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Changed Lives

We will continue adding personal comments from our readers to this page. If you have a personal testimony about how God has worked in your life, please email it to us, and we will consider putting it on our web site.

We are particularly looking for (but not limited to) testimonies that relate to some aspect of our web site, that is, how an examination of the evidence, or how real life experiences, have led you to conclude that the truth of Christianity is relevant. You may have your name included or omitted on the web page, but we will need your name to verify accuracy. Along with your statement on the web page, you may choose to have your full name listed, only your first name, no name at all, or perhaps your first name and city of residence.

Gerry's Testimony

As a self-described "Ex-agnostic, ex-far-left radical, ex-university economics teacher, and ex-con," I did not stop being a radical leftist when I became a Bible-believing Christian. I combined the two. The change from radical leftist to conservative took many years. (You can read about that in my book, "Out of the Iron Furnace,' at www.outoftheironfurnace.blogspot.com, in Chapter 33.)

How I went from agnostic to Christian is another matter. It happened in two stages. Stage one was when I suddenly encountered God, in a way that would convince a scientifically-trained skeptic. One day in jail, shortly before transferring to prison, God just showed me he was there. It happened in a few, powerful seconds, but in a way that I could never doubt it happened, or that it was God. (See Chapter 11 in my book above.) That totally changed my world, instantly, turning it upside-down. I had to start all over again, re-thinking everything. Knowing that God exists does that. Still, I hoped he was not the Christian God. I didn't like Christianity. So I wanted him to be any god but the Christian one. But I loved him, so I kept trying to find out who he was, and what he wanted with me. That led to stage two.

Stage two was being convinced, intellectually, that God was the Christian God. (See Chapters 12 and 13.) I set the terms. It was to be on my own turf, which was rationality, logic and evidence. No faith allowed. So this is what God did to me. On my own terms, over a two-year period, I was driven intellectually into the Christian corner, much against my will. Eventually, the day arrived when the last piece fell into place, and I had to accept that the whole thing was literally true. My scientific training meant that when I set up standards and they were met, I had to yield. When I was wrong, I had to admit it. So I knew what I had to do then, but hated it.

On that day, I was in the Isolation tank of Goree Prison, which was down in the basement on the side viewing the kitchen wing. So I got down on that concrete floor at that steel bunk in the basement and said to God, "I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior." It was no sweet surrender. It felt more like someone's foot on my neck. What it meant to me then was laying down the flag, surrendering the sword - a battlefield surrender. I was crying with sheer frustration from losing - probably the most miserable Christian in the world at that minute. I didn't know then about the love, joy and peace on down the road. All I knew was that yielding then was the only honest thing I could do. I had been beaten on my own terms, fair and square. And that's how I became a Christian.

Later, the joy and peace came, and still later, I was called "to preach good news to the poor." But that is another story.

-Gerry Phelps, Austin, TX

[We highly recommend Gerry's blog: www.gerrycharlottephelps.com/

Larry's Testimony

Although I was raised in a Christian church in Houston, Texas, I was never truly converted (born again) to Christ until I was 24 years old. Until I was actually "saved" from the wages of sin at the age of 24 I thought I was a Christian because I went to church now and then. I had an idea that Christianity was true, although I really did not know why compared to other religions.

The Lord had mercy on me and opened my heart after I took an interest in Bible prophecy in 1981. I was fascinated with the fact that the Bible was filled with predictions of the future. There are prophecies of all types concerning the coming of the Messiah (456 Old Testament Messianic prophecies actual or implied); the state of Israel as Old Testament history and fulfilled prophecy; and many others. I was actually converted by the Spirit of the Lord while I was reading the Bible prophecy of the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The Bible is true because of the supernatural nature of its predictive prophecy, its historical verification, the reliability of the manuscript evidence, and the confirmation by the Holy Spirit. No other religion in the world meets these criteria. Praise to the risen Lord of glory, Jesus Christ!

