Thursday, July 14, 2005

Cut to the Quick

First Baptist Church of Elyria is a large church, part of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. I never could get an answer as to what makes them regular. (Maybe I don't want to know.) The church is pastored by Bradley Quick. We chose this church because... you know, I'm not exactly sure why. We never had any super-spiritual reason. God didn't tell me to join, we didn't have a theophany upon entering the premises- we needed a church to join and this one seemed decent. Baptist without the bite.

I have been a sermon junkie ever since I got saved in 1982. I love to hear preaching on the radio, I go to sleep with a preaching tape playing, and thanks to the Internet I have amassed a large collection of sermons. I love good preaching, and Pastor Quick had that. He was an expositor in the style of John MacArthur. He wasn't flashy, he wasn't a screamer and a spitter, he just communicated God's Word to the best of his ability. And I liked that. He was also a Michigan fan, holding the blue and gold flag high in a sea of scarlet and gray. I really liked that :)

Whereas Victory had the air of a country church with simple people, First Baptist was an affluent church and looked it. There were a lot of lawyers and doctors in this church. A lot of people with positions of influence in the denomination. And I wasn't one of them. I was a warehouse worker, and shortly after we joined the church I became an unemployed warehouse worker. I never felt accepted, never had close friends there, never felt like I measured up to the people around me who had better lives than I.

Being a Baptist church obviously means that they weren't charismatic or liturgical. They had a certain style, a certain interpretation of decency and order. I began to chafe under that interpretation. Pentecostal beliefs were never directly preached against, but barbs were tossed and jokes were made. And I couldn't stand it. Pastor Quick and I had several talks about "getting my doctrine straight." We never came to a consensus. Getting my doctrine straight, to him, meant jettisoning charismatic error. Getting my doctrine straight, to me, meant nothing, because it was a never-ending process. No one would ever be satisfied. Baptists believe Charismatics are in error, Charismatics believe Catholics are in error, Catholics believe the whole lot of them are screwed. If "getting my doctrine straight" meant rejecting another believer for whom Christ died, then no thanks, I'm not interested.

Where this post is going is no surprise to the three of you who are actually reading. We left. We were a part of First Baptist from February 2000 until mid-2001. When we left, we were forgotten. No one called, no one wrote, no one even seemed to notice that we were gone. And that's exactly why we left. Two months later someone called us about being a part of the church directory. They didn't notice that we hadn't been there.

Wait- I have to correct myself. Pastor Quick did call my wife, once shortly after we left and once a few months later. Both times he tried to get her to turn away from fleshly charismatic errors. Neither time did he try to discuss the subject with me.

I was in no hurry to join up with another church. Laura wanted to, not just for our sake, but for the sake of our first child, one Matthew Stanley MacNair. My son. My flesh and blood.

My next post :)


Post a Comment

<< Home