10180 Willow Creek Road, Miramar
Membership: 300 individuals (average 150 for fellowship)
Pastor: Mark Spitsbergen
Born: Revival meeting camp, Caney, Kansas
Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University (undergrad); University of California-San Diego.
San Diego Reader: Why did you become a minister, etc.?
Pastor Mark: I really did not want to go into the ministry. My dad was an evangelist, and that was a very difficult life for me as a child. My dad was a very controversial figure who worked everywhere from the Catholic Charismatics to the Pentecostal churches and everything in between. So I had no desire to go into the ministry; my only desire was to be a real contributor in the local church. Ultimately I reached a point in my life where I felt compelled. It was almost as if it went beyond my choice — which I know is a little hard to swallow, to some degree — but when my dad first told me that he felt that he had witnessed a call of God on my life, I got so sick to my stomach that I felt like throwing up.
SDR: Before you began your ministry full-time, you worked as a research chemist. How do you reconcile the apparent rift between science and religion?
PM: That’s never really been a problem with me. Some people call it the Gap Theory, but I have looked at Scripture from this perspective since a child. Though Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God 6000 years ago, the Earth is much older than that. There was a preexisting state that this one out of Isaiah called Lucifer — which means morning star — was an agent given a place of authority over the Earth and ruled an angelic society. There are a lot of unknowns in that framework, so that fundamentally where a lot of people have a breakdown with science is more towards the notion that the universe is only 6000 years old. I never had that problem. In fact, this view about creation is one of the areas that I have championed in the scientific community.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PM: I go into heaven into a realm called glory, a place where Jesus is in the presence of the Father.
SDR: Does everyone go there or are there other options?
PM: The only other option is hell, a place that God created for the devil and his angels — a place that God does not want any person to go to; nonetheless, I believe that God has given every man a choice. I believe that each person has to have an encounter with the Holy Ghost and with Jesus. The spirit of God has to come upon a person because each man’s heart is evil, wicked, stubborn, and bent on sin. Therefore in order to be able to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and enter into the Kingdom of God, a person has to be born of the spirit in the water. A person has to be regenerated and made completely new, with a new heart and new spirit in which God will put His Holy Spirit. That essential change is only possible through the name of Jesus Christ, and by the power of His blood and the life He gave for the world and His resurrection.