Boyd Purcell has been a member of this presbytery for more than 30 years and is well known to many of you. He has served a number of small churches throughout the presbytery and served as pulpit supply in several others. Now, he finds himself serving the First Presbyterian Church of Ripley.
He became acquainted with the Ripley church by being asked to preach there as pulpit supply while they were without a pastor. In a very short time, the church asked Boyd if he would sign a covenant with them and become their Stated Supply Pastor. Boyd was happy to do this. He loves the people there and their warm, open-minded, loving ways.
Dr. Purcell is a National Board Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor, an Ordained Honorably Retired Presbyterian Minister, and a Board Certified Chaplain. Educationally, he has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Comprehensive Social Studies. He also has a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling, a Master of Divinity Degree in Biblical Studies, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the integration of psychology and theology. In terms of experience, he has more than 40 years of ministry in counseling: agency, clinical, pastoral, psychiatric hospital, school, substance abuse, private practice, and chaplaincy – providing spiritual care at the end of life for hospice patients.
Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D., is the author of Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb, Christianity Without Insanity: For Optimal Mental/Emotional/Physical Health, and Symbolic Fire in the Holy Bible A Thru Z: God is Fire/Baptism of Fire/Salted with Fire.
Boyd was born in Kentucky, but his family moved to northern Ohio when he was very young. He grew up near the edge of Lake Erie and graduated from South Central High School. In high school, Boyd set the record for the most points scored by an individual in a basketball game. His record high of 45 points still stands today. After high school, Boyd went to Bowling Green State University in northwestern Ohio. He played basketball there during his freshman year but, due to pulling a hamstring muscle four times at the beginning of his sophomore year, he regretfully gave up basketball and concentrated on his academic studies. He was inducted into the Education Honor Society and taught American History and Government in high school to honor students before going on to seminary and earning his Master of Divinity degree.
Boyd was raised in an Evangelical church that taught that only a few would be saved, and the rest would spend eternity being tormented in hell. The emphasis on works/law over grace and love led Boyd to seek a different church. He found a home for awhile in another Evangelical denomination and after seminary served one of their churches for 15 years. More and more, Boyd became convinced that Christian faith was about grace and love. His views on Universal Salvation and the power of God to cleanse everyone from their sins eventually led him to find a home in the Presbyterian Church.
In his counseling work and work with hospice, Boyd continually ran into people who were scared of God, scared that they were not good enough, and scared that they would spend eternity being tormented in a fiery hell. Boyd saw this as an abuse of the good news of the gospel and that the preaching that led to this state of terrible fear in people was nothing less than spiritual terrorism. Boyd has always responded by teaching the supremacy of grace over law and fear. The gospel is good news about a loving God!
It is not the purpose of this article to explore this theological topic further, but if you are interested, you can find out much more on Boyd’s website, christianitywithoutinsanity.com.
When asked to name some good things about the Ripley church, Boyd said that the people there are very friendly, open-minded, and interested in growing. They have a beautiful building built in the 1960s, and they are in a great position to reach hurting people who need the love of God.
Boyd’s dream for the ministry that they will do together is that they will continue to grow. He wants them to have a strong and positive outreach ministry. And he sees a great need to reach those who have been terrorized by threats of eternal damnation.
May God continue to bless the ministry of Rev. Boyd Purcell and the First Presbyterian Church of Ripley.