KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–For former astrologer Marcia Montenegro, darkening the doors of a church was the last thing she wanted to do. But when she finally did go, the personal God of the Bible blessed her with what she called a waterfall of love.
“I was very hostile to Christianity and to Christians,” said Montenegro, giving her testimony at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in early September.
It was in the early 1990s that she began to feel a continual compulsion to attend a church service. When she finally relented, Montenegro said she sat nervously in the back row near the door. Then at the start of the service, she said, a young boy came in carrying a cross.
It was then that she felt God’s overwhelming love.
“I felt God was telling me, ‘I love you,'” said Montenegro. Afterward she began reading the Bible slowly, starting in Matthew. Before Christmas, she got to Matthew 8:22-27 which tells the story of the disciples in the midst of a terrible storm at sea and how Jesus calmed the storm.
Montenegro said she kept reading that passage over and over again.
“As I was reading it, it was like the fog just lifted and I saw Jesus Christ clearly for the first time in my life,” Montenegro said.
It was then that Montenegro knew who Jesus was and why He died on the cross.
“I turned my life over to Christ at that moment,” she said. “And I knew right away that I was a new creature. There was a complete change.”
As a practicing astrologer in Atlanta, the change was radical indeed.
“I would have been voted the least likely person to become a Christian,” said Montenegro, who now ministers to New Age followers as director of Christian Answers for the New Age. “I would have voted for myself.”
According to Montenegro, her journey into astrology, Buddhism and other New Age beliefs and practices began in college.
Although she attended church regularly throughout her adolescence, Montenegro said during college she decided that the Bible was not true as she began to meet people in other religions, such as Mormons, Quakers, Ba’hai, and “free thinkers.”
“They were very dedicated to their particular belief system,” Montenegro said of her college friends. “I started to question Christianity as the only true religion.”
She said she had felt pushed into Christianity and made the deliberate decision to seek answers elsewhere.
“From that point on, I began a spiritual journey,” Montenegro said. Her explorations took her into meditation, dream journals and eastern religions, among other New Age beliefs, eventually focusing on astrology. She became so knowledgeable about astrology that her friends started coming to her for astrological advice.
In 1983, she sat for a seven-hour intensive exam to become certified through the City of Atlanta as an astrologer.
“I felt astrology was my calling,” Montenegro said.
The exam, which only half of participants pass, includes intensive math exercises and chart interpretation, she said.
As a certified astrologer, some of her clients and associates included witches/pagans, New Age healers, psychics, palm readers and card readers, Sufis, followers of Rajneesh, Sai Baba, Muktananda, Maharaji and other gurus, Hare Krishna devotees, Silva Mind trainees and other New Age followers.
At the time of her conversion, she was working in a client’s office, giving astrological advice about her coworkers to him, unbeknownst to her coworkers.
“I found out later that one of my coworkers had been praying for me,” said Montenegro, who practiced astrology for more than eight years, five of which she also taught astrology to others.
Within a few weeks of her conversion, Montenegro said she felt God impressing on her a need to get out of astrology, which she did.
Montenegro said her conversion “is a testimony that nobody is beyond the reach of God. No matter how hardened and hostile they may seem. I know I seemed that way.”
She added that although she was hardened and hostile toward Christ and Christianity, “God in His mercy reached down and intervened in my life.”
Uniquely qualified to speak on New Age issues, Montenegro will return to the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary campus Oct. 14-16 as a contributor to the “New Age an Old Lie” seminar. The seminar will feature MBTS President R. Philip Roberts, an expert in interfaith evangelism; MBTS Vice President N.S.R.K. Ravi, a former Hindu; and Ted Cabal, professor of ethics and philosophy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The seminar is designed to help Christians understand New Age followers’ beliefs and practices. Participants will be certified as interfaith evangelism associates in New Age through the North American Mission Board.
The seminar will be from 7-9 p.m. Central time, Thursday, Oct. 14; 9 a.m-9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 15; and 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16.
Cost for attending the seminar is $20. For those desiring to earn credit, the cost is $120 per credit hour. Two credit hours may be earned.