Jewish People Telling Their Stories
Testimony of Ed Super
I was born in Toronto in 1958 into a family that, on my father’s side, had long practised orthodox Judaism. However, when my father married a secularJewess, a compromise was made to practise reform Judaism during my growing up years. Most Jewish holidays were observed but we did not attend synagogue regularly. Nonetheless, because of my father’s traditional Jewish leanings, I attended Hebrew school as a young boy for religious instruction. It was not until I was in my teens that I met my Messiah face-to-face.
Midway through high school, a friend began sharing the gospel with me. Initially, I was very resistant and argumentative. I did not see myself as a lost sinner who needed a saviour. One day, my friend invited me to come along on a camping retreat, and the next thing I knew, I was on a bus with a bunch of Christians -- I wasn’t quite ready for that! I met Don Clark, pastor of New Life Fellowship in Stroud, Ontario. He seemed like a happy man and intent on teaching me from “the good book”. He spoke of hell and that troubled me, although somehow what he said seemed to quietly convict me. I had a number of arguments against Christianity with which I wanted to challenge him.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to destroy his faith. How little I knew about Don’s Christianity! He faithfully presented the claims of Christ while I tried to run away from everything I was hearing. But deep in my heart, I was attracted to it. I was also attracted to Melrose Baptist Church where these Christians attended. I began to observe a peacefulness about their lives which I had to admit I didn’t have. I noticed how they cared for one another and how there was a bond between the Christian families.
One family that I became particularly close to, talked as though they knew God personally. Little by little, I was provoked to spiritual jealousy just as the apostle Paul had spoken of in the New Testament, although I did not know it at the time. I had always been under the impression that Christians were idolaters, but I began to observe otherwise. Eventually, my friend challenged me to read Isaiah, Chapter 53 with an open mind and then tell him what I thought. I read it and suspected right away that he wanted me to see Christ as the main subject of this passage, but I was determined to do otherwise. Nonetheless, I came under conviction as I read, and decided what I really needed was a way to explain it away. I went to the chief educator of my synagogue and I asked him to explain to me who this person, this suffering “servant” of Isaiah 53 was. He was hard-pressed to give me an answer. Disappointed, I offered him a possible explanation of my own. I said it was possible that it was speaking of a man but certainly it wasn’t speaking about God or the Messiah. He agreed and said I had a good point. Leaving the synagogue, I felt shaken. How could this man not have an answer to my question?
I began to study the prophetic scriptures, and truth began to fall into place. I was fast running out of skeptical legs for my heart to stand on. I began to see that, all too often, our people had rejected the God of the Old Testament. Prophets had brought messages of rebuke, but we didn’t see ourselves as needing admonitions, and the judgments continued. Reality soon set in; I had not been taught and raised to believe these truths. I was beginning to see things from God’s perspective rather than from the paradigms of Judaism. I saw the Messiah as one who was despised and rejected, and I thought about how true this was. I knew the name of Jesus was so despised among our people that many would not even use it as a swear word.
One evening, more than a year after I had initially heard the gospel, I became extremely ill. I had had little to do with my Christians friends during that year because I thought they were trying to convert me. Nonetheless, I feared death and hell, and was tired of the baggage of sin I was carrying in my life. I broke that night before God and cried out, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Immediately, I felt the chain break, and God cleansed my heart and soul! From that moment on, I began a new life, but not without problems.
My father told me that many Jewish fathers would have funerals for their sons who had converted to Christianity as I had done. He wanted me to see a psychiatrist. I didn’t take too kindly to that but thought, if the Lord wanted me to honour my parents, I would do it for His sake. The psychiatrist couldn’t find anything wrong with me, and suggested that I had converted to Christianity just to get back at my parents. There was no doubt I had been a rebellious son but this was ridiculous. If I had wanted to hurt my parents, I would have found a way to do it without hurting myself. So distraught was my mother that she asked me to see a deprogrammer. In Jewish eyes, it would have been more respectable if I had simply killed someone. Previous to my conversion to Christ, I had not been a very nice son, but after I was saved, I tried to be helpful, self-controlled and obedient to my parents. They thought I had taken leave of my senses. Somehow it was acceptable if I sinned, sinned and sinned, but it was not acceptable to be a Christian and serve the Lord.
I also attended an anti-missionizing seminar at my old synagogue (Temple Sinai near Bathurst and Wilson) where the lecturer launched a relentless barrage of attacks, alleging errors in the New Testament and the impossibility of Jesus being the messiah. Apart from that, I went to a Yeshiva with an orthodox friend where they tried to talk me out of my faith. I was glad to get out of there unharmed.
Toward the end of high school, I began to attend Melrose Baptist church on a regular basis. My life was blessed by the sincere messages spoken from the Scriptures each week by Pastor Barry Duguid and by the discipling ministry of Don Clark. Although Don was certainly a help to me in the early days, I can’t overestimate the influence of Marilyn Duguid as she became my new “mom” and Barry my new father. They went out of their way to take me under their wings …. greatly appreciated.
Over 30 years have passed since I was introduced to my Messiah, and I continue to serve Him. I met my wife Elaine (Dean) at Central Baptist Seminary in 1986 and we were married a year later. God has since blessed us with three children who all believe in the Messiah of Israel. I shall always praise the Lord for allowing me to be a part of his chosen remnant and join His family of believers.