The OPC has Christ in common with other denominations, but like other denominations, has its own distinctives. “We are a confessional denomination— that does not make us necessarily distinct in one sense, because most denominations will say they have a confessional statement. But ours is the Westminster Confession of Faith, which was completed in 1649. We adhere to that, and we believe that it is a faithful summary of God’s Word. Our primary standard is God’s Word, and our secondary standard is the confession.” As a result, Doug will occasionally refer to the doctrinal statements throughout his preaching.
After hearing the heart of the Beamsville pastor for any considerable length of time, his deep love and respect for the Word of God and the history of the faith becomes more and more evident. “I strive to be doctrinally sound,” Doug said. “I strive to remind the congregation that we have received a glorious heritage: two thousand years of church history that we should not snub out noses at. Two thousand years of history is two thousand years that the saints have looked at God’s Word.
“I realize there can be a danger in that you can start to add tradition to God’s Word, and then God’s Word starts to get buried under Christian tradition. But we always go back to the primary source— God’s Word. And when God’s Word is the primary source, and the standards, like the Westminster Confession of Faith, are secondary, then we never hold man-made doctrines above God’s Word.
“Let’s give our brothers and sisters, many of which paid for the good confession with their lives, some credence, and say, ‘hey, they died for something, maybe we should see what that something is, and (find out) what were their insights into God’s Word?”
After calling Conversations Cafe at the corner of King and Ontario Sts. home for some time, the church relocated to Great Lakes last March. “We miss the cafe. We outgrew the conference room, but we loved the location because we’re worshipping, and a good chunk of the community is walking by the door, with our welcome sign on it, welcoming them to worship.”
Living Hope is a church that looks to be outreach-oriented, engaging with the community every chance they can. Be it the Miracle on King St., Harvest Happening, or the West Niagara Fair, the church wants to be a presence. They also look for opportunities to partner with other churches. The recent movie event at Calvary Gospel Church is one such example. As well, last summer local teacher Jim Groff, who attends Calvary, teamed up with Living Hope to do two apologetics classes at Conversations Cafe aimed at teenagers, and open to all teens in the region. The church plans on using Conversations again next summer to do a couple of events once again geared at that age group.
The church has a website (http://www.livinghope-opc.org/) but more up to the minute news can be seen on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/livinghopebeamsville). Services are Sundays at 9:30 am and 3:30 pm.