I'm often confused with libertarians or conservatives, but I'm really just a good ol' fashioned Calvinist. My journey to be a Christian was a long one. I considered myself an atheist as an early teenager, even though I had never read any of the Bible (something I've discovered is very common among atheists). I think it was mostly a rejection of the United Church of Canada, to which our family had nominal ties. At 14 a good friend of mine was being dragged to Sunday School by his mother, and asked if I would come along with him to keep him company. I agreed, arrogantly thinking that this was my opportunity to argue the "truth" into these people. The church was the Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church. They were quite new and had no facilities. Nor did they have a SS class for 14 year olds. The best they could do was a college class taught by a professor at Trinity Western University ... studying the book of Revelation! To put it mildly, I was out of my league. Which is not to say that I still didn't try to argue my way through every class. I stayed the entire year, and if nothing else I came to appreciate the Bible as an intelligent book that could not be blown off as "full of mistakes or contradictions." For many years I tried to find errors in the Bible, but I was never successful.
When I came back the following year I was put in the same class, but now there was something much different. The new teacher was not an academic, and the subject matter was something about faith (I can't recall exactly). There was much more personal discussion, and it made me very uncomforable. How can you argue with someone who's talking about a conviction given to them by God. I sensed that there really was something different about Christians that went beyond a set of knowledge. It scared me, and so I left.
For the next seven years I would continue to "accidently" run into Christians
where ever I went. My high school math and physics teacher was a Christian,
and he took a special interest in me. I ran into a Gideon fellow named
Peter when I was an undergraduate, and he spent hours arguing with me. I would argue with anyone, JWs,
Mormons, you name it. I had, by the time I reached the end of high school, managed to inadvertently convince myself that God existed, but I was sure not convinced that any religion was the way to go. I thought it would be better if I just made up my own. Which, of course, I did. Not that it lasted long.
A turning point came sometime in the spring of 81. I was arguing with my old Gideon friend, and he trapped me in a corner. To get out I said, "well, of course, I believe in God." Without missing a beat he turned to the passage James 2:19 "You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." It was a real blow to my ego. Not because of what the passage said, but because it was such an obvious point and I missed it. Maybe I wasn't so smart after all. The true watershed of my life, though, came while I was in Calgary in the fall of 81. While standing outside a bank, I listened to a band playing across the street. When they stopped playing, they shared the gospel. Although I had probably been told this many times in my debates over the years, this was the first time I had heard it: I was a sinner; separated from God and there was nothing I could do to correct that; the penalty of sin was death; Jesus died for me as a substitute and bore the penalty; I had to accept that sacrifice and ask God to rule my life.
It was like being hit by a bolt of lightening, and it scared me to death. Though the speaker invited people down to pray, I did not go. Like Jonah, I went home in the opposite direction. I'll spare all the details of what happened next, but when I look back on it I just see God constantly leading me through this time. Through a series of events I ended up attending the Langley Evangelical Free Church in January of 82. There I heard the gospel constantly, and after about three weeks I gave my life over to Christ. The peace that came upon me at that moment literally transcended all understanding, and has been the foundation of my faith ever since.
Today I attend a small evangelical church called Aldergrove Alliance, which is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Denomination. I've taught Sunday School almost continuously since 1983, and currently teach a senior high class. I've also worked as chairman of the board, nursery worker, children's church coordinator, and usher. It sounds like a lot, but in a small church one wears a lot of hats. One thing I'll never do is sing in a choir! I enjoy apologetics and also reading about scientific evidence in support of the Bible. One book I would highly recommend is "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution" by Michael Behe.
Over the past 20 years our church has been raising money for their own facility. In the early days we thought it would look something like:
Over 2006-2009 we actually built a church, but it looks like:It looks a little like a shopping mall. That way if things go south we can always resell the building!
I see no conflict between being an economist and a Christian. In fact, I think most reformed theologians were pretty good economists at heart. What is the difference between the depravity of man and the principle of maximization? The same cannot be said of many of my students. I've noticed that, over time and as we move more into a post-Christian culture, students can literally be offended by the idea one of their professors is a Christian. I think students often associate me with many of the agendas of political religious groups, without bothering to ask me about it. It doesn't help that most students gain all of their Biblical knowledge from The Simpsons. However, for those who would like to know more about my personal interaction with faith and science, please feel free to email me.