Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-05-10 - Jeremiah Bannister

Author Recorded Friday May 10th, 2019

There are 45 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

I met Jeremiah Bannister on Facebook. I reached out and he agreed to share his touching story. Jeremiah's faith journey is messy but beautiful and he is an inspiration.

Under Construction

Under Construction

These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
hello this is Jeremiah Bannister and you're listening to Catholic versus Catholic [Music] so uh just tell the listeners a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how you came to believe what you believe okay yeah my name is Jeremiah Bannister um I'm a Roman Catholic and I've been many things throughout my life and and honestly I've only been back in the church since Christmas Eve of 2017 and if you go back far enough in my storyline I was raised in charismatic Pentecostal and I became a calvinist while I was in Bible College I overheard a debate between two Ras that had to do with predestination and Free Will and I was I found it compelling and I was very intrigued by and so I read the institutes and John Calvin and I read RC Sproul and others and became a calvinist and eventually a presuppositionalist I went for a very very brief period of time I went to Seminary for presuppositional apologetics I studied uh theonomic ethics and law eventually decided that I wanted to get an mdiv but then we had our first child and in New Jersey if you don't have insurance and we thought we did but we did not and when that happens you're looking into the tune of Band of the tune of about 25 000 and so there was really no way to continue going from my Seminary program so I took a job as a chief aide to a lobbyist a Conservative Christian lobbyist and I was the student suit and briefcase guy right suit and tie briefcase guy in in Trenton New Jersey walking the streets of the uh Halls of the Capitol with him and driving around doing all different kinds of events and coordinating things and I did that I worked as an associate youth pastor eventually moved back to Michigan where back to my hometown of Battle Creek that's cereal City USA where Kellogg's and post are from and so we moved back there my wife and I and I took a job as an associate pastor of a Baptist church and I was there for a while and did quite well but I was eventually given an ultimatum the ultimatum was either I had to abandon my Calvinism and be a Southern Baptist pastor and take over for the one that was retiring or I had to leave there was no there was no in between it was simply your eyes are gonna you're either not gonna be a calvinist or you're not going to be the pastor here and it was an easy choice I I've never done something like oh I'll stop being a calvinist so I can be a pastor I thought that was absurd so I took my took my stuff walked out the door but decided that I may want to consider going back to school but before entering into school again uh to go for journalism which I eventually went for and that's pretty much what I do now with radio and other stuff the um I began blogging and making videos on YouTube in the early days of YouTube and I was doing a lot of blogging before that on zanga if anybody remembers that you know that's kind of back in the day um Myspace was still totally awesome people knew what that was um they were all friends with that same guy in the white T-shirt I don't even know what ever happened to him but anyway uh so I was writing all of these blogs and my main thing other than politics my main thing was trying to convert Catholic people to protestantism because I was convinced that Catholicism was this idolatrous cult and so I was writing things all the time while I was getting to meet you know new people in the blogosphere people from all over the country and a lot of Catholic people began commenting and I had a pretty decent sized audience of people I'd averaged at that time uh probably you know let's say 80 to 100 maybe even up to 120 comments under men any of my posts throughout the day so I mean I was having a lot of people and a lot of Engagement back and forth it wasn't like two people posting a bazillion things we're talking a lot of individuals coming in and talking so it was a lot of traction it was a lot of fun but I began learning something real quickly and that was that my understanding of Catholicism was entirely based on Protestants writing about Catholicism so I didn't I never read anything the closest I ever got to Catholicism there were two two instances um one was growing up my dad was a radio guy he was a manager of a Christian station and he used to get CDs all the time on the cheap because the Distributors he had a connection with them and I had a bunch of these Gregorian chant CDs and it was really I just loved them it was one of the main things I listened to I think my 11th grade year in high school and so I I fell in love with chant and the other thing was I'd read a book about Saint Francis of Assisi and I was so impressed and I'd known also oh goodness gracious what is his name John Michael Talbot my dad also had CDs and records of uh John Michael Talbot um and the little portion of Hermitage and stuff and so I knew of them and so I read this book about Saint Francis of Assisi and I was so impressed by it and so I actually went to uh I made a call and I really thought about this and I was I was praying I was thinking like man I don't know I I kind of want to live like that a little bit and so I called the the little portion of Hermitage and I talked to him on phone this is while I was in in Bible College down in Dallas Texas at Pentecostal college and they said they said okay well what parish do you go to you know what diocese are you in I said what are you talking about I didn't even know what they meant by that I had no clue and they said it's a that's a diocese I said you know what are you talking about and they really quickly realized they're like are you are you a Catholic and I said oh no way I didn't understand this and they said well that is kind of a precondition so I I never made my way into the Herm um so uh you know but other than that I knew nothing of Catholicism at all and so my friends online that I was debating with and all of them were quite traditional and conservative most of them were um Latin massive of you know one kind or another or they went to an ordinary form Mass uh that was very conservative you know so this is back before the mode of proprio with Benedict XVI and so the people were either fssp there were some uh sspx for the Society of Pope Pius the 10th and a handful of Eastern uh Eastern Orthodox people some Byzantine Catholic people so these were these were individuals very few individuals who are kind of your your normies your uh ordinary form Catholic people right it wasn't a lot of that