On 1/17/98, while I was praying, I went over bits of history regarding my life. This can be a very healthy thing for those that get too caught up with present and future fears and worries. In fact, you will see the believers in the Bible often go through a history lesson regarding what good things God had done for them. I began to think about all of those who have made major contributions to my growth and knowledge, and trained me on how to use my head and heart. Keep in mind, that most of my "spiritual fathers" would probably not agree with a lot of what I say regarding current events, at least at this time. Regardless, I wish to honor them with mentioning who they are here.
Even though I have only talked to Mr. Clough personally for a total of about three hours my entire life, my listening to myriads of his taped sermons helped to influence most of my approaches to studying the Bible, and my approaches to studying the rest of the universe. His personal advice led me to study science in college, rather than enlist in the Marines, right after high school. I really grew from such things as his recorded tape series on the book of John that was seventy-one sermons. Every one of those tapes are stuffed with valuable information that will really open anyone's eyes about our Lord Jesus Christ. After studying many of his tapes, I could not justify taking seminary classes. I sat in a bunch of theology classes at the seminary level, but they were just not as meaty and exhaustive as Mr. Clough's sermons. You have to listen to each tape at least twice, since you cannot pick up all his important details on a single hearing. He is an amazing "walking library," who graduated from MIT and Dallas Theological Seminary. I believe that one his "spiritual fathers" was Arthur Custance.
If you want to hear this man on tape, there is a voluntary, one-person run tape ministry called Alpha Omega that has most of his tapes. Write for the catalog at Alpha & Omega Tapes, 1006 NCR 1460, Lubbock, TX 79416. They suggest that you first try his twelve tapes (recorded in 1970) called Short Basics. Be prepared to be spiritually and mentally challenged and blessed. Even though most of these tapes were originally recorded between 1968 and 1975 (many with VERY poor recording quality), I think that those of you serious about experiencing anti-"punch and cookie" teaching will be pleased. If you can't wait for the catalog to get Short Basics, you can also order by sending your request to the above address, provide your name and complete address (PLEASE PRINT), and specify the tape series or individual title you want to hear. They DO NOT ask for any donations, but I suggest that if you like the tapes (I mean the material covered on the tapes), that you send them something (couple dollars a tape maybe). Once you get the tapes, they ENCOURAGE YOU to make copies of the tapes, and pass them on to others. By the way, most of his tape series are over fifty tapes each, with the book of Romans being ninety-three tapes. His series on the book of Daniel helped lay the main foundations to my understanding of Bible prophecy.
He was my high school biology teacher and first significant Christian mentor. My near-daily lunch-time arguments at school with Mr. Willson eventually led me to attend the churches that he attended, and taught at. He provided me with my initial tools for defending the Bible against the attacks of atheists and evolutionists using the Bible, science, and even use the atheist's and evolutionist's supposed own "evidence" against themselves. Fred is currently teaching "Hands-On Science" seminars nationwide in the United States for the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). I also give him credit for introducing me to Charles Clough, a long time friend of his.
Back in 1984, her unique wisdom and patience helped me return back to Christianity from my major "backsliding" which took me into some of the deepest parts of the "New Age" movement. She helped me to recognize my need to seek and trust God in the midst of the dark clouds of life as well as the nicer days, and that a deep a relation with God is just as important as my knowledge of His Word. The president of Walk Through the Bible paid her to give him a personal one-on-one seminar regarding her unique Christian perspectives. She gained much of her unique knowledge during her years teaching as an art professor at Long Beach State University, CA. My "spiritual mother" went to be with the Lord in December 1993.
I of course "met" him through his books, not in person. Among other things, he taught me that good fiction writing could help my spiritual growth and understanding as much as non-fiction writing. His book, The Screwtape Letters, even though done as humorous fiction, contains more information about the mechanics of demonic deception than any other extra-Biblical book that I have ever read. You can also blame him for coming up with some of the best arguments around for the Bible being written by God. He also came up with the argument that starts with Jesus can ONLY be ONE of three things: Lord, liar, or lunatic.
Their writings and films have helped me get past many of my modern western civilization biases that most of today's churches hold as "truth," and to take into consideration the entire context of human history. Franky's blunt but very insightful books Sham Pearls for Real Swine and Addicted to Mediocrity show that "Christian" art and music does not have to be about "Bible" characters or stories to glorify God. They could just be about how beautiful creation of art can be, since all art is but a reflection of the ultimate Artist, God Himself. Their material has helped me to be more "real," both in the midst of today's "Ken and Barbie" congregations, and among those who do not believe.
He is another "walking library." This man really knows history, and how to tie it into Biblical thought, maybe even better than Francis Schaeffer, yet using his own unique perspective. From his small congregation of under thirty or so people who met in a mortuary near Hollywood, came Christians such as Fred Willson, Gary North (national economics expert), and founder/president of the Rutherford Institute (and friend of mine), John Whitehead. I think that this "Rush" is more right.
I had mixed feelings about including Colonel Thieme. In spite of his exclusive and strict type of teaching (he developed his own Christian terminology that his followers, including myself at one time, used), he is a very wise teacher of the Bible. His teaching (including his STYLE of teaching) taught me early in my Christian life the importance of taking God and all of His word very seriously. If you ever attend one of his services, be prepared to be thrown out of the service if you talk or even look bored. Also, you better bring a notebook and a pen to take notes. He was one of Charles Clough's former teachers before Mr. Clough became more of an independent thinker.
I have not studied under this man as much as any
of the other people I have previously mentioned, but he has had an important
influence on me nevertheless. Gene Scott comes across in many ways
like R.B. Thieme, yet he has his unique differences. I only have
seen or heard him on TV or radio, but I have had a number of mature Christian
friends who I respect that have regularly attended his church. The
guy is yet another "walking library," and obviously a genius. My
biggest problem with him has to do with how he asks (demands) for donations.
His thought-provoking antics tend to irritate "legalists" and other uptight
Christians during his sermons (for example, I have seen him smoke a cigar
while being dressed like a Catholic priest, among wearing a myriad
of other "costumes"). Nearly any single tangent he takes during one
of his sermons end up being more interesting and informative than ten of
a typical preacher's entire sermon. Along with Charles Clough, Gene
refuses to ever say I wish I had more time to develop this, but...
Both men take whatever time necessary to teach whatever needs to be taught.
I am aware of the fact that the Christian Research Institute has some major problems with him, and it may be wise to at least become aware of where this man may be incorrect in his theology. I am currently not aware of him holding to any completely heretical teaching, though I do disagree with some of his teachings (as I do with even all of my other mentors).
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