"A Short Profile,"

by Ronald Ginther


My own conversion came at age 15 (same age my father said he was converted while reading scripture and being convicted of his sin, then repenting), at a Christian church-supported high school in South Dakota, Augustana Academy in Canton, S.D. in 1957.

I was a Christian, born again and saved, for a couple years, until I turned 19 and was about to enter college. I was ignorant of how to live a Christian life, and ignorant of the Holy Spirit, and so I easily jettisoned my faith in Christ to get my life back under my own control and do whatever I wanted. Fifteen years of backsliding, apostasy, and sinning followed as I went through years of college, working in landscaping, then the Air Force, and then college once again to finish getting my degrees. I was an agnostic, dabbling in New Age Religion and an occult book, but while at college Christ came back into my life and heart--sovereignly, not by my own choice or action as much by his divine intervention. Secularism and atheistic humanism had ruined me for faith in anything but the things that were drawing me away from God, yet this is how Christ triumphed over my agnosticism and secularism of thoughtlife. I read the Greek dramas in a Humanity's Class, and it restored my knowledge and belief that there is a moral order in the Universe. The Greeks believed there is a moral order in the Universe--the secularists do not. But I accepted that the brilliant Greek dramatists presented a better case! In the same course we read Job. This book of the Bible, I realized, was of a higher moral level than the Greeks, and the poetry of it was even more magnificent than the finest passages of Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus. That impressed me that the Bible had merit, for how could I ignore that fact, having seen that Job surpassed the best that Greek dramas had to offer.

Next, I had been reading the Master, William Shakespeare, all along through college training in literature, and Hamlet, King Lear, and other immortal plays by the Stratford-on-Avon genius convinced me that man has honor and meaning to his existence. This too secularism and humanism had destroyed in me, but Shakespeare restored it for me. So now, added to my belief in a moral order in the Universe (and a respect for the Bible, particularly Job), was my belief that man is not meaningless as taught by the Existentialists and the secularists and other great thinkers in their books, plays, philosophies, and dramas. To the contrary, man is a meaningful being! He has a future and a hope. But what were they? Next "it happened" one day that someone left a Gospel of John on a bannister of the staircase in the dorm which I routinely used to get to my room on the second floor. I picked it up and took it along to my room, then opened it like any book of literature or philosophy and began reading attentively and seriously. I had never read it before like this, but I read it through in one sitting, giving it my critical attention. As I read it, I saw that the case it was presenting was perfectly credible, well-evidenced and set forth, and when I closed the book, I said to myself, having come to my inescapable conclusion at the end of the events of Jesus's Crucifixion and Resurrection: "He's the Son of God!"

I realized that the book told the truth, and I was convinced by its case and evidence for that belief, and I thought no more of it that day. But that opened the door to God I had closed fifteen years previously when I set off on the prodigal's path to self-destruction. When I ended my reading of the Gospel of John, I had testified to myself (I thought I was alone) that I believed that I had accepted the truth presented in the Gospel of John, that Jesus is the Son of God. But Someone else must have been there with me! I did not guess that just doing that brought not merely God, but Jesus Christ back into my heart and life to be my Savior and Lord. But it did! I began hearing from the Spirit, and being urged to leave on graduation and take work in Minneapolis with my Christian uncle and aunt in their landscaping business, I left Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington (a once small college town in the Potholes/Palouse Wheat Country of Eastern Washington) and moved to Minneapolis. I immediately was ushered into a new life in Christ, taken to a real, living, Bible-based church of the Lord, where I could begin to grow in the knowledge and stature of the Lord Jesus under Bible-based preaching and study and prayer and fellowship with the church.

I had lost fifteen years of my life in terrible folly and sin and spiritual apostasy, yet God restored me to himself and his kingdom, and saved me from death and destruction where I was surely headed. I could not remake the past, nor redeem the shameful deeds of my sinfulness, but Christ could! It doesn't all happen at once, but He makes all things new as the scripture says. I became, due to the grace of Christ and his power to save and restore, a Christian, something I had fifteen years before this vowed not to be again! I gladly ate those foolish words, as I wouldn't dream of returning to a life of sin and self-serving indulgment of this world and its pleasures and poisons. That was death, not life, I found. That was error, not truth. I had taken a wrong path and now had been set back on the path to life. I am so glad Christ saved me--again! I want the truth, I want life, I want the happiness and light that only Jesus can give. The bumper stickers you used to see were wrong, in my experience. I didn't find "Christ". He found me! I was not seeking to be a Christian at all But still, due to the prayers of others, He had mercy on me and intervened. Otherwise I would be lost and have gone to hell. That intervention of his made all the difference in the world for me.--Ronald Ginther


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