My Story

The Journey Begins

I have had several people ask me recently how a lifelong Southern Baptist like I was could end up as an Associate Pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. First of all, I must admit that it is a loooooooong story and that it would be impossible for me to document that journey in just one blog post, but I will try, over the next several days, to at least cover the high points (or if you are of a differing opinion, the low points) of my quest.

In my years as a Southern Baptist pastor, I always had an extremely high view of the doctrine of Holy Scripture. There was never any doubt in my mind that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Believing in the inerrancy of Scripture brings about a crisis in a Southern Baptist pastor’s life who also believes it is important to preach through the books of the Bible, because he comes across texts such as Ephesians 1, Romans 9, and John 6 which speak of the sovereignty of God in salvation. Even before I became a thoroughgoing Calvinist, I would tell my people, “Well, God’s Word says we were chosen ‘in Him before the foundation of the world’ and that He ‘predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will,’ and I am not sure how that works itself out, but I know it is true, because God says so.” (At that time, the only Calvinists I had ever met were Dr. Tom Nettles who taught me Church and Baptist History at Southwestern Seminary and one of my New Testament professors, Dr. Curtis Vaughn.)

As I worked through all the theological ramifications of those texts, I began to see the sovereignty of God in salvation throughout all the Scriptures. It took some time, but early in the decade of the 1990s, a friend overheard me saying at a Baptist associational meeting that the “last petal on the tulip had fallen” and that “I had become a five-point Calvinist.” (I couldn’t believe that I had said that loud enough for anyone other than one of my Calvinist friends to hear!) My fall from the semi-Pelagian way of thinking did not affect my evangelism, because although I knew that the end of evangelism was the salvation of God’s elect to the glory of God, the means to that end was through the preaching of the Gospel to all and calling sinners to Christ. So I continued to preach through the texts of Scripture calling men to look to Christ as the only way of salvation.

It was during this time that I was blessed by many groups (and individuals) who helped me to grow in my knowledge of the Scriptures which included ministries such as Founders Ministries, Banner of Truth, and The White Horse Inn. Also, many authors such as R. C. Sproul, J. I. Packer, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the English Puritans, and the 19th century Southern Baptists, such as J. L. Dagg, James Petigru Boyce, John Broadus, and Basil Manly, Jr. (Yes, that Broad-man, which was the SBC publishing house for many years) had a profound effect on my spiritual life. (To be continued…)

Connecting the Dots

In my last blog post I shared how the Lord had worked in my life to open my eyes to the message of God’s grace as it was displayed in the Gospel. As I looked back through church history, it encouraged me to find that I was not alone in my belief of God’s sovereignty in salvation. The history of the Church was full of people who shared this belief, such as the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, who proclaimed:

I have my own private opinion, that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what now-a-days is called Calvinism. I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism. Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith without works; not unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor, I think, can we preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for his elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation, after having believed. Such a gospel I abhor. The gospel of the Bible is not such a gospel as that. We preach Christ and him crucified in a different fashion, and to all gainsayers we reply, “We have not so learned Christ.

By this time in my life, through God’s providence, I had moved to Shreveport, Louisiana to be the pastor of a Southern Baptist church on the north end of town. While there, I attended a conference where Fred Malone, the pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, Louisiana, taught about a Biblical doctrine called the Regulative Principle of Worship. The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) defines this doctrine in the following manner:

The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture. (WCF XXI.i)

The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 follows the WCF almost word for word. I discovered that this was a great controversy during the 1600s with the Baptists, Puritans, and Presbyterians uniting in their support of this principle, while the Lutherans and Anglicans opting for the view that one can worship God in any way he chooses, so long as that particular form is not prohibited in Scripture. I must admit my understanding of this principle changed entirely my view of the corporate worship of God. Prayer, of course, is one element that is to be a part of public worship along with the “reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, and vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.” (WCF XXI.v)

As I studied the Scriptures, it was becoming clear that God was sovereign, not only over one’s justification, but over all things, particularly His church. (To be continued)

Growing Pains

(The following is a continuation of my journey from the life as a Southern Baptist pastor to life as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.) As I sunk my teeth deeper into God’s Word, I began to desire to be a part of a more open expression of the Reformed theology that had become the warp and woof of my life. While some at the Shreveport church openly accepted my theology, others only patiently tolerated them because I worked so diligently at being a caring pastor to the flock of God there. When a small group of families back in my hometown in southeast Texas began to show an interest in starting a distinctively Reformed Baptist work, I jumped at the opportunity. I was convinced that there would be a large group of people in that area who would desire a church with a God-centered theology, reverent God-centered worship, and a desire to not be shackled to the program-driven mania that was a part of so many contemporary churches (Needless to say, that group turned out to be not nearly as large as I thought it would be).

