Old Testament, New Life
Michael Crews ’02 keeps his Belhaven diploma hanging prominently in his Shelter Insurance office in Brandon, Miss. He is proud of his Belhaven degree, but that’s not the main reason he brings it up in daily conversations with his 1200 clients. As he shifts his gaze towards his diploma, he says, “I look at my degree as secondary to what I gained from my time at Belhaven.” With that bold statement, he begins the story of how God used an Old Testament survey class at Belhaven to bring him to Christ.
In 1999, Michael had a good business, was living a “good life,” but felt empty inside. Thinking a college degree might fill the void in his life, he enrolled in the Belhaven Adult Studies program, called “Adult Edge” at that time.
On his first night in the program, he sat in an Old Testament survey class scribbling down questions that had been bothering him for most of his life: “Isn’t the Bible outdated? Why do we suffer? What is grace?” He says it brought back memories from when he was kicked out of Sunday school at age 13 for “asking too many questions.”
Week after week, his professors answered Michael’s burning questions through their classroom lectures. Unbeknownst to them, they were scratching questions off of Michael’s list one by one. Slowly, the Bible stopped sounding completely foreign and started making sense to Michael. The skepticism, objections, and doubts that had built up from years of unanswered questions began melting away.
On the last night of class, during the final written exam, Michael says, “I wrote down all the themes of the Old Testament—how they all point to Christ. I couldn’t stop writing. The words, which had been foreign to me months before—flowed like water.” Ten years later, he still gets emotional as he recalls the rest of the night: “After I left the exam, I pulled my car over at I-55 and Lakeland Drive, and I confessed everything and accepted Jesus to be my Savior. At that moment, my whole paradigm shifted. My relationship with Christ meant that life wasn’t just about chasing the dollar—it was about relationships.”
Since that pivotal night, Michael has had many opportunities to share what he learned at Belhaven. In 2003, he was deployed overseas and had the opportunity to become the religious lay leader for his battalion. Today, he shares his testimony daily with clients and prospective clients. And turning to his Belhaven diploma again, he says, “I’d gladly pay tuition all over again for what I gained from Belhaven: a life with purpose.”