Bob and his wife Vicky became good friends of Susan and me. Whether we first knew them from Campus Crusade or from Prince of Peace, Bob and I soon became keen Campus Crusade evangelists. We went weekly to the International Marketplace, witnessing, as the evangelical term is - that is, trying to bring Christ to those who passed through.
And we were studying. Bob had been brought up a Christian, but had learned little or nothing about his faith during his youth. His becoming a Protestant was a real conversion, and both he and I were studying everything we could to learn about our Christian faith.
And our Christian faith was, albeit initially at a sub-conscious level, Baptist.
By 'Baptist' I mean:
- non-Sacramentalist - Sacraments were visual aids to Bible truth.
- in particular, Baptism did not make you 'born again.' Faith did that. Baptism was your testimony to the world that you were born again.
I hasten to add that I am far from suggesting that Campus Crusade staff explicitly taught us anything that would be anti-Lutheran - or even, for the matter of that, anti-Catholic - in import. Officially, Campus Crusade was non-denominational. Yet, consider the "Four Spiritual Laws":
- God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
- Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life.
- Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.
- We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives.
All of which, again, is susceptible of a Sacramentalist interpretation, but we are fast moving away from that. The person using the Four Laws is then taught to lead the convert in a prayer of receiving Christ - and the person is now born again.We Must Receive Christ"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children
of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).We Receive Christ Through Faith"By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as result of works that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth(Read John 3:1-8.)We Receive Christ Through Personal Invitation[Christ speaking] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20).Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting
Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be.
Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross
for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience.
We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.
I do not at all intend this post to be a tract against this approach to evangelism. It brought me to Christ. But it is in here that I came to believe - to know, as I would have said - that when I heard Pastor Hammer baptise a child in Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, praying a prayer with the phrase "...may God, Who has regenerated you in baptism...", that I could not be a Lutheran. It seemed too clear to me that baptismal regeneration was absolutely wrong - you were regenerated ('born again') by faith - alone!
I must leave. Rather, we must leave - Sue and I, and, as it turned out, Bob and Vicky.
Why Sue? I had, I am sure, no idea whatever that Susan, who had been a Christian from infancy, might have opinions in the matter. My intellectual self-confidence was unchallengeable - Sue could well point out that this is still somewhat of a problem for me!
Bob and I went and had a painful, almost tearful, session with Pastor Hammer - whom, in fact, we loved, and who loved us. We explained that we were going to be leaving Prince of Peace.
I am very vague about details of dates and times. For a few Sundays we went to Kaimuki Baptist (I think it was that, though I can't locate it in Google). The church was very revivalist and not to our taste. Before long - certainly by early 1971 - we had joined Dick and Carolyn Edic's home church: International Bapist.