(3rd of 7) NOTE: This two-part testimony was posted as one of my first blogs. Originally written over 25 years ago as ‘More Than A Dream’, it’s expanded to elaborate upon my changed life as a committed Christian in my journey into freedom.
THROUGH THE DEVIL’S DOOR!
A very brief recap:
Since my teens I’d wholeheartedly embraced esoteric spiritual doctrines and practices such as the Eastern and Theosophical belief of reincarnation and ascended masters, as well as those of Western occultism plus concepts generally known as deism.
I thought that as all religions are equal there are many paths to a supreme being –but which is not the same as the anthropomorphic deity of the Abrahamic religions. That is, it’s different to and far superior to human beings – a ‘cosmic mind’ with which we can be attuned and attain ‘cosmic consciousness’, as experienced by many and practised in the associations of which I was an active member.
I appreciated the linkage with mystical Islam of Sufism as well as having read its Book. It was only after becoming a born-again Christian that I studied its early history and came to understand its fundamental, doctrinal differences with Judaism and Christianity.
Thus, two decades of an occultic practicum made me disdainful of churches, clergy and laity. They were all so very behind the times – even archaic! Intellectual and spiritual pride made me think their preaching could never compare with the profound philosophy found within ‘New Age’ movements. Such arrogance, of which I’m ashamed!
A DIFFERENT DOOR OPENS!
Sometime in July/August 1989, a young man named Peter knocked at the front door with an invitation to hear the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham at Earls Court in London. We could be taken in a coach trip from outside our house west of Reading. How much? Nada, entirely free!
Naturally, I rejected the offer outright but my almost-teenage son piped up he’d like to go because a classmate had told him about it. So I said I’d take him.
As can be gathered from my journey into spiritual captivity, personal experiences had made me extremely wary of churchgoers. Never did I suspect my own well-being hung in the balance at that moment after the knock on the door!.
Can you imagine my bewilderment, therefore, upon sitting ‘up in the gods’ at Earls Court and finding myself agreeing with what Billy Graham said as he spoke from the rostrum?
I was flummoxed! Utterly bewildered! Who’s thinking that? Can that be me? Never!… Really?
Afterwards, as a follow-up, those who’d been on the trip were invited to an informal meeting at a local ‘free’ church. The leader explained that similar chats could be held at our own homes, if we so wished. I agreed to be on-hand for my son but I was NOT personally interested. A youth worker, Peter, was assigned to help him but, in practice, he ended up discussing the material with me.
The evening of Wednesday 13th September 1989, is Peter’s third visit to our house to discuss Billy Graham’s follow-up material entitled Life. I have not yet divulged my firmly held – even entrenched – opinions, but this time he goes too far!
WHAT WENT WRONG?
This session is entitled, ‘Yoga, Eastern Religions and The Occult’ – all of which I’d been involved in since before Peter had been born!
Peter shows a diagram of two cliffs facing one another. One represents heaven and the other earth, with a large deep gap separating them. Over this Peter places a large plus sign over the gap. The ends of the horizontal arms touch each object, thereby bridging heaven and earth. He explains the cross of Christ is the bridge between both realms.
He then says the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. This statement implies my own ideas are wrong! Without giving the game away I gently question him on this. But he insists not many paths lead to the same, supreme God – there’s only one way to one almighty God and it’s through his Son Jesus Christ.
What’s to be done with a young man half my age who unwittingly points out the error of my ways?
I’m thinking, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. How can he, who’s not done any of the things I know far more about…just how can he tell me it’s wrong? He’s wasting my time!”
Peter’s ideas are not only mistaken but also intolerant. Before the end of the evening I’ve had enough!
I SHUT THAT NEW DOOR
So I bring our discussion to an early end, show him to the door and, excusing myself from future meetings, bid him farewell. Peter is most gracious – he smiles politely and goes his way
But little did I know I may not make it through that night! My life was at risk!