ONE FISH THAT JUMPED OUT OF THE RIVER
The Testimony of Matt D. (Sussex, UK)
Over the past few months, I have come out of the "TB", and have realised what a sad state the Church is in. I am 20 years old and have only been a Christian for 18 months, having come out of drugs, the occult and new age, etc.
I experienced the TB when I first visited Brighton at Terry Virgo's church, Church of Christ the King, 13 months ago. In hindsight, I was sucked in totally. Among many things that occurred, I was required to be "discipled". This I found out just two days ago was a lie. I was listening to your [Banner Ministries] tape on Restoration churches and shepherding. This described that part of my experience totally!
I experienced all the manifestations, from falling, to swimming, to growling, laughing, crying, convulsing, shaking - the works. I really thought I was going through life-changing spiritual experiences. But the fruits were superficial. I had a "love" for Jesus, I sang of His kisses, of seeing Him run over mountains and peer through doors. Yet I always seemed to wonder where my "lover" was. I experienced times of absolute depression and anxiety. I would start crying for no reason. I would scream at God and swear at Him. I couldn't understand where this "God of love" was when I felt like that. At times my anxiety would become physical and I had one or two panic attacks.
Sometimes the depression and anxiety would come at the same time. It was unbearable. Many times, during this time, I considered turning away from God and returning to my old life.
I struggled too, with my quiet times. I just never had any! I couldn't spend time with God, it was such a struggle. I really thought I had missed the mark, I thought that there was something really wrong with me. I thought: "I fall, I shake, I laugh, I do all of this and I can't spend some time on my own with God."
I was hearing testimonies like: "my life is wonderful"; "I feel so close to God". These didn't really encourage me, but only seemed to lower my esteem.
I still had many hurts from my past inside of me, and I guessed from people and what they said that the TB would be a release for me. But it only served to make me look at these hurts and feel even worse. I kept shouting at God to take them away, still I shook, etc, but they remained.
Looking back, I can now see that my walk with God took a real and serious nosedive. I was falling into sin and feeling far away from my Saviour. I couldn't get out of the sin, and yet I was being convinced that I was meeting with God and my life was changing. During this time, two close friends of mine left the Fellowship because of things being taught, and because of the TB. I was advised not to have any contact with them, or receive ministry from them because they were "in rebellion" and because I was under the authority of the person discipling/shepherding me, so I stayed away.
Occasionally I would see them, yet because I was told these people were wrong, I felt very uncomfortable and judgmental. This didn't feel right, again, but because I was told this about them, I figured it was a reaction of the Holy Spirit in me, reacting to the "spirit of rebellion" in them. It was frowned upon by a few people that I still saw them at all.
Something happened though, when I visited them. They asked me firstly why I believe in revival. I couldn't really give an answer. I just assumed that because it was preached at church, it must be true. Over a period of time, they gently brought me to a point of questioning the TB. So I did. (Now this is where the fun begins!)
They had brought me to the point where I actually went to church with a questioning heart. I did manifest, but not as much as I normally would. (I took note.) I would see people rolling about and it just didn't ring true with me. I was horrified when Terry Virgo encouraged us to get together in a circle and hold hands as a sign of "unity" and to let the power flow through us.
I remember the final turning point really came when I asked God to protect me. I don't know why I did it, I just did. The meeting ended up in the usual TB standard. When an elder who prayed for me was manifesting (I peeked) I just stood there while he "prayed" and nothing happened at all!!!. Praise God! Later on, someone else prayed for me and even started to push. Still nothing happened. A little later, an elder called for a group of people to be prayed for. I was included in this group. He boldly declared that "we are going to see the power of God come upon these people", I waited with baited breath. People were falling, convulsing and groaning. There I was...standing. I was convinced!
I decided to look into this a bit more. I read literature and saw a video by Alan Morrison. I felt thoroughly sick. I called up a ministry in America, Ariel Ministries run by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. I was told that they would send me some material, but it would take 4-6 WEEKS to reach me. FIVE DAYS later, it popped through my door! Now I was hungry for more, and some answers to some questions. I was then introduced to your [Banner Ministries] tapes.
It was a testing time. My life was turned upside down. Everything I had taken for granted was utterly destroyed. I really cried out to God: "Help. Lord!". He spoke Proverbs 3 -5:6 to me. ["Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths".] All I had to do was trust Him, so I did. I decided to write a letter to the elders at church declaring my feeling and also my concerns. I suggested a meeting.
By this time, my "shepherd" was condemning my two friends, which hurt me, so I laid my heart on the line with him. Our friendship wasn't quite the same after that.
Anyway, I met up with an elder, armed with scripture and questions. He came up with two conclusions: (1) the Bible is a book of principles. (2) I was a "dispensationalist"/pre-millennialist. He referred me to the Senior Pastor. I came away from that first meeting frustrated. No answers. (He also told me that if in a year i was still the same, my position in the church would be questioned. I.e., I was put on probation. Is that biblical?)
Within two weeks, I was in the Senior Pastor's office. (He is John Hosier.) As I understood it, he's a Greek scholar and a Theologian. Again, I went in with questions and scriptures. To my utter amazement, HE NEVER ONCE OPENED A BIBLE. All he said, in an hour, was experientially: "people did strange things when the Holy Spirit came upon them in the Bible"; and "auto-suggestion does take place" and "keep the spirit of unity". Also, what came across was that he didn't really care what I thought as long as I didn't rock the boat.
I came away from that meeting totally crushed. So I wrote him a letter almost demanding some biblical answers. Four days later I left the church.
When I finally made the decision to leave, it was as if my eyes were totally opened. The last meeting I attended was awful. False prophecy, trimphalism, TB, Word-of-Faith preached and not the Word of God. It was awful.
My life since leaving has improved so much. In only two months I spend time with God every morning (mostly). I read the Word, I study the Bible, the Cross has become totally central to my life. I repent more, I am aware of my sin, I have real fellowship with my Lord, I feel I really know my Lord. My zeal for evangelism has returned and so has my zeal to seek God's will more and more.
I am now in a lovely fellowship. The Pastor and myself see eye to eye on this issue which is such a blessing. I really feel in my heart that God is calling me to keep my eyes open in this fellowship for deception. I have discussed this with the Pastor and he is okay about it. I am now looking forward to my life with the Lord as I walk with Him along the narrow path.
I apologise for the length of my letter but I felt in my heart to share my experiences with you. To be honest, I don't know why, but I would like you to feel free to share any part of my testimony with others if you feel led to do so. All I want is to see people come out of their deception and set free, and if this can be used to do that, then please feel free to do so.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let your heart be troubled not, neither let it be afraid."
(signed) Matt D.
THIS TESTIMONY MAY BE CIRCULATED ONLY IF IT IS USED TO FURTHER THE WORK OF RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES OF DECEPTION. It may not be included in any printed matter, whether articles or booklets, newsletters, magazines or books without the written permission of Tricia Tillin, Banner Ministries.
Matt D. is not online and cannot enter into any correspondence.