Starting with a group of five families, Providence Baptist Church was born. We met in our home which had a large living room and dining room together, and hoped to move to a larger facility as soon as possible. Looking back, I see many things that could have been done differently (I am at fault for most of them), but it was a great four years of learning and growing, and I will always appreciate those families who were willing to take part in that grand experiment.

Because I had been a pastor of a growing Southern Baptist Church in that area in the past, the rumors about us began to swirl. One particularly aggravating falsehood that was circulating was that one was required to have an invitation to worship with us (That story made my blood boil!). Another pastor actually preached a series of messages against Calvinism in a church where I once was the pastor, and after listening, I discovered that the only thing that he “got right” about the doctrine was when he began by saying, “Now, I don’t know much about Calvinism….” We were also confused by some with the “house church movement” and others just simply thought that we were some kind of cult.

To quote the opening line of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Tale of Two Cities, it was the “best of times, it was the worst of times….” On the one hand, I had time to think, to pray, to study, to learn, and to discover how much I really didn’t know (It is always good to discover that one is not nearly as smart as one thinks one is!) On the other hand, “failure” had become a new word in my vocabulary. Little did I know how God was graciously working behind the scenes to change the direction of my life.

After limping along for several years, God in His providence, saw fit to bring that work to an end. The original families began to depart for different reasons, until we finally came to the point where we felt that we could not in good conscience call the group that met in that place a congregation. We disbanded in February of 2005 and on that Sunday afternoon I turned to my wife and said, “Now what? Where are we going to go to worship next week?” (To be continued)

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge

(The following is a continuation of my journey from the life as a Southern Baptist pastor to life as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.)

On the Sunday afternoon following our last meeting as Providence Baptist Church we began to discuss where we should worship the Lord on the following Sunday. Many of the Baptist churches in the area were somewhat suspicious of us (okay, that may be a bit of an understatement), so we thought we might try Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPC) in Beaumont because we had heard some positive comments about it from some acquaintances.

Visiting a Presbyterian church was quite a jump for us, for in southeast Texas the only Presbyterian churches of which we were aware belonged to the ultra-liberal Presbyterian Church USA. However, we knew that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church was a Biblically conservative denomination (for I had a friend that attended one in a different part of the state) and after reading up on the history of the Presbyterian Church in America, to which RPC belonged, we found a denomination that subscribed to the Westminster Standards which for us was a positive sign. We also looked online and found an order of worship and were very impressed and determined to visit on the following Sunday.

We fell in love with the simple, reverent, God-centered worship, and heard a Gospel message directly from God’s Word (I believe Pastor Mark was preaching through the Book of Hebrews at the time). We went back the next week and then the next, and other then a few times when I was the pulpit supply at another church, we never missed. After a month or two we decided that it was important to do more than visit, and that the time had come for us to join. I realized that all that was required to join RPC was a credible profession of faith, but I thought that if I was going to be a Presbyterian, I should at least honestly look at areas where I disagreed a little more closely.

Being someone who personally subscribed (at the time) to the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith meant that I had much in common with the doctrine there. The only real issues that I had were with the covenant baptism of the children of believers, and the mode of that (or any) baptism. I had often argued against “infant baptism” but always from the frame of reference of one who was defending his own credobaptist-only views (Presbyterians also believe in credobaptism), and desired to try to look at the paedobaptist arguments with an open mind.

I asked Pastor Mark for a few books on baptism, and he handed me a stack of books about 20 inches high. I nestled down for the next couple of months, digging into the covenantal arguments for the baptism of the children of believers. (To be continued)

The Pieces Fall into Place

(The following is a continuation of my journey from the life as a Southern Baptist pastor to life as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.)

When I last left you, I mentioned that I had taken some time to study with as open a mind as possible, the Biblical arguments for the baptism of the infants of believers. Question 95 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: “To whom is baptism to be administered?” With the answer being, “Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out of the visible church, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to him; but the infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.”  To the first part of the equation I quickly agreed, the other took some time, but the Biblical arguments eventually won me over.

