The following is an article I’ve copied from my older “blogspot” site:
Many years ago I met a former school friend in the street. He had strong socialist leanings and admired the Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Being a Christian I brought up the issue of the Communist persecution of believers. My friend expressed doubt about the truth of persecution and I responded by asking why the Christians experiencing persecution under Communist regimes should lie. They were Christians and lying was contrary to their faith.
Now in THAT case I have no doubt at all that my reference to Christians telling the truth was valid. Christians were (and ARE) being persecuted under various political and religious based regimes. However, I later learned that not all “Christian” claims are trustworthy and the truth is not guaranteed from all sources professing to be Christian.
In my younger years I was extremely naïve, perhaps even gullible. I gave people the benefit of the doubt and trusted that the majority of people (especially Christians) were basically truthful. I easily believed what I was being told. When I read or heard of fantastic experiences I didn’t doubt that the stories were true.
From early childhood I had a fascination with UFOs and read as much as I could find on the subject – but NEVER did I think that any of the stories may have been made up. This attitude remained with me after becoming a Christian – and if possible I had more reason to trust what I was told by other Christians. The truth was important to Christians, lying was strictly forbidden so why would any Christian disobey God by lying?
Even today I probably don’t realise how vulnerable this outlook made me. Whenever I read or heard Christian testimony I believed it without question. Why would a Christian lie?
In the church I attended I heard about a congregation member rising 30 cm off the floor during worship. I heard about angelic singing in a friend’s home. I heard the story of a group of ministers saved from a certain head-on collision when their car was instantly transported past the on-coming vehicle. Why shouldn’t I have believed these stories – they were told by people I knew, about people I knew, and those people were Christians and Christians don’t lie.
There were also books giving amazing testimonies of God’s miraculous intervention in the lives of Christians. There were books of people literally set free from Satan’s power – being turned from practising witchcraft to having faith in Jesus, books that showed the reality of “both sides” of supernatural reality. And I believed it all. Why would Christians lie?
I’m not sure now when the cracks started to form; when I started to see that Christians are not always as truthful as they should be, and not everyone who professes to be a Christian is a genuine follower of Jesus. I have written elsewhere about my “crisis of faith” that started in the late 1980s and lasted around 15 years. Maybe it was during this time that my eyes were opened.
I had maintained my interest in UFOs and other strange phenomena and read widely on these subjects, and for the first time I started to come across some sceptical voices from those who had an interest in these subjects but also questioned the validity of many of the claims being made. In my reading I was particularly interested in stories that had a “Christian” element and through this I became aware of investigation into stories I’d lapped up years before.
Mike Warnke was a Christian with amazing testimonies. He was an excellent communicator using humour to reach people with the gospel. He did this through personal accounts of his involvement with the occult (published in his book “The Satan Seller”) and also through experiences in the Vietnam war. His experiences in the occult did a lot to convince me of the reality of the powers of darkness. Some of his experiences could have been from a horror novel – but they were true. He was a Christian and Christians don’t lie.
BUT – I started to read claims that he HAD lied, that his stories were all false. And these claims were not from some antichristian group, they were being made by a Christian magazine. Now I had a dilemma. Who should I believe? Two separate Christian sources were contradicting each other over an issue of truth. They couldn’t BOTH be telling the truth – but surely Christians don’t lie.
I use that case as merely one example. Since then I’ve had reason to doubt many claims made by Christians and I have come to see that “Christians” are not always the most trustworthy sources of information. The situation is made worse by the same kind of gullibility that I displayed and people pass these stories on to others without giving due consideration for their reliability.
We’ve all heard of urban myths – those stories with no basis in fact that become “true” through constant retelling. I’m sure that a lot of favourite Christian stories are the same. How many have heard of the prayer meeting where armed soldiers barge into a meeting threatening to kill all Christians. And when the fearful have departed the soldiers put down their guns and ask to hear the gospel from those who REALLY put their trust in God.
Is that story really true?
Maybe – but it would be more credible if various facts (location and identity of the soldiers) remained consistent.
Reference about Mike Warnke allegations: