Some Personal History of Steve Amato
The Originator of the Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

I was born in the late 1950's, grew up in Rhode Island being raised as a Catholic and went to college at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts where I became a Christian at the end of my freshman year through the Navigators. After obtaining a degree in Physics I worked for 10 years at Polaroid Corporation as a research engineer. I left Polaroid to move to western Massachusetts where I married, soon after which my wife and I moved back to the Boston area where I've work ever since as an Electrical Engineer.

Influential Individuals

To mention some individuals who influenced me, first to Brad Sargent I owe the most in that he led me to Christ and took a good deal of time discipling me personally in college for a couple of years, and he got me seriously into scripture memory. He later went overseas to start a lay ministry to Muslims which he continued in this country. I met him again briefly after over a decade and he was still ministering to Muslims. But, sadly, 35 years after I first met him he left the faith for another religion - Catholicism. After him Mike Coates discipled me giving me a vision for China as it was just opening up at the time. A former marine I'll never forget his saying to be hard on yourself and easy on others. Then after college was Mike Fair, an Airforce Officer, who gave me a vision for the importance of personal discipleship and lay ministry and the downside of institutional ministry. He also taught me Bible study getting me seriously into the Greek. Much of the depth of my studies I attribute to his influence. Then there was the Reverend Tom Eynon who at the time was the Navigator representative to international students in the Boston area. Formerly a missionary in Hong Kong and later to the Soviet Union, he was a gifted teacher and preacher, and from whom I absorbed some giftedness. He helped a fellow worker in the Lord Andrew Wo and myself to start a ministry to mainland Chinese at MIT. It developed into the MIT Chinese Student and Scholar Bible Study Group primarily through Andrew and his wife's efforts. I left to be involved with the BCBSG among other things, but after Andrew went back to Taiwan I got reinvolved in that study in the last years of its life through which Lin San for example came to Christ and developed a web site for that group, and who is now laboring in the Lord to translate much of the BCBSR site into Chinese and who has been a faithful coworker in the Lord's work to this day. The Reverend John Tan was the next major influence in my life also about this time period, who was also the minister at my wedding. He was a representative of Ambassadors for Christ, a para-church organization like Navigators but focussed on Chinese in North America. He of course himself was Chinese, being from Singapore. Though it was more of a horizontal relationship with John as a colaborer rather than a vertical one of personally being discipled, John was a rare example to follow of one gifted in teaching, preaching, and discipling and he gave me an "in" with the Chinese Christian community. John was also the one to start CCIM, the Chinese Christian Internet Mission http://www.ccim.org, which Lin San also worked on. John discipled Lin San to a degree. And the vision I had for developing the BCBSR web site I attribute partially to John Tan.

As for a couple of individuals who influenced my thinking indirectly I would have to thank Bill Gothard with his unique perspective and teaching ability to develop practical applications from the Bible particularly concerning sin and relationships and Francis Schaeffer with his apologetical thinking which speaks clearly to the philosophical mindset of today.

There are of course many others, but these are the major ones who come to mind and which I don't want to water down with an endless list of names.

The Divorce

After becoming a Christian and having ministered for a number of years I asked God for a wife. I asked specifically for a mainland Chinese Christian as that was my ministry focus. I met such a woman shortly thereafter who was interested and who was involved in helping the Chinese Christian community. She had come to Christ through an old Scottish preacher who also discipled her. He encouraged her to marry me. I sought also permission from her father and he agreed as well. We were actually married by my friend, Reverend John Tan. All went well for a number of years. But she drifted away, being influenced by the feminist culture and non-Christian relationships at her workplace. She stopped being involved in spiritual activities. She carried on affair with her boss, a married man, and left me after seven years of marriage. She moved away with him and divorced me a few years later. I will never marry again, unless my wife sincerely seeks reconciliation.

I mention my divorce because I know that most Christians don't want to associate with the divorced, let alone be taught by one, and so I feel most would be interested in knowing this fact, else I be accused of being evasive.

Activities while developing the Site

Discipleship

I do generally disciple personally everyone who asks. Although I will not disciple women unless accompanied by their husbands, and never a single woman. I've met with many couples and individuals, sometimes for years, and have developed a systematic discipleship series I generally take people through. At this writing I have two such studies I'm carrying on bi-weekly.