and they all encouraged me to read certain Saints you know so I read Francis de sal I read uh um I read Saint Alphonsus uh they sent me the catechism of Trent I read the whole thing I went back and I started reading the early Saints so I read first century second century you started reading um Ignatius for example polycarp um Clement the dedicate I was reading the early the Early things church history and stuff like that and so it was super impressed by it and as far as I even bought a book on called the mass I mean it's the history of the mass and it was written at a time before the Latin mass and so there was before the the novusordo uh and so that was the only match they were really talking about they were they talked about other rights uh included in that but it was mainly the Latin mess so when I eventually after a year and a half of kicking against the goads on this um I eventually came to a place where I just couldn't I couldn't get around it anymore and I remember the day I told my wife she was still sleeping and I knelt next to the bed and I told her I said I'll crawl to mass I don't care anymore I can't go to Protestant church anymore I just can't do it and I said but you're welcome to continue if you want to use the car you're welcome to but I said it was this was a weekday and she said where you go I go I have an amazing wife and she's she's been with me through thick and thin and uh I love with all my heart but that was a powerful thing you know that that decision she made so that day I went to my first mass and when I went in I I thought that it was going to be a Latin mass and it wasn't I was very confused I said what is this and I actually went up and I asked him I said you know was uh it was weird because it wasn't in Latin and everybody's kind of looking at me Crossing you know thinking what's up with this guy and I just didn't know um but I I was very interested in going I didn't care uh so I said well you know I just I'm glad for to be where I am and I I'm behind this decision I'm moving forward so we became Catholic and our daughter was baptized um my wife and I were conditionally baptized my our son was just born um I think about a week before the the baptism so that's how we came into the church and we were in the church after that for about four years four and a half and I did I taught catechism at the church I was very involved I made a lot of videos I wrote a lot of blogs I had a radio show a TV program local TV program so I was very very very active but um I think it kind of hurt me to do that to go right from being a Protestant pastor and immediately through even though the kind of even though the conversion process was was long you know well a year and a half at least and it was this intense thing of studying and learning I never I I never just immersed myself and and you know kind of sat like a child at um at the feet of the Lord just saying look I need to learn this I'm not raised this way I have Tendencies and enthusiasms that have developed and those it was like this scallion that had just never been uh trained properly and so I went great I went wild and I was persuaded by you know I was frustrated by things going on in the church I was frustrated by things because I had only studied early documents I was frustrated by things I was seeing and I was struggling to to put them together and to make sense of changes and everything else and I became persuaded of city of economism and I became a set of a contest it took me about seven months to realize that that is a cult and so that was not good and I said oh no and we can talk about that one ever later but it was it's a it's a tragic thing right it's it's a Transit situation with them and I don't want to be I don't I don't I don't want to just blast everybody in that as if they're bad people the structure itself and and the hierarchy uh I think that it's there's serious serious problems with it but the the experience of the worship there the experience of the the morals that you have the sacraments the way they're done it is it's beautifully nostalgic for a Catholic that loves the past and so but we we eventually found our way out of there and we got to a place and by this time I was in in college one for journalism uh is liberal arts college with the um the use what is it UCC the Universalist Unitarian Church right and so that's that was the the church that was Affiliated it was also a Congregational Church that the the pastor would have been rolling over in his grave if he knew what had happened to and what they'd been aligned with and everything else and so I I found myself learning things that you know whether it was the age of the universe and evolutionary theory Darwinism naturalism and all of these things kind of come at me and I was also going through all of these um doubts having to do with with what's up with the church right these questions what's gone wrong with this what's happening with this and the times we're in and um I I became I I just accepted the idea I said if Catholicism is not true if I if I come to the belief that Catholicism of you know whether it's internal contradictions or whatever that that Catholicism is phony baloney then there's no other religion out there for me I I'm not going to go back to protestantism that's absurd right I left that for a good reason I'm not going to become a Muslim I'm not going to become a Hindu or a Buddhist or an Eskimo you know I'm not going to become any of those any of these things because I I don't believe that they can account or that they have a coherent world view that can count for uh how we live move and have our being in this universe and so I believe there are problems with these things so I said maybe we're not maybe we don't even have a gun I was agnostic and I I took a position that said I I don't know either which way and I I was doubtful and frustrated about it and it took about two years before I used the word atheist to describe myself but I eventually did and for seven years I was outside the church for seven years I left my my role as you know I was of course speaking and doing things uh Catholic churches or at uh organizations you know home school groups and things like that and so I I stopped doing that I was no longer doing a talk radio program I decided you know what I that's a big change I left that was a contributing editor for the distributist review and I resigned that post they offered for me to stay but I said you guys are a coherent bunch of Catholic people I mean that's actually the strength of your of your group and I still maintained distributism though and in fact I still retained a lot of my conservative even traditional beliefs and values while I was an atheist and eventually that landed me in a weird Quagmire what I think Charles Taylor calls cross press pressures right if you have these cross pressures in life and we between