The road to Jesus
The news was absolutely shocking. For years, my friend was a convinced atheist. Agnosticism held its sway over his entire approach to life. Then one day in late 1991, he broke the news to me: He had decided to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I didn’t know much about Adventists; only some rumors and criticism spread by communist propaganda in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Church in my homeland of Romania.
Unable to hide my astonishment and disapproval of my friend’s choice, I argued with him, trying to “rescue” him. However, at the end of a long debate, I found out that things were not so simple and crystal-clear as they appeared to me, and that there were certain issues in Christianity that deserved careful study and reflection.
Is the Bible relevant for all matters of life? How safe is it to follow tradition? What does God require for my salvation? How effective is it to pray to the Virgin Mary? Which day of the week is the Lord’s Day? What does the future hold for us? Do all religions lead to heaven?
With these questions in mind, I went back to Bucharest to start the spring semester in my last year of studies at the university. But that also happened to be my first year in the school of Christ.
At that time, like many other young Romanians, I was involved in all sorts of New Age practices that had invaded our country after the fall of communism. Believing in a sort of syncretistic philosophy, which for me reconciled all differences between religions, I was studying Zen and practicing Yoga meditation, being attracted by the monks’ solitary lifestyle, as I prepared myself for the future.
Given this context, it was very hard for me to accept that there is only one Christ, one way to be saved, one inspired book, one holy day, and one true church. Nevertheless, I began to read the Bible. My friend advised me to start with the Gospels. For seven months, I spent two hours each evening reading my New Testament, even as I continued my New Age adventure. The more I read the New Testament, the more uncomfortable I felt about my New Age meditation and about certain doctrines of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Summer came, and I was back home, still struggling with many unanswered questions. I told my friend that I needed more time to study. I asked him for more books to read. He gave me a book dealing with Bible prophecy and a brochure about the controversial issue of the Sabbath. Interestingly enough, almost the same day I found the book The Great Controversy in my mother’s shelf. Mother had never had time to read it, but I decided to make up for her negligence.
So, I spent an entire month reading my new discovery, in addition to studying the Bible and other books. I was reading almost eight hours a day. Soon I found myself at a crossroad in my life. I was at a decisive point where I had to make a choice. I could accept the new found truth and let it change my life, my religious philosophy, and my plans for the future. Or I could reject it and continue in my old ways. At the end of that month, I decided to give up my New Age beliefs and practices, accept Jesus as my Saviour, and observe the seventh-day Sabbath. It was not easy for me to take that step, and I am sure that some day I will find out about the “angelic battle” that took place over my soul during those days. I left the New Age and found myself on a journey toward the New Earth.
For me, the Bible soon became the most fascinating book ever written, and Jesus Christ became my only true teacher and a most precious friend. I made my decision to be baptized at the end of one of Elder Brad Thorp’s evangelistic crusades in Bucharest in the fall of 1992. Then God began to pour His many blessings and gifts into my life—including working for the church as the editor of the Romanian Signs of the Times, marrying Cecilia, a wonderful wife, two lovely children, and last but not least, getting a full scholarship that allowed me to complete a degree in Theology at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, U.S.A. I also accepted God’s call to teach and share the saving truths of the gospel.
Shall I say that I am thankful to God for all these blessings? That would not be enough! Words cannot express my gratitude—and eternity will be too short to utter it.
Cezar Luchian is a graduate student at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, planning to return to his homeland, Romania. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org