Continued from Part 1: ~ Key factors that have shaped who I am and what I believe ~
- Critical Thinking: Two years old in Christ (2001), I moved to Dallas for undergraduate studies at Criswell College. During this time, I went through a seemingly dark period of doubt/depression, asking a lot of tough questions about God, reality, the Bible, church, etc. (journals full of such questions). While some advised, “Just believe, and don’t doubt,” I learned that God is not afraid of tough questions. He lovingly welcomes them.
- Reformed Theology: During this period of searching for answers, I was introduced to reformed theology. God became huge for me. Sin became deep. Christ became more glorious. Theologians such as Augustine, Owen, Edwards, Calvin, Charnock, Sproul, and others proved deeply valuable in shaping me spiritually and what I believe. At this time, as well, I became a part of Park Cities Presbyterian Church, where I learned much about the doctrines of grace. While there, I came to greatly appreciate the historic confessions, creeds, and other doctrinally sound things, which comprised the community-oriented liturgy. Although I could not fully embrace covenant theology, or even paedobaptism at all, this was a sweet time of sinking my spiritual roots deep into the reformed faith.
- Christian Hedonism: When I often hear or read someone who is profoundly deep in their thinking, I want to know who or what influenced them toward such thinking. I heard one or two audio messages on cassette tape by John Piper. Then (around 2002), I did some research, and went to Jonathan Edwards who greatly impacted him. I learned that God created us to be happy in him. And, so goes the oft-quoted phrase: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” I am continuing to learn how to live out the implications of Christian Hedonism in all of life.