Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Friday, June 30, 2006

OK. It is time I put all my cards on the table. If you haven't guessed it already, I am a sovereign grace Baptist. That is the same thing as a Reformed Baptist. In short, I am a calvinist. Now, I was not always a calvinist but I think, in my heart, I always leaned towards it. Let me tell you about it. Even when I was not a calvinist I always believed that man's fall was total, that salvation was unconditional, that Jesus effectually died for those who go to heaven and that God will not let a true believer ultimately fall away from the faith and be lost. But, back in those days, I could not have articulated those things very well. But our Beloved Lord set me on a path and along the way I have been exposed to books I would not have read before, I have met people I would not have met before, and I have come to see things that I have never seen before. Now, I have come to understand God's sovereign grace and I cannot see myself being anything else.

You see, I look into myself and I see the truth of the total fall of man in the garden of Eden. Every part of our being has been infected by sin and therefore, nothing that we do is acceptable to God, who is perfectly and absolutely holy.

I know that it is God who saves us and since there is nothing in us that would make Him want to save us, salvation must be unconditional from our point of view. We have nothing to offer God and there is nothing we can offer that He would accept.

I believe when Jesus died on the cross that He died effectually, that is, in a way that counts, for believers. People who die in their sins do so because Jesus' death is not applied to them.

I believe what the Apostle Paul said when he said that he planted, Apollos watered, but it is God who gives the increase. It is God who saves and if He saves, then He saves to the uttermost.

I am one who believes in the utter sinfulness of men and the bottomless mercy of God. I believe in a Father who gives His grace to sinful humans, a Son who dies for them and a Holy Spirit who hunts us down and shows us the truth of the word of God and brings us to faith in Jesus Christ.

I believe we need to be about the business of getting the gospel message to every living soul on earth, beginning with our friends and families and not stopping until the Name of Jesus is known in every corner of the earth. I believe men are responsible to repent and believe but that no one will without the grace of God enabling them. I believe in a salvation that brings about a miraculous change in the people who receive it. I believe evangelism and missions are the business of the Church. I believe that born again people ought to live like born again people.

I am a calvinist like Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, Andrew Fuller, Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, James Boyce, B.H. Carroll, Albert Mohler, John Piper, John Newton, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, and a host of other blessed saints, both living and dead who embodied the very best of what it means to be a Christian.

I am a calvinist who believes like Jonathan Edwards, that although God is the initiator of the work of salvation, we are the responders to His work and that, as Edwards says, "God does all and we do all..." yet, we cannot at any point claim any credit for our work or our salvation and that we must ascribe our salvation wholly to the will and the work of God. I am a calvinist because I believe salvation is of the Lord.

I am a Southern Baptist calvinist, which means that I belong to a denomination that is not made up of mostly calvinists. In fact, most Southern Baptists are not calvinists. Yet, we all give glory to God (alone) for saving us. We all know that we were saved by calling on the Name of the Lord. We are all joined in our heart effort to see the Name of Jesus Christ glorified in every heart on earth. Though we are not all calvinists, we are all joined by the common bond of the Holy Spirit through saving faith in Jesus Christ.

As calvinists go, I am said to be somewhat of a moderate. That is ok. Like I tell my church, truth is always in the balance. The more extreme your position the more unbalanced you are. Now I am not saying don't be zealous. But be zealous for the truth, not for some unchristian extremism. I am a calvinist who (I hope) draws on the best of what it means to be a calvinist. One who has the unrestrained love of Newton, the doctrinal precision of Mohler and Edwards, the big-hearted evangelistic appeal of Spurgeon, the faith of Mueller, and the missions heart of Taylor and Carey and others.

So, there it is. I am a calvinist. But I hope I am embracing the very best of what that term means. To me, I believe it is the strength of our heritage ... for the glory of God alone.

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