My Journey to Christ

My mother was a dedicated Christian and I first met Jesus on her knee.  She made Bible
stories come alive and often sang Christian hymns to me.  My favorite is still. “What a Friend We have in Jesus” which is the ultimate theological statement.

Until I was seventeen I had no hesitation to take the Bible as the word of God and as absolute truth.  Then I read a book about how 50 scholars had spent 2 weeks with the 14 year old Dalai Lama, questioning him about events in his many past lives.   His answers were fantastic.  In my finite mind no 14 year old could possibly know all thing things this book claimed he said.  No matter what training he had received, he could not have the accumulated knowledge of these 50 scholars.  I became convinced that the Dalai Lama had indeed lived through hundreds of years of history and therefore reincarnation must be a fact.  This flew in the face of my belief that the Bible was the source of truth. 

From the overwhelming evidence of design in nature I knew there was a creator but over the period of many years I struggled with the identity of that creator.  I married and started raising a family.  Although we fairly regularly attended Anglican churches I wasn’t really trying to find truth. The only break was when our four year old son pushed a noisy chair in church and many of the congregation complained.  That kept us out of church for several years until our three kids were old enough to control. My mother had taught me not to be a hypocrite and when we recited the Apostles creed I simply left out the first two words, “I believe”.  I really didn’t know what I believed.

I developed my own liberal theology, a favorite quote was, “God in His Wisdom saw the needs of different cultures and therefore developed different religions to meet their needs.”  I didn’t study the beliefs and it never occurred to me that two facts which were different couldn’t both be right.  Either one was true and the other false or they were both false, they could not both be true.

We had moved to Vancouver and I was selling Leica cameras when Dr. Ben Gullison came into my life.  We had a special service to prepare cameras for use in the tropics warm and humid climate.  Dr. Ben was a medical missionary in India and came in to have this service on his camera.  I checked with the technician and he said he could do it right away, but that it would take two hours.

When I told Dr. Ben this he said we would wait and that he was visiting from India and had come by cab.  As he was a missionary from India I spouted my liberal theology to him.  While I did this he was writing on a piece of paper.  When I finished he asked me if I had a Bible at home, I said, “yes” and he handed me his writing, which was thirteen scriptures. He said, “read these and I believe you will find Jesus Christ unique and there isn’t room left for the rest of your theology”. 

That shook me to the core and started a ten year search for truth.  During that period I read the Bible cover to cover at least once a year.  I also read the Quran, the Book of Mormon and anything I could find on Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism  and other religions.  The more I read the more I began to understand the truth of the Bible and the fact that things that were different couldn’t all be right. 

The Quran told of a vengeful god who instructed his followers to kill anyone who didn’t agree to convert to Islam and was full of fanciful stories loosely based on the Bible.  It was full of contradictions within itself.  Allah could turn from stating his followers should respect the “people of the book” to hunting them down and slaughtering them.

Much of the Book of Mormon seemed to be taken from the Bible, but things that happened in the Holy Land were claimed to have happen in North America. There was   no archeological evidence provided or ever discovered.   It was poorly written book which seemed to be the work of a con artist. 

Hinduism seemed to be a mishmash of multiple gods with each caste having its own set of gods.  The more I read of this mythical religion the more I saw it as a way for the rich to profit on the backs to the poor.  Later in life I have spent time in India and have become convinced that Hinduism is the most diabolic of all religions.

Sikhism seemed a rather odd cross of Islam and Hinduism.  One god but with reincarnation thrown in.   A religion built heavily on family honor, to the point of honor killing anyone who strayed,  

Next to Christianity I spent more time looking into Buddhism.  The book on the Dalai Lama’s previous lives had me convinced that reincarnation must be a fact.  The Buddha was a high caste Hindu who saw the evil of the caste system and invented his own religion.  This religion had no creator god, in fact all of life was an illusion.  The more I studied, the more ridiculous this all seemed.  I have since seen the sinister side of Buddhism on both the Indian and Thailand borders of Myanmar, where the Chinn and the Karen people flee from the murderous Buddhists.

During this search the only thing that kept me for accepting Christ was the fact that the Bible said that we live once and then are judged while I was convinced that the Dalai Lama must have lived through many reincarnations.  I could not square this in my mind.

Nearing the end of my ten year search, Ben Gullison retired and moved back to West Vancouver.  I started doing volunteer work with Operation Eyesight which had been formed to support Ben’s work in India.  Ben and Evelyn became Marjorie’s and my good friends and mentors.

We had opened our own sales and audio visual company and I was travelling Western Canada introducing the new slide/tape technology.  I met Warren Harbeck, a missionary to the Stoney Indians, while making a presentation in Calgary. Warren was living in Morley west of Calgary and invited me to stop for breakfast on my way back to Vancouver.  When I arrived the first thing he asked me was, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” my answer was “yes”.  His response was, “Then it has to be the most important thing in your life.”  Wow, I was an Anglican and my church had never challenged me like that, it felt like a knife had gone into my back and twisted! 

That started an even more intense search for truth.  Two years later I was back in Calgary with Warren.   We were in front of a mutual friend’s office, waiting for him to get back from lunch.  I told Warren of my belief that the Dalai Lama must have lived through many reincarnations.  His reply was, “Did you ever think that Satan would do anything to keep your mind off the finished work of the cross?  The Dalai Lama didn’t have to know all those things, Satan’s demons did and they could feed the Dalai Lama the answers.”  That made intellectual sense to me and I finally accepted Jesus as my Savior and the Bible as the true word of God.

It had been a long road but I had finally arrived at truth!

© 2017–2018
Stuart Spani

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