Dr. James A, PhD
Prince was a part of the most destructive times of my life. As a teenager and in my early adult years as a guitar player and vocalist for several rock bands, Prince embodied everything I wanted to be as a rock star musician. I had watched Purple Rain probably 20 or so times. Along with Dream Theater (John Petrucci), Yngwie Malmsteen, Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt, Ritchie Kotzen, Vinnie Moore, Michael Angelo Batio, et al, Prince had an enormous influence on my guitar playing as a teenager. As a troubled teen, I was obsessed with guitar and singing. I mastered all of the “shredders”, and learned to sing like Sebastian Bach from Skid Row, and “Mili” from Steelheart. I was in several different bands, ran karaoke as a DJ, and partied like it was 1999. My life revolved around drugs, alcohol, fornication, and the dream of living like a rock star.
In the early 1990’s, I felt empty. My father had led me to Christ at a young age, and my grandparents were devout Bible believers, and I knew that the life I was leading was going nowhere fast. A few friends of mine invited me to a charismatic church, and I was introduced to bands like Stryper, Petra, Deliverance and Angelica. I had no idea that Christians could “shred” like Oz Fox and Dennis Cameron, and that “Christian” singers like Michael Sweet and John Schlitt could wail like Mili. However, my experience eventually became no different from when I played in the secular bands, so I went from an Assembly of God church to a more conservative church- the United Pentacostal Church. I never did speak in tongues, and that caused me to quit church because obviously God didn’t want me, and I apparently didn’t “have enough faith”.
Then I was invited to a youth conference in Michigan where I met Peter Ruckman. The “chalk talk” was about the Devil’s attempt to strike out Christians. I thought I was the only one in the audience and Ruckman had someone who’d followed me around and gave him fodder on me for his sermon. I wasn’t about to get struck out, so I started reading Ruckman books, learned the truth about the charismatic movement and tongues, Christian Rock, and went to an independent Baptist church where I eventually surrendered to ministry under the preaching of Dr. Joe Miller.
I have had a rough road since those days, and had backslidden a few times, and in between went to a few Bible colleges and law school, and just recently-and FINALLY-earned a PhD from Calvary Christian College & Seminary. I’ve been active in ministering to homeless people, prisoners, and passing out tracts almost every day of the week. My drive to seek the lost, study and memorize the Scripture, was mostly a result of talking to Dr. Ruckman at that youth conference.
Prince led a life of debauchery, drugs, promiscuity, and thought he was a god. Prince will answer for the lives he helped destroy by his influence. On the same day Prince died, Peter Ruckman also passed away at 94 years old. Ruckman trusted in the finished work of Christ, and even at 93 years old, in poor health, was in the streets preaching about the cross, and about the real Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), the Lord Jesus Christ.
Say what you will about Ruckman, his “weird doctrines” (often a misrepresentation and distortion of things he actually said and wrote), his crude speech, or accuse him of claiming the KJV replaced the so-called originals and was a “reinspired translation”, what you can not do is negate the passion he had for lost people, and for his defense of the Bible. I have never seen a man more wrongfully criticized, misquoted, unfairly vilified, and misrepresented than Dr. Peter Ruckman, even by some of my favorite Baptist preachers. Nevertheless, Ruckman stood strong, he never retired, and kept fighting for the fundamentals of the faith, for the integrity of the King James Bible, and the battle for the souls of people like Prince on their way to hell up to his last dying breath.
Ruckman is one of the reasons that I chose to follow Christ and walk away from a destructive life that in part was influenced by men like Prince. I never agreed with Ruckman on everything, but he will be one of the influences in my life that I will be eager to meet in heaven.
I don’t know how Prince spent the last hours of his life, but I hope anyone reading this that was a fan of his doesn’t spend their last days in rejection of Christ. I would like to leave off here with a sermon by brother Ruckman on “Things You Can Lose” and read the tract at the top of our website, “You Die, Then What?”
Click HERE for another excellent posthumous commentary on brother Ruckman by the Bernick Family.
Dr. Peter S. Ruckman
God gave him a “Full Cup.” Arrangements under the direction of Eastern Gate Memorial Funeral Home, Pensacola, FL.