For the past twenty years, Nancy and I have had a unique relationship with Lew Phelps. We remember him as a young man that always attended our Monday evening Bible studies at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. It wasn't long before Lew began to work at the church for Pastor Chuck Smith, where one of his duties was making sure our Bible studies were recorded and made available on cassette afterwards.
Then Chuck Smith purchased KWVE 107.9 in Southern California. After acquiring the station, Calvary Chapel decided to put our Bible studies on the air in half-hour segments. With no one else to do the editing, Lew offered to take on the project. That's how our radio ministry started so long ago and also how our friendship with Lew began.
In 1991 Lew, his wife Phyllis, and their two girls moved to Pocatello, Idaho where he is now a pastor. Lew's ministry is unique in that out of over 900 Calvary Chapel pastors in the United States, he is only one of two that came out of Mormonism.
Perhaps the greatest reason that Lew moved to Idaho was to reach the LDS people. Lew has had a burden for the Mormon people ever since coming to Christ. Lew always had a heart for them because he knew that they were good people that want to go to heaven, want to serve God, and want to know Jesus Christ, but have been blinded in a false form of Christianity.
After moving to Idaho and pastoring the church there, a miracle of sorts has taken place. Nearly two thousand people now call that church their home. The unique thing is that of all those people, over half of them have come out of the Mormon Church! A unique tool that God has used there is their own radio station. They found that their LDS friends and family would not likely go into a Christian church, but they would listen to the radio. For the last ten years our own radio program, 66/40, has been airing on that station and we have found a large Mormon listenership has tuned into our program.
With such a unique success in a local population which is 70% Mormon, many people asked Lew to write a book. He was very reluctant to do so, but then the Lord gave him a way to reach them through story form. Lew knew that there were lots of books in Christian book stores that tackle the area of Christianity vs. Mormonism. The problem with most of these books is that they usually go at Mormons pretty hard and so most LDS people won't get through the first chapter before it's thrown into the garbage can.
So Lew wrote a book specifically sensitive to the Mormon reader. It is also written in a way that will help Christians understand the Mormon mind set a little more, and help them in sharing with Mormon friends and family. But it is mostly written for the Mormon person. Lew's hope is to get them thinking for themselves and question many of the doctrines they have been exposed to their whole lives. Doctrines like God once being a man, or man having the capacity to become a God.
Lew therefore decided that the Lord had led him to write a book on his testimony. And in this incredible journey Lew not only shares his testimony but strategically inserts Bible doctrine all throughout the book from the beginning to the end. Since its release many LDS people have read the book and are asking questions. The fruit of this endeavor will be fun to watch.
I was honored to write the foreword in Lew's book, From Jerusalem to Moroni & Back. Lew's odyssey is unique and yet, in a profound way, universal. I believe that those who read his book will discover realities that impact us all and will also come to recognize the dangers of deceptive presuppositions that can ensnare us and keep each one of us from receiving what God has intended.
For a great resource on reaching our Mormon friends or just reading a fun biography of how Jesus Christ totally changed a life, check it out!