I was brought up Jewish, went to Shabbat quite faithfully each Friday and Hebrew school twice a week and was Bar Mitzvahed and confirmed. While attending classes I asked a lot of questions the Rabbi could not answer. I became less interested in the traditional religion of my parents and feeling hindered in my spiritual development, leaped head first in to my own brand of freestyle spirituality after graduation.
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 (LSD, mescaline etc.), as part of my regular religious observances and smoked "pakalolo" as 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 and believed in the Ascended Masters. I was involved with UFO’s and channeled messages. I had a number of spiritual experiences which at the time I thought were from God. I was sure I was on the right spiritual path. At the same time I also read the Bible, not denying my Jewish roots. I was starting to read 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 was the eastern surfing champion for two years and Hawaii proved to be an irresistible attraction due to its fantastic surf. I moved permanently to Hawaii in the mid 70's. This gave me more freedom to pursue both my first love of surfing and my freelance spirituality. After nine years my searching came to a head when I and my girlfriend Kathy started to pursue our spiritual hunger more seriously and became involved in the "I Am Movement" (the Saint Germaine Society of the Ballards). We thought we were becoming enlightened. reading books about the Ascended Masters and "learning" about Earth’s past history on Lemuria and Atlantis. Through calling on angels and powers unknown to us and by "decreeing" and using the Violet Consuming Flame to eradicate past life karma, we desired to become servants of 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.
The Lord started moving ahead with our rescue plan and during one week I had two friends over who had recently became Christians. We talked about end-time events for hours. (At this 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 was going to be about 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 that said "I am the Lord your God, you shall not want." I recognized this was from Psalm 23 and had never experienced anything like it. Inside I knew this was the God I was searching for but still did not know.
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 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 about the New Age Movement’s master plans. I spoke to Dave Hunt briefly during a break and had a number of important questions answered. I was also challenged by Dave on the occult practices in which I was personally practicing. 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. When she prayed it pierced my heart. 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 wasted time I had spent believing and doing the wrong things for the past 15 years. (At this time they both thought Christians were very narrow minded about their view of the Bible, God and the world. They used to laugh about how the New age is coming in and Christians weren't even aware of it. And were still trying to live in the old traditions and were not going to be part of it.)
Kathy was waiting up for me when I got home. It was late and she was scared that I would come home a Christian! But a peace came in the house and on her, as I shared about how the Christians viewed the last days and how it wasn't anything like what we were being taught. It was then that the Holy Spirit revealed to Kathy that not only were we following the wrong Jesus, but that we were worshiping Satan, and that he is a literal 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.
The next morning we both went to church and for the first time heard the gospel 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. After going to church and receiving Christ, 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. The last thing I read to the congregation in the temple 20 years before had been Proverbs 4:1 "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 it 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 nine year old son.
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. For over 13 years 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 Youth With A Mission, Hope Chapels, Calvary Chapels, Church of Christ, 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 also been involved in a number of debates. The Lord has currently provided us with the opportunity to host a TV program and a live call-in broadcast called "Let Us Reason" on a local Christian station as well as to be featured on several other live radio broadcasts in Hawaii. I am also a missionary for Witness Inc., the world’s largest counter cult ministry reaching out to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Let Us Reason Ministries was founded in 1994 as an up-to-date apologetic resource center to instill both confidence and a desire to lead others to Christ by helping equip believers with both Biblical, and logical answers for the Christian faith. It’s my hope that this ministry will be able to prompt believers to personally meet and evangelize those in cults and false religions as well as discern false doctrine within the Church.
Mike Oppenheimer, Let Us Reason Ministries, LetUsReason.org