For many years as an unsaved person I could see the differences in certain scripture, especially some of the epistles written by the Apostle Paul in relation to the epistles written by James, the epistle to the Hebrews, Peter….. so was I saved? Definitely not.
By the time I was in my teens I’d gone to church exactly twice with my mother and it was to a tiny Baptist Church where the Reverend was dressed in a long black cloak with a white dog collar. I recall showing my boredom and total disgust with it all.
Stand up, sing a hymn in slow motion, sit down and listen to the sermon. My mind has always had a tendency to wander though, so if anyone asks me what that preacher man said, I wouldn’t be able to tell you as at times I would only see his lips moving, most of the time I wouldn’t even see him or hear him. It’s much the same today and I’m eligible to be a granny, hence my preference to read rather than listen or see, that is why I thank God that He gave us a Book and not videos or audios, as I can always refer to the Book if I have missed something important due to my wandering mind, with videos and audios it’s a bit more difficult as I absolutely despise having to rewind or having to start at the beginning to come to a certain place I want to hear again – I don’t have much patience for that.
Another thing, I could never just solidly read out of any book and absorb detail or information – I found from an early age that I had to read as well as highlight the pertinent points or write them down. That’s how I studied at school because that’s the way it sunk into my brain. Hence the reason when I read a book or THE Book, I have to have a pen or highlighting pen in my hand otherwise my mind wanders. It’s more or less the same when watching a movie on the big screen, I miss parts of it, so when I see it again, it’s like watching a new movie.
I have a wandering mind. The same happens in general conversations – the other person is talking to me and I’m looking at them but I’m thinking of something else, so I cannot hear what they’re saying to me. It comes off as being rude, but I’m not doing it intentionally. I also have the tendency to hop from one subject to another when talking or writing – hence the reason why I have to go back to the article or comment and check what I wrote because there’s a strong possibility that it would be referring to one thing and then refer to something else and then that something else becomes another thing and the point I initially intended to be there, isn’t there.
I think I might suffer from a mild form of dyslexia as I have a tendency to type the letter p instead of b and vice versa, or unintentionally leave certain letters out of certain words, I also type a lowercase letter L instead of an i. Sometimes my mind thinks so fast that I can hardly keep up with jotting down or typing out what I’m thinking. It’s frustrating. I also at times transpose or read road sign back to front or upside down when it comes to speed limits – but I know that 06 means 60km and so forth……. It goes without saying that most of the time I drive on “auto-pilot” because my mind wanders when I’m behind the steering wheel and sometimes I can’t recall how I got home……
Someone once told me I had a death wish because of this. I often wonder how people can just pick up a book and read it without having to write something down – if that were me I’d eventually be staring at blank pages, nothing would register mentally unless I wrote it down. But this was a good thing when I sat in a Pentecostal Church all those years – most of the time all I saw was a ranting, talking preacher standing behind the pulpit being interrupted quite often by clapping, whistling and shouts. They despised people like me, they said we had no faith, we were pew warmers, that we could never be blessed by God because we didn’t listen and take to heart what the preacher with his “direct line to God” was tellling us.
My guess is that is why I wasn’t really affected much by religion because I didn’t hear half of what they spewed, fortunately, so they couldn’t brainwash me and turn me into a religious sheep, yet certain things that were said from the pulpit did hit the “home-run”.
In my late teens and early twenties I became a pagan – a very mixed up one, not that pagans aren’t mixed up you see, it’s just that I did certain things that added to it. Churchgoers made me feel uncomfortable because they professed to be “good” they still made me feel as if I just didn’t measure up to their elite status as churchgoers. I soon realised their hypocrisy and lost all respect for them. There they were looking respectable on a Sunday, yet on Monday to Saturday they let it all hang loose.
It was at this stage that I met a woman a few years younger than myself who professed to be “born-again” and who attended a Pentecostal Church. She rejected my paganism and lifestyle and I did everything I could possibly do to annoy her and her “righteousness”. (And no I’m not a Lesbian).
But when a certain incident happened in my life that made me question my eternal status – where would I go when I died – I got really scared, I was also feeling really empty at this stage in my life. I had a new car, lived in a beautiful house, had no problems in getting men, had a good job or jobs, but I felt empty. That is how I know that people can have all the materialistic things in their lives that they desire, plus a partner and still feel empty. The world throws the love of a partner and “having someone” at you and tells you this is what you need to be happy. According to the world you’re not complete without a partner. This simply isn’t true.
It’s at this stage I started attending a small Pentecostal Church where I befriended the Pastor and his wife. I recall at that point that my hair was cut short on the one side of my head and it was long on the other side, previously I had a red/pink mohican hairstyle and used to dress like Peter Pan. I used to tithe 10% of my salary to this church every month, and it made me feel really special and chosen. I know well how “good” works when you’re not saved can turn you into one of the “chosen few”.
