Rev. Frank Swerdlin

Rev. Frank Swerdlin, who is now the pastor of Christ Gospel Church of Buffalo, New York, shares an inspiring and revealing testimony of how he came to join our church. Born to Jewish parents, but later accepting Jesus as the Messiah, Swerdlin discusses how Rev. Hicks’ extensive use of Hebrew and the Torah gives him a greater appreciation for his own cultural heritage as a Jew, and he feels that her use of Hebrew reveals an rich depth of texture and meaning that is hidden to others.

As a boy, Swerdlin had a longing to be a Rabbi or a Jewish cantor (chief singer, song director). However, shortly before his bar mitzvah, his father suffered a fatal heart attack. The experience left the young Swerdlin longing and questioning his spiritual beliefs. He states that he longed for a new level in spiritual growth.

It was in meeting a Native American man that Frank Swerdlin was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In his testimony, Swerdlin describes that he at first was interested in learning more about Native American religion, but when he heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, he became a Christian and accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

When he first visited a Christ Gospel Church, and saw the Star of David with a cross inside, he says that he instantly knew he was home. Ironically, just a few short years later, he became the pastor of that very church that he visited.

Swerdlin states that he’s been extremely inspired by Rev. Hicks’ use of Hebrew to teach from the Bible. Required to learn and read the Torah in Hebrew for many years as a young boy, Swerdlin says that Hicks’ use of Hebrew gives him a greater appreciation for his Jewish heritage. He explains that one English word may have seven Hebrew counterparts, so it’s important to identify which one. Moreover, he knows that Jesus of Nazareth spoke Aramaic (a type of Hebrew spoken at the time). Consequently, Rev. Hicks’ teachings regarding Hebrew are full of deep texture and meaning, which he finds enriching and enlightening.

Of course, he recalls how another Christian told him that he must be part of a cult because he belonged to a church that had a woman as its main pastor. Rather than resorting to name calling or dignifying the cult comment, he merely pointed to I Corinthians 14:35 and 36, which has been widely misunderstood over the years. The man then just chose to mock him for being Pentecostal.

And far from being esoteric or mysterious, he believes the teachings of Christ Gospel Church work in practical terms and have been extremely helpful in his becoming a successful parent, pastor, and businessman. He explains that he’s so grateful to be part of a church that puts a great emphasis on developing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which he felt he did not have before. But for all of his success, he remains humble, stating “To God be all the glory.”