As of today, I have been to four different churches in Troy. The first three were within walking distance of RPI. When I had initially searched for a church here, I only looked at churches that were within walking distance. None of these used the King James Version of the Bible.
When I was home for Christmas break, I really appreciated being at my own church where all was right with the world. I even delayed my return to school so that I could go to church on the last Sunday of vacation.
Due to my desire to have a church where I would feel at home, I decided to broaden my search for a good church in Troy. Instead of only searching for churches within walking distance, I broadened my search to include churches within bus distance. I did a Google search for "Baptist Churches in Troy," which brought many results, many of which were eliminated due to not being within bus distance. There were a few that had websites. The first one whose website I visited had an out-of-date and stagnant site, and didn't give very much information.
A Possible Find
The second site I visited was that of Grace Baptist Church. Their site indicated that they were a conservative Baptist church. Of note, on their home page was the inflammatory tag-line: "If you don't have a King James Bible, you don't have a Bible!" At the time, I thought this was a bit harsh, and I was a bit cautious. I decided that I would visit this church the next Sunday.
With the help of Google, I figured out an itinerary on which I could get to this new church. Based on my past experiences with the public transportation around here, I got to the bus stop 2 minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive. I waited twenty minutes, but the bus never showed. I took this to mean that the bus had come early. I didn't make it to church at all that day.
The following Sunday, I approached the bus stop about 6 minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive. As I was approaching the stop, the bus blew past, and again, I missed church. Today, I was determined that I wouldn't miss the bus. I arrived at the stop fifteen minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive. The bus arrived almost exactly ten minutes ahead of schedule. I've speculated that this is due to low ridership on Sunday mornings, and therefore, fewer stops the bus has to make along the way.
I was now on my way to this new church. I got off the bus, and headed to the address that Google had given me as the address of the church. As I approached it, I saw there was a sign posted stating that they had moved. I walked about 7 blocks to the new location.
Grace Baptist Church
Upon entering the church, I went through two sets of doors before I saw anyone (which was slightly unnerving.) Lo and behold, the first person I saw was none other than my NROTC Unit XO, whom I mentioned in my previous post. He was there with his family, and pointed me to where the sanctuary was. I found a seat, and was greeted by several people.
The service started with several traditional hymns, and continued with a very good message about family. Between the opening hymns and the message, the pastor called me out, and asked my name and how I heard about the church. Normally I don't like to be put on the spot, but the friendly atmosphere there made it such that I wasn't bothered.
The thing that impressed me the most was that I was actually asked, and asked by two different people, if I knew for certain whether I would go to heaven were I to die today. Both times, I replied, "yes," and both times, the person who asked followed up asking how I knew. Of the other churches I had visited, I don't recall once being asked such a question.
After the service, the XO offered to give me a ride back to RPI, but I declined. The bus schedule worked out such that I could catch the bus shortly after the service was over.
The King James Bible
The statement on their website regarding the King James Bible as the only Bible piqued my interest. I spent all afternoon reading up on the history of different translations, and the controversies surrounding them. It seems to boil down to this: The King James Version is translated from the "Received Text," which can be traced back to Antioch. This text is where 95% (a large majority) of manuscripts agree. All other modern English translations are based on the "Majority Text," which can be traced to Alexandria. This happens to be a picking-and-choosing of texts, and isn't what its name would imply.
I also found my answer to the question of whether the new English Standard Version was an acceptable version to use. It is marketed as being a replacement of the King James, but is based on the line of manuscripts from Alexandria, rather than the line from Antioch. (I was also shown a few perversions present in this version.)
Labels: college, life, rpi