Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

June 7, 2007

Here’s a Blast from the Past

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 8:27 pm
  • I was baptized in July, 1948 (that’s a guess based on my birthdate of June 22, 1948)
  • I was reared in a Christian home

    • We prayed (father prayed) before every evening meal
    • We read the Bible and read a Bible lesson and then prayed again after every evening meal.
    • My mother read Bible stories to me (and my sister).
    • We of course went to church twice every Sunday.

      • Our church was in the Christian Reformed denomination – I remember being shocked that its total constituency as a denomination totalled around 300,000 in the early 60’s. These numbers were statistical noise compared to the Catholics, the Baptists, the Methodists. Even back then Reformed thinking was in a huge minority.
      • My favorite part was when the elders (12 strong) would walk down the aisle carrying 48 trays of wine in the communion cups. The smell was out of this world. Amazingly, today I don’t like the taste of wine – sour grapes.
    • I went to private Christian schools all the way from kindergarten into my junior year in college. (How much did that cost you, dad?)
  • I was a church member, having made my profession of faith somewhere around  1966. Later, for some weird reason the church never brought church discipline upon me. I was in need of it because 
  • Somewhere along the way I developed into

    •  a smart-aleck.

      • I think that for a long time this verse applied to me: When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
    • later a rebel.
    • and eventually a habitual drug user – 10 years of it, in fact.

      • I managed to replace my father’s daily meal-time prayer and Bible reading with daily (hourly) drug use. Nice work.
  •  I got married and had kids. And for some reason – drugs rendering my mind even more childish and my rebellion even more stark – I never even considered getting my kids baptized.
  • In 1978, we moved to California to escape our friends in the hope that we could free ourselves from drug addiction.
  • We decided to go to church – I was in the habit of describing my life to that point as a tumbleweed – or as the phrase most eloquently puts it "one damned thing after another".
  • We had to make a choice between:

    • The Roman Catholic church – this was where my wife’s roots were.
    • The CRC – an easy and natural choice. I even met some CRC people in SoCal who were from back home. Plus, I tuned pianos for the San Diego CRC.
    • Or a possible third option
  • Stay tuned for the next installment where this wandering sheep, who – it seemed – was well on his way to ruining a good story, (in fact, patrons were seen leaving the theater well before the end of the first act) follows a path that brings ’em back in droves.

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  1. Did you understand the gospel back then? You went throught the HC right?

    Comment by msamudio — June 7, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

  2. Great question. I would probably say in truth that I didn’t understand it. I got my Heidelberg Catechism training at the age of about 13 or 14. It might have been earlier though. My sister or brother might be able to correct me.

    I did understand atonement – or better – propitiation however. I also knew that I couldn’t save myself. That works weren’t going to work. But I don’t think I really got the message that I was going to try anyway.

    I don’t really think they really drilled what faith alone meant. I could be wrong though. It was a long time ago. As for active obedience imputed to me by faith, I don’t remember that either.

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 7, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

  3. “I was going to try anyway”.

    Are you saying you tried to earn it anyway?

    Comment by msamudio — June 8, 2007 @ 10:06 am

  4. Not intentionally. Not consciously. But the urge to look to our own active righteousness is what we tend to fall back on. I’ve said before, faith is like going into a gunfight without a gun. Ironically my thought that my own acts of active righteousness were in some way required was not alleviated until I learned that salvation must be earned entirely by works. These are not conscious or intentional thoughts. This was the water I had been swimming in since I stop taking drugs. You may have heard of it, it’s called the First Church of the Guilt Trip.

    Had I been told earlier that salvation is based entirely on perfect works then I may have realized how incapable I am to, in any way, get involved in such an impossibly herculean task.

    Living by faith is pretty scary, actually. I’d feel much safer if I could participate in the whole deal. I trust myself implicitly.

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 8, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  5. Sounds like you’ve paid a high price for not believing in the true gospel, and discovering the true gospel has shown that to you.

    There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have never understood the gospel, and those completely and utterly willing to die before they compromise the gospel.

    The one road leads to death, the other leads to life.

    A wise man once said that if you’re not preaching the gospel, you’re slitting peoples’ throats. Wishy washy, compromised, watered down gospel is no gospel. You can tell by the fruit it produces.

    Gospel or death.

    Comment by gospelordeath — June 8, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  6. The next installment is going to be a doozy.

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 8, 2007 @ 7:48 pm

  7. Suspense. Ugh.

    Comment by gospelordeath — June 8, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  8. I am not purposely waiting so as to build up suspense. I am thinking this through.

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 9, 2007 @ 7:12 am

  9. Now there’s something I could learn from: thinking before publishing on the web.

    Comment by gospelordeath — June 9, 2007 @ 11:48 am

  10. I hope the next installment finds you a born again Christian…a believer in Jesus, eager to read His Word and tell the world of how He saved you…but I’ve learned to live with disappointment so I predict we are in for a healthy dose of “evangelical charismatic bashing” before getting back to the part where confessions and chatechisms changed your life.

    Can’t wait…

    Comment by Albino Hayford — June 10, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  11. Wow — this is eye-opening for me! I never knew what your CRC upbringing was like — nor that BMT was option C behind RC and CRC!!

    Comment by RubeRad — June 11, 2007 @ 7:27 am

  12. Albino,

    My jaw dropped when I read the words “how He saved you”.

    I guess I haven’t participated in the blog wars to understand your position, but that sounds thoroughly Pauline/Monergistic.


    Comment by msamudio — June 11, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  13. Only two categories, Mike: saved and lost.

