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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Collecting my stories accross the net, so that they can all be in one place

I'm collecting all my conversion stories on the internet.....and putting them all on my blog. This one came from the Holy Culture Radio forum.

I was always a history buff, but never really got into church history until I started arguing with Seventhday Adventists & Oneness Pentecostals (back in 1997). So it all started over doctrinal issues. Over the Sabbath, and the Trinity.That's how I started really getting into church history, for our arguments over scripture were at a stand still. They had scriptures they used to support what they were saying, and I had scriptures I used to support what I was saying (which mostly came from Hank Hanegraff for I followed him heavily back then.....back in those days).

So one day they both came to me and told me that either the Pope or the Emperor Constantine was the reason for me believing in the doctrine of the Trinity or for going to church on sunday (back then I believed sunday was the christian sabbath).

I told them I couldn't just take their word for it, and for the SDA, I told them I couldn't just accept what their scholars said without double checking for my self. The SDA's were more scholarly,.......they have their own schools and their own scholars.And this is how it happened.

I started reading the works of the christians around the time of the Emperor Constantine as well as before his time (Pre-Nicen/Ante-Nicene & Nicen Christians) Now what I found out, really didn't change them that much..well wait. It did one person, he left PAW and became a Baptist...only to go to a liberal seminary, but that's another story. (although it did put an end to our arguments about the doctrine of the Trinity and the Sabbath.....well almost, we still argued a little about the sabbath because when one scholar didn't work, they found another SDA scholar with a slighty different twist, but eventually the arguments about that topic stopped).

What I found out eventually changed me. I was a Baptist on paper, but I was no longer a Baptist at heart. I tried to Join EO back then 1997/1998 but the Parish didn't return my phone call. I was eventually sidetracked to some form of "continual Anglicanism" when I ran into the website of David Bercot. He is no longer Anglican, he reverted back to a form of Mennonite Anabaptist. I stopped following him in 2003 when his fellowship in Tyler Texas fell apart and when he started to change some of his core beliefs (that drew me in back in 1997/1998).

But there was one good thing I kept from that movement, and it was the focus on reading the primary sources for yourself. The Idea that you can't really trust tertianary (3rd) sources, and that sometimes even secondary (2nd) sources can get some stuff wrong.So you always have to go back and read the primaries if you want to be as accurate as possible. In 2002 I joined an Anglo-Catholic parish in the Pittsburgh diocese of the ECUSA (back then the Pittsburgh Diocese were still in the ECUSA, they recently split from the denomination).

I had a choice of joining a charismatic parish or the Anglo Catholic parish. I joine the Anglo-Catholic, but I still visited and helped out (alot) with the charismatic parish. I decided to leave the ECUSA in sempembter of 2006 when I saw the Charismatic Episcopal Church split in many pieces in America. I only joined the ECUSA in pittsburgh because there were no ICCEC or CEEC parishes near by (at least back then). Bercot(back in the 1990's when I was drawn to his movement), Bishop Thomas, the CEEC, the ICCEC, and the EOC all came out of a movement called The Convergence Movement or The Convergence of the Streams movement.It's basically where you try to blend the Evangelical with the Catholic/Sacramental with the Charismatic. and depending on the group, one aspect will always be more dominant than the other, or one aspect will almost be ignored, but the ideal was to have a healthy balance of all practice it was never really like that......but that's the gist of was basically a conservative form of what would later be known as the "Emergent movement".
In the Emergent movement, you can look outside of christianity to find things to suppliment your worship style and lifestyle. In the Convergence movement, you only look at those 3 streams.....the evangelical, the Catholic, and the Charismatic.......and choose from that, what you want in your worship preference and christian lifestyle.I don't know when the emergent movement began, but the convergence movement began back in the 1970's.Well, there is more to the story of why I became EO, I wrote about it some two years ago.

But when I saw the ICCEC fall apart back in 2006, that's when I called an EO priest I found on a Roman Catholic website where some former ICCEC became Roman Catholic. I called him and he put me in touch with an EO priest in Pittsburgh and I started visiting in December of 2006 and was chrismated on April of 2007.So it took about 9 or 10 years for me to become EO. I first tried in 1997/1998, got side tracked, and ended up being EO anyway some years later. And it all was because of an argument I had with SDA's and PAW's back in 1997. Now if I argued with Roman Catholics back then, then maybe I still would be Protestant, if I argued with a different group that wanted me to look at a different historical timeline, then maybe I still would be Baptist or Charismatic(of some stripe). But it didn't happen that way.
I was told that the Emperor Constantine did this and did that, or that the pope of that time did this or did that, and their was pressure put on me to reject what I was raised to believe in as a Baptist, and since the Doctrine of the Trinity is a salvation issue (that's what I said back then, when I was arguing with PAW),
I told them that I couldn't just take their word for it. I had to see for my self. And this is the only reason why I am a church history buff. When I started in 1997 I just couldn't stop. Doctrine and history to me are like a RNA & DNA. They go together because they are always connected in some way.
Now Alexander Cambell started his own church......his own movement. I have no desire to start my own church nor my own movement. Alexander Cambell rejected creeds.

I don't. I accept creeds. So yes, you can be into church history and be wrong on doctrinal issues, but you can also be into church history and be right on doctrinal issues as well.I'm not saying I'm right or wrong......eventhough I personally believe I'm right.....but I also understand that other people feel that I'm wrong......and I don't see a problem with that.But the truth is, I made personal decisions in my life that lead to what I believe right now.....whether right or wrong.

And I own up to my decisions in life. Now maybe if I was in a different environment with different groups arguing with me then maybe I would of turned out differently, but I turned out this way.......with the cards I was dealt. (I believe in the limited freedom of the will, so this is why I am saying what I am saying. There are some things I can control and there are some things I just can't....I have no control over alot of things in life.) I had to throw in a little bit of Arminianism in there..........please forgive me if you were offended.



Tony said...

Hmmm this should all prove interesting.

Jnorm said...


I just have a few of them out there. Most of them are alread pasted on my blog. Now if I am ever asked why I became Orthodox or why am I inter Church history.....I can always cut and paste instead of answering the same questions over and over and over again.


Jay Dyer said...

You've had a rocky road, just as I did. ; )

Jnorm said...

Jay Dyer,

Yeah, it was pretty rocky, but you know what they say, "no pain, no gain."


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