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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God’s Victories Look Like Defeats

In Suffering: According to the Pattern, we saw that Calvary is the pattern. And if we are God’s child He will deal with us according to the pattern.

“That is the strange lesson we all have to learn, and Calvary is the pattern of it from beginning to end. God’s victories look like defeats. It is victory in the unseen realm while one is apparently, absolutely down and out in the visible.” Prayer and Evangelism, Jessie Penn-Lewis (emphasis mine).

Therefore if Calvary is the pattern, then we know that the pattern is of suffering because we know that Christ our Lord and

sacredsharingsforthesoul.blogspot.com

sacredsharingsforthesoul.blogspot.com

Saviour suffered.  Conversely we also know that if the pattern is of Calvary, then the pattern is also of victory because we know that through suffering our Lord was greatly victorious.

If we are the disciples of Jesus Christ, then we will too be greatly victorious in Him. However, it is through suffering that the victory will be won. This was true of Paul, of Peter and of all the apostles. And it is true of us too.

“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Luke 6:40

We know the story of Peter denying Christ thrice. We know that Jesus, in His mercy, sought Peter out after the resurrection and restored him. The interesting thing is that once Jesus had restored Peter, He prophesied over him. Jesus foretold to Peter the actual pinnacle of his life for God – the very event that would bring the greatest glory to God.

It is interesting to note that Jesus’ prophesy excluded the fact that Peter was to be always happy, healthy and eventually own his own private jet. Why is that? Surely that would bring God the most glory! No, rather, what Jesus told Peter was something according to the pattern:

“’Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish’. This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”” John 21:18, 19 (emphasis mine)

Peter was to glorify God by being crucified!

How could this bring glory to God? This really goes against the grain of our own thinking….

But remember: God’s victories look like defeats.

deny selfConsider for a moment this man, Peter.  He had fearfully denied Jesus over and over again in order to preserve his own life and avoid the agony and humiliation of the cross. Could it be possible that this man would one day be so given to Christ, so full of the Holy Spirit that the fear of pain and death, the fear of the loss of his reputation would be so victoriously overcome that he would eventually take up his cross and follow Christ?

Jesus knew that the one thing Peter wished to avoid the most was the very thing that would bring God the most glory!

You see, Self is always trying to preserve Self (ie. Self-preservation). Self, or the “flesh”, cries out for comfort, for ease, for safety, to be liked and accepted. Feed me! Please me! Preserve me above all else! It is only when the power of the flesh has been broken that it is able to come under the dominion of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately the flesh in man is strong. So strong that it usually takes the rod of suffering to break its strength throughout a lifetime.

The flesh was also strong in Peter. He was, of course, no different from the rest of us, and yet this man was eventually crucified for the glory of God. What happened in-between his restoration by Christ and his death that effected this transformation? The answer is : the Holy Spirit.

It is “…Christ in you the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27 (emphasis mine).

It is God’s ultimate purpose to conform us to the image of His Son. It is God’s will to work His Son in us by His Spirit. Contrary to what we may imagine, God isn’t a dispensary, dishing out to our flesh an ounce of love, a pound of patience etc in order to improve it. This would be futile. Why? Because judgment has been pronounced on the flesh and now it must die. Our only hope is God coming to live in us by the power of His Spirit. God doesn’t give us more love and more patience, but what He does is work in us His very Son. Christ’s nature is loving, truthful, patient and kind and so the more of Christ that has been worked in us, the more His nature will naturally shine through us. In order for this to be able to happen the flesh will have to be crucified. And that’s always going to be painful.

God’s victories look like defeats.

We think of victory as our lives always being smooth and easy. We believe when we are happy and healthy we are being blessed and when we are sad or sick, we are not so blessed. Perhaps we have done something wrong? But God’s perspective is totally different. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

Key Point: If God’s purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son, then whatever happens in our lives to achieve that end is victory.

Be encouraged that God has a much greater purpose than we can see at this time. What you and I are currently facing is intended to bring death to Self in order to allow the Spirit of life to work in us. If we yield to His hand He will bring forth a great victory in us and through us. And God will be glorified.

Next post ….. From Confinement to Enlargement


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Suffering: According to the Pattern

th2VB52JDDI have asked God about suffering, especially lately. I have read and studied the Word. I certainly do not know the answer to it all, not even close. But one thing I have noticed is that the Church, in general, seems to no longer teach on suffering nor sanctification.

Why?

In this generation there is so much suffering, look at the situation in Nepal for example.  There are so many trials, battles and griefs that one would logically assume that the Church would be teaching volumes on this subject in order to bring hope, comfort and direction. However the opposite seems to be true. Instead of solid teaching in this area there seems to be a proliferation of the Health, Wealth and Prosperity false gospel.

So I have felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to do a little series on suffering and sanctification. I would like to share with you some of what I have learned through my own hard experiences in order to “strengthen the souls of the disciples, (and) exhort (you) to continue in the faith…” Acts 14:22

According to the Pattern

“That is the strange lesson we all have to learn, and Calvary is the pattern of it from beginning to end. God’s victories look like defeats. It is victory in the unseen realm while one is apparently, absolutely down and out in the visible.” Prayer and Evangelism, Jessie Penn-Lewis (emphasis mine).

The pattern is suffering. And if we are God’s child He will deal with us according to the pattern.

When Christ died on the cross it seemed that evil had triumphed. Isaiah 53:3,4 says:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces

source: mudpreacher.org

source: mudpreacher.org

from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Through His great suffering and death it seemed that all hope was lost and that Satan had triumphed. But this was only how it seemed in the natural realm. This is how it looked to human eyes. In reality, the cross was the place of Christ’s ultimate triumph over death, hell, sin and the devil. Sinners are delivered from sin, Satan must relinquish a captive, death is overcome and hell loses one more inhabitant – because of the cross.

What seemed so despicable, so contemptible, so utterly humiliating was the place of total and complete victory. As believers our eyes have been opened to the victory of Christ’s death and of course His subsequent resurrection. But to unbelievers the preaching of the cross is still regarded as meaningless foolishness.

Definition of

Definition of “Pattern”: a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in the way in which something happens or is done

And so is suffering. To the world suffering is meaningless, utterly contemptuous and something to be avoided at any cost. But as Christians, once again, our eyes are opened.  Just as we see Christ’s sufferings were for an eternal purpose, so we need to see that once we are God’s child, so too are our sufferings. We don’t need to suffer for our own sins, Christ has done that once for all, but there is always a purpose to the suffering of a child of God. It is easy just to see the immediate circumstances before us, but God is interested in eternal values.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

And because of the cross, there is always a victory.

Next post…. God’s Victories Look Like Defeats