I had the privilege of growing up in a godly, Christian home. At a very young age, I had a fear of standing before the Lord at the judgment seat. One night during a strong thunderstorm, I made a profession of faith. During my teen years, I retained that fear of judgment, and I could never seem to get an assurance of my salvation. I went to church three times a week, went to a Christian school where the Word of God was consistently taught, and had godly parents encouraging me on throughout the week. Although I was surrounded by all these blessings, I never studied the Word on my own. As I grew, I unfortunately began to love the things of the world that were so opposed to the teachings of Christ. For years, I was what the Scripture calls “a double-minded man”.
In my early twenties, the Lord would finally crush me after a long, miserable struggle. I happened to be reading in 1 Samuel 28 of King Saul when he, in the midst of desperation, "inquired of the Lord" and "the Lord did not answer him...." I misapplied this verse to myself, thinking that the Lord would never answer me in my desire to have assurance of salvation. It was as if I lost all ability to reason. My mind began to race, and I had a nervous breakdown. For the next year and a half, outside of work, I did nothing but read and study the Word of God. I also began to read books that actually provided me with the answers I had been looking for. The book Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan proved most beneficial in my life. I realized that the object of my faith had been my faith, rather than Christ.
Soon thereafter, I met my wife Rachel, and we grew together in our understanding of the "Doctrines of Grace." We have three children: Brittany, Madelyn, and Ronnie. In 2008, after a two year internship, I had the privilege of becoming a lay elder at Grace Community Church in Maryville, TN. In 2010, the Lord graciously provided a way for me to become an associate pastor/staff elder. I thank the Lord for guiding me to Reformed Baptist Seminary. RBS has provided me with a deeper understanding of the essential doctrines of our most holy faith, and has helped prepare me to confidently give a defense of the hope that lies within me to anyone who asks!
Ron O'Dell, Graduate
Reformed Baptist Seminary