I. The Boston Chinese Bible Study Group

My fondest memories and positives times  were with this group, which I had the good fortune to have fellowship with since the early 1980's. It was actually the first Chinese Bible study in the US, and from which many Chinese churches sprang. Technically it's not a church but a parachurch group supporting the local churches. But in reality it's better for Chinese students than any Chinese church I've been to.I was involved mostly with the English group at the BCBSG for many years and we had a good time and did some good Bible study. Students are great to work with being inquisitive and open to ideas. And there were many opportunities to share. Much different than the purely lecture format utilized in most churches which normally doesn't even have provision for discussion or feedback. It was for a welcoming party one year I wrote the apologetics rap. And of course the entire BCBSR site was an outgrowth of my involvement with the BCBSG.

II. Lexington Chinese Church

I was a foreigner at the Chinese church in Lexington, having been invited by John Tan to help teach one of the Sunday Schools but which basically he let me take over. I spent a year teaching Deuteronomy and Isaiah.

III. CIBC

After Lexington church I was invited to the Chinese International Baptist Church by a mainland Chinese Christian who I was discipling at the time on my own. The church was very young just starting up and I was able to start a Sunday school class there and continued to teach for about 3 years. I was perhaps the most busiest time I've had in doing ministry. I would visit church member's homes weekly to disciple them often having many Bible studies a week, as well as being involved in Sunday school and other church activities. And whenever the pastor was away I was always available to preach a Sunday sermon when asked.

IV. Witness Lee's Local Church

I spend a year at the church in Newton. I elaborate upon my experience there at http://www.bcbsr.com/topics/lc.html

V. Hope Christian Church

Next I attended the Hope Christian Church in Winchester starting around 2000.

Generally a good church at the time, perhaps even one of the best around, though relationships are distant due typically to the New England culture as you find in most churches around here. Best teaching pastor I've heard in the Boston area, Ray Bandi. Navigator background. (I guess my bias is showing there). Tom Eynon invited me. I don't agree with everything, but I've not been particularly verbal about areas of dissent.  The Lord had not led me to be much involved on an institutional level until recently (2011). I use to meet with the pastor and few other guys weekly though for a brief devotional time and I attend a Bible study. It's been refreshing. And lots of time to develop the BCBSR site.

Ray left in 2007 but I've continued with that church up to this writing (2011). San and I started the "Hope Chinese Bible Study Group" there in 2008. We'll see how that goes. At this point San is preparing to get involved with an international student ministry as well. I also co-lead the Men's Bible study at Hope now, and have taught some Sunday School Classes.

However in 2011 after some changes in elder board had taken place, they came out with a church policy banding Bereans from teaching Sunday School, the elders sent me official notice banning me from teaching there. They went on later to apply that policy not just to teachers. Then on March 22, 2012 the elders of HCC sent me a notice expelling me from HCC altogether.

Until there is a change in the elder board which rescinds their decree, and which allows for Bereans, I don't recommend Hope Christian Church to Bereans. Presently if you scrutinize the teachings of the elders at HCC, as any Berean should do, you can now expect to be met with this kind of hostility at HCC.

Nonetheless, apart from the elders, I have a number of friends there, and who will be dealing with this on my behalf.


VI. The Wakefield House Church

Along with going to Hope I attended the Wakefield House Church for a while until it was disbanded. The atmosphere was not much different from my days many years ago meeting with Mike Fair at his home fellowshipping with his team of men. Rick Thompson was the leader. It was very informal atmosphere, attended mostly by divorced Christian men like myself and Rick and some others, which of itself doesn't make it too attractive to alot of Christians today. But the format of a house church is far superior in terms of each person having an opportunity to develop and exercise their gifts.

VII. Countryside Bible Chapel

I briefly attended Countryside with some friends after being expelled from HCC. But after the elders there conferred with the elders at HCC I and my friends were officially expelled from that church. While I asked the elders there what sin I committed to be treated in such a manner, they never responded.

Consequently I've noticed a general spirit of hatred towards Bereans among institutional church leaders in this area. And perhaps it's even more wide spread. There's a general megalomania and insecurity among such people, which results in the kind of hostile reactions which have characterized the religious elite since the time of Christ.



VIII. BCBSR Devotional Email Groups

In 2006 we started the daily devotion email list. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcbsr San has the Chinese one http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bcbsr-chinese



IX. Harborlights

From Jan 2010 to Jun of 2012 I've assisted Steve Crowell with his Nursing Home ministry in South Boston. I preached a sermon there once a month. See The HarborLights Sermons

X. One-on-One Discipleship

In lieu of being forced to drop the HCC men's Bible study I was involved with for 12 years, I've been personally discipling one of the local HCC missionaries, Ruben, who runs his own ministry to the homeless in Chelsea. Often other men also join us. I've also been personally discipling San, who runs the Chinese end of the BCBSR site.


These have been my activities as I developed the BCBSR site from 1996 to about 2012

Steve Amato


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Feb 15,2016