I was raised in a traditional American Roman Catholic (RC) family, though not very strict. My Dad’s family are all Catholic. My Mom converted from Southern Baptist to Catholicism when she married my Dad. We didn’t go to Mass very often, except on holidays, although Catechism was a weekly affair through 8th grade. My folks have been attending Mass much more often in the past few years. They have always been devout, but because of personal reasons which I cannot share in a public forum, they did not go very often while we (my sisters, brother, and I) were growing up.

I have been interested in religion since I was a kid. At least when I was very young, I liked memorizing prayers, taking my first communion, saying the Rosary, my confirmation, going to Mass on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

I went through an extremely rebellious time during my teens, and finally came to the Lord when I was 17 at a Bible study with the girl who later became my wife.

During the next three years, my wife and I both were having trouble reconciling the things that we were discovering from the Bible, with what we had learned in the RC faith. The biggest is that of justification by faith (sola fide), “not of works, lest anyone should boast.” I know that RCs will say that they believe this too, but if you look at the full ramifications of their other beliefs, they deny it in just about everything else they do–or so I believed at the time.

My wife and I were married while we were still in the Church. Mary really didn’t want to, but she capitulated to my wishes. I had my doubts about the Church, but I was confident that as long as I was going to the particular parish that we were attending, I could force myself to accept the faith, and just not focus on the things that I didn’t agree with.

It didn’t work. Within about a month or two after getting married those things that I didn’t agree with, became increasingly troubling to me. That was when we decided to break from the RC and start looking at other churches.

The man that was leading the Bible study that we were attending was a student at the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music (no longer exists). He attended a Plymouth Bretheren church (chapel) on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids. We visited his church a few times, but it was too far for us to drive. We found another PB church, Homestead Bible Chapel, that was a closer drive for us and began checking it out.