Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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My Upbringing in a Cult and Israel Folau

So it looks like Israel (Izzy) Folau may be a Oneness Pentecostal.

Izzy’s “non-mainstream Christianity” is the new line the media is taking in their reporting of this whole fiasco.

When I first read about it I didn’t believe it.  I just thought that it was another way the media was attacking him for his faith.  But having looked into it myself and going by his own words in his own tweets, which I will share, it looks like it may be true.

This is disturbing to me, for two main reasons:

  1. I was brought up in a Oneness Pentecostal cult and so I know the false doctrine that pervades this system of false theology and
  2. I have supported him thus far, what should I do now?

My Upbringing in a Cult

I have hesitated to share my upbringing in a cult for the sake of my parents.  I love and respect them as parents, grandparents and Christians and so I don’t want to bring any dishonour to them.  So before I begin my brief discourse here, I will say that although they brought me up in the Revival Centres International cult, they left when I was in my 20’s and then they were absolutely instrumental in getting me out of the cult.  When I was still indoctrinated with the false teachings they would give me sermons to listen to by Bill Randles, David Wilkerson and Paris Reidhead.  In fact it was by listening to  “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”, which my mum  had given me, that I was convicted of sin and turned to the true Christ.  So I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and I honour them for that.

So back to Oneness Pentecostalism… I was taught and fully believed :

  • that there was no such thing as the Trinity, or Godhead, that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit was an impersonal force and not a person.
  • that you must speak in tongues to be saved,
  • Acts 2:38 was the go-to scripture that we preached, it was the 3-step formula for how to be saved
  • that once you spoke in tongues you could not sin ever again because there is no more forgiveness for sin after that cut-off point,
  • that the devil was also an impersonal force of evil, not a person, or he was just “the world system”,
  • that there was no heaven nor hell,
  • Adam and Eve were not the first people on earth, they were the first farmers,
  • British Israelism was true
  • That we were the only ones really saved etc etc

I remember clearly the head Pastor, Lloyd Longfield, specifically saying “Jesus is not deity”.  (After I left RCI I prayed and do hope that he may have repented of everything before he died.)

I spoke in tongues when I was 9 years old and so from that moment on I believed I could never sin again, because “there remained no more sacrifice for sin”.  Can you imagine the uncertainty, the bondage, the guilt that was provoked by this doctrine? I remember as a teenager, and even into my 20’s trying to work out whether I had done such and such a sin before or after I was 9 years old, so was I forgiven?  Was I saved?  Salvation was a tenuous thing that you could lose at any moment.  We viewed God as an exacting tyrant looking for any little thing we’d done just so He could wipe our name out of the Book of Life.  The pastors would say there was no way of knowing if you’re forgiven, so “just do your best”.

So then a religion of works would kick in… have I done enough to expiate my earlier sins?  Will God forgive me now?  Legalism was rife.  There were rules for everything.  People were encouraged to “dob” others in when they broke a rule otherwise “their sin would be on your head”.  I remember the fear of that.  I dobbed in a fellow teenager for using magic mushrooms because I was terrified his blood would be on my hands.

But all PRAISE TO JESUS, who is God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14) for leading me out of false doctrine by His Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Godhead, (John 14:15-17) and revealing that “it is by grace I have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works…” Ephesians 2:8-9.  I thank my loving, Heavenly Father that He is not a tyrant but a good God who is ever so faithful to keep me and love me just as I am.  I am ever so grateful for the BLOOD of Jesus that even when I do sin it continually cleanses me and that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just and forgives me. (1 John 1)

 

Izzy’s Beliefs

So back to Izzy’s beliefs…

Izzy Folau’s church is called the True Church of Jesus Christ.  I have no idea whether they believe you have to speak in tongues to be saved or not, or any of the other things I used to believe, but they are Trinity-deniers as Izzy’s own tweets show:

 

This goes against orthodox Christianity as well as the Word of God. (See 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:9; John 1:14; Matthew 28:19)

He does also seem very focussed on Acts 2:38 as a 3-step formula which rings alarm bells for me coming out of that false theology:

So What To Do Now With this Knowledge?

