I have not always been a Christian even though most all of the world would have identified me as a Christian person because of my Church attendance. Before I became a Christian, I was a weekly church attendee as me and my family only missed a very few Sundays of Church in about twenty years. I always hated going to the Church, but I never complained despite the extreme hostility I often felt every Sunday. The feeling of unrest was also common with my mother in my youth as she had actually considered committing suicide in the church restroom.
For years I was even an atheist as a result of being taught the views of my first-grade science instructor. My atheism fit well at the Church that I attended because some of the ministry taught that Jesus was only a man, that every God is the true and living God, and that the Bible is full of errors. All the teachings of the church that I attended would do is to cause damnation to be more assured without realizing because no way existed for people to receive forgiveness of sins other than baptism (according to the Church).
People believed that after sins had been forgiven by baptism (a ritual that involved a person being fully submersed in water) that a person that sinned ever again could never be forgiven and would no longer be saved. As a result of the teachings of the Church, I never once got baptized in the twenty plus years of attendance because I knew that I could not keep myself from sinning. What was unfortunate however is that many of the members that got baptized would try to justify every sin in their lives as an act of righteousness in order to keep the ‘faith’ in their salvation.
I was not going to be baptized, sin, and deceive myself for the rest of my life that everything that I ever did after baptism was a righteous act.
The more that my life progressed with the church that I attended the greater I became distant from God. In my late teen years or early twenties, I believed that only scientific discovery had claim on truth. As a result of my college education, I thought that I was qualified to do my own scientific investigations to debunk the existence of the supernatural.
I tried to find the most impacting supernatural text that I could that people claimed to have real responses to, and as a result I found a work on Astral Dynamics that trained people to have Out of Body experiences. An enormous amount of book reviews existed for the work that all claimed real results, so I decided to buy the book, practice what was written, and try to debunk what people claimed to be experiencing. The problem is that after I got involved in practicing the content of the book, I began having Out of Body experiences without being able to control them.
I was terrified and going crazy as my entire view of reality was suddenly turned upside down and inside out as I suddenly discovered first hand that the spiritual world really did exist. I was far more afraid of the possibility of hell than even the fear of death. I was even afraid of going to sleep to the extent that I kept 1200 watts of halogen light on when sleeping.
I realized that I desperately needed something that I did not have. I knew a college instructor that was the smartest person that I had ever known, and I knew that if anyone had the answer that he would. The instructor was a very devout Christian man that taught Sunday school at a church of over a thousand people, and he firmly believed in the existence of the spiritual world. The instructor convinced me that I needed Jesus and that I needed to receive his work into my life.
After working with the instructor daily for six years of personal disciple building, the biggest change that I noticed is that everything that I believed had to be entirely rethought. My entire personality changed, and I realized for example that being late or not attending Church all the time was not an eternally punishable office that had no remedy.
Not only that but I soon found that Jesus became the only thing that was important in my life, and only my mentor appeared to have the same feeling for Jesus that I did. I even began to feel joy, happiness, and love for the first time because all of my bitterness toward God had disappeared.
May I share how something like this can happen for you, so that you do not need to be a legalist all of your life like I was and spend eternity in hell?