As a child, and I recall my childhood experiences with the Memorial Orthodox Presbyterian Church, I wanted it all to be true. As one of the Three Wise Men in the Christmas Play, I so wanted this story to be true. Choirs of singing Angels out and about praising God in the Highest to a few lone shepherds seemed pretty amazing. I did wonder why they didn't perform for the whole town but was told not to ask questions like that again. I couldn't figure out how a virgin could give birth and stay a virgin or how God could be the father with out...well you know. But later on learned that Mary was really with child by the Holy Spirit, so that must be God's power that did it. Then someone said the Holy Spirt was the Third Person in the Trinity of the One True God but three. Huh? That sounded ever much more kinky I stopped asking questions. But it was all a grand mystery and who cared. I wanted it all to be true.
I wanted it all to be true when I came into the WCG circle at age 14. No one ever talked about prophecy and it was the crazy 60's so not only did I want it to be true, but it actually seemed true. No one talked about any Jesus coming again "soon" or that "time was short" and "behold I come quickly" in the Presbyterian Church. I wanted that to be true for lots of reasons. Remember, it was the 60's. But that was not true either. It's still not true and I suspect never will be. (I know John...Time will tell)
I would like to believe that I would see my parents again, or my sister recently killed in an auto accident or my boys mom when that time comes, but I have my doubts. I would prefer not to have to share Heaven or the Kingdom with many of the ministers I worked hard to avoid in life.
God can heal you? Now THAT's something I really wanted to be true for my brother who had spent my entire youth and his entire life up to that point living in a New York State Hospital . I had seen way too much as a kid going every Sunday after church, from age 5 to 18, to pick him up from the Hospital and take him out to the park for picnics or ice cream at Margos in Newark, NY. I recall kids with handicaps of all descriptions trying to get me take them home with me or just give them a hug. Overload on a small kid but I think it programed me for saving the world when I had the first chance.
When I leaned about James 5:14 , a scripture which never came up as a Presbyterian (I think they learned the folly of it 1500 years earlier than I did), I knew my brother just had to wait until someone could anoint him and the prayer of faith would heal him. I was ordained a Local Elder at age 23 and the first thing I did when I got home from the Feast was to anoint my brother so he could see, hear and speak again. Alas...he gave me the "what the hell are you doing" look, I chuckled and he's still blind, deaf and unable to speak 45 years later. I had about the same results with life threatening diseases among members in my ministry. I wanted it to be true. I do say that those with colds and flu were healed after I anointed them. Usually within seven to ten days.
I wanted everything WCG taught to be true. I wanted there to be a Kingdom and 3 resurrections so everyone had a fair chance. The Second Resurrection was THE answer to the question I always asked in Catechism Class and for which the Westminster Confession of Faith, which I had to memorize, had no answer. "What happens to those who never hear about Jesus." The Presbyterian minister told me that they all go to heaven so not to worry of it. Huh? I asked then why bother trying to convert them? Leave them alone and they make it anyway! I was asked to leave the class on several occasions. Mom never knew because I dawdled on the way home so as not to get home early and be asked why did I get home early? He couldn't tell me where dinosaurs fit in the scheme of things either.
I didn't want the requirement to tithe to be true but I wanted the "Prove me now hear with" and the "windows of heaven " thing to be true. Buzzzzzz...thanks for playing. Not true either. But I wanted it to be true.
I realized along the way that in order for everything to be true, I had to have a faith based view of things. But I don't anymore. I have an evidence based view of things and so all the many things I was taught, first as member, and then taught myself as minister, over time simply slipped into the not actually true category. I have probably heard 15,000 sermons in my life and given 5000 or so myself. I wanted it to be true in the hearing and the giving.
Once one learns the actual origins, authorship, politic and history of scripture, you really can't go back.
Wanting something to be true, for me, was more comforting even if I suspected it not to actually be true, or at best unprovable. But that only lasted so long. Now, being evidence based and a lover of geology, cosmology, paleontology and human origins, I find it all wanting bigly. That's not a fault. I don't mind lacking faith because I can't go with faith being the substance of what we hope is true based on no actual evidence that it is true. (Heb 11:1)
If you can't show it, you don't know it. That just rings true.
The bottom line is that I wanted the Bible to be true from my youth until about my mid 40's. But careful study, asking good questions that had accumulated over the years of soaking in the Bible and theology and realizing that what I had hoped was true was not actually true had demanded my attention. I remember when the switch finally flipped in my mind.
I did not take a genius to see that HWA and company viewed their opinions as truth. But they had tendencies to change their truths along the way and in some cases change back. What kind of truth is that? Then along come the Tkaches who got all starry eyed over the very theology I had grown up with and found to be wanting by age 14. I told Joe Jr that he was reinventing the wheel and when Ron Kelly tried to tell me that there was no retirement because they had no money due to the great miracle Christ had worked in the church (he may have said Jesus) , I figured that WCG and now this new Jesus was a trickster and was finished with it all. At least the Jesus of my youth didn't trick us like that! I figured if the Tkaches can flip the entire church on it's back and call it truth, then I can go seek out the answers to my own questions without anymore help from the "experts", which neither HWA nor the Tkaches were or are. There are real experts out there. They actually do the hard work of being experts. They don't sit in their easy chairs and think shit up like the WCG Split, Splinter and Sliver gurus do. Dave Pack is the poster child for thinking up theological shit. Flurry is very good at it too as is Thiel, Malm, Weinland and ALL the rest.
If it helps, I do get teary at a good Presbyterian Hymn or Christmas sentiment though I know no Jesus was actually born at Christmas and you all should know that too. I can't say I get teary over old WCG hymns. "Death shall them seize and to the tomb ALIVE they shall go down" just doesn't and never did do it for me. "Praise ye the Lordo" was ok but none of them stayed in my head emotionally. The old Presbyterian hymns are a different story. "How Great Thou Art" comes to mind as does "The Holy City" Go figure....
I wanted it all to be true...