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History & Beliefs
Deep Run Church is a new faith community, composed of both longtime Westminster & Carroll County residents and recent newcomers. We are committed to establishing a Christ-centered, Gospel-centered influence in downtown Westminster and its vicinity. As the Bible invites us to receive “living water” – eternal life through God’s eternal love, we invite people to join us in receiving this living water by discovering and celebrating Jesus Christ.
The Presbyterian Church in America is our denomination, a young denomination, but with historic, ancient roots. Founded in 1973 to be “faithful to the Scriptures, true to the reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission,” the PCA emphasizes biblical Christianity – believing in and following the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the teachings of his apostles. The PCA promotes the ancient theology of the early church and the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation. By God’s mercy we are a church of forgiven sinners. We are not perfect. Our history weaves a story of blessings and tragedies, healing and brokenness, beauty and ugliness, as the Gospel of Christ transforms us and brings together a diverse group of people.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (the Westminster in England) best articulates our beliefs. Along with its Larger & Shorter Catechisms, it is our official “statement of faith.” You can read these historic documents here.
The Apostles’ Creed summarizes our core beliefs:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
(quoted from The Trinity Hymnal, Great Commission Publications, 1990)
To cultivate a community that seeks to discover the depths of Christ’s love, grow in his truth, and bring hope to Westminster and our world.
What’s important to us:
- Gospel centeredness establishes God’s grace – through faith in Christ alone – as the foundation of every truth we confess and everything we do.
- Worship gathers us to focus upward toward Father, Son, & Spirit, and to celebrate the grace and hope of the Gospel.
- Prayer cultivates our relationship with God as a Father who loves us, has plans for us, and calls us to love our community and world.
- Deep Teaching penetrates the hidden nature of our broken souls with the biblical story of salvation, with practical wisdom for healing and transformation.
- Discipleship nurtures a church culture in which we prayerfully speak God’s truth into each other’s lives, as saving faith and spiritual growth occur within relationships.
- Community celebrates unity among diverse peoples through our shared Gospel identity, expressed in love, transparency, reconciliation, service, and mission.
- Engagement within our community shines the light of the Gospel upon social and cultural issues, expressed through respectful dialogue and loving service.
- Witness declares the Gospel’s saving message to our neighbors through gracious conversation, as our lives attest to its healing, changing power.
- Mercy serves the needs of our faith community and broader world with the servant’s heart of Jesus, empowering those who struggle to provide for, or speak for, themselves.
- Reconciliation heals broken relationships with the truth and power of the Gospel, and fosters a culture of peace in the church and in our community.
Christianity, it’s been said, may be summarized by the prophet Jonah’s words, “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9). Christianity is a life centered on the Gospel, or “good news.” The Gospel is the great Story: the truest history, the most imaginative novel, the darkest tragedy, the most unpredictable mystery, the greatest epic, and the richest love story. The Gospel is revealed throughout the Bible. God’s story leads us through human history, and beyond time and space, to trace a great promise he made to our broken human race – a promise fulfilled by the man Jesus Christ. So the Gospel, and the whole Bible, is in essence about him.