I cannot support Izzy’s false doctrine, because it is a denial of the true Christ of the Bible.  I cannot and do not agree with him or his church in what they believe or teach.  I have written to him in love on his Twitter account to inform him of his erroneous beliefs and how I cannot support them, especially since I have come out of similar beliefs myself.

However I still do support his right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.  I still believe he should not have lost his livelihood because he quoted a scripture.  I still believe the scripture he quoted, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, is right and he had a right to quote it.  The fact is that many non-Christians will not understand the difference in orthodox or non-orthodox theology and so I still believe he should fight this as a champion for freedom of speech and Christianity in this country.

It’s not perfect but I guess it’s along the lines of what the late, great Francis Schaeffer said about “co-belligerence”:

 “An ally is a person who is a born-again Christian with whom I can go a long way down the road . . . A co-belligerent is a person who may not have any sufficient basis for taking the right position but takes the right position on a single issue. And I can join with him without any danger as long as I realize that he is not an ally and all we’re talking about is a single issue.”

I pray for Izzy that he will see the truth and repent of his erroneous beliefs, just as I had to do.

Happy to hear your thoughts on this!

Belinda 🙂

 

 

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Missionary Quotations: James McKendrick

”Looking back to that day, I can clearly see what I did not then understand : that God’s Holy Spirit was leading me step by step, convincing me of my need, convicting me of my sins, and pressing the awful and tremendous fact upon me- if I die as I am,I shall die without Christ.”

page 22, Seen and Heard

James McKendrick, born in Scotland 1859, left school at age 9 to begin work in the mines. Saved in 1881 He soon became a preacher and evangelist, leading many to Christ in England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.

More to follow…


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The Old-Time Gospel Vs Seeker-Sensitive Model

You can’t adopt the Church Growth model Hillsongconf instagramand remain faithful to the truth of the gospel.

You can’t be “seeker sensitive” and fear God at the same time.

Seeker Sensitive Movement:

  • no talking about divisive, uncomfortable topics such as hell, sin, judgement, the blood, the cross or repentance;
  • contemporary music;
  • 20 minute sermons on relevant topics such as Self, motivational talks or psychology;
  • facilities, facilities, facilities

Even though one of the founders of the movement, Bill Hybels, has since repented of his part in creating this model, it has infiltrated and influenced the church across the Western world. Many younger people have no other experience of church but this hyper-loud, blacked out, motivational system.

We need to decide: who do we serve? God or mammon? Who do we seek to please ? Christ or man? Who do we follow? Jesus Himself or some dude with a business model.

The man in the street can see it, but sadly Christians can’t. The man in the street (ie Twitter) is asking why Hillsong charges $379 per ticket for their conference. With over 20,000 people in attendance this week millions of dollars has been raised. When there is that much money and power changing hands over a period of a few days it is necessary to question, critique and judge whether this movement is godly or Biblical.

We are told to “judge righteous judgement “ by Christ. Does this movement stand up to the scrutiny of the Word of God? At the Hillsong conference did they preach the gospel? Was sin addressed? Were thousands of people told the truth about heaven and hell?

And how does it compare to revivals of the past? (Did the Welsh revival charge an exorbitant ticket price to gain entrance?)

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5

I’m over it. I just want Christ. I want the truth of the gospel: the bloody, gory, self-sacrificial truth of someone having to die for sinners on a cross. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  I just want to see Him glorified. He who is ascended to the right hand of the Father, the One who is coming back and whom will rule the earth. I want to hear about Him, not a church, a system or self.

Friends, the gospel works. The old rugged cross, death to self, Christ and Him crucified: this is what saves people, regenerates people, transforms people. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen prostitutes come to Christ, people saved out of the occult, out of drugs. Not through some self-help motivational psycho-babble but through the truth of the shed blood of a Saviour who came from heaven to earth to save sinners!

It’s time now to make a stand for the truth for which Christ died.  We are at a significant point in the history of humankind, whereby we need to decide whom we really serve: man or God?

I don’t know about you but this is what I want to hear one day when I stand before the judgment seat of Christ,

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21