Testimony Message of Dr. Phillip R. Allen
About age 5 or 6, my parents moved to Atlanta, Ga., where I believe they were "converted" to Christ. I say that because all of a sudden there was a noticeable change in our family life style activities. We started going to church, together, every Sunday AM & PM, and Wednesday PM, as well as other services, even visiting in other Baptist Churches when there was a guest speaker to be heard.
My parents would have Christian friends from our church over. We would go to their homes too. We became friends with the pastor & his family. He had children my age & the age of my older brother. I was taken to Vacation Bible School, both in our own church as well as another Baptist Church near-by when they had their VBS.
The "seed" of the gospel of Christ was sewn into my young heart. I learned that Christ died for my sins, was buried and that "Easter" meant that Jesus rose from the grave and lives forever. I did not really understand all that I learned about salvation, and that Jesus actually died for my own personal sins. Even though I was taught all this both by my family as well as our preacher & Sunday school teachers and workers. I was "evangelized".
As a young boy of about 8 or 9, I made a "decision" at the altar, as I was told this was what I needed to do. Someone prayed with me and I was told I "gave the devil a black eye". I don't remember if I was baptized right then or if it was later, but I was baptized. I do not blame anyone that I really was not saved at that time. I lived the life of a "hypocrite", but didn't really know why or what to do about it. I didn't have courage to say anything to anyone. I lived a life of "fear", but trying to do well. In fact, I did live a fairly good moral life, but I knew in my own heart that it was filthy & black with sin.
This went on all through my teens. Then I joined the U. S. Navy and went overseas. My "righteous" upbringing & the influence of my background, both from the example of my parents, brother and church teachings, I was able to resist many of the temptations that I was exposed to. Later, while still in the military, I willingly went into many of the "sins" that I was taught not to do. I went from bad to worse. Yet, still trying to live a good outward moral life.
Today I know that it was God who spared me from going to the front lines of battle in the Viet Nam war. I was in combat training to be sent to the front lines, but God had other plans for me. I still did not recognize God's divine leading and protection in my life. He protected me from so much that I was exposed to and could have taken part in, but I didn't, not as much as I could have. I was certainly no saint, but I give God the glory for keeping me from so much wickedness.
A few years after my military service, married & with three children, living near my parents but only going to church once in awhile. I began openly drinking & bringing home beer to put in the refrigerator. This upset my wife. I tried to improve my life. I asked to become a mason. I was raised a master mason into the 3rd degree. This wasn't enough as I still had a hunger for something more. I would drive by a Baptist Church on the way to work and my heart would pound within my chest. This was conviction. God was after my soul & life. I am not sure how long this feeling of "conviction" went on, but one day in September - 1964 I could not resist any longer.
On my job as a trailer mechanic at Ryder Truck Lines in Atlanta, GA., a co-worker was telling me about his daughter getting saved and was baptized the Sunday before. He had no idea that the Lord had been dealing with me about my own need of salvation. Suddenly, I began to weep and fell to my knees, right in front of this mechanic. We were working inside a trailer that was in the shop. He came to me and asked if he had offended me or hurt my feelings in some way. All I could say was that I wanted to be a real Christian so much and that I couldn't stand it any longer.
That Tuesday or Thursday, I do not remember for sure, but it was in September - 1964, I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and became a real Christian. At the age of 24, my life immediately changed, from the inside out. In the next few days I noticed even nature itself was different. My attitude towards others was altogether changed. There was a love for my fellow man, which was not there before I trusted Jesus as my Savior. I also began to realize that I no longer had a fear that was hidden inside me before I received Christ into my heart.
Oh what a difference it made in my life since I openly became a real Christian! The first thing I did was to tell others about what happened to me. Of course I did not know how to explain my "conversion" in theological terms, but I knew I was a "changed" person and that what had happened to me needed to happen to others as well. Suddenly I lost a large portion of my vocabulary. I no longer wanted to tell "dirty" jokes, nor did I want to hear any. I only wanted to tell others that they too needed what I had.
One instance I must mention here. Just a few days after I was saved, a certain truck driver came to the shop with his trailer, as was his custom, to get some insignificant repair made. This man had about the filthiest language I had ever heard, and I was in the Navy with a bunch of sailors! But never had I heard such foul and filthy words come out of the mouth of any man. It was, to say the least, very offensive to my "new ears". So with all the compassion and concern for the man, and as sincerely as I possibly could (the foreman had come to get me to work on this man's trailer) I said to him "I know Someone who can clean up your dirty mouth and change your life. What Jesus did for me, He can do for you." Well, the man saw I was serious & sincere about what I had said, and was not offended, but he didn't change. I continued witnessing to him for a long time. Slowly he quit bringing his trailer for repairs. When he did come with a problem he always went straight to another mechanic for help. At least I tried.
Several men and I were in a car pool to get to our work. On the day I got saved I went to the car, and as I closed the door I said: "Guess what happened to me today?" In unison they said: "What?" I then answered "I got saved today!" At least two of the four were known to be Christians for quite a long time. They said, without expression or emotion at all: "That's good". Now I was about as excited as I had ever been in all my 24 years of life, and I felt like the best thing that had ever happened to me had just happened. I thought they would be at least happy with me, but to my utter surprise, they didn't express any emotion or joy at all. In fact, I sensed that they felt like I would loose it about as quick as I got it. But thank God I haven't. Being a Christian, a born again child of God, is the most wonderful thing that could have ever happened to me. Praise the Lord!
Real assurance of my salvation came as a result of daily listening to good solid Bible preaching.