Life Changing Experiences (part II)

Continuing my account of Life Changing Experiences I move on to:

Early Adulthood.

1) Became disillusioned. There seemed to be a wide gap between the Christian life I and fellow church goers were living, and what the church taught and I could see in the Bible.
I wanted more! I wanted reality not theological theory.

2) Made the leader of the youth group and given opportunities to preach at weekly church services. On reflection I didn’t preach very well, and I also managed to reduce youth fellowship numbers by around 75%. However I was able to help close the division between “competing” youth groups in the local area, increasing inter-church fellowship meetings.

3) I was introduced to Kenneth Copeland and WOF teaching. A group of friends from church had come across recorded sermons from a Kenneth Copeland conference and were sharing them around. I wasn’t impressed by the teaching they were trying to push onto me and spent many hours in vigorous discussion, until they broke through my barriers. I then became an avid follower of Copeland’s teaching, because for the first time I had a tangible understanding of faith that made it much more than the substance-less, wishful thinking it had appeared to be previously.

In addition to local church involvement I became involved with ministries in Sydney, going with Teen Challenge to preach on the streets of the red-light district, and attending events organised by Vision Ministries.

4) Difficulties arise with church leadership over WOF teaching. A growing friction with my church pastor coincided with invitations for me to preach elsewhere. Before long the door opened to move to a different church, closer to home, where I was appointed to eldership.

“Deliverance ministry” started to become a focus of my new fellowship and I was regularly called upon to assist the pastor when demons start making an appearance during counselling sessions. I witnessed some very unusual things that for a time strengthened my faith – I was finally (partly) experiencing a kind of Christian ministry that seemed more related to the biblical example than anything I’d seen before.

However the WOF situation started to cause problems again.

5) Then something happened. I’m not sure what. But suddenly nothing seemed to make sense anymore. Around that time I came across The Seduction of Christianity by Hunt and MacMahon. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I didn’t know how or why it affected the way I thought and believed, but it seemed to work on small areas of doubt I had with WOF. Those little areas that didn’t add up, but I’d been willing to ignore. [Surely one of the most dangerous things to do no matter how good the rest may seem to be, those little niggling warnings when something isn’t quite right should NOT be pushed aside].

I was thrown into confusion, stopped attending my regular church and started “shopping around”, coming across a diverse mixture of church styles and teachings that ultimately led to nothing.

6) I entered a 15 year period I now refer to as my spiritual crisis.

2 thoughts on “Life Changing Experiences (part II)

  1. Onesimus said: “Surely one of the most dangerous things to do no matter how good the rest may seem to be, those little niggling warnings when something isn’t quite right should NOT be pushed aside…”

    I was thinking, a few days ago, I’ve been able to re-evaluate or freely evaluate what I think about things almost constantly over the years and decades and every day. What would happen if a person were sort of a star pastor/preacher, that everyone is looking at… when something of a question crosses your mind? You might think you have to carry on and keep saying what people expect you to say; no time to think.

    In terms of a pastor is how I was thinking about it that day (and shared with someone my thought). But it could happen to many kinds of people. If a woman had a husband who insisted she had to “believe” (or say) certain things and isn’t allowed to in any way apply her own reasoning in conjunction with the given Holy Spirit; if a son or daughter, especially as a child, but even at any age, is only acceptable when saying the “right” things. Any person even as a valued helper at a church might feel they can’t vary from the party line.

    Certainly, no matter what might seem will happen with an audience, a place in a family or the treatment that will follow, or esteem in the mechanics of a church, or whatever else, we can’t brush aside a living walk — or relating to the truth. Saying that, I recall saying (I think the same day) that so many words or concepts, including relational, have been sort of taken over. You have this word — and the meaning or sense of it gets pulled out so something else can be stuck in. Relationship is one of those words, it has become useful as a buzzword that someone can just say and sound like they must or might be on the right track.

    On that day, I was presented with the necessity of questioning the application of the word relationship. I had been thinking more conceptually, and the person I was talking with sort of blurted out this word. It was a little like he was trying to get the right answer (not that I was testing him for a right answer, but he is, ironically, relationally challenged, and seems to think every encounter is about proving you have the right answer for a fill-in-the-blank paper). He wasn’t interacting in much of a conversational way (which he usually can’t); but he was trying somewhat. One of his other interjections was to answer, about a preacher, start having affairs.

    {I wrote the above on the day you posted this “(part ii)” earlier in November; hesitated to post.}

  2. The reason I went on and posted this while I clearly think part of it is from a strange person is that this is what I see goes on in our midst. Some people are thinking very differently (maybe most people, I’m not sure, but I’d guess not a majority) even though they go through most of the same motions and say a lot of the same words. This person was more adamant about being a Christian, while I was a believer but questioning the missing links, when I met him (he had no room for questions or pondering). Even then, though, he wasn’t behaving like a believer (and I didn’t know this determinedly because it was secret manipulation). I don’t know how, for sure, you decide when what is happening is demonic (am pretty sure it’s demonic with him because there are people who don’t claim to be believers or conservatives or undividuals who couldn’t possibly be in any danger of not going to heaven yet while fearing death, but who are better and more considerate). So, it is often the case that we have pretty much no contact with the motivations and thinking world of people associated with churches or a background of Christianity. Thus, I consider it a window into messed up thinking that this person jumped to the idea of having sex with members (and saying it’s fun, which supposedly, to him, proves something) when there is any confusion about what are supposed to be sureties. (He also expresses anger that when he tried drugs, which his parents were against, he didn’t die. Again, dying v pleasure and rebellion, a sad dicotomy.)*

    * I feel I’m not explaining and can’t explain this well, because it’s foreign to me.

    Bottom line, I do see relating as a word that fits what I had been saying — but I prefer a living walk.

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