How did I become involved in a battle of wits that became Frank versus the pastor? Because it was my duty to Save the Church from evil. In this war there would be No Submission to person, principality, power, or authority, I didn’t care who they were, I had the Truth and God on my side and another mere mortal was not going to take them away from me! Oh foolish Frank. When it comes to authority and submission the key I was missing was the Channel of Blessing and I truly believe things would be different today had I known.
This testimony is not for my glory. I am weak, the lowest of the low. I share these things to give our Father and His Son the Glory, Honour and Praise.
Being raised as an Adventist, attending our schools, I imagined that in the end times I would be standing faithfully with my brothers and sisters in the church to defend the Sabbath before the world. I never dreamed in all my 48 years I would be defending the Father and Son before the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. In September of 2009 I walked the same road as our brother Corey and many many others and was disfellowshipped from the church I grew up in and loved over not accepting the trinity. Even though this saddened me greatly, looking back on it now I believe it was Providence because it has given me a hungering for the Word and love of Scripture that I never had before. I’ve learned many wonderful things about my church in the process and have an appreciation for the Pioneers of our faith, Sister White especially, that did not exist previously. Of course in my studies there was the wonderful discovery of the Truth of the Father and Son. This brought joy and many moments of tears and pain realizing what the Adventist church gave up to fit in with the churches of the world.
I’m no less guilty for I have imbibed error. Prior to the revelation of the Father and Son I was relying on the church to tell me what I was supposed to believe. Because of being immersed and entangled in the world I wasn’t studying or reading my Bible so it was easy to buy into the Fundamental Belief concerning three co-equal, co-eternals because to me God was a mystery. Scripture does identify a Father, Son and Holy Spirit, simple enough. Of course it didn’t make any sense when it came to the Son of God how He could be the same age as the Father, but what did I know?
In my tween years, for various reasons, I became focused on self-preservation and have basically been an island unto myself ever since with a strong aversion to authority. It rarely exhibited itself in open defiance, though there was a time in my sophomore year at boarding school that a resident assistant told me my behaviour was bordering on insubordination. Something struck me funny about that remark and I laughed at him. Oh what a lonely boy.
Non-Christian music became my muse and as the years passed “Be good to yourself when nobody else will” became my theme song in this “circus life under a big top world” where “we all need the clowns to make us smile.” I let the music play focusing on a stream of what I termed “positive reinforcement” lyrics. These tunes pounded from my stereo, poured from my vocal chords, and swam around in my head. Posters of my favourite “preachers” plastered nearly every inch of my bedroom walls. Their words became my “ministry” as I shared the music with one and all from the “pulpit” of the DJ booth to the personalized recordings given to family and friends. As a pilot of the airwaves my musical sermons went all over the world.
I let the music speak and its themes, along with programming from television and movies, flooded into my life and drowned out any semblance of spirituality. In 2001 I was at a point where I hadn’t attended church regularly for several years. I was drained emotionally, lax morally and spiritually and not happy about it. Praise the Father that even in the fog He continued to draw me by His Spirit through His Son. I felt compelled to return to the faith I had as a child and moved from Colorado to Montana to be with my “family” in the church I grew up in.
I was welcomed with open arms and given a whole new lease on life. Through joining a small group Scripture study and prayer became a part of my life like never before. Church and all that pertained to it was a joy and I soon became immersed in all the music and social aspects. But I failed to let go of the world and ended up coasting spiritually with the pretense of having it all together. In reality I had sunk lower than before my return home to Montana.
In April of 2008 I was called into the pastor’s office and asked a simple question. I did not lie and answered in the affirmative. Because of my answer, effective immediately, I was put on church discipline and stripped of all church offices. I was angry and bitter. When asked by members in the congregation why I was no longer up front singing I simply said I was taking a break. It was hard to handle and the need for self-preservation reared its head. I withdrew my presence from that church and started attending another Sabbath keeping church. It was easier to slip away than face the reality of discipline.
It was at the other church that I heard powerful sermons that spoke to me personally about my life and where it was going. My Saviour was asking me to let go of all in the world that was entangling me and submit to Him and His will. I was at a point to say “yes” and with His help began to purge my life of stuff and at the same time was blessed to find a Christian support group to help me deal with some personal issues. I got over my anger and bitterness towards the pastor who disciplined me as I realized it was the wake-up call I needed. I graciously thanked him for the discipline and soon found the Heaven given peace I needed to walk back into the Adventist church.
There were more lessons to learn. As my walk became closer to Christ I sensed something was missing in the church. I had this feeling that we were just doing our time warming the pews and “playing church.” I was tired of the milk and wanted the meat. Then I “discovered” what I believed to be a travesty. I was presented with “evidence” that some of the writings of Ellen White had been changed. I thought that if I could share this with everyone that would really rouse the church out of their slumber and get them all fired up to uncover the truth! To me the issue was plain as day and I tried to share with people. Only one or two were interested so to get further attention I would rant and rave about these changes in prayer meetings, Sabbath Schools and fellowship dinners. Pretty soon people did not know what to make of me and were wondering what crazy thing would come out of my mouth next.
At the same time in my Sabbath school class the teacher and a certain couple seemed to be at odds over the Holy Spirit or something. Because I was clueless and believed that God was a mystery, especially the Spirit part, I left it alone. Tension in class persisted and I finally asked the couple what was up. They said it was over the trinity. I inquired what they meant and was told that the Seventh-Day Adventist church believed in the trinity. I disagreed because I remembered being taught in church school Bible class that the trinity was a Catholic belief. Then my friends showed me that our Fundamental of three co-equal co-eternal Beings was the trinity doctrine and voted into the church in 1980. My head was spinning. I had never heard the word “trinity” spoken from any pulpit in the Adventist church, not even in evangelistic series. How could I have missed it?
