Why would a Navy Seal come to faith? How would he reconcile questions about the use of violence with his Christian beliefs? These are just a few of the questions Sean explores with Chad Williams, former Navy Seal. This bonus episode was first recorded on Sean's YouTube channel, but falls right in line with typical content we have on the Think Biblically podcast.
Chad Williams is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel, CNN News Room, Anderson Cooper 360 and more. He draws from his experience in military to provide a Navy SEAL's perspective on issues related to effective leadership, resilience, teamwork, overcoming adversity and motivation. He is the author of Seal of God.
Sean McDowell: Welcome to Think Biblically: Conversations on Faith and Culture, a podcast from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. I'm your host, Sean McDowell, Professor of Apologetics. Today we've got a very special bonus episode for you. Had a chance to catch up with my friend, Chad Williams, who is a Navy SEAL. He's got a remarkable story about coming to faith during his work as a Navy SEAL, and it radically changing his life. And now he's a minister and he's a Christian apologist. I interviewed him on my YouTube channel, so the setup is a little bit different, but those of you who listen to Think Biblically podcast are just going to love the content, love his stories, love some of his encouragement and some of his insights. As usual, we hope you love it and will consider sharing it with a friend. All right, friends, we have got a fun one for you today. I'm here with my friend, Chad Williams, who is a former Navy SEAL. We're going to talk about his Navy SEAL training, what they did as Navy SEALs, life lessons he's learned along the way, talk about his journey to faith, interestingly enough, while he was a SEAL. And then I want to ask him some of the thorny apologetic questions that, because he's a SEAL, he may have a unique perspective about Old Testament violence. Things like why is there evil and how does he make sense of just war and the teachings of Jesus? And then we are going to take some live questions at the end and give away a signed copy of Chad's book, which is called SEAL of God. Chad, thanks so much for joining us
Chad Williams: Pumped to be on here. Thank you for having me on.
Sean McDowell: Yeah, you know it. You and I met on a trip to Israel, and I still tell people the story about when we worked out together. And I played college hoops and prided myself in being tough. Let's just say you humbled me and helped me realize that there is another gear or two that SEALs have to be successful. Tell me, of all the things you could do, why did you want to be a Navy SEAL?
Chad Williams: Number one, I'll say that I was very impressed with how you did in that workout. I was so stoked. Sean McDowell hanging tough on a SEAL workout. The reason that I wanted to become a SEAL really was just coming fresh out of high school, attending a local community college. I didn't have any real big plans at that time, and that saying is so true. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it. And unfortunately, that's what I was aiming at, at that time. And so as the end of the year was coming up and all my peers are passing me by, it suddenly hits me as I'm pulling into the school parking lot about to take finals I don't stand at chance at passing, because I was ditching school all this year, going surfing, hanging out with friends, I'm failing all these classes. What hit me was this thought like, "Wow, I'm turning out to be a loser." I mean, the guy that no young man wants to be. And so I start thinking, "How do I turn this around? Because I don't want to live a wasted life. I want to do something significant, something great." We're coming fresh off the heels of 9/11 at that time, and so as I'm sitting there in this school parking lot, it just hit me. I know how I can turn this all around. I want to go join the military, and not just that, I want to be a part of the most elite. I want to go through that most difficult grueling military training. I want to be a Navy SEAL. And so I was so committed to that in that moment, as I'm sitting there in my truck about to go to class that I said, "Hey, well, there it is. If I'm going to be a frogman, I guess my first order of business is this. I don't need to go to class anymore." And I started my truck up, took off out of that parking lot, and I started working out. And so to me it was almost like a Rocky movie, like the montage. I start doing the pushups, the pull ups, the sit ups, like I'm all in on this. Of course, I got to let my dad know some bad news and good news as I presented it to him. The bad news being I'm not passing any of my classes at school. All that time you thought I was going, I haven't been. And of course he wants to know what's the good news. And so I look at, and I say, "It's okay, dad, I got a plan. I'm going to be a Navy SEAL." And so, I mean, you can put yourself in his shoes right there. Here's your son who hasn't demonstrated the discipline that it takes to make it through the local community college, but now he's informing you, "Oh, I'm going to be a Navy SEAL." And so like any good father, he's trying to be that voice of reason, and just make sure I'm going into it eyes wide open. He's telling me joining the military is not like anything you've ever done in the past. This isn't playing ball or skateboarding. This isn't going to a local community college that when you decide you're over it, you could just stop. He says, "If you join and then you find out it's not for you, or suppose you quit and don't make it through SEAL training, just to be clear, you will still be in the military, and you're probably going to pick up a job like chipping paint off some boat off the coast of Japan." And so for whatever reason, the kind of guy that I was, is that was like the perfect motivational speech for me right there. I came out of that amped, like I am going to do this. And so that's really how it all started, and thankfully I got a great mentor along the way though.
Sean McDowell: Good. Good. Friends, those of you just joined us, we're here with Chad Williams, author of SEAL of God, former Navy SEAL talking about his training, his experience, his journey to faith. Now we're going to get into some of the tough apologetic questions that intersect with his experience. Now, before we get into just briefly some of the training that you went through to make it, what exactly do SEALs do? I think there's a lot of confusion about this.
Chad Williams: Yeah. I mean, when the world found out that Ben Laden was killed by Navy SEALs, I think the general population thought, "What, is there a puddle or a waterway in Pakistan these guys came crawling out of?" They expect us to stick to these waterborne operations, but the reality is, is we're all over the middle east as we speak right now. SEAL is an acronym, it stands for sea air and land, and so those are the arenas that we operate in. The last deployment I was ever on was out in Iraq, and we were given the task of hunting down men that make suicide vests and those roadside bombs, IEDs. And while we're out there, we're working with this group called the ISOF, which is the Iraqi Special Operations Forces. And one of our goals with these guys is to simply teach them how to fight their own fights. And so the best way to do that is to not only train them on base, but actually go outside that wire and fight side by side with them. And if you can imagine, I would say our whole deployment went by pretty good. We've bagged and gagged some pretty bad dudes, we're making the world a better place, and we were coming up on what looked like just enough time on the calendar to do maybe one more operation we could squeeze in. And we weren't really sure if the ISOP was ready for us to pass that baton off to them as we take off, so we decided, "Hey, for this final operation, why don't we try and make it a sort of graduation operation? We'll let them plan the whole thing from the ground up, and we'll be there with them just in case things go bad." And so they're starting from scratch, they're hitting the streets. What's the first thing they need? They need some intel to operate on. Well, they find this guy, that turns out to be a source to them, who tells them about this man that's an Iraqi policeman. And so they're looking into this guy, it's a policeman by day, but at night back home, as it turns out, he's one of these bomb makers that we're looking for. And so the ISOF, they come up with this plan and they present it to us, here's how we approach the house, get in, grab this guy, extract. And we're looking at it, it all checks out, looks pretty good, but they mention one other thing. It was sort of a complaint they had. They felt they got shot at more than we did, and they thought they knew why. So, all right, why? And so they say, "It's the color of your uniforms." And we're just taken back by that, like, "What?" The mere color of our uniform. It's not the way we shoot, move, communicate. Nothing to do with tactics. You think it all comes down to the mere color of a uniform? And they're just convinced of this, and so they're asking us, would you be willing for this final operation to maybe take off your American colored uniforms? And we got a pile of ISOF uniforms for you guys that you could put on. We're looking at this pile and saying, "All right, let's get this straight. You want us to put your uniforms on, to blend in with you, to get shot at more with you?" And they just got this big smile, like, "Yes." It's like, "Fine." It's not about the uniform. I'll take home the souvenir. I still have that uniform to this day. And so we're dressed up, my dark complexion, growing that little facial hair, get on an Iraqi uniform. I'm walking around on base about to get into the Humvee, and my guys on my team are looking at me with that uniform on like, "Hey, Williams, you're really starting to blend in with these guys over here now." I'm looking, like, "I am." And so on this final night, I'm standing up in the Humvee, that section called the turret, you see it in the movies sometimes. Guy standing up in the back of the vehicle. I got the .50 caliber machine gun in front of me, and for anyone out there that doesn't know, let's just say this weapon is a weapon that could really reach out and touch somebody. And so I got these night vision goggles on, I'm looking through my green little world, and just going over this mental inventory as I'm rehearsing in my mind all the things that are going to go down this night. I know my weapon is head-space and time, I know where this guy lives, how we're going to get in, grab him, extract, but the one unique thing I knew about this night that truly made it different than every other night, I knew this is it, man. This is the final operation. And I couldn't help but to think then that also means just a matter of days from now I'll be back in my hometown, Huntington beach, California, surfing in the ocean. But what none of us knew about that night was that we were actually being set up the entire time to get thrown in the-
Sean McDowell: Oh my goodness. Wow.
