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Bio and Testimony of the WebMaster

John M. Fritzius

I am the "baby" of my family, the youngest of 8, two of which were stillborn. My early Bible exposure came through my Father, Mother and membership in a small Southern Baptist Church the family attended. Romans 10:17 says: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." This must be true as between the everyday instruction of my parents and the messages presented by our pastor, I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of nine. I still recall portions of the sermon presented that Sunday morning and its salient point from John 3:16. My conversion experience was simple and childlike. I lacked in-depth knowledge of God or the Gospel, yet I firmly believe that, even in my "innocent" ignorance, God reached out and took me into His arms at that moment. However, that ignorance probably played a large role in what was to follow.

At age fifteen, I turned away from the Church and the things of God to follow a typical pagan life-style, a life-style that was exacerbated by my decision to join the Navy after graduating from High School. Don't misunderstand here, I'm not blaming the Navy for my choices. In fact, due to high scores on their testing, I was given excellent training in the advanced electronics field, received exemplary personal treatment and advanced quickly in the ranks. The Navy's only contribution to my depravity was the provision of a fresh array of "opportunities" previously unavailable.

After a year and a half of eight hours a day, five days a week training in advanced electronics, specialized sonar systems and Anti-Submarine Warfare, I finally entered the fleet where even greater "opportunities" presented themselves. We used to have a saying that a Sonarman belonged with a sonar system and sonar systems belonged on ships and ships belonged at sea. So the remaining portion of my six years of service were spent primarily at sea aboard 3 destroyers. The U.S.S. Chevalier - DD-805, U.S.S. Rowan - DD-782 and the U.S.S. Waddell - DDG-24.

During my years of service in the fleet, I wasn't a poster child for the cause of Christ. This was especially true during my 2-year assignment to the Rowan of which fifteen months were spent on the gun-line in Vietnam. Our demanding schedule resulted in stressful, long periods at sea (70 to 90 days) where we had little opportunity to rest. Underway replenishment details for fuel, food and ammunition, calls to General Quarters, port and starboard duty watches (5 hrs. on and 7 hrs. off followed by 7 hrs. on and 5 hrs. off), gun mounts constantly shooting at the enemy, and the enemy shooting back generally leaves little time for relaxation. The long deployments were interspersed with short 10-day visits back to our homeport of Yokosuka, Japan. Needless to say, our pent-up stress was released during those visits and I was especially good at releasing my own.

Looking back now, I realize that though I denied my kinship with the family of God by my actions, somehow a small spark of the Spirit persevered. I never overtly denied Jesus with my words; I just avoided the subject. I knew the life I was living was displeasing to God but managed to think about other things. I'm sure I was an embarrassment to God and sometimes I felt I could even hear Him whispering in my ear, "Shhhhh, Please don't tell them you're one of mine!"

After 6 years of service in the Navy, I spent the next 27 years working in technical roles for various corporations. I held positions such as Field Engineer for small teller machines and billing computers, Senior Field Engineer on Small Scale Business Computer Mainframes, Customer Engineer, Senior Customer Engineer, District Technical Specialist and Systems Engineer for the Wang VS Mini-Computer product line, Standards Officer for Desktop products and Sr. Technical Specialist, Third Level support for the Infrastructure Group at Deutsche Financial Services. All these jobs required great attention to detail and an analytical approach to problem solving. After seven years at Deutsche Financial, it was purchased by General Electric and myself, along with about half of the technical workforce including management, were separated from our paychecks. I am now self- employed having started a small home business called VisiGraphics. Hopefully, I'll even make some money one of these days!

I have to backtrack here a bit. As I said, I was no poster boy for the family of God for many of these years. However when I was 30 years old, during the time of my employment with Wang, God began in earnest the process which would ultimately lead me back into the fold. The process took the form of a brother dying with cancer. It was a negative experience yet there were some positive aspects.

He had earlier been diagnosed with cancer and was given only 6 months to live, even with treatment. Many prayers were offered on his behalf and his cancer went into remission. Defying the odds, he lived on. Eventually many began to doubt that he ever really had cancer and even he was uncertain as to whether God played any role in his "remission".

The cancer returned. He was lying in a hospital bed waiting to die. His major organs had already begun to shut down. Barely able to speak, gasping for every breath, his body racked with pain, swollen and jaundiced, he took time to whisper a prayer before another night of fitful sleep. He asked God to give him another chance to witness and God answered.

