No. 17 on the list of the most-read posts on this blog appeared on April 12, 2006, and was my interview with Dr. Sam Storms. Sam is a well-known Calvinistic charismatic speaker. He writes popular books which express a very similar theology to that of John Piper in an accessible way. His latest book, Signs of the Spirit, is an interpretation of Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections, and another book, scheduled to be released by Crossway in February, is entitled “The Hope of Glory—100 Daily Meditations on Colossians.” It was good to be able to ask Sam some questions via e-mail.
It’s a delight to welcome Sam Storms of Enjoying God Ministries to the blog today. Sam, to begin with, would you tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and your ministry?
Thanks, Adrian. I’m honored that you would want to interview me. I’m 55 years old and have been married to my incredible wife, Ann, for nearly 34 years. I’m a bit surprised you didn’t ask the question that so many others have, so I’ll come right to the point: Yes, I did propose to her on our first date! I certainly don’t recommend that for anyone else. But after 34 wonderful years of marriage, it worked for us (or maybe it worked in spite of that rather impetuous proposal).
I have two daughters. Melanie is 27 and lives in Kansas City with her husband and two sons. What that means is that, much to my surprise, I’m old enough to be married to a grandmother! My other daughter, Joanna, is 21 and is in her third year at Wheaton College, where I taught Theology from 2000 through 2004.
I left Wheaton in 2004 and established Enjoying God Ministries so that I could have more liberty in what I study, write, and teach. I loved Wheaton. Although Wheaton is mainstream evangelical and not even remotely charismatic, they were incredibly kind and generous to me. I had the opportunity to stay there another two years, but felt the Lord was leading us to leave. I describe in some detail in my book, Convergence, how we were led to Wheaton and again back to Kansas City.
Enjoying God Ministries is primarily designed to be a resource to pastors, Christians, and churches everywhere. I’ve put virtually everything I’ve ever written on the website (except for books still in print), free for anyone to download and use as they please. I’m traveling extensively and trying to write as much as I can. Crossway will be publishing my revised and expanded book, Chosen for Life: A Defense of Divine Election, later this year. So I’m staying exceedingly busy, to say the least.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you came to become a Christian, and how you got into ministry?
I was raised in a very conservative Southern Baptist home. We lived in Oklahoma and Texas until I moved to Kansas City in 1993. My parents led me to Christ when I was about nine years old. But honestly, I can’t recall a time when I didn’t know Jesus as my Savior. I know there was a time, but I was immersed in the life and faith of my family and the church from as far back as I can remember.
I had a very distinct and powerful “call” into ministry when I was ten years old. For awhile, in my late teens, I thought I might pursue a career as a professional golfer, but even then I envisioned some form of ministry being tied up in it. My golf career came to a fitting end when I realized that I had too little talent and too much of a bad temper!
Who, would you say, has had the biggest influence on you?
My parents and my sister, first and foremost. I had a wonderful Christian home and family. In terms of spiritual development, two men in particular had a powerful impact on me. Russ McKnight, a lay elder in a church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, profoundly influenced me beginning in my college years. He was the first person to introduce the Reformed faith to me and put up with my Arminianism very patiently. He, more than anyone else, is the reason I’m a Calvinist. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, who was professor of New Testament, and later Systematic Theology, at both Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, had the greatest impact on my overall theological development. But more than that, he provided me with a model of godly excellence in all of life.
As for those still living who’ve influenced me, certainly John Piper would be at the top of the list. John’s personal friendship and theological orientation have been an indescribable blessing. In fact, I’m answering this question as I sit in the airport on my way to preach for him at Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis. John and I first met at a Jonathan Edwards conference in Wheaton back in 1984.
Others whom God has used in my life would include Mike Bickle, Jack Deere, and Wayne Grudem, primarily when it comes to my rejection of cessationism and my broader experience of the Holy Spirit.
As for the distant dead, Jonathan Edwards towers above all others. But there have been others. Calvin, Luther, Owen, the 19th century Princeton theologian, Charles Hodge, 19th century theologian, William G. T. Shedd (I consumed his multi-volume, Theology, while in seminary), and B. B. Warfield. More recently I’d have to point to Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
Read more . . . Interview With Dr. Sam Storms