Chad Williams: ... absolute worst circumstances we'd been in on this entire deployment. As we find ourselves getting set up on this ambush and suddenly we're engaging in this gun battle for our lives, and it truly was the team's ability to shoot, move, communicate and do what we do best as SEALs that led to the obvious conclusion. I'm here alive before you today, but I think it's also worth remembering that it doesn't always work out that way. We have that recent reminder in Afghanistan, losing 13 service members. Our freedoms are not free, and if you think about it, what are they paid for in? They're paid for in the currency of our soldier's blood on the battlefield, that's our earthly freedoms, but I also think there's a spiritual aspect to that. They're really just a reflection of the currency of blood that Jesus Christ paid at the cross, not for our earthly freedom, but for our eternal freedom. Perhaps more on how that ambush played out. I know that we got some other things to cover, so folks stick around and we'll get into how that all played out.
Sean McDowell: Oh, okay. Fun. Perfect. We'll come back to that. I do want to ask you about, you hinted at your conversion to Christianity, but just tell me briefly the kind of training it takes to become a SEAL, and why do some people make it and some people don't?
Chad Williams: I started with a class of 173 guys, all of us pounding our chest saying, "Hooyah " We're willing to die before we quit. I remember an instructor coming into this room where we all were waiting for him, and he asked that question, "How many of you are willing to die before you quit?" We're all just like, "Yeah." Saying, "Hooyah." He goes, "Great. This is what I want you to do. Why don't you take a mental picture of the person on your left and on your right." Looking around the room. And he says, "In fact, if you have someone in front of you and behind you, do the same thing with them. So I'm taking these weird mental pictures of people. And once we got them, he says, "Great. Chances are, if you are still standing here for graduation day, that means that it's likely each of these people you just took a mental picture of, they didn't make it. So do you really think you are the one in the group?"
Sean McDowell: Wow. Dang.
Chad Williams: And I remember looking around the room and just really being astonished by that, because we had already gone through some pre-SEAL training together where these instructors have given us just a little taste of what we're going to be going through, and that little taste, we suffered big time. And I didn't see any quit in any of these guys. And so I'm thinking, "How far down this valley do we have to go before some of these guys start quitting?" As I'm looking around the room, realizing the majority of the room has got to go, I'm trying to find some of that low hanging fruit. And so I'm looking around and I see this guy Barth, and as I look at Barth, I think, "Well, that's not one of the guys that's not going to make it, that's one of the guys that's definitely going to make it." Barth was the stud of the class. I mean, this guy was just blessed with that DNA that produces the stamina. He had the muscles and everything where there was never a question over who's going to get first place on anything we ever did. It was always Barth. The question amongst everyone else is, "All right, who's grabbing second place, because we know who's in first?" There's one of the guys that's definitely going to make it, born and bred to be a Navy SEAL. And I'm catching myself thinking, "What am I doing, man? I got to find people that aren't going to make it, not guys that are." I'm looking around the room more, then I see this guy, Alex [Ganye 00:12:52]. How could I forget about Alex Ganye? He's the total antithesis of Barth. Not only is this guy not going to make it, he is the locker room talk. He is the runt of the litter. He is going to be the first guy to quit. And so at least I have that settled in my mind. There's the first guy that's going to quit. The irony of it all is that by the time we get to the most difficult part of SEAL training, which is called hell week, hell week is where they keep you up for five and a half days, you get four hours of sleep. That's not per night, that's four hours, that's a grand total. That's all you get for the next five and a half days. You run over 200 miles during this time with a boat on top of your head and the pressure of that boat so great on top of your head, it literally rubs and grinds through the hair and the skin and the top of your head. And a class prior to mine, a guy broke his neck underneath one of these boats. You're wet and sandy this entire time. I went through in February. The Pacific ocean is at its absolute coldest in February. In fact, they stopped doing wintertime hell weeks, February hell weeks after my class, because it was so devastating, for about a decade because of how many guys we lost. And so you're performing surf torture, going out into that water two, three o'clock in the morning. That airs so cold it already bites, and now you're going into this water that takes your breath away, and then you look like you're hanging onto a jackhammer, because you're so cold, we call it jackhammering cold. And the instructors say, "We're just going to leave you there until three of you give up and quit."
Sean McDowell: Oh my gosh.