I was now eager to start digging for the truth. I was given a book “What the Pioneers Believed” and told to read Early Writings pages 54-56. What Sister White wrote there proved to me there was no trinity, only Father, Son and Their Spirit. The third person in that picture was the arch deceiver Satan himself. While reading Scripture it all began to come into focus. In the controversy between Christ and Satan what did Satan want more than anything? Everything that the Son of God was entitled to; worship, power, title and position.
Then when I read from Sister White that in heaven Lucifer was next in line to Christ it became crystal clear that there was no trinity, only Father and Son. I got excited and called the pastor to make an appointment to meet with him. I believed that what I had discovered would put an end to the controversy that was taking place in Sabbath School.
I took the Scriptures and several of Sister White’s books and sat down with the pastor in his office. I then activated self-preservation mode and proceeded to make the meeting about me. You see for months I had been agitated about something. I calmly explained to the pastor that it had already been over a year since I was put on church discipline and pointed out that not once had there been any follow-up. No contact, no discussion, no inquiries as to any progress or changes in my life, not even an offer to pray with me, nothing. I told him I had to go outside the church to process it all. I told him I wasn’t angry about it, just puzzled. He really didn’t know what to say. Essentially what I had done was put him down, and I was probably rubbing it in when I explained that since the discipline wonderful things had happened in my life without his or the church’s help. Ouch.
Now after knocking the pastor I’m supposed to share some wonderful truth. Oh yes, that’s exactly what I did. I became animated in explaining how I had been studying something because there had been this controversy in Sabbath School and I had figured out the truth to the point that it should no longer be an issue for contention. The pastor sensed right away what I was talking about and asked, “is this about the trinity?”
Nonplused I charged on and asked him if I could read what I brought and please allow me to finish before making comment. He granted my request and I read everything I had brought; the account in Scripture of the temptation in the wilderness where Satan asked Jesus to worship him, the pages from Early Writings, the hierarchy in heaven and a few more. I closed the books with self-satisfaction and eagerly awaited the pastor’s reply.
“If Ellen White doesn’t agree with the Bible we have to throw her out” were the first words that came out of his mouth. I was in shock. This is not the reply I had imagined. There was already tension in the room and I let the spirit of the enemy take over. Me, myself and I took control to defend the truth, defend God, defend the church, defend myself. I did just that, oh yes, with my slaughtering weapon of choice, a scourge of the tongue. I lashed him and he lashed right back, as our voices reach a crescendo a shouting match ensues. It pains me now to even write this account because I was so out of control that at one point the pastor rebuked me in the name of our Saviour.
I don’t even know what brought that battle to a close. Neither of us backed down an inch. What I do know is that this all happened just before prayer meeting and that poor man had to lead out. I really should have gone home, but I stayed for the meeting. As I sat there looking at the pastor I was torn up inside over what had transpired. This is not the way it was supposed to be. I had never been so aggressively angry in all my life. What went wrong? When prayer meeting was over we were both compelled to apologize for our behaviour. Sad to say, I did not learn my lesson that day with the pastor and have since had many other things to repent for.
Today I know more about the truth and myself than I did then because of this website. I am so thankful for godly men like Brother Adrian for helping me to understand that there is a better way through the Channel of Blessing. I appreciate Brother Corey and the witness he has been. It grieves me to know that he was disfellowshipped. He and I have something in common, but his example will have a much greater effect than mine ever did. Some day, Father willing, I may share the rest of the story.
I know what it’s like to want to feel responsible for church members and save them from error. We’ve all tried to do things our own way as each sees fit when we discover the truth. I want to remember my position and not seek responsibilities that haven’t been given me. I am open and willing to take “self” out of the picture and allow my Father to bless me in the Channel.
Submission to authority doesn’t mean giving up the truth of the Father and Son. It is not a denial that the church is in apostasy. It simply means allowing a pastor, or another representative of the church our Saviour established know where you stand in your understanding of Scripture giving them an opportunity to commend or correct and guide you. If they deem you are wrong kindly ask them to show you from Scripture, ask them to pray for you, ask them if there is any word from God that they can share on your behalf. If these men are already pushing the trinity, nothing you say or do will change that path, you will only inflame their zeal.
I appreciate the following advice from Brother Adrian, “We must continue to pray that our Father will help us and speak to the hearts of our leaders, we must appeal to those immediately over us and ask them to show us where we have missed something, but that is about it. It is a real test, but to do other than this is to ignore the channel and demonstrate a resistance and disrespect for authority. When asked we must be candid and forthright, but other than this we can only appeal to our immediate leaders and let people find us on the web or similar public domains.”
He continues, “I am learning to carry the burdens for those I am responsible for and to and pray for the rest and leave it in our Father's hand. I rejoice that others have found light in the channel of blessing message and how to approach leaders and the church. As you can see it brings far more peace and the message still spreads. We are learning to sow seed without thrusting it into the ground and demanding a response. We sow and pray for rain from our Father.”
As one of the sheep in my Saviour's fold I want to follow the council shared with me by Brother Adrian and let our Father take care of His own work by praying and believing that He will. To me this means being humble and learning what it means to stand firmly and kindly for truth while sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the church without taking up my own devised slaughtering weapon of words, coming against God's appointed leaders and drawing men after myself. I have not the experience, nor have I been called to take the wheel. I am allowing Jesus to carry me through the perplexity.
Dear brothers and sisters in the faith once delivered to the church I pray each of you will do some soul searching to ask your Father to help you understand His Channel of Blessing. Because of previous programming we all have many things to learn and unlearn. Our Father will help us understand. I am so blessed by this family and look forward to seeing each of you in the kingdom. Until then my heart will go on singing, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid … for Yahovah thy Elohim, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. - Deuteronomy 31:6.