EDWARDTON, NORTH DAKOTA
This past Sunday Jake Krenshaw celebrated the number "100." No, that is not his age, neither has he been a Christian for one-hundred years. The number also does not represent how many people he has "won to salvation." For Krenshaw, rather, the number "100" is significant because that is how many times he has "walked the aisle" at his home church, Chapel Hill Baptist Church, and gotten "saved."
"I think I've finally got it right this time," said a smiling Krenshaw. "This is the 100th time that I've responded to the invitation, and this time it's for real. I really got saved this time."
The journey of faith began for Krenshaw back in 1995 when he first "walked the aisle" at Chapel Hill Baptist. He was baptized for the first time the following Sunday. But it was within a couple of weeks that Krenshaw began to have serious doubts that he had been sincere, so he again "walked the aisle" and again was baptized the following week. From that point on any time Krenshaw has had the slightest doubt he has "walked the aisle" and received the invitation. As a result, he has been now been "saved" 100 times and has been baptized 93 times.
For Krenshaw the struggle with assurance of "genuine salvation" is rooted in his inability to see evidence of true faith.
"The reason I felt that I wasn't saved this time goes back to last week actually," he said. "I was flipping through the channels on Thursday evening when I came across an old rerun of Seinfeld. Well, they made dirty comment on the show, and I actually laughed at it. I knew that a saved person wouldn't laugh at such a thing. So I determined right then and there that I was going to get my soul right, that when the preacher offered the invitation on Sunday that I was going to truly accept it this time."
Since getting "saved" this past Sunday Krenshaw states that this week his life has been a virtual "bed of roses," free from all temptation and "big sins."
"Now that I've finally gotten saved," he said, "I don't have those old temptations to big sins anymore. I've been completely free from any desires to do what is wrong."
Many, though, in Krenshaw's congregation are skeptical as to whether this will be his last time to "walk the aisle."
"Every time Jake so much as blinks the wrong way he thinks he's not really saved," said a church member who wished to remain anonymous. "Several of us even have a pool going to see when he's going to walk the next time."
If all goes according to plan, Krenshaw will be baptized for the 94th time this weekend.
"I know the drill by now," said Krenshaw. "I know just when to hold my breath and how to lean back when I'm dunked. I'd say I'm pretty experienced at it."
When asked if he thought he would ever have to "walk the aisle" again he replied, "as long as they can play fourteen verses of Just As I Am I'll always have that option open to me."