FULL GOSPEL CHURCH
OF THE APOSTOLIC FAITH
HOW I FOUND TRUE CHRISTIANITY
Written in the year 2000
I was born and raised here on Long Island and attended a large Denominational
Church. This was the only representation I had of God and I did not
like what I had experienced and observed. The people would attend church
services on Sundays but there lives were not much different from the
rest of society. The Minister did not preach strongly against sin, nor
was there any kind of genuine manifestation of the presence of God.
I can remember as a young boy asking my mother many questions about
God and the church we were attending. Even as a child I somehow knew
that if there was a real God of these professing Christians, surely
God would show up in some kind of supernatural way. The people were
not being changed by the church they were attending. The lives of the
people were hypocritical and devoid of any real power from God.
When I reached my teens I totally turned away from any faith in God.
I reasoned that since God was not real in the people of this dull and
boring church that God also must not be real. I rejected all faith in
a God and decided to become an atheist. However, I did not like the
idea that man originated from monkeys. This did not make much sense
to me but I was open to the possibility that all life originated from
some other source in the universe. I believed that life must have been
brought here from some sort of extraterrestrial beings. I later realized
that this theory again did not solve the problem. Life was either created
by a Master Designer, or it spontaneously evolved elsewhere in the Universe
without any programming or planning. The latter always seemed to me
to be a complete impossibility, due to the scientific fact that all
living creatures are incredibly complex from the cellular level right
down to the DNA.
Programs on television such as "In Search Of" fascinated
me. It was watching television that influenced me to totally disbelieve
in God. The nominal Christians in the church I had attended as a child
and teenager could not answer my many questions about science, the dinosaurs,
etc. Since believing in God and the Bible seemed to be inconsistent
with the facts of known science, I was forced to conclude that the Bible
must be in error - and that there was really no God after all. Later
I met Christians that were able to explain to me that there was much
scientific evidence to support a personal belief in the God of the Bible
and that the Biblical account makes scientific sense. I have since read
dozens of books written by Scientists who support the Creation account
in the Biblical book of Genesis. And I have found that the scientific
evidence supporting the theory that God created the heavens and the
earth outweighed any supposed evidence supporting the theory that life
and all material things somehow came into existence on their own.
Although I became very good at football I soon realized that I was
not big enough to make it professionally. I was only six feet tall and
about two hundred and ten pounds. After graduation from High School
I again sank into a deep depression. I had dreamed about being a professional
football player but I did not have the genetics to play professionally.
I loved the sport so much that I could not imagine going on living without
I stopped boxing when I joined the Marines in September 1981. I was
only seventeen when I went to Paris Island. I had worked out so hard
while training for football and then boxing that I was 215 pounds of
solid muscle at only seventeen years of age. I use to laugh at guys
while they were crying in pain at Paris Island while our Platoon was
doing pushups. I was a very proud and foolish young man with very radical
political views. I dreamed of becoming a great military leader. War
always fascinated me. I loved to watch movies with combat scenes. To
me, working out was a preparation for real combat. I use to work out
for hours while training for football and then boxing. Yet no matter
how hard I tried, I could never find true fulfillment in sports, or
in becoming a Marine.
I quickly became tired of getting drunk at bars. I would stagger back
to the barracks feeling totally empty inside. No matter what I tried,
I instinctively knew that there was something that I was desperately
missing in life. At first I thought that it was a nice woman that I
needed but I quickly realized that what I really needed was a genuine
purpose in life that was much deeper than the superficiality of the
things that I was pursuing. I needed a purpose in life that would make
life truly worth living for.
I can vividly remember going out with a group of Marine friends to
visit every bar on court street in Jacksonville North Carolina. Our
goal was to get so rowdy that we would get thrown out of every bar on
court street. I quickly disdained this kind of life and the friends
that I was hanging around with. There was something about the filthiness
of sin that inwardly disgusted me. I might have been tough and aggressive
on the outside but somewhere on the inside of me I knew that there was
a good heart that was longing to be set free to do good. This was when
I had one of my first encounters with a Spirit Filled Christian who
was preaching on court street and handing out tracts. Since I was searching
for a reason and purpose in life I reached out and grabbed a tract from
the young preacher. I inwardly respected his boldness to stand up for
his God ( I always respected courage when I saw it ) and I could feel
something very special and powerful emanating from this man (I later
knew that this was the power of the Holy Spirit). My friends disdained
me for receiving the tract but I insisted that I would read it later.
