Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

My “Spiritual Autobiography”

I recently applied to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Part of the application was a “Spiritual Autobiography”  which I decided to post here as well.

I believe that it has been given to me to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven. My eyes and ears are blessed, for they see and hear (Matthew 13). I do not know a lot of things, but I know that the Bible is true, that its God and its Messiah exist, and that the God who created us will one day judge us. I truly believe that this knowledge was given to me, and what makes that so clear is that it is knowledge that I did not want. I was raised in a Christian home, but I was not converted until March of 2007. Leading up to my conversion I began to realize the benefits of Christianity, but it took hearing the gospel and the word of Christ, along with the salvation and faith they produced, before pursuing those benefits made the transition from theory to practice. I recently read Zechariah 11:4-5, and those two verses struck a chord that resonated with my heart. I believe that those two verses speak to both the present status of the “flock” and to, Lord willing, my role within the plan of King Jesus to build His church and take His gospel to the ends of the earth. My desire is to be used by the Lord either as a missionary or a pastor. I believe that seminary is a necessary means to either of those ends, but I also hope to learn more about God by learning the Bible while in seminary. I believe that to know God is to desire Him, and that the best way to know Him is by studying what He has revealed to us in the Bible.

I was raised by Christian parents and attended church nearly every Sunday all the way through high school. I was baptized when I was 6, but I do not believe that I was saved at that time. Toward the end of my high school years I began to have doubts. I knew that I was not as good as I was supposed to be, but instead of turning toward God as a result of that realization, I decided to turn away from Him. The Scriptures have been very helpful in my efforts to understand myself, both before and after my conversion. I think that John 3:19 and Romans 1:18 aptly describe my departure from the faith and my unbelief. My works were evil, I preferred darkness to the light, and I suppressed the truth so that I could pursue sin. If I remember correctly, I went from considering myself a Christian, albeit with doubts, to an unbeliever somewhere around the middle of my freshman year in college, which was the 2002-2003 school year. Looking back, I can see that God really started pursuing me toward the end of 2006. God started to develop the father-son motif in my life story. I was living farther away from my father than I ever had, and I started to think about someday having a son of my own. As I thought about one day raising a son, I reflected on my own life. I thought about my attributes that I would like to pass on to my heir, as well as things that I would rather not pass on. Most of the traits that I decided would be good to pass on were lingering virtues from my Christian upbringing. I also thought about the kind of woman that would be the ideal mother of my children. I realized that the virtues of my ideal wife and mother of my children were more likely to be found in a Christian girl than in a non-Christian girl. Although I believed that Christians were misled at the time, I decided that I could “suffer” through church on Sundays in order to have a trustworthy and faithful wife and virtuous children. Looking back, I believe that God was mercifully and graciously teaching me that I had forsaken the Father-son relationship with Him that I was made for.

My brother, Dr. Jim Hamilton, convinced me to move to Houston in February of 2007. One of the reasons that I decided to move there was that I figured there would be a wide selection of girls from which I would have a good chance of finding one with both the virtues and appearance that I desired. It turns out that God had bigger things planned for my time in Houston than finding a wife. I have sought to explain my conversion on my blog on multiple occasions, but I recently realized that the great and terrible truth is that it is an event that I cannot explain- at least not without help from the Bible. Conversations with my brother and “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel played supporting roles in my conversion, and I have given those conversations and that book much credit in the past. However, I now believe that the true story of my conversion lies in things that were unseen- Travis Cardwell’s preaching of the gospel at Baptist Church of the Redeemer, the prayers of my brother and the prayers of the multitude of people that he asked to pray for me, God the Father drawing me to the Son, the Son giving me life, and the Spirit causing me to be born again. I personally believe that my conversion gives great support to the doctrines of election and irresistible grace. Salvation is something that I wanted no part of, but the living God revealed truths to me that I could no longer suppress. This causes me to be very sympathetic when I see others who are just as opposed to the gospel as I once was, and stirs up a desire inside me to see them receive the mercy and grace of God that I have received. I love these words from “How Sweet and Awful is the Place” by Isaac Watts:

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”

I was taken from those who make a wretched choice and made to hear His voice, and I long to see the same happen to others. I believe that the best way for me to do all I can in an effort to see sinners saved is to do everything that I can to help Christ build His church and take His gospel to the ends of the earth.

I believe that seminary is an obvious next step for me because it ties together so many of my desires. I desire to see Jesus, and I believe that His coming will occur when every tribe and language and people and nation have received the gospel and had an opportunity to respond. I desire to be used of the Lord either as a missionary or pastor, and since I know very little about either of those roles, seminary training is necessary. I also desire to know God, and specifically to know Him as He has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. Lord willing all of these desires will be met at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

There are also some negative factors that have contributed to my desire to enter the ministry. I mentioned that Zechariah 11:4-5 speaks to both the current status of the “flock” and what I see as my role in the Church:

“Thus says the LORD my God, ‘Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, “Blessed be the LORD, for I have become rich!” And their own shepherds have no pity on them.'”

There are some causes for hope within the Church today. I hope to see the commitment of the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention and its seminaries to the Bible and the gospel passed down to every level of the denomination. However, there are also great causes for concern. I think that the Church is suffering the effects of a man-centered “gospel” that has led to professing Christians who look no different from the world around them, professing Christians who are unsure of their salvation, and people who are wrongly secure in their standing before God because they once made a decision, said a prayer, and got baptized. The world stands ready to buy and slay the flock with its lies, while many churches are selling the flock and depending on business strategies and statistics rather than God and His Word. And by failing to preach the gospel and the word of Christ, many shepherds are indeed showing that they have no pity on the flock.

By the grace of God, and with the direction of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I hope to be a faithful under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to preach His Word and His Gospel- He is able, perhaps He will be willing to save souls through my modest contributions to His causes.

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July 9, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. Hey brother. It was encouraging to hear this in person, and it’s always good to write it out. An encouraging story indeed.

    Comment by Chris | July 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. Praise the Lord for his work in your life Dave! It’s been a joy to see it firsthand.

    To God be the glory,

    T

    Comment by Travis Cardwell | July 9, 2008 | Reply

  3. Hallelujah!

    Good word, brother,

    Jimbo

    Comment by jimhamilton | July 9, 2008 | Reply

  4. We love you, Dave. God in you is awesome, or should I say, “awes-koss!?!” 🙂

    Rejoicing for and with you,
    Jilliana

    Comment by jimhamilton | July 9, 2008 | Reply


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