I was saved in February of 2014. The Lord put the desire in my heart to find his church and be a faithful member of it, but I was not very grounded in the faith. My doctrinal understanding was largely undeveloped. Consistent reading of the NIV did not help me in my lack of biblical understanding. I was persuaded by a friend to attend a church in Greenville, SC. It was a non-denominational satellite campus of a megachurch based out of Charleston. The church was very worldly, and did not understand the ordinance of the Lord’s table. Still, I thought the church was sound in my ignorance, but I didn’t think the thirty-minute commute was worth it if there was a similar church near my home.
I came across a very large non-denominational charismatic church in Spartanburg. I did not understand the charismatic issue at the time and believed that the strong relationship preaching was “fiery.” They also did not disclose that they were charismatic. The worship was largely driven by emotional outbursts. I thought this church was sound and pursued membership and eventually was “baptized.” Yet, all-the-while, I was spiritually starving from the lack of doctrinal preaching. This brought about a yearning in my spirit for more of God’s truth. The church put on small group programs. I began to faithfully attend a group geared towards young adults in the hope that I would be built up in my new faith. I began to be troubled with the conditional security false doctrine taught in the NIV. I was also listening to many reformed people from a variety of perspectives, but none of the preaching was very powerful. As I was being tossed to and fro, God mercifully brought a brother in Christ to the college. He was a KJV Independent Baptist. I spoke with him about the trouble I was having with conditional security. He very plainly told me the reason I was troubled was because I was reading a perverted Bible version. I got a KJV Bible and began reading it immediately. God revealed it through his Spirit that I was reading the words of God. I changed my reading to the KJV and after reading Romans 11:29 I had peace that God would never take away his gift from me.
Having the KJV changed everything. I noticed that the passages people were reading during the small group meetings did not match up with what my Bible said. This troubled me and caused me to become frustrated with the teaching I was being exposed to. I realized that I couldn’t listen to the reformed people online anymore, but I remained loyal to the leadership of my church. Desire for learning more led me to find internet teachers that held to the KJV only position. I came across an internet ministry that taught on a variety of topics. On the same day the Lord revealed the issues of marriage licensure and 501©3. It was obvious to me that this topic was of great importance to God, so I continued to study it out. I came across brother Finney’s materials on his website, which lead me to Pastor Cooley’s sermon “Covenant vs. Contract Marriage.” That was the first sermon I listened to from OPBC.
After studying the law in South Carolina concerning marriage licensure I realized that pastors of 501©3 churches were contractually obligated to marry people with licenses if they were going to officiate the ceremony. This left me with a decision to make. I knew that if I decided to go along with the current plan for my pastor to marry my then-fiancé and me that I would be in rebellion to God and his order. I wrote a letter rebuking the church for their idolatry and spiritual adultery and resending my membership, and brought it with me to a meeting with my pastor. I handed him the letter and informed him that I was not willing for him to marry us because the church was a 501©3. I told him that God was not pleased with how the church served mammon more than God, and that God’s desire in his word was for the church to repent and dissolve the corporation, citing the church of Laodicea. He did not receive the love of the truth, and informed me that I needed to stay away from brother Finney’s materials. The interesting thing is that I had never brought up brother Finney to anyone at the church, which means he knew about the issue previously and held the truth in unrighteousness.
I went unchurched for many months because I did not trust that any of the churches in my area were non-incorporated. I was solely listening to OPBC at the time. I always liked the idea of going to OPBC, but my plans for how I was going to practice chiropractic interfered with being obedient to God’s revealed will. The brother in Christ from my school informed me that he and his wife were attending an independent, KJV only, Baptist church in Cowpens, and that he enjoyed the preaching there and believed it to be biblical. My fiancé and I began to attend the services, and I thoroughly enjoyed the preaching of the gospel. The problem was that all they preached was the gospel. There was very little doctrinal teaching and almost no preaching on separation and God’s standards for Christian conduct. They went door knocking every weekend to ask people to come to church and hear the gospel. This vexed me because I knew that God’s way was for the church to bring the gospel out of the camp by preaching on the streets. I also knew that God’s churches were spiritual entities made up of born again Bible believing Christians. The church also owned a Christian school, and I was concerned that the church was incorporated. This was the main reason I did not pursue membership, although I did not have any evidence that the church was a creature of the state. I thought that it was certainly possible for God to have provided all of it to the church, but I thought it was still a doctrine worth bringing to the church’s attention.
I attempted to communicate these ideas to the deacons and pastor of the church by sending them sermons from Pastor Cooley. My communications went largely unnoticed. I spoke with the pastor on a one-to-one basis about simply taking God at his word, using geocentricity as an example. He told me that after reading the 200+ verses which explicitly teach egocentricity he could not find geocentricity anywhere in the Bible. This greatly troubled me, and I began to worry that the pastor did not believe the Bible. In bewilderment, he asked me if all the people who had ever taught him about creation were wrong, to which I replied “yes.”
Eventually, the brother in Christ and I asked the pastor to sit down with us and the Bible to look at the scriptures concerning these doctrines. Much to my dismay, we found ourselves in front of a panel of deacons, members, and the pastor. My intent was again to use geocentricity as an example for simple Bible faith, but there was no discussion about the word of God. Not one of the “supposed” KJV Bible believing Christians opened the Bible to prove either of us wrong about what we brought up. Instead, we were told by a member which lead songs that “you have your truth and we have our truth.” I was shocked to see that nobody had anything to say about his comment. The height of relativism had fully infiltrated the church and went totally unchecked by the leadership. My brother in Christ was beside himself in trying to plead that they would consider opening the Bible and discussing the scriptures. No ground was made and out of desperation I brought up street preaching and regenerate church membership. The pastor told me that he had never heard of somebody who believed that only saved people belong in the church. I quickly realized that these people were unwilling to let the Bible correct them, and I decided to give up on trying to win them to the truth. We mutually agreed to end the conversation, and I was told that I was not welcome back. I thanked the pastor for his time and left the church. The brother in Christ was so grieved by the entire experience that he broke down in tears and wept.
I knew that God wanted me to go to OPBC, but I was unwilling to submit my plans to God. God allowed me to slowly become more and more confused about chiropractic, and eventually I dropped out of school and gave up on the profession. Having nothing to keep my wife and I in South Carolina, we moved and began our new life in Minnesota. We were baptized in March of that year.
I recently found out that the church in Cowpens had obtained state-incorporated status in January of 2018, approximately two years after the meeting. The height of rejection of God’s word was finally realized. They were handed over to their own delusion and prostituted their congregation out to the state.