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Benji

Benji's Testimony

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I was born into family of Presbyterians and we attended church every Sunday but the pastor never said "you must be born again" instead he preached that if your good deeds outweighed your sins, and you "believed" you will go to heaven. I never did know exactly WHAT I was supposed to believe in, all I got was "ya gotta believe" so, of course I "believed!"

 

I was pretty much a "Christian" just like my parents were.  They hated Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and everyone else that was not a WASP,  like Negroes, Italians, Germans, Japanese, Cubans, Koreans, and so forth. Dad cursed like a drunken sailor, physically and verbally abused all six of us and beat my mother on occasion. For some unknown reason I didn't follow their line of thinking about people who were not WASPs. Some of my best friends were African Americans, and I LOVED listening to black singers like Ray Charles, Nat "King" Cole, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and lots of other black singers.  (I NEVER let my parents know any of this of course.)

 

Due to how our farm was situated we had four families that were "next door neighbors."  Three were Catholics and the other was Russian Orthodox. They treated us like we were infected with the Bubonic Plague and we treated them the same way.  Dad would not watch a TV show if the star was not a WASP. When I was 14 or 15 I got a part time summer job washing dishes at a small local mom and pop restaurant. The (male) boss it seemed like young boys so every chance he got he would molest me and of course I had to reciprocate or risk getting fired (and since my Dad got me that job I knew I simply could NOT quit so I stuck with it until school started.)  

 

I graduated from high school and joined the Navy "to see the world."  Until then I had never had a drop of alcohol or smoked a cigarette. The Navy changed that pretty quick. I was also a virgin. The Navy changed that too.  After I was discharged I came back home to my high school sweetheart, we married and settled into life as husband and wife.  Then about 5 years later the rumors were flying around the neighborhood that my wife was having an affair with our next door neighbor. I doubted it and so to prove the rumors wrong, I did some snooping around and much to my dismay I found them together..... naked.  I was devastated. The next day I asked her about the rumors and at first she lied but eventually after I told her I had seen them together naked she admitted that she was indeed involved with him and she "loved" him and she wanted a divorce.  She filed for a divorce, got a restraining order against me and I was forced to move out.

 

I immediately found a Presbyterian church and attended it that very next Sunday in the hopes of "finding God." A few days later I got a lovely flowery (form) letter from the pastor telling me how much he and his congregation loved having visitors and invited me to come back again, and in closing said if I needed anything to let him know, so I wrote back telling him about my wife, her boyfriend and that she wanted a divorce and I needed help. He never responded, so I attended another Presbyterian church,  pretty much the same thing, and finally a third Presbyterian church. God was not to be found in any of them. (Continued in next posting)

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Posted (edited)

Several years prior to this one of the office gals that had moved out of town (about a two hour drive east) that I used to work was in town visiting some old friends and so she stopped by my home and gave her testimony to me and my wife.  While I didn't remember much of it, I did remember that she seemed to be sincere so I called her and told her what was happening.  She asked me if I was a Christian. I responded that yes I was a Christian, and I had been attending three different Presbyterian churches but apparently God was not interested in me because His Spirit was not present in any of them. She said she wasn't surprised and invited me to attend church with her so I got up early and drove two hours so I could attend church  with her and her mother and brother the following Sunday.  The pastor ended the service by asking if anyone in the congregation would like to join him in prayer at the altar. I walked forward and received Christ as Lord and Savior. 

 

I figured that now that I had God in my corner, He would convince my wife to come to church with me where she would get saved like I did, then she would end the affair, and ask me to come home so we could mend our broken marriage. The following week after I received Christ I got baptized at a little Church of Christ (non-instrumental) that was located just up the street and around the corner from our home. In tears I told the pastor and elders what was happening. They prayed. I prayed. They called her and visited with her. She said she would be in church the following Sunday. I was one happy camper. She never showed, so the pastor and his wife visited her a second time. Again she said she would be there the next Sunday. Again she never showed. After on more try she refused to answer the door so they gave up. She didn't want to lose her new lover and she was not going to let a little thing like her marriage vows to her husband interfere with that, after all they were in LOVE.  The pastor and two of the elders called me into the church office the next Sunday sat me down and informed me that it appeared to them that she was determined to get a divorce. Then they told me unless I could convince her to attend their church and convince her to get saved, I could not, according to the scriptures ever remarry. She was my wife forever and if we got a divorce I could never marry anyone else.  I could only remarry my wife and no one else. I said I could not marry her again because she was not saved and the bible said something about not being unequally yoked. They said that was my problem not theirs and again they warned me not to even date another woman.

