I am a pastor's wife. My husband was a Southern Baptist pastor for 13 ½ years until November 2, 2003. I know from reading your site that you have a lot of mail to go through, but I am pretty sure you will be blessed by our story.
My husband surrendered to the ministry in 1990. We sold everything and left for Midwestern Baptist Seminary. We both served our churches whole-heartedly, and although we were OSAS, we always confronted sin in the church using the Bible. I recall reading passages that contradicted OSAS but skipped over them as my pride determined that their must be an explanation. The real truth is that I did not read God's Word. If I came across a passage in the bible I did not understand, I went to the notes on the bottom of the page. I did not even call on the Holy Spirit to teach me, I just read what someone else said and took their words as God's Word. It was easy.
After many years of this, I met a man who challenged me by saying, "You don't really believe God's Word, you skip the parts of the Bible that don't agree with you." At first I was very upset with him, but as I got to know him I saw that he had a real relationship with Christ that I had never seen from anyone I had known for 25 years! This man told me, "There are more than 8,000 promises in the Bible. How many do you want?" I said, "All of them." He said back to me, "Then you must begin to read God's Word without skipping, and believe what He says." Those challenging words started a voyage in my spiritual life that continues to this day a life of hope, love, and true security through a real experience with a Holy and Just God. I started reading without the notes at the bottom. The Lord caused my NIV Study Bible to be ruined in a rainstorm, so I had to buy a new Bible. I bought one with cross-references only, no study notes.
I started taking notes on my husband's sermons, I had regular phone call Bible studies with the man who had challenged me, and I was constantly reading God's Word. I was a huge Diamondback's fan, but I did not want to watch any TV, I couldn't put God's Word down! One afternoon my husband sent me on an errand to this man's house, and we naturally got to talking about different Bible passages. He sent me to Ephesians 4:30 (NLT) And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember He is the one who has identified you, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. He said to me, "Don't you want to be recognized when the Lord returns?" I said "Sure."
We went to 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (NAS) "Do not quench the Spirit." (Quench meaning to extinguish) At that moment I gasped! I told him "That can't be. The Holy Spirit would never leave me." He said, "God won't force Himself on you. If you say with your behavior that you choose the world over Him, You will be quenching His presence in your life" He saw my eyes, jumped up and said, "You know this is true, your eyes just told me." I was speechless. I said to him, "My husband will get fired." He said, "So." He then went on to tell me how he had been praying silently for my husband to repent of the false teaching of OSAS for over two years because he did not want him to receive the punishment of a false teacher, that allowed others to continue in sin. That night was Sunday Night and our Bible class was going through the study Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. During the study one of the reflective questions was, "What God-sized task has the Lord invited you to work in for Him."
I knew right away, it was to lead my husband and anyone else who would listen, to the truth of God's Word all of it, not just the easy parts. That was October of 2002. For one year I prayed and spoke with no one except the man who helped me to see the Truth. I did not even tell my husband of the change in me. My friend has a prophetic gift and came to me in July of 2003. He told me it is time to start speaking, and I needed to stop being afraid of what my husband would think. After one month, I told my husband everything. He was shocked that I did not believe in OSAS. He said I was confused and he would help straighten me out. I showed him many scriptures and told him that the Lord told me that if I deny the Truth He has shown me, I would be denying Him. My husband believed that I was following a lying spirit and that I must have misunderstood our friend who was sharing Bible verses with me. (Our friend spoke limited English and my husband thought that something was getting lost in the translation.
The one thing that my husband said was, "One thing is for sure. You have a real relationship with the Lord in a way like I have never seen you have before. I will consider all that you have said because of this." For three months we discussed OSAS. At times he got flustered because he could not counter the very words of Jesus. He would quote Charles Stanley, and others, but could not refute the very words of Jesus. (Parable of the Weeds, Wicked Servant, John 15 ) On October 26th a young woman had a dream about our church that, when interpreted, revealed that people were leaving the church because of the pastor. Upon further revelation, our friend (who God has given the gift of dream interpretation) confronted my husband on the OSAS teaching and how it gives permission for church members to do as they please without regard to consequences.