your social group and your values and social groups that are outside of yours that may have values like yours but dogmas that you don't share and so you're caught between these two icebergs that are crushing you in between and so you know found myself in that place but I I eventually returned to radio as an atheist and I was a very outspoken opponent of Christianity and I didn't talk too much about Catholicism I thought it was my main thing I mean I did do one speech about it where I I criticized uh Catholicism but beyond that it was just a lot of you know General American Christianity a lot of low-hanging fruit and there are even still some videos online of me describing my reasons for for leaving and why I believe that I was a Christian because there were people who said I was never a Christian uh calvinist people who said well if he left us he was never with us um so um that stuff's a van syllable but about five years in my daughter the one that was born in in New Jersey the 25 000 kid right that one and she was worth way more than that she was she was worth everything to me she was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma that is one of the world's most aggressive and wicked forms of childhood brain cancer and the the the life expectancy is very very small and through all of this through the experiences with my daughter okay through the things that we went through I was furious at God I could not believe that you know I already didn't believe but I now especially could not because I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that a loving God could create a world wherein an awesome beautiful and Brilliant 12 year old girl would get brain cancer and I watched her suffer I watched her die in my own home and I carried her out she was in a state of Rigamortis her skin was freezing cold and I've never seen someone dead other than in a Cascade at a viewing I've never seen somebody go through that process before I carried her in my arms to the hearse in the road and I mean death was in my arms and death was in my heart and I for the next year I raged in my heart against God but I found myself eventually doubting my doubt I began to and I I began doubting my doubt even before she died in fact there were things that I would say it was like sabotaging my daughters doubts right she wasn't a god hater but she was never you know since three years old she'd never gone to church we never prayed with her but she she loved life and she wanted to know that she wanted to go to different churches because she didn't understand why people did things but she wanted to and she told me something before she died she told me she's because we talked in fact it's before I even knew she had cancers the night before um we first discovered something was wrong and 48 hours before we found out it was cancer we were watching this cartoon called Super Friends it's this Hanna-Barbera cartoon with Superman Wonder Woman and Batman Catwoman and all this and we're sitting there and we're watching it and uh and we later ended up watching this documentary about Darwin but at the end of um at the end of the show you know we were really upset about something we'd seen in the Darwin documentary about Darwin's daughter dying I didn't know that before then and I I told her I said you know I would never I would never go back to church if I ever lost a child I would never ever ever go back and and she kind of held her hand awkwardly and it was because coming to find out she'd been hiding something about her inability to write for about two weeks she didn't tell us um because the brain tumor had affected her fingers and her ability to grip things and so she grabbed her hand and she said I know you'd be real sad if something like that nobody wants a kid to die but I don't want you to hate ever and I was I was angry I mean my teeth were grit talking this conversation just the idea it was so repugnant the idea of of losing a child it was so terrible and Dreadful just even think about and she wanted me to never hate and told me that the reason why is because that she we have family and friends all of our family and many of our best friends believed in God and she said and I love them with all my heart no matter what and she said promise me now it's cryptic in hindsight to think about that this conversation is happening and the girl that's saying it knows something's wrong with her but she can't imagine what it is and I had no clue and here it was a tumor the size of a golf ball in her brain that within the next five days she would end up having a 17 hour brain surgery to get it out but that that message stuck with me don't hate I was angry confused Furious about the situation but that that idea that admonition to to step up and to overcome that desire to hate in a terrible situation to hate people you would otherwise love with all of your heart it kept pounding away at me and over time I found myself for a lot of reasons political and otherwise finding myself becoming less and less associated with The Atheist community that I was involved with at the time and I was very involved with them even on the board uh of the state chapter of Center for inquiry on you know state board and very very active doing speeches all over the place a whole bunch and so you know after time and I'll end it with this on how I came back and why I'm back so my my kids I have four you know and now I've we we lost one and we were down to three and we have four now right but at the time uh after our daughter died uh there were three that remained and you'll you'll hear the Catholicism of old come out in their names the the first is athanasius the second one is Ambrose and the third one is Teresa Avila Lucille so just you know all doctors of the church right I mean you know so trees of Avila Ambrose Anthony and my three kids we've always been really involved with them and we all we have a very good relationship we talk a lot but my kids this is this would be the summer of 2017. my kids come up to me individually right different times about two weeks separated from each other and my my uh my daughters he was playing Legos and she's laying on the floor and I'm kind of just reading a book by her and she looks up at me and she says hey papa who built the builders and I thought what a weird question and I thought maybe she's talking about the Legos and what she was playing with and I said I don't know she goes no she said of the whole universe and so she was asking a question about where we came from how did we get here and I I told her I said I wish I had that answer that'd be I'd be like a best-selling author right now I would be making loads of loot if I had a definitive answer this is exactly how it happened and I can just just demonstrate this and whatnot and so you know kind of laughed about it but we thought it you know I thought about it so this you