Prelude and Fugue in Faith — Prelude (Part 2)

(continued from below)

After that night, I became very dissatisfied with the Methodist Church. So little passion for the Lord! And the order of worship we followed, with its watered-down liturgy – I thought the problem, the spiritual complacency I observed, had developed because people were reading the responses without thinking what they were thinking and saying and affirming, in the prayers and in the Creed. I blamed the liturgy; I wanted something better.

I gravitated toward fundamentalist churches. I spent several months attending Calvary Memorial Church, an independent fundamentalist church with a great deal of zeal and strong Bible teaching. I learned to love the Scriptures and to rely on them for doctrine and life instruction through that church. There were problems, though, and I wasn’t there long. Danny and I were dating by then, and I attended his home church in Southern Pines; together we participated in services at other friends’ churches, most frequently the Pentecostal Holiness church in Aberdeen, where a friend’s father was pastor and one of our friends was preparing to enter the ministry.

For years I jumped from church to church. It seemed I couldn’t be happy anywhere for long. This church seemed to be filled with people who had no real care for religion, beyond habit and “duty.” This church was exuberant and excited about sharing the Gospel… but there were no opportunities for deepening the faith beyond “spiritual infancy.” This church was too insular, ignoring the needs of people outside its doors. This church was negligent in matters of mission work. This church saw no need for evangelism. That one was superficially vibrant and enthusiastic, but was trapped in emotionalism as a gauge for “grace.” I was looking for perfection – in my church, and for myself.

We were at a Christian and Missionary Alliance church for several years, happy ones for me. They had a strong family program, AWANA, women’s Bible studies, a wonderful women’s mission union. Every February the church sponsored a missions conference, in which missionaries home on furlough from all around the globe would come and share stories of their work with us. The C&MA is a much larger denomination overseas than in the U.S. as a result of its deep commitment to foreign mission work.%

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