‘Twas a fateful day written in my destiny – perhaps in heaven too?
On the evening of 13th September 1989 a young man, barely an adult, came to visit and chat – but I ended up discretely disagreeing!
I didn’t know a false gospel had lured me to the Devil’s Door around the time Peter was born 21 years earlier, thus half my age. However, I was to discover it wasn’t a normal door but a trapdoor about to be sprung – with me standing on it!!
In abject terror I groaned “My number’s up!” because I’d unexpectedly and suddenly come to the end of my life!
What’s more, I was absolutely terrified to realise hell really is below me and that I’d be heading down there – even though I didn’t believe in it! I was wrong – so badly, badly wrong!!
Being anti-Christian had been a grave mistake – but it was now far too late! Yet I’m now able to tell this true story purely for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How did I get there you may ask. And, how on earth did I get out of it?
Before returning to the fine evening of Wednesday 13th September 1989, let me recap briefly the story told in full elsewhere:
SEARCHING FOR ‘TRUTH’ BUT HEADING FOR HELL!
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 all religions are equal and so there’s many paths to a supreme being – but which is not the same as the anthropomorphic deity of the Abrahamic religions. That is, it would be different to and far superior to human beings: a ‘cosmic mind’ with which we can come into attunement, or at-one-ment, and attain ‘cosmic consciousness’, as experienced by many and practised in groups in which I’d actively participated.
For example, I appreciated 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 deep, doctrinal differences with Judaism and Christianity.
Two decades of an occultic practicum gave me a deep disdain for Christian clergy and laity. They were so archaic and behind the times! In my intellectual and spiritual pride I thought their preaching couldn’t compare with the profound philosophy within ‘New Age’ movements. Such shameful arrogance!
AN EARTHLY VISITOR
Sometime that Summer, Peter had knocked at the door of my home in Pangbourne with an invitation to hear the famous evangelist Billy Graham at Earls Court in London. We could be taken in a coach trip from right outside our house, located west of Reading. The fare? How much? Nada, entirely free!
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.
My journey into spiritual captivity had made me very wary of churchgoers. Never did I suspect my own well-being hung on the moment of those youngsters’ request.
Can you imagine my bewilderment, therefore, upon sitting ‘up in the gods’ in the Earls Court auditorium 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?
As a follow-up, those who’d been on that trip were invited to an informal meeting at the nearby ‘free’ church in Tilehurst. The leader explained similar chats could be held at our own homes, should we so wish. I agreed to be on-hand for my son, but I was definitely NOT interested. Youth worker Peter was assigned to help him but, in practice, he ended up talking with me!
This evening 30 years ago would be his third visit to present follow-up material to the Life campaign. I haven’t divulged any of my firmly held opinions – but this time he goes too far, much too far!
WHAT WENT WRONG?
This session is entitled, ‘Yoga, Eastern Religions and The Occult’ – all of which I’d been deeply involved in for as long as he’d been alive!
He shows a diagram of two cliff-like objects facing one another. One represents heaven and the other, earth, with a large, deep gap between and separating them. Over this gap Peter places an overlay of a very large plus sign over the gap, thus enabling the ends of its horizontal arms to touch each ‘cliff’. He explains that the cross of Christ is the bridge between both realms – the bridge between earth and heaven.
Peter then says the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. This remark means my ideas are incorrect. Without giving the game away I gently question him on this. But he insists not many paths lead to the same God – there’s only one way to the true, almighty God and it’s through his Son Jesus Christ.
What’s to be done with this man half my age, uncannily sharing the same birthday, who unwittingly points out the error of my ways?
My mind goes into overdrive: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. How can he, who’s not done anything I have, know far, 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 grossly intolerant. Well before the end of the evening I’ve had enough!
So I bring our discussion to an early close, politely show him the door and bid farewell in shutting the door to any future meetings about “The Good News”. Peter, as ever, is most gracious about it and politely giving a gentle smile, he goes on his way.
Little did I know I may not live through this night!
The second visitor – a heavenly one! – brought the far more challenging matter of life or death – MINE! And it would be in a different place!
The account of that true encounter, however, must await the dawn – when else?….