know she's thinking deep deep questions big considerations about a week later or so my my son athanasius he comes up and we're talking he got in an argument with his mama and uh I don't really like that Papa Bear doesn't like arguments with Mama it never goes good and so we're talking about you know honoring your your mother and your father and so I'm still relying on these these traditional Concepts these conservatives traditional Christian Concepts and I'm talking to him but he asked me he says he started asking questions about but why do I need to do that why should I understand what you're saying well yeah but it's nicer I mean you want people to treat you a certain way right yeah but what if I want to treat this person that way you know do I have to behave a certain way who says I have to these were all questions of authority these were questions of by what standard are you determining that this is how I ought to live how must I live and what's the penalty who says and why so this is deep stuff it might you know something was man what's up with this and then the last one my son Ambrose he was playing puppets outside they all have these really cool Chef puppets that there's a certain name for him um but they're all playing with them and everything and he says Papa I need to talk to you in private I said okay so he leads me upstairs we go to his room and he closes the door all kind of secretively and uh he stands there and says I have to tell you a secret I said what's that buddy he said well sit down so I sat down on his bed can you pause for a second he looked at me you could tell he was nervous and he said Papa I pray and I didn't know how to handle that because I didn't teach that little dude how to do that I don't know I don't even know who did I don't know if anybody actually did in fact I asked him and he said no nobody taught me I I found out that he prayed before he'd been at somebody's house and that you saw people pray but nobody actually sat down with him and explained what prayer is and how you do it or anything and and so I'm kind of I wasn't really treating him very well about I I wasn't being you know super rude and I was being somewhat playful but it wasn't nice what I said I said oh so is God like talking to you and he looked at me and he says no he said it's not like God's talking in my ear and used his little puppet like talking by his ear it's kind of funny and then he paused and he looked down on his little feet shuffling on the ground and then he looked at me in the face and he said but I still think it's the right thing to do and then he walked out of the room and left me there so I'm like I are asking these crazy questions and I'm thinking that they're all Inc you know colluding with each other they're all scheming against their dad so I get ticked off and I'm like time out and they're freaking out and I stormed down the stairs and I I'm pointing at him and I'm blaming him you know saying what's going on with this are you guys talking and everything and and they worked these were spontaneous conversations that had to do with with things that either they had done by themselves or situations like arguing or playing with Legos and thinking about building and then thinking about whatever it was these weren't I mean there was no plot right there was no scheme here and so it was it was just really organic thing that just happened and I had to think about it and when we got talking and then same little guy in Bros he asked me he said Papa are we Catholic and that was the beginning of the the end for us right as atheists that's I mean really that's that's what eventually LED because you know we explained yes people you know you're baptized you have Catholic names we haven't gone to church and then you know they started asking questions about church and they asked to go to Ambrose's Godmother's church because she always sent us Nativity pieces and this was around Christmas time and so we went we decided to go it was in town and we went and when we got there we not only discovered of course she lived in town we didn't realize that at the time we thought she lived in a different place so it was kind of cool that she was there but we very quickly learned as the procession was walking down the center toward the altar that the priest that we had before our apostasy had also been relocated now to where we live now which is in Grand Rapids this is about you know an hour the hour and 10 minutes from uh where we used to go in almost an hour and a half from the church where he used to be the priest where he used to be the priest and so we were surprised we didn't know he was there in Oakland and my wife and I we weren't we weren't in our hearts ready to come back yeah but we our kids wanted to keep going even though there wasn't candy and I told him that I said look if I was you know father serico he's the priest at Sacred Heart in Grand Rapids and he he gave candy to the kids on Christmas Eve he had kids come up and a guy who owns a factory that makes a bunch of chocolate it gives them all these all this candy for the kids and so they come up and everything and they're like we get candy Papa look at this and they were they loved it you know and I said well there's not candy at the next one thinking it was going to dissuade him oh no it didn't dissuade him and now a year and a half later they're serving the the high mass and the extraordinary form at the Sacred Heart and I am being trained now as a thorough for uh at the mass I serve at Holy hour I've served at a low mass and uh our kids are enrolled in a classical education Catholic school where they learn Latin and the Saints and they have mass every single morning uh the ordinary form except for high holidays and stuff like that where they'll special days or events where they'll have the traditional Latin Mass but it's the ordinary form other than that and so and my wife is in a women's Bible group and she's part of a group of ladies that after Mass go up and pray uh you know in the front of the church and uh we're very involved but that's my story interesting so what were the major hurdles the first time you became Catholic in the second time were they the same hurdles or were they completely different hurdles very different the first time it was pretty common hurdles I mean Authority well yeah Authority uh Soul scriptura um not so much solar feet I had already I'd already sacrificed that on uh you know with the Federal Vision uh Douglas Wilson and others and their kind of view you know reformed is not enough kind of stuff and all my friends said you know that's a golden brick road to Rome and I said oh no that's Cuckoo Pants you know you're you're out of your mind I'm not going to become Catholic and uh yeah but you know so the things to do Virgin Mary stuff like icons you know but and and eventually these things began feeling away and