After much study I came to the belief that the infants of believers are also to receive the sign and seal of baptism. Why, you may ask? First of all, because of the continuity of the covenant that God made with Abraham. We see the evidence in Galatians 3:7-9, as Paul says, the Scriptures “preached the Gospel to Abraham” that “all the nations would be blessed through him,” and Paul goes so far as to say that “it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” Thus, “Abraham and his seed” under the Old Covenant were to receive the sign and seal of the covenant which was physical circumcision. What did that sign represent? Much more than just many descendents and a “promised land,” for the Scriptures say in Romans 4:11 that Abraham received the sign of circumcision as the “seal of the righteousness that he had by faithafter he had believed. However, he was also to give that same sign to his infant sons on the eighth day after their birth, before they believed. (Gen. 17:9-14)

Under the Abrahamic Covenant the children were always involved in the life of the Old Testament “church.” For example, when Jehoshaphat gathered the people before the Lord the congregation included the wives and “little ones.” (2 Chron. 20:13) When a solemn fast was called in Joel 2:15-16, even the nursing infants were in attendance. Then, when the covenant sign was changed from circumcision to baptism (Math. 28:19-20, Acts 2:38-39, Col. 2:11-12) there was no command to stop giving the covenantal sign to the infants of believers. As a matter of fact, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter’s sermon included the covenant language that the promise was to the believers and “to their children, to as many as the Lord would call.” Of course, not everyone who received the sign in the Old Testament were true sons of Abraham for many did not believe, such as Ishmael and Esau, just as there will be those who receive the New Testament sign of baptism who will not believe. But, if those that have been baptized as infants believe in Christ alone for their salvation, then the promises signified by the sign will be theirs, and they will receive the “righteousness that is [theirs] by faith.” (Rom. 4:11) The Westminster Confession of Faith explains it so well:

 The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God’s own will, in his appointed time. (WCF:XVIII.vi)

Are there other reasons why the infants of believers should be baptized? Absolutely. There is also the probability that the household baptisms in the Book of Acts included infants. In Acts 16:15 Lydia and all her household were baptized (although the Scripture only speaks of her believing), as was the household of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:33, and the household of Stephanas in 1 Cor. 1:16. We are also told that the “Covenant of Peace” will include the children (Isaiah 54) and in Jeremiah 31:31-34 that the new covenant is promised to those “from the greatest to the least.” Last of all, the entire Book of Hebrews was written to portray the superiority and graciousness of the New Covenant over the Old. Would the New Covenant be more gracious if it refused the covenant sign to the children of believers, while in the Old Covenant it was allowed? Jewish parents would have been horrified to have been told that a practice that had been a part of their lives for over 2000 years (the giving of the covenant sign to their children) had now been rescinded. Even our dear Baptist friends have begun in the last few decades to “dedicate” babies in their worship services (without any real Scriptural warrant, I might add) because they understand that the children of believers receive spiritual benefits that other children do not, such as being raised “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” hearing the Law and Gospel preached, being taught to pray, read the Bible, etc.

I must admit, in this short space I could not delineate all the reasons for the covenantal baptism of the infants of believers (because volumes and volumes have been written on the subject), but at least you have heard from my own lips (okay, word processor) the rationale why. So, yes my journey was long, and I realize there are those out there who still disagree (that’s all right, people have argued over this doctrine for centuries), but I hope you have seen that my journey into Presbyterianism has not been because I love and believe the Bible less…but because I, by His grace, love and believe the Bible (if possible) more. (To be continued…what about the mode of baptism?)

A Question of Mode

(The following is a continuation of my journey from the life as a Southern Baptist pastor to life as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.)

Being a Baptist for almost fifty years carries with it a certain bias about the mode of Baptism. As I had often said, “The word ‘baptism’ was used by secular Greek writers to describe a sunken ship.” While that statement is true, the word group (bapto, baptismos, baptidzo) does not just mean “to immerse” but it is often used to describe dipping, sprinkling, or pouring. In Hebrews 9:10-21 we see the word “baptismos” being used to describe the sprinkling of water, oil, and blood for ritual cleansing in the Old Testament.

When one looks at the picture of justification given in Titus 3:5-6, it speaks of the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost,” which clearly points to Ezekiel 36:25-27 where God promises to “sprinkle clean water on you” and “to give you my spirit.” The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) also alludes to the cleansing meaning of baptism, and when Peter described his experience with the conversion of Cornelius by saying, “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:15-17), we see baptism describing the “falling” of the Holy Spirit which would be pictured best by pouring.