The Gospel announces to all humanity three events:
- God Became Human when Jesus of Nazareth was conceived and born over two thousand years ago (the Incarnation). In the person Jesus, the Creator became a creature. He became one of us, because God had promised to send us a rescuer – someone who would break the curse. What curse? The curse of sin – our rebellion against God that leads to death. Physical death, but more: spiritual death, separating us from God – his presence, goodness, light and love – forever. The curse was the consequence of humanity’s free choice to usurp (as though we could) God’s reign over creation and our lives. God had created us to be like him, and made us beautiful, perfect, and free. But the curse…changed us, and all creation groaned, and still groans from the curse. You’ve felt it, and you’re living with it; we all are. The curse has affected your body, your emotions and intellect, your will, your relationships, and every person of every culture, society, nation and race. The worst news is that the curse brought enmity between humanity and God, between you and your Creator. The world waits for redemption. Genesis 1:27, Genesis 3:14-15, Ecclesiastes 7:29, Romans 3:10-12, Hebrews 9:27, Romans 6:23, Isaiah 42:1-4, Galatians 4:4-5
- God Became Sin when Jesus hung on a Roman cross, suffered, and died (the Crucifixion). Though innocent, he became the substitute criminal, standing in the place of guilty sinners. At the Crucifixion, the just wrath we deserve for our rebellion was transferred to Jesus. This is a gruesome and difficult thing to accept, but it’s the heart of Christianity: we couldn’t save ourselves, so God had to, and in his great love was glad to. Here’s what’s more incredible: just as our sinful record was transferred to Jesus on the cross, his perfect record (he lived the truly perfect human life) was transferred to all who put their hope in him. If you think about it, God’s righteousness – his absolute moral perfection – should terrify us, because we’re helplessly imperfect. But the Gospel is that a righteous God freely gives, as a gift, his righteousness to sinners, through Jesus’ substitutionary death. He endured God the Father’s punishment so that you wouldn’t have to…so that we could become God’s reconciled sons and daughters. Through faith in Jesus, God makes cosmic orphans his beloved, adopted children. Once his, always his. John 3:16-17, Isaiah 53:4-6, 2Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:21-24, Romans 5:8-9, 1Peter 3:18, 1John 3:1, Romans 8:16-17, Revelation 5:9-10
- God Became Life when Jesus defeated death by rising, in body, from his tomb (the Resurrection). This wasn’t recorded as a myth or legend. Hundreds of people saw the risen Jesus – people who would have fast denounced the earliest testimonies that he was alive, if it were a lie. And they didn’t see a ghost or a zombie; they saw the Jesus they knew – soul and body, though with the scars of his execution. This meant that everything had changed: God the Father had accepted his Son’s sacrifice for us, making reconciliation more than a hope, but a reality. The Resurrection also meant that death itself – our great enemy – had lost its victory, its sting. Because Jesus rose, so will those who belong to him when he returns. Death is no longer their punishment, but their entrance to God’s presence. Jesus’ resurrection was the D-Day of the universe. It was a beacon, an announcement that God’s kingdom is coming. It meant that all things will find renewal. Jesus, when he returns, will redeem creation, will heal humanity, society and culture, and will bring every evil work and evil person to justice. Jesus will come back for those who are his, and they will never suffer the curse of sin and death again. They will be heirs with him of a new creation. Matthew 28:5-8, 1Corinthians 15:3-8, 1 Corinthians 15:54-58, Romans 6:5, Romans 8:11, Revelation 21:3-8
Our Response to the Gospel
Faith & Repentance, the Bible teaches, are the marks of a new life – lived in response to the Gospel. Mark 1:15, Acts 2:38
- Faith is believing: that you’re a sinner, a rebel, guilty of breaking God’s law, justly deserving his wrath. But faith is also believing that Jesus can save you, staking your life on his death and resurrection: he was punished in your place, and he rose again to guarantee your new place in God’s beloved family. Faith is not simply a one-time decision, but a commitment to live in response to the Gospel and follow Jesus. John 11:25-26, Romans 10:9
- Repentance is turning: away from your old life, and toward your new life with Jesus. He will gladly befriend you now, as you are. But he will love you too much to leave you as you are. He’ll make no excuse for your sin, but grant you power to acknowledge it, heal from it, and grow. Through his Holy Spirit, his word (the Bible), and his people (the church), Jesus will lead you away from your old thoughts and behaviors (which brought death) into new thinking and living (which brings life). Repentance is change, noticeable change, and lasting change. Romans 6:4, Romans 6:12-14, Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:1-6, Philippians 1:6
We’d love to encourage you as you think about your response to Jesus and the Gospel. Maybe you’re ready to become a Christian. Maybe not. Perhaps you still have questions. Contact or visit us!
presented by Matthias Media
Brian LoPiccolo is a pastor and musician who lives in Westminster, MD with his wife Becky and their six children. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up on eastern Long Island. He is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div) and The Crane School of Music, S.U.N.Y. (B.Music).
Brian has ministered in metro-Maryland since 2002, and was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America in 2006. He served Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church (PCA) for twelve years as an associate pastor and a worship & music director. As a musician he led music ministries for eighteen years, writing and recording music as well. He has also taught conflict resolution, led seminars with Peacemaker Ministries, and served as a conflict coach and mediator. Brian’s calling applies a shepherd’s heart to relationships, preaching, and missional work. He loves Jesus Christ, his family, music, movies, food, books, travel, hockey, and giant sequoias.
Brian and Becky met through Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship in Potsdam, NY. Together they are committed to Jesus, to their family, to nurturing Gospel-centered Christian community, and feel privileged to live and serve in Westminster.
Photo: Fine Portraiture by Michele