I have hesitated in writing my
testimony because of the events surrounding my conversion. To
some, my experience is not believable and to others, well, they
say "nice things" as they change the subject. But,
there are those Christians who rejoice with me when I tell them.
To lay this testimony out for all to see makes the most important
and significant event(s) of my life a target for examination and
mockery. Nevertheless, here it is.
My parents were never religious
people. Church was something we did on Easter or when there was a
funeral. We had moved 27 times before I was twelve because my dad
was in the service. So, attending church regularly was not
something we did. The Lord was not a part of our home and I
became an agnostic. So,
there I was, on my knees along with a bunch of others who had
raised their hands. I didn't know about them, but I was stuck, embarrassed, and eagerly waiting to
for it all to be over.
When I was 17 some high-school friends
of mine invited me to a local church to see a film about the
rapture. I went. The film scared me with the idea of being
left behind. So, when the pastor asked if people would be
interested and learning more about Jesus, I raised my hand.
The last thing I wanted to do was go up
in front of the church. But to my dismay, he called all of us
forward who had raised our hands. Church members had spotted me,
so I could not really get out of going forward. Up I went,
not knowing what to expect.
A man from the congregation, with a huge
Bible that had gold pages, was somehow designated to speak to me
specifically and to teach me about Jesus so I could receive Him as
savior. At this point, we were all kneeling at the front of
the church, bean the pulpit, and each potential convert had been
matched to a congregation member. I scoffed under my breath
as mine began to recite scripture and blab some religious
mumbo-jumbo that I seriously tried to ignore. I wanted desperately
Then, unexpectedly, a woman about ten
feet from me who had also
come forward, started to cry. She cried with such depth and
feeling that I was shocked. It was weird. This fanatical display
was not what I wanted to be a part of, so I just focused on
getting through it so I could leave.
Then someone else began to cry the same
way and another…. I wanted out!
By now, I was nervous. I wasn't sure
what to do or to expect, so I looked at the man I had been
ignoring and decided to listen to him for just a second and then
I'd continue to ignore him. All the while I was wondering
how to get out of there. But, in that moment where I paid
attention, he asked,
"So, do you want to receive Jesus as your Savior?"
Now, I am not the "jump on the
band-wagon" kind of a guy, not at all. I wasn't going to
fall into this emotional hype sweeping through the church. So, I
decided to focus and think logically. I examined this man. I
remember very clearly looking at him. He seemed normal enough.
Then a thought occurred to me. I realized that this situation
might be important and I didn't want to simply scoff at it and
ignore it. Maybe there was something to this God stuff. After
all, I don't know everything. So, I thought about the options: If
I choose God and He is there, I win. If He is not there, it
doesn't matter. If He is there and I don't choose Him, I loose.
Logically, I should give God a try. It made sense.
I knew that if God was real that I
should, at least, manifest some form of sincerity even if it
wasn't much. I figured that
being flippant with God, if He were real, wouldn't be a good
idea. It wouldn't hurt to try and be sincere and these people in
the church seemed to have some common purpose and identity.
It was, to say the least, interesting. So, I quickly
addressed a prayer to God (not knowing if He was there) and said,
"God, if you're there, then I'll try and be sincere and
accept you. If you're not there, it won't cost me anything."
I looked at the man and said,
"Good," he said. "Let's
pray," and he led me in the sinner's prayer.
As I started to pray, I tried to
manifest a sincere and honest heart. I was "giving God a
chance." I followed the man's lead and I began to confess my
"sins" to God and to ask Jesus to forgive me.…..
everything was fine until something completely unexpected
(I want to interject
something here. I make no claims to being
"spiritual" or "special" in any
way. But, what follows is what really happened. And
please remember that I have never been able to
adequately convey the "experience" side of
what happened in my soul that night. It is difficult to
adequately describe. So, please bear with me.)
As I concluded my prayer, I
became aware that someone "other" was there.
Someone else was in the room with us and His attention was
focused on me. This someone was not a member of that congregation.
But I felt His presence dawning like a sunrise. This person
was making Himself known to me in my heart. I somehow
knew it was God. It was the Holy
Spirit. He came to me slowly, gently, and then in a sudden
movement, His Holiness overshadowed me with greatness and I became
incapacitated. It was indescribable. He permeated my heart,
mind, and soul. He washed over me in a burst of holiness and
I was utterly undone. His incredibly deep purity shone upon
my soul and I was instantaneously made aware of my utter
sinfulness before a Holy and Righteous God. It was a
supernatural experience of profound and utter depth. It
wasn't emotionalism. It wasn't being
psyched-out. It was God. I was in the presence of
God Himself. I was in the presence of Perfect Holiness....and
I knew it!!!
