A Personal Testimony – 1991

On January 21, 1991 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and  Saviour!    My decision shocked me, my family  and my "friends".   After all I was the quintessential free spirit, a political  radical, and as a successful attorney in New York City too smart  and 'worldly' to do such a thing.  “How dare I,” said some.

Everything started out innocently enough.  I had just quit  my $90,000 plus job at a New York City megafirm and was visiting my  “born again” sister in Vermont for a weekend to check out her  situation (code word for her church), on behalf of our family, before setting out on another one of my adventures - this time a  cross country jaunt to visit friends, relatives and make contacts  with local political activists (I was hoping to move up on the  national radical political scene).  I left a half pound of marijuana at home in my freezer because I didn't think I would have  the opportunity to get high while staying at her minister's  house.

Immediately, upon my arrival, I realized that all of the strange  stories my family and I had heard about my sister's church were  false.  I had expected to find a barn full of crazies, mesmerized  by their blood sucking cult leader who perverted the bible to his  own profit and glory.  Instead I found people who did normal  things like work jobs, cook dinner, watch movies and play with  their children.  They also performed old fashioned common courtesies like giving up a bed for me to sleep in and  cooking a  special meal for my visit.  The only fault that I could find with  these people was that as far as I was concerned, politically they  were in the stone age.

Interestingly, a few weeks before my trip, I had started reading a little of the bible in search of guidance in what I felt was my messianic calling.  Jesus was just another man to me, though one whose impact had been greater than most and therefore was worthy of study.  My thought was that the world was on the threshold of  entering a new spiritual era and in need of a spirit filled  leader with vision to set us on the right course because the old religions - particularly Christianity with its anti-science,  anti-environment and legacy of war and human exploitation - had  failed us.  I put my faith in people and the power of love to  bridge and harmonize all differences.  I sought to make myself a living example of the message I preached.

As a foundation I sought the training of a Renaissance man.  I studied and worked as a chemical engineer and then returned to  school to study law.  I continued my search for worldly knowledge  by traveling throughout much of the world, stopping to work in  Holland and a small village in Peru.  My quest filled all aspects  of my life.  My apartment-mates were either foreigners or well- traveled Americans.  Even my girlfriends reflected my world view, as I lived with one Hindu woman for five years and for shorter times black and latino women.  Finally, I was beginning to believe that the foundation had been laid and it was time for me to put my faith into practice.

My first test was Central Park because of its reputation as  a mugger's haven.  Every night for six months I spent forty five  minutes winding my way home from work through Central Park.  As  far as I was concerned the later the better (4:00 a.m. was just  fine by me).  I always chose the darkest and least traveled  paths because I sought to avoid the protection the police or any  joggers or motorists might offer.  Moreover, I always returned  home in my suit, my walkman blaring, with whatever money I had at  the time in my wallet, and a marijuana cigarette or two for sending my mind a soarin'.  My objective was to go further than any one else would dare, in order to demonstrate to people the power of love to overcome differences and give others the strength to take even baby steps in the hope that it would set something in motion that could change the world.  Only once was I threatened and that ended up with me getting change at a store to give an assailant $10 out of the $100 I had on me.  Moreover, I met many people and made friends with several drug dealers, even corresponding with one weekly while he served a 9 month sentence.  Therefore I was emboldened and had quit my job as a second act of faith and was setting forth on a cross-country hitchhiking tour to spread my  gospel and demonstrate that we all could rely on man's good will.

When I arrived at the Minister's house no one tried to  preach to me though it was made known that I was welcome to participate in services or bible studies.  As I said I had been studying the gospel, which were no more than legends to me, to see how this earlier messianic leader had seized the historical moment and brought about this radical spiritual shift.  Thus I  finally broke the ice and sat down with the Minister and began asking him a few questions.  His answers surprised me.

He and all the others in the church believed that the bible  was the word of God and not a religious philosophy of man's  creation.  The fantastic stories described therein, such as; God's creation, the flood, parting of the Red Sea, and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus actually occurred.  They demonstrated to us God's power, righteousness and love through their gift of eternal life in heaven, the confirmation of His word and  forgiveness of our sins.

I was not convinced.  I mean how  could this be?  I had never been taught, nor experienced nor even been told about the possibility that things like this could really happen.  It was beyond human comprehension and power to do such things and therefore impossible, right?  Wrong!

"Ann, come here.  Tell Steve here how you came to the  Lord. . . .  Ricky.  Now why don't you share with Steve how you  came to the Lord. . . ."

One after another the members testified of the power of God working in their lives to heal, deliver and teach them and others.  I had no reason to doubt these people but it was hard to overcome my skepticism.

“Signs are for unbelievers in demonstration of the power of God and to confirm  the truth of His word.  You see your faith need not be based on some religious theory but on demonstrable facts.  As Paul said, 'And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of  man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:   That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the  power of God.'"  I Cor. 2:4-5.  "You see Steve when someone says they believe something I say show me.  If they can't show me why should I believe?”

My head was swirling.  I didn't know what to think, yet I  still could not accept that Jesus was the answer.  "What about  creation?”  I asked.  "Everyone knows that the earth is millions  of years old and that species developed over a very long time."

