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Re: Where did you come from?

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October 14, 2002 10:41PM

Well, my story is similar to Robert's but very different as well. My father was Orthodx and Greek and my mother was melkite Catholic and Lebanese. I was baptized and chrismated Orthodox but my family had no real interest in religion. As a child I used to serve mass in a Maronite Catholic church, then in my early teenage I got "born again" through a high school teacher of mine and some missionaries. Not knowing my religion, I fell for the usual lines of "the Orthodx Church isa dead traditional church with no believers", and " look at verse so and so, and see how orthodoxy contradicts the bible"....Lord forgive me, but I am still very upset at myself for being gulloble, and upset at those who i fell lied to me by pretending to bear the name of our Lord. My parents, prefering that i join a religious group than a military faction in the crazy Lebanese mess, tried despite the lack of their theological knowledge to dissuade me, but to no avail.

In university, I continued to attend evangelical circles, and eventually joined a Church belonging to "Church of God" (Anderson, IN)... I also took several seminary courses in systematic theology on the side, and was given the leadership of our church's youth group, as well as doing a lot of supply preaching when our "pastor" was away, which was often, because he lived on the "other" side of the city. i stayed in this situation for close to 6 years, then after graduating my master's i immigrated to Canada, and joined a "fellowship baptist" church. Again, i did some preaching and was a youth leader.

This continued till age 28, when I met my wife. She was a Plymouth Bretheren and had very strong ideas about the necessity of "breaking bread" every Sunday... So we joined the Bretheren for a few years...In this church I first began to sense that something is wrong, because despite their being evangelical, they disparaged the evangelicals (along with the Catholica and everyone else) ...and I personally found the group not very accepting...so we moved back into the baptist 'fold" and joined a Southern Baptist church in Toronto.

Two years later we moved to the US and moved to another Southern Baptist church... Some sad events led to our losing our pastor. So once again I was involved in leading Bible studies and supply preaching for about a year. My wife and I also had a christian-contemporary music radio program 3 hours a week.

In the middle of this I started trying to see commonalities that made all these denominations to all claim to be Christian. We noticed that in the group in our radio station, for example, we had some who believed in the Trinity and others did not. Some believed in predestination calvinism, others were choice armineans. Some wanted one pastor, others no pastors and some a council of pastors. In short, if we added all these positions in a statement of faith we ended up in a religion that believed in absoultely nothing.

Even the style of music was a matter of disagreement.

As a result of these observations, we decided to take time to study. In our study, we wanted to find the doctrine that Christians thought to be the Christian doctrine from the beginning until now, and to assess when doctrine developped that "corrupted" the original Christian doctrine.

Having come from an Orthodox background I knew that Orthodoxy was the "original" Church. To make a long story short, some study points were obvious:

1- the Old Testament people were God's people on earth and included both believers and non-believers...there a jewish David, but also a Jewish Ahab

2- there was a recognized practice of transmission of priesthood , and I noted that the apostle Paul also noted a way of transmission of "presbytery"....If we believed that there were Christians in all ages, then necessarily we deduce apostolic succession.

3- Reading some of the church fathers and coming across some of the stories of converst I noticed I was not alone in these observations.

We then started going to church and "observing" Orthodoxy privately. In the Summer of that year I went to Lebanon and went into my Parish church. My wife was chrismated on Penticost the year after in a Greek Orthodox church where we still are. The next summer we got our marriage blessed and are now both Home in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic church. I am so thankful that god gave me such good shephards that were very wise when I left and into accepting me when I repented...

I now truly feel "Doxa Si O Theos" glory be to God.
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