Chad Williams: And so you're linked onto these guys that all vow the same thing, they'll die before they quit. And this is a game that the instructors went over and over and over. But back to the irony, who was amongst the first to quit during hell week? Well, it wasn't this guy, Alex Ganye, who I never expected to even get to that point. Amongst the first to quit was this guy Barth. And who was one of the guys that ultimately made it through this pipeline and became a Navy SEAL? The guy that everybody picked as the locker room talk, first guy to quit, runt of the litter Alex Ganye. And so I think what that demonstrates is sort of this thing that distinguishes the guys that make it from the guys that don't, and it's typically not the sort of thing that you would think. Because everybody thought Barth was going to be the guy that was make that was going to make it, he was the people's choice. Our SEAL creed says these words of the type of person that is a Navy SEAL. It says, "It's the common man with uncommon desire to succeed." Common man, uncommon desire to succeed. Not the extraordinary one, not the one born and bred, not the one cut from another piece of cloth that comes from just the right perfect pedigree that has that muscle and that stamina. It's the stuff that we all have control over, because there are certain things in life, and this is sort of popular today, right? A lot of people think that you're just born into a certain class. Other people are just born into certain privileged situations that are better than other people, and there's just a deck of cards you get dealt in life. You're a victim of your circumstances and you just got to play your part. That couldn't be further from the truth, especially in a place like America. It's really about heart. In America, you can start at the top and find yourself at the bottom, or you can start at the bottom and ultimately find yourself at the top. This is the whole point of this principle, common man, uncommon desire to succeed. It's all about your heart, your desire, your mindset, and there's biblical truth to that as well, because if you think about it, who was the one that was the people's choice in the Old Testament? Who was the one that God was referring to when he says, "You know what?" In 2 Samuel, "I don't see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart." And he was saying that in comparison to who? To David. And who was David? If you think about it, he was the runt of the litter. He literally was the locker room talk, the last to get picked on the kickball team. He wasn't even in consideration when they're looking at the House of Jesse for who will succeed and be the next king. But what do we know about David? Although he was the runt of the litter, this little guy, he had a heart after God's own heart. He was a common man, but uncommon desire to succeed. And how did God ultimately use this little David? He uses the runt of the litter to chop off the head of a Goliath, to take on the giants out there. And so it's all about that heart, it's all about that mindset, it's all about loyalty towards God. 2 Chronicle 16, what does it say? That the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal towards Him. And so there's biblical foundation in this stuff as well. And so that's really what it ultimately comes down to. Out of that class of 173 guys, those instructors were more than right. Looking around that room, my graduation day, there's only 13 out the 173. 13 of that original class number still standing there. And for those that didn't make it, they're ringing a brass bell three times in front of everybody, signifying that they quit. They take their class helmet with their name, their rank, the class number, and they lay it down on this section called the grinder, this asphalt area. And they just lay them down underneath that bell in chronological order, and those helmets with their names remain there all throughout training as a constant reminder, almost like a graveyard of those that didn't make it.
Sean McDowell: Wow. I'm sure.
Chad Williams: And you remember the moments too, when so-and-so or so-and-so didn't make it and quit. And so, yeah, it's pretty grueling.
Sean McDowell: [crosstalk 00:18:09]. That is hardcore, and I remember you talk a lot about a lot of these stories in your book, the SEAL of God, which, what year did that come out, by the way?
Chad Williams: 2012. Yes.
Sean McDowell: Okay, 2012. You sent me a copy before we had met, before I knew you, and I read it, thoroughly enjoyed it, still remembers some of the stories that you told. But you also talk about your past and becoming a Christian and the role that your training and being a SEAL played in that, so talk about where you became from and why you became a follower of Jesus.
Chad Williams: Yeah, so going back to my dad's advice of just how... And make sure you know what you're getting yourself into, eyes wide open here. And he thought that I didn't know what I was doing, and so being a good father, he tried to do the best he could to give me a test fire, if you will. And so unknown to me, he reaches out to this guy who is a Navy SEAL. And I remember my dad calling me into his room and he says, "So you really want to do this? You want to be a SEAL?" I'm like, "Yeah, dad, I want to be a SEAL." He goes, "Great. Well, I set up a work out for you with a Navy SEAL. Check out my computer screen." And I'll never forget looking at that computer screen thinking, "My dad doesn't know any Navy SEALs. What is this?" And I see this email, all it says is this little one liner. It says, "Can Chad come out and play tomorrow?" And I'm like, "Play?" Like, "Dad, let me get this straight. You met some guy off the internet claiming to be a SEAL, and he says he wants to play with me, and you're arranging this whole thing right now?" And he goes, "No, he's really a SEAL, son." I'm trying to tell him you can't trust everything someone tells you off the internet, dad. And he's like, "No, this guy's a SEAL." I'm like, "All right. I'll meet up with the guy." Well, as it turns out there's more of a conversation that took place on the phone prior to that email I didn't find out about till months later. But the backstory up front on that phone call, he's telling him, "Hey, look, here's the deal. My son wants to be a Navy SEAL, but he has no idea what he's signing up for. He literally has no idea what he's getting involved in, and so I'm wondering if you'd be willing to do me a really big favor. Would you be willing to meet up with my son, and if I paid you some money, would you be willing to just crush him, beat him down, beat this desire of becoming a SEAL out of him?" And so the guy thought about it for a while. Didn't want to give an answer just yet. And after a while he decides to reply back, and that's what that email was that I read, can Chad come out and play tomorrow?
Sean McDowell: Gotcha.
Chad Williams: So I'm meeting up with this stranger, as far as I know, like a fake Navy SEAL at a beach parking lot in Oceanside, California. The guy looked the part though when I saw him. Next thing I know he is calling me over, he's saying, "You Chad?" Pointing his finger at me. I'm, "Yes, sir." All right, Bubba. I was Bubba from that point forward with this guy. Get on over here. Long story short, he sends me off on this run out into the wetlands, says he's going to catch up with me 15 minutes into the run. And so I don't know what the final destination is. Only direction I'm given is basically go away from the ocean, down this dirt trail, out into the wetlands in the middle of nowhere. I'm looking back, not seeing him, not seeing anybody around and he should be there by now, 15 minutes in. Since I'm running a little bit more, not seeing him still, I'm looking back again. Now I'm starting to think, "Hey, maybe I'm too fast for this Navy SEAL. He can't catch up on the run." And so I'm celebrating, and I look over my shoulder again and it is like a scene cut right at of Terminator 2. You might remember the scene where the T-1000, this bad guy that can morph into knife hands and chase down a moving vehicle.
Sean McDowell: I remember well. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chad Williams: That's the Navy SEAL coming down this trail with knife hands for me. There's nothing I could do to close this gap, or to keep the gap. He's closing in, catches right up to where I am here. Here I am thinking we're just in a run here. Nope. That's when it all began. I'm greeted by his fist going right into stomach. As I'm getting the wind knocked out of me, on the ground, poofing dirt up all around... And you got to put yourself in my shoes for a moment here. At the time, the only intel I'm operating on, some guy my dad met off the internet that was got me on the ground in the wetlands, I'm thinking child predator, this is happening. And so he's jumping on top of me now and just ragdolling me. I still have that sound of just the threads of my shirt ripping, spit flying out as he's screaming in my face, feeling it just rain down, hitting me in the cheeks and the forehead, and I don't understand a word that's coming out, but then I do hear these words. He says, "You want to be a Navy SEAL? You better stay three paces behind me." And there was something about that moment right there that literally forever changed my life. I realized this is it, and this is for real. As I'm sitting there with the wind knocked out of me after running as fast as I could... I mean, this feeling has never been repeated. That was a singular event. I realized like, "This is it. If I quit right now, I'll forever be a quitter. The way I respond in this moment, no matter how bad it hurts, it's not later on in SEAL training, it is right now, this is going to affect the trajectory of the rest of my life." And so that's where I really affirmed that attitude and that heart and that mindset of just die before you quit. And so he gets up and he says it one more time, "Three paces." And he just takes off, and it took everything I had. I mean, after having gone through SEAL training, which is arguably by far the most difficult military training in the world hands down, I can say I never went through a more difficult singular workout, I should call it a beat down session, than this encounter with this name, SEAL, Scott Helvenston. But we finally get to this point miles down this trail where he ends it. And he's pacing back and forth, the guy looks like he wants to fight me. I'm thinking I don't want to project to the Navy SEAL that I'm willing or wanting to fight him. I'm just like this teenage skater kid. And so I'm looking down at the ground, having this self dialogue, like, "Don't set this guy off, no direct eye contact, just use your peripherals. Don't look him in the eyes." And he breaks this really awkward attention by asking me a simple question. He just says, as he points at me for a second time that day, he goes, "Hey, if we would've got another mile or two would you have stayed with me?" And I just told him, "Scott, I'll die before I quit." And he just gets this big smile on his face, completely changes his demeanor, and he's like, "Great. You want meet up again for another workout tomorrow?" I'm thinking, "Are we going to address the flashback that guy had on the trail?" Because he really snapped on me.
