A Little More About My Spiritual Journey for Brandon E

I have been having a dialogue with Brandon E, and am addressing some of the objections he has been making to the truths I am proclaiming on these blogs.

What I write here about my spiritual journey can be added to what I have previously written in About and To My Pastor and Minister Friends and other posts (most, if not all, of which are linked at these two posts).

I was born, baptized, and raised as a Roman Catholic.  My first six years of education were at the parochial school of my parish.  I was an altar boy.  In the 7th grade I was moved to a public school and began my drift away from the church.  I was a lapsed Catholic by the middle of my teenage years and a committed agnostic by the time I was married at age 20.

When I was 27, I ran into a friend whom I had not seen since high school.  He had become a  born-again Christian.  I was appalled at his “poor judgment,” but eventually managed to flip through the C.S. Lewis book he had loaned me, Mere Christianity.  What I read there provoked me to read the Bible, and in a matter of weeks I was hooked on that “book above all books.”

My friend was a Presbyterian, but he did not strongly push me that direction.  He did, however, push me strongly toward the truth that Jesus was Lord and the Bible was the word of God.  In other words, his perspective was typical of Evangelicalism and traditional Protestantism.  This brought me into circles of others who thought similarly.  The essentials of Bible study, prayer, fellowship with believers, and witnessing were emphasized by all who guided me – and I was responsive to their lead.  So much so, that within a year I had enrolled in a respected evangelical seminary, and moved my wife and two children almost a thousand miles to attend it.

From the fundamental truths – Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God – I have never wandered.  I did learn, however, that there are lots of other views held by Christians on which there is a great deal of diversity and disagreement.  In every case, I would study the Scriptures and follow the direction it was leading, regardless of what others thought of me.  I had to made such a decision – that is, one with significant negative social implications – when I first confessed Jesus as Lord.  Therefore, to make subsequent decisions based on that same framework was the only course to follow.

If I was going to risk alienation from my earthly family by declaring Jesus as Lord, how could I fail to act on any derivative truth God would reveal to me by assuming social cohesion was more important than the pursuit of truth?

14 Replies to “A Little More About My Spiritual Journey for Brandon E”

  1. Mike, I don’t doubt the sincerity with which you think that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God. I also agree that trusting the Lord Jesus can risk alienation from our friends or relatives. But let’s address the further stand that you are now taking in your claiming that–although you are the only one we are aware of who has arrived at your combination of interpretations of Scripture–your interpretations on these topics are the word of God in the Scripture, of which everyone who would disagree with does not see and/or is unwilling to accept due to their surmised lack of repentance, faithfulness to God, or dependence upon Scripture.

    My recent questions and guesses about your background were concerning how you came to accept so extreme a position such that you would sooner have it that when you pray long and hard about whether your interpretations of Scripture can only be correct, you conclude that you can only be absolutely correct, but if others pray long and hard about their interpretations and you disagree with them, they must be mistaken or not doing it right, and to think anything less or to remain open to the possibility that your own mistaken bias at work would to be to trust men instead of God. Especially since you are the only person we both are aware of in nearly 2,000 years of scriptural interpretation who has arrived at your combination of views through their own reading of the Scriptures.

    Or when you speak about those whose scriptural interpretations you disagree with why do you seem to dwell on those whom you consider as less spiritual or repentance than you (are you not speaking from your own personal experience and impressions here?), without seeming to spend that much time at all considering that persons who seem to be at least as spiritual as you, or at least every bit a reliable interpreter of the Scriptures, have held the same views that you’re antagonizing and contradicting?

    “Trusting God” versus “trusting men” is a false dichotomy if we leave out the possibility of self-trust and self-deception in spiritual matters, that is, thinking one’s own prayers or experiences but not others’ are so self-authenticating that it is as if one had a direct line to God over and above everybody else who might disagree with our interpretations of the Bible.

    In the end, I simply asked you to remain open to the possibility of being mistaken, but in response you came up with all sorts of proclamations that you only proclaim the very word of God and that if your interpretations were your opinions and not the word of God you would not proclaim them, that I should try to convince God about this instead of you, and at last concluding that because I disagree with you I am taking the side of Satan in opposing God’s word.

    But what really is your scriptural or rational basis for taking up such a stance? If it were possible for you to be mistaken about all this, how would you ever discover it on your own terms?

  2. You could say all the same things about my belief that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God. The only thing that is different is that you could point to more people – alive and deceased – who believe that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God. If that then becomes the differentiator I would be going in reverse order from that of the citizens of Sychar who first believed because of the woman and then believed because they had encountered Jesus directly.

  3. Mike, first, it is obvious that the Bible says that Jesus is Lord. Second, that the Bible is the word of God is a very common assumption, starting point, or shared ground among those views about what is the truth according to Scripture you contradict and antagonize.

    In the event that your interpretations of Scripture are mistaken, Jesus would still be Lord and the Bible would still be the word of God. If you can agree with this, then you should admit that it is possible that your interpretations might be mistaken. If not, then we have problems, for we have discovered a strange specimen named Mike Gantt who thinks his interpretations of Scripture–which he alone is known by us to arrived at through his own reading of Scripture–are as sure and infallible as the truth that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God. And to disagree with him, or to suggest the possibility that he is mistaken, is to undermine that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God.

