Expanding Up Fundamentalist, Element Seven: Vocation


In the Nick of Time

Kevin T. Bauder

1 of the rituals of life at Bible college was the day-to-day chapel service. In chapel we heard preaching by neighborhood pastors and other Christian leaders. We sang hymns—usually superior ones than the hymns I’d grown up singing. Element of chapel was also devoted to neighborhood life. Chapels have been like student assemblies with announcements, skits, and congratulations for students who accomplished some milestone.

Life in a Bible college was as varied as life in any college or university. We had concerts and recitals, speech and theater, intervarsity and intramural sports, a student paper. The meals in the cafeteria was great. In contrast to some Christian schools, relationships involving male and female students have been pretty relaxed we could date whom we chose when we chose. We quite nicely had the run of Des Moines, which provided lots of intriguing items to do.  

Apart from these activities, the college hosted particular events that focused on spiritual interests. Class schedules have been modified for a week each and every semester as the college hosted a missionary conference in the fall and a Bible conference each spring. Most of the preaching at these events was nicely above typical. Our personal faculty and administration could give outstanding exposition of Scripture.

All classes have been taught from a Christian viewpoint. The history courses have been largely church history. The classes in social research reflected a biblical viewpoint on human nature. The course in ethics was geared toward establishing and defending biblical morality. Students searching for a bachelor of arts would take two years of biblical Greek.

In a Bible college, all students big in Bible. Our research started with survey courses that covered each the complete biblical corpus and the complete program of doctrine. All students completed a class in biblical interpretation. A lot more needed courses focused on person biblical books such as Genesis, Matthew, Acts, and Romans. Students could take numerous other biblical and theological electives.

This continual concentrate on biblical and doctrinal content material was an crucial formative force in my life. By means of my initially year-and-a-half I attempted to ignore it, but it pressed on me regularly. The teaching of my professors, the intensity of the spiritual conferences, and the day-to-day routine of biblical preaching in chapel started to reshape my understanding of who I was and what mattered. Along with my roommate Dave’s instance, this continual biblical teaching helped to bring about that mid-sophomore-year renewal of lengthy-neglected dedication.

At that point my complete viewpoint changed. The main emphasis on our campus no longer seemed to be one particular of denial, but of chance. Ours was a smaller college in which faculty, students, and administrators knew each and every other personally. I saw that the president, the professors, and other people have been serving at considerable private sacrifice. Additionally, they have been on my side. They have been not there to repress me, but to assist me succeed.

I had stated that I would start out providing back. The subsequent day I heard a chapel announcement that one particular of the school’s theater troupes had lost an actor and was hunting for a replacement. Theater was ideal down my alley, so I attempted out and got the component. I spent the second semester traveling with that group. We performed in higher schools and churches from Ohio to the Rockies. It was the initially time as an adult that I really attempted to do one thing just to serve the Lord.

The encounter was great, and I do not imply from a thespian point of view (I’d been in superior productions in higher college). What was diverse was the sense of mission and camaraderie shared by the actors and crew. These folks became my good friends, and the friendships have been diverse in good quality from any I’d skilled just before. 1 young lady became a particular buddy. I took her to the spring formal that year. Just after she graduated, we kept up a partnership by way of the summer season. At the finish of the summer season she agreed to grow to be my wife.

Early in my junior year I discovered that an old injury had been improperly treated and was going to call for surgery. About halfway by way of the initially semester I dropped out of college. By that time, my wife-to-be had been provided a employees position at our college. I took a daytime job and did not return to college once again for a lot more than a year.

When Debbie and I have been married, I had no sense of vocation at all. I was operating complete-time in an auto components warehouse. That was surely not my calling. An insurance coverage agent attempted to recruit me to sell insurance coverage. A chiropractor attempted to convince me to go into his field. Practically nothing seemed ideal.

In the course of that time Debbie and I started operating with the young folks in my father’s church. Teaching the Bible just seemed to match. Preaching felt all-natural to me. I had by no means genuinely thought of the ministry, and I had a list of factors that I believed I wouldn’t do nicely. More than the subsequent year, even so, the Lord place me in positions in which each one particular of these factors was tested—and collapsed. 1 day Dave even encouraged me to consider about the pastorate.

More than these months I started to sense that ministry ought to be my life’s operate. To this point, even so, I had stated absolutely nothing to Debbie. I brought the topic up more than dinner one particular evening: “What would you say if I told you I believed the Lord was major me to be a preacher?” She replied that she had observed this coming and that she totally supported me. That was that. I knew what I was going to do.

Of course, this selection meant returning to Bible college. I began with a single course, a evening class on Psalms. This was the initially time I’d taken a class genuinely wanting to study the Bible. The book of Psalms just seemed to come alive. Studying the compositions of David and Asaph was not a chore it was a delight.

Subsequent fall I was back complete time. The initially morning that I stepped on campus one particular of my old professors saw me crossing the parking lot. He looked me up and down, grinned, and stated, “I knew you’d be back.”

Maybe the most formative course that I took was a summer season class on the history of fundamentalism. This was the initially time I had heard any sustained description of fundamentalism, either as an concept or as a movement. The professor didn’t attempt to sugar-coat something. He was frank about the troubles in fundamentalism, but he was also clear about what fundamentalism was. I entered the class doubting that I would ever be a fundamentalist. I left the class figuring out that I currently was one particular.

The subsequent two years flew previous. Debbie and I lived in the smaller town exactly where I’d spent my higher college years. Just after my father moved to a diverse state, we became members of the formerly-Presbyterian church he had pastored. We formed new friendships and discovered new life lessons. Along the way I wrote a paper or two that impressed my professors, and they started to encourage me toward seminary. Even though a married man, I was nevertheless developing up fundamentalist.


This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Investigation Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not each one particular of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with each opinion that it expresses.


Let Worldly Minds the Globe Pursue
John Newton (1725–1807)

Let worldly minds the globe pursue,
It has no charms for me
As soon as I admired its trifles as well,
But grace has set me no cost.

Its pleasures now no longer please,
No a lot more content material afford
Far from my heart be joys like these
Now I have observed the Lord.

As by the light of opening day
The stars are all concealed
So earthly pleasures fade away,
When Jesus is revealed.

Creatures no a lot more divide my decision,
I bid them all depart
His name, and adore, and gracious voice,
Have fixed my roving heart.

Now, Lord, I would be Thine alone,
And wholly reside to Thee
But may perhaps I hope that Thou wilt personal
A worthless worm, like me?

Yes! even though of sinners I’m the worst,
I can’t doubt Thy will
For if Thou hadst not loved me initially
I had refused Thee nevertheless.

Kevin T. Bauder

About Kevin Bauder

Kevin T. Bauder is Investigation Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not each one particular of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with each opinion that this post expresses.


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