"Oh really," he said.  "Turn to Genesis Chapter One.  Read.

“‘In  the beginning . . .’”

He took me through Genesis, creating a visual image of the whole process of creation and once again the  power of God's word.  Further, he appealed to my scientific training by giving me scientific facts that confirmed God's word.  For example, he shared with me the fact that measurements of meteoric dust on the earth and on the moon indicate that the  earth is no more than 10,000 years old.  Similarly, he pointed out the ridiculousness of evolution through the example of the  bombardier beetle (see Huse, The Collapse of Evolution for further reading) and showed me where scripture predicts the theory of evolution:

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?  for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.  For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  2 Pet 3:3-7.

Still, I was not convinced.  "How can you say that the 1611  King James Bible is the word of God?"

"Look at that Bible Steve and read the copyright.  Do you see anything interesting?"

"Well  I can't find a copyright," I said.

"Did you know the 1611 King James Version is the only Bible that does not have a copyright?  Now you're a lawyer.  My understanding is that the person who has  the copyright is the owner of the book.  So who owns the King  James Bible?" he asked.

"Well that still doesn't prove that it is the  word of God," I responded.

"You're right, but it makes you think.  Someone owns every other bible in the world.  Anyway the  word itself says that it is God's word and tells us that he will preserve it.  Read Psalm 12, verses 6 and 7.”

“The words of the  Lord are pure words:  as silver tried in a furnace of earth,  purified seven times.  Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt  preserve them from this generation for ever.”

Now read Second Timothy Chapter 3, verses 16 and 17.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect throughly furnished unto all good works.”

"Why though are there so many different translations?" I asked.

"Well let me ask you a question.  What would be the best way if you were Satan to get at God?”

“I . . I don't know.”

“Well as I've shown you the word of God has power and is to serve as our manual on how to live this life so as to attain salvation, right?”


“Then Satan would want to pervert that word and take the power out of it.  In fact, he's been doing it since the very beginning.  Look at  Eve.  What did the serpent do to her in the garden?  He cast doubt on God's word.  Look in Genesis, Chapter 3.”

“Now the  serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the  Lord God had made.  And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

“You see Satan cast doubt on God's word, he perverted it.”

“And the woman said unto the serpent  We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

“Eve fell for it.  Why?  Because Satan seduced her to believe that she could be as a God.  You see that is the seduction of many of the religions of today.  They sell man on the idea that we are like Gods."

Still, I battled on.  "But even were I to admit that Buddhists and Hindus were wrong how can God judge people living in places where they have never heard of Jesus Christ?"

He responded, "First, I would tell you that I believe that those who have never heard the gospel may be judged differently than those who have heard the truth but rejected it.  But I would also tell you that God searches the hearts and those who really want to know God will find him.  Let me share a story with you.  A minister friend of mine once felt led to go to the Philippines and the  Lord made it possible for him to go.  It turned out that somewhere in the back reaches of the countryside there was a tribal  medicine man who one day came to realize the fallacy of his  religious practices and so he left his village and went and  dwelt in a cave.  For three years he prayed and sought God and  God called these men.  When they showed up God led them to this  man and immediately he knew that these ministers were sent of God  for God had showed them to him before their arrival and so he asked them to tell him of their God.  They shared the gospel with him and  he was saved.  Moreover, in scripture we find that God chose Abraham because he was a righteous man even though he had no book of God to study.”

"Read Romans Chapter 1, verses 18 to 25."

“For the wrath  of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him  from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. A-men."

You would probably think that I was defeated by now but my stubbornness to confess Jesus persisted.  "What about all the terrible things that have been done by Christians down through the ages?" I asked.

"Well not all people who profess to be Christians are.  Also many of the awful things that have been done in the name of Christ were done by the Roman Catholic Church."

Many people mistakenly believe that it is the original Christian Church, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

"And what about the other Christians then.  You can't be the only one who is right."

"Tell that to Noah.  The whole world died in the flood except for Noah and his family and Noah's family was saved not for their own righteousness but for Noah's.  Besides we're not saying we’re the only ones who are right.  There are others spread all over the globe.  I don't know them but the truth is available to all who diligently seek it."

On and on we went covering the Bible from Genesis through Revelation and back again.  Finally, after roughly 20 consecutive  hours of witnessing I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour though somewhat reluctantly.  The act of accepting Jesus itself was not that moving, but we continued on in our Bible study for another eight hours or so and now the Spirit really moved on us and quickened our pace such that we outpaced my greatest cram session in school manifold, traveling at warp factor speed through the Bible.  I wish I could remember all that transpired that day but it is brought to remembrance as the need arises.  Before I laid down to rest that afternoon I decided to cancel my train reservation to New York City and to serve Jesus Christ with my life.

Since that day I have been training to walk in the power and grace of our Lord.  It has not always been easy and it has been a humbling experience.  I realize now that my learning has just begun.  I study the word as much as I can and I try to apply it to my daily walk.  Controlling my rebelliousness and reigning in my pride are two very difficult tasks as even the words of this testimony demonstrate but through Jesus all is possible.