I grew up in the Baptist and Anglican church as a child and a teenager, so needless to say I was steeped in tradition and fairly solid theology.
My grandfather was a baptist minister who pioneered the baptist church up in Port Stephens before Port Stephens became Port Stephens, my grandmother was his organist and the woman behind the man. Sadly my Grandfather died suddenly on a golf course in his mid-late 60's and my grandmother well and truly outlived him,, living into her early 90's. My grandmother was a stoic and incredibly disciplined Christian and played old hymns on the organ every day for as long as she could and she read her bible and prayed daily almost until the end, she even led a bible study group in her lounge room until not long before her death.
My own parents lived a messed up and fairly hypocritical Christianity, for example there was even violence in the car on the way to church and then on arrival we all dutifully tried to plant Christian smiles on our tear stained faces as we walked through the door.
As a child I taught Sunday school from 12 years old and played the piano and lead the little children in singing , I lead in ISCF and lead in 2 of the local Anglican church youth groups, I was actually engaged to be married to a bloke who is now an Anglican minister.,
As a teenager I was introduced to penticostalism which introduced the new element to my Christianity of being 'Holy Spirit filled'. At this time I was on fire for a couple of years, leading a small group of on fire youth in a prayer meetings every morning before school, worshipping, evangelising and leading people to Christ, before going off in rebellion for 7 very dark years, until the Lord called me back to church at the age of 25.
At this time I became a part of the 'cell group' charismatic movement, which introduced me to 'intergenerational cell groups', 'the apostolic reformation' and a further understanding and impartation of the 'Holy Spirit', at this stage I was bought up as a disciple of Christ 'discipled' and became once again passionate about prayer and revival - starting up a prayer room and also assisting in leading worship and I even began to be introduced to the idea that I might have an 'intercessory' and 'prophetic' gifting based on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the five fold ministry doctrine from Ephesians 4.
I was a loud and extremely passionate worshipper and a 'God chaser' always seeking for 'the more of the Lord', becoming almost obsessed with praying for (for hours on end) and ushering in the coming revival into our nation.
5 years or so into all this, the part of the church I was involved in and my cell group shut down in a fair amount of conflict, so that led me to join my last church which I was a part of for 8 years until I felt the Lord called me out of there, unexpectedly, just under a year ago.
The church I recently left was an apostolic, pioneering prophetic church. The church was pentecostal charismatic evangelical and 'cutting edge', on speed. It seemed to swallow every new teaching and doctrine under the sun and it seemed that as long as it was controversial or cutting edge it was warmly embraced. I will not go into much more detail at this stage, nor name the church, for it is a small, one of kind non-denominational church with an extremely charismatic and fairly nationally well known leader. To my mind in spite of its major flaws there was also a lot that was excellent about it, in it I was introduced to the idea of church in politics (which is never a bad thing) and the culture war issues that I now seem to devote my life writing about, I was also able to run the 24/7 prayer ministry from it, evangelise on the streets, gain experience and leadership skills and make a couple of lifelong friends and many other exciting adventures such as walking a life size cross around my former city.
I am merely giving this background not to put down any of my past church experiences, as God will use them all (even the seemingly bad ones) for His good and glory in the long run, but to give a brief background as to why when I was spat out from the last two experiences, and in particular the last one, I had some doctrinal sorting out to do.
So, after being in a church where we were exposed to one cutting edge interpretation of the bible after another, with no room in between teachings to question or digest. I found myself with some serious spiritual and religious indigestion, some serious questions and quite suddenly I found myself extremely attracted to traditional and conservative Christianity once again.
I found myself letting go of pretty much every way I had done everything and everything I had learned up until that time and just holding onto God for dear life. I wanted to hold onto God's Holy Spirit, and also whatever new and exciting adventures He had planned for me, but I wanted to be soundly planted, feet on the ground, firmly founded in correct theology and doctrine, not to be shaken, not to be moved ever again from truth 'THE TRUTH'.
The excellent news in all of this, was that God had a plan for me that incorporated some of the old, some the new and some more of the very old and this came in the form of befriending some very well read conservative Christians who were exceptionally well grounded theologically - in the word of God, hermeutically and exegetically, grounded in church history, world history, foundational church doctrine, the writings of the Christian founding fathers, conservative politics, current events, cultural issues and much much more.
This, it seems, was just the antidote that I needed, kind of a slap in the face with theo-conservative tradition which included revival, the Holy Spirit and the fire of God. Just what the Dr ordered.
So, I have had to be a very quick study because you see, not only did God want me to learn all this new information, but as I was learning it, He also wanted me to write and speak about it, get attacked for it and gain strength in it. What a crazy 18 months this has been. The new embracing the old, the old, the new and the adventure of a lifetime. And now I find out that I can think, I can learn, I actually have some intelligence and might just be a writer and that I can still be filled with the Holy Spirit of God, who knew?
Talk about a turn around, turn upside down.
All for His Glory
Even if it does annhilate me and mine.
In His strength.
I would like to finish with this scripture that kept coming to mind as I was writing, it's from the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verse 14 - 16
14 Then we will no longer be infants,tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.