Testimony of a Confessed Deceiver
BY PIERRE C. LeMASTER
Back in 1969, when I was in my third year of medical school, our family began attending a local church. My wife and I eventually became quite involved there. We even taught a children's Sunday school class, although our knowledge of the Bible then was quite limited.
Singing in the choir during a revival program, we listened to a dynamic evangelist at each of the services. By the final night, I was emotionally persuaded to go down to the altar and said the "sinner's prayer" and "accepted" Christ into my life. As the evangelist placed his hands on me and prayed over me, an intense feeling of warmth came over my body.
My wife later came down to the altar for a similar experience, and our two daughters joined us for family prayer with the pastor.
Later, a man in the congregation told me that to have a deeper walk with the Lord, I needed to experience the "baptism in the Holy Spirit". He gave me some charismatic literature, which I studied with great interest, and before long, I was fervently seeking the gift of tongues.
Breakthrough. One day, while I was reading the material, a mighty wind and noise rushed into the room and hit my body. Electrified, I followed the instructions and began to utter whatever "phrases" that came to my mind. As I said these phrases more fluently, I was convinced that I was speaking in tongues and had thus been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
From that time on, I wanted more and more of this exciting life, and I wanted my family and friends to have it too. I read all the literature I could get my hands on, and attended as many charismatic gatherings as I could. I was always eager to learn how to involve others in the phenomena.
By participating actively in home church activities, I was able to experience some of the "respectable" fringes of the "Jesus movement". Everything was so exciting! I even forced my family to attend these meetings, which included "speaking in tongues" en masse, "singing in the Spirit" and "casting out of demons".
Fading interest. After completion of medical school, I entered my pediatric residency program, where I sought opportunities to set myself up as a teacher of the charismatic gospel. I strived to make converts to this movement, helping them especially to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
When I had finally gotten established in a permanent residence and pediatric practice, I again became involved in a local church and again served as a Sunday school teacher. Although the church was not charismatic, I made many attempts to teach others about this experience, either covertly or at extra-church meetings.
But perhaps because I no longer had those exciting charismatic meetings to attend, my interest in the movement soon began to wane. Through the ensuing dozen years or so, I went in and out of church and home prayer meetings, until finally it all became meaningless. I stopped attending church altogether.
In the pits. About five years ago, my spiritual life sank to an all time low. Although I had a successful pediatric practice and a thriving family, I fell deep into sin. Without being distasteful, let me just say that I had committed virtually all the sins listed in I Corinthians 6:9,10 and Galatians 5:19,20.
Trying to regain peace for my troubled conscience, I repeatedly prayed in tongues, but it was of no value. I also read the Bible occasionally, but again to no avail. I continued to engage in my many sins.
It was then that I began to pursue intellectual things, such as reading the classics in literature, philosophy, and politics. Intrigued by the political changes unfolding in EuropeGermany in particularI started refreshing my German language. (I had lived in Germany once and had minored in German in college.)
Turning point. By the time I had recovered much of the German I had learned 25 years earlier, I bought a good short-wave radio and began listening to German programming. Scanning the bands one day, I "stumbled" on the German language broadcast of Family Radio. The announcers spoke slowly, clearly and distinctly, allowing me to understand with ease.
At first, I found that to be a great intellectual experience. But as I listened regularly to their German translation of Harold Camping's study of Galatians, I discovered truths that I had never heard before. I also started listening to "Open Forum" and reading literature in German and English offered by Family Radio.
Through all that, God convinced me that I was in deep trouble with Him:
(1) Because of my sinful way of living, I obviously would not "inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:21).
(2) Because I was adding to "the words of the prophecy of this book" when I insisted that I was receiving messages from God supernaturally, I was still subject to the "plagues that are written in this book" (Rev. 22:18).
(3) Because I was at the same time taking away from the Bible, effectively limiting the gospel to a few selected verses from Acts and I Corinthians 12 & 14, God shall take away my "part out of the book of life" (Rev. 22:19).
Broken spirit. My pride at first fought against my facing up to these truths. But it eventually became clear to me that I was still unsavednotwithstanding my "sinner's prayer" and all those charismatic feelings and experiences. I became terrified at the thought of eternal damnation in hell.
Sorrow and remorse flooded my heart all the more as I realized that I had been instrumental in leading others astray, especially family members and friends. In deep repentance, I pleaded again and again to God for mercy. As "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God", I began to study the word seriously.
This time, there was no electrifying sensations. But I knew that I had truly become a child of God, a new creature in Christ.
I cannot say when it happened, but eventually I was able to look back and see that I no longer had those sinful desires, and I began to identify more and more with the truths of the Bible. Now, I have an increasing desire to be obedient to the living word of God.
Desire to help. It has been difficult for me to write about myself like this, for I have had to use the word "I" so often. I would much rather write about God's magnificent salvation plan. But I thought by putting this in writing, perhaps God will use what He has done in my life to bring others out of such deception.
Now that I can better understand scripture, I can categorize my prior errors under the following three lies:
Lie #1. Salvation is dependent upon a person's decision to "accept" Christ as Savior.
I used to tell people that Jesus died for the whole world. For a person to be saved, all he has to do is to accept Him. After this is done, he will never lose his salvation. This lie allows people to live a sinful, worldly life and still claim salvation.
The truth is, no one can on his own decide to accept Jesus because his will is in bondage to Satan. It is God the Father who draws a man to Jesus, and it is God the Holy Spirit who convicts him that he is a sinner in need of a savior.
Moreover, a person who is truly saved will not continue to live a worldly life. He has an earnest desire to do the will of God instead. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Lie #2. After accepting Jesus, some Christians receive a second work of gracebaptism in the Holy Spiritwhich is evidenced by speaking in tongues or some other supernatural sign.
I told people that such a baptism will enable them to enjoy the full blessing of God.
The truth is, for all believers there is only "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). The only baptism
that counts is that spoken of by John the Baptist as he talked about the Lord Jesus Christ: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire" (Matt. 3:11).
Lie #3. God brings new revelation to those who have had this experience.
I told people that once they are baptized in the Holy Spirit, they will receive messages from God through visions, dreams, so-called "word of knowledge" and other signs and wonders.
The truth is, the true gospel of grace is circumscribed by the Bible alone and in its entirety. God has given us the Bible as the final revelation of truth. He will not break the supernatural realm again until the last day, when Jesus returns to gather the elect and judge the unsaved. Therefore, all forms of supernatural revelations that purport to be from God are in reality from Satan.
I praise God that I can look back and realize that the supernatural experience I had previously attributed to the Holy Spirit could only have come from someone disguised as an angel of light. I can now identify with the warning God gives in II Corinthians 11:13-15:For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.In closing, I was once deceived by these lies and, in turn, deceived others with them. But by His mercy, God has rescued me from that snare. I pray that by sharing what God has done in my life, many who have been similarly deceived will find truth so that, instead of eternal damnation, they will have everlasting life in heaven. o
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