Posted March 20, 2017
My Boring Christian Testimony: How I know It’s Real
In this article Megan Hill explains that she was reared in a Christian home and “practically born with “Jesus Loves Me” on my lips and in my heart.” Hill’s Presbyterian parents gave her godly instruction in their home, brought her to church, and sent her to a Christian school. As a child Hill professes that she had true faith in Jesus Christ, and she cannot remember a time when she did not know or believe in him. Hill’s article is a wonderful reminder of how God’s salvation of the children of believers at a young age is both ordinary and extraordinary.
Why is it important to be reminded that the salvation of the children of believers at a young age is the ordinary way God works? Hill explains that in Christian circles too much focus is sometimes put on “extraordinary” conversion experiences. This happened in the Christian school Hill attended. Hill writes, “In fifth grade, I began to attend a school where dramatic testimonies were a regular part of morning chapel. Week after week, speakers—a drug addict, a party girl, an atheist—told of God’s rescue.”
This focus on dramatic conversions caused serious spiritual hardship for Hill. She writes, “And so I began to fear that I hadn’t really been saved—or, at least, that my story of being saved wasn’t quite legitimate.” The danger of spotlighting dramatic conversions is that it can lead those who have not had such an experience to conclude either that they are not saved at all or that their salvation is, to use a word that Hill also uses, “inferior.” Hill understands now that there is nothing inferior about the way God saved her. She considers her upbringing by Christian parents a great blessing and is rearing her children the same way she was reared by her parents. She understands that it is a wonderful thing that God is pleased to save many children in the “ordinary” way that he saved her.
One weakness of Hill’s article is that she never uses the word covenant. So it is unclear whether she understands the biblical teaching that God is pleased to save his people by bringing them into his covenant and by gathering their elect children also into that covenant. And it is unclear whether she understands that in the sphere of the covenant. God ordinarily saves the elect children of believers at a young age so that they never have a dramatic conversion experience. Yes, God saves people suddenly and dramatically by means of missions and evangelism. And even within the sphere of the covenant God may bring someone to salvation later in life. But the ordinary experience of the children of believers is that they are not conscious of a time in their lives when they did not believe in Jesus. This is a wonderful aspect of God’s covenant!
But one strength of Hill’s article is that she explains that God’s salvation of the children of believers, while it may be the ordinary way he saves them, is also extraordinary. She writes, “There is no dull salvation. The Son of God took on flesh to suffer and die, purchasing a people for his glory. As Gloria Furman writes, ‘The idea that anyone’s testimony of blood-bought salvation could be uninteresting or unspectacular is a defamation of the work of Christ.’” And in every instance in which God’s saving children has she explains, “all the elements of God’s amazing grace—beginning, middle, and end.” This is a good reminder to us that the salvation of children in the covenant is not an automatic thing. Nor is the salvation of our children due in any way to who their parents are or what they have done. The salvation of our children is the extraordinary work of God’s grace alone through Jesus Christ alone.
For further reading on the covenant of God with believers and their children read these RFPA books:
Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the schism of 1953 within the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC), the culmination of the hard fought battle for sovereign grace in the covenant. Delve into this history with David J. Engelsma's new book, slated for release next month!
The Battle for Sovereign Grace in the Covenant recounts much of the gripping history of the schism, including new, important details that have not been previously published. The book also provides the history of the controversial adoption by the PRCA of the Declaration of Principles, the document that in some ways occasioned the schism of 1953. In the appendices of the book, Engelsma gives a brief, valuable commentary on the Declaration, the first commentary to be written.
Look for this new book in June 2013! And in case you haven't heard, this book will be available not only in print but also as an eBook. Click here for more details on the new great benefits to Book Club members.
**UPDATE** Battle for Sovereign Grace in the Covenant is now available for purchase in both print and eBook formats!