We also see a picture of the word “bapto” in Leviticus 14 (in the Septuagint, of course) where one bird is “baptized” in the blood of the second bird, which could not possibly have been immersion. There are also places in the Scripture where baptism by immersion would have been difficult, if not impossible, such as the Ethiopian eunuch in the desert in Acts 8, and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:33) in a prison where no pool of water would have probably been available. One last example of sprinkling instead of immersion can be found in Mark 7:4 where it says the Pharisees “baptized” cups, plates, tables, and some translations say “dining couches” which make immersion improbable at best.

Moreover, historically, some of the earliest Christian art in the catacombs of Rome picture people kneeling in water, with a pastor pouring water over their heads. While it is true that Colossians 2 has been sited as a proof text for immersion because it speaks of being “buried with Christ in baptism,” one can see by the other texts that I have mentioned, there are other pictures present in Scripture which would point to pouring or sprinkling. These are some of the reasons why I have come to the point where I heartily concur with the Westminster Confession of Faith which states, “Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.” (WCF XXVIII.iii)

My next post (Deo Volente) will wrap up this “Blog Biography” (to the joy of many) by discussing how I came to be set apart as the Associate Pastor at Reformed Presbyterian Church. (To be continued)

Not the End, But the Beginning

(The following is the final installment of my journey from the life as a Southern Baptist pastor to life as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.)

I have already mentioned in an earlier post the sad demise of our Reformed Baptist work and our arrival at Reformed Presbyterian Church in February of 2005. After several months of joyfully attending, in July of that year we joined, once and for all leaving our Baptist world behind. For my part, I had a family to support, so I started working on a Masters Degree in History at Lamar University, hoping to get a teaching job, if necessary, to make ends meet; all the while praying that God would work out his purpose in all of our lives. (By the way, my class work has been completed, and I am in the process of writing my master’s thesis, not to teach, but to finish what I had begun.)

At the end of the 2005, I was approached by the elders to see if I might be interested in becoming the Associate Pastor if so called by the church. My first thought was, “Is the Pope Catholic? Of course, I would!” After a congregational vote, and the approval of the Presbytery (see my synopsis of the procedure in a former post) I became the Associate Pastor at RPC in the spring of 2006. I have often said, “I feel like I have died and gone to heaven!” It has been a wonderful experience to work with the men on the session here, and to be a part of this group of spiritual sojourners on our journey to the city whose “designer and builder is God.” (Heb. 11:10) As one of our elders said as we sat around the lunch table in the church kitchen one Sunday afternoon, “Everyone here has a story.” At that particular moment, there was a family that was formerly Baptist, a family that was formerly Methodist, and a family that was formerly Assembly of God sitting around the table sharing a meal together.

I hope this narrative has not been too tedious, but it has been good for me to have to place down on paper (okay, on a word processor) my thoughts and feelings that I have experienced over the last few years, always remembering that “from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

13 Comments

  1. Paula Moye said,

    March 19, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    In God’s good and sovereign providence you and your family are my good friends in Christ. Praise His holy name.

    • cliftonr said,

      March 19, 2010 at 2:08 PM

      Thank you, Paula, it has been so good to know all of you and be a part of RPC (now for 5 years).

  2. Mehgan Drake said,

    September 24, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    Thank you, Clifton, for sharing your journey with us. Caleb and I was traveling along a similar road now, and it is nice to hear your story.
    I feel like I’ve missed out on much not being brought up in reformed theology, and I am looking forward to continuing at RPC.

    • cliftonr said,

      September 25, 2010 at 5:47 AM

      We have really enjoyed having you and Caleb worship with us at RPC. As one our elders once said, “We all have our story.” I pray that the Lord continues to grow you in grace, and uses you to minister His truth to your precious children.

  3. October 9, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    I enjoyed reading this. I am currently visiting an Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. This is a first for me. I have been to a number of different denominations in my lifetime. My husband and I were active members of a Missionary Baptist Church for 5 years, but were unable to embrace some of their teachings, so we left in 2008 thinking we would eventually end up in a small Southern Baptist Church, but some events lead us to where we are.

    I am still having some difficulty embracing all 5 points of Calvinism. In spite of that, there are two things that keep drawing me and our daughter to this church. One is the expression of love the pastor and his family has shown our family, and the other is the beautiful way the service flows. I love reading the prayers and the responsive reading, and the sermons are just wonderful. I learn so much. I have always thought I knew the Bible pretty well, but when I go to church there I always see where I have only scratched the surface and I can’t wait to learn more.

    I am glad you explained how you came to embrace their views on baptism. That is an area where I still think like a Baptist, but I found what you shared reasonable, and I will have to look at it again.