Sean McDowell: [crosstalk 00:24:21].
Chad Williams: But then I thought, "Don't bring that up because I don't want to trigger that again." And so thankfully from that point forward, it was no longer that beat down. It actually became more of a building up. He got on the phone with my dad said, "Look, I know what you want me to do, I gave it a go, but I think your son has what it takes to make it. I'd like to start training him." And so I moved on in life from being Bubba to eventually I became junior, as he really took me under his wing and he's mentoring me. And this guy became like a second father to me, Scott Helvenston, extraordinary Navy SEAL, world champion pentathlete, the fastest Navy SEAL in the SEAL training obstacle course, youngest man to ever make it through SEAL training. He completed it at 17 years old. That was only possible because of the crazy upbringing that he had. I mean, talk about not being a victim of your circumstances. This guy grew up in over 20 different foster homes.
Sean McDowell: Oh my goodness.
Chad Williams: And he's also the only man on the TV program at the time called Man vs. Beast, where he raced a chimpanzee through an obstacle course and pulled ahead of the monkey on monkey bars. I mean, you can't make this stuff up any better, and it's reality. And so you can imagine what it's like to get trained by him and just get brought up by him. He got me ready, and so I sign up, I got this date, it's set, I'm ready to ship off. He takes an opportunity, as he put it, to go overseas one last time. And so he is getting on the phone with me as he's leaving before I leave for bootcamp, and he says, "All right, junior, I'm about to go do this thing." He's referring to going off to Iraq. And he says, "I just want you to know something though that I've never told anybody I've ever trained before." He says, "I know you're going to make it through SEAL training." And so I don't need to tell anyone how much that meant to me. And so he's reminding me just the timeline, he's going to be back in a couple months, I'll be done with bootcamp in a couple months, I'll start SEAL training. He'll be back. He says, "We're going to see you make it through." And so we get off the phone, we say our goodbyes. Handful of days later, television's on, and I see Scott on TV. And I'm like, "What is Scott doing on TV?" Looking at this smiling picture of him. Typical shot they might use before they introduce somebody onto a program, so I'm just like looking at the smiling image, not really tuned into the words going on in the background. But then I see in that lower part of the screen where our names are right now, that lower third, I see his name, but followed by a birth date and a dash. And it says March 31st, 2004.
Sean McDowell: Holy cow.
Chad Williams: And before I could process in my mind, because that's just a hard thing to translate in your head. Like that's not real. And before I could really process that, it switches from this smiling image of him to suddenly I'm looking at video footage, graphic video footage of a vehicle burning, engulfed in flames in Fallujah, Iraq, which as it turns out to be the very vehicle that he was in along with three other Americans, as this angry Iraqi mob and insurgents rip their bodies out of the vehicle, and they're lifeless and they videotape everything they're doing from that point forward. Very similar to what groups like ISIS have done in recent past, where it's never enough to commit some atrocity, they want to videotape everything that they're doing and send it around to create fear. And it's just, they're just savages. And so I'm watching this footage, I can't look away, of my mentor being mutilated with sticks and rods, and then they find rope and they wrap it around his legs and they hook him up to a vehicle and they drag him through the streets of Fallujah as if they were at a parade. They were celebrating. And they get to the Euphrates River bridge and string them upside down, set the body on fire. And then they look into a camera. As they burn in the background, over their shoulder, they're staring into this camera and chanting repeatedly over and over. They say, "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans. Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans." And so I think pretty needless to say, I'll never have the words to describe just what that moment and all the surrounding moments were like. Experienced every sort of spectrum of emotion of just the grief, the hatred, the denial. And I landed on this sense of just anger and revenge, and that was sort of my pressing forward is... In the teams, part of our SEAL creed is that we're forged by adversity. And so everyone faces adversity in life, anyone listening right now has already faced it, but there will be more. And so the thing about adversity is it'll either be a wing or a weight in your life. It'll either be that thing that just sinks you, leave you knocked down, never to get back up again. People see what you get sunk with and they just go, "Wow, never resurfacing from that one." Or you find a wing in the moment somehow, which is just really a way to rise to the occasion, and in the teams we call it forged by adversity. You either fail because of adversity or you be forged by it. It's actually this anonymous quote that I've heard before, shared, and I put it to a memory. Hopefully I don't blow it here, but I think it really just capture how God is able to use a hammer and a chisel in these fiery moments in our lives to shape us. And sometimes it really hurts, what's going on. Sometimes there's chunks that are coming off and we're looking at God, not understanding what or why, but we have to remember, if you are in the will of God, if you're called according to His purpose, He has to way towards working all things toward the good. He's shaping something and you have to trust the master of sculptors, but it goes like this. It says that when God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man, when God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part, when He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man that all the world should be amazed, watch His methods and watch His ways. How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects. How He hammers him and hurts him, and with mighty blows converts him into trial shapes of clay which only God understands. While man's tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands, how God bends, but He never breaks when it's man's good that he undertakes. And now He uses whom He chooses, and with every purpose fuses him, by every act infuses him to try his splendor out, God knows what He is about. And so we might not know really what's around the corner or what God is up to, but as Christians, we are called to walk by faith and we are called to trust that the master sculptor has an image in mind and he knows what he is making. And so that sort of wing in the moment that we rise to the occasion, it's very case by case basis. I can share with everyone here that the way that I rose to the occasion, was forged through this process, was going back to that last conversation with my mentor and remembering him telling me, "Junior, I know you're going to make it through SEAL training." That began the forging process right there. I wrote his name on the inside of my hat as a constant reminder and a motivation to make it through and ultimately made it through that training.
Sean McDowell: Oh, gosh.