---Larry

Austin, Texas

Charles' Testimony

By God's grace, I have been a Christian all of my life. Of course, as happens to most of us, I was confronted by various intellectual challenges to the faith. These challenges included liberal theologians who claim that the Bible is filled with myths, atheistic science proponents who claim that God is at best irrelevant, and various philosophies such as existentialism.

What caused my faith to explode has been the study of apologetics—that is, using reason and evidence to examine the truth claims of Christianity. This study really began with D. James Kennedy's daily radio program (on most Christian stations). Kennedy was the author of many books on apologetics and he often had other Christian scholars on his program. From there, I began an earnest investigation as to the truth claims of Christianity. To my delight, I found that there are many scholarly works today that the sincere student can delve into.

For most of my life I had been taught that belief in the Christian faith is largely a matter of blind faith. The epiphany for me was that the Christian does not have to leave his brains at the church door. I discovered that Christianity is more than just a neat system—it is really, really TRUE!

The more I study from this perspective, the more I have realized that the Bible is trustworthy—from the first word in Genesis to the last word in Revelation. The problem for people, it seems to me, is not a lack of evidence, but an abundance of selfishness. The evidence clearly demonstrates the truth of the Christian faith. But the nature of man is to want to thumb our nose at God and to "do it our way."

What I hope to share with people is that once a person opens his mind to objectively examine the evidence, what one may have previously feared could turn into a loss of freedom (if he accepts Christ as Lord and Savior) turns out to be the greatest blessing. Knowing truth and then turning your life over to the God of the universe results in a great feeling of freedom and confidence.

---Charles

Austin, Texas

Farid's Testimony (Muslim Scientist)

How I came to believe that Jesus really did die on the cross and why it matters:

I knew that according to my Muslim beliefs Jesus did not die on the cross, but it was only an appearance of that. I believed that Christians were confused, and that what was reported in the New Testament was made up by those who corrupted the true message of the gospel. I also believed that sometimes in the past there existed true Christians, who believed that Jesus was not crucified, who believed that his death did not mean anything for salvation of people, who did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God.

However, as I learned more about Christianity, I discovered that it was not the Trinity, but the death of Jesus on the cross that was the real centerpoint of the Christian faith. I learned that according to Christian beliefs Jesus by his death has supposedly paid for all the sins of all the people that have lived and will live. When I learned that, I was somewhat surprised because I knew that this central point of Christian faith was rejected by Islam, and with a rather vague and obscure explanation that had many different interpretations. In addition to this, the warning was given to anyone who would want to study the matter, effectively discouraging any Muslim from honestly pursuing an investigation of the facts surrounding the death of Jesus. I also found that there was not much Muslim literature written to address this specific question. Effectively, it looked as if Islam was denying the central point of Christianity without really addressing it.

I decided to do some research on the history of early Christianity (1st century A.D., before it had a chance to get corrupted by various heretical teachings), so that I could prove to Christians that they were following a false religion based on lies.

However, as I learned more about the history of early Christianity, I became more and more puzzled. Although I searched really hard, I could not find any evidence of "true" Christians. From what I have found, all early Christians, even those who were labeled heretical, believed that Jesus Christ did die on the cross for the sins of mankind, and that it was indeed the central point of Christian faith. In addition to that, I could not find any evidence of a Christian sect that believed anything that was close to what I thought "true" Christians would have believed according to what I knew from Islam.

As I researched more, I found Old Testament prophecies that predicted the coming of the Messiah. These prophecies talked of the one who would be the Son of David, who would suffer for the sins of mankind, who would be called Immanuel (God with us). I wanted to discount these prophecies, but had a hard time doing so because I knew that these prophecies could not have been forged by Christians—they were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. I also searched for the evidence of true Injil—the true Gospel that was supposedly given to Jesus by God, and I could not find evidence that it ever existed. All I could find were the forgeries that were written long after the 1st century A.D. The evidence seemed to indicate that Injil was the good news that Jesus proclaimed, and that this message was later recorded by his apostles and followers in the New Testament. In these records, his apostles repeatedly mentioned Jesus predicting his death and resurrection, as well as their importance. This certainty of his death and the tremendous importance that it carried were in clear contradiction to what I believed. If Jesus really did die on the cross for the sins of mankind, then I also had to believe in him and his death if I wanted to be saved from hellfire. That was the ultimate truth of the Christian message.

