In the spring of 1976 I was on an outdoor education 3-day fieldtrip with a handful of fellow SIU classmates. I had gotten too much sun that day canoeing down the Eleven Point River in southern Missouri. The river was fed by a deep giant billowing spring. Only canoes were allowed on the river and there was no road access for the two days of canoeing. Eagles had flown overhead in the blue sky that day and the water sparkled crystal clear to the bottom of the stream. By evening my skin was burning red from the intense exposure to the sun and as that bright day turned into a dark night my body became raked with chills. I started to experience, what I later referred to as a SON stroke, the likes of which I had never known before. I had been a worshiper of the creation, not of the creator. At the float camp that night I hurried off to my lonesome sleeping bag, which was a few hundred yards from the others. The waves of shivers continued to pulse through my body until I feared for my very life. In panic I tried to callout for help but I could not even speak. My body had become as stiff as a board yet I was experiencing quaking tremors like the planks of an old wooden bridge when cars drive over them. I felt pinned to the ground like a moth caught in a spider's web yet I was conscience of not only the physical realm but also becoming increasingly aware of a spiritual reality never known to me before. I could hear voices and sounds of the deep darkness; it was full of words of hatred, condemnation, violence, and all that is evil. As my heart nearly pounded out of my chest for fear of death and abandonment into hell I prayed for God to save me but I sensed no answer. I feared that I would die separated from all that is good to an eternal existence in the company of all that is vial and corrupt.
I pleaded to God, "I have known you since my youth please save me from this fate." In my mind I heard his reply, "I never knew you. Depart from me you that work iniquity." I for the first time realized that my acknowledgement of Christ and even verbal homage was not the reality of a new birth. I had never surrendered my life or will to His lordship. I had sixteen years of perfect attendance Sunday school pins but I was never truly saved. Six years earlier I had become angry with God and those that represented Him. Since then I had only been back to Church for weddings and funerals. I hardly read His word and only prayed when in distress and I wondered why he didn't answer me. I was living a life of rebellion and by my own rules. I pleaded for forgiveness of my sinful and foolish life. I asked God if He would save me from destruction, that what life He might grant me, I would live with Christ as my Lord. Immediately the sound of evil was silenced like the stilling of a storm. My body stopped shivering and went as limp as a damp rag. God had given me a new life to live for Him, to grow in love and obedience to Christ and His Word. This was my calling to a new life. I was not seeking God's way but my own way, which was the path to destruction. It was He that chose to reveal to me my prognosis of death. All I had to offer to Him was a life that only He could grant to me by grace. By His mercy I was called out of darkness and am now his possession.
Statement of Faith
The Bible is God’s written revelation to man. It is verbally inspired and absolutely inerrant. I believe in the infallibility, sufficiency, and authority of Scripture.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Hebrews 4:12
God the Father:
I believe that there is but one living and true God, an infinite, all-knowing spirit, perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each equally deserving worship and obedience.
Deut. 6:4; I Cor. 8:4; II Cor. 13:14
I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father and His personal return in power and glory.
John 10:30; 14:9; Luke1:34,35; Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 3:25; Luke 24:39; Heb. 8:1; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 22:20
The Holy Spirit:
I believe the Holy Spirit is a divine Person an equal part of the godhead. I believe the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration and the Holy Spirit baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation. The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption.
Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; John 3:5-7; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30; Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13,14; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph 4:7-12
I believe that man was created in the image of God, but chose to sin and is therefore completely lost and only through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit can he be saved and sanctified. I believe that man was created to glorify God and enjoy His fellowship.
Gen. 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9; Psalm 14: 1-3; Rom. 3:9-18, 23; I John 1:8; Eph 2:1-10; Isaiah 43:7; Col 1:16; Rev. 4:11
I believe that the salvation of man, who is sinful and lost, is instantaneous and accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God when the repentant sinner –enabled by the Holy Spirit—responds in faith. This salvation is wholly of grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works. All the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever.
John 5:24; John 3:3-7; Eph 1:4-6; Eph 2:8-10; Rom. 10:9,10; Rom. 8:38,29; John 10:27-29
I believe that angels are created beings that are immortal. I believe some are elect angels (holy beings created to worship and serve God) and some are evil demons (those who rebelled with Satan and serve him).
Hebrews 1:6,7; Psalm 148:2, 5; 1 Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:41; Eph. 6:12
I believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; the saved unto the resurrection of life and the unsaved unto the resurrection of damnation.
Luke 14:14; John 5:28,29; I Thess. 4:15-17; Rom 24:15
I believe that the Holy Spirit immediately places all that put their faith in Jesus Christ in one united spiritual Body, the church, of which Christ is the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by fellowship, keeping the ordinances (believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. The formation of the church began on the Day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ to collect His own at the rapture.
1 Cor. 12:12,13; Eph. 1:22, 4:15; Eph. 21; 2 Tim 2:2, 15, 3:16,17, 4:2; Acts 2:38-42;
1 Cor 11:23-26; Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-21; 1 Cor 15:51,52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18
I believe in the premillenial, pretribulational, imminent, physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth. I believe in the literal seven-year tribulation period and a literal 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 20:1-7; Matt. 25:31; Matt. 24:27; John 14:1-3; I Thes. 4:13-18; I Cor. 15:51-53; Ezek. 36:33-38; Rev. 20:7