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The Persecuted Church

 

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          MY TESTIMONY   (Mike Oppenheimer)                      

I was brought up Jewish, went to Shabbat quite faithfully each Friday and celebrated the holydays at the temple and with my family up until about 16 years old. Our family like many others, gathered together on the high holy days in observance. I attended Hebrew school twice a week and learned the language and eventually was Bar Mitzvahed (at 13) and confirmed (at 16). While attending classes I asked a lot of questions about God that the Rabbi could not answer. Though I continued each year, mainly to please my parents, I became less interested in the traditional religion of my parents and feeling hindered in my spiritual development, leaped head first into my own brand of freestyle spirituality after graduation.

By my own search in reading and attending lectures and gatherings I got involved in the New Age Movement, became a vegetarian and for 15 years practiced yoga and meditation. I ended up using psychedelic drugs for a time (LSD, mescaline etc.), as part of my regular religious observances and smoking “pakalolo” (pot) became part of my normal lifestyle. During these times I also experimented with various religions and the occult. I felt they each contained some part of the truth of the one “true” religion, just as Rosicrucianism teaches all religions are petals on the same flower.

I studied about the Ancient Masters of the East, learning about Buddhism and Zen I picked up on a number of the practices. I had a number of spiritual experiences which at the time I was sure were from God and leading me to a greater knowledge of myself and Him. I discovered and believed in the Ascended Masters that were guiding our world into a greater evolutionary path. I was involved with UFO’s and channeled messages. I was sure I was on the right spiritual path because of the various signs things just fell into place. At the same time I also read the Bible (even the New Testament), not denying my Jewish roots. I began reading over 50 books a year, having an insatiable spiritual appetite, but God was working on my exit out of this spiritual bondage.

I had also started to surf before beginning my spiritual pilgrimage. I fell in love with the sport and began traveling, surfing and entering contests. Surfing became my livelihood after I learned to shape surfboards for a living. I became the NY champion for a number of years and eventually the eastern surfing champion for two years. Hawaii proved to be an irresistible attraction due to its fantastic surf. I moved permanently to Hawaii with my girlfriend Kathy in the mid 70's. This gave me more freedom to pursue both my first love of surfing and my freelance spirituality. We thought we were becoming enlightened. Reading books about the Ascended Masters involvement and “learning” about Earth’s past history on Lemuria and Atlantis. We desired to become servants of the New age movement, convinced that if we all united we could usher in an age of spiritual cooperation and enlightenment that so many were talking about. After nine years my searching came to a head when my girlfriend Kathy and I started to pursue our spiritual hunger more seriously and became involved in the “I Am Movement” (the Saint Germaine Society of the Ballard's). Through calling on angels and powers unknown to us and by “decreeing” and using the Violet Consuming Flame to eradicate past life karma, we were learning to become active in the New Age Movement. At the time, Kathy was practicing affirmations, mantras, studying herbology, polarity therapy, kinesiology and learning about the supposed spiritual energies of the body. She also was a manager of a health store on the Island of Oahu.

At the same time, the Lord started moving ahead with His rescue plan and during one week we had two friends over who had recently became Christians. One was also a surfer that I knew from New York. We talked about end-time events for hours. Since I was familiar with, as I had been reading the Bible for years, and was especially fascinated about the end of the age. (At that time we both thought Christians were very narrow minded about their view of the Bible, God and the world. Kathy and I used to laugh about how the New Age was coming in without Christians even being aware of it, and were still trying to live in the old traditions and were not going to be part of it). Later that week my friends invited us to a seminar that just so happened to be on the New Age Movement with speakers Dave Hunt, Johanna Michaelson and Hal Lindsey. Talk about timing! It was also during that same week that I heard an audible voice say, “I am the Lord your God, you shall not want.” I recognized this was from Psalm 23 from my Jewish upbringing and had never experienced anything like it. Inside I knew this was the God I was searching for but still did not know. It was only later I would understand why this voice was outside and not from inside me.