I was afraid of the doubts that I had, so I spoke with people who I thought were knowledgeable about this subject. It was kind of scary to find that most of my quite intelligent Muslim friends have never even thought about this subject or attempted to examine it in any detail. Those who examined it seemed to have overlooked some very obvious points that were in contradiction to their explanation. It seemed that most Muslims I knew assumed that Christianity was wrong by default, and then found evidence that helped them continue to believe what they wanted to believe. I started to realize that many of the arguments used to prove Christianity wrong were far from being consistent.

I did not like my doubts. I prayed to God to take my doubts away and to make things clear. Some doubts went away for a short time, but they always came back. I kept researching, talking to people, trying to find a convincing evidence of what I believed to be the truth. Unfortunately, my search kept uncovering the evidence contrary to my beliefs. By 1998, after 2.5 years of thinking and searching, deep inner struggle and prayers, I realized that I could no longer remain a Muslim. The evidence I had found was too heavy to be discounted. It was not easy for me to make this decision because I really wanted to remain in Islam—but I felt that I had no other choice because I felt I no longer believed what I claimed to be. I spent the next 1.5 years praying and crying out to God, asking him to reveal to me which faith I was to follow. It was very painful, because I longed to do God’s will, but I did not know what his will was.

Things changed on Feb 28, 1999. By that time, I had done more research on comparing the two religions, had read through the Old and New Testament, and studied Christian theology. However, I still remained a religious agnostic. A Christian friend of mine invited me to visit a worship service at his church. I was just sitting there observing what was going on, when I felt the need to think about myself. I started thinking about the things I knew. By that time, I had studied Christianity well enough to come to the conviction that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, that there was enough evidence to indicate he was crucified and raised from the dead, that the origins of Christian faith were in his resurrection, and not just in his teaching, that there never existed a written Injil, but that the New Testament as we know it was the Injil known from history, that Jesus was indeed a special Son of God, and there was a special relationship between him and God, that a Trinity was the only logical explanation of what is reported in the New Testament As a scientist I related that the Trinity was logical and non-contradictory, just as a wave-particle duality principle in physics was the only plausible yet unbelievable and seemingly contradictory way to explain the world.

As I thought about these things, I started wondering why I was not a Christian. A picture came to my mind, a picture of me wandering in the desert, looking for God. I felt that after years of searching I had found a city in the desert, where I knew God was. I wanted to get into the city, but I could not – because the city had high walls, and none of the doors were open. I felt like I had been using my intellect to jump over the walls, or to go through the doors, but none of my efforts have succeeded. In my mind, I imagined myself sitting down by the wall, tired of the search and in despair. I prayed to God, and I told him that I had done everything I could to find him. I have searched and I have made every effort to find the true faith using my intellect, but I could not. I asked God to come and rescue me if he wanted to, because I could not do it on my own strength. At this moment, I started weeping. As I continued to weep, I felt a strange feeling of God’s love, as if he was telling me that I am his, and that he will love me and take care of me for the rest of my life and after. I felt as if I was in God’s presence, and that he loved me and cared about me. It was an amazing feeling, and the relief that I felt was incredible. After the service, being the skeptical man that I am, I did not immediately decide that I had become a Christian. I wanted to think about myself and my beliefs—I wanted to realize what had happened. However, after giving more thoughts to my experience and the things that I learned, I decided to become a Christian.