It was at this stage that I read the Bible from Genesis right through to Revelation and this is when I discovered that what was being said in the epistle to the Romans wasn’t quite the same as what was being said in James’ epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel. After having read James, I remember going back to Romans and reading it again, just to make sure that I wasn’t making these things up because my mind was wandering. I was convinced I was saved after reading the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Romans, but by the time I read James again, that all flew out the window.
It is then that I decided that it was better to believe what James said – just in case. But could I do good works to prove my faith? No, I was too young and hair-brained. My good works amounted to tithing which by this time became more and more infrequent, not speeding, and donating to the beggars at the traffic lights, it also included donating my old clothes to charity.
How was I “saved” then? By lying in my bed one moonlit night and committing my life to Christ and promising to serve Him. Everything “glowed”. Of course it was all very emotional and I felt really saved. I left the small Pentecostal Church I attended because there was a woman in the congregation who invited a group of youngsters to her house for fellowship after the Sunday morning service. She then proceeded to ask the names of all the men the women had slept with and would then “exorcise” or cut their spirits from the women’s spirit because they beleived that one formed spiritual ties like David and Jonathan when one had sexual relations with a man or men. No-one however questioned the part about Jonathan having slept with David, and she never once untied the women’s spirits from the men’s spirits, so I guess they were alrighty then, this thing only applied to women apparently. I got really tired of her controlling attitude, especially if you said something jokingly and she’d reprimand you for saying it. So good-bye it was. I think the term they use for it is “soul-ties”.
It was like going from the frying pan into the fire. I landed up at Rhema Bible Church. The decor was light blue in the auditorium and this led to my “spiritual well-being”. It is here that I was continually “slain in the spirit” and became addicted to it, but eventually the novelty wore off. I remember at that time when I was lying on the floor after having being “slain” that it felt like I was in heaven, everything glowed hehehe. The mind is an amazing thing.
After the first time of being “slain” with another group of people, we were taken into a conference room where the woman pastor stood behind us and laid hands on us and made us “talk in tongues” – another misnomer, especially as those who talked in other languages in the Bible did so without having being “slain in the spirit” or were made to do so. Anyway, I started babbling right on target – what I said was anyone’s guess, as I definitely didn’t know what I was “saying”. It was at this stage that I started “sighing in the Spirit” (it was more like sighing in the heat) and swaying to the music. Mind control really works – well, only up to a certain point with me, because soon I want more – I want to graduate to stage 2 and experience better things, but there was no stage 2 because it was all really fake, and this is when the glitter wore off. I became really cynical.
I stayed for a few more years, got married,(my then husband was a Counselor at this church) had a son and that was it for me – especially when my son’s baby blanket that my mother had hand-knitted was stolen virtually before our very eyes at the end of a service, and also having to listen to everyone trying to justify themselves when they behaved like sewer rats the minute they exited a church service. It was always the devil or someone else who made them do it – never themselves. “The devil made me do it”. Not to mention the great lengths they’d go to to convince themselves that they were children of the most High because they felt incompetent because they weren’t as materialistically blessed at their Home Fellowship leader or Doris and Ian who so happened to purchase a new BMW and they’d come driving in with their noses stuck up in the air feeling really special and *blessed*. Aah, the shallowness of Pentecostalism.
It was at this stage that I wanted more than anything to understand the Bible, I wanted to know why there were differences in it. I knew the church was wrong and most, if not all of the congregation, but I didn’t know why. I saw them as hypocrites who would take a look at you standing there, half asleep, not wanting to actually be there, and then reading it as if you’re feeling totally unloved, then they’d come up to you and out of the blue would say, “Jesus loves you! Hallelujah!”. That really irked me, but I couldn’t be rude, so I’d nod my head and smile and revert back to my glum state much to their annoyance. I have no time for shallowness. Rather speak to me and get to know me, and do not make assumptions.
Of course I never put into practise what was preached. I hardly ever tithed, especially after I saw the houses some of them lived in, the companies that they owned, the jewelry their wives wore, the shoes…….. the expensive holidays……. can you imagine what a massive ego trip these people must be on? The fact that they compared themselves to the Old Testament Prophets of times past, and that’s how they also justified themselves when they behaved like jerks. One compared himself to Jonah running away from the Lord…. I wondered what he’d make up to be the whale since we’re 700km from the nearest beach…..
I then found out why Pentecostalism stunk to high heaven, but I still clung onto the signs and wonders because the one things that did stick was when they said that if you give up these and deny them, you would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit and would be damned for eternity. This is how they control and manipulate people – with fear.
