Hi Rich Fans,
Typically, I don't forward personal testimony posts to the list, but I found this one compelling enough to share with everyone. Except that my background is Lutheran, the rest of the story closely resembles mine, and I'll guess, many of yours as well. Thanks, Robert.
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 1997 19:59:34 (CST) From: Robert Sparkman Subject: Rich Mullins comments Danl: I would like to mention to your mailing list members the benefit that I have gotten from Rich Mullins and his work. I come from a Worldwide Church of God background. Some of you may be aware of the reforms we have made in our church recently. We were known as being a very legalistic group, some would have called us a cult. We taught that elements of the Old Covenant, including Saturday Sabbathkeeping, observance of the annual holy days of Leviticus 23, triple tithing, and adherence to Jewish dietary laws were part of the Christian obligation. We considered members of other religious groups to be sincere, albeit false believers. About a year before the changes, I began to fall short of our church's standards in some areas. With our works-oriented theology, I felt as though my salvation were in jeopardy. I can remember spending some tearful moments contemplating my unworthiness before God. Part of the changes involved a change in this works oriented theology and an understanding of grace. For all my studying of the Bible, I didn't have a basic understanding of justification, imputed righteousness, and sanctification. I had no good understanding of grace, although I always thought in the end that grace would 'make up' where I fell short in my efforts. I still believed, though, that my works merited my salvation, and that if I didn't have enough works, I would be burned in the lake of fire. I had accepted Christ's sacrifice on my behalf years ago, but due to my immature belief system, I didn't have the full security that I should have had. I was introduced to Rich Mullins' music shortly after the reforms had begun by the music director at our church. Besides the teaching of my church, Rich Mullins' music helped me to understand the love and security that we find in Christ. It helped me to focus more on Christ rather than myself. I found a lot of comfort in his songs, especially 'Hold Me Jesus'. Also, I saw all the earmarks of a converted man in the music, and he richly portrays the struggle that we all go through. I didn't feel that I could call him or other Christians unconverted due to their doctrinal beliefs. Our relationship with Christ is what makes us Christians, not adherence to a particular set of doctrinal beliefs. I count Rich Mullins as one of my spiritual mentors. I know he doesn't like to be praised excessively, but I feel God has used his gift powerfully, and it has benefitted me. I wouldn't go asking for his advice on every issue as some have tried to do, but I value some of his insight theologically. I have all his records and his one video. I also picked up on his allusion to Brennan Manning's THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL and read it as well. I guess the book inspired some of Rich's thinking and music; I would recommend it to all to get a better handle on God's love and our security with God. I would appreciate hearing more about Rich Mullin's philosophy and the influences behind it, if anyone has more information on this. Please feel free to post me privately at UACPRXS%RS1@NAVL.COM. Regards, Robert Sparkman Work email UACPRXS%RS1@NAVL.COM School email SPARRL01@HOLMES.IPFW.INDIANA.EDU