My Story of Faith
My name is Elke Speliopoulos. I was born in Giessen, Germany in 1961 and raised in a Roman-Catholic family. What this meant in our family was that Mom and Dad had been baptized as infants and would send their two daughters (I am the younger of two girls) to church on Sunday mornings. I do not remember my father going to church much except on holy days such as Christmas or Easter or when we had our first communion. My mother was involved in the seniors ministry, which in our church meant having seniors get together, serve them cake and coffee and bring in the boyscouts and girlscouts to sing songs or do skits.

I observed many things in the church that bothered me – my girlfriend’s mother’s admission of taking birth control pills during confession and being ostracized, kids going through the motions for first communion and confirmation to receive presents. When I was 13, I couldn’t take this kind of ritualistic non-spirituality anymore and vowed not to go to church anymore.

Over the next three years, I pondered a lot of religious notions in my head and felt a definite spiritual void inside of me. When I turned 16, I felt that I was actively looking. In our hometown, I ran into two Americans on a Saturday morning – Mormon missionaries. My parents invited Paul and another young man to our house for coffee and cake. We were always very friendly towards Americans because we had an American family as friends at our university when I was very young, and my sister had gone to the US to become an exchange student. I was getting ready to do the same that summer.

Paul and his friend invited me to the Mormon church the next Sunday. I went but could sense that something was not right. I decided that once was enough.

Shortly thereafter, I met a young American GI who was stationed in our hometown. His name was Jeff Rose, and he also served as the leader of a German-American youth group named Contact of which I was a member. He began telling me about Christ and my need for forgiveness of sins and salvation.

On May 1st, 1977 (Labor Day in Germany), we did the traditional outing with the group, which involved a barbeque in the countryside. There, Jeff took me aside and led me to the Lord with these truths:

Isaiah 45:22
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Mark 16:16
Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

 

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

John 3:18
There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God.

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Romans 3:22-23
We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 10:9
For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Ephesians:2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Right there, close to a bunch of non-believers drinking beer in the German countryside, I became a child of God.

The next few weeks, Jeff and I drove an hour to attend a charismatic church where I began to learn more about God through His word.

That summer, my family hosted an exchange student from California. In God’s omnipotence, He sent me a wonderful Christian sister, Sue McKay (now married to a brother in the Lord, Tim Stidhams), to fellowship with and to teach me. She stayed two months with my family. After this, we both went to the US – she to go back home and I to start my exchange student year with my American host family – more believers!

I can’t say my walk these past 25 years has always been with the Lord, e.g. I went through a divorce, remarriage, and almost saw the breakup of my second marriage, but like the poem “Footsteps in the Sand” says, He was always there to carry me – and to offer me His hand again when I was ready to come back.

I have found that all the unhappiness I suffered in life has been in direct proportion to the level of disobedience to God. When I walk with the Lord, I am content and happy in my Heavenly Father.

Elke Speliopoulos
November 3, 2002


 

This was an e-mail I wrote to a friend in late August 2002.

My friend had watched a TV program with clergy of different faiths commenting on various questions and had pointed out to me that the only one adamant about their religion was the Christian minister.
My friend also asked me about Jews and salvation since Jews and Christians believe in the same God.
I thought it might come in useful to others as they witness to their friends and people around them.


You asked me why the Christian was the only one who spoke against other religions as the way to salvation. You also asked with which authority I claim the belief in Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation. Finally, you asked me about my doubts I had had about Jews and salvation.

It is not I that is doing the professing of this truth. It is the Bible.

Please do me a favor, find one in your house and look up these passages. I have sorted them by your questions.

False prophets

Isaiah 44:25
I am the one who exposes the false prophets as liars by causing events to happen that are contrary to their predictions. I cause wise people to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools.

Jeremiah 23:28
Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between chaff and wheat!

Ezekiel 13:2
Son of man, speak against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Tell them to listen to the word of the LORD.

Zechariah 13:2
And on that day, says the LORD Almighty, I will get rid of every trace of idol worship throughout the land, so that even the names of the idols will be forgotten. I will remove from the land all false prophets and the unclean spirits that inspire them.

Matthew 24:11
And many false prophets will appear and will lead many people astray.

Mark 13:22
For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform miraculous signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God's chosen ones.

2 Peter 2:1
But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. Theirs will be a swift and terrible end.

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

Revelation 19:20
And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast--miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 20:10
Then the Devil, who betrayed them, was thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Salvation

Isaiah 45:22

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Isaiah 46:9
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.

Mark 16:16
Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18
There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God.

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John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 16:30-31
He brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with your entire household."

Romans 3:22-23
We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 10:9
For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:10
For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

Romans 11:6
And if they are saved by God's kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God's wonderful kindness would not be what it really is--free and undeserved.

Galatians 2:16
And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ--and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.

Galatians 2:21
I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Ephesians 2:5
that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved!)

Ephesians:2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

1 John 4:9
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

Jews and Salvation

Romans 9:27
Concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out,
"Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, only a small number will be saved.”

Romans 11:5
It is the same today, for not all the Jews have turned away from God. A few are being saved as a result of God's kindness in choosing them.



Why the World Rolls Their Eyes at Believers

1 Corinthians 1:18
I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.

2 Corinthians 2:15
Our lives are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing.

2 Corinthians 2:16
To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

I love you way too much as a friend to let you continue believing everyone is going to Heaven because they are such wonderful people. Please don't fool yourself into thinking there is anything else in this world that can set you right with God. And please don't gamble this away by thinking that you can think about God when you are old and gray.

2 Corinthians 6:2
For God says,
"At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you."

Indeed, God is ready to help you right now.
Today is the day of salvation.


Please find someone other than myself who can help you to understand this better. And please don't put off a decision that will change your destiny eternally.

Elke
(who will stand proud if called a fool on God's behalf)