I remember living in New Mexico, serving in the United States Air Force. I was somewhat moderately religious, but the moderation was because of heritage more than anything else. I did read the Bible and had some low-level knowledge, like knowing where the Ten Commandments could be found when someone asked me. I was also a member of the Nazarene Church, the church of which my parents were associated, but one to which my grandmother was loyal. My experience in the Nazarene Church was good, but my commitment to them was not as good.
As a member of the USAF, while in New Mexico, I was introduced to the “church of Christ” for the first time. To me, one church was a good as another and, by and large, they were all good. The churches I knew I had no real interest in would have been the Mormons and Catholics, but Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists – I had no real objections to these.
Due to poor decisions in my life, confusion and misdirection seemed to be the way I was going. I remember well the many evenings I lamented, was angered, and appealed to the Lord for direction out of my stupidity. I had a roommate (Dave Hunt) who had fallen away from the church of which he was a member, but had enough interest in me that he thought I might be interested in attending when he went. This was about the time of Easter in 1983.
I went, but was not all that intrigued by anything. What intrigued me more was the conversations my roommate and I had, how he called upon me to “show him in the Bible” whatever answer I would give to his questions and comments. My failings in this area was an embarrassment and moved me toward looking to the Scriptures to gain answers. Mom and Dad purchased a book for my birthday to help me (Naves Topical Bible). After much effort on my part, after some Bible studies with the local preacher, on November 1st, 1983, I was baptized into the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins. That is my story.
From that time forward, I have made it my life to tell the Lord’s story. Not only do I want to tell of His death, burial, and resurrection, but I also want to tell others of His church. I don’t want to be a member of any church – no matter how genuine, serious and devoted the members are or might be – I don’t want to be a member of any church that has no New Testament sanction to exist.
The Nazarene Church of which I was once a member does not have New Testament sanction to exist. It came into existence nearly two thousand years after the Lord’s church was set up by the Lord through His apostles (Mt. 16:13-19; Acts 2:47). According to “Charts on Church History” (Robert C. Walton), the Nazarene Church came into existence, separating from the Methodist Episcopal Church in about 1908 (Chart 71; also see (http://nazarene.org/history)).
Whatever might be said about the particular doctrines of the church, the church came into existence much too long after the time of Christ and, moreover, it has the wrong name. Compare the name Nazarene Church with what Paul said to those in Rome, “The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16). Is there no significance in a name? To the Lord there is, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This is the church of which I want to be a member.
My membership in the Lord’s church, the churches of Christ, is not simply a matter of being associated with it; I want to be a worker for the Lord. The Lord’s story, with all my personal failings, is now my story. RT