About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

The Glory of God and The Life of The Mind

Charles e. Whisnant

To be human is to think, and to think is to operate within a worldview. Every individual operates out of a basic set of convictions about reality, truth, meaning, and how the world works. As thinking creatures, we create, perceive, absorb, and base our thinking upon certain intellectual assumptions that, in essence, allow the world to make sense to us. Well; so says Albert Mohler.

From early in my life the thirst for knowledge and understanding has been the sense in my mind. Those early years of Dad and Mom reading Proverbs must have implanted into my mind the desire to get knowledge and understanding and wisdom.   

The knowledge that I have sought is that of the Bible. What a library of books, sixty-six to be exact; and from those sixty-six books have come thousands of other books that have attempted to explain those books. 
My Dad had a great library of Christian books, and early in my teens I loved to read them.  While I started reading the Bible when I was twelve: (thanks to Dad’s Mom.) 

The best way I knew to know the Bible was to read those books that would help me.  You only get as good as you have been trained in the field you desire to be in.  My training in learning the Bible was quite simple.  The climate around me were preachers who didn’t seem to believe a lot of learning was necessary to know the Bible.  Thus, my skill of learning the Bible was reduced to reading   Christian books.  Dad believed in teaching the Bible book by book in Sunday  School, and he would give teachers a book by H.A. Ironside.  (1876-1951) To know the Bible was to read H.A. Ironside.  Also Dad would have the radio on everyday listening to other radio preachers.  I would listen to their preaching.   Examples: J.V. McGee, Oliver B. Greene. M.R. Dehaan.  Charles Fuller, and others.

Finally going to seminary, I was able to listen to some really great teachers of the Bible.  So I learned to know the Bible by hearing what others were saying about the Bible.  

The point I am making is this, I learned from others what I knew about the Bible.  It’s a habit that seems to be what I still do today.  

While the trend of the day in our circle of preachers was, “don’t have people believe you know the Bible from reading other books. “   The idea was: don’t study very much.  Just get your knowledge from the Lord and the Holy Spirit.  

Well, I bucked the system.  I remember the first sermon I preached was not one that I came up myself, for I didn’t have a clue how to do that.  I used books to help me with the sermon.  I preached once in Hickory North Caroline one Sunday and used the introduction of a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon. (That went over well…..)

I wanted to know what the book of Galatians said, and I spent months writing each verse out, and then finding books that would help me understand what they meant. (I still have that project from 1965).  I taught Psalms in our Bible class as a teenager and used Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon.  (I still have those notes)

The desire to know what the Bible meant verse by verse has been my life’s work.  Thus, in my early ministry, knowing the Bible came by reading books. I was rather proud of my library of several thousands of books.  But I wanted to know the Bible on my own, that is, how was H.A. Ironside able to know what he knew?   I was really never taught the skills of knowing the Bible.  I did have a class in seminary one summer on hermeneutics: the science of interpreting the text, the way you can explain and interpret the Bible.  

How was J. Vernon McGee able to know the Bible?  How was H.A. Ironside able to know the Bible?  How was A.W. Pink able to know the Bible?  That is what I wanted to know.  

Having the mind to learn, having the intellectual ability to learn would help.   The development of one’s mind or intellectual capacities in order that we may understand the Christian faith, and the Word of God and develop the ability to know Christian thought would be good. How do you do that?  

Of course, I was taught that preaching was something different than teaching.  Preaching had a different point of view than just teaching what the Bible said verse by verse.  Be a preacher first. then if you have time, learn what the Bible really says.  

Theology?    While I had Dr. George L. Norris and he was really great; but theology was not to be a part of preaching, others said.  Therefore, those early years were not reading John Calvin and theology books.  

But I still had a desire and still do, to know for myself the Word of God.   But I still have to have books.  Now I use what are called theological and technical books which help explain the meaning of the verses in the Bible. And books help explain the theological concepts of the verses.  

I have never been able to develop the mind and skills that could discover the meaning of words purely on my own.  But goodness, there are those gifted by the Lord who have been given that great blessed gifted. I am very thankful for those who can.  I am just glad I can read and study those who can, and I am glad I can understand what I read.  That is a blessing.

Many Christians and preachers ignore the intellectual component of discipleship.  Many Christians fail to develop their intellectual capacities in order that they may understand the theology of God, and the Christian faith, and develop the habits of Christian thought. Many do not even want to form intuitions that are based upon biblical truth.  Christian discipleship requires growth and development, intellectual faithfulness requires a lifetime of devoted study, consecrated thinking and analytical reflection. Few Christians, it seems, really want to devote themselves to knowing the Word of God in depth.  Few want to know the Biblical truth about what the Bible really is saying about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Prayer, Salvation, Christian living, Lordship, the Glory of God, the Church, the Holiness of God, etc.

Few take seriously to know the undertaking of the Bible, and take time to really develop the discipline of learning what God is really saying in the Bible. But thank the Lord for those who have taken seriously the task of Christian thought and the development of a distinctively Christian mind.  I am continually working on that.  

Christ Himself instructed Christians to love God with heart, soul and mind.  It is not so we can be known as intellectually smart but to be known as a person who loves to know Him.