My journey to Christianity is a testimony to the grace of God. I was raised in a nominal Jewish home by parents who cared more about the nation of Israel than the teachings of Judaism. Synagogue attendance was sporadic and tedious. Learning Hebrew seemed like a meaningless chore. After my Bar Mitzvah, I was more than happy to leave it all behind. While studying fine arts at Indiana University and Pratt Institute, I often found myself searching for spiritual meaning through the medium of painting. In reality, though, I was deceiving myself. I was recreating God in my image! None of this brought any contentment.
During my last year at Indiana University, I met my future wife Cressid who was a nominal Roman Catholic. After we were married, we began to experience a spiritual disconnection. We used to attend the local Roman Catholic Church, but I found it just as boring as the synagogue. I also felt uneasy—an innate revulsion to Jesus Christ. I promised to study the Bible with Cressid. I was hoping to build an intellectual bridge, but God had other plans.
In 1996, Cressid and I were invited to study the Bible with a Christian group. Before this, I had occasionally picked up a Bible and glanced through the Old Testament without any lasting impression. I entered the study with no interest in converting to Christianity, but once I started, I could not stop reading. I went from total indifference to total absorption! Eventually, I could no longer resist the inevitable truth—the ultimate Jewish taboo—that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became human to die a horrible death for my sins! As I dug deeper into the Scriptures, I began to investigate different theological traditions. One of my early mentors introduced me to Reformed Christianity—a tradition that assaulted my presuppositions and cemented my convictions. As a result, we became members of the Christian Reformed Church where I had an opportunity to hone my teaching gifts and experience the first pangs of an internal call.
In the summer of 2002, I quit my job, sold our house,packed up our belongings, and traveled cross-country to attend Westminster Seminary California. Here I was, a backsliding Jew studying Hebrew at a Christian seminary! The chore of my youth had become the delight of my adulthood. We ended up transferring our membership to Escondido Orthodox Presbyterian Church. During this time, I came under care of presbytery and was licensed to preach. After graduation, I was called by New Covenant Fellowship, Independence, IA and ordained by the Presbytery of the Midwest.
As I look back on my journey, I marvel at God’s plan. He took a backsliding Jew and turned him into a committed Christian. He transformed a reprobate sinner into a grateful saint. God made a decision for one of the lost sheep of Israel and His decision has changed my life forever.