Our church has people from all over and in every age group. Young people, new families and mature believers, all kinds of people are comfortable here.
Our worship is God centered and historic, meaning that the ancient faith of the church is still relevant and will carry on far beyond our generations. We strive to evangelize and teach in ways that people today will understand without losing the deeper meaning. Sometimes that can be hard because societal and cultural norms change in every generation but the Gospel is the same for everyone.
As such, we love the Reformation and what that time of development meant for the church. We believe in a salvation that is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone and that God calls us to seek to live in love for God and for one another.
Every church is of one kind or another. Even a “non-denominational” church is a kind of a church with their own beliefs and structure; a denomination with “one” member. Graceview is a part of a long standing and historic denomination that has been serving the Lord with gladness for more than 200 years, called the “Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church”. I know that’s a long name but back when they named it long names were important to people. These days it would probably be a one word name with a “the” in front of it like ‘the Water’ or ‘the Gathering’ but back then people wanted to know everything a church was about just by the title. There were at that time, very few Baptist churches and still no Pentecostal churches, only about 1% of the United States was Roman Catholic and a non-denominational church would have been disregarded by the vast majority. Many common denominations like the Church of Christ, Methodists, etc. simply did not exist.
So these words like “associate” simply means an association or a group of churches. It was in the old days, thought improper for a church to be completely autonomous or disconnected from every other church. It was seen as being particularly unsafe for one’s spiritual well being and so almost every church was in some way “associated”.
The church was Reformed, meaning coming from the thought and practice of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was a movement to return to the Bible alone as the sole rule of faith and practice at a time when many people felt that the Church had departed from Bible as its source of information. Just as many today feel the country has forgotten the Constitution, in those days they felt that the Church had forgotten the Bible. Entire countries like England, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, the Scandinavian lands, Switzerland and France were powerfully influenced by this idea and “The Reformation” changed the way we do church, form governments, read the Bible, perform Missions, just about everything. It was the first and perhaps greatest, “back to the Bible” movement in history. So, we’re reformed.
As for Presbyterian, it’s not a theology. It speaks to the way we (and just about everyone from that era) think the Bible says a church should be governed. The Bible seems to teach that instead of their being one powerful person or group that runs the church it should instead be run by good people that are chosen by the church members themselves. You might think that, “Well yeah, but my Baptist church does that.” which would mean yes, your Baptist church is Presbyterian.
You see, you can tell a little about a church by the name or what it says on the sign outside but more, when it was born. At the time the Presbyterian churches were born the “form of church government” was one of the most important things that people wanted to know about a church. They didn’t believe that popes or princes should run the church. If it wasn’t a presbyterian run church, odds were, Americans weren’t coming.
Much later, there was a big discussion about the sacraments, particularly baptism. Many of the baptist churches were previously presbyterian churches that disagreed with the understanding of baptism, and so, you guessed it, they started to call themselves Baptist. Even today there is very little practical difference between a Baptist church and a Presbyterian church in theology, understanding of the bible, ethics or practical spirituality.
But someone might say, “Yeah but I’ve heard a lot of different things about presbyterian churches, their theology and such…” and that would be true. Because “presbyterian” only refers to a form of church government you can tell very little about if a church is a good church or not by the mere word “presbyterian’ on the sign outside. Just like with a baptist church, there are liberal and conservative, with all varieties in-between. I know of a certain corner in Tennessee where there are four Baptist churches on the four corners, all very different in faith and practice; the similarity being that they have a similar view of baptism. Just about everything else from worship to beliefs and interpretation of the bible can be remarkably different.
When you come to Graceview you’ll receive a warm, loving atmosphere with people that desire to serve Jesus with all of their hearts.
We have a lot of activities, studies, fellowship opportunities and opportunities to serve, but you can find out about all of that later.
First, just come and worship the Lord.