Raised Presbyterian

D L Henderson
4 min readJul 13, 2023

Raised Presbyterian

July 11, 2023

When raised in the Presbyterian Church, the same basic prototype of Christianity was taught as in most other Christian denominations. As far as I can tell, it goes something like this — even if it is not openly manifest, it is definitely the implied standard for being a “Christian” …As long as you do this one thing you’re covered, you’re in, there is nothing else you have to do — except show up at least occasionally… Become a member, indoctrinated in a few unique principles, understanding the architecture of the Church building — especially the Sanctuary, and remembering the name of the reverend Pastor. That was about it. Just become a member.

Creation, the Flood, David and Goliath, Moses and the Israelites, and later Jesus’ birth, Jesus and the little children… However, what Jesus actually taught never went beyond the Beatitudes and His Prayer. When I graduated to sitting in Sunday Service with my parents, only philosophy was taught dusted with a few Bible verses. I remember very little since it seemed to me to be “Blah, blah, blah…” Maybe it was my adolescent attitude. Wherever that responsibility lay, I remember nothing from those sermons.

For example, the essential reality of the popular Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd…” was never made clear. The importance of this Psalm I hope to make clear in a bit…

In life I have learned that denominational Christianity has no more effect on individuals than all the other religions and philosophies in the world throughout history. It is no more profitable to intellectual and spiritual revelation than the made up religions the Bible calls idolatry. Oh, I suppose I can admit that there are some benefits like with physical calaesthetics “to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement.” The mind might be stimulated in a similar way, and the imagination stirred, but nothing comes about in a spiritual, truly revelatory and transcendent way.

Now, the Presbyterian denomination, as I now understand, evolved from the Calvinist denomination whose foundational tenet is Predetermination — a truly errant teaching twisted from Bible verses taken out of context, mashed up, and formed into an arrogant philosophy that people are locked into the path either of salvation or of damnation at their birth.

Such exclusion and arrogance are not what Jesus taught nor what His apostles taught.

The Bible teaches that we are born with free will, but our Human Nature has a bent toward stubbornness, disobedience, disbelief, and moral failure which are harmful to ourselves and to others. (Just look at human actions all over the world and throughout history; look at the consequences, and tell me this is not true.)

I don’t know about your upbringing or your religion or philosophy, but I have never seen anything different in any Philosophical Discipline or Christian denomination.

What Jesus taught is not that eternal life is derived from religion but recognizing our “fallen nature” and turning away from it, turning to the path that Jesus provides to save us from ourselves — all the harm and damage we have done as individuals. We must become twice born — once by our mothers to enter this life and again by God’s power for a spiritual birth, becoming born again, to enter eternal life.

Did your teachers ever teach you about this? Perhaps they taught you some go-around to keep you from following someone else — in this case Jesus.

How does one know that they have become born again? First, it is such a dynamic experience that you will know that you know. It is hard to explain. What’s that lyric, “it’s like trying to tell someone about rock and roll”? Nevertheless, like the omitted revelation King David had who claimed “the Lord is my shepherd…”

Christianity never was supposed to be another impersonal and distant religion added to the pantheon of world religions.

King David expressed a personal relationship with God which is evident by his saying “my shepherd.” Not claiming God was shepherd-like.

God was his and he was God’s.

Relationship. Not religion.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” — John 3:16–17, NIV.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” — Revelation 22:17, NIV.

Read what Jesus said in the New Testament and seek a personal relationship with Him. You won’t regret it. Patty and I certainly don’t! You can listen to today’s Christian artists’ personal testimonies of their personal experiences which might persuade you, even if I haven’t. (“Where there is no guidance, a {person} falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” — Proverbs 11:14, English Standard Version.)

There is a spiritual tug-of-war going on just like the war of conflicting ads clambering for your attention and your action to buy into their way of thinking, and for your loyalty to whatever it is they are selling.

So, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” — Psalm 34:8, New Living Translation.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between