Our wedding on August 24, 2002 was small and simple, partly because John tires easily and partly because we focused more on preparing for marriage than on planning the wedding. Looking back, I regret only that the ceremony didn’t emphasize our desire to serve Jesus as a couple more than it did. We made two fleeting references to the last sentence of Joshua 24:15, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It could have been more Christ-centered than we made it.
Due to John’s inability to travel, our honeymoon consisted of day trips, with a Boston Harbor cruise as the highlight. The following Sunday we began regularly attending Brookville Baptist Church (which now calls itself Brookville Bible Church.)
The Adult Sunday School classes stimulated me both intellectually and spiritually, helping me understand Scripture in its own context. After years of the subjective and experiential approach to Bible Study that I’d learned in Church of the Open Door, I felt like I’d found Paradise! I especially enjoyed classes about the historical reliability of the Bible’s manuscripts (did you know, for instance, that we have more manuscripts that authenticate Scripture than ones that authenticate the writings of Shakespeare?) and the classes showing evidence for Creation rather than evolution.
Though I’d been a Christian for over 30 years, Brookville’s New Members Class gave me an understanding of Christ’s resurrection that I’d never really seen before. Using nothing but Scripture, Pastor Jim helped me see the historical proof for the resurrection as well as its significance. I’d always believed that the physical resurrection was true and an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, but the Lord used that class to solidify my belief in it. For that, I’ll always be grateful.
Pastor Dennis preached only once a month until Pastor Jim retired in 2004, but I loved his verse-by-verse exposition of Matthew! When he became the Senior Pastor, I luxuriated in his sermons, thankful that he didn’t shy away from topics like hell or God’s wrath. The new associate pastor, Larry, made up for his awkward preaching by taking a personal interest in me and John.
As much as I loved contemporary praise music (having become a Christian during the height of the Jesus Movement), I loved Brookville’s balance of contemporary songs and traditional hymns. Open Door had pretty much gotten away from hymns by 1990, and singing them again at Brookville made me realize how much I’d missed them. I noticed their rich theological content in contrast to the shallow lyrics of praise music. And yet, I still loved the emotional tones of praise songs, so I praised the Lord for placing us in a church that offered blended worship.
Once in a while I saw little quirks in Brookville that caused some discomfort. At the time, I saw little wrong with the Beth Moore DVDs that I watched in the Women’s Bible Study (I figured anything that was Southern Baptist rather than Charismatic was okay), but I wondered why we were listening to her cutesy stories rather than studying the Bible. And Pastor Jim expressed surprise over my qualms about The Prayer of Jabez. Most of all, it disturbed me that Wednesday night prayer meetings largely focused on praying for better evangelistic strategies that would grow the size of the congregation and thus result in bigger offerings.
But I ignored my uncomfortable feelings about Brookville Baptist Church, knowing it was much more Biblical than either John’s last church or Church of the Open Door. Reminding myself that “no church is perfect,” I kept my gaze on all that I admired about it, desiring to believe the best as I adjusted to my new life as a married woman living near Boston.