#1 Biblical Depth
This is what first drew me to the church, when I was a student completing my first year of university Theology and needing a spiritual home that would give me some biblical ballast to keep me from being swept to and fro by the variety of different theological opinions that my academic reading was bringing me into contact with. Moving to CPC meant my weekly sermon intake instantly quintupled: from one twenty-minute homily to two forty-minute expositions (Sunday morning and evening), and a ‘brief’ twenty-minute meditation at the start of the Thursday night prayer meeting.
#2 Historical Rootedness
We all read the Bible from a particular point of view, being conditioned by our culture, our upbringing, and all manner of other factors of which we are usually utterly unaware. Theological study trains you to be acutely aware of this fact and can sometimes lead to an unhealthy cynical relativism–‘if we’re all interpreting the Bible from finite and fallen perspectives, then what hope do we have of hearing the living Word of God?’
I love the fact that CPC is well aware of and nourished by its Reformed history, and yet able to give robust priority to the Scriptures. I still remember my first evening service, and the way that a comment of Luther’s on an obscure verse in Genesis was gently dismissed and then used as a springboard for an earnest gospel appeal.
#3 Theological Clarity
Predestination was the specific subject that had come onto my radar in the months before I first walked in the doors of CPC. The combination of the CICCU’s termly bible studies focussing on the book of Malachi, and my discovery of the ‘seven-point Calvinist‘ John Piper, led to several discussions on this controversial topic. And I deeply appreciated the confident simplicity with which CPC confessed its convictions.
This isn’t to say that I always agreed with all of those convictions–the most obvious example being the question of charismatic gifts. But whether I agreed or not with what was preached, the very clarity of it forced me to come to terms with the hard facts of what I myself actually believed. And for that I am very grateful.
#4 Merely Christian Big-Heartedness
Confidently Presbyterian CPC certainly is, but I love that for all of the church’s shameless willingness to tie their theological colours to the mast, the fact remains that the church is a big-hearted Christian church before it is a Presbyterian church.
We are saved by believing in Jesus, not in unconditional election.
#5 Diligent Gospel Confidence
It wasn’t long before joining CPC that the Holy Spirit had begun to ekballo me onto the streets to proclaim the Word of God, in fear and trembling taking my first steps into the exhilarating world of street evangelism. And it was a delight to discover upon arriving at CPC that God had brought me to one of the few (at least as far as I could see at the time) churches in Cambridge that continued to believe in straight-forward street preaching.
Not only that, but they were later willing to employ me as church evangelist! An opportunity for which I will be forever grateful.