really the and part of it was was the pride the two the 12 folks on it that were really tough one was solar scriptura and I got to a point where I I was getting so frustrated because I was looking around at how it inefficient solar scriptura was number one I I reject the idea that it's self-evident the Canon right like somehow we can just look at Jude and go yes you know like oh 100 man that's supposed to be there it was obviously not self-evident to the church in the beginning because there were Divergent cannons um and the same pathanasius in fact I mean my son after someone who played a significant role in being someone who had the the the New Testament a canon in order uh the um that we have now and if not the first one of the first to have done that and so I remember I told my wife I said you know I do a lot of writing and I wanted to write a play I enjoy doing videos and writing little screenplays and skits and stuff and I wanted to make this play where there was a guy who had these really deep questions about life and the afterlife and death and sin and salvation and stuff and throughout the play as he's asking these questions people come from different sides different characters would come out you know from the side and be introduced into this scene and these characters would by some mechanism they would you know some uh spectacle you would be able to identify what denominational affiliation or get at least some idea of where they're coming from and the words they use and the style of their voice and stuff and and have throughout the play as this is going you know let's say you have people come out who are Baptist and then Methodist and then you are one miss Pentecostal people you know so you've got your whole your whole game people from all the different denominations start to come out right and you'd have to limit it because there's about a bazillion of these denominations I mean stick with the big dogs and maybe some outliers but to bring them around and eventually as it gets going it's it's more chaotic because they're arguing with each other and they're fighting over all this stuff and they're it's closing in the more intense it gets and the louder it gets the closer sure they all kind of close in around the central character until he's completely inside of this this super tight huddle that is Extremely Loud and all the people waving their arms and they're angry at each other and they're insisting no no it's mine and then boom and you hear this loud bang and the smoke Rises up from the middle of the group and everything stops and they slowly back away and as they look smoke is rising and he's on the ground with a gun in his hand and I said because that's how I felt that's how I felt with solo scriptura that's how I felt without as if God as if we're all just desperate for this answer like for these wolves that are so starving and we just need the this food and God takes a Bible that's like a big slab of bloody meat and throws it in the middle of the wolves and says go at it best of luck and I feel like that would be how solar scriptura plays itself out you know everybody and it was frustrating because you know I have I have well-intended friends and family that believe that even to this day and they would tell me well you got to read the Bible like I've read the Bible way more than you and I know people who've read it way more than me I know Scholars like John McArthur and rrc Sproul who you know let's see uh people that I know they admire these two guys and they have differences over infant baptism and so they have these these dialogues right these discussions they they believe they're both Christian they believe they're both going to heaven but they have a difference over that whole One Faith one Lord one baptism thing apparently and so and what would be the answer well they got to read the Bible these guys can read it in multiple languages they have they've preached it for years and then people say well you should pray about it well you think that these two guys didn't go and pray and beg God say look I just want to know the truth I just I desperately want to know you don't think that they've done that and then they come back and guess what they still believe what they believe and then what's the answer well we should go back and study the Bible well there's there's a carnival ride for you right that's a vicious circle if I've ever seen one and so you just keep going round and round you go and and so that was absurd to me right but but more personally it was the issue of orders because I was I've been Pastor I'd been I've been uh I've worked in youth ministry and I worked as an associate pastor that was was striving to be a senior pastor okay so I'd gone to Bible college but when I read Catholic controversy by Saint Francis de Sales when I read that I I was was cornered in I mean I was boxed in this corner by him to say who sent you who gave you that Authority did you assume it for yourself and if you say you based on the Bible show us in the Bible where you have the the the the pastor who just said well you know what uh I wasn't commissioned by anybody none of the Apostles set me up no no Bishop set me up I just felt in my heart that God called me to the ministry so I started my own thing yeah there was the case of Simon that wanted to buy the office remember yeah it didn't work out too good for that guy right the closest thing I heard was somebody said well what about Paul and I'm like well did you get knocked off of a horse with this crazy you know borderline psychedelic vision of of the the glorified Christ right that it ascended did you you know that you you see this bright light and you're blinded and a miracle happens and I said even that wasn't enough because Paul submitted himself so that he would know that he wasn't running and doing it in vain why I why couldn't you say well look if Pastor Joe blow over there you know if if Pastor Joe Blow is a pastor because he felt in his heart that that's the case then I think that the Apostle Paul wouldn't need to go talk to anybody because he was blinded knocked off a horse radically transformed God comes and does Miracles he can see again Paul's doing all these amazing things and wonders and stuff I mean if if Pastor Joe Blow is legit without needing to go then Paul definitely doesn't but what does Paul do Paul goes Paul goes and says I submitted myself so that he would know and it would be confirmed that in fact he wasn't and what happened well you're the uh you're gonna be the messenger to the Gentiles okay so he had he had a jurisdiction too it wasn't just simply so he the the the aim of his mission right there was a it was confined to something he was given order in this me never and I read that and I was so it was so convicting David it was I can't even begin to tell you how I felt to sit there and say have I been running in