When I first started going to church I was motivated by some deeper internal need to connect with a power source outside of myself. I was reluctant to call it God, but after years of searching for meaning and fulfillment in my life through various means, I had finally come to the end of my rope.
At first, I felt ashamed to even be in a church, but one Sunday shortly after we began going to church, the pastor called for each of us to kneel at our sins and repent of our sins. My first thought was “this is weird and I don’t believe in sin”, but I knelt down to pray anyway. The Spirit of God moved on my heart and I was moved into repentance for my sin against God, and others in my life. That was the life-altering moment where I truly began my walk towards salvation.
As we continue to grow in Christ and understand what it meant to be a Christian, I made huge changes in my life. I stopped cussing, watching sexual or violent things on TV, and I started listening to Christian music and turning away from all of the pagan beliefs I had. I wanted with all of my heart to follow Jesus and please God. I was on the right path towards righteousness, but I had no idea of the dangers that lay ahead of me.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
1 Peter 1:3-4
Within a year I heard about a local church that was doing “hearing and healing” nights. This means they were giving words of knowledge and laying hands on people for physical healing. I was ecstatic at the thought of a real-life New Testament experience and I ran headlong into the charismatic movement. I had no idea I was following the charismatic movement, all I knew was that I had experienced the love of God and was desperate for more.
Soon I was following the teachings of Bethel church and many of its affiliates such as Kris Vallotton, Bill Johnson, Todd White, etc. and listening to worship music predominately from Bethel and Jesus Culture. I was captivated by the spirit moving over these people and I wanted to catch the wave and follow it wherever it led. I never questioned if these people were filled with the Holy Spirit or a false spirit, I just believed.
I went to various charismatic churches in my area, even traveling a few hours to hear speakers or see a Bethel “worship night”. I watched hours of videos on Todd White healing people or speaking, or the movies from WP Films such as “Holy Ghost“. When I watched these videos proclaiming that gold dust falls from the sky, manna from heaven appears out of nowhere, or that God gives people gold teeth, I didn’t question it for a second.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
I was in awe, but at the same time, I felt like a horrible loser because I was not out on the streets healing people and working miracles on behalf of God. Isn’t that what I was supposed to be doing? Yet the best I could do was watch videos of other, better Christians, doing it instead. I even convinced my husband to go to a charismatic church near our home so we could be part of this amazing movement of God. Never once did I question if this was the Holy Spirit, even when I saw people falling over or writhing on the floor.
Part of my desire to get involved with this movement was my own pain and suffering. I had been suffering from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, severe brain fog, and other problems and I was desperate for help. I thought a move from God would be the answer I needed – the healing that I was looking for. If God loved me, He would heal me, and so I went for three years from church to church looking for a miracle healing.
When that healing didn’t come I began to turn against God. Why was He not healing me? Why wasn’t He relieving my suffering? Isn’t this what the Bible promised me? An abundant life? Where was my abundant life? You see, none of these false teachers I had been listening to explained that the Bible tells us we will have to suffer in this world and that we should count it as joy. No, what they told me was that I could get instant healing if I pursued the supernatural world.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:12-13
Unfortunately, the supernatural world this movement is promoting is a world of demonic and fallen angels. I focused all of my time on growing my spiritual gifts of prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues, praying for others healing, etc., but never once did I realize that I was being deceived by a demonic false prosperity gospel. When God doesn’t fix our problems or heal or illness, it is not because He doesn’t love us, it’s because He has a bigger plan than any of us can even realize.
The turning point for me was when a friend of mine wanted to drive a few hours out of town to see Heidi Baker (this link is a perfect example of an astral ritual) speak at a conference. That night was one of the worst nights of my life because the torment I felt in that church was like being back in a Satanic ritual. That is probably because Lucifer himself was in that church and the throng of people were worshiping him in place of Jesus. When Lucifer comes as an angel of light it is very hard to see outside of the beautiful facade he presents to you.
My eyes began to open to the truth of the Charismatic/NAR movement that night, but it still took time for me to fully grasp the level of deception I was under. No longer was I following Jesus, but I was following my feelings, in search of an experience. I stopped reading the Bible and thinking of sin, and instead threw myself even deeper into sin, because my feelings became preeminent over all other things. It’s not that I stopped pursuing Jesus, I just needed Him to be the God I wanted Him to be, confined into an understanding I could deal with.
For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
As much as I hate to say it, this was all an important part of my healing journey. If I had not gone through these experiences in the charismatic movement, I don’t think I would have gone to such a deep level of healing as I have. It took this radical deception to shake my faith and my understanding of God so that I could see Him for who He truly is. A sovereign God over all who loves His children, but is a holy God.
There is a multitude of gods, and I have worshiped many of them, and the biggest difference between these false gods and Yahweh is they are not holy. They cannot be holy. They are selfish, sadistic, vindictive, and evil slave drivers who care nothing for man. The God of the Bible is just, righteous, merciful, gracious, kind, loving, and holy. We can never forget that we serve a holy God because it is His holiness that sets Him apart from our sin.
I have been to many churches, and I have seen a distressing trend that terrifies me. This New Age Christianity is a version of Christianity that does not serve the gospel of Jesus Christ, but instead the gospel of man. It removes the Bible from its sermons, and people come to be fed comfort food from the pulpit instead of the spiritual nourishment of the Word. These churches use new age spirituality practices to promote health, prosperity, and healing over the truth of what a Christian life looks like. Congregants want a drive-through church service that feels good: your way, right away.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
I walked away from church for two years because this was all I could find, yet what I didn’t realize was that was what I was actually looking for. I didn’t want to be convicted of my sin, nor did I want to hear the truth about my need to be totally reliant on God. I wanted to hear about a loving God who accepts me just as I am, who will coddle me and care for me and treat me right. I wanted to do as I please with no consequences or thoughts to my actions. I wanted the God of prosperity and favor.
We do have a good God; a God who is rich in mercy and loves to lavish His children with wonderful blessings. He is also a God of justice, however, and because of His great love and care for us, He does not allow us to sit in our sin. He exposes it so we can be free from it, and sometimes it takes very harsh lessons for us to finally come to a place of repentance for it. I have had to learn the hard way many times, but through it all, God has been very gentle and kind to me as I navigated my way back to Him.
I have been a prideful fool, demanding that God be who I designed Him to be to suit my own needs, railing against Him when He didn’t come through. