Why I Believe
The Testimony of
William D. Brehm
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
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In my other "Bread Upon The Waters Ministry" pages, I say very little about myself. So, I have chosen to add this page to the site to tell you why I am a Born Again Christian.
As St. Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
To tell you the whole reason, I have to give you a little autobiography. I was born in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, in December 1943. At the time, my Dad, the late Rev. Joseph H. Brehm Sr., was a seminary student, studying to be a Baptist minister. He became a real "Fighting Fundy Bible Banger".
Growing up, I had the Bible and the Christian Faith generally shoved down my throat to the point that I almost came to hate it. I had to go to every Church Service, Sunday School class, Youth Fellowship Group, Prayer Meeting, etc. that there was to go to. Which meant that I was in some kind of Christian meeting four or five times a week, and sometimes more. And I was enduring the kind of persecution from my peers that often goes with the territory of being a "preacher's kid". I hated that.
Meanwhile, every day, my family had what we called "Family Bible Reading" (read "Bible Study and Prayer Meeting"). There was no getting out of it, unless I was away at camp or something like that. If I was sick, it would be held in my bedroom.
The result of all this was that by the time I reached my early teens, I knew much more about the Bible and the Christian Faith generally than most of the people who attended my Dad's churches.
But that didn't get me saved. Some other things were happening that were moving me the other way.
Going The Other Way
For one thing, my Dad, for all that he was quite the scholar, he was also very narrow minded. You couldn't disagree with him about anything theological without getting into a heated argument. It is my memories of this, and the reaction it produced in myself and others, that cause me now to try to be open minded and avoid arguments about religious matters (though I will debate my views on Prophecy, with the intent of refuting what I consider to be errors). His attitude tended to turn me off to the Christian Faith.
But that wasn't nearly all. When I was 14 years old, my Dad got kicked out of the church he was pastoring. His narrow mindedness had a lot to do with that. He had a severe nervous breakdown because of it. That ended his ministry, and left him a semi-invalid for the rest of his life. He never really recovered. That also turned me off to the Christian Faith.
In the next year and a half after my Dad's breakdown, my family (my mother, brother and sister, and I) went through hell as far as our living circumstances were concerned. I had one particular terrible experience as an indirect result of this that left me traumatized for years. I shudder to even remember the whole story. That also turned me off to the Christian Faith.
Meanwhile, I had become a prodigy in science. In fact, that was the only thing for which I ever got any special honors during my youth. But I got several awards in that area of study, including one really big one. This also meant that I was learning about evolution. I thought that the theory of evolution, and related science subjects, proved the Bible false. One day when I was about seventeen years old, I told my Dad that if I had to believe in a literal six day Creation (as he did) to be a Christian, then I couldn't be a Christian.
By the way, to this day I stand on that. The difference is, I no longer think that a person has to believe that to be a Christian. In fact, I seriously believe that literal six day Creationism is a lie of the devil that does serious harm to the cause of Christ. To learn more about what I believe about that, check out my "Creation Vs. Evolution" page. You will have to navigate "Back" to return to this page.
Something else had happened too. My interest in space travel had led me to become a fanatical believer in UFOs. That in turn led me into the occult. I believed that UFOs and the occult also proved the Bible false. For where I stand on that issue now, you will have to visit my "UFOs: The Deadly Deception" pages. Be prepared to do a lot of reading. Again, you will have to navigate "Back" to return directly to this page. (I suggest you finish reading this page first.)
So by the time I was in my early 20's, I had concluded that the Christian Faith was a delusion. I told people who tried to witness to (i.e. convert) me that I had heard it all and I didn't believe it, and that nothing anyone could say to me would make me change my mind. Considering what happened, I think that God agreed with me.
Although I still don't think that anyone could have told me anything that would have changed my mind, God gave me something that did. I must say that a number of people, my parents and other Christians, were praying for my salvation. God answered their prayers. Something happened that totally changed my mind, like from darkness to light. As I said, I was involved with the occult. So it happened one day around the time I turned 24, that a friend of mine and I were using a Ouija board. To make a long story short, we got into an argument with a demon. REALLY!!! What the demon said, and wouldn't say, convinced me for the first time in my adult life that the Bible was true, and that Jesus really was the Son of God who died for our sins.
Then an angel (REALLY!!!) took control of the ouija board. He told me to "seek the way your father taught you", which, in so many words, meant to become a Christian. He also told me something that has actually come true many times in my Christian life: I would receive a sign in a dream. By the way, he also made another more personal promise to me that came true a few months later.
My friend was a Christian, but a shaky-flaky one. The angel rebuked him for using the Ouija board. He told us both never to use it again. He told me, in particular, to "use the prayer way".
I, at least, never have used a Ouija board again. And by the way, Ouija boards are not toys. In fact, they are so dangerous that even some people who are into the occult in a very deep and serious way won't use them. Don't you do it, either. If you have one, destroy it!
On the other hand, a significant part of my Christian life has been learning, and experiencing the power of prayer. As shown above, my being a Christian is an answer to the prayers of others.
(I have also seen the power of the Name of Jesus in dealing with demonic forces. I have seen the sudden, dramatic changes for the better in (other) people's lives that have followed the ministry of deliverance (Christian exorcism). I have seen, again, sudden dramatic changes for the good that resulted simply from Christians - yes, Christians! - ceasing to practice some kind of serious sin and simply starting to really obey God.)
For all the shock of that experience, I did have to think things over for a while before I really gave my life to Christ. You see, I thought I had everything figured out about why Christianity wasn't true. After the Ouija board experience, I had to figure everything out all over again. After several weeks, it came down to the point that I was satisfied about everything about the Bible really being true, and Jesus really being the only begotten Son who had died for our sins and who arose from the dead. But there was one question that still blocked me from making the commitment:
Why love Jesus?
Then, as I was pondering that question one night, I had the closest thing I have ever had to an out-and-out vision. It was more something I saw in my mind than outside of my body, but for a second or two, I saw Jesus dying on the cross. It was not a pretty sight. Then I knew.
The following Sunday night, I stood up in a church service and publicly confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I was baptized at the same church a few months later.
I am not going to give you the usual spiel about how sinful and miserable I was before, and how righteous I became and how wonderful my life has been since then. There would be some truth to that, but it wouldn't be the whole truth.
The truth is, as many Christians will tell you, if they tell you the truth, being a Christian isn't always a "bowl of cherries." Sometimes, it's a cold drag of a bummer. It has been that way for me at times. Also, though I won't tell you the details, I have committed some serious sins since then, and the Bible never says that sin can not be enjoyable. There were times when circumstances caused me to forget about the experiences above, and to change my mind about believing in Jesus Christ. There were times, especially early in my Christian life, when I was totally turned off to the Christian Faith. But I always came back. Right now, it has been over 18 years since the last time I really - and then only briefly - got turned off to the Lord.
Why am I telling you this? To make it perfectly clear that my whole Christian Faith is not based on the experience with the Ouija board, or that sort-of vision. If it was, I would have forgotten about being a Christian long ago.
What I have seen by experience since then is the presence of a guiding, helping and protecting power in my life that I know is not me. I can even look back into the years before I got saved and see that power at work then, in very concrete and sometimes critical ways. I mean I might not even be alive or free to write this if that power had not been there. I had some very close calls, both with losing my life and with getting into very serious trouble with the law. Neither happened, and it was God's grace that made the difference. Furthermore, that power always works in a way that is in accord with the doctrines and promises of God in the Bible.
Either this is true or someone is going to have to do a tough job; a job I don't think can be done, of explaining some really strange things that have happened in my life. There have been too many "coincidences" for them to be coincidences. I don't keep a journal of the answers to prayer that I have received, but if I did, the record would be impressive. Again, as shown above, my just being a Christian is an answer to the prayers of others.
There is a promise in the Bible, in Romans 8:28, that is well known to Christians: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose." I have seen this promise fulfilled dramatically in my life a number of times. Things have happened that at first seemed very bad. They were bad, short term, but good things happened as a result of the bad things happening that could not have happened, as far as I can see, any other way. If one of these incidents had not happened just recently, you would not be reading this. I have learned from these experiences that when seemingly bad things happen, I should actually thank the Lord for them. Good will come as a result.
There is something else that I can say that you will not read in most "testimonies". Another significant promise that God makes in the Bible is that every Christian will be chastised if he misbehaves as a Christian. In fact, you don't hear too much talk about this anymore, period. But the Bible makes it clear that Christians will be to a limited extent punished for their sins in this life, so they won't be in line for God's wrath afterward. And the Bible makes it clear that this chastening is actually an expression of God's love. Well, the older I have become in the Lord, and the closer to Him I have become, the more I have experienced His chastening in my life. When I have recognized and accepted whatever happened as such, I got blessed. It shows me that God loves me just the way the Bible says: as a truly loving and understanding Father, who is strict with me for my own good.
Since I became a Christian, the Lord has been guiding my life in very concrete ways. Remember that I said that the angel told me that I would receive a sign in a dream? I have received about two dozen of them. None constituted prophecies about world events or doctrine to teach. (I am very dubious about "dreams and visions" that do.) But they have provided significant guidance for my own life. I have received signs from the Lord in other ways as well. These signs have included some very timely and much needed warnings. They have also given me some very clear guidance relevant to major decisions I have made. Two of them constituted a call to the ministry of teaching, which I am doing now, and have been doing most of the time since 1978. Another one prophesied this Ministry I am doing. And by the way, as I look back on all that has happened, I am sure that my whole life before I started "Bread Upon The Waters" was the Lord preparing me for it.
In connection with one dream from the Lord that I had, over 30 years ago, I also had a wide-awake experience of the presence of God that would not have been more tangible and real if He had punched me in the face. I remember it like yesterday. I won't tell the details here. If you want to know, write to me and ask, and I will send you the story.
There have also been numerous miracles of divine providence, that is, needs I had being miraculously met. One such miracle was the job at which I earned my living for most of the last 18 years. This has even happened in cases where I didn't know that I had the need until after it was miraculously met.
And last but not least, I have an inner awareness of the presence of Christ in my life that manifests itself in a number of ways. In particular, in inner peace that enables me to go through seemingly very distressing situations as if nothing was wrong. For example, a few weeks before originally writing this (December 1998), I was joking around with the doctors while I was being prepared for surgery. No fear at all. Not even nervous. And no tranquilizers, either. Similarly I have been known to take what amounted to serious insults and offenses, without getting upset at all.
In short, I have come full circle. No one can say anything to me that would make me not believe. If you ask me, I don't just believe anymore.
By the way,
If you don't, see
Why Should You Believe the Bible?
See also: "Why I Am Sure That I Am Right"
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Contact Author: William D. Brehm