User:Philip J. Rayment
My Christian background
I'd thought about putting something here about my Christian background, then I was asked a question along that line, so here's a bit about that. Another reason for writing this is that I'm often accused of having a peculiar view of the Bible, not shared by most other Christians. Certainly there are many who see the Bible differently to me, but I hope this will show that my views are not very unusual, as I can honestly say that my understanding is, for the most part, shared by the Christian influences on me which I discuss below. The major exception to that is that many—perhaps a large minority, perhaps a small majority—have not been biblical creationists, although relatively few would be outright (theistic) evolutionists.
It will be obvious that the Christian influences in my life have mostly been evangelical Protestant ones. However, within that category, the influences have been broad.
Finally, I've been thinking for some time that I should give some public acknowledgment of my parents, rather than wait until after they've died to say nice things about them!
There have been three main influences: my parents, the churches I've attended, and the Belgrave Heights Convention, although it was my parents who introduced me to most of those other influences, so they would have to be the most significant human influence on my life.
My father grew up in a Christian family, and attended Baptist and Church of Christ churches. After leaving school, he attended what was then known as the Melbourne Bible Institute, now the Melbourne School of Theology. This is a non-denominational, evangelical Protestant theological college.
My mother also grew up in a Christian family, the daughter of a Methodist minister and his wife, who were also missionaries in Samoa for a while, including being on staff at Piula Theological College.
Dad worked with Open Air Campaigners for a short while, after which he and Mum became staff workers with the Evangelisation Society of Australia (now ESA Country Ministries). Then Dad, although not an ordained minister, got a job as a Baptist church pastor in Tasmania for a few years, before we returned to Victoria.
Back in Victoria, Dad had a few secular jobs, including running his own businesses, but he (and we) got involved with the local non-denominational church, including him becoming its Sunday School superintendent. In addition, he did youth work, running his own Christian youth meetings, and preached in church whenever he had the opportunity. Both my parents were also involved with providing religious education (then referred to as religious instruction, or RI) in the local (government) primary school I attended (Belgrave South Primary School).
Dad's talks and sermons included a lot of apologetics, particularly on the archaeological discoveries which supported the biblical account.
Dad in particular, but Mum also, are quite logical in their thinking, and were always willing to explain things and answer questions. Mum, as the only daughter of a country parson, was a very practical person, and was driving her father around at a time when it was not common for young women to drive. If I remember correctly what I was told, she taught Dad to drive.
My parents now live in a retirement village, and run services at the village's chapel, with Dad preaching regularly.
Belgrave Heights Convention
When we moved from Tasmania back to Victoria, we moved into a house which my maternal grandparents owned next door to the Belgrave Heights Convention. This is a non-denominational evangelical Protestant Christian conference held every Christmas and Easter, based on the Keswick Convention in England, and involves around three meetings each day for around five days each time. The speakers include ministers and others from overseas and Australia.
My parents had met at the Convention (the year that it moved from Upwey), and my maternal grandmother had run houseparties there also. When I started attending, it was with the children's program, then run by Scripture Union. Living next door, my attendance was regular, and this continued after I moved away from the area, to this very day.
As far as church life is concerned, I essentially grew up in the local non-denominational church mentioned above, and at the age of 12 I started teaching Sunday School there. I "retired" from teaching Sunday School a couple of years later when we left that church in Belgrave Heights and joined the church's sister church in Belgrave, within earshot of the famous Puffing Billy Railway. (We told a visiting preacher once that when Puffing Billy whistled, it was time for the service to finish, as it was whistling for its noon departure. But we forgot that this was holiday time and Puffing Billy was operating to a different timetable, and it left before noon. The sermon was quite short that day!)
This was a small church, and I got involved again in teaching Sunday School for a while, but that was not really my calling. Dad did a lot of the preaching there at times, and I became the church's treasurer, and therefore one if its officers. The church struggled, and eventually decided to join with a denomination, and chose the Wesleyan Methodists (known as the Wesleyans in the United States).
After I moved from the area, I continued to attend for some time, but as they only had a morning service, I often attended the evening services at the local Baptist or Salvation Army churches near my new residence. After meeting the girl who became my wife, we switched to attending a Churches of Christ church, and were married there.
