My Spiritual Journey

by: Brother Douglas Potter

On this page I am going to tell of my spiritual journey from when I first experienced the New Birth to where I am now. I am going to tell you of Bible truths that God by way of the Holy Spirit has revealed to me over the years. I believe that God has had me to be in churches in different denominations and movements for the purpose of teaching me different Bible truths and lessons. In some cases I went to a new church because of a truth I had learned and felt that God was leading me where there was agreement on a particular doctrine. In April of 1986 when I was 22 years old I set out on foot hitch-hiking, not knowing where I was going. I left from Ft. Payne, Alabama and within 24 hours was in Galveston, Texas. From Galveston I went to Houston. I only stayed in Houston for one night and could see that I had made a big mistake by setting out on this trip. I started hitch-hiking back to Alabama. While heading back to Alabama I prayed to the Lord to make it back safely. I made a vow to God that if I got home safely that I would change my life and serve Him. He got me home safely, but I forgot my part of the vow.

I continued to live as I pleased, drinking and “partying” and having a good time enjoying the pleasures of sin. After I got home I started wanting to drink more than I had before. I already was one who liked to drink not just a few beers, but I would drink to get drunk. I would drink to the point of having blackouts and would actually drive and not even know that I had driven from one point to the next. I was arrested for a couple of DUIs and several public drunkenness and other things associated with being intoxicated. But now I wanted it even more. I, also, started smoking marijuana more than I had before. Before now I didn’t really care for it. I was getting deeper in sin quickly.

I didn’t know this then, but looking back I believe that Satan knew that God was about to start working in my life and he wanted to destroy me before I had a chance to change my direction. From right after I got back from Texas on I felt miserable and at times like I was going to die. I had feelings of deep anxiety, also. I believe now that this was the Holy Ghost working on me convicting me of my sinful condition and need of a Saviour. There were things in my life that I started feeling convicted of and tried to change about myself on my own. I couldn’t change myself, though.

In July of this year on the Thursday the 10th while I was at work I started wanting something to drink so badly that I could almost taste it. When I got off I started drinking until well in the night. The next morning I started drinking again. I got into my car to leave the house and my oldest son who was three years old at the time got into the car with me and I didn’t know that he had. We got just a few miles from the house and I wrecked the car. We ran out into a pasture down a slope and into a tree. By the grace and goodness of God neither one of us was hurt badly. We only had scrapes and bumps. Satan was making a last ditch effort to end my life. As I say, I truly believe that the devil could see that God was by His Spirit trying to draw me to Him. On Saturday, I made a phone call to the local Mental Health clinic concerning my drinking problem. I set up an appointment to go in Monday and make arrangements to spend some time in a “dry up” home to try to stop drinking. On Sunday I was so miserable that I literally felt like that I was about to die. I asked one of my brothers if he would take me to church. He did. That night there were things that the minister said that it seemed as though he was talking directly to me. When the alter call was given I had to make a move. I went forward to pray and that night I fully repented of sin and called upon the name of the Lord for salvation.

After praying, I told the pastor of the church that I had a drinking problem and didn’t know if I could stop drinking. I remember clearly the pastor saying “This young man is about to be delivered from alcohol.” The brethren in the church gathered around me and laid hands on me and prayed for me. When they were praying for me I felt as though a strong current of electricity hit my body. I, of course, know now that it was the power of God. Some people reading this might doubt that, but I know that I know it was the power of God and anyone who would try to convince me otherwise waited too late to try convincing! From that night forward I have not drank alcohol at all!

Needless to say, I didn’t have to keep my appointment for the following day to go to a “dry up” home. I had been dried up without AA or the “dry up” home! I had been set free by the anointing of God that destroys the yoke of bondage.

The church that I was in at this time was a congregation of the Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee. While in this church I felt the call of God upon my life to preach His Word. I had a strong desire to preach publicly and knew that it was the call of God. He revealed it to me in other ways , but one of the main ways that I knew was because of this strong desire. Within myself I have no desire at all to speak publicly.

I started preaching in April of 1987. I would preach in my home church and also in other churches when given the opportunity. Over time I started preaching on the radio, in street meetings, or where ever the door was opened.

I was a member of this organization for about one and one half years. When I left the Church of God I started attending an independent Pentecostal church. I attended this church for around six months.