It was at this stage that I came across a small church that adhered to Cornelius Stam’s teachings which to be honest, is Right Division cloaked in Bible blending. At that stage this was earth shattering truth to me. I couldn’t get enough of it. I read, took notes, studied, absorbed and was always seen to have my nose in a book, my…….. er…… *clears throat* NIV “Bible”, or to be found on the internet trying find more information, I was still new to this and didn’t know that it was called Right Division or Mid-Acts Dispensationalism so I didn’t find much.
This particjular church (St. Marks Congregational Church) would accept membership, and then inaugurate people by letting them stand in front of the congregation and confess Jesus Christ as per Romans 10:9. That’s what stopped me from joining that church – I was too shy and uncomfortable doing that – so I left – standing in front of strangers and confessing to them (like it was any of their business) – it somehow didn’t look “kosher” to me, didn’t quite hit the “home-run”. I still didn’t know what the gospel was at this stage because to them – as long as you confessed Christ, you were saved and good to go. I’m not one for standing up in front of people to draw attention to myself – I detest it. I had a long chat with one of the senior Pastors of this church and he was glad that I believed/trusted Christ as my Saviour and had found their church and come out of Pentecostalism.
It took another few years before I got to know the reason for the differences in the Bible – I found it on the internet, and it started making perfect sense to me. I still wasn’t saved however. It took another few weeks before I saw what the gospel is – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. I’d never heard it before – anywhere. I’d always heard of “faith without works”, or “faith alone in Christ alone”, or “committing one’s life to Christ”, “confessing Christ as one’s Lord and Saviour” or “Confessing one’s sins” or “repenting and changing one’s lifestyle”, but I’d never heard that if one believes that Christ died for one’s sins, was buried and rose again on the third day that one is saved. That was a major revelation to me. When I believed that, I knew the pre-trib rapture was true, as I’d previously alternated between believing a pre-trib and post trib rapture. It was like a rollercoaster – one month I’d believe the pre-trib rapture, the following month I was convinced we’d all be going through the tribulation…..
I can’t remember the day or year it happened though (that I believed the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as some profess to remember, I know it happened sometime between 2007 and 2008. I think I was too busy thinking of God’s mercy and love for me at that time – “Lord, You did that for me? Wow!” When one gets to know the truth, all one wants to do is get more information concerning it. I must admit though that I initially balked at the idea of there being more than one gospel in the Bible – to me that was major heresy, but I soon learnt that God works differently with people, how he dealt Noah, isn’t necessarily the way He dealt with Israel, or deals with us today.
Right Division doesn’t save, there are Imams and Rabbis who can see and call the Apostle Paul the ‘creator of Christianity’, not Jesus, but they aren’t saved.
During the years I sat in a Pentecostal Church they preached that “Christ died for you”, so you therefore had to commit your life to Him and had to automatically behave like a decent human being in order to prove your salvation. They didn’t preach propitiation, imputation, justification or reconciliation. In fact they didn’t preach much from Paul’s epistles unless it suited their agenda. It was “He died for you, so that meant you could get a new house, new car, new job – if you tithed (conditional).
All of it was conditional. He was either judging you, not happy with you or testing you. They all spoke of this “relationship” one had to have with Him and I find some Grace believers say that to – where in the Bible does it state one needs to have a relationship with Almighty God in order for Him to save you?
It kind of felt silly for me to pray to God at that time and say, “Hey God, my name is ……., pleased to meet you – like you don’t know who I am, okay, where shall we begin – for you to give me the things I want I need to praise You continually because without that I won’t get anywhere (conditional), but it’s okay, I don’t want those things anyway as I don’t really want to give your preacher money because it seems he has over enough, I HAVE to attend church, change my lifestyle, and then after all that you might turn around one day and tell me I’m on my way to hell (conditional), I don’t feel good enough for you to save me, sorry, but that’s me being honest – I don’t know how to be a good Christian or churchgoer, and I sure don’t know why you died for me – why couldn’t you just stay alive? I feel sorry because you died the way you did and I think it was all totally unnecessary”.
That’s how I felt sitting in that Pentecostal Church because they preach that God is still judging you and pouring out His wrath upon you. They state absolutely nothing about the propitiation of Christ’s death, how our sins are imputed to His account when we believe and that we’re bad to the core that’s why we in fact need a Saviour. We cannot be good in order to gain a Saviour.
Everyone somehow has to fake it in a Pentecostal church because it gets stated that you have to think yourself into being successful, so even if you’re dirt poor, you have to go around saying, “I am rich”. This basically turns people into rank liars and when they’re caught out in a lie, then they twist it to say I was “thinking myself into that situation”. How convenient. Is it any wonder Pentecostal is duplicitous and underhanded? They can turn you into a first class moron if you let them, a first class moron who continually chants, “I am blessed” when in reality you’re on skid row and unsaved but no-one cares.
It’s part of the mystery of the iniquity today. Millions going to church, trusting Christ and yet on their way to hell for eternity.