Getting Hooked

As new believers in the early '80s, our first church experience where the Bible was revered and taught was with the fundamental Baptists. We never felt truly Baptist though, merely Christian. So when I met some people downtown who were "just Christians", that sounded good to me. A "Bible Study" poster drew me to a lunch hour meeting at the local library.

The people there were extrremely friendly. They were also vague when I asked where they went to church. "Oh, we fellowship in a number of places." They did study the Bible, and went out to preach the gospel on lunch breaks.

I went home, told my husband about them, and a few months later he's in what turned out to be a year-long discipling "Anchor group" with a brother. I was in a shorter one with a sister. I learned later that the Bible study was an outreach of the local Assembly.

We went to a few park outreaches, puppets and mimes, and accepted some dinner invitations. A series of small choices like these eventually led us "into fellowship" in the Assembly. We see now that the Corporate Anchors--Acts 2:42 with an Assembly twist--were used to show the supposed inadequacy of other churches.

Our Baptist pastor tried to warn us, saying this group was proselytizing more than witnessing, and he was concerned that they had no name, no pastors, etc. He was also mature enough to say, "Go where you think the Lord is leading you."

Should we have listened to him more than we did? You bet. But we were young in the Lord, and thought we'd found something special. We were hooked. Pride, lack of discernment, desire for Christian friends, even a desire to be one day in the inner circle of "the Workers"--all these contributed to our initially choosing this brand of servitude.

Now, many years later and well into our third year of freedom from the Assembly, we realize that we may be sorting out the experience for some time to come. We have learned costly lessons. But we still believe Romans 8:28--God can use even our poorest choices to work together for good, according to His purpose and plan, because He is good. We also still have some friendships from Assembly days past that withstood the adversity of the ministry's collapse, and we treasure them.

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