Michael Patton saw “Braveheart” 17 times, when it was released in 1995.
“Now tell me, what does that mean to be noble? Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow titles, they follow courage,” the character William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, tells the Scottish king.
“Now our people know you. Noble, and common, they respect you. And if you would just lead them to freedom, they’d follow you. And so would I.”
“It was instrumental for me in finding my own passions — giving my life to something worthwhile,” Patton said in a phone interview this week from his office in Oklahoma. “I wanted to have the same kind of connection to God.” Patton will be in Columbus next weekend teaching at Wynnbrook Baptist Church, and then preaching at Third Day Baptist. He runs Reclaiming the Mind, a ministry in Norman, Okla., which he’s called the football capital of the world. Through seminars like the one he’ll lead here, as well as home courses and the Credo House of Theology in Oklahoma, the Christian ministry teaches that the mind is not separate from spiritual things. Patton had this epiphany while attending the non-denominational Dallas Theological Seminary, whose moniker is “Teach Truth, Love Well.”
He got his master’s in New Testament in 2001.
“With Christianity, sometimes we look at faith as something that’s a blind leap in the dark, and we ignore the mind. Historical and biblical Christianity wants us to use our mind. Faith is inclusive of the mind.”
The Reclaiming the Mind ministry is endorsed by, among others: the Rev. Chuck Swindoll, pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas; and John M. Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Reclaiming the Mind got its start under the umbrella of Stonebriar, after Patton graduated from seminary. He was on staff at the church for six years. Then four years ago he officially took “Reclaiming” out on its own. He wanted to form something to help Christians get away from what he calls “cut and paste theology.”
“People need to be challenged — really challenged,” Patton told InternetMonk.com. “Yes, it is risky, but in the end we need to do this if we are going to love our God with our mind.”
The Theology Program is a six-course program of systematic, historic and apologetic theology created for those who may not ever go to seminary. About 1,000 churches use the material; online courses are also available. While Patton applauds preaching, he doesn’t think the pulpit is the primary avenue for education and discipleship.
Patton is married to Kristie Newcomb Patton, and they have four children.
In Columbus, David Holt, who helped bring Patton here, has either taken courses or taught the 60-week course four times. He’s an elder at Third Day Baptist, which is hosting Patton as preacher Aug. 29. “It gets us into the root of our beliefs; he talks about historical context, and how we came to believe certain things. It’s not denominational or ‘This is the way,’ ” Holt said.
Several other people locally have also taught the 60-week course, or are currently teaching it.
“It’s not for everybody,” Holt said. “People who get involved are committed to digging deep.”
Allison Kennedy, reporter, can be reached at 706-576-6237.