Chad Williams: But to your question about coming to faith, I had this expectation that once I became a SEAL, that everything would just come together, coalesce. I accepted that life really felt just out of orbit, the world was pulled out from underneath me, but once I become a SEAL, once I walk in Scott's footsteps, once I get to the top of that mountain, everything will be on the up and up from that point forward. Well, I got to say that not only was it one of the happiest days of my life becoming a SEAL... I mean, I remember looking up and thinking, "Scott, we did this." I remember seeing my family out there and they're so proud. I'm getting that trident now, going back to that parking lot in the junior college, like, "Stop being a loser and become a SEAL." I've got this thing pinned into my chest. It's like I finally have done it. This is one of the happiest, most fulfilling moments of my life. But here's the crazy thing. It didn't take more than 24 hours before I felt like everything began to go downhill, wind out of the sail and circle the drain from that point forward. And I couldn't wrap my mind around why. At the time, I mean, I just achieved this thing that I thought was going to be the ultimate. And it was years later, I heard these words spoken by a Christian philosopher, and I thought, "Man, those words at the nail on the head." It's exactly what experience was on graduation day, and so these are the words, he says, "One of the loneliest moments a man will ever experience is when he's achieved that which he thought would deliver the ultimate, and in the end, it lets him down." One of the loneliest moments a man will ever experience when he's achieved that which he thought would deliver the ultimate, in the end, it lets him down. What he's referring to right there is something I believe everybody listening, watching right now is familiar with at least to some degree, because we refer to it as, sometimes it's the human condition, sometimes we talk about it as the grass is always greener on the other side. Not quite satisfied where we're at, not fulfilled here. Well, what do you want, man? I just want a little bit more. And so we buy into this belief that if I just had a little bit more, if I could just achieve this goal, this status, maybe what I'm missing in my life is a relationship. You get that, maybe what we need in our lives are some little kids running around or a bigger home, and we keep moving the bar believing that is going to be the thing that brings ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment, but we're never satisfied. And so we set the bar oh so high, we're aiming at this goal, we hunger for it. That hunger leaves to good stuff, it leads to the hard work, the drive, blood, sweat, tears, determination, whatever it takes to get there. But have you ever had your moment where you achieved the thing that was in your crosshairs and you eat that moment up, you're satisfied, there's recognition, whatever it is. But what happens is the satisfaction doesn't last quite like you thought it would, and so what do you do? Well, you don't panic here. You just reason within, you put on your little thinking cap and after a little introspect, a light bulb goes off in your head. Oh, I know why this didn't give me lasting fulfillment. It's simple, I didn't go for something big enough. If I really want it to last, I need to raise the bar. I need to go to that next rung of the ladder. I need to climb that mountain a little bit higher. And so that's exactly what we do. We got that new goal in mind. We're thirsting after it, we work towards getting it. We get there, we drink it up, and finally, this is the one, we are satisfied. But what happens? It's like a vicious cycle. You just get hungry and thirsty all over again, and seemingly there just is no end. But there is an end point, and I guess you could say that is the point of that quote of one of the loneliest moments, because here's the big question. What happens when you finally arrive at a place where you no longer, like all the previous times before, can say, "Well, I know what I'll do. I'll just go to the next rung of the ladder." No, you can't do that this time. Well, why not? Because as it turns out, you're at the last rung of the ladder. You can't say, "Well, I'll just trek up the mountain and go a little bit higher from here. Gain some more elevation." No, you can't do that this time. Well, why not? Because you're at the peak of the mountain, there's nothing left to climb. And yet like all the previous times before, you're hungry and thirsty for more, but unlike all of the other times, there is no next. And that is exactly what you see in the lives of professional athletes, rock stars, movie stars that have climbed to the top of their version of the world. They've gained everything that the world has to offer, and what do we see going on in their lives? Let's not kid ourselves. It's a constant drama being played out. They are destroying their own lives with drugs and alcohol. They're miserable. They have the dream job. Could you imagine having Anthony Bourdain's job of getting to go to parts unknown? I used to watch that from when I'm traveling hotel rooms and think, "Man, what a life." And secretly the guy's so miserable that he's taking his own life in a hotel room, and we sit back and we look on and we go, "Why? Why, man? Don't you know what you have? Don't you know what people would trade to be in your shoes?" But maybe that's just it. Having all that the world has to offer isn't really all that it's cracked up to be. And we don't like to hear that, because it sounds like a downer, but the reality is that... Well, Jesus puts it best. What's it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but in the end loses his soul? That is the real key right there. And so me becoming a Navy SEAL was my version of gaining the whole world. The reality was, is that at that stage of my life, my soul was not oriented correctly with the creator. And for anyone listening out there, look, if you don't have peace with your creator, have no expectation to ever enjoy any peace while you're here on earth. And so that was the problem, but I didn't know that that was the problem at the time, and so I didn't go on a spiritual quest. I just was stuck sitting in my anger and frustration and thinking, like, "That's it? That's all to life?" And if anything, getting some get back for Scott overseas, that's something to look forward to. And so I had a lot of anger and a lot of rage, and thankfully those reasons would mature along the way. What ultimately got me saved, while I was in the teams, I was making a mess of my life in the outside world. I adopted that whole work, hard play hard mentality. And I had a lot of people that cared about me that were seeing how I was just drinking and doing a lot of really dumb stuff. I mean, I would take it too far to the point of blacking out and just waking up and hearing about the foolish things I did. The next day things were... Everything came to a head one night where I was required to get 26 stitches in my knuckles. I don't remember anything about that night, and I wish I could tell you I felt remorse, but I thought those sort of things, when I woke up to them, I thought they were comical. I thought it was something to laugh about. Like, "I did what?" And the reality is it's just shameful, it's personal robbery. And so just to get the family off my back, I agreed to go to an event with them. It was a church thing in the middle of the week, and I had plans of going out drinking later that night. I just thought, "I'll suffer through it. I haven't been to church in a long time. I'll punch my card in, make them happy, and then by the time we get home and they go to bed, I'm only just beginning my night." And so we go, and there's this passage that gets opened up, 2 Kings 5. 2 Kings 5 tells the story of a soldier. I'm thinking, "Well, at least I'm going to hear a story about a soldier, here I am." And this the soldier it's Naaman. And it's the describing name, and I mean, Naaman sounds like he could have been a SEAL, had there been such a thing during his time. He's had great success in battle, he's got this entourage of men that highly respect him, he's highly regarded. This status that he has, his identity is getting him into high places. He's at the VIP meet and greets. It says that even the king enjoys Naaman's company, so he's rubbing shoulders with the king. He's described as this mighty man of valor, and then it all halts. But Naaman had leprosy, and leprosy during Naaman's time, let's just say that was a little worse than a case of eczema today. Jesus looking back said, "Nobody during the time of Naaman had ever been healed of leprosy." And so now I circle back and picture Naaman's life like this, if you would. So much for all the success, so much for this outward man, it's all a persona because what's really going on underneath that armor there that you have on, Naaman? What's really going on underneath that clothing? Well, what's really going on, because he's deteriorating. He's falling apart. He's literally a dead man walking. Well, as I sat there, how quickly I related with that guy right there, and maybe a lot of the people listening right now or watching can relate with that man right there, because if you're really being honest with yourself, who are you? Who are you on the outside, in front of your coworkers, in front of your family members, in front of your friends, when in reality, just as Naaman had some other issues that were eating away and destroying him underneath it all, you got some other things going on underneath it all. And so I find myself pretty captivated. I'm listening. And no doubt about it, Naaman probably tried everything he could do to fix himself of his problem. And in a sense, that's what we all do. We all try and fix ourselves of our problems, but Naaman can't fix himself of this one. And the unsung hero in this story, it's crazy, it's just a little girl, a little servant girl that just speaks up. She's the evangelist, and she says, "If only my master would go to the prophet who is in Sumeria, for he would heal him of his leprosy." Naaman is desperate, he decides to give it a go. Turns out this is enemy occupied territory, 150 miles away, and so he's got to go to his king for approval. His king says, "Absolutely go. I'll send a letter with you." So he goes, horses and chariots, he gets all the way there to the man of God's door, and the guy doesn't even come to the door. Sends a servant to the door, relays this message, "If you just go dip yourself in the Jordan River there seven times, when you come up, your flesh will be restored to you, you will be clean." Well, Naaman became furious. I mean, could you imagine he just came all this way with his men? Does this guy have any idea who Naaman is? It's like almost proportional, the more important of a person you are, the farther they come out to greet you. At the very least, this guy should have been there at the door. When a king comes to a city, the welcoming party begins outside the city gates, that's where everyone's at. And so instead, he Just gets treated like less than a normal, and gets told to go dip in the water, so it says that he literally begins to leave in a rage. He's going back and he's venting out loud. He's saying exactly what his expectations were, starting off with, "I expected this guy to come out of his place." And he was expecting for him to basically do some real special effect stuff, like put on a show. He thought he was going to come out, like call the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the place and just boom, heal the leprosy. And instead he's getting told to go in this water, and so he's like, "Don't I have cleaner water where I'm from than this water over here?" And so he's leaving in this rage. And if people that are listening right now haven't caught it yet, what is Naaman's real problem here? Is it that leprosy or is that more of a surfacey symptom? The real problem here is this ego and this pride, and if he continues off in that direction, it's terminal.
