One of my tasks here in Wakefield is continuing a column that Pastor Thomas Bauder used to write for the local newspaper. I’m planning to cross-post these essays on the blog as well. Here’s the first essay, in which I introduce myself.
The editor of this paper has my thanks for allowing me to inherit the column previously written by Pastor Thomas Bauder, who preceded me in the pulpit of Calvary Baptist Church of Wakefield. My further thanks go to Pastor Bauder; he answered dozens of my questions and has shown me nothing but kindness in this transition. I know full well that I cannot replace him.
As a newcomer, a word of introduction is in order. I was born and reared in suburban Detroit. (The church here has agreed to mock my origins only when I really deserve it.) I have a couple of degrees in Bible and theology and am working on another. My ministry to this point has been mostly in academic institutions: I taught at a Bible college in Arizona and was most recently an administrator at a seminary in Minneapolis.
My wife Alicia is from Washington state, born near the coast and reared in the mountains on its eastern side. We met and were married in Arizona. Our daughter Katharine is 18 months old, and she will be an older sister come the turn of the new year.
I intend to continue writing this column in the format that Pastor Bauder established: simply explaining what the Bible says in answer to various questions. Why so? Mostly because I have little else worthwhile to offer. No one should read this column (or attend Calvary Baptist Church, for that matter) to marvel at my wisdom. I’m still youngish, and the Bible says nothing flattering about the wisdom of the young. Even if I were a fountain of wisdom, my calling as a pastor is not to be a puritanical Dear Abby. Opinions and advice are cheap and plentiful, and although I think mine are correct (else I wouldn’t hold them), they can be safely discarded if they are merely mine.
No, anything of value that I have to say must be rooted in a deeper wisdom. I’m convinced that the Bible is the very Word of God, and this column will (continue to) be written with that conviction. Proverbs, the very heart of the Bible’s wisdom books, tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7), and for that reason, the Psalmist calls the Word of God “a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (119:105).
And so my life, my pastorate, and this column will be driven by a commitment to the Bible’s total trustworthiness. Why believe a thing like that? That, my friends, is certainly a column for another week.