Date: 03 March 1997
To: RichMailList
Subject: [RichMailList 114]: Rich Mullins Comments


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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

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