It has been a few years since that day, and my life has changed significantly. I have seen my faith grow, and have seen God work in my life. I would not say it has been easy at all times, but I feel that I am learning more and more every day on how to walk with God. It has been difficult to face a harsh reaction from my family, to disappoint my mom and my brother. It deeply grieves me as well as my family to know that their beliefs are different from mine. However, I also feel that God has been revealing more and more to me about loving them because they are my family, and I also pray for them to personally meet and accept Jesus as the living Lord. It has also been difficult to see a change in my Muslim friendships. I still remember with joy those days when I was with them, when we prayed, and fasted together, and talked about Islam. I still love and care about my Muslim friends and about my family, and I also wish that they went along my path and investigated Christianity just as I did, without bias and prejudice, without rejecting it before trying to understand what the message of Christian faith is.

I have also experienced kindness, gentleness, and deep sincere love that Christians have. I have learned that sincere Christians hate sin and abominations as much as devout Muslims, standing against all the evils that the modern secular society has produced. I have learned what it really means to deeply care for someone, and to be willing to put their interests above my own, just like Christ taught. I have come to realize deeply that God cares much more not about my deeds and what I do, but about my character, about my inner life, and the way that I treat other people, in thought and in my actions. Although God hates my sins, he has also forgiven them because my sins have been paid for in full by Jesus. I know that until the end of my life I will not be able to get rid of every sin in my life, but I also know that what really matters is whether I trusted God as I tried to live in accordance with his will, striving to achieve holiness and perfection that he desires for me.

God is no longer a remote creator who closely watches my life, weighing my bad deeds against my good deeds. He is an infinite being who cares about me personally, and who wants me to be fully committed to him. He wants me to trust in him and in him alone, and he wants me to grow spiritually and become more like him, so that the light of his greatness may shine through me. He wants me to love my neighbors, to build deep friendships with others. Most importantly, in every moment of my life, he wants me to acknowledge that he is my creator, and praise him for his infinite kindness that he has shown to mankind, and to me personally. I am looking forward to living my life in the light of his glory.

---Farid
For more testimonies of Muslims, see Muslim Testimonies.

 

Wes' Testimony (former homosexual)

I know you receive thousands of emails and I am only one of many. No matter, I wanted to share my joy anyway. I am 39 and previously lived a sinful existence as a gay man. For what seemed like forever, even at the peak of my rebellion I knew that something was amiss. I bought into the thought that I was born that way; it must be biological was the whole big excuse. Somehow, being honest, I knew better. The way I was living was wrong.
 
Something grabbed me at a young age, and society reinforced the fact that the direction my life was taking was OK. I used to mutter the same old stuff that I hear today: like no one in their right mind would choose to be gay. (How right they are.) God will forgive me as I am a good person. Love is always good, male or female—all of the gay responses that the pc crowd would applaud and protect.
 
I have given my life to Christ and I will not become one of the backsliders. I have travelled that road and the closer I got to the destination the more I know—I could feel it—I was headed in the wrong direction. Your ministry and other happenings I thank God for aided my awakened heart and soul in my coming to Christ.
 
But then I began to watch you on TV. I found your website and took the test “Am I a Good Person?” I, of course, failed. Thank God.
 
I just wanted to thank you for being a deliverer of truth. One of us heard you.

      Sincerely,

      Wes


Letter sent to Way of the Master ministry: http://wayofthemaster.com/. (See "Are you a good person? Try the Ultimate Test!" on the right hand side of the home page of this link.)

 

Chris's Testimony

I can't quite remember how old I was when I trusted that God could somehow get me out of my jam, but I remember the night very well. As far back as I can remember I was afraid of death, not because of the unknown, but rather because somehow, someway, I knew that what was coming was going to be forever, and that it wasn't going to be good. I couldn't have been older than 2nd grade. No one was telling me about hell or anything like that, I just knew. There would be times I would wake up at night and think to myself "I'm not sure I'm going to have my next heartbeat, and I know what's coming when I die!”

I'm not quite sure where I heard about Jesus and the idea that God was even willing to forgive me, but I remember very clearly the night I woke up, in a cold sweat, with fear gripping me. So I decided to pray something like "God, I have no idea how, but I believe that what's coming after death isn't good. Would You somehow deliver me from this? I trust that You have made a way and that you will get me out of it." Instantly, all anxiety was gone and I very clearly remember sitting Indian-style in my bed, slapping my knees and saying "I know I'm going to heaven! I know I'm going to heaven!"