I attended the Christian conference on Bible prophecy and the New Age Movement that week while Kathy stayed home doing her New Age affirmations. She wasn't feeling well that day and unknowingly had really been going through a spiritual battle all that week. At the conference, I was shocked to hear the other side of the story. The information I heard seemed incredible. The speakers knew all about the occult techniques Kathy and I were following and practicing, and about the New Age Movement’s master plans. I spoke to Dave Hunt briefly during a break and he answered a number of important questions. One was why Jesus said, “why have you forsaken me?” Though I was reading the Bible all these years I could not understand the gospel contained in it. I was blinded by the viewpoints ingrained from the New Age influences. I was also challenged by Dave on the occult practices in which I was personally involved practicing. He was aware of the “I am societies” practices. One question Dave asked was, “If you're God did you create the universe?" I had never thought this through. If I'm trying to become god through all these New Age techniques, how could this be possible, when God was always all knowing and all powerful (according to the Scriptures and what I had heard through their speaking that night). It was through this question that a chain of events led to the Lord really ministering the truth to my heart and mind. When the conference resumed Johanna spoke and I was relating to a lot she had experienced, especially in regards to the Ascended Master “Jesus”. Then she spoke about another Jesus – the true Jesus of the Bible, which came as a total shock. I never thought there could be false Jesus' parading around as the real one. They were only Jesus by name but not the One who is God come in the flesh. It all  made sense. When she prayed my heart was pierced, I knew I had heard the truth, but the question was; what would I do about it?

All the way home I wrestled with the realization that I had wasted the past 15 years believing and doing the wrong things. (Prior to this I thought Christians were very narrow minded but now I had to reconsider that I was too open-minded and had bought into a lie.) I asked my friends who took me to the meeting numerous questions that were running through my mind. Being new Christians, they could answer only a few of them. They just kept saying to me, “we know the Bible is God's Word and Jesus is the truth.”

Kathy was waiting up for me when I got home. It was late and she was actually scared that I would come home a Christian from the meeting! As I came in a peace came in the house and on her, as I sat her down and shared about how the Christians viewed the last days and how it wasn't anything like what we were being taught in the New Age Movement. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed to Kathy that not only were we following the wrong Jesus (2 Cor.11:4), but that we were worshiping Satan, and that he is a real being. Then the fear of God fell upon us and for the first time we got down on our knees and prayed to the true living God to forgive us for the occult beliefs we had been deceived into practicing. The Lord got the last laugh, but it was a pleasant one of victory.

The next morning we both went to a Christian church and the pastor got to the pulpit and said that he was told to change the sermon. He spoke on sin, Satan and Jesus Christ, we thought our friends had tipped him off but it was the Lord. We heard the gospel explained and dedicated our lives to the Lord, repenting and asking Christ to forgive us. Thank the Lord He intervened. We were saved together in the year 1986. It was later that week I found out that it was on the 20th anniversary of my confirmation day when God spoke that previous week to me Psalm 23. The last thing I read in front of the congregation in the temple 20 years before had been Proverbs 4:1-2 “Hear my children, the instruction of a Father, and give attention to know understanding. For I have given you good doctrine, forsake not my law.” Unfortunately, I did forsake His Law, for 20 years- but God brought me and my soon-to-be wife back. Five weeks after our spiritual birth Kathy and I were married and today have a 15 year old son who has been learning and become very interested in the debate of creation versus evolution among other interests.

Immediately, I began to study the Bible and learn apologetics in order to give answers to those who ask why we believe in Christ and why Jesus is God in the flesh. Since 1988 I have continued teaching on the cults and aberrant world views including how the cults deny grace and opt for works to be accepted by God. These include the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, and also the occult (New Age world view) which is now very present inside the Church.

By the grace of God I have had the privilege to have taught at Hope Chapels, Calvary Chapels, Church of Christ, Youth With A Mission, United Methodist Church, Grace Brethren, Assembly of God and various other Hawaii congregations. I have also had the opportunity to share in small group studies around the Island and have been involved in a number of debates. The Lord has currently provided us with the opportunity to host a TV program and had live call-in broadcast called “Let Us Reason” on a local Christian station as well as featured on several other live radio broadcasts in Hawaii. I am currently a missionary for Witness Inc., the world’s largest counter cult ministry reaching out to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In 1994 Let Us Reason Ministries was founded as an up-to-date apologetic resource center to instill both confidence and a desire to lead others to Christ. This is done by helping equip believers with both Biblical, and logical answers for their Christian faith. I have learned many things along the way that need to be passed on to others to encourage as well as equip them in their witnessing. It’s my hope that this ministry will be able to prompt believers to personally meet and evangelize people who are in cults and false religions as well as discern and call attention to false doctrine within the Church.

Mike Oppenheimer

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