This past Lord’s Day (23/12/2012), Grace Baptist Church (Wood Green) welcomed three new members into the congregation as they were baptised in obedience to the command of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and upon their profession of faith in him.
Eugene, Margaret, and Angela first visited the church in September 2012, although they were first put into contact with us in the autumn of 2010, through our friends at HeartCry Missionary Society. Their stories, while distinct, are connected.
Eugene was a normal secular 20-something year old British guy who woke up one morning with a burning desire to find ‘Truth’, whatever that might be. His ensuing quest led him to investigate different religions and lifestyles, before finally through Bible study and gospel preaching he found online, he came to see that the truth ‘is in Jesus’ (Ephesians 4:21) and is personified in Jesus himself (John 14:6), repented of his sins and trusted in Christ for salvation. Eugene’s girlfriend (now fiancé) Margaret had professed faith in Christ nine years ago but it was not much more than a profession. Through various events brought about by God, she too was brought to true repentance and faith three years ago. Within the same gathering Margaret attended in Wembley was her friend Angela, who had come to repentance and faith, like Eugene, through sound Bible ministry on the internet.
Eugene, who had not joined any church yet, was not comfortable with the Wembley group – particularly the preaching. Margaret and Angela both came to recognise that they were not growing spiritually and what they heard in the meetings was not at all like the messages they were continuing to listen to online. They have now come to recognize the body of which they were a part as not being a church of Christ, but rather a prosperity-gospel preaching Word of Faith organization. From this, they went through a time of being ‘sheep without a shepherd’ during which the useful supplement of internet sermons became the main course. They discovered that this was in many ways unhealthy, though it seemed OK at the time. They belonged to no visible body, they were not accountable to fellow believers, nor were they under the pastoral direction of spiritual leaders, and so they could not be properly nourished.
Finally, by the grace of God, they came to Wood Green. Here they found faithful preaching, a warm and welcoming family of believers, and devotion both to being and making disciples. Several weeks after they started attending, the church observed the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. As the biblical criteria for participation in this remembrance meal were outlined, Eugene, Margaret, and Angela recognized that though believers, they had not been biblically baptised, were not attached and accountable to a local church body, and therefore could not rightly participate. After the service, they made this known to the church leaders, who were pleased later to present them to the church as candidates for baptism and church membership.
On 23 December, after Ryan King preached a message from 2 Corinthians on the liberty, light, and life belonging to all who are united to Christ, Eugene, Margaret, and Angela publicly testified of their salvation and were baptised in the presence of the church and a good number of visitors (several of whom are unconverted, including Eugene’s father). A celebratory meal followed. We rejoice in the great things God has done, and look forward in faith to all that he will continue to do in and through the work here as the gospel is preached and Christ’s name is glorified.