It could easily be argued that the biggest crisis in the modern church is that believers are not being equipped with the apologetics tools to defend their faith against the increasingly pervasive anti-Christian ideology that has slowly come to eclipse biblical morality in the dominant culture of our country.
We are often presented with the grim statistics of those who leave the church after being raised in it, while progressive Christianity that seeks to “deconstruct” the authority of the Scripture is growing in popularity.
Satanism is an ideology that has appealed to many disgruntled with the modern-day church and, as is often the case, sorely mistaken about the core doctrine and tenants of the faith.
Sometimes, the bitterest and most exasperated of non-believers have simply never heard a well-reasoned defense of the faith and, when they’re presented with sound, evidence-based explanations as to the hope that is in the hearts of millions of believers worldwide, they quite literally see the Light.
Of course, in these cases, the power of the Holy Spirit is still always the ultimate catalyst behind such conversions.
One certainly has to marvel at the story of Brian Cole, who practiced Satanism for decades, hated Christianity, and doubted the existence of God before a copy of Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” mysteriously appeared on the floor of his jail cell right when he was beginning to seek God for himself.
“I didn’t understand who I was in Christ,” Cole recently told Billy Hallowell on the finale episode of “The Playing With Fire Podcast.”
Cole explained how amid a fraught childhood facing abuse at home and bullying at school, a group of Satanists reached out to him and provided him with a sense of community he hadn’t had before.
“They were talking to me, they were paying attention to me,” he explained. “They weren’t calling me names and beating me down.”
Satanism was the opposite of his family’s religious identity and while it wasn’t their beliefs that initially drew him in, it wasn’t long before he “wanted to do whatever these kids were doing.”
This included dark and occultic rituals.
“One of the first rituals I was in, they were going to sacrifice a squirrel. I told them I would not do that,” Cole explained. The kids told him that because Satan “demands blood,” he would have to cut himself instead, and so he did.
“And that ended up being an addiction for 33 years — the cutting and self-mutilation,” he said.
After “dabbling” in loosely ideological destruction of Christian symbols and nativities in the name of Satanism through his teens, Cole ultimately got arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison, at which point he went “all in” for Satanism.
Over the years, he began studying Satanism and other forms of the occult, and ultimately got a tattoo on the bottom of his heel so he could “stomp on God” whenever he walked.
Ironically, however, he thought the God of the Bible was a myth.
“I didn’t believe Jesus existed,” he said. “I thought this Bible was another mythology book. … One of my biggest religions was hating Christians.”
In his 40’s, Cole had sunk into the depts of depression to the point of being suicidal when he was arrested again, and his thinking began to shift.
Tentatively, he began to read the Bible.
One day, he returned to his cell to see Strobel’s “The Case for Christ” inexplicably sitting on the floor of his cell.
“When I got done with that book, I could no longer deny the fact that Jesus existed on this earth,” he said. “All my life I had sought truth.”
The rest is history: Cole accepted the Lord, and is now a pastor.
“This has set me free in so many ways I can’t even explain it,” he says.
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