About Mike D’Virgilio
Best Selling Author
I grew up Catholic, for which I am grateful because it prepared me to receive the truth of God’s word when it was presented to me from a Protestant perspective. Growing up in the Los Angeles area, I went to Arizona State University in 1978, and moved into a dorm room next to two Jesus freaks, as I thought of them at the time. They invited me to a Bible study by asking if I would like to learn what the Bible had to say about who Jesus is.
Because of several things that happened throughout my teenage years (without getting into how God had prepared me for that moment), that was the perfect question to ask me. Despite having gone to church every Sunday for as long as I can remember, hearing readings from and sermons on Scripture, Jesus was an enigmatic figure to me. For whatever reason (and I do not blame the Catholic church or the church we attended), I had not up to that time been given ears to hear or eyes to see. The seeds of God, however, had been adroitly planted by the Holy Spirit in my soul throughout my young life.
A Little More About Mike D’Virgilio
When I was presented with the gospel a couple months latter I accepted it, reluctantly. I wasn’t “the most reluctant convert in all of England,” as C.S. Lewis claimed to be, but I was deeply ambivalent. I didn’t want to go to hell, but I came to college to party, and God was going to ruin it all! Thankfully, he did, but not quite in the way I expected. Because of my upbringing and God sowing those seeds I mentioned, I believed if God was real, if this whole Christian thing was The Truth, then he deserved my all. Previously, I thought such devotion was only for the religious professionals, like priests and nuns, not folks in the pews like me. My experience during those months I was careening between doubt and fear and the exhilaration of this new world I was being introduced to always brings to mind the famous 1890 poem by Francis Thomson, The Hound Of Heaven. God just wouldn’t leave me alone! He was making it very clear he was indeed real, and at some point, the following year I gave up. Theologically I now know I never had a chance, but that’s a (possible) discussion for another post.
I spent the next three years sold-out to Jesus being involved in the ministry of the Navigators on campus. It was a wonderful time, and I learned a lot, but it wasn’t reality, and not just because college isn’t the real world. Something happened in my junior or senior that greatly expanded my conception of reality, and how my Christian faith applied to all of it. That was a book by Francis Schaeffer called The God Who is There. Suddenly I realized that Christianity wasn’t just about my relationship to Jesus and “spiritual” things, but it was about everything. That began my intellectual journey that continues to this day, and oh what a journey it has been!
Having graduated in May of 1982, I moved back home, and spent the next almost three years having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Then in February of ’85 I met a man, Steve Kennedy, who changed the entire direction of my life. It started with an introduction he gave me to a theological perspective I’d never heard of, and it was upside down from my conception of the Christian faith to that point. It’s known as Reformed theology, which can also be referred to as Calvinism. Without getting why it appeared so strange to me, it wasn’t long before it made total sense, and I’d wondered why I’d never seen it in Scripture before. Steve, knowing I loved to read, and that I had no career to speak of, suggested I go to seminary to get some theological grounding, and then get a Ph.D. and become a professor. That sounded good to me given my intellectual curiosity, and a few weeks after meeting him I decided to do just that! He put me on a study track to prepare for school, and I begin to dig into a much more intellectual understanding of the Christian faith. It was enlightening.
This would change my life in more ways than I could fathom when I made that decision. One happened when Steve moved to Washington, DC. I was going to Westminster Seminary in California, but when he moved, he suggested I go to Westminster Seminary Philadelphia, and I thought, why not! I’ll spend two years there, I thought, get my masters, and come home. I’m a West coast guy, SoCal snob, I will never live anywhere else. And God laughs at our plans. I was 26 when I began the trek back east, single, and figured I’ll never get married. Lo and behold, who do I see there my first few days on campus? My wife to be! She was engaged to another guy, but common, technicalities. I tell the story of our courtship in a love letter to my wife and children in the form of a short book in case you want to be as blown away by it as I still am some 35 years later as I write. We were married less than a year later, finished our degrees, and I decided the academic life wasn’t for me. I never did make it back to SoCal permanently; we’ve spent all but three and a half years of our married life outside of my home state, and we currently reside in the great state of Florida.
