It was Super Sunday, the one time each quarter that all the Sunday school classes came together for a youth service. I led worship at the piano. Bro. Gino preached.
This day would become a turning point for me. Jilly, my wife, was already praying for a change. I was unsure.
Bro. Gino called out a young man who had taken a "stand for the faith". The young man had refused to wear basketball shorts on his college team. He wore warm up pants as a statement of his commitment to the Apostolic faith. Gino pointed to him as a good example. For those who compromised by wearing shorts or in any other way falling short of the standards of the faith, he exclaimed, "I would to God you'd just BE Apostolic."
Pride played a part in my nervousness, too. I had finally reached a level of respect and position at First Apostolic Church. It seemed like it had taken many years to obtain the titles of Children's Pastor, Substitute Choir Director and other musical opportunities. Was I ready to give up the prestige for the freedom to wear shorts at the lake?
But it was way more than shorts. There was the exclusive doctrine. Apostolics preach that only those who believe and live by the Apostolic doctrine are true Christian believers. That doctrine was wearing thin with me, too. Each time he said "BE Apostolic", I wanted say, "BE Christian!" Shouldn't the focus be on Christ? Jilly says it very well: "Be passionate, free-thinking disciples of Christ."
That was the last Sunday for me in the Apostolic church.
Gino, if you're reading this post, I want to thank you for boldly and plainly preaching the Apostolic message that day. You showed me just how far it is from the Gospel preached by Christ and his disciples in the Bible. You gave Jill and me the final push we needed to leave the Apostolic church and further develop our relationships with Christ. We have been set free. I sincerely thank you.
PS. To my friends who still live the Apostolic way, I love you all. I know the doctrine, even taught it to some of you and your children. The doctrine is flawed. However, this doesn't mean that we can't be friends. This post is not an invitation to debate.