“We may not agree on everything, that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies.” – Terrence Hosang.
Once upon a time, Terrence Hosang and myself actually attended the same church gathering. He was a large reason for my getting into Apologetics and my first introduction to logical reasoning. Listening to Terrence lay out an argument was a thing of beauty. And I remember listening to him speak, and silently thinking, “I wish I could understand and make arguments as eloquently as he can.” He is one of the biggest influences in my life, and also one of my closest friends.
With that said, things between Terrence and myself were not always so smooth. For the purposes of this article, I’ll draw attention to a series of incidents that occurred shortly after I left the church and had pretty much disassociated myself from the gathering that we shared. It was a few weeks after I had left, I started expressing my understanding about the New Covenant, that contradicted the teachings of my previous fellowship.
Slowly, many persons who attended that gathering started to voice their objections to what I was teaching on my Facebook, Blog and YouTube Channel. Eventually, mostly from the Pastor’s failure to dismantle my arguments, Terrence became one of the voices. Still being fresh in my revelation of the New Covenant, Terrence raised some very challenging points in my new position. Many times, I wouldn’t have an answer to what he said, until I actually started typing a response. While he wasn’t able to shut down my position entirely, I do give him great credit to getting me to understand more of what I was saying.
After weeks of being harassed, lied about and vocally attacked, and my friends being harassed and lied to about me, I broke all ties with the church, and blocked all of my contacts with them, and suggested that my friends who were also being bothered by them to do the same. I still had to deal with the fake accounts and their published rebuttals on some of the same forums I was a part of. For the most part, I had no dealings with any of them for a long period.
It was months later, just before my trip to Thailand in 2012, I got an unexpected surprise. Terrence called me, and suggested that we meet up. At this point, I had no contact or knowledge of what was going on in the church. As such, my thinking was that this was a plot from the leadership to have Terrence deal with me and my doctrine once and for all. I was convinced that this was going to be another lecture about how wrong I was, and how much of a devil I was. Even with all of that in my mind, I agreed to meet with him and his wife at their home.
Walking into Terrence’s home for that meeting, I felt like I was walking into the lion’s den. I expected to see a group of people sitting in a circle, with a chair in the middle to have an “intervention,” but none of that happened. It was just Terrence and his family. What happened next, was even more unexpected. Terrence Hosang and his wife apologized to me for the way he treated me in those weeks before I broke contact with the church. He explained that he was doing it because of pressures from the leadership, but it was not how to handle things in a biblical manner.
For the first few hours, we talked about many of things that was going on in the church before and after I left. It wasn’t long before I learnt that Terrence and his wife left the church also, a few months after I did. However, unlike my demonization, Terrence stayed quiet and the church had just labeled him as “hurt” and “offended.” He showed me the multitude of correspondence between him and the leaders explaining his reasons for leaving, but their complete inability to recognize their own hypocrisy or admit their lies.
After a quick meal, Terrence and myself finally got into the real heart of our meeting. Terrence explained that he never did what was biblically required when dealing with a brother in a matter of disagreement, which was to sit and hear what the other person believes, before launching into an all out assault. Then he proceeded to question me on what it is I actually believed and more importantly than that, he allowed me to answer to the full.
To this day, Terrence remains the only believer that has ever done this. From the various persons I’ve worked with and churches I’ve been involved in, no one else ever stopped to find out what I actually believed before labeling me a heretic or breaking contact with me altogether. Everyone else has taken what someone else thinks I believe, and drew their conclusions from that, without ever speaking to me about the subject. This has been true, even after I offer to explain my beliefs, and even visited some of the churches and people seeking to clear up the misunderstanding, but no one else has ever taken the time to listen to what I believe.
While talking with Terrence, I started out with the light subject about Jesus and his relationship with the Law, the understanding of the New Covenant and even some points about identity. I was amazed to learn that there really wasn’t any major difference in what we believed. At the end of the trip, I threw out the biggest bombshell I could think of, that I know the old church was constantly accusing me of, which was the issue of Repentance.
I said, “What the leaders have been saying is that I don’t believe in Repentance. But they are wrong. What I don’t believe in is, Repentance in order TO BE FORGIVEN. I believe Jesus has already Forgiven all sin.”
This was my acid test! If Terrence was still involved in the old church in anyway, and had this been an elaborate hoax, to spy out my beliefs, surely this would have provoked a reaction. Most definitely, he would have toed the leadership’s narrative, and said “You must repent to be forgiven.” What he said next, removed all doubt from my mind.
Terrence said, “I agree with that.”
Terrence and myself had no contact in those missing months. Both of us had left the church, and both of us continued to study for ourselves. While I was reading the works of C Baxter Kruger and Karl Barth, Terrence was listening to the teachings of Jerram Barrs, and other from Covenant Theological Seminary. And ironically, for the most part, we both arrived at a greater understanding of Grace, than what we had been previously taught. But even more importantly than that, we learned to reconcile despite all the noise and slander, to correct our friendship beyond the issues of doctrine. That was the best correction of all.