History of Grace OPC
Grace Church began its existence as an Orthodox Presbyterian church on June 15, 1978. Its history, however, looks back to June of 1963. Duane Edward Spencer was then a Methodist minister resigning from the Methodist Church because of its theological liberalism. Other members left with him and together they established Grace Bible Church of San Antonio. The first worship services were held in the ballroom of a Ramada Inn.
The church steadily grew and a seven-acre tract of land was purchased near the intersection of Interstate 10 and NW Loop 410. Military barracks buildings were moved onto the property and later remodeled into an attractive complex for church use. Eventually proceeds from the sale of this property would fund construction of the present church facilities at Interstate 10 and Utex Blvd.
Spencer was a popular figure on the Bible conference circuit and developed an international radio ministry. His method of preaching and teaching centered on what he called "key words of Scripture." This involved studying individual words of the Bible, in their original languages, as a means of interpreting Scripture. The result was a rediscovery of the truths of the Bible as taught by the Protestant Reformers.
Ultimately Spencer became convinced that the Reformation was a watershed in church history and that the faith of the Reformers (i.e., Reformed Theology) was solidly based on the word of God. In 1977 the congregation of Grace Bible, after investigating Reformed churches with which to unite, applied for membership in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
It should be noted that Spencer created controversy in the mid-1970's preaching from the Scriptures concerning election and predestination. In most churches these doctrines were either vilified or suppressed. The English reformer John Bradford once wrote, "Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance before he goes to the university of election and predestination." For many, Duane Spencer opened the doors to that "university."
Duane Spencer died on December 28, 1981. He was succeeded in the ministry by Jack Peterson, who was Grace's pastor for more than 20 years before being succeeded by our current pastor, Nathan Hornfeld.