This is the final installment of my testimony and why I believe what I do. If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2, I would recommend doing that before reading this one so it makes sense.
I have talked about growing up in a Christian home, my adolescence, my journey through college and marriage, and how my wife and I had signed up for the World Race.
I left off talking about living with my parents and studying Scripture as we were preparing to go on the Race. I was studying through Scripture trying to see it as though I hadn’t read it before and trying to drop all of my pre-conceived theology and ideas so that I could see what it truly had to say. I was studying the Gospel of John and came to chapter 6. Jesus had just fed the 5,000 and left to find some solitude, but they followed Him. So He basically told them that the only reason they were looking for Him was because they wanted more free food. I wrote a blog at that time on this passage called “A Very Hard Teaching” which I will copy and post on this site.
But as I continued to read that passage, I came upon verse 44 in which He says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” And then again in verse 65: “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” Now you can’t argue with Jesus. If He said it, then it’s Truth, and I was taken aback. I was definitely not looking for this to be true. In fact, I was out to try and prove that it was NOT true, and yet here it was staring me right in the face. I had no choice but to humbly admit that I was wrong for all these years and to thank God for showing me His truth, even when I wasn’t seeking it. I still didn’t necessarily like it, but couldn’t deny it.
Our team at the Chicago Bean at World Race Launch, September, 2012
The time FINALLY came for us to launch on our trip. After changing launch dates twice because of lack of funds, the Lord finally provided what we needed to get started on our journey, and it was in His perfect timing. Since we were in countries where we couldn’t understand our church services most of the time, I began downloading sermons off of Grace to You, John MacArthur’s website. I really grew a lot by listening to the way he presented Scripture. He is bold, but also loving and humble. In a recent sermon I listened to he said that even though he has preached for years, he is still not perfect and his attempts to explain Scripture are feeble at best. That’s a lot of humility from a guy who has studied and preached for over 50 years.
One of my favorite sermons that really helped me to better accept Reformed Theology, or Calvinism was one called “Twin Truths: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility.” In it, he explained that the truth that God sovereignly chose those who would be saved from before the foundation of the world and that man has the responsibility of seeking God are not contradictory, but rather are two sides of the same theological coin, and are even complimentary. They are parallel truths that cannot be brought together, but are in harmony with one another. We will never be able to fully understand it, but it is presented all throughout Scripture, therefore we can accept and believe it even though we may not understand.
I believe that the best way to know God is through His word, the Scripture. I believe that it is inerrant, infallible and authoritative for the life of every believer. I believe this because Jesus believed this as evidenced by His constant quoting of Scripture, which I will not get into. But I do believe that Donald Barnhouse, whose commentary on Romans I am reading now, hit the nail on the head when he said, “…if you call yourself a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ but do not adopt His attitude toward the revelation of God in the Scriptures, you are simply deceiving yourself. If you do not believe what Christ said about the Bible, you are no more a follower of Christ than if you do not believe what Christ said about Himself, or about His own death and resurrection.”
Jesus had a lot to say about the Bible in His ministry on earth. I do my very best to not adopt a doctrine based on just a couple of passages, but on what the whole Scripture says on a subject. This has really changed a lot of my thinking and theology, and like I said, I haven’t even begun to arrive. But Barnhouse points out again, very well, that when Jesus quoted that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, that “…(Jesus) set forth the principle that if we are to have power and satisfaction, we are to take the whole of the Divine revelation and feed upon it. It is life, for it has come from God for our nourishment. And we are not to feed on part of it, but upon all of it. At the base of every heresy is some Bible truth that has been taken out of its context and used out of balance with the rest of Scripture.”
That is why I believe it is of vital importance for every believer to know the Scripture well, because Satan sure does, and he will use it against us if we do not arm ourselves with its truth.
God has continually grown me and stretched me in more ways than I could ever explain during this season of my life. He’s not done with me yet, in fact, He’s only getting started. I’m not perfect by any means, and still have a TON of growing to do, but I believe that continually feeding on His word will help me to continue to grow into the man of God that He has created me to be.
There is much more about our journey on the Race and the amazing things God did while we were traveling the world. I will post a couple of those blogs on this site, but if you want to read more of those, check out joshandjenmendenhall.theworldrace.org My wife is a really gifted writer and wrote most of those blogs.
I hope this helps you know a bit more about me and where I come from and why I believe what I believe. I pray that His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven in my life and in the lives of many others. Grace, peace, and love to all!