I trusted Christ as my savior when I was 13 at a youth bible study. The youth pastor's wife was Ray's daughter. Ray's other daughter was working with another branch of the bible study in south Texas. By this time Ray had started a bible college in south Florida and in the summer held week long camps for the teen's who attended these studies. When I went to college I chose to go to that bible college mainly because it felt comfortable to me. Having the Atlantic Ocean out the back door didn't hurt either. While I was there my room mate was from the bible study in south Texas. I met all her friends and one of them was the foster son of Ray's other daughter. I ended up marrying him. Having written this down it all sounds very cultish, but let me assure you that it was not. No one was handling snakes or drinking tainted Kool-aid. The doctrine that we were taught through this ministry is the same as in any mainstream denomination. In fact we were encouraged to go to church and worship with our families and participate there as well. (My family worshiped in the Presbyterian and United Methodist faiths) But I really grew up in my faith with this family. That was one of the myriad of things that made my divorce after 22 years of marriage horrendously gut wrenching.
Mostly it has been my recent contact with the family and with my high school and college friends prompted by Ray's home going that cast a bright light into this area of my faith where I am woefully lacking. It isn't the basic doctrine of salvation by grace through the faith of Jesus Christ. I still adamantly hold that as true. But some of the other teachings I look at and think that just isn't practical in the world that I'm living in. I know that a part of it is very clear biblical teaching that I can quote chapter and verse on, like "a deacon must be the husband of one wife" 1 Timothy 3:12. I look at it and shrug and say, not likely in today's society. I even don't take notice when that isn't considered in the church. For the most part I have no knowledge of the prior marriages of the people serving in our church and know for a fact it does not keep anyone out of ministries in our fellowship. I don't think any of our elders or deacons have had prior marriages. But if I found it out, I doubt that I'd be standing before the board asking for their removal. But the catch is that this is a clear biblical mandate. But by my attitude I show that I really don't attach much importance to it. I know that God isn't out of touch with our society. I know that He isn't wrong. So it only leaves one other alternative and that is that I am wrong. I just don't see why I'm wrong. We all make mistakes. We all find ourselves in circumstances that we make bad choices. But if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. So why all the reprisals? My ex apologized to God and to me for the circumstances that led up to our divorce. I think that's all that really needs to be done. I don't think his church should continue to hold it over his head. It's forgiven, let's move on. So on the point about ignoring the biblical mandate that deacons only be married to one wife, why am I wrong? I know that God is right, but I still don't accept it. This is just a minor example of this. There are much deeper issues. I accept that God is right. I accept that I am wrong, but I want to know why I am wrong so I can truly believe it. I have asked God to show me, but I am still struggling with these issues. I have always been told that you can't pick and choose. You either believe all of it, or you don't believe it. The most important truths of salvation I believe, I just struggle with the lifestyle portion of it.
This is where I've been for the past couple of weeks. I have been identifying with the Simon and Garfunkle song "Kathy's Song".
"And so you see, I have come to doubt, all that I once held as true. I stand alone without belief. The only truth I know is you.
Can someone please tell me how to load the YouTube video's so I can share these songs?And as I watch the drops of rain, weave their weary paths and die, I know that I am like the rain. There before the grace of you go I."