In the five or six weeks between our last Sunday at Brookville Church and Easter Sunday, 2014, John and I tried to locate a church in our area that held a Biblical theology, preferably from a Calvinist perspective. In eastern Massachusetts? Were we serious? I knew of a couple, but none of them were within the area that the RIDE (our para-transit service) covered.
Our town, mind you, has a high number of churches, mostly Pentecostal. The Congregational church is close enough to our apartment building that we could have easily wheeled there ourselves, but it flies a Rainbow flag and had recently had a female pastor. Ditto with the Episcopal church. The Baptist church John left before our wedding seemed like a possibility because Pastor Larry and another Conservative Baptist pastor we knew were there. But a phone conversation with Larry revealed that said church had actually gotten more liberal, and hired a female teaching pastor who preached once a month.
So much for a church in our town!
Both of us went online, hoping to find something that wouldn’t water down God’s Word. We found two churches quite near us, but even studying their websites made it abundantly clear that they mangled Scripture. I seriously started considering the possibility that we’d never be in a church again.
Through Erin Benziger of Do Not Be Surprised, I’d been watching videos from No Compromise Radio. The host of No Compromise, Mike Abendroth, pastors Bethlehem Bible Church in Central Massachusetts (obviously a good deal out of The RIDE area). John and I watched videos of Mike’s sermons on Sunday mornings, loving the expositional preaching and the high view of Scripture that had disappeared from Brookville.
I can’t remember what gave me the idea, but a little over a week before Easter I typed a detailed email to Mike, pouring out my frustration and asking if he knew of a Reformed church in our area. He emailed back an incredibly compassionate response, commenting on each of my points and then recommending a church northwest of Boston. Still too far away, I explained.
Rather than writing me off, Mike emailed back with a link to a directory of graduates from The Master’s Seminary, where John MacArthur serves as President. It was, by that time, mere days before Easter, and we desperately wanted to attend church. John eagerly seized the directory and rejoiced to find the name of a man quite near us. Excited, John called the number and told our story.
The gentleman regretted that he had just moved from the area, but said that his parents and sister attended First Baptist Church Weymouth. Although the church didn’t have a pastor at the moment, the elders were doing a fantastic job of preaching.
Immediately we phoned the church. To my surprise, the secretary had been on some Brookville women’s retreats, and recognized my name and voice. “I’ll meet you at the beginning of the service,” she promised, “and help you find where to sit.”
The preaching indeed surpassed what we had been getting, and the people embraced us enthusiastically. By June, we’d decided to pursue membership.
June also brought Pastor Jeremy, a Master’s Seminary graduate, to be the pastor at First Baptist Church Weymouth. After his first sermon, several of us agreed that he preaches better than MacArthur. If he doesn’t, don’t tell us.
Over the past two years, I’ve seen some of the blemishes in our church, but I’ve also seen something beautiful and astonishing. Out of all the churches I’ve participated in over my almost 63 years of life, First Baptist Church Weymouth is the church where I best fit theologically. As a bonus, I’ve met women who share my passion for sound doctrine, and the sister of the man who told us about First Baptist has become one of my closest friends.
I conclude this autobiographical series by remembering that its purpose wasn’t to showcase any supposed spirituality on my part. Instead, I hope you’ve seen the Lord’s incredible faithfulness to bring me out of many spiritual errors, at last blessing me and John with a church that feeds us solid food. If He has elected you to salvation, rest assured that He will show you the same faithfulness.