vain and who would I go to because people said well why don't you go to the the leadership you know I worked at a Baptist Church but I mean I was really I was it was it was a legitimate reason why the Pastor said you got to stop being a calvinist I mean I I held a lot of views that were Westminster confessions stuff right I wasn't even like just a Reformed Baptist like James White or anything like that but who could I go to let's say I went to uh you know I went to the elders I went to deacons at another church I went to a pastor over here or let's say I was part of a denomination in the denomination certified me and then said well you're we're going to send you through there who gave them that power where did they get it did they just assume it and how do where do we get this idea that power is not conferred by power but that it's assumed by powerless where do we get this I I was talking with an atheist today on Facebook and we were talking about the principle of proportionate causality he doesn't believe in it and I said well he can't do science without it but uh he wanted me to give another example that didn't have to do with material a sort of Natural Science you wanted something to do with agency so I said well with agency you don't have authority unless you submit to Authority and he said that's not true you don't need to drive your Authority from anyone else where do these people think Authority comes from if not from above magic It's Magic thinking it just is there's no the the idea that well or or maybe they'll they'll pull the Revolutionary stunt of saying that it's you know the people what whatever that may mean right where did Satan think that he had his authority from when he was quoting scripture to Jesus in the desert I don't think he was assuming Authority beyond the power of the air and the world and what he could offer which is why he had to twist the meaning of it right he couldn't preach it Faithfully he couldn't preach it Faithfully he was stuck with with uh with misleading ideas and using it in a way that is deranged um especially against the sorts of it right right you're talking to the source of the thing and so but but you know even his authority uh he can't do things without being permitted and so he he can't go outside of that so I mean even he even he you know is is Renegade and autonomous as people kind of treat him that even he is limited by that because God is is the ultimate Authority he's the he's the honcho he's the buck stops here on everything [Music] he's that's what it is and so the idea that I could just assume this idea there was no way to do it now that was the first time okay the second time coming back there were things that actually took me a while uh like I said when we first started going back you know it was it was a gradual thing there were events it wasn't actually an apologetic argument it's not like I I went in went online and said oh man the Kalam argument is Mega dope that convinces me I no way I I didn't that was not how I approached this um you know a lot of it was was accidental like I read a book called The Life of the Mind by Father James Shaw if I'm remembering his first name properly uh brilliant guy I I just thought it was like you know what what do people do when they're out of school but they're Auto did acts and bibliophiles and they they just love learning they love readings that's what my life you know so I I you know I was out of school and I was getting kind of missing it and saying man I I longed for that and uh hear stories about um Hillary bellock and about GK Chesterton and mainly about bellox though and how he would go on these walks and how he he had been an Atheist right and how he'd come to this faith and he did it by going on walks and so I started just going on these walks I was I was shocked you know that this was even about bellock I didn't know it but I was I've been a distributorist and I still admired bellock I admired Chesterton I admired the whole gang Arthur Penny all of them and so I I stuck with the book I didn't put it down I said I'm going to read this book and so I read it in these walks that I would go on and I just I'd cry and I think through these questions I would think through um who I was and why I was doing what I was doing what's my world view you know why why if I believe that we're just that it's meaningless right then what is up with what I'm doing why am I you know and why do I have this this malaise why what what Charles Taylor in his book The secular age which I a friend sent me a book after I was done with life of the mind and Shaw and bellock have been chipping away at me uh a friend of mine had sent me a book and the book was reading Charles Taylor um by uh I think it's JK Smith now he's a teacher at Calvin College and he's a Protestant guy but he really likes Taylor Taylor's a Catholic and so it's kind of a summation of the book it's just describing it right so because the the secular age is I think 900 pages about 350 into it right now so this book is much smaller okay the JK Smith one and I read that and I was blown away by it because while it's not strictly an apologetic uh approach to it it's not saying well here's my argument let me give you a syllogism and you're going to be compelled by this or well we can take a bunch of arguments and smash them together and we're going to hope that maybe it's more probable that this is the case but it doesn't do that at all he says I'm going to tell you a story I want to tell you about how set how we went from a place where belief in God Transcendence hierarchy uh uh porousness that's the idea that um spiritual things can affect you right and that it's not just your brain and knowing facts but that you know you can be affected even in your attitude or you're zealed by something of outside of you that can affect you even curses and stuff back in the day um and today so but these these ideas and and how did we go from that and then get to a place where we are today where to say that you believe in God you are in the dark how did that happen What because the secular story is a real simple one well science happened and everybody just stopped believing in God that's that's ridiculous and so it's it's the story that he tells is fantastic and at least not only does it make sense of the developments of of reforms even within the Catholic Church encounter reformations and how this how this affects society and Elites and how they apply Christian morality in different ways and new avant-garde things um the the role of philosophy the role of Technics things like this once we get to this place of of secularism this idea well there's you know we're just Stardust kind of stuff and that's all we are and we're on this little blue dot in the middle of nowhere doing nothing kind of thing that people still have these desires and these these concerns and these frustrations