During the time that I was in this church, God showed me that I didn’t need to take the doctrines that a particular church was teaching and then go into the Bible and find Scriptures to fit those doctrines. But that I needed to go into the Word of God and let the Word speak to me. When I did this, that is when I started believing different on some doctrines that what the church that I was in taught.

One thing the Lord started dealing with me concerning the doctrine of the Godhead. Up until this time if anyone had asked me if I believed in the doctrine of the trinity (three distinct co-equal, co-eternal persons in the Godhead) I would have said that I did. The Church of God and the independent church both taught the doctrine of the trinity. I would have said that I did believe in it simply because I do believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But once I started learning more about what the trinity doctrine actually was as far as being three distinct co-eternal beings and the Holy Spirit being a third distinct being and that it was formulated in AD 325 at the Council of Nicea and so forth I knew then that I didn’t believe in the doctrine and had never really believed in it. I believed then and still believe that the Holy Ghost is not a third distinct being in the Godhead, but is the Spirit of Christ. I also do not believe that Jesus was giving a formula for baptism in Matthew 28:19 when He said “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” We can see clearly in the book of Acts that the early church did not see it as a formula for baptism. They may very well have quoted these words of Christ (and I do so in baptism) but they would baptize new converts in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I will speak to this more later.

At this time I also saw that the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture was unbiblical. As I begin to believe differently from the church that I was in I knew there would come a time that I would have to leave.

When I left the Independent Pentecostal church I started attending Apostolic churches, a Pentecostal movement that does not believe in the doctrine of the trinity and that I was in basic agreement with on baptismal formula. The church I was attending in the Apostolic movement also did not believe in the pre-tribulation rapture.

While I was in the apostolic movement I begin to see in the Scriptures that the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath and was still to be kept. I saw that God never changed the Sabbath from the seventh day until the first day and that the keeping of Sunday is a man made tradition instituted by the Roman Catholic Church. Around this same time I also saw that we are still to obey God’s dietary laws as far as not eating the flesh of unclean animals.

Over a period of several years I continued attending church on Sunday and would at times partially keep the Sabbath. I knew of the Sabbath for around 18 years before I ever made the move to start consistently keeping the Sabbath. While attending church on Sunday I would at times not work or do other business on the Sabbath, but was not being consistent. I found it difficult to go to church on Sunday and truly keep the Sabbath. During this time I was not really content knowing this truth but not living it.

In 1993 my wife and I attended an Apostolic Sabbath-keeping church for a short period of time. Also in 1993 we visited a Seventh Day Adventist church a few Sabbaths but for whatever reason did not continue to attend. I believe that there was some reason for that which I might not even know.

In late 2004 and early 2005 I visited an SDA church off and on for a few months. I was also still attending church on Sunday. I stopped attending the SDA church because I wanted to study more on my own and not feel that I was being influenced either way by other people.

I reached a point in 2006 when I came to a crossroads and had to make a decision. I felt that the Lord had showed me it was time to take a stand for the truth of the Sabbath. So I started looking for a church to associate with who believed in this truth. I made out a list of different Sabbath-keeping churches to visit. I visited a Seventh Day Baptist church one Sabbath and never really felt impressed to go back. I never attended any of the other churches on my list, either. For a few months we attended another SDA church fairly regularly and was no longer attending church on Sunday.

It seemed to be difficult to completely leave the Sunday keeping churches. We started attending another church on Sundays and attended there for about one year up until August of 2007. In August I started attending and joined a Seventh Day Adventist Church. For some time now I had been studying the doctrines of the SDA church. I read and reread them and found myself in agreement with the overall message of the Adventist church.

One doctrine that the SDA Church teaches is the the doctrine of the Trinity. After having been in the SDA Church for a short period of time I found out that some people within the church didn't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, which I also don't believe in. I also found out that the early pioneers who founded the SDA Church didn't believe in the Trinity. After thinking this over, I thought it odd that the SDA Church which is calling Christians to come out of Babylon(the Church of Rome and apostate Protestant churches) are teaching a doctrine that is the foundational doctrine of Babylon. At this time I'm still a member of the SDA Church even though I don't agree with this doctrine.

I am posting this as I write it. I will be editting it and adding to it. Please check back if you are interested as this is a work in progress. God bless you! Brother Doug