The Capranica

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Location: Hemet, California, United States

Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church of San Jacinto, California

Friday, August 05, 2005

Why I Am a Baptist - Part 2: My Consternation (The Beginning)

Within only a few years of my conversion, I had an urgent drive to preach and teach the Bible. My thirst for the Bible grew every week and my longing to helpfully expound the Scriptures lengthened as well. Having been given a number of encouraging and growth inspiring opportunities to teach in limited settings at our church, and with the confirmation of a growing number of our church's leadership, I publicly stated my desire to pursue the pastoral ministry, discerning my desires and others' confirmation as the call of God on my life and ministry. Within the safe confines of my local church, I began to love the ministry of the word more and more. The deacons of the church recommended that I be licensed to preach and the congregation unanimously (odd for an SBC church) affirmed their recommendation. If only life and ministry remained within the realm of such limited bliss. It was only months after my licensing did the cauldron of my consternation begin to boil. I attended my first SBC annual meeting in 1988 in San Antonio, Texas, where I was deeply encouraged by the courageous stands of solid men standing for the inerrancy of Scripture. However, I was quickly put off by the helmet-haired, pot-bellied, slick-suited political mongering pastors positioning themselves through back-slapping politics for positions of public prominence. I witnessed this both locally and nationally and expressed my disdain to my pastor, who oddly enough, seemed to be enjoying a similar political engagement of his own. My consternation was fueled. The pastoral ministry began for me quite early. At age 18 I was called as an associate pastor of a small SBC church not far from where I lived. I abandoned my own political maneuvering of attending a well-known Baptist college where I could begin my ascent, for a tiny, unknown, never-to-be known congregation under the tutelage of a profound, godly giant of the faith, underrated by his peers, but unaffected by their lack of recognition. The year and a half I enjoyed under Dr. Traweek's mentoring was some of the most enjoyable of my life. In April of 1990, Dr. T. retired as the Senior Pastor and the church called me to fill his shoes - shoes much too large, even to this day, for my tender and naive feet. Though he planned to stay at the church and mentor me (which I eagerly desired), in August of 1990, Dr. T. underwent heart by-pass surgery from which he never recovered. On December 1, I stood at his hospital bedside along with his wife and daughter just five minutes after he took his last earthly breath. My baptism into my ministerial consternation was just beginning (to be continued).

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