and this and he talks about Death Cab for Cutie and Lisa Death Cab for Cutie as examples and we're so proud of is it remedy and I was one of those 80 people that strongly believed that we need to have something like church because they don't have any uh they have nothing for babies right there's no like massive thing that like like baptism or dedication or anything like that so there's not even really celebrations for it of course so many of them are contracepting themselves to death and there's there's you know abortion is uh in Vogue and so um and of course you know because of the environment we shouldn't have babies or maybe because we're white people we shouldn't have babies or there's a lot of reasons to just not have kids pornography of course is causing problems so there's all these issues that they have but babies just don't seem to be a big deal for them so the baby thing marriage right marriage they don't have this this big thing uh death death there's the the idea so many of them are it's this hyper individualistic thing and there's no there there's no commonplace where they can actually go and do let's say missions for example which is weird for an atheist organization or atheist movement because it's a movement completely almost completely dependent upon D converts it's it's hyper Evangelistic because atheism is because they making babies which means their organizations unless people deconvert their organizations will die they will grow old get wrinkly and turn to dust and they have no kids to pass it on to unless you decrease people so they'll say well I'm not trying to you know do that no definitely 100 I mean almost to a number tons of them and I know some of the kind of you know to each their own but there's there's this revolutionary drive in this revolutionary Spirit within it uh Evangelistic and not only that but I realize soon enough I was doing speeches at places Sunday Assembly and see if senator Frank or in other places uh secular student Alliance to to try to describe this this idea of doing this but here's the problem takes on the assembly take any of these groups they lack what Jonathan height uh would call of the moral in his moral foundations Theory they they lack the the the foundation of hierarchy and Authority they're hyper individualistic hyper Democratic right this idea of hierarchy you see how they're against it all the time whether whether it's their their drive for a more direct democracy whether it is their dislike for anything that ends with Arky except for and so they get themselves in this place where even the the best hope that they've got would be places like for example Sunday Assembly and I know people there and I've been invited to speak and they were really really polite about my daughter some of the people that were there that I know were involved with that group my daughter went I was the speaker that they invited for their grand opening in Grand Rapids and we we had so many people uh it got close to 100 we weren't allowed to have more come in they had to wait outside or they couldn't even come in because we were beyond the code uh fire code and so and they came for that and so there was an excitement there it dwindled real fast and the reason why number one why are you coming what actually are you coming for they can say well a celebration of life okay what what's the topic you have a liturgy well no we we have to think of what we're going to do next week it's so Random you know and they don't have any any authoritative structure that groups in the history of groups need or to have a transgenerational continuity where they keep going they don't have it and they don't have a moral code that is at the same time strong and firm enough to be like a maypole that people keep you know dancing around that and finding that Common Core and yet at the same time loose enough that it's not shepherding right it's not like the shepherding movement uh where you gotta ask your pastor if you can you know paint the walls in your house and so they they lack that golden meaning of that standard they don't have that and because of their their tendency atheists to be Progressive and liberal they find themselves in our current condition of being increasingly committed to the for no better choice a term social justice warriorship right sjwism right this kind of cultural Marxism whatever people want to call it and there is this real freaky authoritarian strain in that right the lactivist authoritarianism that that doesn't permit dissent and so they lack they lack those things that are necessary and I and I started figuring this out and I said man we're hosed and we had kids we're the only one of the only families in in this organization that had them you know weren't meant things like that a lot of people you know they they didn't share our values and it just more and more and more and more and more but the biggest thing that was hard was I said I have my values I have in common with the Catholic people and the Christian people because that's where I where they developed and that's where they they became coherent for me in my life in a world view but I don't share their dogmas and so if I went to the church would they allow me or would they be like this guy's actually dangerous man he's not even a Christian he keeps coming here maybe we shouldn't let the kids go over to their house their values aren't the same because they have a maypole right they have and I'm using that term metaphorically they have that that catechism they have the Creeds they have their dogmas they have things that they must submit to and I wouldn't submit so I believe is so much I identify with more but I share the dogma and these people over here that I do or the beliefs about women and I don't want uh you know um theocracy and I don't want the Bible doing this to us and that's what I believed but all of the values that they had and these these ideas I it was a terrible processor in my life and I was caught and when we came back to the church through the kids being there got me to the place where I realized that I needed to pray and the Liturgy worked it worked on me right that's a real deal you go and you you are in a place of humility and you're in a place of Brokenness and you're surrounded by Majesty mystery and awe and God's presence is right there you are Bound to You better watch it bud if you don't if you don't want that because God God is a is a Relentless Hunter of Souls and that's what happens you know he uses the term of a Shepherd going to find uh Islam he is Valiant in his search and and he sacrifices life for us right so that began to lead me there and eventually even when I had my doubts I was praying I said God help my unbelief and after a year I was given spiritual appearance uh kind of it was a spiritual advisement of it in Penance for what I had done as a as a enemy of the church