From time to time, gracEmail readers ask who I am, where I came from, and where I am situated on the Christian spectrum. For the sake of the curious, please forgive these personal remarks today.
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For several generations my ancestors on both sides of the family served God in Churches of Christ and I came to know and trust in Jesus Christ within the nurture of that same heritage. Having discovered my movement’s pioneer fathers Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone in junior high school, I have attempted since then to live out their ideals of following Scripture wherever it leads, and of seeking the unity of all Christian believers toward the conversion of the world to Christ. Since 1982, my immediate family has been part of the Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, Texas which I have served as a Bible teacher and a member of the pastoral team (elder).
My formal training was rather eclectic. After 15 years at Athens (Ala.) Bible School and Florida (Christian) College, I gained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biblical languages from Abilene Christian University, followed by a year’s work at Covenant Theological Seminary (evangelical Presbyterian) and Eden Theological Seminary (United Church of Christ, no direct kin to my own Churches of Christ). Sixteen years later I earned a doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Houston.
Personal ministry has included preaching, teaching, lecturing and leading retreats for Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, charismatics, Pentecostals, Advent Christians, Seventh-day Adventists, Independent Christians, Churches of Christ and other varieties of Christian believers; lecturing at Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and various other universities and schools in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand; writing some 20 books and booklets and publishing articles over the years in Christianity Today, Verdict, Mission, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Wineskins, Leaven and numerous other periodicals for both laypersons and scholars.
I have been a member of Evangelical Theological Society since about 1972 in which I once served as a regional officer. My book The Fire That Consumes was an Evangelical Book Club selection. Although I have earned a living as an attorney since 1988, I have also served as a preacher and a church elder, have written, edited, and published Sunday School materials, sermon outlines and other Christian literature, and was the founding editor of a national Christian biweekly newspaper called The Good Newspaper from 1982-1985. Sara Faye (Locke) and I have been married since June 1967. We have two grown children and four grandchildren.
Wherever people seek God, I feel a common cause. Where they confess and serve Jesus, I feel a family bond. All I have is his, and I want to serve him faithfully with whatever gifts and opportunities he gives me for the rest of my earthly sojourn, confident that, by his grace, I will awake one day to behold his likeness and to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.