My husband sat silent in a pew as he listened to the interpretation. (There were only 4 people present to hear all this) After everyone had left, he told me that he was going to ask God to show him the truth, and that he would not talk to anyone else, or look in any book for answers. He spent most of the night at the church and the whole day and next night. I need to say right here that the Lord knows that everything I am writing is true He is the Lord, He is the heart changer and the mind changer (Romans 12:1-2). On Tuesday of the same week, we went to the church to pray. We did not tell anyone we were going to there. No events were scheduled for that evening. When we arrived one of our members, Bryan, was at the altar with his Bible open and he was crying. He said, " I am so glad you are here. I think I am going crazy. Pastor can you help me?" My husband went right to him and said, "What can I do?"
He said, "Pastor, the Lord keeps showing me in the Bible that you can walk away from your salvation. But whenever I talk to anyone in the church about it, they say, ‘no, you are misunderstanding.' So I go back to the Bible and there it is again! Am I crazy? Am I just thinking that God is speaking to me?" (Neither I, nor our friend, had spoken with Bryan. Also, Bryan did not know about the dream.) My husband answered him. "No, you are not crazy. What the Lord is showing you is true. We had it wrong. I had it wrong. What the Bible says is what it means. You are not going crazy." Then he told him of the events on Sunday, and about me and my journey. I was crying. My husband had not told me anything since that Sunday night. I was so happy. I knew the church would probably send him on his way, but I did not care. The Lord's presence is more important to me than a paycheck! My husband made a vow not to speak to anyone about this except me until he preached on Sunday. During the Wednesday service he just read scripture the seven churches of Revelation.
He called all the deacons and told them to be sure and be in church on Sunday because it was going to be an important day in the life of our church. On Friday, he got a call from a church member who confessed to him that she and her sister-in-law had fallen back into drugs. She went on to say that they knew if they did not repent they would go to hell. Her words were, "Pastor I know that Baptists believe in Once-Saved-Always-Saved, and you will try to talk me out of this, but you gotta help me or I'm going to hell. " My husband, knowing that these ladies had not been in church for awhile and had not spoken to me or anyone else about any of this stuff, said to her, "The Holy Spirit is speaking to you. Be sure and listen." He gave her more scripture and told her to be sure and be in church on Sunday. On Sunday, November 2, 2003 (A day of victory for the Lord!) my husband began the sermon by burning his seminary diploma.
He quoted Philippians 3:8 (NLT) Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ He then asked the church for forgiveness for preaching a lie, and giving them permission to sin. He read from Ezekiel about the watchman. He encouraged everyone to do as he had done to search the Scriptures only, not commentaries, or web-sites, or study notes or anything except the Holy Spirit of God and His Word.
After the service my dear friend in Jesus (who I love so much because of James 5:19-20 (NLT) My dear brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back again, you can be sure that the one who brings that person back will save that sinner from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.) cried tears of joy together. He told me to gather the ashes from the trash can as a memorial to the Lord's victory! I would like to say that the entire church embraced us and we became a church of the Word, but such was not the case. The following Wednesday, the Deacons asked for his resignation. They were not willing to search the scriptures.
They did not let my husband preach that night, so we were about to leave when our friend came and told me to stay because he was going to say something to the church. My husband stayed in the foyer speaking with others telling them of the Deacon's decision. One family left and went home in a rage saying it wasn't fair. My husband went to their home to council them. When he came back, our friend began to speak. It was a little awkward staying, but I did not care, my friend needed prayer support! He walked up to the front. The Deacon in charge did not want to let him speak, but he gave in to his persistence. My friend spoke to the congregation saying, "I hold you responsible for the people who live around this church that will go to hell because of the way you are treating this Pastor and the way you reject God's Word."
He then took a Bible and read a passage that was counter to OSAS and ripped it out saying sarcastically, "Oh, I don't like this part," or "This the Old Testament, it doesn't apply to me," or "This part is only for the Jews." He rebuked the people for their prejudice towards him over the past 3 ½ years, as well as their lack of fruit, and disbelief in God's Word." It was powerful! Things got quite tense, so he said, "God bless you.", and the three of us left together. When we got out the door we heard footsteps behind us 9 other people walked out behind us. One of them said, "Pastor, you may not be the Pastor of this church anymore, but you are my Pastor, and I need to know where I can go to church where I will here the Truth preached?" My husband said, "Patti and I are planning to have worship with just our family, anyone is welcome to join us Sunday morning, 10:00 AM!" That Sunday we had 17 people worship in our home for the first time in Spirit and in Truth! A week later my husband organized a ministry with the trade name Attached to the Vine Ministries, Inc.
