Journey There And Back Again
I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. I also went to a Christian school from pre-school all the way through graduating from high school. Something was always missing from my life though. It never felt complete. Although I believed Jesus was my Lord and Savior I was never really interested in fully living the Christian life. I can put the blame for this on certain things like my upbringing in a Christian school. Christianity and the Bible was just homework. Read this passage of Scripture just like you would your English Literature homework, and I hated homework! Of course I can’t really put the blame of my lack of interest in Christianity on anyone but myself as Salvation is a personal quest. No one else can obtain it for you, and the only person who can ever truly deter you from salvation is yourself.
After high school, I never regularly attended church. An entire decade of my life was spent away from God. I spent 10 years selfishly exploring my own desires and ignoring God. I started to regularly attend church in the fall of 2015. I’m not sure what pulled me back in. I believe my girlfriend (now my wife) wanted to put God into our lives so I suggested we go to a church where I had several friends.
I began to seek out some Christian music in the spring of 2016. I had always loved heavy metal music. I used to listen to heavy Christian music like Zao and Norma Jean, and I also had the album Hammer of God by Mortification which I really liked. I started listening to that band (Mortification) through my Apple Music subscription and loved the heaviness of it. I ordered a couple albums on vinyl from Rowe Productions, their current release Ream of the Skeletaur and Break the Curse as well as ordering a couple other vinyl albums online, Mortification’s Scrolls of the Megilloth and Horde’s Hellig Usvart. Although, I bought the album more than twenty years after its original release date, Horde was still my first Christian Black Metal record. This really opened up a can of worms for me to start searching for more Christian Black Metal.
After getting so interested in Mortification I purchased the Kindle version of frontman Steve Rowe’s biography titled Metal Missionary from Amazon. Steve Rowe is a man after God’s own heart who has used metal music as an evangelism tool for half of his life and reading about God working through his life started to plant a seed within me.
It was about this time I started trying to actually read my Bible for fun instead of for homework like when I was growing up and I always liked the story of David when I was a kid, so I figured I would start off by reading that. After reading the story of David on my bus rides to work that week I was pleasantly surprised when I got to church that Sunday morning. My friend and pastor was giving a sermon on the story of David which I had just read throughout the week, it was no coincidence. This was God speaking directly to me through his Word and affirming it through my pastor.
I committed my life to Christ that day.
I had recently begun writing for an online metal site called Metal Mofos and decided I would like to do interviews with different artists. Can you guess who was one of the first people I contacted about doing an interview? If you guessed Steve Rowe, you are correct. I spoke with Steve about his life and music interests for about two hours over Skype one evening. What a pleasure! Steve talked about something called the Metal Bible in both his biography and mentioned in our interview as well. He said he would send me my own copy of the Metal Bible.
I hadn’t been keeping up with my regular Bible reading after the story of David and I was glad to receive my Metal Bible when it arrived in the mail. I had kept in touch with Steve through email after our interview and I admitted to him I had never really read the Bible for myself and asked him where to start. He said to start with the Gospel of Matthew so that’s exactly what I did. Although I was familiar with a lot of stories of Jesus from hearing them in Sunday school this was the first time I had read them for myself. I couldn’t put it down! After I finished Matthew I asked Steve, what next? He said read Ephesians and James as these books talk about what it is to be a Christian and how to live like one.
I’ve been able to take in so much of the Bible due to this kickstart of encouragement from Steve Rowe, a true metal missionary.
I encourage everyone who reads this to not put off reading the Word of God through the Bible.
It is truly a lamp to light your way through this world. I do admit there are days when I do not dive into the Bible, but I encourage everyone who reads this to open the Bible everyday.
Download a Bible app on your phone or tablet so you have it on the go.
I know the majority of people reading this are already Christians, but may this testimony encourage you to pick up the Bible and let our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you.
After buying the Mortification and Horde albums I mentioned earlier I was introduced to Vision of God Records through different groups on Facebook. I was amazed at great albums from talented artists on the label such as Hazeroth, Elgibbor, Brutal Cross, and They Wither. It didn’t take me too long to get in touch with label founder Duane Keith.
I did an interview with Duane for Metal Mofos and his story about his life and starting the label were very inspiring. Like with Steve Rowe, I also kept in touch with Duane after the interview and consider him a friend. We had many conversations about Vision of God Records as well as about God, Christianity, and the Bible.
Duane and Vision of God records are true pillars of faith and encouragement within the Christian Metal Scene. I’ve done interviews with other Vision of God Records artists such as Elgibbor, Demoniciduth, and Antidemon. It still amazes me how dedicated to Christ these men are, and they are totally serious about their ministry through music.
I also want to give one last shout out to Taanak of Demoniciduth. He is very knowledgeable on all things Christianity. He is a very learned student of the Word and the Faith. If anyone reading this has questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Vision of God Records or Demoniciduth. They are wonderful people.
– Isaac Sauers