By Editorial Staff
Published January 2, 1989
Editor’s Note: Samuel Autman, a journalism student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, was once a student chapter leader in a growing sect of Buddhism known as Nichiren Shoshu American. Nichiren, which emphasizes world peace, boasts a membership of 17 million world-wide with half a million in America.
I’m Samuel Autman, a 22-year-old native of St. Louis. I want to share how the true and living God delivered me from Buddhism.
I had searched high and low for the “perfect teaching,” until finally I discovered a group of Buddhists who seemed happy. This sect believed that by chanting a specific phrase everyday, humans can experience true happiness. I attended one of their meetings and discovered that they were average people who chanted this single phrase rhythmically. The leaders told me to not believe in the chanting, only to try it and see what kind of results I got. I was instructed to make a list of things and chant to see if it worked. This was the measure they used to test the validity of any teaching.
Amazingly, I started receiving an incredible amount of material gain. I began to chant everyday and waited excitingly to see what kind of results I would get. I chanted for two years before I became a Buddhist. I joined the group in 1985 and got an altar, prayer beads, incense, and candles. I also received a ‘gohonzon,’ a scroll written in Sanskrit, which was my object of worship. The leaders told me that my gohonzon was a “driver’s license” to my own destiny, and that the power was in writing the chant on it.
Immediately after transferring to the University of Missouri I started a Nichiren Shoshu American chapter. I cultivated a membership of 20 students by going out on campus and encouraging people to chant so they could become happy.
Ultimately these chanters hope to attain world peace through individual happiness. I had gained a car, money, and jobs, supposedly from chanting. But I had no peace. I seemed confident, happy, and on top of things. But I would wake up at night screaming for help, and no one ever knew.
Meanwhile, I kept running into born-again Christians. When I spent my summer in Birmingham, Alabama, I met a Christian college student who said that she was praying for me. I hated her. When I returned to school, I met another Christian, Jim. He and I had two classes together so we decided to work on a project. I had no idea he was a Christian.
One night I called Jim and he answered, “Maranatha Christian Church, this is Jim.” My first response was to hang up. This must be a mistake – Jim is a nice guy. How could he be involved in that! I figured I’d study with him anyway just for laughs. He couldn’t do anything to me … all he could do was pray. What good would that do?
We completed our projects at the Maranatha house and I was impressed by the gentleness of the Christian young people there. Jim began to witness to me about holy living and walking with Jesus. Something happened inside of me. Jim spoke with such conviction and sincerity, and he never made me uncomfortable with harsh words. He later told me that he had been praying for me, and I became painfully aware that I was worshipping a false god.
I skipped an international Nichiren conference to attend a Maranatha church service that Sunday. I was impressed by the college students praising God! I felt convicted by the Holy Spirit and confessed Jesus as my Lord. Immediately after the service, I burned my altar, the false god, and about $200 worth of Buddhist literature.
When the Buddhist leaders heard that I had became a born-again Christian instead of going to the conference, they were furious. I had been taught that the gohonzon was the epitome of life and if I burned it, my life would be gone. Within that same month, the regional directors drove to the campus to visit me and to encourage me to continue my chanting. However, I’ve continued to walk with God.
I wrote a letter to all of the leaders telling them about my conversion and the deception of Buddhism. I’m now writing a tract in hopes that other students won’t fall into the deception that I once was in. I am free to serve the true and living God. He that the Son sets free is free indeed!
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » On Campus
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)