Episode 27 Clarissa Peyton
Clarissa Peyton was a Christian legalist. A legalist is someone who likes to live by laws, rules and regulations. They believe that the laws of the Old Testament are to be followed strictly. The Christian legalist sees the world only in black-and-white terms. There are no grey areas for them and there was no grey in Clarissa’s worldview. It was ironic that some of Clarissa’s beliefs showed a definite similarity with Charles Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. To Clarissa, people fell into distinct categories such as the strong in the weak. Strong people succeeded in this world and the weak simply perished. Clarissa had little, if any, empathy for other people.
She been married to Harold for many years. In the beginning she was attracted by his wit, intelligence and charismatic personality. Early on in their marriage Clarissa had been struggling with an addiction to Valium. Harold Peyton stuck it out with her until she eventually was able to break her addiction for good.
The first four years Haroldand Clarissa’s marriage had displayed some degree of love. Harald loved Clarissa, but he had to admit that after a few years of marriage he was starting to doubt Clarissa’s love for him. There would be signs of her losing affection for him. He hated the way that she was now pushing him away any time he tried to give her a hug.
When they were first married Clarissa and Harold both attended a conservative Baptist church. Clarissa liked the middle-age pastor and admired his strict adherence to Scripture. For a period of time, Harold too appeared to enjoy going to church with Clarissa, but gradually things began to change for him.
One of his fellow teachers was a Charismatic Pentecostal Christian. Charismatics and Pentecostals believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are still alive and well in our present age. They often refer to themselves as being full gospel and pursue the spiritual gifts such as speaking in unknown tongues, the experience of being slain in the spirit and the believe that healing is still part of Christ’s atonement.
One afternoon, Harold co- worker, Jim Davidson, invited Harold to a Bible study that met every Wednesday night at Jim and Sarah’s house. Jim told Harold that he was welcome to bring his wife, Clarissa with him.
Harold took Jim up on his offer. Starting to feel there had to be more to Christianity than just being saved and then being told to follow strict laws, rules and regulations to stay on good terms with God. What seemed to appeal to Clarissa in their home Baptist Church was leaving Harold with a feeling of emptiness in his relationship with God. It was coming to the point where Harold was starting to stay at home on Sundays rather than go to church with Clarissa. This issue was causing a great deal of friction in their marriage. Clarissa was now telling Harold she thought she married a godly man, but now worried that Harold was starting to backslide in his walk with the Lord.
The next morning Harold informed Clarissa over breakfast that he would be attending a Bible study at Jim’s Jim Davidson’s house that evening.
“You are welcome to join us Clarissa,” Harold said, taking a sip from his morning cup of coffee.
“What’s the name of the church that Jim attends?” Clarissa asked.
“The House of Faith,” Harold answered.
“I’ve heard about that one. Charles Franklin is the lead pastor that church. I listened to a few of his podcasts. He’s a false prophet. His church is one of those crazy Pentecostal churches. Their theology is way off course Harold. I don’t want to see you exposed to their radical incorrect teachings,” Clarissa said as she angrily slapped her left hand on the kitchen table. I want you to start attending services again at First Baptist Church. It also wouldn’t hurt if you started coming along with me to Thursday night Bible studies at our church. Our meetings are led by our pastor, William Prichard.
“No, I think I’ll go to Jim’s Bible study this evening just to check it out for myself,” Harold replied.
“Sure. Go ahead Harold. You’ve become a backslider and I no longer consider you to be the priest of this home,” was Clarissa’s terse response to her husband.