 

Seven weeks after the divorce I met a woman on a blind date. I had been praying for a born again woman that I could marry.  She had been praying for a born again man that she could marry. One year later we got married at a little Brethren church.  When the elders at my former church heard about it they called me on the phone and told me that we were both going to hell because we were living in sin. I responded "show me where divorce is the unforgivable sin in the scriptures."  They couldn't. My new wife yanked the phone from my hand and politely but firmly told the head elder to pray for us and we would pray for him and to never call again. He didn't.  That was 43 years ago. We are more in love now than we have ever been.  God has blessed us with not only salvation and life eternal but with two sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. 

 

Oh yes, I almost forgot, her lover dumped her about six months later. She was devastated.  She called me and wanted to get together for a little chit chat. I declined because I wasn't interested in marrying an unsaved woman. I had done that five years earlier and it was a disaster.

Edited by Benji
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Hi Benji,

 

I am just curious about some of the details. You state that you went from one Presbyterian church to another, and on any given day you went they were not preaching on the necessity to be born again. How long were you at any given Presbyterian church? Seems like you tried one out here and one out there on any given day? Were you an actual formal member of any of the Presbyterian churches or just an attendee? Formal members must go through orientation classes which cover the Christian essentials. Candidates are then brought up in a church meeting, and if accepted they then proceed to vow before the church and congregation to be held accountable in life and doctrine (discipline). It doesn't sound like you ever became a member but were an attendee?

 

As I understand it you now switched churches to the Church of Christ? My question is when you were approached by the "old church" about remarrying you made your case and point, is remarriage unforgivable? This sounds to me like you admit that the remarriage was a sin beforehand, that is, before actually going forward into sin, lemme elaborate more, you consciously were aware of committing sin, but your message is that you can sin so grace abounds? If this be the case, have you repented of your sin, and not only you but you and your wife both?

 

Rewind a bit, were any of the Presbyterian churches "Reformed" that you attended? Presbyterian simply is a type of church government, but it is common for the largest Presbyterian church (PCUSA) to not be Reformed in doctrine. Matter of fact, even believing in God isn't necessary to be a PCUSA pastor. I'm curious about your childhood Presbyterian church, did they ever suggest that you should actually open the pages to Scripture?

 

Lastly, I'm a little confused as to what your testimony is about. Are you testifying that God could not be found in a church? Your testimony seems to center around "you". This is one of the reasons why I left for a Reformed church. Nobody ever proclaimed Soli Deo Gloria. The testimonies I heard were centered around "I, me, and myself" on the days I was expecting to hear from the Scriptures.

 

God bless,

William

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During that time I visited three different Presbyterian churches in three weeks. I don't know if they were PCUSA or Reformed. Regardless of whether I was a member or not I expected that a visitor once he mentioned that he was searching for God should have been introduced to Him not ignored like I was.

 

I left the Church of Christ due to their extreme legalism.  Just a couple of months after being baptized by them, I was actually told to get a hair cut because I had "long hair" according to one of the elders and God doesn't like men with long hair. I asked him how long does the bible say it can be. He said it doesn't say, but mine is long. I then told him my hair was shorter than my military ID card which is the standard used by the US Navy as to what is "long" to which he responded "we aren't the Navy, get a hair cut. They also told me they were the only real Christian church!  All other churches are false prophets because "the bible says Christ's church will have Christ's name."  (I have yet to find that passage by the way.)

 

Divorce is allowed in the NT by Jesus and the apostle Paul.  I am "not bound" to my marriage vow if I was not the one who broke it, and I was not. She committed adultery and then she abandoned me.  Have I asked for forgiveness?  Yes because it was suggested by my pastor "just to be on the safe side"  but I have never felt that I was sinning by marrying my born again Christian wife.  For some reason lots of Christians believe that every sin can be forgiven except for divorce/remarriage.  Sometimes when I meet new Christians and I mention during my testimony that I was divorced 44 years ago before I received Christ. I tell them Jesus said divorce is permissible in Matt 19:9 but one brother told me the words "except for marital unfaithfulness" in that passage were added later on and were not part of the original passage, so according to him we are living in adultery!  When I mentioned 1 Cor 7:15 he chimed in that those are the words of Paul, not Jesus so the "if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so.  A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances" isn't actually scripture it is Paul's personal opinion!  ??? As far as remarriage, the pastor that performed our ceremony said he knew that divorce is permissible but he wasn't sure about remarriage so he was going to pray that if this was not in God's will it will not happen. He prayed every day for about 8 months.  It did and he didn't feel he had violated scripture nor did he feel that God would chastise him on Judgment Day.

 

My testimony is.....well my testimony! and about my difficulties I had in finding salvation where I thought He would be (in the denomination I was raised in) and how He found me in a denomination I knew nothing about. All praise and glory and honor to God the Father, Jesus the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit the Paraclete.

