The Personal Testimony of Henry Thompson
“Intelligence is like four-wheel drive. It only allows you to get stuck in more remote places.” ~ Garrison Keillor
If having earned a graduate degree is an indication, I am an intelligent person. However, my testimony is a bad news/good news story.
The Bad News
Though raised in a devout Roman Catholic family, my teen years were marked by anger, rebellion, selfishness, and hedonism. I continued this behavior throughout my early adult life. I never totally abandoned God (though I might as well had for how I was living). If you had asked me then was I a:a) Christian b) Moslem c) Jew d) Agnostic/atheist e) Other
I would have certainly said Christian. In my spiritual life, I flitted back and forth between liberal Protestantism and humanistic pseudo-worship. In reality, I was a devout worshipper of the god of self.
At age 33, I examined my life and found it wanting. Despite outward appearances, I concluded that the once good student had failed at life through poor choices and self-centeredness, and I was not sure how or why.
The Good News
At age 33, I accepted a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But God had been working to save me through relationships long before then (and long after). While still in college, I married the love of my life. Though I was a bad influence on her, she proved to be the anchor that kept me from total self-destruction.
Eventually we had a daughter, another relationship that helped lead me back to God. As she grew up, the humanist answers I gave to her deep questions rang false in my own ears. My wife convinced me we should homeschool our daughter which lead to more new relationships.
As we befriended other homeschooling families, the real differences between the non-Christian and the Christian families became markedly apparent. One Christian family invited us to church (try it, it works!). We went once and never stopped attending.
However, after spending over a decade as members of this church, our teenage daughter announced something that shocked me—that once she left home, she would not be a member of our denomination. Her statement jarred me and I was convicted of a truth I already knew but did not want to admit—this mainstream denomination’s values no longer matched our family’s values. The thought of leaving this church where I had come to know Christ was daunting though, almost overwhelmingly so.
Again God had already provided the relationship we needed. A year earlier a younger couple had moved in next door to us. As we became friends with them, we noted that they had similar values to our own. When my wife told the younger woman about our church dilemma, the woman told her about a denomination where we might fit in.
We visited Grace Reformed and, after encountering the warmness and quiet confidence of the people we met, never stopped attending, though we came in with no formal knowledge of Reformed theology. It was a steep learning curve but God had made me a good student!
I love apologetics. Systematic theology makes sense to me as does fitting and orderly worship. But the biggest appeal to me is the modeling of Christ’s love I see in the relationships at this church. I pray I model the same love.
A friend suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that the title for my testimony be “chosen but not frozen.” I hope I can live up to the confidence he expressed in me when I offer hospitality to visitors at our church! For all the relationships God has provided me with, the most important being with Himself, I can strive for no less.