    My husband really likes the pastor of this church, but he works on Sundays, and he hasn’t attended a lot. He also still sees himself as a Baptist. It would mean so much to me if you would remember my family in prayer.

    • cliftonr said,

      October 10, 2010 at 5:29 AM

      Thanks for your kind words. Our church simply requires a “credible profession of faith” in order to become a member (I’m not sure about the ARP). Therefore, we have some, who are members who do not necessarily “buy in” to everything in the Westminster Confession of Faith, although they realize that that is what they will hear from the pulpit, and teaching ministry of the church.

      I pray that you and your husband will find a church where the Gospel is preached and you both can grow and grace. May the Lord guide you with His providential hand.

  4. January 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    […] my blog have at least a general knowledge of my story. I have posted about my theological quest here, but today I wanted to be a little more personal. I was raised by godly Christian parents and […]

  5. Bobby Tingle said,

    April 15, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I have often wondered why the reformed system of doctrine has fallen on such hard times in these of the last days. But I have marveled at my personal journey and my acceptance and understanding of this system. It could not have happened apart from God’s sovereign awakening. It seems from my limited study that the historical roots of this system are deep and wide. I praise God that I have been called to perceive and accept his sovereign hand in all things and gracious blessings poured out on my family. Thank you for sharing this testimony.

    Since I became aware of RPC I have been attracted to the idea and irony of being a member. Never would I have chosen to do so apart from His will. I look forward to continuing mh journey as a part of this body.

    • cliftonr said,

      April 16, 2012 at 5:54 AM

      It was a joy to hear you and Gayle share your faith with us a few Sundays ago, and hearing you take your membership vows again yesterday. I pray that the Lord blesses you greatly as you grow in grace among us at RPC/

  6. Robert Brooke said,

    May 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Thank You for your story of your journey. We are all on a journey called the Christian walk. I am in the process of trying to find my way through the various theologies and teachings. I was raised Southern Baptist. Left the church after my parents divorced while I was in high school at Beaumont High. In my early 20s (during the 1960s) I became involved in the Jesus People movement, and ended up in an Assembly Of God church in Beaumont that accepted hippies..lol. Then went off to an Assemblies of God Bible school and earned a BA in Theology. Was then caught up in the Charismatic movement and attended Beverly Hills Baptist Church in Dallas and Pastor Conaster (sp?). From there out to California and attending Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, and working on my M.Div. through Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (not finished). Then left and took a 35 year stroll, stumble and run through the World. And a 20 year detour into the practice of divorce law. Eventually repented and got back on the proper journey, but attending various non-denominational churches but was not comfortable with all of the emotionalism, preachers speaking in tongues from the pulpit, slain people in the spirit, etc. Now no where to go or belong. I listen to teachings on the internet and read books and collect commentaries. I really enjoy and want expository preaching; favorite teachers of a mixture are John MacArthur, Chuck Missler, Chuck Smith and several Calvary Chapel preachers, Albert Mohler, Steven Lawson, RC Sproul, John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Etc. Don’t know why I explained all of the above, except to let you know there are others on wild and exotic journeys. I plan to send the above to the email addresses of yours and the pastors. Would appreciate any imput, web sites, books recommended, authors recommended. Would love to visit sometime. Thanks for the time, Robert Brooke

    • cliftonr said,

      May 24, 2012 at 7:01 AM

      It was good to hear from you, Robert. As one of our elders has stated, “We all have our ‘stories.'” That group of pastors and teachers you have listed are excellent. My only suggestion would be to find a church where the Gospel is preached for your safety and growth. No church will be perfect, but God has chosen to use His church as the “greenhouse” in which to grow His people in a dark and cold world. I will be praying that the Lord’s providential hand will lead you to a place of worship where you can be fed the Word of God and nourished by His Holy Spirit.

      Clifton

  7. Paul Ryan said,

    October 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Clifton,
    My wife and I visited RPC a few weeks ago while in town for a family funeral. It was a great joy to join with you in worship of our great God. I didn’t realize your background, or I would have loved to spend some time together. We have very similar stories, with similar influences (including Drs. Vaughn & Nettles). May the Lord continue to bless you and the ministry to which you are called.

    • cliftonr said,

      October 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      I enjoyed visiting with you, even if it was only for a few minutes. Maybe the Lord will see fit for our paths to cross again and we can share “war stories” (I use that term in a good sense) from days gone by. I miss those days (in some ways) of Dr. Nettles coming in to our church history class on Reformation Day and preaching “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” to us, and Curtis Vaughn taking us through the Gospel of Mark.


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