I really have enjoyed reading your various articles regarding ” The Word Of Faith And The Strange Signs And Wonders False Movements etc “. I have forwarded the following testimony for you review , not because I feel important or want recognition but want to prove that ” The Lord ” is active in all of our lives and given ministry regardless of what we feel at the moment . I am not a very good writer nor do I type good but ” The Lord ” knows my heart.
The prisons that I conducted bible studies were :
Virginia Department Of Corrections– Fairfax Detention Center– Quantico Marine Base
Fairfax, Va- Fairfax, Va- Marine Brig Quantico
Yours In Christ
507 se maple ter
Port St Lucie, Fla
Phone 772 -233 -2800
Good Morning !
The reason I am writing this is because I rarely see encouraging articles from people in the “word of faith” movement. It’s always miracles, signs and wonders, most of which they just talk about rather that show true evidence of. It is always, “send me money so God can bless you.”
I’ve read many of your articles concerning the false prosperity prophets we have today and thank you for exposing them on your web site. I would like to point out that this is nothing new, my first exposure to this false teaching was back in 1954 at a Pentecostal church. I left the hospital, recovering from a severe burn accident with my arms infected and was in great pain. A friend of the family started taking me to several Pentecostal healing services in the Washington, DC area. When there were no results the preachers blamed my lack of faith etc,. The friend also took me to a “faith healer” and tent “evangelist” Jack Coe, who turned out to be another false teacher, died a year later. I just could not understand why God would not heal me. I was thirteen, saved and thought, based on the teachings I was getting that I did have enough faith to be healed . Several preachers looked at my swollen arms would pray and then say “you have to have faith”, then walk away leaving me feeling like I had no faith and questioned my salvation because of the “Fire And Brimstone ” teaching being taught. After months of pain I did recover even though the healing wasn’t instant. GOD was working in my life in spite of the spiritual leadership I was getting. It was years later that I realized what “JESUS” meant when HE said “My Grace Is Sufficient For You” but the Pentecostal preachers left more scars on me than my burns did.
While attending these loud, out of order and scary services, the pastor would bring in “special anointed” evangelist that traveled around going from church to church, “preying” on the people, usually on a Friday night (pay day) preaching the same nonsense that you see today. The “pay me so God can bless you” ministers. Even though I did not attend these services often, one night several years later, just before going into the Marines, the preacher said that “GOD” was going to give a special blessing to all those that would give $100, then $50, then $25. Since I’d just been paid (I cleared around $45 a week) and was leaving home in a few days, I felt I could give $25.00. People lined up with their money in hand, the preacher laid his hand forcefully on their foreheads and they would fall down with the “Catchers ” behind them. When it came to my turn I was prepard to fall down, which I did, not because of the so called power of the preacher but because everyone else was falling, as I laid there I even looked around to see if others got up so I could. What a hair raising experience, I stayed away from these “ fake” signs and wonders” for years.
Many years later I got involved with a prison ministry. I was to meet my mentor inside a prison for my first volunteer bible study but he did not show up and I had to conduct the bible study on my own. I had never done this before, was unprepared and couldn’t wait to it was over. When I walked out of the prison I felt miserable thinking I let God down, but He gave me the desire and compassion for this type of ministry. I was determined to learn what the bible teaches instead of relying on what someone else was teaching in church or on TV and ask the Lord to help me. I really felt inadequate for the task but found that the Holy Spirit really does the work, I have to be willing. I started going to this prison every week and after awhile started conducting bible study’s in several prisons. Of the many laymen volunteers that taught ” God’s Word “, none ever had there names in “Lights”, asked for money to go to more prisons or portrayed The Lord as some personal benefactor that needs an intercessor (them) to answer prayers. They all talked of forgiveness, personal responsibility, obedience, love, that the Lord is with us through it all, not that He will ALWAYS heal, ALWAYS prosper but that He will ALWAYS be with you. – NO- COPELAND- HINN-PARSEY-ROBERTS, ETC. , no offerings or preach the “WORD OF FAITH” movement . If they had, I doubt if they would have gotten out alive. Which brings up the point, if the “WORD OF FAITH MOVEMENT” is correct, it would be easy to convince the lost to come aboard the gravy train, obtain wealth and health. The problem is that only the preachers are prospering by preaching this evil deception. How many inmates would continue to come to the bible studies if they were told they could get wealth and out of prison sooner if they would accept the “word of faith” gospel and quickly found out it was a lie. Of course, most of these Word of Faith ministers do not go to prisons, partly because they won’t get any money there. It is bad enough that some of these “ministers” raise millions of dollars for themselves, and give precious little to anyone, any organization or ministry in need, but they are puffed up with their own self-importance, some threaten to “curse” anyone who dare speak against them or disagree with their message and they clearly are teaching a gospel other than that in the bible. The true gospel should and is being taken throughout the world with the same results as the first apostles had, sharing the salvation message and people coming to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior and His plan of salvation. Most of these men and women of God struggle financially, are in a position to help many if they had proper funding but get $0 from these “pay me so God will bless/heal you people”.
