“God led me to the right place for laying the biblical foundation for correct understanding and interpretation of the Bible.”
Dr. Jeff Rhoades is a Calvary alumnus who recently published his book titled: The Bible, Dimensions, and the Spiritual Realm: Are heaven, angels, and God closer than we think?
Jeff grew up in Raytown, Missouri. It was not until he was in his early twenties, and married, that he became a follower of Christ. When Jeff started attending Calvary University, he was twenty-one years old, had a wife, a newborn baby, and was working full-time at his father’s restaurant. “The registrar never thought I could get enough classes for a degree,” Jeff recalls, “But I was new to the Bible and wanted to take all the classes I could.” He was eventually able to get a dual major in English Bible and Local Church Ministries. Today, Jeff also has a Masters in Theology from Louisiana Baptist Seminary and a PHD in Theology from Louisiana Baptist University.
Jeff says that his call to ministry has been a “thousand steps of obedience,” stating: “I never set out to be a pastor or a missionary, I set out to serve God.” He affirms his education at Calvary was “exceptional” and that it molded his foundational understanding of the biblical worldview: “I was like a kid in a candy store for the first time. I soaked in the teaching and little did I know that I would eventually go on staff full-time at Abundant Life Church as Outreach Pastor, then go to El Salvador as a missionary. Now, I am an Administrative Pastor in Topeka, Kansas. It all started while I was sitting in those early morning classes at Calvary.”
Jeff’s heart has always been in evangelism and sharing the gospel, and he has had many experiences in which he has grown spiritually through ministry. His time in El Salvador was powerful, where hundreds of men and women were led to Christ: “I’ve seen men accept Christ, go through our training program, and after six to eight years, pastor a church.” Jeff also helped start several churches and built three church buildings in El Salvador. “We also helped a poor rural school in El Salvador replace their three outhouses with flush toilets and put in a small water tower,” Jeff recalls, “It was a very memorable moment when they invited me to their ‘flush toilet’ dedication! It was such a small thing we did, but it was huge for these people.” He continued: “We also had baptisms in the rivers and pools. I remember we were baptizing several people, and one girl was physically handicapped but wanted to be baptized. We lifted her up out of the chair and carried her to the water and I was baptized with her as we both went under.”
In regards to his book’s impact, Jeff says that he wrote it to give Christians (and seeking unbelievers) scientific and biblical evidence to show that heaven is a real place with locality and dimensionality. “For several years, I’ve challenged my Sunday school classes to think of heaven as a separate dimension or a higher dimension. If God created our spacetime continuum, then He must be in a dimension separate from that which He has created.” He writes about the Bible’s perspective on the spiritual realm and how science points to its reality, as well as the Bible being “God’s communication to us from outside of our spacetime universe,” supplying various examples in the Bible that point to a spiritual realm. The book also discusses how believers enter the spiritual realm, and the dimensionality of hell, heaven, time, and eternity, and lastly, how to wage war in the spiritual realm and protect oneself from attacks through applying God’s truth.
“I came to Calvary only a couple of years after my conversion,” Jeff states, “Yet, I was full of ambition and desire to learn. God led me to the right place for laying the biblical foundation for correct understanding and interpretation of the Bible.” That foundation has been Jeff’s “guide and tether” as he’s ministered and taught over the years, and now recently as he has pursued writing. He adds, “That fundamental, literal approach to understanding God’s Word helped me safely explore the spiritual realm from a biblical perspective for this book. Ideas must not contradict Scripture, we must have a correct understanding of the Word of God so as to not violate Scripture or a scriptural principle.”
When asked about what he is looking forward to in the future, Jeff states: “The future is always exciting because it is the next step in our journey of life. The unknown of tomorrow is a blank canvas that God is writing into our lives as we follow Him and live for Him. I believe we are ever closer to His return and to our departure.” Until then, Jeff plans to continue serving God with the gifts he has been given, as well as living out God’s will for his life by obeying His Word. He plans to fulfill this mission by pointing his audiences to the truth found in God’s holy Scriptures: “I will preach and teach the truth, because that is what the Holy Spirit uses to save souls and change lives.”