Randy Kamp, Canadian Member of Parliament for Pitt Meadows– Maple Ridge–Mission. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Randy (BTh. 1975) & Ruth (Certificate 1973) are Northwest alumni.
Randy, in the years since graduation, what kinds of ministry has God led you and Ruth to be involved in?
Ruth and I met on our first day at Northwest and got married a few years later. After I completed my Bachelor of Theology degree in 1975, we spent a year as associate pastor in Edmonton and then moved to Fort McMurray where I was employed in retailing. We returned to Northwest in 1978 where I completed a year of studies towards a Master’s degree. But then we decided to move back to Fort McMurray where we spent another three years in retail work.
In 1983 we joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and, after training, we spent two terms in the Philippines. We lived in a village situation for a while, being trained in linguistics and translation, but during our second term we lived at our northern center where I served as the regional director for teams in the northern area of the country.
In 1992 we returned to Canada and I served as associate pastor at Maple Ridge Baptist until 1996. At that point the opportunity came to get involved in the political arena, managing our MP’s constituency office. When he retired in 2004, I won the Conservative Party of Canada nomination and was then elected as the Member of Parliament for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission.
You have served Northwest as a Board member for many years. What motivated you to volunteer your time and energy for such a role?
I had the privilege of serving as a member of the Board for about ten or eleven years. Although we went through some challenging times, I really enjoyed my time on the Board. I made a lot of friends and found the Board to be a great support group. Several things motivated me to serve in this capacity. I grew up in a Bible-believing family and church, but when I got to Northwest I realized how much I didn’t know. It was my training at Northwest that helped me establish a firm Christian foundation. This experience led me to the conclusion that Christians needed to be well-trained to live most fruitfully and serve most effectively. So I was pleased to have the opportunity to help Northwest achieve its mission by serving on the Board.
You have served as Member of Parliament for the Pitt Meadow—Maple Ridge—Mission riding for two terms so far. How do you see your involvement as an MP in relation to your Christian commitment? What has motivated you to develop this vision for involvement in Canadian society?
It has been a real privilege to serve as an MP, but I have to admit that it was never my ambition. So it was a very difficult decision, probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I enjoyed my work in the constituency office, and was also part-time interim pastor at Ruth Morton Baptist, and would have been happy to keep doing both. But when the opportunity presented itself I began to see my time in the constituency office as a kind of apprenticeship and preparation for a different kind of service. So I started down that path, leaving the outcome to God. I’m glad I did.
I believe in the doctrine of separation of church and state, but not in the separation of faith and politics. Our faith has moral and social implications and we have the obligation to express these and to influence public policy. I bring to my role as a politician a Christian worldview, but not a Christian agenda. In fact, I believe every parliamentarian looks at the issues through a lens that’s formed by his or her personal experiences and values. In my case I look at each piece of legislation through a Christian lens, applying Christian principles to the decisions I have to make. I believe that if a policy aligns with Christian principles, it will be good for Canadian society as a whole. The way I see it, God did not give us his revealed will to make life difficult or to see if we can keep the rules. Rather, He provided the framework that would help all people live productively and healthily. So Canadians benefit as we follow God’s principles.
It’s often a challenge to know how to think Christianly about the issues before us in parliament, but I’ve come to realize that one’s ability to navigate at the interface of faith and politics depends on how well-developed one’s Christian worldview is. The years I spent at Northwest have played a big part in the formation of my worldview.
Of course it’s not enough just to think Christianly, we have to act Christianly too. When I started down this path I adopted as my guide Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:4: “Let your gentleness be evident to all.” That’s hard in an adversarial environment, and I haven’t always succeeded, but I keep trying.
Can you suggest some specific ways in which Christians should engage our culture positively and transformatively?
I think we need to consider two areas of involvement in our society:
First, we need to be personally involved in meeting social needs. I don’t think you can read the Bible without realizing that God is interested in social justice and that He wants us to act justly and love mercy. Acting Christianly is more than just standing up for the traditional definition of marriage. There are a lot of needy people, even in our own country: people living in poverty, without clean water, without a home, suffering from AIDS, shackled by addictions, and the list goes on. I think we should all try to be personally involved in meeting a social need.
Second, I think Christians should also consider becoming well-informed about some justice or social issue that they feel strongly about and working to influence public policy. That can be done by writing letters, sharing your views with elected officials, contributing to public forums, organizing petitions, etc. I know that currently there’s a high degree of cynicism about the political process, but politicians do listen to what their constituents have to say—especially when they realize it’s in their political best interests to do so.
I am sure your life is filled with many diverse opportunities to serve. How do you maintain the balance between family, Parliament, personal development, etc.?
I am not sure that I do all the time. There are a lot of demands in both Ottawa and the riding, and of course the weekly travel between Ottawa and Maple Ridge can be pretty tiring. But Ruth and I find that this is a good time of life to be contributing in this way. Our three children are grown and married and Ruth is able to travel with me sometimes. I’m part of a weekly Bible study on Parliament Hill and participating in a worship service at Maple Ridge Baptist is an important part of my week. I think I understand my limits and know when I need to be alone and re-charge.
As you reflect upon your experience since graduation, can you discern generally or specifically ways in which your education through Northwest has assisted you in pursuing your Christian vocation?
Well, I met Ruth, the love of my life, there more than thirty-five years ago so that was important! We’ve been on this journey together. What I learned there was very important in my spiritual formation but I think whom I learned it from was just as important. Many of my professors had a profound impact on my life—although they probably didn’t know it—as they modeled what it means to be a faithful, thoughtful Christian.
How can people be in prayer for you and Ruth?
I know that many are praying for us and that means a lot to us. For us, Micah 6:8 is a powerful word from God. Keep praying that God would teach us daily what it means to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. And pray that in the cut and thrust of the political fray that God would give me the grace to be a gentle man (Phil. 4:4). Finally, pray that I would have the wisdom to understand the issues and be able to communicate effectively so that I can be a good ambassador for Him.