Sean McDowell: You were just talking about Naaman, and you froze at the moment describing what the real issue was going on with him.
Chad Williams: Okay. It's his pride, it's his ego. And so as he's leaving in this rage, taking off, if he continues off in that direction, he'll die. But here's the cool thing, he's surrounded by some men that care about him, they're looking out for him and they just know this much, we need to get our Naaman back in front of that God of Israel, step back and let the fireworks take place. And so they're running up to him, pleading with him, come on Naaman, look. You know if this guy gave you some big, great thing to do, you would've done it. I mean, what if he was given like a CrossFit exercise and broken glass to run over barefoot? He'd like, "Show me where to start." But because it's such a simple thing, just go wash and be clean, to him it seemed like a foolish thing. And what we can't miss about that is listen, that's exactly what it says about the preaching of the cross. It says the preaching of the cross is foolishness to who? Those that are perishing. Well, no doubt about it, Naaman here is in a state of perishing, but something these guys say gets through and he decides he'll do it. And the moment that he's doing this, making this 180, it's a whole lot more than a physical change of direction. I think it's emotional, intellectual, most importantly, spiritual. I think he understands, in order for me to live, I got to die. I got to go make this walk to my own funeral, humble myself. And as he's stripping away that armor that needed to go, he's stripping away what really needed to go all that time. The pride, the ego, being transparent, dipping himself five, six, seven times in this water. I think he understands now. It's not the water that's going to fix me, it's that if I'm faithful, the God of Israel will be faithful, and He will do the heavy lifting. Comes up that seventh time, in the literal Hebrew, the picture is that he had brand new skin like that of a baby. Well, I remember being on the edge of my seat, listening to this, feeling like I'm watching a movie, relating with Naaman, feeling so good for him, how it all works out. And this is typically where the movie ends, the credits roll, the lights come back on and now it's no longer time to enjoy a movie and live vicariously through a character. Now it's time to go back out there into the world. I want to make a point that credits don't roll right there, and I'll wrap it up with this. The credits don't roll right there. That just as God provided a way out for Naaman, He's provided a way out for you and I as well. And it doesn't come in the form of dipping ourselves into the water, it comes in the form of Him dipping His Son down into the world, that's Jesus of Nazareth, to live a holy and perfect sinless life. Anyone listening right now, if you haven't caught it yet, that leprosy is a picture of something in our lives, spiritually speaking, apart from God. We are spiritual lepers, and just like Naaman couldn't do anything to get that leprosy off of himself, there's nothing we can do to get the sin off of ourselves, but God has provided a way out through this Jesus. We are spotted and blotted and blemished with this sin, this leprosy, but Jesus was holy and pure without blemish. He goes to the cross, and the purpose of Him going to the cross is very explicit. It says He went to the cross to save His people from their sin, so here's a picture for everyone. Jesus at the cross traded skin with you and I. He stepped in and took our leprosy, as it were, our sin upon Himself, so we could be switching lavish with God's grace and His mercy, and He rose again from the dead. And that is so important that we point that out, because there's no Christianity without the resurrection. And as William Lane Craig points out, what did that resurrection do? It vindicated Him, and it validated His teaching, because theologically we know why Jesus went to the cross, to save His people from their sin. But historically, he went to the cross as a blasphemer, and boy did they think they had it right as they mocked him up there on the cross. But by God raising Him from the dead, it vindicated Him that he was no blasphemer, that He truly was the son of God who He claimed to be, and it validated, it authenticated His very exclusive claims and teachings, like I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. And so the way that we receive this sort of cleansing, if you will, is remember, Naaman needed to do this 180. What we do is we repent, which is a term no one uses on the street, so what does it mean? To say you're sorry? A little bit more loaded than that, right? I'm so sorry, I want to change. And you put your faith and trust in Jesus to do what? To do the heavy lifting, to pay for your sin in full at the cross. It's basically like saying, "God just as Jesus was nailed to the cross, nail the old me, crucify the old me. As He was buried, bury that old me. And as He rose again new from the grave, that's what we're asking God for, that new life. Forgiveness of sin, a relationship with Him, eternity in heaven, and [inaudible 00:46:19] while we're here on earth, only what He could give. And Jesus says that as he lives, although a man shall die, he shall live. And so He overcame the grave, and so we also can have that life. And so for me, it was March 14th, 2007, active duty Navy SEAL. I hear this message, I got plans of going out drinking later that night. Nope, forget that. I'm doing what it says, and the scriptures are so true. If any man be in Christ, He's a new creation, old things pass away. Behold, all things become new. It completely radically obviously changed my eternal trajectory, and just the way I was living life here on earth, because now I have peace with my creator and I can go back to enjoying being a Navy SEAL in a way I never enjoyed it before, in it's proper category where it belonged, always as a secondary or supplementary thing to life, right? And so that's what you get in Colossians 3:17. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Whatever it is that people do out there, if you do it in the name of yourself, me, me, me, it'll always be like decaf, it'll never deliver. But if you bring the Lord Jesus, you bring Jesus into it, and what you're infusing the things you do, you're infusing it with Christ, and so now those temporal things that you do actually do echo in eternity. And so I looked at it as, I'm a SEAL for Christ now, and so thank you for your patience with that, but yeah, that's how I got saved, is through that message. And it's completely changed everything about my life.
Sean McDowell: That's amazing. You may be a former SEAL, but you are a preacher at heart, man. I love it. Even bringing decaf coffee in. That's fantastic. Well, we got a few minutes left. I know you've got to run at one, but let's take some questions. If you have questions for Chad about his testimony, about his experience as a SEAL, bring it in, and we'll get some quick responses from him. But let me just ask you a couple questions while they're loading in, maybe you can give us the Twitter response to these. So you're a Christian, and then you go back to being a SEAL. How do you blend that with the teachings of Jesus in which he lays down his life rather than taking life? What does it mean to you to be a Christian SEAL?
