Hello and welcome to raymondharris.com
I began this website back in 2003 and did so for the purpose of allowing those who supported me during my two years of Bible School training (July 2004 – June 2006) to follow along with me. I established this website about eight months prior to the start date of Bible School as a way to chronicle my journey of formal religious training. During that time, I blogged more than anything else, but I uploaded much of my studies and other education related materials. While receiving my education, God permitted me to increase additional talents by presenting his word among many congregations. I no longer have the blog entries from that time period, but there is much of my formal training that is available. These are available at the right, see the menu: Religious Training.
Following my formal instruction in my religious heritage, I went into fulltime ministerial work. I served as a pulpit minister from July 2006 through September 2010, working in Texas and Indiana. I probably have sermons recorded somewhere, but I have chosen to make available only the materials I wrote during those years. Each week I wrote a bulletin article, with a goal of writing about all sixty-six books of the Protestant Bible. I freely admit that as things unfolded I was not able to meet that goal, yet I believe much was achieved. That goal kept me focused for many years, until God shifted my ministerial work. Those original writings can be found at the right, see the menu: Article Archive.
In 2009 I began a year-long project that was finished in 2010. That project was conducted with a friend in Indiana. We took Bible Chronology, made Abraham, and his descendents the center point and found how they interacted with the world around them. This project helped me see the big picture of the interactive world of the Bible. But things really began changing in 2010. The project is available at the right, see the menu: Bible Timeline.
While looking for fulltime ministerial work, I penned some articles about the Old Testament and a short series focusing on: The Freedom to Speak, and ended 2010 writing about My Spiritual Journey and other articles about Dividing the Word of Truth. At the end of 2010, my family and I moved back to Texas, where I became a school bus driver and took 2011 as a sabbatical from ministry.
During 2011, I released a series of articles regarding Theology. In it, I discussed the importance of Theology, and looked at six specific theologies. The first three were Dispensation, Replacement (also known as Supersession) and Cessation theologies. These were the theological lenses I was given for interpreting Scripture. I then went on to discuss Covenant, Olive Branch, and Continuation theologies. Once I learned about these three theologies and studied them, the other theologies I had been given had to go.
Long journey abbreviated, the first three theologies where the theologies I had been taught, but were incapable of answering my questions about God’s Word. Those three engendered and simply begat too many problems and continual brotherhood division. God’s word only began to make sense once I learned, studied, and re-examined God’s word through the last three theologies. While I learned about Covenant, Olive Branch, and Continuation theologies during my work as a pulpit minister, I embraced those theologies in 2011, and marked my theological break from my religious heritage. The original theology web series is found at the right, see the menu: Theology (Series), or in PDF format at the bottom of the website (a notebook paper image).
After releasing the articles about Theology, the remainder of 2011 was mostly inactive as far as publication was concerned. I spent most of 2011 in prayer, meditation about God and reflection about my ministry. It was in this same year that I began associating with Messianic Jews. They helped me understand more about the historicity of Judaism, Rabbinic, and Sage practices that influence Jewish thinking about the Scriptures. I did write articles about English Bible Translation issues, and the importance of the Hebrew language. The writings from the final months 2010 and all of 2011 can be found at the right, see the menu: Article Archive.
Faith and Conviction
My website, this website, served dual-purposes for several years. Since about 2005, while in my time of religious training, I had been using the name Faith and Conviction. I continued to use that name off and on during my pulpit ministry. When I stepped out of pulpit work in late 2010, I used raymondharris.com as a type of webfront for Faith and Conviction. In late 2011, I established the website faithandconviction.org and migrated specific things to that website. Thus, some things on this website are available there as well. As of late 2011 Faith and Conviction became its own, that link is provided at the right, see the menu: Additional Ministry Works.
I released only a smattering of articles in 2012. This is due to several reasons. One of the primary is that I released a thesis that year entitled: A Thesis Concerning the Old Testament. It examined a portion of the church of Christ hermeneutic that the Old Testament has no authority for church practices, with the intent of determining consistent use of the Old Testament. That thesis, along with my theological shift really marks the complete intellectual and theological separation from my religious training. The thesis is available in PDF format at the bottom of the website (a notebook paper image).
In 2012, I fully dedicated my time to FaithandConviction.org, the ministry website that I developed. Working with Faith and Conviction took most of my research and publication time. In late 2012, I began a weekly study about the Torah Portion, looking at the key word for the Torah portion and seeing the Hebrew word translated by the Greek and looking at that Greek word in the writings of the New Testament.
2013 was a tremendous year. I continued my weekly Torah study, which did not finish until Deuteronomy was completed. But 2013 saw two major things. The first was my official break from my religious heritage. Three years previously, I broke away theologically, yet I believed I could remain an associate, such was not to be found.
The second was my release of my final thoughts to my theological journey. I did so by answering the question: Why? I was accused of many things, and many questioned me. But I chose to wait two years before giving my answer. I waited for many reasons, which I discuss within my answer.
In my answer I gave a massive articulation of the historicity of the Jewish influence on the church, along with a commentary on the Book of Acts and the Book of Romans. I discussed several things that relate specifically to my religious heritage (like the OT hermeneutic), but my answer is not specific to my heritage, because I address various aspects of Christian theologies. My answer is available at the right, see- Answering: “Why?”
This website contains information and examinations of the Bible and other items related to my religious heritage, specifics to the Restoration Movement. I implore those of the Restoration Movement to do as we have been instructed, seek not the doctrines of men; seek God’s Word and the knowledge that helps us understand his word; seek the First Century Church. I encourage those from the Restoration Movement to consider Alexander Campbell’s writings regarding his 1820s New Testament, and Barton Stone’s writings about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, Heresies found in a book entitled Works of B. W. Stone; together those men may just challenge your perception of the practice of a modern Restoration Movement church/congregation. For additional information, see the link at the bottom of the website entitled: Thoughts on the RM.
Lastly, by August 2013, after many prayers and much heartfelt consideration, God has led me to believe that my walk toward coherent and consistent theology had been accomplished. I will never regret learning the Bible, learning to Study, leaving the pulpit, learning the historicity of the New Testament, experiencing my hardships, none of it. It all makes me who I am. I need that, otherwise I would not be me.
With that in mind, I leave this website as a testimony to my theological journey. It will not answer all questions, it may, in fact, create questions. But it is the duty of everyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus to test everything they are taught against the word of God.
May this website be a blessing.
Blessings and Shalom