Tim’s Spiritual Journey Creds

This blog is based on discoveries made during my spiritual journey which began as a fundamentalist at seven years old. I am now in my early sixties. What was I doing all that time?


First of all, I have been very active in churches. I grew up in Free Will Baptist Churches, which are quite fundamentalist. My father was a pastor, so I went to quarterly conferences and youth camps and visited other congregations. I also became very involved in personal evangelism or ‘leading others to Jesus’. My family also appeared at other churches as a singing family; I played bass.

I fed on books by John R. Rice, Jack Hyles, and the Sword of the Lord. I listened to Carl McIntire, Lester Roloff, and Oliver Greene on the radio.

Just after high school, I became Pentecostal. I was part of two large denominations: first the Church of God, Cleveland and then the Assemblies of God, which are evangelical bodies. As my beliefs slowly changed, I became part of the Presbyterian Church, USA, which is a more mainline denomination.


My BA in Biblical-Historical Studies is from Lee College (now Lee University), the school of the Church of God, Cleveland. I also took a couple of classes at the Church of God Seminary, but was unable to continue my formal education due to relocation. While in school I did a bit of preaching, a considerable amount of personal evangelism (including a summer mission in Philadelphia), church work, and independent study.


The bulk of my career was 21 years in the Christian Bookselling industry. I worked for seven years for the Church of God bookstore chain, Pathway Bookstores, with most of that as manager of the home store in Cleveland, Tennessee. For fourteen years, I was a manager for Family Christian Stores, the predominate Christian chain in America. For the last seven of those years, I was the Southeast District Manager for the chain.

Church Work

Everywhere I have been I have been extremely active in church work.

In Cleveland, Tennessee, the home of the Church of God General Offices, Lee College, the Publishing House, Seminary, and other departments, I was involved in the leading congregation of the denomination, North Cleveland Church of God. Among other things, I taught Evangelism Explosion classes, directed the Children’s Church and staff, served on the Christian Education board, led a route for the bus ministry, and assisted at the largest mission congregation, Crowder Chapel.

After moving to Memphis, we joined the large Raleigh Assembly of God, and the pastor asked me to develop and lead a New Members Class, which I did. In relocating to Florida, I taught a new adult class at the Apopka Assembly of God, which quickly became the largest adult class in the congregation.

When we transferred to the First Presbyterian Church of Maitland, I was soon invited to become part of a rotation of teachers for an adult class there.


While working as the bookstore manager in Cleveland, I also did a number of writing assignments for denominational educational material, which included various adult curricula and some youth and children’s materials.


Throughout my youth and my adult life, I have been an avid reader of religion and theology. A fairly high level of individual study has characterized of every stage of my journey. It was not unusual for me to commit 10+ hours in preparation for teaching a Sunday school lesson.

Shortly after joining Family Bookstores in 1984, I was invited to be a judge for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) annual Medallion Awards and I continued as a judge for 20 years. During most this time, I read and evaluated the best theological books published each year by evangelical publishers. For a number of years, I evaluated two categories at once–the other being commentaries.

I am not a scholar, but I read the scholars.


None of this makes me an expert, but hopefully it does indicate that I do not come by my conclusions lightly and without reference to the arguments against them. In any case, I state my qualifications not to persuade anyone to accept my conclusions but only that they have some sense of where my journey has taken me.

~Tim Chastain

8 Responses to Tim’s Spiritual Journey Creds

  1. Theodore A Jones says:

    I’ve read your tri-bio. Looks to me like you’ve gone from one end of a very bad paradigm to the other end of the same very bad paradigm. I too was ‘raised’ up in fundamentalism, but never developed the faulty concept of anything being wrong with the Bible. Rather, it is the contemporary interpretation(s) of it that is wrong. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater was very deadly decision on your part. The fact that got to me is the fact that one becomes guilty of the Lord’s body and blood by participation in the Lord’s table. The little non-descript independent fundamentalist church, mind you, and KJV only, mind you, of my parents served the Lord’s table every Sunday. It was 1 Cor. 11: 27-29&b “not discerning the Lord’s body.” was the fact that really got my attention. Why? The correct answer is simplistic. It is that table’s intentional purpose.
    Tell you the truth about all of these contemporary churches. Jesus Christ is not the head of any of them. The table only sits in the presence of his enemies. “Sit until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” was not an idle comment. Learning what one must do to escape from the wrath of God is much more important than fighting with a very bad religious paradigm from its other end.


    • Thanks for reading and sharing, Theodore. It seems that we are on somewhat different journeys. May you continue to do well!


    • Cynthia says:

      Theodore and Tim, You both need to read the early church Fathers. Not the ones that are presented by Protestants such as Luther, Calvin and such but the ones way before the Reformation. Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, etc. Rich history that shows us how the early church formed through Christ and the apostles and so much more. Jesus prayed that we may all be one as he and the Father are one in his high priestly prayer. Thousands of denominations that can’t agree does not equal unity, nor does it represent the message of Jesus. To me both ends of the spectrum are wrong, wrath poured on Christ and the easy, cheap grace of God that cost nothing. There was a beautiful sacrifice of obedience on the part of Jesus who did suffer willingly because of God’s eternal love for us. Jesus is so clearly the sacrificial Lamb that takes away the sins of the world so we no longer are obligated to the law. Though we do not throw out the Ten Commandments. It is God’s grace through the gift of his Son, the fulfillment of the law, that we can freely and joyfully live in obedience Both fundamentalisim and Calvinisim are basically the same message, some of which contain the fear, guilt, anger and bondage; never being good enough, always having to kill our sin, legalistic. Instead we should focus on a Holy God who calls us to be holy as he is holy and gives us the grace and power to live that way. We look to our loving Father who provided Immanuel,”God with us” our Precious Jesus. Instead of seeing the truth, beauty and goodness available to us in what I am coming to see in the Catholic Church we too often focus on our sin and law instead of the Person who forgives so freely. The empty cross means nothing, it was a torture device used by the Romans but Christ on that cross changes everything!


  2. mzpresser says:

    How did you like working at a bookstore? I am on my journey with Jesus, called to be a writer and I am also an avid reader. Looking for a career change, would love to hear your thoughts and I love Family Christian Bookstores


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi MZP, I worked for Family Bookstores for almost 15 years and I loved it! It has been a while though. I still have friends with Family Bookstore, but I don’t know whether things might be different than when I was there. I would encourage you to check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting blog! As a fellow blogger in this genre, I believe church can be a place of fellowship and spiritual guidance but ‘religious doctrine’ will unfortunately contribute to our kaleidoscope of self-perceptions, which can never reveal the Truth of who we really are or how deeply we are loved.

    Liked by 1 person

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