not because of our works, but only through faith in Christ's obedient life and sacrificial death, we believers receive forgiveness of our sins, as well as the gift of His perfect righteousness, unto everlasting life (Rom. 3:21-24).
Finally, we also believe Christians will live a new life of GRATITUDE for all that God gives us in Christ. Chief among His gifts is the Holy Spirit, who works new life in sinners so that we continually turn from sin and walk by faith in our risen Lord (John 3:5-8). Christ, our Savior and elder brother, turns us into God's obedient children who can now live for His pleasure and praise (Titus 2:11-14), and labor for the advance of His Kingdom (Matt. 5:16; 1 Cor. 9:22-23, 10:31-33).
The Word & Sacraments
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers... And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved." ~ Acts 2:42, 47
Sunday is the Lord's Day (Luke 24:1; Acts 2:1; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). On that first day of the week we joyfully gather as God's covenant people to enjoy fellowship with God and each other, and to grow through regular and prayerful use of the primary means of grace, which are the preaching of God's Word and the administration of the Sacraments.
Preaching the WORD of Christ is the very heart of public worship, not only because it is the way by which God brings sinners to faith in Christ for salvation (Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23), but also because it is the primary way by which the Lord Jesus grows up His disciples into His likeness (Eph. 4:11-13; Col. 1:28). At Providence, while we strive to give attention to the whole counsel of God, the preaching is especially focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the Old Testament hope (Luke 24:27) and is the substance of all apostolic teaching (1 Cor. 2:1-5). He is the bread of heaven and the only nourishment for our souls unto eternal life (John 6:50). "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:23-24).
The SACRAMENTS are visible signs and seals of God's invisible grace. He uses them to confirm His promises to us for our comfort and consecration (Heb. 10:22; 1 Cor. 10:16-17). Baptism is the sign of the New Covenant, which is the final administration of the Covenant of Grace in redemptive history. Since God has always established His covenant with professing believers and with their children (Gen. 17:7; Deut. 6:7; Acts 2:39; 16:15, 33; Eph. 6:1-4), we administer baptism to new converts who have not yet been baptized, as well as to the children of professing church members. The Lord's Supper is a sacred feast for believers, who in partaking not only remember the death of our Savior but also spiritually receive Him and all the benefits of His one sacrifice (1 Cor. 10:16). We serve the Supper to baptized Christians who have made a public profession of faith in Christ and are members in good standing in a true church (1 Cor. 5:11; 10:17; 11:20-34).
"...contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." ~ Jude 3
Our church leaders (pastors, elders and deacons) subscribe the Reformed catechisms and confessions, and make regular use of these documents in their teaching, precisely because we are striving to maintain faithfulness to the Holy Scriptures and a focus upon the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Savior. While Scripture will always remain our primary standard, the Reformed creeds and confessions faithfully summarize the Bible's fundamental teachings, and therefore serve as secondary standards which help us to grow in our knowledge, defense, and promotion of biblical truth. If you would like to further explore these documents, click here.
Sharing our Faith
"Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." ~ Col. 4:5-6
Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus gave us the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), sending his Church with the Gospel to make disciples of all nations. The Church's ultimate purpose is to worship the living God, but Christ has sent and equipped us to make and grow more disciples who will join us in glorifying God and enjoying Him forever (Ps. 67). We support a number of foreign missionaries through regular prayer and financial support. We seek to equip believers to share the Gospel with their neighbors, to serve needy people in love, and to adorn the Gospel with distinctive Christian character and conduct.
"... in an abundance of counselors there is safety." ~ Prov. 11:14
Providence Reformed Church practices church membership because we believe that Christians, who are united to Christ the Head by a true faith, are meant to live and grow up in Christ through union with His body, the church, by means of a covenantal connection to a local congregation (Eph. 4:1-16). Scripture teaches that we are continually in need of God's grace (Heb. 4:16), but He graciously sustains His people not only by means of the preached Word but also through the loving service of other Christians (1 Cor. 12:12-26). Sometimes that service comes in the form of correction and exhortation as we strive to hold each other accountable to the Lord and His Word (Matt. 18:10-20; Heb. 10:24-25). But He has also given His church elders and pastors who are called to shepherd the sheep for growth in godliness (Acts 20:17-35; Heb. 13:17).