After Mary and I moved to Killeen, TX we had some trouble finding a church. There were no PB churches anywhere nearby. We ended up settling for a new Baptist church that was meeting at a person’s home. We went to this church for the rest of the time that we stayed in Texas.

After returning to Michigan in 1986, we found that a lot of people from Homestead had moved away, some were divorced, and the spirit there was just not the same. I still don’t really know if it was the church itself, or if it was I that had changed. During the next couple of years some very important people in the congregation had died, including Randy, and by 1991 they disbanded and sold the property. After some searching, we decided to attend Grandville Baptist Church (GBC), which was a very short distance from our home and only about ½ mile from where I grew up.

Although Mary and I had been attending Baptist churches for the past three years, at heart we still felt like we were PB. We were able to reconcile this in our minds (at least I did—Mary, I’m not so sure) by forcing ourselves to accept certain beliefs by reinterpreting them. To understand what I mean I need to show the Baptist distinctives and and why we had a problem with some of them.

Baptists use an acrostic to identify their beliefs, however they are not all truly distinctive, as many denominations hold these as truth as well, to varying degrees. But the Baptists never met an acrostic they didn’t like:

B ible – the sole authority for faith and practice (sola scriptura)
A utonomy or independence of the local church
P riesthood of all believers
T wo offices:

  • Pastor
  • Deacon

I ndividual soul liberty and responsibility
S aved, baptized church membership
T wo ordinances:

  • Believer’s Baptism
  • Lord’s Supper

S eparation of Church & State

There were only two that I had problems with. The first was that I still believed that the offices of pastor and deacon were both the same office. I have since come to realize that they are indeed distinct, but at the time I believed that the important thing was that there was a plurality of leadership in the church. It didn’t matter that much to me what titles they held.

The other is membership. I still do not believe that this is taught in the Bible. Every New Testament verse that a Baptist will use to convince you of the existence of local church membership are actually verses about being members of the universal (catholic) church. However—it may not be specifically stated, but in order to maintain church discipline and to hold orderly meetings and elections, a membership roll is very useful. So I accepted it on practical grounds rather than biblical.

In about 1987 I began to work in the church library. I found it a great way to minister at the church without requiring a huge time commitment. Also, I am not really good with children. This was a way that I could still be involved with them at the church in a limited way. By 2003, the other people who worked in the library retired and that left me as what you might call a “Head Librarian”, although the church has no title for this position. I only include it here to help you understand my duties.

I am currently in the process of training someone to take my place in the library. After more than 20 years, I am getting very tired of it. I will elaborate more in the next chapter.

My time at GBC has been fruitful. Each of my sons went through their respective crises of faith, one worse than the other, but I will just leave that there. Those are their stories, not mine. They both found their Savior, have dedicated their lives to him, and are seeking his will for their future.

Mike, the elder of the two, is still living at home and at the time of this writing is working at Pine Ridge Bible Camp for the third summer in a row. He is hoping to still make it to Bible college someday and become a pastor.

Matthew is married to Amy, a wonderful Christian woman who Mary and I have grown to love as if she were our own daughter. They complement each other very well. They have been married for over two years, and by the looks of it, you would think that they are still dating.

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