New Team Member

I am very happy to accept John W. Loftus' invitation to join his blog as new team member. I have thoroughly enjoyed John's blog throughout its short span so far. I feel that his strength in evidentialist apologetics complements my more philosophical leanings.

Though I will be posting anonymously for a variety of personal reasons, my relevant history is that I have an undergraduate degree in biblical studies from a very conservative Christian college, a master of arts in biblical studies and theology from a large Evangelical seminary, and a master of divinity from another large Evangelical seminary.

I was ordained by a church full of believers and other ordained ministers who "recognized the work of the Holy Spirit in my life." After many prayers from many people, I was given a grant by a well-known Protestant denomination to plant a church in my area.

My leaving the faith was a long, involved process. My "salvation" and my "apostasy" were both birthed in tears. I didn't want to leave my faith. I enjoyed it. I loved the church. I loved preaching. I loved prayer. At times I still miss all of them. I can't explain it any other way than that my faith simply left me unwillingly. I just couldn't believe it anymore, as hard as I tried. The atheistic worldview was too convincing, too closely related to the reality I daily observed.

For the Christians who read this blog, I know that it is your theological belief that I never really believed ("They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us." 1 John 2:19). If I had been "saved," then I would have been "kept" [Jesus could lose nothing the Father gave him, right? (John 6:39)].

All I can say to you is that if mine wasn't true love for God, then I utterly fooled myself. Times without number, I knelt, wept, and cried out, "More love to Thee, my God, more love to Thee!" I "felt" intimacy with my God. The thought of Jesus' death for my sins brought misery to my soul--"Why, O Lord, would you endure pain for me?!" I wanted nothing more than that the glory of the Lord would be revealed in my life and in the world around me. This was the driving passion in my life. It drove me to Christian college, seminaries, ordination, preaching, church planting, ad infinitum. I was not driven by religion, I was driven by my love for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My faith consumed me. I honestly felt God's intimacy. I felt that I was his child.

I went through many stages in my Christian life. In the early stages of my faith, I was an Arminian. I later adopted a "robust" Calvinism--I referred to "4-point Calvinists" (i.e. those who believe in unlimited atonement) as "inconsistent Arminians." Before I left my faith altogether, I considered myself a very liberal Episcopalian.

Concerning apologetics, in high school, I started out with the Josh McDowell Evidence that Demands a Verdict stuff. As a Calvinist collegiate, I was drawn to presuppositionalism (this was, however, before Greg Bahnsen died and before anyone else (like Frame) had come on the scene; my sole exposure to presuppositionalism was through Bahnsen's lecture on Van Til's Presuppositional Apologetic and through his debates with Stein and Tabash--I listened to all of these tapes until they were worn out--I say that to concede that I am not "up" on contemporary presuppositionalism). While still a Calvinist (but at this time a seminarian), I found myself taken by Plantinga's "reformed epistemology" [I liked that he seemed to take the statement, "This is my Father's world," very seriously; in reformed epistemology, the non-believer is placed squarely in "God's world" and must give an account for himself; other apologetics seemed, to me, to give "God's world" over to the non-believer (a concession I was unwilling to make)]. As my faith became more liberal, apologetics became less important to me.

I have been married to the most wonderful woman on the planet since 1996. As of this writing, I have no children. I am currently pursuing further graduate studies in the field of philosophy.

I look forward to engaging in future dialogue, here, as much as my time permits. Because of time limitations, I will probably shy away from point-by-point debates in the comment sections of my posts, but will choose to wait until I have heard all of the opposing viewpoints and, then, create another new post addressing those concerns when I have more time.

Edited by John. Ex-believer was a student of Dr. James White. See Dr. James White, How do You Like Me Now? and A Response to Dr. James White