I honestly believe that was the night I became a Christian and entered into fellowship with God Himself. But as time passed, I began to lose that closeness with Him. In fact, I set out to live a "good life" by myself and fix all of the stuff I saw that was wrong with me. My bent at the time was legalism, and around 7th grade I began to lose the feeling that I was going to heaven.

So I began a 2 year trek of asking questions like "How do I know I'm going to heaven? What does the Bible say I have to do? What do I really believe and why should I believe it?" 

The first question I had to tackle was the question of truth, absolute truth. What is it? If there was no such thing as truth, then my beliefs really meant nothing because it didn't matter. So I first off defined truth as "That which is or exists apart from what anyone believes or perceives through any means". In other words, a human perceiving something didn't make it true. We've all been deceived before because we believed something was real when it actually wasn't. Therefore, a human declaring something as true didn't make it true. Humans don't have the authority.

After consideration, I finally concluded this: to state "There is no such thing as absolute truth" is in itself an absolute statement. And such a statement is in itself a contradiction and therefore a lie. So I concluded that there IS such a thing as truth, and if it is true that there is a God, then it is true for everyone, not just me.

My second question was, "Is there a God?" I spent many nights outside in my backyard, literally crying because I wanted to know that He was there. But I had no proof. All I had were the contradictory testimonies of other people from various faiths. So I decided that whatever my "proof" was, that reason needed to be able to be experienced by everyone, and it needed to be logical. The answer... the night sky. After all the evenings I spent looking at the night sky in tears, it dawned on me that what I was looking at couldn't have come from nowhere. A house can't design itself. Order doesn’t come from chaos nor does it arise apart from intelligence. The physical world's existence, its order and its reliability (physical laws) were enough of a clue for me to make the leap of faith. And it fit my criteria. Everyone has access to the physical realm via any one of their senses. So because "ordered stuff exists" I can say I believe that there is a God. It wasn't a week later that I read a passage in the Bible that I'll never forget. Romans 1:19 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, his divine nature and eternal power, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that men are without excuse".

The third question: "If it is TRUE that there is a God, who is He?" I started with what I knew: Christianity. The Bible teaches that man has a problem called sin, and that we rightly and justly deserve God's punishment. But instead of us taking that punishment, He took it on himself when He sent Jesus to die on the cross in our place. There was never a question of me doing anything to "get in good with God." I could never earn anything from God but punishment. The only way out was for someone else to pay the price. Simply believing that and receiving the forgiveness is enough.

So why was that enough for me to believe in what the Bible teaches? Because we all know that a wrong can't be fixed by a right act. When someone breaks the law, it doesn't get "unbroken" by them doing something nice. I broke the law! Punishment is the only answer. And I believe all of America would agree with this statement. No one in their right mind would "let someone off the hook" for wrecking their car. Can you imagine? "You see judge, yes I broke the law, ran the stop light and wrecked his car. But you don't understand, I've walked old ladies across the street, been nice to my neighbors, and haven't cussed in a month!"

Please, justice demands restitution.

In this case, restitution is us being separated from God for eternity. And Jesus took on the separation for us. Every other religion (as far as I know) says you have to do something to make up for what you did wrong. Christianity is the only faith where we first acknowledge that we're bankrupt and God must act on our behalf to save us from His own wrath. And by the way, if God just chose to "forget it" that would make him a corrupt, unjust being. Forgiveness can never just "happen". It always costs someone something. The question is, are you going to be the one to pay, or are you going to accept the payment offered on your behalf at the cross of Christ.

I fully acknowledge that this isn't an airtight case. But I feel that what I believe is at least reasonable and plausible. I invite you to consider Christianity's claims and testify based on what I've discovered that it merits investigation.

---Chris

Austin, Texas