From the Reformed Quarterly Winter 1987 Bulletin.

At age six, Ned Rutland wanted to be a minister, influenced by a loving pastor in his church in Montgomery, Alabama.  At the age of fifteen he asked a minister how he could give his life to Christ, and the minister responded by giving him the book “Being and Nothingness” by existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre.  By the age of eighteen Ned was running whiskey, and by the age of twenty he was dealing drugs all over the southeast.

A sensitive, intelligent, and independent young man, Rutland had bought the existentialist philosophy as the answer to life’s complex questions, apparently ending the search for meaning that had begun in childhood.  His goal became pleasure and his motto “If a little is good, then a lot is better.”

In 1964 he went to Auburn University and “ran amuck.”  College was incidental to party-time, as he ran whiskey, raced motorcycles, skydived, and dealt drugs.  By 1965, he grew tired of college and took to the open road, traveling all over North America.

After he and Valerie married in 1969, they scraped together $1200, left their belongings in a brown paper bag with his mother, and began a trip around the world.  They had traveled as far as Austria when Ned contracted a serious case of pneumonia, and they were forced home.

Back in Montgomery, Ned’s close brush with disaster caused him to reevaluate his life.  He got a job during the day and for a year went back to night school to complete his degree.  During that year, Ned and Valerie met Jack DeBardeleben, a former RTS student, who opened the Scriptures and answered all of Ned’s life-long philosophical questions.  Shortly thereafter, both Rutlands accepted Christ and Ned subsequently attended RTS.

God has taken Ned’s stubborn, independent spirit — once so destructive — and made it just the right requirement needed to build a school and church from nothing.  And it will be just the characteristic needed to hurdle new obstacles in a bright future for Westminster Church and Academy.