From the very deepest part of my
soul, I felt a powerfully new and profound remorse for my
offending God, for being unclean. I was a sinner! My body
could not help but let loose a flood of tears of sorrow and
guilt. I wept hard.
I wept from the depths of my soul in guttural, heaving, moans
of confession and brokenness. I was in the presence of
incredible Purity, Holiness, and Love….. I was encountering God
Himself…. and I was a sinner. I could hardly stand to be
in the presence of such deeply pure perfection and
holiness. It was out of balance and I was profoundly
aware of the disparity.
So, there I was, on the ground,
sobbing like I've never wept in my life. I was a sinner and
I knew it. The Holy Lord had revealed Himself to me adn the
natural result was to realize my own sinfulness. I kept
sobbing and heaving out tears upon the floor. They came like
a flood. And then….
This may seem unbelievable, but the
only way I can explain it is that Jesus Himself manifested
right there next to me. He had come to meet me on my knees.
It wasn't as though I could see Him or touch Him. But, He was
there. I was aware of His Holy awesome holy presence next to me. It was
incredible. It was wonderful and I felt my heart enveloped
and lifted by Him. His concern for me was precious and
tender. It was marvelous…. He enveloped me in His love,
His holiness, and His awesome greatness. I knew He was there
to forgive me. I knew He loved me. I basked in His presence.
I was with Jesus…….
Then, while I was kneeling there,
utterly absorbed and drifting in the experience of His
presence, He moved. He moved toward me and gently entered my
heart. Instantly, I physically felt my sin leave me. I felt
the sudden and wonderful burst of forgiveness wash over my
soul. I was instantly cleansed and born again and with it
came the most profound and absolute sense of security of
salvation I had
ever known. My salvation was in Him. I was forgiven and
safe… for ever.
Then, He gently lifted His
marvelous presence from me. He let me breathe again, think
again, and regain my composure. It took a while, but I was
finally able to recover and eventually able to stand up. But
I was not the same. God had touched me and I was forever
changed. I was so ecstatic.
My heart was overflowing with excitement, love, hope,
intensity, and great joy. I was smiling so hard, that my
cheeks were hurting… and I couldn't stop. It was great.
For weeks afterwards, I was
unable to stop speaking of Jesus. I was still living at home
and all I could do was talk about what had happened. My
family didn't understand. I remember anxiously searching around the
house looking for chores to do, anything to be a servant,
anything to help my family. It was an insatiable desire. I
told my friends about Jesus and eventually they stopped
hanging around me. They were sick of me talking about Jesus
all the time.
And it was no wonder because my zeal was without wisdom. I
didn't mean to, but I pushed them away.
My conversion experience was real
as well as extremely personal. But, unfortunately, I was not
discipled in the church I got saved in, or any church, and
over the next two years, as surprising as it may sound, I
slowly backslid. During that time the Lord convicted me
constantly and gently. He called me again and again to
repentance. But, I was confused and had begun to rebel
against the conviction. It was so terribly uncomfortable in
my sins, yet I wanted them, and
I warred with my own desires. It was so difficult to
love Him and run from Him at the same time. This went on for
too long. But, again, His love won out.
One night, I was angry with God for
the conviction He was sustaining upon my heart. It was
difficult to endure and even though I had gotten into the
habit of running from Him in order to make it go away, I
still wanted Him. It was a strange mix. Anyway, on this one
particular night, I looked up into the night sky and yelled
out loud at God, "Leave me alone!" I still
remember my defiant anger that was strangely mixed with fear
and longing.. I still remember the blanket of stars behind
my fist in the night sky. I'll never forget it.
The funny thing is, I don't
remember anything about the month that followed my defiance. You'd think
that God would have done something to me to "teach me a
lesson." All I know, is that one month later I was
fire for God. Out of nowhere had come repentance and an
insatiable appetite for His Word and prayer. I began to
devour the Bible, reading it four to six hours every day. I
would listen to Christian radio constantly and I would
attend church six nights a week. I would read Bible
commentaries and devotionals at work, or at home in the
bath, in bed, even while walking. I absolutely could not get
enough. This went on for two years. It was great being back
in fellowship with God and He had blessed me.
