Will County Baptist Church
Personal Testimony of Dr. Dale A. Steenhoven
You are Either "Safe" or You Are "Out."
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God: Ephesians 2:8.
Pastors and Sunday School teachers had said to me, "You need to get saved!" That was in the late 1950's and early part of 1960. I had no idea what they meant. Saved? Saved from what? Saved for what? I guess I didn't take the time to really think about it (too busy playing and goofing off). Then one Sunday afternoon in June 1960, my sister, Beverly, got my attention by asking me: "Dale, do you know if you died today, you'd go to Heaven?" I could understand that question. I didn't know, but wanted to. She took the Bible, and showed me the Romans Road to Heaven, ending with Romans 10:13 -- "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
" Saved" is like the word safe. When you are playing baseball and you try to steal second base, the umpire has to decide if you are safe. You need to be safe or you are out. Who is going to decide if you are safe, saved from the anguish of eternity without God. It's not the umpire, although you might consider God the umpire in these matters. It's not you, although you may realize now that you are "safe." God alone will make the decision as to whether you are saved or not.
Salvation is not something you strive for, it is received. Paul said, "that not of yourselves: It is the gift of God." Every December, we celebrate the Christmas season where gifts are handed out and received. No one had to work for them, but everyone had to receive them. That is, they had to receive the gift if it is going to be theirs. On June 14, 1960, I bowed my head and asked the Lord to save me. My sister, Bev, said, that if I would give God my sin, He would give me his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). I received Jesus Christ as my Savior. Like an umpire making the call at second base, the Lord yelled out for all of heaven to hear, "SAFE!" In the presence of the angels there was rejoicing in heaven. "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:7. I'm safe! Saved by the blood of the crucified one. God made the decision. He made the call, "SAVED!"
I've regretted a lot of things in my life, but never regretted making the most important decision of my life. I desire Jesus Christ to be LORD of my life. I don't desire a "fire-escape" salvation. I want my life to count for HIM!
A couple of years later, I followed the Lord in believer's baptism by immersion at the First Baptist Church of Tyler, Minnesota, when John Ballentine was my pastor. Within a few months, God called me to preach, while I was attending Summer Bible Camp. I attended Pillsbury Baptist College, in Owatonna, Minnesota from 1968-1972. It was during this time that I met my precious wife, Rhoda Wilson, and we were married July 17, 1971. I attended Central Baptist Theological Seminary from 1973-1974.
I founded the Will County Baptist Temple in Joliet, IL. in September of 1976. Rhoda and I had our first child, a son, Aaron Dale, on November 1, 1980. We were blessed again on June 6, 1985, with the birth of our daughter, Amber Dawn.
I have earned my Master's degree and Ph.D. by taking correspondence courses through Patriot University of Colorado. My thesis for my master's degree was a commentary on the book of Galatians, and my thesis for my doctorate was a commentary on the book of Isaiah.
I thank God for the privilege of serving the Lord Jesus Christ, and my desire is that you will know Him and serve Him also.