In the early hours of the morning, he was called by name from his bed by a voice that directed him to come to the window and take a deep breath. Then he was instructed to kneel and pray for all the members of his immediate family (a wife and child) and his extended family. He did so and around 5 a.m. he left the room and ran down the hallway proclaiming that he had been healed. He was returned to his bed but subsequent tests later that day indicated that he was without signs of the disease. His lungs were clear, the swelling gone, skin tone normal and his blood chemistry was normal. Based on the test results, the somewhat puzzled Doctors allowed him to leave the hospital and return home where he began witnessing unceasingly to anyone who would listen, including me. Many people came to faith in Christ through his proclamation of the Gospel, even one of the administrators at the hospital.

I still vividly remember his earnest, powerful voice as he proclaimed God's truth. I saw both the burning light of the Holy Spirit in his eyes and his tears of remorse at having wasted a life that could have been used in the service of God. But, most disturbing was when he looked at me. HIs eyes seemed to burn into my innermost secrets. I saw distain for the sinful, filthy lifestyle I had been leading but the look was soon replaced by one of understanding, love.

But his time was short and a relapse sent him back to the hospital and returned him to the same state as before. Then suddenly he sat up, the light was back in his eyes and he explained to a family member that he had been given a respite, an opportunity to witness, especially to his family. He shook his Doctors' hands and thanked them, gave the nurses a kiss then laid down and died peacefully. The prayer he had offered up had been for the breath needed to speak and witness for Jesus. It was answered and witness he did!

Now you would think that an experience this powerful would have caused me to repent but it took another 7 years to finally give up the last vestiges of my rebellion and turn back to Christ and the Church. During those years there was steady progress, God was continually working in my life. I began to pray on rare occasions, do a little Bible Study here and there and often watched religious programs on television.

In the last year of the seven, I happened across a pastor, teacher named Dr. John MacArthur on the radio. I was impressed with this man and his style of teaching and listened at every opportunity. There are very few articulate, conservative, expository teachers that make the effort to provide the whole council of God's Word and I believe John MacArthur is one of the best. Time after time, when I disagreed with his teaching, Bible study on my part would affirm the truth of the message. As I listened the Spirit used his teaching to cause me to look inwardly, to test whether I was truly in the faith. I concluded that though I was in dire need of repentance, my belief and trust in Jesus were tarnished but intact. The time had come to face my sinful actions, confess them before God and ask His forgiveness.

(NASB) 1 John 1:9
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Over the intervening years I've found and listened to many fine teachers via radio broadcasts and hundreds of cassette tapes. Needless to say, I had to make good use of my drive time to and from work just to keep up. They provided a needed and practical supplement to my private and church centered Bible study. R.C Sproul, James Montgomery Boice, Chuck Swindoll, Walter Martin, Ravi Zacharias, D. James Kennedy and Steve Brown, in addition to John MacArthur, taught me a great deal. Most importantly, they taught me to guard carefully against false doctrine by testing and comparing what I hear against God's Word, the Bible.

I also gradually accumulated a fairly extensive library of reference works to supplement the taped resources I had collected, but the greatest boon to study was my PC. I purchased and installed Quickverse Bible software v. 1.0 and have maintained and upgraded it over the years.

Recently a pastor acquaintance shared information regarding a free Bible software product called E-Sword. It has fast become my most used tool. It's fast, easy to use and includes a large number of resources. My configuration includes 17 Bible translations, 10 Bible dictionaries/concordances, 7 commentaries, 6 different Bible map series and 30+ extra-biblical works. Add to this the 140+ works included in Quickverse Deluxe and the amount of PC searchable information is staggering. I shudder to think how much it would have cost to purchase hardcopies of all this material.

My new Christian walk hasn't come without problems as I've parted ways with two churches. Without going into great detail, it is sufficient to say that in the first instance, a rift between the pastor and his staff escalated and sent ripples throughout the congregation resulting in a Church split. The second Church, populated with many of the remnants of the first, also developed serious problems. The pastor seemed intent on bringing unbiblical "Word Faith" teaching into our midst and stubbornly refused to change direction. The congregation though composed of many dear brothers and sisters, for the sake of unity, or lack of discernment, failed to take any action.

Each of the aforementioned problems could have been avoided if the members involved had been more knowledgeable of the Bible, a bit more faithful and had been willing to handle the situations that arose as scripture dictates. A sad state of affairs, but a common problem that affects all denominations.

I am currently a member of Rockport Baptist Church. Rockport is a Reformed Southern Baptist Church in affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Jefferson Baptist Association. Unlike many churches in the SBC, we have a documented Confession of Faith which is based on the The Abstract of Principals, 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith and the Cambridge Declaration all of which are available for reading on this site. Most importantly, I believe the pastor of this Church to be a Godly man. He is an expository teacher who gives attention to detail and uses the Bible extensively in his sermons. I laughingly (joyfully) told my wife after attending our first service that I had heard more Scripture reading in one sermon that my previous pastor would have produced in 6 months. It still took me 18 months to actually join the Church. You never can be, too, careful!
 

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