However, another change of residence resulted in us moving to the Baptist Church I still attend.
With this background, I don't consider myself a Baptist or anything else along that line, but simply as a Christian.
Until now, I've not mentioned Creation Ministries International, because as far as Christianity in general is concerned, they have probably been the least influence. Certainly they've been a big influence insofar as the creation/evolution/etc. issue is concerned, and being attracted to apologetics (thanks to my Dad's influence), this was right up my alley. Their general Christian outlook fits like a glove what I learned from the other influences above, but as they are a specialist creation ministry and not a general Christian ministry, their influence on me has been limited mainly to that area.
My interest started when I asked Dad the question, "If the Bible is true [that part of the question was rhetorical], how come they keep finding dinosaur fossils?". Somewhere along the line I must have picked up the view that dinosaurs were an invention of the devil, or something like that. Instead of directly answering my question, he gave me to read his copy of The Genesis Flood, the book by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb which launched the modern revival in creationism. Not long after, I came across some copies of Creation (then Ex Nihilo), the magazine produce by CMI (then CSF), and my interest in the topic has continued unabated ever since.
I come from a family that took me to church, and I don't remember a time when I didn't know that there is a God. But I think the really significant thing for me was when I was 16 or 17 going to a church which explicitly made a real effort to teach the Bible to people in an intelligible, clear way. The minister didn't just get up and give a thought for the day about the political events of that week. Instead he opened the Bible and read a chapter of the Bible and he explained it to us. And I find that experience gave a credibility to Christianity that I hadn't encountered before, and it drove me to read more, to study more and eventually ... to do lots of degrees in theology. My experience reflected on that—those seven or eight years in various universities is that I have come to the view that the intellectual arguments and the evidential arguments for Christianity are absolutely overwhelming. But the issue—the real issue is—once one has encountered those arguments, is one able to have one's desires changed and impacted in such as way that one is willing to let the implications become real for me as a person, and that's why the issue [of original sin] is so important. The teaching of original sin suggests that we are damaged and distorted in such a way that even when we encounter the evidence there's something deep within us that resists it. And that's been my experience as I look back on my life the issue for me, the struggle, the failures for me, have not been "I don't understand, I can't find the answer". No not at all; I find the answers, I resist them, I fight against them, I kick against them.— Peter Sanlon, lecturer in theology at Oakhill College, LondonUnbelievable? 28 Aug 2010 - The Fall & Original Sin commencing about 8:45. Emphasis added.
My own experience has been almost exclusively that the minister expounded Bible passages or teaching, and rarely commented on political events. But the other interesting bit is the claim that the evidence for Christianity is overwhelming, but that there's something deep within us that resists it. This, in my mind, answers the question sceptics often ask, that if the evidence is so strong, why don't more people believe it?
|Bought||Brand and model||Processor||RAM||Data storage||OS||fate|
|June 1980||Exidy Sorceror Mk II||Z80||32KB, later upgraded to 44KB(?)||Cassette tape, later upgraded to 5¼", 315KB floppy disks (16 hard sectors)||CP/M (with floppy disks)||Destroyed in Ash Wednesday fires.|
|March(?) 1983||IBM PC||8088, 4.77MHz||584kB||2 x 5¼", 360kB (double-sided) (Cassette port also available, but not used)||DOS 1.1, upgraded later (to DOS 2, then 3?)||Intact in shed.|
|July 1990||Arrow||30386, upgraded to 80486 (new motherboard) February 1998||?||5¼" FD, 3½ FD (added later?), 20MB? HD, 60MB? and second-hand 1GB? added later||DOS 3? upgraded eventually to DOS 6.2?, and Windows 3.11 eventually added||In pieces in garage?|
|December 2003||Custom built||Athlon XP 1800+, 1.53GHz||512 MB||3½ FD, 80GB HD, CD ROM R/W, DVD RO||Windows XP|| |
|June 2009||home-built, ASUS P5QL SE motherboard||Intel E7400, 2.80GHz||4 (3.5) GB||500GB + 1TB HDs||Windows XP|
|22 April 2014||4GB||256GB SSD + 500GB HD + 1TB HD||Windows 8.1|