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Pt. 4 Returning to Christ
June 21, 2013 stevec

Pt. 4 Returning to Christ

Posted in Forum Post

(because I wanna tell my story …)

According to Richard Dawkins, religion is a successful meme because it offers the most and threatens the most. I guess he is talking about Heaven and Hell, but when I came back to Christ I was a young chap not even thinking about the afterlife. I reconsidered Christianity because I believed that a non-theistic world views were false. The atheism that I had felt pressured into adopting did not adequately make sense of human experience.

I can remember feeling so clever when I told a Christian fellow art student that I used to be a Christian and no longer believed in God. I felt I had experienced and travelled so much further in life than him. He was part of a crowd of wild young things in our home town of Windsor in Berkshire, who had all become Christians. One of them was a trouble maker from my school who had been expelled, but was now a completely different character.

My conversion all happened over the Easter weekend of 1979. I was working at a cinema during the holiday when a united churches parade enacting the stations of the cross around the town stopped in front of the cinema. A Catholic priest read the account from Luke’s Gospel of the crucifixion. Some local ‘yobs’ taunted him as he read, but when he read the words from the cross: ‘Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.’ – something happened. I saw the yobs mocking the priest and I saw Jesus crucified and I saw that there were only two choices. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of my own guilt before God, that everything I was living for was complete rubbish. I turned away in tears.

I spent the rest of the weekend fighting Christianity in my head, going through every argument I could against the church and what it had done in history. How Christianity was out-of-date and didn’t really satisfy people. Look at all the people who had tried it and left, like Van Gogh and my Dad! But none of this worked, because atheism was, I knew, total rubbish! No argument against Christianity worked in comparison with the certain knowledge of trying to live as an atheist and knowing it to be a lie!

I was sitting outside our family house when I just thought ‘Why don’t I go back to Christianity if atheism is rubbish whilst Jesus changes people’s lives for the better?’ On Easter Monday I told my artist friend of my decision and I went round to see a Methodist lay-preacher who was an old family friend. When he told me to get on my knees and ask Jesus into my life, I halted. This was serious! At that point I had a vision in my mind of all the stuff I was living for: rock music, alcohol – girls! I knew this would have an effect on how people saw me. But then I just remembered all the sadness these things had given me in return and I called out ‘Jesus, come into my life and do the best you can with it!’

It was like an energy rushing into my being like I had never known or thought I could experience. It was the opposite of despair. Jesus said: ‘Anyone who follows me has crossed from death to life.’ I had now experienced that to be true.

Comments (4)

  1. Chris Schorah 5 years ago

    Great post Steve. I had a dramatic conversion experience in 1975, from a token Christian background. That God encounter actually happened some 14 hours after I’d asked Jesus into my life. I was so ignorant of the Christian faith I didn’t expect anything to happen and was driving to work not even thinking about my commitment the previous evening. Suddenly the real presence of God turned up in the car, it was like being lifted up into heaven, a real sense of peace, elation and certainty of Gods reality. It lasted for three days and then went and has never returned with the same intensity. But it didn’t leave me the same: I moved from token Christianity to the real thing. Gone also was the heavy drinking in which I indulged, opened up were the pages of scripture and minor miracles started to happen and continue to this day.
    Like you, and against Dawkins, I had no concerns about heaven and hell, no compulsion at all to believe; I just thought I’d give Jesus a try and was fairly concerned about what I might have to change in my life which, in those days, I ran, not God. In any case (also against Dawkins) Heaven and Hell were not a major feature of the preaching and teaching of the early Church and still the converts rolled in.
    I don’t know why God gave me such a powerful encounter. Perhaps, as a cynical scientist and product of my age, it was what I needed in order to believe. Over the years I’ve met many people from the UK who had dramatic God experiences in the period, 1960-90, but they seem to be much more unusual now. I wonder why this is. Could it be that, as a nation, we are now almost completely godless, even anti-God?
    Shalom in Jesus
    Chris

  2. Stevec
    Stevec 5 years ago

    Dear Chris, my apologies for not replying to your kind comments earlier. Term time is coming to an end and I am pretty busy!

    The accounts of these experiences are quite wonderful and I would agree that I feel something has changes in the UK, but I don’t think it is that they don’t happen any more. In my church I know three guys who were not ‘the Christian type’, but who have all had dramatic conversions. One is a guy from a psychic background who came to Christ when his wife was miraculously healed, another is a former millionaire who had a drink problem, and the third is an ex-drug dealer who has spent 16 years in prison. All dramatically turned around and very passionate for the gospel.

    I wonder if giving our testimony is not as big a thing as it was in the church of the 70s-80s. I can remember Christian bookshops full of testimony books at one point – probably after the commercial success of ‘Joni.’ Also I remember as a kid in the 70s hearing people giving accounts of wonderful conversions on BBC Radio – not something you would hear now.

    God bless you,

    Steve

  3. Chris Schorah 5 years ago

    Thanks Steve, I hope you’re right. Clearly, from your examples, they’ve not stopped altogether. However, without meaning to get too analytical, the three you mentioned all probably realized they needed transforming by God, could they have been desperately searching in a way I wasn’t? It’s the unexpected God experience in the lives of ‘ordinary’ agnostic people which seems to be missing.
    Blessings
    Chris

    1. Well, last night (Just after getting back from seeing the new Superman movie), my wife told me that a new age friend of ours has just committed her life to Christ. She was on the operating table in hospital when she met Jesus. I think that’s pretty dramatic. We shouldn’t be surprised by these things. I’m going to get in contact with her to help her find a church. Please pray for her, her name is Valerie. God bless, Steve.

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