One day I asked this Baptist fellow, "what must I do to be saved?"
He led me in a prayer in which I repeated certain words. I admitted
that I was a sinner and that I needed God's forgiveness. Yet when I
was through with repeating certain words, this fellow congratulated
me and told me that I was now saved. I asked him if I now had received
the Holy Spirit. He assured me that I did. I was greatly discouraged
because I had thought that salvation should have been more powerful
and wonderful than this shallow experience. Yet I decided to start attending
the Baptist Church that this fellow attended even though I was seriously
thinking about quitting because I still felt so empty.
I remember going to this Baptist Church quite regularly but I still
was not satisfied deep down inside. I again instinctively knew that
there must be more to Christianity than this un-fulfilling feeling that
continued to plague me deep down inside. I began crying out to God.
One night I remember reaching out my hands to the sky while on my bed
saying, "God, if you are up there and you are real then please
show me the truth. I want to know the truth." I had tears streaming
down my face while I prayed as earnestly and as sincerely as I could.
It was about two weeks after I prayed this way that I came back to the
barracks and met a peculiar fellow that was very bold and courageous
about his faith. He told me that he used his rank as a corporal to go
through the entire barracks until he found a room that God had directed
him to live in. At this time I was housed in three man rooms. Out of
the hundreds of rooms for this corporal to choose from, he just happened
to select mine.
The first scripture that he turned to was Acts chapter two. He explained that I needed to receive the same experience of the Holy Ghost that the early Christians had received on the Day of Pentecost and that I needed to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of my sins. When I had questioned my Baptist Minister about getting baptized, he told me that it was important that I get baptized but that it was not necessary for me to get baptized right away. This answer did not quite settle with me but I figured that the Minister knew what he was talking about. Later I found out that this minister was completely wrong. All new converts of the first century Christian Church were immediately baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ on the same day of their conversions.
NOTE HOW SOON THE EARLY CHURCH BAPTIZED NEW CONVERTS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS:
Acts 2:41 "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:
and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Acts 8:12 "But when they believed Philip preaching the things
concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were
baptized, both men and women."
Acts 8:36 "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain
water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me
to be baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart,
you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both
went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized
Acts 10:47 "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be
baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he
commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Acts 16:14,15 "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple,
of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us: whose heart
the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken
of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household. . ."
Acts 16:30-33 ". . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they
said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and
your house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all
that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night,
and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway."
Acts 18:8 ". . . and many of the Corinthians hearing believed,
and were baptized."
Mark 16:16 "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and
he that believes not shall be damned."
Acts 19:1-5 ". . . and finding certain disciples, he said unto
them, have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? And they
said unto him, we have not so much as heart whether there be any Holy
Spirit. And he said unto them, unto what then were you baptized? And
they said unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John truly baptized with
the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should
believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Acts 22:16 "And now why do you tarry? Arise, and be baptized,
and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Romans 6:3,4 "Don't you know, that so many of us as were baptized
into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried
with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from
the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life."
When I visited the United Pentecostal Church in Jacksonville, North
Carolina I quickly became offended at how demonstrative these people
were in worshiping God. Most everyone lifted up their hands while praying,
they clapped their hands very loudly while singing, and they danced
and shouted with loud voices. I heard many praying in strange languages.
While I was sitting on a pew I thought to myself, "this could not
be right." While I was thinking about walking out of the church
building I heard a voice speaking to me so strongly that I answered
it. The voice clearly said, "You asked me for the truth, did you
not?" These words came to me so clearly that I answered back and
said to the Lord, "Yes, I did ask for the truth." So I decided
When I was baptized in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I felt a wonderful cleansing. I knew both by the scriptures and by personal experience that I had found the way of truth that was originally preached by the first century apostles. Just as in the book of Acts Church, every where the way of truth was spoken against (See Acts 28:22). So it is today. Every where the Apostolic Faith Message is preached, it is persecuted as a way of error. Yet God's Word is still true today and His truth never changes to suit the personal whims of men.
May God restore us to the Truth and nothing but the Truth.
For any comments or questions
contact Pillar of Truth Church at firstname.lastname@example.org