    Mike, are you “saved”? Hmmm, what could Albino mean by that? Oh, let’s just let Paul answer for me:

    May I remind you of Eph. 2:8-9

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

    And good old Titus 3:5

    he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

    And who could forget Paul again in Romans 10:9-10

    That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

    Are you “saved”, Mike?

    Why does this make you uncomfortable?

    But, like I said, I expect Bruce to water down the day he did what Paul tells us to do in Rom. 10:9-10 and was saved, and to lead us down a path toward creeds, baby baptisms, etc., thus making all who don’t a particular brand of Reformed theological kool-aid out to be simpletons.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I’m braced for the worst.

    Comment by Albino Hayford — June 11, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

  14. Man, Bruce, what do I gotta do to annoy you? 🙂 You aren’t taking the bait anymore.

    Comment by Albino Hayford — June 11, 2007 @ 6:57 pm

  15. Albino,

    I am not uncomfortable with the statement above. I was pleasantly surprised.


    Comment by msamudio — June 11, 2007 @ 7:27 pm

  16. I’m sick right now. I have a couple things to clear up that are surfacing before I go into the next installment. Probably tomorrow.

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 11, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  17. I’m losing my touch. I used to be able to stir up a thread riot with ease…now I guess people are getting to know me too well.

    Comment by Albino Hayford — June 12, 2007 @ 7:04 am

  18. Is it any wonder then, when you find your comments deleted?

    Comment by gospelordeath — June 12, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

  19. OK. This needs to be cleared up before I get on to the next installment.

    I hope the next installment finds you a born again Christian…a believer in Jesus

    This frankly confuses me given what I said in the first installment above

    I was a church member, having made my profession of faith somewhere around 1966.

    I can only assume that either you missed it, you think I never made a profession of faith or that I was lying when I made my profession of faith. If there is a fourth possibility, I invite you to clear this up.

    That you state that you will be disappointed to read that confessions and catechisms changed my life is analogous to a Padre fan rooting for the NL in the all-star game and being mad that the game was won on a home run by a Dodger. How can you possibly be disappointed that great strides have been made in my recovery?

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 12, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

  20. Because he doesn’t view it as great strides. Remember, he thinks his view is more correct than your own. He thinks you have become a legalistic fundamentalist, rather than a cool headed moderate like him. While he judges no one (except the reformed) you’re always talking about law and gospel and matters of doctrine, and you refuse to compromise. Albino doesn’t think compromise is the enemy, he thinks the refusal to compromise is the enemy, and he won’t compromise on that. Oh, I mean…

    Anyway, he was expecting you to talk about your charismatic years in a way similar to those other blurry and confused years.

    In other words, he was expecting you to characterize those years accurately, talking about how you suffered under a deficient understanding of the gospel and correct doctrine, how you learned how to put your trust in your emotions rather than Christ, and how you’re still trying to untie all those knots.

    That’s what he’s expecting. Or was expecting.

    Comment by gospelordeath — June 12, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

  21. I am on the edge of my seat in expectation. Will Bruce go with echo’s description or albino’s? Or will he perhaps surprise us all? I can’t wait.
    I find it quite funny how both albino and echo are basically trying to write the story for Bruce.
    Let him go boys. Discuss it after but don’t try and put words in his mouth.

    Comment by danielbalc — June 13, 2007 @ 7:20 am

  22. I’m glad you didn’t choose the Catholic or Christian Reformed churches, and I’m pretty sure Tony is, too. There’s 2 spouses and 5 adorable little kids that probably are as well. 🙂

    Comment by 5najeras — June 13, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  23. I’m glad you didn’t choose the Catholic or Christian Reformed churches, and I’m pretty sure Tony is, too. There’s 2 spouses and 5 adorable little kids that probably are as well.

    Five and counting….

    There is no question that this comes into play. God’s sovereignty is inescapable. The universe is exactly the way God wants it.

    Daniel, I have been pondering the next installment with great care. I suspect you won’t be entirely happy with it but I also think you may be surprised as well.

    Comment by Bruce S. — June 13, 2007 @ 7:55 am

  24. My happiness is irrelevant to your life story Bruce.

    So is Echo’s

    So is Albino’s

    5Najeras and Ruberad’s is a different story.

    Comment by danielbalc — June 13, 2007 @ 8:34 am

  25. I accept Daniel’s rebuke for pre-judging Bruce’s testimony.

    Comment by Albino Hayford — June 13, 2007 @ 8:38 am

  26. OK, it’s hard to jump in after all the recent frays, but Reubrad is anxious to know why it is that we had the same upbringing but I grew on my childhood experiences and then teen profession of faith to begin ministry, both personally and corporately though IVCF, without the rebellion and drug use you describe. I can think of a couple of surface-type explanations, i.e., gender and its role in maturity rates (we have another brother who followed B’s track more closely than my own), and the “attractions” of the mid to late sixties were pretty pervasive, though I saw those too at the University. Perhaps another explanation is that I began engaging Scripture very early on (paraphrasing whole books evening by evening as a young teen and then searching out Christians in the U with whom to study, grow fellowship and serve.) God’s sovereignty seems pretty mysterious…but it is shot through with his grace.

    Comment by Barbara — June 13, 2007 @ 9:12 am

  27. P.S. Emily, I can’t tell you how many times I have encouraged students, both Christian and non-, that God doesn’t waste the detours of our lives. Your mom and dad obviously didn’t waste theirs (if that’s what your dad might call it now, and I don’t know that he will). Look at the fruit of the journey 🙂

    Comment by Barbara — June 13, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

  28. Bruce, having gone through that time of wandering in the wilderness, is now better equipped to appreciate the true gospel.

    Comment by gospelordeath — June 13, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

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