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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Bit of My Background (Conclusion)

During my seminary career, my wife and I were members of one of the largest PCA churches in the southern part of the U.S. It was actually at this church were my frustration began with churches in America. My final year of seminary, the pastor of this church (who is well known in PCA circles) left the church to help another PCA church in a different part of the country. It was at this point where this church (where we were members) went out in left field, so to speak.

The church slowly and progressively began to become more entertainment oriented. The associate pastor replaced the former pastor and thus inaugurated some changes in the church. The new pastor had some very bizarre theological ideas and me and several other seminary students who were also members of this church noticed certain theological remarks which were being made on a progressively regular basis. However, in the back of mind, long before the previous pastor ever left the church, I wondered why this church, which called itself “reformed,” did not perform the Eucharist every Sunday. Especially since “word and sacrament” was espoused wholeheartedly. Nonetheless, the church began to progressively worsen, so my wife and I left in search of another church.

In a years time we must have attended over three dozen various churches. We never found another church home in North Carolina. However, we witnessed some of the strangest activities from wacky dramas which actually replaced the preaching, to live bands or videos which “constituted the worship service,” and everything else in between. When I was accepted into the philosophy program at Marquette University, we moved to Wisconsin as a pair of “homeless from church” people. Unfortunately, like in North Carolina, in Milwaukee, we never found a church home. We crossed denominational lines, visited every imaginable church one could think of (except Roman Catholic and Episcopal since, at the time, neither of us were moving in our thinking in that direction), and the same "weird" and "crazy" things were occurring here that we had experienced in North Carolina.

Due to a bad business decision on our part (I’ll leave the details out on this incident) I was “forced” to step out of the program at Marquette. By now, my wife and I had gone two years without a church home, and this was having a serious effect on both us. So, due to job positions, we moved back to Texas where we immediately went back to the PCA church we had been attending prior to our leaving for seminary. Much to my surprise and elation, the church was now performing the Lord’s Table every Sunday. I was asked to teach Sunday morning classes, we were getting involved and meeting good friends (David Piske and our friend Clint).

However, after about three years of membership in this PCA church a serious problem/event occurred that indirectly involved me (details withstanding once again). Much to my wife’s and my trepidation, consternation and serious and long contemplation of the sour/bad circumstances (which was not handles in an appropriate manner by the leadership of this church), we left the church for ethical and theological reasons. This was a major blow to both of us since we both loved this little church so much, had many friends within it, and we were both very active within it. However, simultaneously I was having a shift of thinking in my theology regarding worship, liturgy, as well as historical views regarding the Reformation and Church Tradition; albeit, this had nothing to do with our leaving this church. Moreover, since we left this church, we have yet to find another and once again, in the last ten months, we have seen some wild and bizarre things in various churches in our area (some of which I have posted on this blog). Needless to say, we continue to search for a church home.

[N.B. I am in no way, in any of these posts regarding my background with churches, declaring or even attempting to imply that the Southern Baptist denomination or the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) are “bad” denominations and should be avoided. Quite the contrary, albeit there is “bad apples” in every batch, I in no way think anyone should avoid these denominations or their churches, and have not intended to post my experiences as “arguments” against these denominations.]


Blogger Mike Spreng said...

We left our PCA for the same reasons. This thwarted my plans to serve as a prison chaplain, and we are now planting our own church with the Federation of Reformed Churches. If anyone has leadership skills and wants to move out here to Yuma, Az, to help me, please let me know. I have moved many miles in the past to be a part of a solid church, and I'm hoping I can find others who are like minded and willing to do the same. Christ's Church is worth any sacrafice we can take.

11:05 PM, February 18, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Hey Mike,

Welcome to my blog. Sorry to hear about your leaving the PCA. We are actually willing and prefer a PCA church but have also visited OPC as well, and have found one OPC church recently that we both enjoyed - which may perhaps be an answer to prayer for us.

2:57 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Great stuff, TB. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

6:17 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

You are welcome, hope it did not bore everyone!

btw - my wife and I prayed for Anja tonight - how is her job situation?

7:08 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Todd, thanks so much for that, it means a lot. She is far better thanks. Starting to relax. And how about your situation?

7:22 PM, February 19, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Well, I have about 5 places to give resume's or applications to this upcoming week, but I'm still hopin and praying that the community college will come through. Right now the college is waiting on the state of Texas to approve certain things (which could take a few months) and then they can begin the program and I can begin that job!

7:34 PM, February 19, 2006  

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