7250 Eckstrom Avenue, Kearny Mesa
Pastor: Curt Arend
Born: Cincinnati, OH
Formation: Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies-Westminster Theological Seminary, San Diego; Institute of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship, San Diego
Years Ordained: 17
San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Curt Arend: The gospel of God’s sovereign grace apart from works, because that’s the good news of the gospel. In my estimation, there are only two religions in the world — the religion of human effort by which people try to work their way into heaven by doing good works that will make them acceptable before God — and the other religion is the gospel of God’s free grace by which he has accomplished salvation for us. So the good news of the gospel is “Nothing in my hand I bring, / Simply to your cross I cling,” to quote an ancient hymn writer.
SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PA: First, concerning the church at large, there appears to be a departure from a solemn reverence for God in many churches today. In worship services you’ll have comedians, pottery classes, drama skits, and rock-band–type worship where people aren’t singing but talking and having coffee and that type of thing — rather than coming into God’s presence and sensing his holiness and our sinfulness, and worshiping in reverence. That’s not to say there is no joy in our worship — but it’s a balance of joy and reverence. Secondly, in the pagan culture in which we live, more and more young people are growing up outside the church and have a complete ignorance about the things of God. We see the level of perversion in our country and around the world — the moral slide that continues to degrade more and more.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PA: As gospel-centered community, first, Grace Bible Church exalts God through worship. Second, those who come are fed with the word of God and their gifts are developed; and third, we evangelize to the lost. We are not the “frozen chosen” who meet on Sundays and go our separate ways. We are involved in the community. You’ll find us at Balboa Park on Saturday afternoons maintaining a booth for several hours next to the atheists and Muslims and several other groups. We believe human life is sacred and life begins at conception; you’ll see us active in regard to the area of abortion and pro-life; not some of the radical things in the news, but being present and offering counseling to men and women and sharing the good news of the gospel. We also go to the San Diego Rescue Mission and have a nursing-home ministry as well.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PA: The answer to that question is very clearly laid out in the Bible, which is our sole authority. The Bible teaches there is body and soul and when a person dies the body goes into the ground and the soul either goes to heaven to be in the presence of God or it goes to a place of torment, a place called hell, which Jesus spoke about much in the Gospels. When the last judgment will come when Jesus comes again, everyone will stand before God. That’s when Christians receive new bodies and that’s when those who are in a place of torment come and receive a final sentence and spend an eternity in hell.