My Personal Journey

My personal journey in seeking God began in the Spring of 1990 at the age of 20 in Ada, Oklahoma when a friend from work invited me to his Pentecostal church. I went only as a favor to him but was immediately drawn to the love I sensed from the people and the hope of finding salvation. I continued attending every service weekly until finally that Summer on a Sunday evening I came forward to repent of my sins and to receive Jesus Christ as my Savior.

The next morning, I went to the Christian book store downtown and bought my first Bible. Although I had grown up in the “Bible-belt” of America, I knew nothing at all about the Bible. I didn’t even know it was divided into Old and New Testaments. Not even knowing there were different English versions from which to choose, I happened to buy the old King James Version which I’ve joyfully used ever since.

I began reading my Bible immediately. But it was difficult to understand, not only because I was completely new to it, but also because of the archaic English in the KJV. I remember the first time I ever read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in the prayer room of that Pentecostal church. I understood very little of it but truly wanted to. I recognized very early in my journey that the goal was to correctly understand what God communicated to us through the Scriptures.

Over the next two decades I became deceived by many false teachings, most notably the Trinitarian view of God, the Word of Faith movement, and Calvinism. I trusted the ministers that had taught me these things, and the way they taught them from the Scriptures was convincing. But the one thing I had going for me over those years was a dogged pursuit of understanding the Scriptures. It was my own study of the Scriptures that eventually prompted me to leave Pentecostal and Charismatic churches after about 13 years. But not even knowing where to go, it seemed like the Baptists was a good choice.

I came to love the teaching of John MacArthur. Because of his education, knowledge, credentials, positions, books, and influence, I trusted him to help me truly understand the Scriptures. Through him and other teachers like John Piper and R.C. Sproul, I became deceived by the doctrine of Calvinism.

From 2005 to 2007 my wife and I were missionaries in Vietnam. We never tried to raise any support, nor were we sent by any organization. I supported us by teaching English to Vietnamese as a second language.

Within about a year of being back in America, I stumbled across an article on the internet by Tim Warner (now leading 4windsfellowships.net), arguing against once-saved-always-saved. It was the best I had ever read on the subject and I began following him on his websites and forums. His own journey became the leading for mine over the next 13 years. He instilled confidence in me to trust my understanding of the Scriptures and not be intimidated by ministers teaching things that are clearly false. Although I didn’t always agree with Tim on everything, I found that his understanding of the Scriptures was usually correct.

In those years of following Tim, there was a two-year gap where I stopped following him because he had come to the conclusion that the Trinitarian view of God is false. Although I believed at the time he was wrong, I was really afraid he might be right. During those two years, I continued trusting ministers that claimed the Trinity is an essential belief and that denying it is blasphemy against the Spirit for which there is never forgiveness. However, my conscience kept bothering me because I hadn’t really studied that subject in the Scriptures very much. And I was afraid that if I did, I would conclude that Trinitarianism indeed was false and would have to forsake everything into which I had invested for almost 30 years. I was scared of the cost.

Eventually, I started studying the Scriptures on the subject and came to the conclusion quite quickly that Trinitarianism is indeed false. On the morning of Thanksgiving 2019, I began writing “True Theology – Part 1” (posted on this website) and finished it early January 2020. I submitted this paper to the pastors of my Baptist church and was immediately confronted in private. I was told that if I went that direction, then I was blaspheming against the Spirit and wasn’t saved. However, I stood firmly and confessed before them my stance with the truth from the Scriptures. Over the next couple of months, they had me meet with them several times trying to convince me otherwise. They told me to destroy the paper I had written and to not talk with anyone about it. March of 2020 was the last time I ever stepped foot in that church.

I immediately returned to following Tim Warner on his website and commenting on his forum. However, toward the end of the Summer of 2020, I had to walk away from him as well and cried a lot when I did. Although I had never met him or even talked with him on the phone even once, he truly was like my father in the faith. The two main reasons I had to part ways: (1) he publicly denies that Jesus Christ and His apostles commanded us “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mat 22:39; Mar 12:31; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; Jas 2:8); (2) he publicly confesses that Trinitarians are saved and affirms them as his brethren.

In my continuing journey for understanding, I’ve learned there’s nothing new—it all comes back to the serpent deceiving Eve into questioning what God said, “Yea, hath God said” (Gen 3:1). And this is what Paul said was happening in his day, “as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty” (2Co 11:3). He went on to explain that Satan’s ministers are extremely convincing as messengers of the truth like the serpent was with Eve, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel [messenger] of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works [actions].” (2Co 11:14-15). But it doesn’t matter how godly “ministers” seem to be, how educated they are, how experienced, how prominent, how influential, or how much good they seem to be accomplishing. It always comes back to “Yea, hath God said.” God sent His Son to speak for Him, and anyone disagreeing with God’s Son is wrong! Paul said that their end will be according to their actions. Are they listening to God’s Son and agreeing with Him, or are they arguing against Him?

In the past, I kept trying to find a teacher somewhere that really understood the truth in the Scriptures from whom I could learn. But I just couldn’t find anyone. Tim Warner fit that role for a time until I concluded he was veering in a wrong direction that I couldn’t follow. So, instead of just waiting around to finally find someone to teach me, I had to at least take the initiative to try and understand the Scriptures myself the best I could. I really wanted someone else teaching me, not learning on my own and trying to teach others. Although I truly don’t want to be on my own, it’s still better than being in fellowship with others that aren’t submitting to the truth taught by Jesus Christ. If it means standing on my own to remain standing with Him, I’ll gladly do so.

I can say from my own personal experience since leaving Trinitarianism that it’s not easy standing in agreement with Christ, being unashamed of Him regardless of the pressure to do otherwise. It’s not easy standing alone which is what I’m doing right now at the time of this writing. I don’t have a single brother standing alongside with me. I have nobody at all to encourage me or to discuss anything with. I’m not complaining about it but just stating the fact of my circumstance. I have nobody at all to fellowship with, and oh how I wish I did! But I’ve learned to rejoice and find contentment in my current situation. I’m resolute that it’s far better to stand alone on the side of the truth than to stand on the other side with everyone else.

In my journey over the last three decades, I’ve learned to consistently practice two main things: (1) doggedly pursue the understanding of the truth from the Scriptures; (2) humbly submit to the truth once I’ve come to the understanding of it. It’s not about just getting more intellectual knowledge and understanding but about the end purpose—living it out in my daily life. I’ve learned by experience that the more I’ve strived to live according to the knowledge and understanding I’ve already been given, the more I’m continually being given, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Mat 13:12). I’ve done a lot wrong over the years but I’ve also done a lot right. Thankfully, with God’s mercy and longsuffering toward me, I’ve done enough of the right things right that it has brought me to where I’m at today and will see me through until Christ returns.

Ryan

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