During this time of intense study,
there was a period several weeks where I had been praying
hard, begging the Lord to reveal to me what He wanted me to
do with my life. I constantly asked Him to tell me and
I was always giving myself to Him in every way I could
imagine. I'd give Him my life, my body, my future, my
abilities, failures, everything and constantly asked Him to
do with me as He desired and that it didn't matter if I was
rich or poor, healthy or sick, married or not, etc. I
gave myself to Him in everyway I could think.
By this time, I had a girlfriend,
who is now my wife. We were together a lot. One
day while driving between Christian bookstores, the verse 2
Tim. 2:15 had stuck in my mind and I told her about
it. When we arrived at the second bookstore, we met a
man who had been saved only a few months and had just gotten
out of jail. He told me how he needed to obey God and
study just like it said in 2 Tim. 2:15. I was floored with
the "coincidence." I was still living at
home at the time and when I got home, I told my dad what had
happened. He had an old dusty Bible that had been
given to him many years before. He opened it and
inside the cover was an inscription 2 Tim. 2:15. This
is what it says.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God
as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling
accurately the word of truth."
It was right after this, that I
developed a new interest in understanding Christian doctrine
and theology and a new intensity developed.
Then, one night at one of the many
Bible studies I was attending, someone read something to me
that would have a profound impact on my life.
"God is in the still small voice. In all
these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the
devil--all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye
false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning
mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come
out on the top at last. I have more to boast of
than ever any man had. I am the only man that has
ever been able to keep a whole church together
since the days of Adam. A large majority of the
whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter,
nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever
did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran
away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran
away from me yet..." (Joseph Smith from
the Mormon book, History of the Church Vol. 6, pp.
This quote angered me terribly. I
couldn't believe that anyone would be so arrogant as to
boast he had done more to keep a church together than even
Jesus had. To me, this was unfathomable and blasphemous. When I found out
that the founder of Mormonism had uttered that boast, I had
to find out who this person was and what he stood for. After
all, I erringly thought, Mormons were Christians and that
quote from its founder just didn't make sense. That is
when I began attending a Bible study taught by Jerry and
Marian Bodine who were then working with Walter Martin, the
original Bible Answerman on the Radio. The Bodines and I
became friends and I studied with them for years and my
interest in cults, apologetics, and doctrine exploded.
Later, a friend of mine and I began
a swap-meet ministry. Every Saturday, for 2 1/2 years, we
would set up a booth and pass out gospel literature as well
as information that exposed the cults, evolution, the New
Age, etc. Needless to say, we had lots of interesting
discussions with people and I can honestly declare that it was
there at the swap-meet that I learned the most about
defending God's word.
Next came a year-long phone
ministry where my new roommate and I put an ad in a local
publication. It said, "Learn the truth about Mormonism,
Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, and Unity. Call
(phone number). We received a great many calls and were able
to help many people find the truth in Jesus. This was
followed by a year of beach evangelism and door-to-door
canvassing passing out Christian tracts. Soon afterwards I
began to teach Bible studies and various classes on
evangelism, Christian doctrine, and the cults at local
churches. I have been studying and defending the truth ever
since. So far, it has been for more than 20 years now.
In 1985, the Lord called me to
attend a Lutheran College (Christ College Irvine, CA) where
I earned my Bachelors in Social Science. I graduated from
Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, CA, with a
Masters of Divinity, in 1991. Two years ago I was ordained
by my church as an assistant pastor and as an Internet
My ministry on the Internet began
in October of 1995 when I published a Web page on Christian
doctrine and the cults. To my surprise, the information was
well received and requests for more began to pour in. After
five years with CARM, I have received over 30,000 emails,
910,000 page-vies on the home page, and numerous
testimonies of how CARM has helped people.
CARM has opened many opportunities
for me to teach God's word. In April of 1997, I received a
phone call from a Christian radio host in Oregon who had
found my web site. He needed a guest speaker for a show on
cults. I agreed to help him and ended up being his weekly
co-host for two years. CARM has been reviewed in magazines,
the Internet, and on radio. I've even been on TV. So far it
is a hit.
The Lord has been very merciful to
me. Where before I was self-seeking and godless, now I look
to Him and seek His will. I am not perfect and still make
plenty of mistakes. But, He has manifested Himself in my
life in countless ways. He not only saved me from my sins,
but he has allowed me to be a preacher and teacher of His
My hope and prayer is to be able to
serve Him in a full-time capacity using the gifts that He
has given me.
Matthew J. Slick
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