The Need for Reformed Churches
I believe northeast Ohio needs more confessionally Reformed churches. In fact, I believe almost every place on the face of planet earth and almost every people group throughout the world needs confessionally Reformed churches that will bear faithful testimony to the gospel of Christ and the riches of the Reformed Faith. We don’t “need” such confessionally Reformed churches in the sense that there are no true expressions of the Body of Christ outside of the Reformed Faith. Lake OPC and other confessionally-Reformed churches in the region are not the only true churches of Jesus Christ in northeast Ohio. We are not “the only gig in town.” Still, I believe the Body of Christ needs confessionally Reformed churches, whether or not our non-Reformed brothers and sisters in Christ recognize the need.
First of all, our area needs confessional Reformed churches such as Lake OPC because the Reformed Faith and Practice is the most consistent expression of historic, biblical Christianity. Not the only expression of biblical Christianity, mind you, but the most consistent expression.
To outsiders this might come across as an arrogant claim, but it is not intended to come across that way. It is simply what we have come to believe, and what we confess. If you disagree with our confession, we hold no animosity in our hearts toward you, and we wish you well. But for those of us who are convinced that the system of Christian doctrine, worship and practice as summarized in our church’s confessional documents (in our case, the Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger & Shorter Catechisms) adheres more closely and consistently to the teachings of the Bible than any other Christian statement of faith or historic confessional tradition, it would be dishonest for us to pretend that we didn’t believe the Reformed Faith and Practice to be the most consistent expression of biblical Christianity. Our area, and the world, needs confessional churches that bear witness to and offer believers fellowship in the most consistent form of biblical Christianity.
Secondly, our area needs confessional Reformed churches like Lake OPC because we believe God’s people in this area will gain the most spiritual benefit and blessing for themselves and their families by believing and practicing an expression of the Christian Faith which adheres most closely to the teachings and commands of God’s Word. The historic Reformed Faith is biblically, doctrinally rich and deep, centered on the glorious Person and perfect saving work of Christ, and offers rich spiritual food for the hungry soul.
I believe many Christians today are spiritually starving in churches which offer only the milk of the Word and very little meat; where the worship is shallow, man-centered and me-focused rather than deep, God-centered and true to biblical standards of worship; and where the pastor(s) and church leadership function more like church businessmen or church marketing strategists than shepherds of souls. For the spiritual health and well-being of our brothers and sisters in Christ who long for biblical doctrine, biblical worship, and biblical shepherding, this place (and everywhere!) needs faithful, confessionally Reformed churches, such as Lake OPC strives to be.
Finally, this area needs confessional Reformed churches because of the stability, maturity and historical-rootedness that is offered in the Reformed Faith. Unlike some contemporary churches which are always trying to “reinvent the wheel” of how to do church, we in the Reformed Faith have been blessed with a precious spiritual heritage that has been handed down to us like a rich treasure. The historic, confessional Reformed and Presbyterian expression of the Christian Faith offers a godly, mature, and time-tested way of believing, worshipping and living out the faith.
We don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” of how to do church, for we stand on the shoulders of spiritual giants and fathers in the faith who were saturated with the Word of God, and who have passed on to us, their spiritual children, a precious heritage of faith that we believe will endure until Jesus returns in glory. In our culture which is always restlessly seeking after something “new” and “fresh” and whose only constant is constant change, I believe many Christians are weary of wandering from one hyped-up spiritual fad to the next. Much of contemporary Christianity has offered the weary Christian pilgrim only superficial fluff, such as the “Prayer of Jabez” craze, the “Left Behind” series, moralistic “life principle” preaching and Joel Osteen. Compared to such fluff, confessional Reformed churches can say to the weary Christian pilgrim: “A feast has been spread! Leave behind the mushy spiritual baby food of contemporary Christianity! Come to the biblically-saturated feast spread for you in the Reformed and Presbyterian confessions, and lived out in the communion of confessional Reformed churches!”
“Reformed” does not mean bigoted, or sectarian, or narrow. Reformed simply means “biblical” — “biblical” in the most consistent sense of that word, we believe. We recognize as brothers and sisters in Christ all who profess faith in Christ as Lord and Savior and affirm the biblical gospel. We love our non-Reformed brothers and sisters in Christ. We recognize as true churches of Christ all churches which preach the biblical gospel, administer the sacraments according to Christ’s institution, and maintain biblical standards of membership. But for those who are misled by false teaching or underfed by superficial contemporary Christianity, we are here to say: “You don’t have to settle for spiritual poison or spiritual fluff. Let us show you a better way!” We are beggars who have found in Christ the Bread of Life, and who have found in the Reformed and Presbyterian Faith food that satisfies the soul. We invite you to come join us for the feast.