If you have not read it yet, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield offers a tremendous look into the world of someone coming to faith in Jesus Christ from far outside the camp of Christian nurture. Teaching as a militant lesbian feminist at a private secular university, she came to faith through the gentle yet consistent testimony of an PRCNA minister and his wife.
I am not going to review the book here. Others have done that in a much more persuasive way than I might. But what I find so fascinating about a book like hers is that, unlike what those who have grown up in the church might write, there’s a forthrightness about the sometimes subtle but ever-present antithesis between Christianity and the world. For someone like Mrs. Butterfield, she communicates the bristling of the flesh against God’s Law in a way with which many can identify, but few are willing to admit out in the open. A wonderful example of this is found on page 40 as Mrs. Butterfield reveals her “initial inner turmoil” at the membership oaths of her denomination. The fifth concerns her observance of the Sabbath:
5. To the end that you may grow in the Christian life, do you promise that you will diligently read the Bible, engage in private prayer, keep the Lord’s Day, regularly attend the worship services, observe the appointed sacraments, and give to the Lord’s work as He shall prosper you?
How will I build my empire if I spend all of this time on God? How will I conduct my professional life without using Sunday as a workday?
A little later, Mrs. Butterfield continues, “It took me three months after committing my life to Christ to consent to these vows because I was afraid to move too far away from my life, as I had known it. A chapter of my life had just closed, but I had no idea at the time how severely I would feel its closure. Consenting to these vows meant simply that there was no going back.”