for a year of silence and a year of sacraments and prayer and I did it I stayed away from social media like I was told I think I post like four or five times and it was always something that was like an announcement nothing to do with politics religion nothing I wasn't on radio anymore I didn't do podcasts I didn't do YouTube I went to church um for probably oh boy I think I went to church at least 300 and 30 days maybe a year I mean it was I would go as often as I possibly could and I prayed every day and I begged God help my unbelief right help me to to get to a place where I believe and through a lot of things that I've listed actually for a good friend of mine author friend um by the name of Brett Fawcett he's also from Canada um but Brett I said into a list to him as it grew of things that that helped me to get to where I am now and I I don't have doubts about the Lord anymore I don't have answers maybe on everything people would ask you know I'm writing a book about my daughter's life and death and how it led us to the church and I know people and I guess if they're listening to this they'll find out but I don't have an answer for the problem of evil I I don't if someone says well why did God do that well that is going to be actually my first question right when I make it to Heaven oh God willing I'm not presumptuous about this and so but but I I but even in light of that and in spite of that I don't doubt him I believe in him and I have a hope that I will see him and that I'll see my daughter and so you know all of those things so it was it was easy in fact both of them took a good year and a half actually interestingly enough the first time in the second time and they were difficult for different reasons but the first time it was difficult it was easier I would say because I didn't go through the loss of my daughter and the second one was harder because I had to overcome not just intellectual arguments but a darkness in my heart yeah for sure thank you so much for sharing that so at the end of my episodes I do ask my guests to give the closing thought so just wrap up the show what do you think that you might be able to say to someone that's out there listening now when I was going through the stuff with my daughter um you know all of the the chemo and the radiation the six hour biopsy the 17-hour surgery um you know all of the the Medical Treatments and the therapy and eventually the recurrence the vomiting the paralysis eventually the blindness her inability to communicate anymore um these things were so hard not just in the moment but afterward for a long time and they still are there's times I'm actually shocked that I've made it through this interview without crying um it may be a first for me in fact but through all of that there was um a phrase there's two things number one my daughter had a motto and that motto was very simple and it made her very um dear to a lot of people and to me and it was this and it would make a wish in fact selected hers there highlighted ambassador of the year in Michigan because in part due to do with this and it was her motto was never give up and keep on smiling and so from a from kind of a ecumenical and even a secular um angle on this of just saying to J in general people regardless of where you're where you are in your life okay whether you are a Christian whether you're Protestant with your Catholic whether you're an atheist wherever you're coming from um and no matter what you're going through that you can do it and that you should never give up no matter what and keep on smiling and to to do your best and that doesn't mean you're going to be perfect it doesn't mean that you're not going to make mistakes it doesn't mean that things aren't going to be extremely painful or extremely hard you're going to go through things that will feel like the world is literally caving in around you but I learned from that girl from this amazing young girl that I have the honor and privilege of calling my daughter I learned from her and seeing her go through all of those things that never once did she break on that and never once did you say why me she was grateful to be alive and the other thing is this is that there was the Godmother that I mentioned about my son and how we went back to this church the Godmother she came into the tassel unexpected in fact Uninvited but she was there and we talked after as she came with the priest actually and he prayed over our daughter he was the only cleric of any denomination or religion or anything to come and pray over our daughter and as they were leaving this this really short pie of five foot two Italian Grandma you know real pretty uh and she she came up to me she's looking up in my eyes and she's crying and she says Jeremiah and she said you have to believe that God loves you the God loves Sammy that God loves your family you have to believe this and I didn't at the time in fact I couldn't believe in God and I could only believe if there was a God that he was quite mean and vengeful and on in an unjustifiable way but I'd come to learn that you know through different experiences in my life and three different thoughts in different trials and everything else that God does love me that Jesus loves me and that we can know this not just in an intellectual way but in a sacramental way and in a spiritual way and I know it's hard in our modern world that likes to believe that the only thing around us is what we can taste and touch and feel and everything else um but I think that for those who are in a place where they say you know what um I'm broken and I need help they do have to get used to one thing though is that you know especially for people who come from a background like I came from with with being an atheist that coming back accept the fact that you've wrestled with God and that you'll probably walk with a limp because he doesn't lose and as long as you can grant that then it'll be a lot like it was with me when I went back and the priest realized I was there and he looked at me and he said you are literally the last person in all the world I would have ever imagined seeing here and as I was walking out he said welcome home Prodigal Son and in that way he really was speaking in the place of Christ to me and I've become increasingly convinced by humility by prayer by persistence by Solitude getting off a social stinking media okay do it for a while um There's Hope and God is there and so and and I'm always here you know if people want to contact me and speak with me you know I don't I've been a lightning rod for a long time I don't mind this um but uh if you're interested to reach out to me you know you're more than welcome [Music] um I'm always willing to talk to people and I wish them the best no matter what and I wish to be friends with people no matter where they are um for who they are and that would be what I would say