In addition to not wanting a career in Academica, I never felt called to the ministry either. I worked for eight years out of seminary at a Christian college in public relations, and then sold beer for a short time, and eventually ended up selling technology, where I am today. I’ve always loved reading and writing but book writing came later in life, and it has become my avocation. I’ve written for blogs since I got my first one in 2004 and have written for a variety of them since. I won’t tell the story of the inspiration for my first book, or the experience of writing it here, but you can find that elsewhere on the site (link to it). I will, however, explain my passion for apologetics, or defending the veracity of the Christian faith. That started with Schaeffer back in college.
I read a good bit of apologetics, philosophy, theology, and history for a number of years, but kind of lost focus on for a period of time. I’ve always been interested in viewing current events, politics, and culture from a Christian worldview perspective, and focused there for a while, but something happened in 2009 that changed my focus again. I don’t want this to get too long, so I won’t get into details, but I got reintroduced to apologetics through something relatively new at the time, podcasts. I got a little MP3 player (what I still used today to listen to everything), and began a reeducation that hasn’t stopped. I was very pleasantly surprise there had been an explosion of apologetics resources since I’d last engaged it seriously. And boy, did I have a lot to learn!
Somewhere about that time as well, I made another life changing decision. In so happens in January of 2012 we had decided to become members of a church we were attending in the Chicago area, and they required writing a short testimony of sorts, which I still have. When I read my conclusion of the January 2012 me, and the me of now, I seem like two different people. I will quote myself:
It would be nice if I could capture more of those early days when God seemed so real, when my faith fired my imagination and drove me to seek God with all my heart. I often think of the VW guy; if God is real he loves me and he wants my all. I find it hard so many years into this journey to know how to do this or to make that happen. I feebly try to do the right things and trust God’s mercy and grace, like the publican sinner before the altar in Jesus’ parable, and continue on this journey.
If you want to know who “the VW guy” is, you’ll have to read Our Story. Reading this and the preceding paragraph, it’s hard to recognize that guy. I believe my deep dive back into apologetics prepared me for the very small change I’m about to describe that made a very big difference.
During the previous two decades as I was struggling to make a living and raise a family, we always went to church, and I always prayed and read the Bible. I was passionate about my faith and sharing and defending it whenever opportunity arose, and as we had children, I started defending the faith to them from birth, or shortly thereafter. As I often say, living life in a fallen world in a fallen body among fallen people is hard, not to mention the gravitational pull of sin is an ever-present reality we must endure. However, I got to the point where I could write the paragraph above, a change was coming. Sometime, probably later that year I made one of the most important decisions of my life. I decided I was going to read the Bible and pray every morning, and while I can say I’ve made it literally every single morning, it’s been close.
I decided I was going to start in Genesis and read the Bible from beginning to end, something I hadn’t done since I was in my 20s. That probably took me a couple years, and it blew me away. The vast scope of redemptive history portrayed in our Bibles is breathtaking. It was such an incredible experience that I decided next time I was going to write my way through. So, in April of 2014 I started a blog doing just that. As I write this, I’m nearing the end of what will be an eight-year journey, and one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. God’s word is as infinite as he is, and the deeper we go, the deeper it gets. The message is also something a child can understand.
I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing so much because as the Apostle John tells us in the first words of his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There is something incredibly profound about words because behind words is The Word who gives meaning to all things. In a sense, they are as infinite as he is, and he allows us with words (and everything else he created) to be co-creators with him. While we can’t make something out of nothing like he did, he created the universe with words; He said, and it was. With words we make something out of something, but it miraculously becomes something new too.
Books by Mike D’Virgilio
Uninvented: Why the Bible Could Not be Made Up, and the Evidence that Proves It
This book started with a decision I made somewhere in 2012. Having not read the Bible cover to cover in a very long time, I decided I was going to read it and pray every morning. I
The Persuasive Christian Parent: God’s Provision for Building an Enduring Faith in You and Your Children
Warning: This book is “controversial!” Before you read the overview, I want to highlight what I think is the crux of the misunderstanding.
Our Story: Mike & Sarah D’Virgilio’s Excellent Adventure
One evening we were sitting around the dinner table with our kids telling them a truncated version of how my wife and I met, and the brief but very memorable courtship we had.
Mike is available for book reviews, speaking, and media requests, or to answer any question related to Christianity, parenting, apologetics, or anything else for that matter.