Fantasy, Hogwash and the Truth

Bill was raised in a good Christian family. He attended a Sunday-keeping church as a child and was baptized around the age of 11. “I was pretty serious about my faith until age 15,” he recalls. “Then I just wanted to hang around my friends at church.

As Bill drifted away from church, his parents drew closer to their church. By age 16 he had completely lost interest in church and told his father he was never going again. He was severely punished but stood his ground. “I stayed away from church for more than 40 years,” he explains. “I call it my 40 years in the wilderness.”

Right after his high school graduation, at age 17, Bill joined the Navy. “I smoked, drank, and soon discovered women,” he admits, “and I ‘catted’ around with the worst of them.” His apostasy continued, causing an ever widening rift between himself and God. He started experimenting with marijuana, cocaine, speed, and just about anything else that was passed around at parties.

In his twenties, Bill came to the conclusion that he was an agnostic. “I refused to call myself an atheist,” he shares. He decided he wouldn’t live by guilt. “I believed in evolution and read up on eastern religions. I was convinced there was no such thing as good and evil.” He believed that the “charitable acts” done by people were motivated by self-interest and the enjoyment of positive feelings that came with doing deeds of kindness. 

Then came 9-11. The acts of terrorism convinced Bill there had to be a devil directing these events. He still resisted the idea of a God, but finally had to admit that if there was a devil there had to be a God. But he kept the idea in the back of his mind.

In May 2007, Bill’s father died after a two-year illness. It hit him like a ton of bricks. “I loved and respected my father even though we had a falling out over church many years before,” he shares. The stress of this loss was too much. He felt like life had no purpose. He had a good job as a database administrator but thought, “One hundred years from now all of this won’t matter.” So he gave his two-week notice and quit his work.

During this time Bill’s wife started attending a Sabbath-keeping church. She convinced her husband to attend church one time. Bill admits, “The whole time I was in church I thought it was a bunch of fantasy and hogwash.” His wife knew he believed in evolution, so she found a little booklet in the church literature rack on creation and evolution. She begged Bill to read it. He promised he would.

One day, soon afterwards, Bill was battling discouragement and picked up the booklet his wife gave to him and began to read. “I was intrigued,” he recalls. “I had never heard of an intelligent argument against evolution. I was always told that you just had to have faith. But I just couldn’t take a leap of faith that completely defied logic.” He kept reading. Then he noticed a web address on the back: Bill decided to check it out.

Soon he was working through the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides. “I was fascinated, but cautious,” he remembers. He called his mom to ask if she had an extra Bible she could send him. “My wife was a Sabbath-keeper and my mom a Sunday-keeper,” he explains. “I wanted to compare Bibles to see if there were any differences.”

When he listened to online sermons, Pastor Doug would invite people to turn to certain pages in their Bibles. Bill checked his mom’s Bible and was amazed to discover they were exactly the same page numbers as Pastor Doug’s. Bill later attended a prophecy seminar at a Sabbath-keeping church and again compared the Bible he was given with his mother’s Bible. “Once more, the page numbers were the same,” he recalls. Bill sensed God speaking to his heart.

A real turning point came to Bill when he heard Pastor Batchelor preach about hell. “It was the most eye opening lesson I ever heard,” he shares. “I never could understand a God who would punish someone eternally for a short lifetime of sin.”

                Bill completed the Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides and was eventually baptized into a Sabbath-keeping church in Arizona where he now serves as a deacon. “I’ve never been happier in all my life,” he shares. From an unhappy agnostic to an enthusiastic believer, God miraculously led Bill from fantasy and hogwash into the truth.

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