Founding History of Providence Church
J. Larry Simpson, in September 1979, became the pastor of Zion Baptist Church, Powell, TN, which remains affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Over the next six months, he steadily set forth the tenets of what is historically referred to as “the doctrines of grace”, including: total depravity, unconditional election, limited redemption, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints. The message was met with growing resistance from the congregation.
In February, 1980, Pastor Simpson invited New Testament professor at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN, Dr. John Mahoney to teach the book of Ephesians. His clear and biblical presentation of election in the first chapter put the capstone on the brewing biblical and doctrinal volcano.
The next month, those in the Zion congregation opposing this message of grace, gathered a large number and fired their pastor. That month, Pastor Simpson and approximately 65 souls departed from Zion to form Providence Baptist Church. In time, the name was changed to simply Providence Church.
They first met in homes, then in two different locations in the area. The present location belonged to another denomination. Their building burned and it was sold to Providence. The Providence congregation added onto and reconstructed the former structure resulting in the present facilities.
Pastor Simpson faithfully served the congregation until 1992. He presently serves as a pastor of Knoxville Grace Church, Dayton, Tennessee.
Since 1995, David Simpson has served as the pastor for Providence Church. At the date of the launching of this website, April, 2012, the present pastor and congregation remain most grateful to Pastor J. Larry Simpson and the founding members, of which many remain.