Unashamed of the Gospel
April 01, 2016
In a recent Portland sermon, the text was taken from Romans 1:16 where Paul declared himself, “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Writing this column on the anniversary of my March 17, 1974 conversion, the “unashamed” aspect of that message remains on my mind.
Upon invitation, I entered our Roseburg, Oregon church service forty-two years ago as an unchurched, unsaved, barely interested college student. The words “saved,” “salvation,” “born again,” and other terminology we routinely use in our services were completely foreign to me. My reaction to hearing the Gospel for the first time was fairly simple: These people believed what they were declaring and expressed it in an unashamed manner. Though I could not have imagined it when I walked into the church that Sunday morning, that very night I experienced a dramatic conversion. For several weeks afterward, I did not return to church, being away at college. During that time, my learning was more spiritual than academic. For one thing, I dropped my human sexuality class because the professor clearly was advocating behavior that conflicted with the encounter I had just experienced with God. I added a geography class though I had already passed the same class the term before. However, the grade given me was the result of cheating, so I confessed that and asked the professor permission to retake the class in order to earn my grade.
Before ever hearing of the Bible doctrine of restitution, I began making past wrongs right. Douglas County received my letter of restitution for taking their road detour signs. The Roseburg U.S. Plywood personnel manager received my apology letter and a check for safety gloves I had used and not paid for. After writing that letter, I remembered I had taken a week off from my job at that mill to attend a major league baseball playoff series, saying my grandmother had died. So my second letter to the same man admitted my grandmothers had both died before I was born, and that I had lied to obtain a week off.
Jesus changed my life. The examples above, and many more, took place before returning to the Apostolic Faith Church and learning of “the faith” described in this magazine. The church did not change me: the power of God did. Along with Paul and many others, I am unashamed of the Gospel. Our prayer is that you will read, embrace, and experience what is described in this issue of Higher Way, and encounter the power of God that will leave you unashamed also.