I was raised in a nominally Christian family. My grandmother was a very religious woman—a member of a Baptist church in our community, who insured that my siblings and I went to church almost every Sunday. It was mostly through her that I had any knowledge of Christianity at all, because my mother, for all intents and purposes was an atheist. Not once, to my recollection, did I ever hear my mother speak of religion, God, or the Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t remember my grandfather ever going to church, although on occasion, he would speak about the end times from the Book of the Revelation. My mother and my father were divorced, and until I was around eighteen years old, when my father got saved and later became an associate pastor in a small church, he was notorious as a lover of life. There was a very large King James Bible on the coffee table in my grandmother’s living room, and I would read it often, fascinated by the Old Testament stories.
This was the total of my religious experience going into adolescence. Unfortunately, it was woefully incomplete, for you see, no one had ever told me that salvation comes only through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I considered myself a Christian, even though I had no rebirth through a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. There were even times when I wouldn’t enter a church or read a Bible for years at a time.
Things started to change for me in November 1999. I had recently retired from military service, and returned to the United States from Germany where I had done my last tour of duty. During that tour, I had met a young African woman with whom I had carried on a relationship and who was now pregnant with the eldest of our three children. I decided to return to Munich, Germany to be present for the birth of our daughter.
On the plane to Munich, I was sitting next to a young lady who asked me a very perplexing question. She asked me if I knew whether I would go to heaven if I were to die at that very moment. I can’t recollect what answer I gave her, but I’m sure it reflected my uncertainty. She then handed me a book entitled, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus.
This book explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by starting with the two disciples’ encounter with the resurrected Jesus while returning home to Emmaus after having witnessed our Lord’s crucifixion. Just as Jesus explained to them that He was indeed the Christ by going all the way back to the Old Testament and showing how it pointed to His coming, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, so did this book explain how the types in the Old Testament all pointed to Christ Jesus. The flight to Munich was eight hours and I finished the entire book on that flight. A seed was being watered. I will explain shortly why I say watered and not planted.
At this point, I must say that I lived a rather wicked life. As I said earlier, my family was nominally Christian; that is, we had a form of godliness. Later, except for my grandmother, all appearances were dropped. I had fathered children out-of-wedlock, and had been twice married and divorced. And though I was not a drinker, a smoker, or a reveller, I certainly had issues and cursed like a sailor.
Fast-forward two years to November 2001. The African woman is now my wife; we now have two children together (with another bun in the oven) and are still living in Munich. I had just returned from the States where I was when the planes flew into the World Trade Center, and had just buried my mother who passed away the week after 9/11. A friend of mine who is highly intelligent, but at times incoherent, hands me a book entitled Secret Societies and Their Power in the Twentieth Century. This book introduced me to the New World Order: something I had never heard of.
That book changed my life. It mentioned the research of William Cooper, a former Naval Intelligence officer, researcher, and author of the book, Behold A Pale Horse. While researching Mr. Cooper, I found out that he used to have a shortwave radio program called, “The Hour of The Time,” where he talked about the global conspiracy to destroy the United States and its Constitution and establish the New World Order kingdom of Antichrist. Cooper had produced a series of 42 broadcasts entitled “Mystery Babylon,” a term from the Book of the Revelation referring to the religion of those who worship Satan in secret under many guises. These people exist today. This series of broadcasts enabled me to see that the New World Order was actually based on this religion.
Once I realized that Satan was real, I understood that, conversely, Jesus Christ must also be real. That would mean that the Christian concept of salvation though Jesus Christ (which I had heard of, but never really understood) must also be real. I then determined to find out Who Jesus Is, and what He wants. But I had no starting point, having been told nothing of substance about the Man all my life.
I decided to scour the Internet to look for something, though I had no idea what. It became an obsession. At one point I had been on my computer for 24 hours straight looking for answers. I finally got the idea to google Bible study courses, and eventually I found a Bible study course offered by Herbert T. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. I stayed up all night and half the next day downloading the Bible study material offered at the church’s website. That was how God got me into the Bible, for the course emphasized Scripture. I was to find out shortly, however, that the problem with this material was that it was slanted toward their doctrine, which was not grounded in Truth.