The Lord has blessed us over these past 8 months with His beautiful presence. There is true fellowship with one another. A common event in our body is when someone calls another and says, "I see you have been struggling, let me share with you what God's Word says about what you are doing." It is awesome! We have seen miracles, experienced the presence of God, seen over 11 people come into the Kingdom of God, seen people delivered from drugs. One of the most exciting changes is to see people who were like me, living the Christian life with no power for so long, then calling us up to say, "WOW God spoke to me in an awesome way this week! "
Ralph, the reason I wrote you this story is to tell you that the Lord is calling out to anyone who is willing to hear. We have seen how the Lord is doing this exact same change in other people in other areas of the world. My sister who lives far away, called me for spiritual help. I knew I had to share the Truth with her, but I prayed for 3 months. When the time came to share with her, she told me that 3 days before I called her to tell her the Truth, she got on her knees and repented before the Lord for teaching a lie! Another person my husband shared with, took this Truth back to his home church (Baptist) in Indiana. The leadership said, "You have given us something to pray about and study." Praise God! The Lord will set them free if they have a willing ear. I met a couple from Guatemala that shared how the Lord took them out of a denomination because the leaders were preaching man's doctrine and was requiring the lay people to fall in line. Their words to me were, "We will follow God's Word, not Man's doctrines." The Lord is faithful and is calling out for the Bride. His coming is around the corner and He is faithful to those who love Him and obey Him. He will give a last call very soon, and those who are teaching OSAS must repent because they are causing others to sin. My husband has said to me on many occasions, "I do not know how much blood was on my hands. I thank God for His mercy. He didn't have to open my eyes, but He did, and I thank Him for it."
With the Love of Christ Jesus,
A reader's response is below in Blue:
I am so sorry the Devil Tricked you into turing away from once saved Always saved; Now you are lieing to the people, There is noting anyone or any thing can take us that are saved, from the hand 0f God. With all do respect PLEASE no that you have been bamboosled by the devil. We are under Grace and it takes no human effort to be under grace. Jesus Christ blood nailed past sins, present sins and future sins to the cross. If I am his child even though I sin I am still his sinning child who has been sealed unto the day of redemption, How can I be unsealed. Get yor facts straight and stop twisting th scripture.
Love you In Jesus name.
My response is in Green:
I find it sad that you are serious. Have you read the Bible? I ask that because if you have you sure did it with your mind closed. I am not and have not been fooled, nor has Patti. I believe what the Bible says, you need to also.
Let me give you just a couple of examples of what I am talking about.
Romans 2:1-3 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? [NASB-U]
So tell me, how is it that you think you will escape judgment?
2 Peter 3:17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [NIV]
Fall from your secure position, sure sounds like you CAN fall from your secure position doesn't it? Oh, I guess it doesn't to you because you don't want to believe what God's word actually says, just want you want it to say.
2 John 1:8-9  Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.  Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. [NIV]
What you worked for isn't talking about rewards, read it carefully, if you run ahead you don't have God, and if you don't have God, you certainly don't have salvation either!
James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. [NIV]
The ONLY person who can BECOME an enemy of God is someone who has been reconciled to Him, otherwise they would already be enemies. You need to believe what God's word says, not what you want to believe!
James 5:19-20 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. [NIV]
According to you James is either lying or mistaken, since it is impossible to wander from the truth and become a sinner again.
1 Corinthians 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. [NIV]
A person can't HOLD onto something they never had in the first place, so this can't be talking about people who never believed!!
Hebrews 10:26-27  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. [NIV]
God disagrees with your assertion that you can sin all you want and it doesn't matter!
Hebrews 2:1-3 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,  how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. [NIV]
So that you don't drift away... How will we escape indeed?
Hebrews 3:12-14 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end [NASB-U]
Again we are warned about falling away. There are many more, but if you refuse to believe at this point, well that is up to you. God's word is very clear, we must continue in the faith and we can be lost after we are saved.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)