Our Denomination

And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. - Act 14:23

Sandy Springs is part of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).

The OPC is a small but growing denomination that upholds the Bible and the historic faith of the Protestant Reformation. It was organized in 1936 by J. Gresham Machen and other ministers from the mainline Presbyterian Church. There they had been censured for their resistance to the theological liberalism overtaking Presbyterian seminaries and missions. So they passed on to the OPC a keen interest in pure doctrine, careful church government, and sending out missionaries.

Some Christians reject denominations, supposing them to be divisive. But nondenominational churches are not an improvement; each is really a “denomination of one.” We love the OPC, and we think that belonging to a denomination is the best way to express biblical unity—unity that’s not just theoretical, but doctrinal, functional, and accountable. The OPC’s ministries are our ministries. Her missionaries are our missionaries. In fact, we regard the OPC as a microcosm of the worldwide church of Jesus Christ.

“Orthodox” just means “right teaching.” We do not have any direct connection to Eastern Orthodoxy. The term is meant in contrast to the liberal theology of mainline denominations.

“Presbyterian” means “governed by elders,” which is the pattern we find among God’s people in the Old and New Testaments: the King delegates authority to a group of leaders who are chosen for their spiritual maturity. Local elders (including the pastor, who is a “teaching elder”) lead a local church like Sandy Springs. But these elders also participate in regional and national assemblies that handle broader concerns. Our region, the Southeast, is governed by the Presbytery of the Southeast, one of sixteen presbyteries that make up the OPC.

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