My wife, Ericka, and I were a part of the Evangelical community from the time that we were married, and so we knew nothing else for the first 27 years of our marriage. Although we were always very involved in the churches that we attended, the Lord took a couple of very specific times to remind us of our need to focus on our relationship with Him (as Martha learned, busyness is not always a sign of spiritual health).
The first reminder came four years after we were married. The small church that we attended in northern Alberta was looking for a new pastor, and a candidate and his wife came from Pennsylvania for a weekend. He preached from Ezekiel 16, a very unusual passage for the occasion, and one that would set our minds to pondering our spiritual condition. After the weekend, the candidate told the Board (and I was on the Board at the time) that he would consider coming if the Board would bring themselves in line with the Scriptures, and that the vote to accept him was very nearly unanimous. The Chairman of the Board (who was separated from his wife) was not prepared to do anything to clean the Board up, and feared that the church would split if the candidate came; the vote, although in favor of him coming, was not nearly unanimous. Shortly after, I resigned from the Board, and we left the area the following year.
We went to Prairie Bible Institute because our desire was to grow in our understanding of what it meant to follow the Lord more fully. We, again, were very involved in the churches that we attended (first was the campus congregation for 8 years, and then the local Evangelical Free Church for 13 years). During this time, we felt our spiritual enthusiasm was waning, for we never fully accepted the modernism that was increasingly becoming a part of these communities. After eight and a half years at PBI, I left staff, and within a year began a small bookkeeping business. My desire, after leaving PBI, was to get further management training; after taking several independent courses locally, I ended up at Briercrest Biblical Seminary.
It was here that the Lord sent another reminder of our need to look only unto Him. I completed my undergrad work by correspondence (I only had a diploma from Berean Bible College in Calgary), and commuted to Caronport, Saskatchewan for modular courses several times a year. Through this time I continued to work full time, which made it all possible. It was while I was studying at Briercrest that the Lord shook my spiritual understanding to the core, and we began a completely new adventure under His guidance. About five years into my seven-year program of study, I took a course focused entirely on Clark Pinnock (now deceased) and his theology. We learned of his advocacy for open theism or progressive omniscience (whichever you prefer), in which it is claimed that God cannot know what has not happened yet, and so He is learning along with the rest of us. Although this doctrine is completely contrary to Scripture, it has certain appeal to the natural mind of man, and it was presented at Briercrest without qualification. When it finally entered my understanding what I was being taught, I began to realize that Evangelicalism generally (and Briercrest specifically) was not entirely Biblical, and that I needed to search and evaluate everything coming my way (1 John 4:1).
I completed my program at Briercrest – I entered as an average Evangelical, I graduated completely committed to the Scriptures, and contrary to what Briercrest stood for. Can the Lord use apostate organizations like Briercrest? I’m proof that He can, but unfortunately they do far more damage sealing heresy into the minds of their students.
During this same time, my wife and I began leaving the Evangelical Free Church because of increasing worldliness, and an unwillingness to teach the truth of the Bible (it took most of a year to free ourselves from our obligations). After testing the waters in a couple of independent Baptist churches, in 2005 we began a home fellowship centered around older songs and teaching that bring glory to God. We have now enjoyed several years of being in the Word of God, learning what He tells us in His Word, rather than some form of theology carefully designed by man.
My wife and I are works in progress; the Lord has brought us through some very dramatic shifts in understanding what it means to be His child. We have felt the sting of rejection by friends and family (sometimes without having said a word), but our desire is to know Christ regardless of the cost. I have contemplated a website for several years as a means of making the studies from our journey available to others – that is now a reality. We trust the Lord will use His Word, through my writings, to bring glory to His name.