Today in OPC History

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May 12

Santa Cruz OPC

On May 12, 1958, the Presbytery of California, meeting in Sunnyvale, received Santa Cruz OPC as a new congregation, and it approved a call to the Rev. Rousas J. Rushdoony to serve as pastor. The new church consisted of former members of Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) that Rushdoony had been pastoring for six years.

A petition submitted to the Presbytery of California (which included 66 signatures) read in part: “We cannot abide in any church which seeks to define righteousness or sin, salvation or sanctification, except in terms of the Word of God. We have witnessed, here in Santa Cruz, against modernism, man-made perfectionism, and church bureaucracy, and as a further step in that witness, desire admission into the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in order to unite with others in a common witness and as our expression of faith in the Presbyterian doctrine and government as biblical and therefore necessary.”

Four years later, Rushdoony stepped down from the Santa Cruz pulpit to devote himself to writing and lecturing, and he withdrew from the OPC in 1970. Subsequent pastors of the church included Arthur Riffel, Melvin Nonhof, Gordon Woolard, Allen Moran, and Calvin Keller. The church changed its name to Westminster Presbyterian Church of Santa Cruz in 1974 and Living Hope OPC in 1986. It closed in 2002.

Picture: R. J. Rushdoony

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