was born into a Roman Catholic f


UP Teachers  

I was born into a Roman Catholic family being baptized shortly after my birth in the June of 1944, and given the middle name "Joseph". The name does not appear on my birth certificate, but it is the practice of Roman Catholics to call their offspring after one of the "Saints". In my case to quote one of the members of my English family, I was called after "Our Lord's Foster Father". That I was not raised a papist has been a great disappointment for my mother, but when she abandoned me at three month old, she lost all rights as to how I should be reared. Indeed her abandonment of me was my providential escape from the errors and superstitions of Roman Catholicism. 

As England raised me it was only appropriate that I was brought up in the State church, the Church of England. I have never regretted that, as the Anglicans that taught me were of the Biblical variety and therefore committed to the Evangelical Faith.

My foster parents were Salvationists and I conformed to their faith and worship, but my own faith cut across all Christian denominations, except for Catholicism, as I embraced unreservedly and unashamedly Calvinism. That Calvinism is the religion of the Bible goes without saying, and it is significant that men like Professor CH Dodd rejected the authority of the Bible because it teaches the Reformed faith. John Calvin and other Protestant teachers have through their writings pointed us to New Testament Christianity and I for one am very grateful they did,  as the Reformed faith has been a tremendous help to me.

Calvinism has underlined for me;

        The absolute centrality of Jesus Christ to the Christian gospel. 

Without the Nazarene Christianity falls to the ground, he is central, the alpha and omega of faith. He is our Prophet, Priest and King, he is "God over all blessed forever". Robert Traill sums up the Calvinist teaching as it respect Jesus Christ when he writes "I know no true religion but Christianity; no true Christianity but the doctrine of Christ; the doctrine of his divine person, of his divine office, of his divine righteousness, and of his divine Spirit, which all that are his receive. I know no true ministers of Christ but such as make it their business, in their calling, to commend Jesus Christ, in his saving fulness of grace and glory, to the faith and love of men; no true Christian but one united to Christ by faith and love, unto the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ, in the beauty of Gospel holiness. Ministers and Christians of this spirit have been for many years my brethren and companions, and I hope shall ever be, whithersoever the hand of God shall lead me."

        The value and importance of a single human being.

 Calvinism made me feel important. It taught me that I was the gift of God the Father to God the Son. When I discovered that truth it gave me a great deal of self esteem. I started to walk tall, to feel valued, and in spite of my upbringing made to feel wanted. The knowledge that the Eternal God so loved me that he gave me as a gift to his Son, Jesus Christ, filled me with a high degree of self respect that nothing else was able to do, or has done. Such knowledge prompted my worship. Calvinism put a value on me, and taught me never to think of myself as cheap. "Particular Redemption"  became much more realistic and comforting to me than "Mass Atonement"

           The foolishness of demanding answers from God

When things go wrong in life the temptation is to ask "Why Me?" I too have raised that question. Why was I not raised by my mother and father? Why did I have to go through the trauma of missing out on loving and caring parents? One of the first lesson that one learns as a Calvinist is that you "never demand from God an explanation of his dealings with you". I learnt the hard way that the "Secret things belong onto God, but what he has revealed belong unto us and to our children forever" It slowly dawned on me that the way to peace is the way of acceptance of God's plan for you, never to demand answerers, and always to be grateful for what he has been pleased to show you. The Sovereign God has shown me through his loving care of me that "He has been a father to the fatherless" as it respects my own circumstances, and in that knowledge I am content to rest and rejoice.