Flat-earthers frequently say that there are no flat-earth atheists. I suppose this is because flat-earth cosmology appears so contrived that no one would believe that it evolved. But that is a far cry from bringing flat-earthers to the true Creator. Since the modern flat-earth movement is a product of the West, it is no surprise that the dominant religious leaning in the movement at least appears to be Christian. However, there is a tremendous diversity of theological beliefs among flat-earthers. Some flat-earthers seem to be deists, believing that there is a God, but he doesn’t care too much about the affairs of men. Deists generally don’t hold the Bible in high regard, so these flat-earthers don’t either. There are flat-earth Muslims, and I suppose that there are flat-earthers among other religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. These flat-earthers obviously would not have a high view of the Bible, at least not nearly as high as they view the sacred texts of their own religions. Other flat-earthers embrace new-age beliefs. Some of these people think the Bible is a sacred text, but not any better than many other ancient sacred texts. Other flat-earthers think that the Bible is inspired and authoritative, but they usually want to include some other ancient texts, such as 1 Enoch, with the Bible. Among these are what appear to be sincere Christians. However, just because people make references to the Bible or quote the Bible, it does not follow that they are Christians, so one must be careful about concluding that these people indeed are Christians.
One person comes to mind in this regard. Nathan Thompson was proud of his Facebook group being the largest flat-earth group anywhere. That is, until Facebook eliminated his group. YouTube also deleted Nathan’s channel there. He still brags about once having the largest flat-earth discussion group: it helps his martyr image. I recently discussed the reasons for the extreme measures that these platforms have taken. Nathan has since relaunched on the internet, but it will take him a long time to get back to where he once was, if ever. A speaker at Flat Earth International Conferences (FEIC), Nathan famously ambushed me at the 2019 FEIC. When speaking about flat earth, Nathan frequently mentions God and the Bible. So far so good, you might think, but Nathan often uses profanity, which is problematic for true followers of Christ. However, I have noticed recently that Nathan has cleaned up his language. For a long time, I had suspected that Nathan was not a born-again man. While he refers to the Bible, his passion clearly is to share the gospel of flat earth. All else seems to be subsumed by this passion. Nathan frequently posts videos of himself going out into public and passing out flat-earth flyers that he has written and publishes. He will preach about the earth being flat to anyone who will listen to him. In these videos, he frequently says that “Sharing is caring” and that his activism is laying up treasure in heaven, an obvious allusion to Matthew 6:19-21. I don’t think this is what Jesus meant by storing up treasure in heaven. This suggests that Nathan believes a works-based salvation. While Nathan has not explicitly said that we can earn salvation, that seems to be his message. Until recently, I did not have direct evidence that Nathan indeed believes in a works-based salvation, but now I do.
In late January, Nathan embarked upon a long journey to preach flat earth across the United States. Nathan was joined by Austin, a similarly minded flat-earth evangelist, as well as a third flat-earther who provided and drives a large RV on this trip. On their journey, they meet up with other like-minded flat-earthers who often host the trio for a day or two. When not staying with hosts, the trio parks the RV at campsites. Both Nathan and Austin regularly report on their trip with YouTube videos. It was during a stop very early in this trip that Austin hosted a conversation (no video) on his YouTube channel. Austin was joined by two men, one who went by the handle “Just Jack,” and the other went by “Mr. C.” I wonder why they used pseudonyms. Mr. C expressed some beliefs that clearly were heretical. Just Jack, Austin, and Nathan readily agreed with Mr. C’s heresy. Austin lists his email address on his YouTube channel, so out of concern, I sent the following email to Austin:
Please share this email with Nathan.
I’ve watched the video “Gravy Train w/Just Jack and Mr. C” that you streamed on January 29. I was concerned with some things that Mr. C said. At 1:29:25 he said: “You are who you have been waiting for. Jesus Christ does not come to save you. Yeshua is not coming to save us.” Mr. C went on to say that Jesus showed us the way that we can save ourselves. You, Just Jack, and Nathan seemed to agree with this message, but this message is contrary to the gospel. It is not a matter of how good we are or whether we deserve eternal life (which is what Mr. C said at 1:43:00) because none of us deserve, nor can we deserve, eternal life. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Therefore, we are all under the penalty of death (both physically and eternally) because of our sin. God’s justice demands that we die. But Jesus took that penalty for us. As Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Salvation is totally about Jesus paying the penalty for our sin (John 3:16). John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” You see, salvation is entirely through God’s grace through the substitutionary death of His son, not through anything we can do. I fear that you and Nathan believe in a gospel where your good works will gain God’s favor. That is contrary to what the Bible says. One must repent and rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ that exceeds all righteousness we may think we can accomplish. I implore you and Nathan to find salvation in the true gospel, not the false gospel that Just Jack and Mr. C are preaching.
