"Professor Lee, could you tell us of your background as a Christian? I was born in 1934 near the Scottish border, of a father who was a militant Atheist and a mother who was a Roman Catholic, and was reared in an atmosphere of religious disagreement. In 1940, we moved to Cape Town (South Africa) where father was head of Radar Command for the Royal Navy. But it wasn’t until 1955 that I received assurance of my salvation in Christ.
"What was your early training in religion? While I went often to Roman Catholic services, my earliest memories are of my father taking me aside at the age of seven and saying: "Son, thereis no God, and the Church isnothingmorethanamoney-makingracket." My father used to give out atheistic tracts, and had a ready supply of rationalistic books disproving the Bible — which I was eager to read. From eight years of age until 21, I was a rank Atheist.
"How does a man come out from such a background as this to be not only a Christian, but a Professor of Christian Theology? Only by the Sovereign Grace of God! While an unbelievingLawStudent, Iworked during along vacation in agoldmine. Ihad recently bought a Bible to read, so that I could better refute it — and had been reading Romans, without understanding.
"Then, on the 25th November 1955, I was caught 2000 feet underground when an explosion occurred. I knew that I was cornered. Not only my career, but life itself would soon be over. Just then, God overpowered me. And totally independently of the ministry of any human being, I knew that I was a child of God.
"I knew the objective reality of Christ’s atonement and righteousness imputed to me. I knew I had been justified and would be saved; and pledged to devote the rest of my life to the service of the Lord.
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"After you were rescued and safe above ground, did you regret your conversion? Immediately I doubted. It seemed a poor thing to offer oneself to God in return for reaching safety. Yetyearsbefore,Ihadwantedto be a RomanCatholicPriesteventhoughan unbeliever. On reflection, it therefore seemed logical to become a Minister — now that I believed.
"Did your conversion make any difference to your lifestyle? Yes! Not long before the mine explosion, I had left home — determined never to return. But Bible studyshowed me that I had to honour my father and my mother, return home, and be reconciled to them.
"Were your parents then affected? Well, yes, though their hearts remained hardened towards the Christian Faith. However, I realized too that it was my duty to pray for their conversion. I did; and in the Lord’s good time and providence, they believed.
"Now that you had believed, how did you grow in your Christian understanding? Originally, I was antagonistic to the doctrines of Grace — man doesn’t easily give glory to God for all things, you know! But my movement to consistent Christianity (known as ‘Calvinism’) came through the study of Scripture. I soon realized that I had to decide whether the Bible was the word of man, orwhetherit was what it said it was, the Word of God (see First Thessalonians 2:13); whether Iwas thereforeunderits complete authorityand would have to do what the Bible says, or continue picking and choosing from it according to my own whim.
"Were there any deterrents to your early Christian Life? There were people and things I became waryof. Iam waryof churches which want aquick commitment; Iam waryof people who pressure others to ‘get’conversions. The Church should not resort to ruses and gimmicks in order to convert people. God is, after all, more eager to save people than any human being could be. HewillsaveHisown people,with orwithoutourefforts–usuallythroughthefaithful preaching of His Word, but never by deception.