Gerald L. Prater is a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant. He spent 20 years serving after enlisting at the age of 17 years after graduating high school in Miami, FL. He spent his entire 20 years serving in the Military Intelligence career field as a Spanish Cryptologic Linguist. After basic military training and technical training in Spanish at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA and Goodfellow Air Force Base (AFB) in San Angelo, TX, he served tours of duty at Key West Naval Air Station, FL, Kelly AFB in San Antonio, TX, and Howard AFB in the People’s Republic of Panama. While he was on active duty, he took advantage of military sponsored education benefits to obtain three college degrees:
1) An Associates of Applied Science degree in communications from the Community College of the Air Force
2) A Bachelors of Science degree in Management of Computer Information Systems from Park University in Parkville, Missouri
3) A Masters of Business Administration degree with an Information Systems concentration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in San Antonio, TX
After retiring from the Air Force, he started an 11-year career in information systems and corporate auditing. He worked initially for TRW, a defense contractor serving as a staff Software Engineer. Next he worked for the telephone company GTE (which later became Verizon as the result of a merger) as a corporate staff Information Systems Auditor. His corporate auditing career progressed until he was promoted to the position of corporate IT and Network Systems Audit Manager finally working in that role in Austin Texas at Applied Materials, a major nano-manufacturing firm. It was from this position at Applied Materials where God called him into full-time volunteer ministry in November 2009 (see the story written up in the 11/24/17 chapter entry in this book series.
Gerald does not align or associate himself with any particular religious group or denomination. He is a non-denominational follower of Jesus Christ, believes in the triune God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), that Jesus came here and lived a perfect life among us, died for our sins, rose again from the grave three days later to give us new life, and now dwells among and in us through the Holy Spirit.
Since November 2009, he has maintained a full-time vocation of ministry as led by the Spirit of the Lord. He has never had any formal seminary training. However, during the years since 2009 he has engaged in detailed personal study of bible and theology. This has included not only in-depth study of the bible by exegesis (line-by-line), but also studying the teachings and university curriculums of several recognized professors of theology and apologetics at the graduate school level. One such professor who has had a significant impact on his studies is Ravi Zacharias and his team at RZIM (Let My People Think). The perimeter around all of these areas of study has always been (since his awakening by the Lord Jesus) with help to discern and understand from the Holy Spirit. All of the areas of spiritual insight, biblical study and commentary in this book are all led by the Holy Spirit.
One thing that has made Gerald unique in these studies is his calling by the Lord to pursue these studies and vocation on a full-time basis with equal if not greater vigor than he used before in his prior corporate career. Using this vigor, he has found that studying and understanding the bible is actually quite easy. This is because when studied in earnest, it is easy to understand in total because the overall story is so simple and consistent. This is one of the reasons he finds it so easy to explain many fundamentals of the bible in written and spoken forms.
Using his prior experience with governmental and corporate research and analysis together with effective university graduate studies, his studies of theology over the past decade could be considered an equivalent of honorary post-graduate studies in theology. After 10 years of this type of study, he could (only if led by the Lord of course) take actions to pursue an honorary PhD in theology and apologetics.