Casting the Die
After the Elder's Meeting, the Sabbath sermon topic for the next 8 weeks was devoted to the error of Greek philosophy and the truth that there is a pleurality in the Godhead. Visiting speakers from the conference and the Southern University Theology department emphasized with much overlap the same basic truth: Jesus is not created, He is God, He is self-existing and has immortal life in Himself, the Holy Spirit is a person.
This was strange to us considering that we do not disagree with any of these well-established facts of Scripture. But was shocking was the claims made from the pulpit of bizarre notions we were alleged to be teaching! That we supposedly believed Jesus was a "demi-god" one of a long series of "emanations" (there was that word again), until divinity was finally exhausted and only humanity remained. Wierd.
With no opportunity given for us to correct or even deny these false notions, it very quickly became a tiring exercise in patient enduring until the announced Business Meeting would take place August 6. The pastor made his only home visit to us to personally deliver the registered mail letter informing us of the business meeting date and that we would have 5 minutes each to speak on our own behalf.
After a 45 minute review by the pastor, and each member given 2 minutes to speak their opinion and disapproval of our decision to take away half the church, we were given our 5 minutes. What can you say in that little time. I chose to read my orignal baptismal vows from the 1957 Church Manual. They were simple: "Do you believe in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit?" I then said, I believed that with my whole heart when I was baptized, and I still believe that today. I invited any who wanted to see what else I believed to take a copy of my one page list of texts and quotes.
I was voted out of membership by one vote: 23 for staying, 24 that I leave.