History of This Website
and Its Authors
Brian and Scott McPherson, 2018
For starters, we should probably point out that we are identical twins, which isnít particularly relevant to anything except that it will help explain why so many of lifeís milestones described below happened in the same year.
In the spring of 1999, we graduated from a small state university in Missouri. Although we were born Roman Catholic, by our second year in high school we had become non-denominational charismatic Christians. During college, we were part of a fairly large inter-denominational campus fellowship. But the same spring that we graduated, we began reading a book that had been recommended to us by some of our close, Christian friends from college. The book challenged our long-held charismatic doctrinal views. With the utmost confidence in our charismatic faith we were sure that we would be able to tackle any arguments that the book had to offer. However, by the end of that summer we had finished reading the book and were looking for a new church home.
We spent the next few months visiting a variety of local churches. We visited Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and other denominational and inter-denominational churches in the area. We looked in the phone book for churches. We even visited churches that we saw on billboards along the highway. We eventually settled at a new church that had been informally planted by a Baptist fellowship from out of state. The pastor, assistant pastor, and music minister were all very young and approachable and the worship music was contemporary, a lot like the music from the campus fellowship we had been a part of in college. We even ran into a few Christian friends from high school there.
But finding a church was not the most pressing issue raised by the book. In fact, changing some of our long-held beliefs was not even the most pressing issue. The most pressing issue was answering the following question: how in the world were we so sure for so long about doctrine that now seemed so obviously flawed?
There were clear facts that we had previously never even heard of, relevant church history, and straightforward biblical questions that we had never asked - just merely assumed. This was the elephant in the room. This was the eight-hundred pound gorilla. There was no getting around it. It was staring us straight in the face. For a decade, we had believed very strongly in a kind of Christianity that we had never looked into or critically examined. More than finding a new church, more than simply adjusting a few of our beliefs, we had to start asking questions like "what should we believe?" and "why?" And we needed to find real, reliable answers.
We kept going to that small, new church until late 2001. Around that same time, we had a discussion with some friends in which someone suggested that we should all start having bible study together. Everyone liked the idea. And since the two of us had already been doing some studies, we took the first turn presenting a topic. In February of 2002, on a Thursday night at 8 o'clock, we got together for our first bible study at our apartment. There were about 8 to 10 of us.
A few months later, we bought a new house in the area of Old Towne St. Charles (just outside St. Louis). Over the next two years, some new people joined the group. Others stopped coming, but a core group of us kept at it. Some of us stopped attending institutional and corporation-style churches. Others kept going. We kept doing more and more studies on our own time. And we kept presenting them every Thursday to the bible study group. We opened and closed with prayer and took communion together in the form of a small bit of bread and some wine or grape juice. By the spring of 2004, our older brother had even started attending over the phone from Michigan.
In those three short years between winter of 2001 and spring of 2004, we built this website with the bible studies from our home church. And in spring of 2004 we left our salaried jobs as graphic designers, sold our house in St. Charles, and moved to Michigan to spend some time with our older brother and his family. Some moved with us, some stayed in Missouri, joining us by phone on Thursday nights. But the home church continued. In Michigan we found new people who joined in. We found part-time jobs so we could have more time to study the Bible. And over the next few years, the website grew as we added more and more articles on more and more topics.
In 2007, after three and a half years in Michigan, we had an opportunity to spend some time visiting Israel. We sold our home, left our jobs, and packed all our things into two small storage units. And in September, we got on a plane taking with us only three small bags and a laptop. We spent three weeks in Jerusalem praying, studying the bible, and touring the city. Every day we walked around the old city of Jerusalem. In the morning we would go to the archeological site for David's Palace and pray. In the evening, we would go and pray on the steps overlooking the Western Wall. We were able to stay through all the fall feasts, including the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, and returned to the U.S. in early October.
After a brief visit with friends and family in Michigan, we moved to Virginia Beach. Once again, we took part-time jobs so that we could spend more time studying. We took some time learning the basics of Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek and posted a few new studies to the website. But we spent a lot of that year considering what to do next.
Our Thursday-night bibles study group was spread out in several different states at this point (some in Missouri, some in Michigan, and some in Virginia). We continued to get together every week to study together. Those living in the same city would get together in someone's home and then each group would get on the phone with the others who were living out of state. But our understanding of a home church and the communion meal was also maturing at that time. In particular, we understood that in Biblical terms, a home church was primarily a local group of Christians who gathered together in one setting to eat the weekly communion, which was comprised of a full meal (not simply some bread and a little wine or juice). In this sense, the home church was distinct from the church as a whole, which was comprised of Christians all around the world in various locations. In contrast, we were essentially about three or four groups meeting over the phone. And while modern technology allowed our little groups to continue in fellowship despite our great distance from one another, we remembered how great it was to be gathered together in one place. So, in September of 2008, we moved back to Missouri to reunite with the friends we left behind when we moved from Missouri to Michigan. In fact, one of the guys from Michigan gave his employer notice and moved to Missouri so he could be a part, too.
In the years since we returned home to St. Charles, Missouri, we have been able to enjoy having Christian friends all in the same place, studying the Word and sharing communion. And those out of state have still been able to call in for the study every Thursday night.
It's been many years since the handful of us got started in that small apartment back in St. Charles. Our bible study network has stayed small. But as we have continued to center our lives around God's Word, we have shared the benefits and challenges that bible-centered relationships bring. The website has grown considerably since that first year as well. We now have over 5,000 pages of study articles on Christian apologetics and theology as well as Christian history. And we have continued to post new studies to the website as new topics have come up. We continue to hope that people will find our website helpful and informative as a free, resource for personal and corporate study. But, we donít just want this website to be a place to host our studies. We also hope that people will reach out to us (especially if you are in the St. Louis area, but even if you are not). Thereís always room for us to grow and connect.