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Resurrection Presbyterian: representing goodness, beauty and truth

From self-centered to centered self

Robert Novak – appeared in Reader when a drug smuggler
Robert Novak – appeared in Reader when a drug smuggler

Resurrection Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 320 Date St., San Diego, CA 92101 www.resurrectionsd.com
  • Membership: 100+
  • Pastor: Robert Novak
  • Age: 57
  • Born: La Mesa
  • Formation: Southern California Seminary, El Cajon; Westminster Seminary, Escondido;
  • Years Ordained: 9

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a minister?

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Pastor Robert Novak: This is not the first time I’ve been interviewed by the Reader. My last interview I had was for a band named Swan which I was in 2001-2002. That didn’t work out well. In the end, I was using drugs, smuggling drugs, and being involved in gang life and drug wars in a pretty violent way. I got to the point where I needed to know if God was real and, if there was a God, I needed to know who he was, because I spent my whole life telling him who he should be. I began to study the major religions in the world to see which one makes the most sense. I was convinced in the end that Christianity had more empirical evidence for its truth. (Theologically, it was the spirit of God leading me to that truth.) I needed to know who God is—and he showed himself to me. Having done that, I was so sick of the way I was living my life, completely centered around me. The thought of spending the second half of my life serving God, his people and the world didn’t seem like a sacrifice at all; it felt like a refreshing new start. So enrolled in Bible college and seminary, and here we are.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PN: We represent the goodness, beauty and truth of orthodox Christianity to the world and to the church. We’re not like the first-century church presenting the gospel to people for the first time; we’re re-presenting the gospel to people who have heard it, or think they’ve heard it, or think they know what Christianity is all about. But nine out of ten people I’ve talked to are rejecting a false version of Jesus and a false version of the gospel. We want to show the true version. There was a mathematician named Blaise Pascal who said that before we consider whether something is true, we have to be convinced it’s good and beautiful. We don’t think anyone can be argued into the Kingdom of God, so we try to show people that Christianity is true, but also good and beautiful.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PN: Like it or not, at one point, someday, in the future, you’re going to stand in front of God and give an account of your life. There are only two options. You can go before God and give an account of your life based on what you’ve done, the good and the bad. That will get you thrown into the lake of fire. There are other metaphors the Bible uses to talk about eternal separation from God, but in the end it will mean deep, deep sadness, despair and regret…. Or you can go before God and be judged based on who Jesus is and what he’s done—his righteousness, his life, his atonement for your sins. That will get you eternal life with God. What happens when we die? We go before God and are judged for our lives. God is saying to us, “I am willing to give you the perfect righteousness of Jesus, wipe away all your sins, and adopt you into our family. Why don’t you come home and be with us forever?”

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Robert Novak – appeared in Reader when a drug smuggler
Robert Novak – appeared in Reader when a drug smuggler

Resurrection Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 320 Date St., San Diego, CA 92101 www.resurrectionsd.com
  • Membership: 100+
  • Pastor: Robert Novak
  • Age: 57
  • Born: La Mesa
  • Formation: Southern California Seminary, El Cajon; Westminster Seminary, Escondido;
  • Years Ordained: 9

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a minister?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Pastor Robert Novak: This is not the first time I’ve been interviewed by the Reader. My last interview I had was for a band named Swan which I was in 2001-2002. That didn’t work out well. In the end, I was using drugs, smuggling drugs, and being involved in gang life and drug wars in a pretty violent way. I got to the point where I needed to know if God was real and, if there was a God, I needed to know who he was, because I spent my whole life telling him who he should be. I began to study the major religions in the world to see which one makes the most sense. I was convinced in the end that Christianity had more empirical evidence for its truth. (Theologically, it was the spirit of God leading me to that truth.) I needed to know who God is—and he showed himself to me. Having done that, I was so sick of the way I was living my life, completely centered around me. The thought of spending the second half of my life serving God, his people and the world didn’t seem like a sacrifice at all; it felt like a refreshing new start. So enrolled in Bible college and seminary, and here we are.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PN: We represent the goodness, beauty and truth of orthodox Christianity to the world and to the church. We’re not like the first-century church presenting the gospel to people for the first time; we’re re-presenting the gospel to people who have heard it, or think they’ve heard it, or think they know what Christianity is all about. But nine out of ten people I’ve talked to are rejecting a false version of Jesus and a false version of the gospel. We want to show the true version. There was a mathematician named Blaise Pascal who said that before we consider whether something is true, we have to be convinced it’s good and beautiful. We don’t think anyone can be argued into the Kingdom of God, so we try to show people that Christianity is true, but also good and beautiful.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PN: Like it or not, at one point, someday, in the future, you’re going to stand in front of God and give an account of your life. There are only two options. You can go before God and give an account of your life based on what you’ve done, the good and the bad. That will get you thrown into the lake of fire. There are other metaphors the Bible uses to talk about eternal separation from God, but in the end it will mean deep, deep sadness, despair and regret…. Or you can go before God and be judged based on who Jesus is and what he’s done—his righteousness, his life, his atonement for your sins. That will get you eternal life with God. What happens when we die? We go before God and are judged for our lives. God is saying to us, “I am willing to give you the perfect righteousness of Jesus, wipe away all your sins, and adopt you into our family. Why don’t you come home and be with us forever?”

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