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In the Nick of Time

Jeff Straub

In current weeks, my colleague Kevin Bauder has written a series reflecting on the fundamentalism of his youth. He expressed gratitude for these who he knew in his early life and their influence upon his future ministry.  His exposure to fundamentalism occurred early and was quite great.

This got me considering about my journey of not developing up in fundamentalism—actually, of not developing up in a Christian house at all. We have been Christmas and Easter Christians. Oh yes, and I was an altar boy for a even though as a kid, about the time of my confirmation as an Anglican. But I definitely bear in mind small of my religious life prior to I was exposed to fundamentalism in my later teen years. My parents separated when I was fifteen and shortly thereafter my father died. I was living with him when he died and I returned to reside with my mother, which was not a optimistic encounter. I was placed in foster care and quickly moved from Oregon to Georgia to reside with my dad’s brother. I sometimes attended his Presbyterian church (I am unsure of the group to which it belonged) but I was small impressed with it. A neighbor invited me to a Southern Baptist church close to exactly where I lived. It was into this church that I was baptized. The church was a warm, loving group of individuals, but quickly I was attending a youth Friday evening Bible study at an additional church. It was there as a junior in higher college that I met a freshman, Becky, whose mother was a youth leader. Quickly I was attending the bigger SBC church with the active youth system.

I required to locate a distinctive spot to reside as my uncle felt I was an unwholesome influence on his young youngsters. He was ideal: I badly required discipleship and mentoring. I was sent to a private college prep college in Rome, Georgia, exactly where I graduated from higher college and became attached to the household of a Christian man at this bigger SBC church. Becky was dating Tommy, a boy about my age and member of the household.

When I came house for Christmas, I met an independent Baptist pastor from Indiana who was beginning a youth camp. His philosophy was that “it is a lot easier to construct boys and girls than to repair males and girls.” He permitted me to come and function at the camp for the summer season. I quit smoking on the Greyhound bus headed to Indiana. At that camp, I met JD, a physical education important at Bob Jones University. I had under no circumstances heard of the spot. JD loved the Lord and had a zeal for God that was impressive for a young man. He became a mentor and a pal to me.

He also took me to a summer season banquet in Indianapolis exactly where I met the president of BJU, Bob Jones III. I had been preparing to go to Auburn University to important in wildlife conservation, but following hearing him speak, I determined to attend BJU in the fall. When I told my SBC foster dad the great news, he told me I could not go and hung up the telephone! When I was nonetheless committed to going following camp, he informed me that if I went, he would not help me. He was accurate to his word, financially at least. He mentioned that BJU encouraged their males to lead their churches out of the SBC. Maintain in thoughts, this was the summer season of 1974, 5 years prior to the conservative resurgence in the SBC started. I had no notion what he was speaking about.

As I ready to go to college, Mr. C. took me to a clothes shop to obtain some garments. I purchased a couple of sport jackets (under no circumstances possessing owned a suit nor even a jacket). He fussed at me for wasting my funds. As it turned out, I required a jacket for dinner! Appears you had to “dress up” for dinner at BJU. Try to remember, I had under no circumstances visited there. I only knew a single student, my pal JD. But I wanted what he had, and it seemed like BJU was the spot to get it.

So now I had been about fundamentalists for the summer season. As a busy camp worker, there was small time to appreciate my surroundings. As a student at BJU, points have been distinctive. We have been told when to get up and when to go to bed. We could hang out with girls only in specific locations on campus and at specific instances. We couldn’t even speak to them following supper. Due to the fact there was only a single spend telephone on each and every dorm hall, we couldn’t contact to the other side of campus either. The college wanted the phones kept absolutely free so parents could attain their students. No cell phones, texts messaging, or world wide web. How did we survive?

As a freshman at BJU, I met a wide assortment of males and girls whom God would use to shape my life more than the subsequent six years. The man who hired me as a dishwasher in the dining hall was interested in my Christian life. Mr. Gillespie encouraged me and helped me navigate some of the University’s guidelines. It definitely was only the grace of God that I was not expelled in my early years, even though I attempted difficult. I received 74 demerits my very first semester and 60 my second! Stupid points on my part—cleaning my space, or lack thereof, tardiness to class, horseplay—who me? I after went back to bed following my hall leader came into the space to make sure we have been up. He told me not to return to the bed, but I did anyway. I was tired. A roommate turned me in. He even timed me. I was back in bed for 20 further minutes! Did my hall leader give me grief! But I deserved it! I was careless and required correcting. I survived with no scars and I smile as I bear in mind these days.

My university days have been filled with lots of new experiences and new good friends. I met males in the early days with whom I have served Christ and males who now are dear good friends. We have walked with each other apart serving Christ. A single dear brother I came to find out had been a drug dealer newly converted. We met in the weight space and became good friends. Years later, he would invite me to Romania for my very first overseas ministry. Mainly because of this dear brother, I went on to earn a PhD and will quickly comprehensive my fifteenth year at Central. Thanks, Steve, for your influence!

There are numerous other folks like JD, Mr. Gillespie and Steve. I could speak of Mrs. Boyd, my French teacher who helped me discern the will of God to go to Canada and spent the summer season on an Indian reserve. I had been accepted into a Baptist Mid-Missions missionary apprentice system and planned to go to France. I quickly heard about a ministry group headed to Manitoba. I was stuck in between a rock and a difficult spot. In speaking of my plans to Mrs. Boyd, she gently recommended that my French was as well rudimentary to be of considerably service that summer season in France. I must wait till my abilities have been greater prior to embarking on a summer season ministry there. I heard her counsel and chose the Canadian ministry group. I would later return to that spot when the missionary I had worked with more than the summer season retired. It was the starting of practically twenty years of serving Christ in Canada! Thank you, Mrs. Boyd, for godly counsel!

I didn’t go to BJU since it was a fundamentalist college. I went there since I met a committed Christian whom I wanted to emulate. I did not hang out with individuals who have been “defenders of the faith” even though maybe they have been that as well. I met males and girls, some my age and other folks my teachers or supervisors, whom God employed to assist shape my life. “A man’s measures are ordered by the Lord” (Ps 37:23). In my case, the measures took me to Bob Jones University and into fundamentalism. Thank you, Lord, for your type path.

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This essay is by Jeff Straub, Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every single a single of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every single opinion that it expresses.

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Via Excellent Report and Evil, Lord
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

Via great report and evil, Lord,
Nonetheless guided by Thy faithful word,
Our employees, our buckler, and our sword,
We adhere to Thee.

In silence of the lonely evening,
In the complete glow of day’s clear light,
Via life’s strange windings, dark or vibrant,
We adhere to Thee.

Strengthened by Thee we forward go,
’Mid smile or scoff or pal or foe,
Via discomfort or ease, via joy or woe,
We adhere to Thee.

With enemies on every single side,
We lean on Thee, the Crucified
Forsaking all on earth beside,
We adhere to Thee.

O Master, point Thou out the way,
Nor endure Thou our measures to stray
Then in the path that leads to day,
We adhere to Thee.

Whom have we in the heaven above,
Whom on this earth, save Thee, to appreciate?
Nonetheless in Thy appreciate we onward move
We adhere to Thee.

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This guest post has been published since an editor has determined its contents to be supportive of the values of Religious Affections Ministries. Its publication does not imply complete agreement in between its author and RAM on other matters.

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