I wanted to learn more about this God I was finding as I studied the Bible more and more. I wanted to know him better by reading his book better. The desire to know God better made me more hungry for him. I was struck by the quality of the faculty and staff at RTS Atlanta. As I got to know men like John Sowell, Jonathan Stuckert, and Bruce Lowe, I encountered a kind of holiness I hadn’t before: a holiness of authenticity, a holiness of service, a holiness of joy, a holiness of gentleness, a holiness of wisdom, a holiness of character. Never before had I realized how “alive” a true knowledge of God by the grace of the Holy Spirit in his Word makes a person.
The most immediate benefit of my education was learning to read the Bible. Learning the appropriate use of the original languages, learning the importance of context, learning the different approaches to specific genres: all these instruments came together under the conductors of RTS to make a symphonic concert in my soul to understand the beauty of Jesus as revealed through the Bible.
The second benefit from my time at RTS is understanding the vitality of loving people. Admittedly, my initial enrollment at RTS was to increase my head knowledge. I wanted to know more of God. However, after a year or so I realized knowing God required knowing people. Jonathan Stuckert and several other RTS folks literally moved my home from an apartment to a house when my lease expired while my wife was ill in the hospital. John Sowell, as busy as he was, took the time to hear about my day at any given moment. Bruce Lowe told story after story about evangelistic conversations with people on the bus, with neighbors, with contractors at his house; he told stories of how he prayed with his children asking the Holy Spirit for help as they were terrified at getting their shots at the doctor. RTS made me realize a heart for God requires a heart for people.
Before enrolling at RTS I was a very literal reader of the Bible, firmly pursuing the dogmatic truth. After finishing RTS, I still venerate the Bible and recognize its absolute authority and inerrancy, but I recognize it’s a document given in human language; language is a liquid form, and liquid takes the form of the solid in which it is placed. Likewise, biblical obedience will look different in different cultures and situations. I feel like I have a better understanding of what it means that Jesus desires compassion rather than sacrifice; that truth sets free rather than binds; that real truth clothes itself in love.