Chad Williams: Yeah, doesn't it say somewhere, thou shall not kill? That's what I thought after I became a Christian, and the sixth commandment immediately, I'm digging into that. And so what I discovered is, okay, it doesn't say thou shall not kill. The Hebrew word is [foreign language 00:48:41]. Pronunciation ain't that great, but it means to murder. And there's a difference between killing and murdering.
Sean McDowell: It's true.
Chad Williams: And in fact, Ecclesiastes says there is a time to kill. And in Romans 13, the government doesn't bear the sword in vain, but we are to be an avenger against those who commit evil. And so as Christians, I'm pretty sure the Psalmist wrote that we are to be defenders of defenseless people. We're not supposed to be a doormat that's walked on. Sometimes people refer to, well, didn't Jesus say, "If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also?" What is He teaching there? If you look at the broader context right there, what he's talking about is, don't try and get revenge, right? Don't return evil for evil. I don't think he's saying, "Be a doormat to be walked on." It's not [inaudible 00:49:25] literal. Why can I say that right there? Look at the surrounding context. He also says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you." Anyone doing that? Because he says it's more profitable for you that one of your members perished than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Why did Jesus in Luke 22 say that His disciples, when he was sending them out, look, I didn't send you out with a gear list before. Basically, everything was going to be provided for you, but now I'm telling you, bring your sandals, bring a knapsack, bring a money bag, bring a sword. He gives them a gear list, and it's very practical what those things are for. What are sandals for? For walking on. What's a money bag for? To put your money in. What's a nap sack for? To put your belongings in. What's the sword for? Are we going to make that spiritual now? No, the source for defending yourself. And they're like, "Look, Lord here's two." He goes, "All right, that's enough." And so we can defend ourselves. We're defenders of the defenseless and there's a just cause for war. Romans 13. The government doesn't bear that sword in vain.
Sean McDowell: Very, very thoughtful, Chad. You've thought about these things a lot. I appreciate that. Let's jump to some questions. Hayden Hobb says, "As a SEAL, how do I instill the fact that God has a higher calling and this world will never satisfy to my high school guy's small group?"
Chad Williams: Well, I like what C. S. Lewis points out about that passage where Jesus says, "Seek first the kingdom of God in His righteousness, and everything else will be added to you." As we talked about before, everything else will leave you hungry and thirsty, never satisfied. Jesus makes the point though, if you drink of His living water, you'll never thirst again." Never thirst again. In what sense? You never thirst again, in the sense that you are complete. You have no need for another. And so the ultimate higher calling in God is to know Him, I think, and to make Him known. And everything else is just, it's secondary and supplementary, like we talked about with Colossians 3:17. It's whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. And so C. S. Lewis, he says, "If you aim at Earth, you'll miss, but if you aim at heaven, you'll hit and you get earth thrown in." And so that's the ultimate, highest calling of all, is to know your creator and to make him known.
Sean McDowell: Amen. Hey Hayden, one tip as a high school teacher is get Chad's book. Read it to your kids. Take part of this interview. Stories is what communicates truth, so hearing somebody go through this might click for them. Wait a minute. I can learn from his story. That's two practical things you could potentially do. All right, Jason, a good friend and consistent viewer says, "Was it hard to live out a Christian life while surrounded by SEALs who work hard and party hard?"
Chad Williams: I would suggest that it's just like any other industry out there when you become a SEAL. I mean, when you become a Christian, if you're really living it out, like Jesus says, "Let your light so shine before men they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Well, that's the upside to be in light. Sometimes people, it's like that saying, the same sun that melts wax, hardens clay. It's the same light-bearing source, it has a totally different response based off of the recipient. Wax melts, clay is hardened, and so that's how it'll be when you are that light around other people. Some of them will have a heart that's melted by seeing the things that are happening in your life and they'll want to know more, and other people are like that clay heart, and they don't want anything to do with it. And we got to remember that Jesus says something else about light. He says the light has come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil, for everyone practicing evil hates the light and doesn't come to the light, lest their deeds should be exposed. And so that is the expectation you should have, whether or not you're in the military, the corporate world, construction world. If you are a Christian, you're going to have people that love you and hate you. Never was there a name so loved and so hated as Jesus, and He also makes the point, woe to you if all men speak well of you. And so you're going to have an effect on where you go. We're supposed to be that light and we're salt, and one of the things salt does is it makes things taste different, so you got to change it up. [crosstalk 00:53:20].
Sean McDowell: Well said. Here's a really interesting one for you, Chad. [Nishan 00:53:25] says, "What has been the hardest thing since your salvation, since becoming a Christian? What's been the biggest challenge for you? Maybe personally, spiritually, practically."
Chad Williams: Man, that is a good question. Since becoming a Christian, maybe just holding back sometimes. When I see some type of injustice, a lot of times I just want to take matters into my own hands, and it's really tough for me. There's certain context where it's allowable, right? When you're in the military, when you're a SEAL, when you're serving overseas, but there's other times where it's just like, "That's not right, but we got to trust the Lord that He's ultimate going to be the avenger, in a lot of these cases." And so that's where turning the other cheek does come into play, is the not getting some get back all the time. That's been a tough lesson.
Sean McDowell: We all struggle with seeing injustices, but we also don't all have the skills to actually bring that justice ourselves, so I could imagine how tough that could be for you. That's fair. Here's a great question from Susan, who just is a regular viewer, she says, "Were you able to lead any of your fellow SEAL members to Christ? Were there many Christian SEALs, or what was just that spiritual interaction like with other SEALs at that time, and since then?"
Chad Williams: To be honest, in my platoon, I didn't really have anyone else that I could lean on as a Christian. Maybe God set it up that way intentionally. It was difficult for me. Once I became a believer, I told the guys, "Guys, I just became a Christian." At first, they're like, "Good for you." And then days later they're like, "Hey, what happened to the old Chad? Where's he at?" And it became an irritant to them. And you know that saying that when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, how do you know which one it hit? It's the one that yelps the loudest. I'll just say, one of the guys that was just the most awful towards me, I never thought he would ever come around. I get out and I find out a few years later, oh, did you hear about so-and-so? He became a Christian.
Sean McDowell: [crosstalk 00:55:23].
Chad Williams: [crosstalk 00:55:23]. He's one of those guys, he's trying to convert and change everyone on the SEAL teams now. And so I didn't get to see the [crosstalk 00:55:30] while I was in-
Sean McDowell: Unbelievable.
