My Dad was an independent Baptist Preacher. I was saved by the time I was 5 years old. I remember it clearly. From before I could read I was memorizing Bible verses. This had a profound effect on my life. My theological background was Dispensational 5 Point Calvinism, which I later challenged and moved away from. I was called into the ministry when I was 18. After High School graduation I went to Seaway Baptist Bible Institute in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada and received a 4 year graduate in theology degree.
That year I became the youth Pastor (part time) at Calvary Baptist Church in Fair Haven, New York. While there, I became acquainted with the controversy over whether the King James Bible was the perfect Word of God in the English language. I had always believed the Bible in my hands was God's word (and it was a King James Bible) but had not thought about whether it was without error or whether other English translations could be the perfect Word of God. I concluded that the King James Bible was God's perfect Word in the English language. I wanted more academic understanding of the issue, so I took classes at North Star Bible Institute at First Bible Baptist Church in Greece, New York.
During this time I also started seriously questioning whether Calvinism was an accurate depiction of Biblical Truth. My conclusion was slow in coming. I believe that all 5 points are off target, and I know that this will shock many Calvinist, but I believe the 5 points, as presented in T.U.L.I.P., represent a small understanding of who God is. This will be discussed in a later post. I will add this though, I have found that there are many good, godly, intelligent Christians on all sides of the issue and that I can learn from those on both sides of the issue
In my mid 20's my arrogance and theological idolatry led me into conflict with my Pastor. I was unstable and ran away to the woods above Boonville, New York. This was a very hard time for me and I jumped from church to church. God brought many wonderful people into my world who loved me and prayed for me. I would not be in the ministry today if it were not for them.
When I was in my late 20's I moved to the Syracuse area where I met my wife, Beth. We were married in 1987. She bore with my struggles to become stable, including my church affiliation and participation. She patiently put up with a lot and encouraged me to face my past, my struggles. Marriage and becoming a dad were strong motivation to grow up.
After memberships in several churches that God used to heal me and progressively move me back toward being able to handle the conflicts of a Baptist Church, the Lord led us to become members of New Testament Baptist Church in Jamesville, New York. God had brought me back to the kind of church that I had handled so poorly in my 20's and gave me a chance to submit and serve in a way that pleased Him. I am to this day grateful to Pastor Dan Labieniec for his patience with me. Under his leadership I learned how to properly submit to a Pastor.
In early 2005 my wife and I realized that God was now calling me to enter the ministry and we started looking for opportunities to fill pulpits and to candidate. In December of that year I accepted the call to Pastor Waterloo Baptist Church in Waterloo, New York. Our ministry there started in February of 2006.