One of the biggest lessons I learned was that a person doesn’t have to be cleaver with “GODS WORD” but to teach the basic salvation principles, encouragement, and that great “LOVE OF GOD” and how through “Grace Are We Saved By Faith”. I also learned to trust “GODS WORD”, LUKE 22:35 NIV JESUS told the disciples “When I Sent You Without Purse, Bag Or Sandals, Did You Lack Anything?” “Nothing” They answered. I had just started a cleaning business to support my family but I did learn to trust God for my needs and my business grew over time and gave me the opportunity to devote more time to the ministry not with a lot of excess or instant wealth but we made enough to meet my needs. Once I was ask to take over a ministry at a brig at a military base that was over 50 miles away. Not really being able to afford it I prayed that God would provide my needs, and He never let me down. Have you noticed that the “Faith Teachers” want your support money before they go to the next conference?
“Signs And Wonders”- “Fire Conferences” … Think about this, if I put up posters in the prisons saying there is going to be a special “Signs and Wonders” Conference, would the inmates think that this was a ticket to a magic or freak show? If it was called a “Fire Conference” would the warden greet me with armed guards stating that it’s against state law to start fires or bring explosions in prisons. These terms are misleading.
There comes a time in ministy and our personal lives that we ask ourselves is God’s Word real and does it really work? In my years of prison ministry I’ve seen hundreds come to the simple salvation message with changed lives and with future hope. Not by a fancy sermon or cleaver words but of bringing the words of our savior Jesus and letting the Holy Spirit do His work. “THE TRUTH Will SET YOU FREE” to the lost.
What of all the miracles that we hear so much about from the “TV FALSE PROPHETS”. I’m convinced that God does miracles in all our lives but that He’s the one who deserves the credit, these people talked as if God needs their help and we must go through them for God to act and usually for a price. While in the prison ministry I saw many subtle signs of God’s intervention, I saw lives changed, hope, forgiveness, restoration, understanding, and above all – new “hearts”. The Holy Spirit does give a new conscience, I experienced it and saw it in many. Only God can change someone’s mind and heart without indoctrination. The biggest response I ever received for salvation was when I didn’t want to go, it was a cold rainy night and I was in a bad mood and not prepared but went out of obedience. I was shown it is definitely God, not me.,One night I came home during an ice/snow storm and was hit from behind at a stop light. Since I was prayed for by the guys and was doing “God’s work” I was a bit disappointed that I got hit and had slight injuries that’s when we really need to trust The Lord when things go bad.The biggest miracle I personally witnessed was when a murderer had accepted the gospel message and ask Christ in his life, regardless of my inadequacies. I had volunteered at a county jail as an assistant chaplain that housed about 2000 prisoners and had about 40 requests a day to see me. On one occasion I went to a special security cell and noticed the person’s name on the request form had been on the nightly news several weeks before. He had murdered his mother-in-law in front of his wife and kids while high on drugs. Well, this just didn’t set well with me, I pre-judged him and kept my visit short no “Love Of Christ Here”. Later I was really convicted of my sin and letting down Jesus. I went home and ask the Lord to forgive me for judging him, being in a bad mood and not showing the love I needed to show and besides, that is what I was there for, to try to bring others to the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
The next day I went to visit him and ask the guard to let me take him out of the cell to the chaplains office. The guard refused since he was considered very violent and had to be watched 24 hours a day and besides, he said the inmate was twice my size and he could he not be responsible for my safety. I said that God will protect me and something like “This Is God’s Business “. He went up the chain of command to get permission and I was able to bring him to the office. The first thing I did was to apologize for not being the christian that I should have been the day before and for pre-judging him. I ask his forgiveness he was shocked. I gave him some coffee and treats I snuck in. He ask me what kind of sentence he could expect and I told him most likely the electric chair in a few years. He stated that he wanted to die for his crime and ask if God could forgive him. I ask him if he ever heard about King David the giant killer and about his life etc. Even though he was responsible for taken a life God forgave him !
We discussed Jesus plan of salvation and read scripture and prayed for the Lord’s Forgiveness. Holding my hands he accepted Jesus into his heart. Was this just a jailhouse conversion or was it real? I know it was real by his response to the simple salvation message, the look in his eyes and his countenance change. The chaplain in charge also saw the change in this man’s life and arranged with the sheriff office to allow him to attend bible studies with other inmates without deputy escorts. Now that is a miracle!
As I watch these “False Prophets” on TV always raising money for their ministries, their false prophecies, lavish lifestyles etc, I see the same repeats of the 1950′s except they have have a much larger audience to deceive due to the world wide TV coverage. Also, I used to pray for their salvation etc, now I realize that they are one of the delussions that God has sent for those who do not know God’s word. These preachers know what they are doing, laughing their way to the bank and gathering followers the ones that do not know Jesus or are just ignorant of Gods word and continue to search for Signs And Wonders, etc. following these “False Christ” just as Jesus said they would in the last days.
I’m retired now and as I look back I wonder, as many of us do, did I do enough? Did I fail Jesus because I wasn’t cleaver with my bible study, not a great speaker, what more could/should have I done? I guess we all evaluate what we should have done, but I do know this by teaching God’s Word as instructed by Jesus we can’t go wrong, we are His disciples and His word proves that if God could use me with all my flaws He can use anybody. I’ve been reluctant to write this article for various reasons. First, I don’t take any credit for what the Lord has done in my life or to make it appear that I’m this great man of faith. Rather, I hope that others might realize that Jesus is working in their life as He did mine, perhaps bringing His subtle caring ways to the surface in your life. Think about this, when I started in the prison ministry I was still a federal prisoner on probation, had to get permission from the prison warden to visit any state or federal facility due to having spent several months at “camp fed” after losing a tax case. They rarely allow this. Yes, God can use anybody! Comments Welcome!