Orthodox Presbyterian Church provides straight truth you can bite your teeth into
By Leon Lagerstam
Nov 5, 2012
(Used by permission of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.)
DAVENPORT — What’s the difference between an orthodontist and an orthodox church?
”If you want straight teeth, you go to an orthodontist,” according to the Rev. Ken Golden. ”If you want the straight truth, go to an orthodox church.”
And no appointment’s necessary at Sovereign Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Davenport. Visitors are invited to worship services from [10:30 a.m. to noon] Sundays. New Sunday school hours are [9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.], with fellowship time in between worship and classes.
The church also holds fellowship meals at noon on the second and fourth Sundays, Rev. Golden said.
Leaders from Davenport’s Seventh Day Adventist Church, 4444 W. Kimberly Road, and Sovereign Grace recently agreed to share facilities.
”They worship on Saturdays, and we are on Sundays, so it works for both of us,” Rev. Golden said. ”It’s similar to agreements used by other congregations between the two denominations, which meet on different days during the weekend.”
Sovereign Grace had been gathering at the Christian Friendliness Youth Hope Center, 3928 12th Ave., Moline, but noticed many members were coming from, or had recently moved to, Davenport, ”so we decided it made more sense for us to move to Iowa,” Rev. Golden said.
”The Youth Hope facility served us well and was more than adequate,” he said.
However, the Seventh Day Adventist campus in Davenport provides ”a sense of church permanence,” Rev. Golden said, adding that it also provides an opportunity for growth in a structure specifically built for church purposes.
He said the sanctuary holds 250 to 300 people,” and the building has Sunday school rooms, a fellowship area, and kitchen facilities, while the grounds are beautiful and lend themselves to the possibility of outdoor programs.
Seventh Day Adventist Church religious leader Bob Joseph said his congregation was happy to help Sovereign Grace.
”I was in a similar situation about 15 years ago when I was in Grand Rapids, Mich.,” Mr. Joseph said. ”When Ken came along and asked about meeting here in our church, I asked our board, and they said it was fine.”
”Pastor Joseph has been just splendid to work with,” Rev. Golden said.
Sovereign Grace was founded in 2008 to fill a spiritual need in the area for a Bible-based, Christ-centered church that taught historic Presbyterian and Reformed beliefs, he said.
”We are different in terms of our confessional commitment, but we are not seeking to reinvent the wheel here,” Rev. Golden said, adding that long-existing creeds and confessions serve as worship ”road maps” they can follow.
”Our worship appears to be more traditional in nature,” he said. ”You’ll always hear the Gospel twice in worship, once when it’s read in its Christian text form, and then again as part of the sermon.
”Yet, we also emphasize an active website and audio sermons,” Rev. Golden said. ”We also have a strong sense of family. We are comfortable with the fact that we are small and feel like such brothers and sisters in Christ. I don’t think I could pastor a church with over 200 people, because I prefer such a personal ministry.”
Rev. Golden, 46, of Davenport, said he was born in New Jersey and raised in a conservative Jewish household.
He was bar mitzvahed when he was 13, ”and then abandoned my Jewish life,” and became what he called a ”member of mainline hedonism.”
Rev. Golden said he studied art at the University of Indiana,”looking for some kind of meaning,” but later he decided he ”wasn’t cut out for the life of an artist.”
He and his family lived in New Jersey for 10 years, where he ”fell into a pharmaceutical job as a way to pay the bills,” he said.
His wife, Cressid Golden, was raised as a Roman Catholic, but they made a pact to read the Christian Bible together, he said.
”I started looking at a King James’ version and soon started reading the book of Matthew, and couldn’t put it down. I found words of astonishing power in the Gospel.”
Yet, he said he remained a ”tough nut to crack,” in terms of being converted, because he couldn’t understand the significance of the cross in Christian teachings.
A Jewish convert directed Rev. Golden to read the description of the day of atonement called Yom Kippur in the book of Leviticus, which he said led him to have a conversion experience.
He joined a non-denominational Christian church for about three years before joining a Dutch Reformed Christian Church en route to his Orthodox Presbyterian involvement.
”It finally dawned on me to go into the seminary, which led us on a cross-country trip from New Jersey to California to enroll in Westminster Seminary,” Rev. Golden said.
Westminster is a renowned Reformed theological institution formed in 1929 by J. Gresham Machen, a New Testament scholar at Princeton Seminary, who founded the Orthodox Presbyterian Church seven years later in Philadelphia.
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, according to http://www.opc.org, ”believes that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, the only infallible rule for our faith and conduct.”
In other words, It’s where to find straight Biblical truths. For straight teeth, Rev. Golden suggests visiting an orthodontist.