A few years later Gene wrote a volume entitled Revolution: The First 17 Years of the Early Church. It was his third book. Since then he finished telling the first-century story in a five volume set…though it would be nearly forty years before Gene began publishing all of that story. These books are entitled The First-Century Diaries. In these books, Edwards weaves together not only the story of the early Christians, but brings together the full collage of the customs and conditions of that day. So also the nautical, political, meteorological, religious, and military world of that century. (See more about these diaries under the section “Books Gene Has Written.”)
When that momentous year came to an end, Gene knew he could not go on being part of the organized church and keep a clear conscience. His exposure to churches in a dozen different denominations, his own desperate desire to know Christ better, his recent grasp of what the first century was really like, and his desire to experience church life “first-century style,” all combined—along with some intangible work in his heart—to create this crisis. Add to that, he had saturated himself in the history of the ancient dissenters, who had left institutional Christianity, such as the Anabaptists, etc. Gene had also been tracing the origin of virtually all Protestant practices. But above all else, his heart was aflame with a desire to know his Lord better.
“There was no way to continue in the traditional path except to compromise. To retain integrity I had to depart. In 1963 I set out on an ocean rarely sailed upon, and into oceans which had no charts.
“I did not depart evangelical theology. The historical doctrines of the Protestant faith are mine for as long as I live. What I left was the practice of evangelical Protestantism. It is a decision I have never regretted. Rather, I only wish the Lord would lead more men called of God to tread this path.”