A few days later, I received this reply from Austin:
Thank you for reiterating the same exact doctrine of men I was indoctrinated with my entire life. Cool story. Anyway, faith without works is dead, and we are to obey the law. You may just prefer that not be the case but that’s irrelevant. Our righteous works are like filthy rags before Yah, nevertheless we are to attempt to obey the law in constant improvement. If you really want to debate this subject, then jump on my channel live on video to discuss it. Otherwise, to be frank, I’m disinterested in novels about your feelings built upon strawman arguments. You can’t even formulate a viable argument for your interpretation of the very beginning of your book. Man up and stand behind your words or they are just like faith without works. Dead. Empty. Meaningless.
I assume that Nathan shares in this improper view of salvation. This is truly sad. Nathan has posted videos where he confronts leaders of local churches outside of their buildings, questioning them why they don’t teach that the Bible says the earth is flat. If Nathan believes that most churches are teaching a false gospel, wouldn’t it be far more important to confront the leaders of churches about that? I’ve suspected for a long time that Nathan thinks that flat-earth doctrine is essential to salvation. That is, one cannot be born again unless one first recognizes that the earth is flat. If Nathan and Austin believe this, how did they arrive at this theological position?
Nathan hasn’t shared much about his upbringing. However, Austin has. Austin apparently was born into a family that regularly took him to a baptist church while growing up. There he probably heard the gospel, as well as much more about the Bible. In some of his videos, Austin has shared that he saw much hypocrisy in the church where he grew up. That is a common enough problem in churches, and rampant and obvious hypocrisy has driven many people away from church and God. Consequently, Austin left the church and for a while embraced a sinful lifestyle. It is not clear what path Austin took to get back to some semblance of Christianity. I use that term loosely, and I doubt that either Austin or Nathan would use it to describe themselves. They derisively refer to “churchianity” as the failure they think the church is. They think that the church fundamentally departed from the true faith early on, and that even the Protestant Reformation failed to correct errors within the church sufficiently. Thus, Nathan and Austin view themselves as a part of a great end-time reawakening to the true path that God wants mankind to follow.
What is this path? Certainly, belief that the earth is flat is a central part of it. It’s not clear yet whether Nathan and Austin think that flat-earth belief is essential for salvation, but some flat-earthers do make that claim. Nathan and Austin, as well as many of their fellow flat-earthers, have adopted elements of the Hebrew roots movement, such as referring to Jesus as Yeshua, God the Father as Yah, and observance of the Old Testament festivals. There are a host of other selective beliefs that many flat-earthers have folded into their doctrine.
As I’ve commented before, the flat-earth movement is infused with gnosticism. Gnosticism is the belief that learning secret knowledge brings salvation or at the very least leads to spiritual enlightenment. Many flat-earthers arrived at their belief that the earth is flat after traveling through a maze of various types of hidden knowledge. It’s ironic that flat-earthers have tremendous dislike of Freemasonry because, with all its secret rituals, passwords, symbols, and handshakes, Freemasonry is infused with Gnosticism too. How is the insistence that we must address Jesus and God the Father by Hebrew or Aramaic names different from the secret passwords of Freemasonry? Many flat-earthers get excited about the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4, with elaborate stories of how the Nephilim are on the rise today and will play a critical role in end-time prophecies. 1 Timothy 1:3–4 comes to mind here.
The belief that the church has been a fundamental failure nearly from its beginning is a form of gnosticism too. According to this belief, the church has been built on a false gospel, but only the relatively few people who have figured this out know the right way to salvation. Apparently, Austin and Nathan believe that, according to Matthew 7:13–14, those who believe salvation is entirely by God’s grace are on the broad and easy way that leads to destruction, while the two of them are on the narrow and hard way that leads to life. I’ve talked to many flat-earthers who have a very evangelistic zeal, a zeal they never felt before. They believe very strongly that they are part of a spiritual awakening that is sweeping the earth prior to the return of the Lord at the end of the age. It’s no wonder that these self-appointed latter-day saints think they are very special and so don’t worship with any local church. After all, it’s difficult to respect the leadership of any local church that you think is blind to so many truths you think are in the Bible. In their own minds, flat-earthers think they have achieved special status with God because of what they know, not who they know.
It never occurs to flat-earthers that maybe, just maybe, they might be wrong. I have never encountered a bunch that combines so much ignorance and arrogance. I regularly hear flat-earthers make all sorts of ridiculous claims, claims that I know are false. However, no amount of reason or evidence can convince them of their error. To acknowledge that they might be wrong about such things risks unraveling the world they have created for themselves. To recognize that they have been deceived requires acknowledging that they have been deceived by very poor arguments. That is humiliating. It is much more comfortable to remain within their Gnostic stronghold of lies.
I’ve never heard Nathan or Austin preach the gospel of repentance from sin and salvation by God’s grace through the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. To the contrary, I’ve heard them agree with the denial of the true gospel and affirm the false gospel of saving ourselves preached by Mr. C. Nathan, Austin, and their associates now are on a tour of the United States preaching the flat-earth gospel. I fear that their false gospel will spread further. Flat earth is a cult. It is not harmless. It is wrecking the lives of many people, and it is leading to the eternal loss of many.