Chad Williams: ... but that's pretty awesome to hear. It's a pretty rough place. There's a lot of bravado, a lot of doing it my way, and I think the mentality is, is that... Well, what I got thrown at me a lot was, "Well, it's a good thing you're getting out of the military, Chad. Yeah, because how do I know you can cover my back? How do I know..." Like Christianity, that's kind of a crutch, it's kind of a weakness, and so they just didn't really understand because their mentality was is like, "Look, you can't go into a strip club with us. You can't look at a naked woman, but you're telling me you can kill?" And so in their mind, they couldn't distinguish between the two. They actually thought killing was more violent or graphic or worse or evil than actually looking at a naked woman, when in reality, they don't understand that on the one hand, going into a strip club would be total sin, but there is just cause, divine justification for what we're doing overseas. Thankfully one of the guys that was mocking me the most about that literally the day before, oh, it's a good thing you're getting out, Williams, because how do I know you'll cover my back? He thought I was just a weak Christian. That ambush situation that we were in that I initially opened up with, I ended up rolling in, covering for this guy with a .50 caliber machine gun, and he's looking up at the Humvee, not knowing exactly who was up in the turret, and he's just going, "Yes. Who is that up there?" And I looked down at him, I go, "It's Williams." This guy, literally the day before was like, "How do I know you're going to cover my back?" Eat his words.
Sean McDowell: That's awesome. That's awesome. I love it. Well, one last one, because I know we got to split. There's so many more good questions. Maybe we'll have you back if you want to just do a question and answer time, would be a lot of fun.
Chad Williams: That'd be fun.
Sean McDowell: Let's talk about that. But to the mountains I go says, "Was there anything about being a SEAL that served as evidence that Christianity is true or God exists, or maybe any experiences you had that just affirmed the Christian worldview?"
Chad Williams: A couple of things could be said on that. Number one, there's no atheists in foxholes, right? And so the irony is that a lot of these guys in the teams that mocked me a lot, when we got into bad situation and got out of it, they were like, "I think William's God was on our side on that one." And so they're calling out to God, and also I think just the evidence of the reality of evil, of good and evil. In order for evil to exist, there has to be such a thing as good, as many have heard out there. There is no standard that we could use to distinguish between what is good and evil, we need this ultimate moral law giver. Well, then you don't have anything to distinguish between good and evil, and if there is no measuring rod for good and evil, then what is evil doesn't really exist. It's, as I think I've heard you say before, is kind of like ice cream. Some people just choose their flavor. Some people love their neighbor, some people want to eat their neighbor. I don't think that that comports with reality, right? Anyone that doesn't understand that there's real evil out there, we would just say they're morally handicapped, the same way someone that's color blind is handicapped and can't distinguish between color. Any of those of us out there that can distinguish between good and evil, that's evidence right there that there is a moral law giver, there is an ultimate good out there. It's God. He is the standard, and it permeates from his nature.
Sean McDowell: Super thoughtful, Chad, that you would see the problem of evil, and I agree with you, as an evidence that there's an objective standard of good, and ultimately a God. And I'm sure you've seen some things that you don't even want to talk about again, that show the brokenness of human beings pretty deep. A few comments I've seen that said thanks for your service, so before we close off, I definitely want to echo again myself, and a lot of the viewers are just saying, "Thank you beyond this for your service and your continued work that you're doing today." Let's give away your free book. I want to let you pick the best question. Very quickly before we do so, those who are tracking with us, make sure you hit subscribe, because we've got some shows coming up you will not want to miss. Have a show interviewing an expert on C. S. Lewis, telling the story of C. S. Lewis, from atheist to Christian apologist. Have a show coming up soon on the tactics that progressive Christians use to try to get a paradigm shift amongst conservative Christians. I'm having a conversation with somebody who's affirming with LGBTQ. Hit subscribe, you are not going to want to miss some of these shows. Chad, I don't know if you remember, but Hayden asked about how to communicate to a high school group. Jason Collins said... Oh, I can't even read this one. Jason Clover, about... Oh shoot. Sorry, Jason. I butchered your question. Shoot, I couldn't write it down. Nishan asked the hardest thing since you've been a believer. Susan asked about other SEALs, them coming to faith. And then recently there's a question from to the mountains about the evidence you've seen that affirms your worldview. Any of those jump out to you as being just interesting, you want to send them a free book?
Chad Williams: Yeah, probably Nishan's. That was a very interesting one I [crosstalk 01:00:17] think about a little bit more. Yeah.
Sean McDowell: Oh, cool. Okay. Love it. All right, nishan, email me through my site. It's seanmcdowell.org. seanmcdowell.org. Give me your address, I will forward it to Chad, and he's going to send you a signed copy of his book, SEAL of God. That's awesome, Chad. Now, very quickly tell people just how they can continue to follow you, because somebody said, "What's next? Preacher, evangelist, speaker. How can they stay in touch with you?"
Chad Williams: Well, I love sharing the gospel. I'm actually out in Philly. I'm from California. I get to share the gospel tonight with the men's group at Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia. And if they want to stay in touch, they can find me at my website, and anyone that wants to get a signed copy of that book, you can order a signed copy also at sealofchrist.com. We've also got shirts and hats on there. One of the things that this frog means, I don't know if people could see it, but in the SEAL teams... This is backwards for me. We're known as frogmen, and so we wear this bone frog in honor and memory of fallen frogmen. And on the back of the shirt it has those words, greater love has no one than this one that lays down his life for his friends. That's John 15:13, but no scripture reference there. No scripture reference for a specific reason, because if there was a scripture reference, people in the street won't ask you about it. But they see that frog and they're intrigued, and so it's an opportunity to share with them. Look, this represent SEALs that shed their blood for your earthly freedom. And then they see those words of greater love and they go, "I like those words, who was that? Was that Socrates?" And you go, "No, that was the savior."
Sean McDowell: Amazing.
Chad Williams: And just as these guys shed their blood for your earthly freedom, He shed his blood for your eternal freedom. The way they respond, I can almost guarantee you, it's scripted, practically. They say, "I never thought about it that way." And so the shirt is just... It has been one of the greatest tools as far as opening up the conversation to the gospel for some people out there. So sealofchrist.com, that's where we can stay in touch and you can stay up to date and get those things.
Sean McDowell: Chad, you're a good friend. Thanks so much for coming on. Let me know whatever I can do to help your ministry to get the word out. I think it's remarkable. Again, I hope people will check out sealofgod.com, get a shirt, follow the social media-
Chad Williams: SEAL of Christ.
Sean McDowell: Oh, my goodness. sealofchrist.com, the book SEAL of God.
Chad Williams: Yeah. [crosstalk 01:02:28] title of the book.
Sean McDowell: There we go.
Chad Williams: I couldn't get SEAL of God [crosstalk 01:02:32] URL and he would not give it up. I mean, I threw unrealistic money at him and he still wouldn't give it up.
Sean McDowell: Oh my goodness.
Chad Williams: I'm like, "I had no intention of doing it, but I wanted to know what is his number?" I'm like, "I'll give you 20,000 for that URL."
Sean McDowell: Oh my goodness.
Chad Williams: He was nope, nope, nope. I got big plans, I got big plans with this URL.
Sean McDowell: Wow. Wow.
Chad Williams: He hasn't done anything with it over a decade practically now, so SEAL of Christ.
Sean McDowell: You're kidding me. So sealofchrist.com, SEAL of God is the book.
Chad Williams: Sealofchrist.com. Yeah. Yes, [crosstalk 01:03:01].
Sean McDowell: Pick it up. And we'll have you back, we'll do a question and answer, so appreciate it my friend. Have a great time at Philly talking to the men.
Chad Williams: Great. All right, thank you.
Sean McDowell: See your brother.