Hello, my name is David Weaver. I am 38 years old. My wife's name is Debbie, and I have three children: Rachael, Melissa, and Joshua. I am a born again, Spirit-filled Christian who is in Love with Jesus, who saved me and dramatically changed my life 18 years ago.
I want to take this time to tell you about myself and give my testimony of what Jesus has done for me. I was born and raised in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. My wife, Debbie, also grew up there. Bryn Athyn is the headquarters for Swedenborgianism. Swedenborgianism is a religion based on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, who lived in the 1700's. He claims to be the messenger of God and says that the second coming of Jesus Christ occurred through his books. To find out more about Swedenborgianism and how it differs substantially from the Bible, check out the X-Swedenborg Files, plus Cults and the occult.
I was born and raised in this religion. When I was about 12, my father walked out of our lives, never to be seen again and leaving my mother with five of us kids to raise by herself. I dropped out of high school in my senior year. By the time I reached 20, I was already a alcoholic and living on 18-20 beers a day. My life so far had been one of fear, depression, confusion, and anger. I tried to escape through drugs and alcohol but to no avail. My family didn't know what to do with me and even suggested that I commit myself to an mental institution. By May of 1980, I had pretty much hit rock bottom. I was so depressed, and I felt so all alone. Drunk and depressed, I really felt like my life was about over and that the only way to end the misery was through death.
One day in a violent, drunken rage, I destroyed my room. I then drove off in my car with a case of beer on the floor and a loaded 12 gauge shot gun beside me. I kept thinking this would bring about an end to my misery. (It was at this time that my family wanted me to "check into the hospital"). The ministers of the Swedenborgian religion either couldn't or didn't want to help me. They didn't know what to do with me. Then one of them said that he had a relative who had changed religions and left Swedenborgianism. He told them that this man also had many of the same kind of problems, and when he changed to this other religion, he seemed to be happy now. So he suggested that I talk with this guy.
One day shortly thereafter, a man named Jim Davis called me. He told me that he had heard I was having problems and might be able to help. He had a private pilot's license and asked if I'd like to go flying with him. I agreed and went to see him. After we went flying, we went back to his office. He began to tell me many things I had never heard before. He told me how he was once a drunk and troublemaker and how he had many other problems like mine. Then one day he saw a show called the 700 Club on T.V and had gotten "Born Again," after which his life was dramatically changed. He said that Jesus had delivered him from alcohol and depression. He showed me things in the Bible that I never knew were there. He told me that if I would give my life to Jesus, that I, too, would also be delivered and set free. Now after spending my whole life in the Swedenborgian religion, it was hard to just say I would give it all up to follow Jesus. Especially since Swedenborg's are supposed to have the best religion. I mean if they really have the second coming of Jesus Christ, then any other religion would pale in comparison to it, right? Yet here was a man who was living proof to the contrary. He testified to me about the power of God and that you can have a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. So why did I feel so empty inside? Why all the hurt, guilt, and pain?
Jim then asked me if I would pray with him to receive Jesus Christ into my heart. But again, having a lifetime of being a Swedenborgian and also being a bit embarrassed, I said, "No." He said that he understood and asked me if he could pray for me? Now the only way I knew to pray and the only prayer I had ever heard any Swedenborgian pray is "The Lord's Prayer"--you know, the "Our Father who art in heaven . . . " So I said, "O.K.," thinking that's what I'd hear. Jim then began to pray out loud and from his heart. He talked to God in a powerful and personal way. I had never heard anyone pray like that before. Here was this man praying for me with such feeling and heart, and as he prayed, tears were streaming down his face as he wept for me. This man didn't even know me, and yet he prayed like he really cared. He prayed that God would reveal Himself to me in a personal way that I, too, would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. I then felt a little something break in my heart. This was the first time someone had shown real compassion and love for me. Though my heart was hardened by my life of sin, I felt it soften a bit then.
When he finished praying, he wrote down a prayer and told me that if I would pray this prayer that God would answer it! I put it in my pocket and left for home. Later that night as I lay in bed thinking on the things he had said and how miserable I felt, I decided to try to pray that prayer. I got out of bed, unfolded the little paper, and read it out loud to myself. I still remember it to this day. "Dear God, I am a sinner, I confess this to You. Please come into my life and be the Lord of my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen." That was it. I then went back to bed and cried myself to sleep.
The next day I went to work. Then suddenly at around 9:30, I stopped what I was doing. Something was different. Something had happened in me. I could feel it. I felt a real joy, peace, and love I had never felt before. It was incredible! I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Now tears of Joy filled my eyes instead of tears of pain. I walked around saying, "I can't believe it. He really answered me." I remember calling Jim to tell him that I had prayed that prayer the night before and how wonderful I now felt. We then began to meet together and study the complete Bible. I suddenly found myself with a hunger for the Word of God, and I poured through page after page, soaking up every Word. It was so alive! I was astonished at what I found in the Bible. This was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I had been truly Born Again.
All that time I was thinking that death was the only way to end the suffering, and in a sense I was right. It wasn't physical death I needed, though, but a spiritual one. For the old me truly died the night I received the Lord Jesus into my life. 2 Cor 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." I pray that this testimony will touch your heart and that you, too, may be feeling the way I did.
Are you hungry to know God? Are you hurting or depressed? Does life seem empty? Religion can't answer your questions. Religion can't fill the void you feel within. Religion has NO power to help when you need it the most. But Jesus can!! Please continue on. To any Swedenborgian's reading this, I pray that you read this with an open heart and mind. Maybe you, too, feel that emptiness inside? I pray that THE Spirit of Truth will lead you into a wonderful encounter with Jesus Christ. Don't let the fact that you have spent all your life in it or what you have been taught keep you from reading any further. I have seen the *New Church web page! There are many errors and some outright lies told about Biblical Christianity! I feel this needs to be addressed and exposed. I also am praying and believing God to bring salvation to as many as will receive Him. The Gospel needs to be preached and hopefully reach as many as possible with the truth of God's Word.
God bless you!
Your servant in Christ,
For more Information about Swedenborgianism see http://www.ntro.org.