My name is Roland Peer, and I live in Falls Church, Virginia with my wife Jan and our daughter, Bella. Other than spending time with my wonderful family, I love reading and learning about theology, history, and Near Eastern affairs, and God has indelibly moved my heart to speak out against child abuse and spiritual abuse in the Church. On a lighter note, I love the exploring the great outdoors as well as historical districts and revitalized Main Streets. I have a B.A. in Economics from University of California at Berkeley, and a M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. I am currently a corporate investigator with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and am in the transition process of applying to seminary (possibly Dallas Theological Seminary, or Chafer Theological Seminary) over the next few years.
I heard the gospel for the first time in at church 8th grade and thought that it was too good to be true. Could these wonderful things be real? Is there a transcendent God, creator of the universe, who loves each of us, and desires to save each of us, for free? I resolved to be unsure. My brother Oliver asked Christ into his life and was getting baptized, the summer when I was 16. We were both at church, with my mom, before the ceremony, and he told me, “Comon! You do it too!” But I was afraid, and I said no. He asked me again, “Comon, Roland,” and I recall being concerned about my change of clothes. It was a 50-50 jump ball for me, but at the last minute, I said yes, and I went into the pool, confessed that I was a sinner before God, and confessed Jesus as my Savior.
I’ve walked with and without the Lord for the next eleven years. The relationship is unbreakable, but the fellowship wasn’t always there. For several years, I’ve thought about getting baptized, and making a public confession of Christ again, given the uncommon, last-minute nature that I was baptized the first time. This time, I comprehend the meaning, and symbolism, behind getting baptized. I owe eternal gratitude to Oliver, and my mom, for trusting first, and for walking before me as an example. I thank God for sovereignly putting them into my life, and for the salvation of my entire family.
Lessons in my Christian walk
I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to several pastors and Bible teachers over the years, but three in particular come to mind. J. Vernon McGee’s radio program introduced me to the Bible’s meta-narrative and planted a desire in my heart to do what he did – devote my life to evangelism and teaching the Bible. Charles Ryrie’s simple yet comprehensive treatment of the text convinced me of dispensational truth, to borrow a phrase from Dwight Moody, and challenged me to study Scriptures for myself – which confirmed that conviction.
The third Bible teacher does not come in until later in the story. After working for a year out of college, the desire to enter vocational ministry grew so strong that I quit my job and entered full time into Talbot School of Theology to become a Bible translator. My goals were lofty and my motives pure, but I wasn’t ready. I felt unqualified in a room full of seasoned Christian veterans, and I had several lifestyle issues to resolve. I was also afraid of relying on financial support.
I dropped out of seminary and spent a year in Shanghai, before entering a secular graduate program in Georgetown that was four times as expensive. Ironically, I had dropped out of seminary due to financial concerns, but was now much more in debt! Although I wasn’t completely aware of it, I carried shame and guilt over my lack of faith, but in my quiet moments of clarity I knew that a teaching ministry remained the only life work that I could give myself fully to.
I met my wife Jan after moving across the country for graduate school, and recently we had our first child, Bella. I have also been mentored by our pastor, Doug Conley – the third Bible teacher on the list – whom I met when we started attending Jan’s home church (Derwood Alliance Church). Doug has helped me see God’s guiding hand through my life. I’ve realized that dropping out of seminary was part of God’s plan to teach me some lessons about how He purifies and sanctifies His own, since meeting Jan was part of His plan to show me the love of my life – which happened only after I left Talbot and moved out of Southern California. I can see so clearly in hindsight that I am where God wants me to be, and that gives me profound peace and joy. Shame and guilt have been replaced by gratitude, inspiration, and a reaffirmed sense of purpose.