    Mike, what we’ve been discussing is what is the truth according to the Bible, assuming the Bible as our frame of reference. In this regard, you are the only person both of us are aware of who has arrived at your combination of interpretations in the history of scriptural interpretation–they are decidedly that un-evident. Yet you claim that they are not your opinions but the very revelation of God in the Scriptures, deny even the possibility of your being mistaken, and apparently think that to think otherwise is to trust men instead of God. You also seem to dwell on those whom you think are less spiritual than you when portraying those with whom you disagree, and evidently to spend little time at all considering that persons who seem to be at least as spiritual as you or a reliable interpreter of the Scriptures, have held the same views that you’re antagonizing and contradicting. And I’m wondering why this is and how you got this way.

    I’m not sure what is your point about the woman at the well and citizens in Sychar. The woman believed into Jesus when he visited her and communicated her objectively and physically during His earthly ministry. The citizens in Sychar did in fact believe in Him through the woman’s sharing the gospel report (John 4:39), and their saying that they no longer believed simply because of her speaking was due to His personally and physically visiting them. The picture here was concerning something as basic as believing in the Lord Jesus Himself while he was on earth. This isn’t presented as some kind of universal principle or analogy about how to then know that our interpretations of the Bible on so many doctrinal facts are absolutely correct without the possibility of being mistaken. To come to believe in the Lord Jesus for yourself personally is one thing, and it is common to all genuine believers in Christ. But it is quite another thing to think as if “trusting God” means that we have some direct line to God that can authenticate as absolutely correct without possibility of error our further interpretations of Scripture over and against everybody who disagrees with us, especially if many other believers in Christ pray and come to conclusions that we contradict, and we are the only one we know of who has arrived our own views through one’s own reading of Scripture,

  4. The desired progression is that 1) we hear about Jesus from someone else, 2) based on trust in what that person says, we approach Jesus by faith, and 3) as a result of that encounter, and hopefully multiple and continuing encounters, we place faith directly in Jesus Himself – such that even if the person who originally told us about Him falls away, we ourselves do not fall away.

    1. I agree. And is this pattern of coming to faith in the Lord Jesus some kind of universal pattern for how we can then know in ourselves that our interpretations of the Bible on so many topics are absolutely true (because we prayed about it, after all) and it is to trust men instead of God to even think it possible for us to be mistaken? Even if we are the only one we know of who has arrived our set of interpretations through our reading of the Scriptures, and our views contradict those held by many believers in Christ who came to believe in Him through the same process as we did, including those who have prayerfully considered their views and have evidence of being at least as spiritual as we are?

      1. Truth is not determined by the number of people who profess it. Jesus was no less the Messiah when only the woman believed Him as He was when a crowd from her city believed Him.

    2. Also, Mike, would you agree or disagree with the following statement, which I stated above:

      “In the event that your interpretations of Scripture are mistaken, Jesus would still be Lord and the Bible would still be the word of God.”

        1. Then why is it, Mike, that we find so many persons who rest assured that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God, and yet don’t come to your doctrinal particulars? Are you really saying that no other interpretations but yours on these issues are even possible?

  5. Some 400 years elapsed between the conquest of Canaan and the time God appointed a king who would build a temple in Israel. Were there no godly people in the days of the Judges? Some 1,500 years elapsed between the apostolic age and the Protestant Reformation. Were there no godly people during that span of time?

    Truth has never all been released at once. Sometimes the delay is because of the plan of God. Sometimes the delay is because of the hardness of our hearts. Sometimes the delay is for the same reason that dawn does not consist of a noonday sun. That is, it would blind us.

    “The path of righteous is like the light dawn; it shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”

    1. 1) My question was more along the lines of why does Jesus being Lord, and the Bible being the word of God, depend upon your current set of interpretations being absolutely right. Many people could suffer the loss of being wrong about a good number of interpretations of scriptural words and passages on which you claim your verdict is sure (that is, everything you proclaim on your blogs), and still rest assured that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is still the word of God.

      2) At any rate, that’s quite the extravagant thing to claim in special favor for your peculiar combination of interpretations, which concern topics in Scripture that have been the center of much interest and sharing large agreement across denominational lines, and considering that many of your claims are old hat. I can just as easily say that since the time of the Reformation there have been progressively more things revealed concerning Christ, the Spirit, salvation in Christ’s life, the church as the Body of Christ, etc. that contradict your views.

  6. 1) That “Jesus is Lord” and “the Bible is the word of God” are two members of that set. I have another set of interpretations which I don’t teach on my blogs, or even speak of them to anyone, because I am not sure they are the word of God. As I’ve said, all of us have some things we’re sure of and some things we’re not. I only proclaim in the name of the Lord those things of which I am sure are His ideas.

    2) It puzzles me why you consider my set of (“combination of”) beliefs unprecedented even though you believe every member of the set has precedent. If you believe the individual views I hold are wrong what difference does it make that the set of them is unique? Why do you even care?

    1. I’m not sure that every one of your beliefs has a precedent. For example, but I’m not aware of anyone who insists what you claim about the words “heir” and “inheritance,” must mean when applied to God, etc. I have said that I think that many of your claims that are critical your system are nothing new (like the Father and the Son not existing at the same time), though they are uncommon, and that concerning some positions your strongest precedents are in dubious sources (e.g.,the bodily resurrection of the dead not being visible and evident, being asserted by Gnostics but the opposite being held by second temple Jews and early Christians). The reason why I care is that you claim it is not even possible for you to be mistaken on any of these points you proclaim, and that it is all the very revelation of God in the Scriptures.

  7. It is. Anyone can check the Scriptures and see for themselves.

    I don’t want people to believe me; I want them to believe the Scriptures. More than that, I want them to believe God. He is good. All of us can and should believe Him.

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