What is Our History?
- In the late 40s, many denominations were questioning and re-examining cardinal truths of Biblical Christian faith – such as the inerrancy of Scripture, the Virgin Birth, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Some denominations re-affirmed their faith in these cardinal truths revealed in God's Word. Tragically, others concluded that such cardinal doctrines could not be held by "rational," "enlightened," and "scientific" people. So, when, in 1949, a small group of faithful believers in one such denomination received their new denominationally-approved Sunday School curriculum which denied these cardinal truths they decided "enough was enough." Recognizing that the Truth of Scripture is the foundation upon which the Church stands or falls, they stood firmly upon that foundation and separated from that church body.
- This small group began meeting in the basement of Charles Morse's home, one of the group members. They prayed, they studied the Word, and sought the leading and provision of the Spirit for how to proceed. Two area churches committed to God’s Word and the establishment of churches rooted in God’s Word, First Presbyterian (Chattanooga) and Lookout Mountain Presbyterian assisted this fledgling group in getting organized. On November 27, 1949, Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church was officially organized as a local congregation of the Presbyterian Church, United States with 41 charter members. They soon moved their weekly gathering to the store front of the Morse Brothers’ Nursery, where they worshiped together for two years. During this time, the members of the congregation would meet on Friday evenings and Saturdays to build their new church building on a piece of donated land a few miles south of the nursery. The church building was completed and the congregation moved in in 1951.
- Sadly, the same problems that had led this group to separate from their original church - the re-evaluation of cardinal truths of Biblical Christian faith - were also creeping through their new denomination. It was from this group that many congregations had separated in 1973 to form what became known as the PCA. However, many had remained in the PCUS in the hope and conviction that they could still labor for Biblical reform from within the denomination. By the late 1970’s, the “continued liberal drift” of the denomination was causing increasing consternation among many who had remained, including the leadership of CVPC. By March of 1982 the Session of Chattanooga Valley was working to shepherd the congregation out of the PCUS (later to become the PCUSA when the Southern and Northern churches merged.) The reasons for their concern and decision to withdraw from that denomination and joining with the PCA were “1) Different views of Word of God; 2) Confessions; 3) Different views on Church Officiers [sic]; 4) Property issue."
- On May 23, 1982 the congregation voted nearly unanimously to dissolve its relationship with the PCUS. The following resolution was passed and sent to the Knoxville Presbytery of the PCUS:
- “The Congregation of the Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church resolves that its association be ended from the Presbyterian Church in the United States, as of June 8, 1982, in the event that the Knoxville Presbytery of the PCUS has not dismissed it from the PCUS by that date. The congregation of the Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church further resolves that if at any time Knoxville Presbytery should move to dismiss the Session of Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church, that this Church’s association with the PCUS will be immediately ended.”
- On June 8, 1982, Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church was dismissed (with its property) by the Knoxville Presbytery of the PCUS and united with the Tennessee Valley Presbytery of the PCA. It should be noted that there were many who were involved in this 1982 decision who had made the same decision thirty years earlier: to stand firmly and boldly upon the Word of God as True, inspired, infallible, and inerrant.
- Today, CVPC continues to grow upon that hard-won foundation seeking week-by-week to be conformed more and more to the image of God's glory and grace in Jesus Christ in our life together of Worship, Fellowship and Service.