Ken Miller grew up in Stuarts Draft, Virginia in an Amish-Mennonite home. His parents were loyal participants in their local church and had a very high regard for God as the source of morality and goodness.
They actively taught these beliefs to their children. In the context of his home and also in the family business, Ken learned from a young age to be honest and truthful and to expect consequences for wrong doing. Ken grew up being taught a strong reverence for God as the source of all truth and beauty.
In his teenage years Ken entered a time of rebellion and confusion. In his anger and rebellion he deliberately violated his conscience, did things which he knew to be wrong and so lived in a state of anguish for a time. The longer he lived like this, the more shame and guilt he felt. One day , overwhelmed with the weight of his guilt, he went to his room alone and cried out to God for mercy. At that moment, Ken says, “It was like I had come alive.” He immediately felt that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person, that Jesus had taken away his sins and he gave his life to that Jesus. He went from feeling rotten to feeling exuberant.
From that day on, things were never the same for Ken. While he knows he has made many mistakes and has failed Jesus countless times along the way, he feels Jesus in His great mercy has not given up on him. His experience with Christ has been for him a source of great joy and peace. He believes Jesus is patiently helping him become more whole, more alive, more completely the person he was created to be. He has discovered this promise of Jesus to be ever so true: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take me yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Ken thinks many people are not as disillusioned with Christ as they are disillusioned with a Christianity that has misrepresented Christ. He thinks much of Christianity has pushed Jesus to the margins, and believes that if people want to discover the real Jesus they need to look past church groups and denominations and look to the actual life and teachings of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospels. “Read the primary documents for yourselves,” he tells people, “and see if Jesus isn’t the most delightful, captivating, and winsome of all personalities.” Ken says that if we really want to know Jesus we must follow Him in real life, pass through the narrow gate of self-surrender, and do as He said; “…Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Matthew 16:24) Ken believes that Christianity has lost much of its potency because “We have a Christianity that wants to worship Jesus but doesn’t want to obey Him.”
Ken thinks all of Jesus’ teachings matter, including His teaching on marriage. Ken met his own wife, Linda, when she came to Stuarts Draft as a school teacher. They’ve been married going on 23 years and God has given them six children which are a source of joy and delight. It’s not all been easy. Ken and Linda acknowledge that they’ve been through some tough times together, but now, more than ever they are best friends and lovers.
Ken says it is clear that Jesus taught marriage is to be a life-long relationship between one man and one woman. In reflecting on the gay marriage movement, Ken said he does not think this movement poses the greatest threat to God’s design for marriage. “Rather,” he said, the greatest threat is a Christianity that has marginalized and compromised Jesus’ teaching on marriage. The teaching of Jesus as understood by the Church for the first 300 years of its history allowed for divorce or separation in rare cases, but re-marriage was viewed as adultery.” Ken longs for a radical repentance within Christianity—for a return to Jesus on this issue and others. “That would get to the root of the problem, it would revolutionize our society and it would do far more good than all the anti-gay marriage legislation put together.”
That is not to say that Ken is in favor of gay marriages. Ken sees the solution for the sins of adultery and other sexual sins—including homosexuality—as being life-long repentance. Repentance is decisively turning away from sin and turning wholeheartedly to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. “I’m not saying it’s easy,” Ken says. “I know from personal experience that sexual sins are of a nature that can make them extraordinarily difficult to overcome. But Jesus came to save us from our sins, and He is very patient and merciful if we are honest with Him about our struggles. And if we take the long-range view and think seriously about the coming judgment of God against sin, life-long repentance becomes the only viable option, and a very joyful one too. “