Without going into detail, one day I was studying a particular Bible passage dealing with Matthew Chapter 24. The Bible course interpreted the scripture one way based on one particular verse, but it totally ignored the following verse which would have made the entire passage crystal clear and showed their interpretation to be false. Now I was confused. Was I interpreting the Bible wrong, or were they? I decided that they were. The Holy Spirit was already leading me.
So, back I went to the internet. I eventually found some audio sermons from the late Dr. Walter Martin, a man who specialized in apologetics and who once had a radio program called, “The Bible Answer Man.” Dr. Martin was one of the fiercest preachers I ever heard. He too stressed Scripture, so again, it got me back in the Bible. But I was to find out that he too, was in error.
During one sermon he was discussing Acts 16:16 when the girl with the familiar spirit was going behind Barnabas and Saul saying “these men are showing the way of salvation.” But Martin said that the girl said, “These men are showing a way of salvation.” He even said it twice as though he wanted to make sure you got it: “These men are showing A way–A way–of salvation.” Again, I was confused. I realized that by saying “a way” rather than “the way,” Martin was in effect saying that there are other ways to salvation. But Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” I began to suspect that Martin also had an agenda, and as I continued to listen to his tapes and read books that he wrote, I realized that this was indeed the case.
Martin’s biggest agenda was that he challenged the inerrancy of Scripture. He would constantly criticize the King James Version, always “going back to the Greek” for a “true” interpretation. The more I listened to him, the more I realized that he was substituting his own interpretation of Scripture for the Holy Spirit’s, and that by constantly referring to the “original Greek,” he was actually saying that we no longer have the Word of God. I realized that Dr. Martin was a false apostle.
God had used him to show me that one of Satan’s favorite methods of discrediting Scripture is to raise up a man like Martin, who first lauds the King James Version as the “most poetic” and the “most beautiful” version of Scripture. But later, after garnering a large following, he begins to criticize the King James as the least accurate of Bible versions, often deferring to the Greek for what he considers to be the true meaning. In some fashion, Martin’s interpretation always denied the true Gospel, in particular, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.
Now, I was lost. I wanted so badly to come to Jesus Christ, but not only was no one telling me how to do so, but the so-called experts were ruining their creditability with me by contradicting Scripture—the very book that they were saying was the Word of God! They were calling God a liar.
The night of the Walter Martin revelation, I was talking with my wife explaining my dilemma. While I was talking to her I remembered that when I was a teenager, I had found a small booklet stuck to the ground and soaking wet after a hard rain. I had brought the little booklet home and put it in the oven so it could dry. I then read the little book. It told the story of a man who had a heart attack and was taken up to heaven by an angel and brought before the Lord Jesus and shown his life on a giant screen. Because the man had been wicked, he was sentenced to go to Hell. Though I didn’t understand what was happening to me at the time, a seed had been planted.
Telling this story to my wife, I couldn’t remember any more details, but it seemed to me that the name of the booklet was “This Is Your Life” or something like that. For some reason, I felt that little book held the key to what I was looking for. I had to find that little book. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe if I googled “This is Your Life” I might find it. I googled that title and found a link which took me to Chick Publications and a gospel tract entitled This Was Your Life. This was the little booklet I had found! How happy I was to find that little tract! I remember how while reading it online, tears came to my eyes as I recalled how it made me feel the first time I read it over twenty five years before. I had been under conviction, even though I did not make a decision for Christ at that time.
This time I read the little book all the way to the last page, where there was an invitation to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, which I did. I remember how tired I was afterwards as I felt the weight of sin being lifted from my body. I was exhausted because after weeks of searching–actually years–I had found what I had been searching for. I wanted to sleep, but I was so happy and excited that I couldn’t. I stayed up all night reflecting on everything that had happened to me all my life that brought me to that precious moment. The tears were streaming down my face as I realized that God’s hand had been on me the whole time. After years of being lost and trying to find my way, after years of trying to be a good person, but always falling short, I had finally found my way home.
That was in September 2005. Since then, it has been my mission in life to do whatever I can to make sure that others do not have to travel the road I did. My mission is to make sure that people get sound Bible doctrine and sound Bible teaching; for without sound doctrine and sound teaching, you cannot make sound decisions for yourself and your family.
May the Good Lord Jesus richly bless you.
The Still Man