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2 hours ago, Benji said:

During that time I visited three different Presbyterian churches in three weeks. I don't know if they were PCUSA or Reformed. Regardless of whether I was a member or not I expected that a visitor once he mentioned that he was searching for God should have been introduced to Him not ignored like I was.

 

I left the Church of Christ due to their extreme legalism.  Just a couple of months after being baptized by them, I was actually told to get a hair cut because I had "long hair" according to one of the elders and God doesn't like men with long hair. I asked him how long does the bible say it can be. He said it doesn't say, but mine is long. I then told him my hair was shorter than my military ID card which is the standard used by the US Navy as to what is "long" to which he responded "we aren't the Navy, get a hair cut. They also told me they were the only real Christian church!  All other churches are false prophets because "the bible says Christ's church will have Christ's name."  (I have yet to find that passage by the way.)

 

Divorce is allowed in the NT by Jesus and the apostle Paul.  I am "not bound" to my marriage vow if I was not the one who broke it, and I was not. She committed adultery and then she abandoned me.  Have I asked for forgiveness?  Yes because it was suggested by my pastor "just to be on the safe side"  but I have never felt that I was sinning by marrying my born again Christian wife.  For some reason lots of Christians believe that every sin can be forgiven except for divorce/remarriage.  Sometimes when I meet new Christians and I mention during my testimony that I was divorced 44 years ago before I received Christ. I tell them Jesus said divorce is permissible in Matt 19:9 but one brother told me the words "except for marital unfaithfulness" in that passage were added later on and were not part of the original passage, so according to him we are living in adultery!  When I mentioned 1 Cor 7:15 he chimed in that those are the words of Paul, not Jesus so the "if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so.  A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances" isn't actually scripture it is Paul's personal opinion!  ??? As far as remarriage, the pastor that performed our ceremony said he knew that divorce is permissible but he wasn't sure about remarriage so he was going to pray that if this was not in God's will it will not happen. He prayed every day for about 8 months.  It did and he didn't feel he had violated scripture nor did he feel that God would chastise him on Judgment Day.

 

My testimony is.....well my testimony! and about my difficulties I had in finding salvation where I thought He would be (in the denomination I was raised in) and how He found me in a denomination I knew nothing about. All praise and glory and honor to God the Father, Jesus the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit the Paraclete.

Hi Benji,

 

There are a couple of principles from the OT which I considered after my first wife left me Deuteronomy 24:4; Jeremiah 3:1. I struggled for several years not fully being convinced I could remarry again thereafter. Throughout the several years I received lots of contradictory advice even some entailing an obligation to take her back and waiting for her though she was already remarried.

 

By no means was I suggesting that your new marriage covenant is void. You're in a real marriage covenant. 

 

Which church do you attend now? I see that you have chosen "other" for denominational affiliation?

 

God bless,

William

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Ezra chapter 10 is not a popular chapter for those who are hardliners against divorce for any reason or for claiming that God never allows anyone to ever divorce.

 

My wife and I are members of the Missionary Church, USA a small evangelical denomination of about 2 million adherents and about 20,000+ congregations. It was a perfect church until I joined it. :classic_laugh:  In our county of 30,000 it is the largest church with about 2000 members. There are also three other Missionary churches in our county and about 60 other Protestant congregations.

 

It's been great being here. Glad I stumbled on this site.

 

I hope you have a blessed day.

 

Benji

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@Benji I was just wondering what has gotten into you.  You have total of 36 post with 24 of them being post since Friday.  lol

 

It is not a problem just wondering why.

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Bored with all of my old haunts I guess. :classic_laugh:  I've been saved for over 43 years and over the last 18 years I've been posting to a number of Christian websites but it seems that after awhile I get tired of them so I find new ones. This one is my latest victim! :classic_biggrin:

 

Benji

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11 minutes ago, Benji said:

Bored with all of my old haunts I guess. :classic_laugh:  I've been saved for over 43 years and over the last 18 years I've been posting to a number of Christian websites but it seems that after awhile I get tired of them so I find new ones. This one is my latest victim! :classic_biggrin:

 

Benji

Good answer.  Run with it.

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I can't run. I've got stainless steel knees. Can I walk with it? :classic_biggrin:

 

Benji

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51 minutes ago, Benji said:

I can't run. I've got stainless steel knees. Can I walk with it? :classic_biggrin:

 

Benji

Sure!  No problem.  :classic_laugh:

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@Benji I love your testimony! many would have given up on God after what you went through. It is a blessing and an encouragement to see someone go through trial and tribulation and continue to seek God; even after being rejected by "Christians"! God bless you brother.

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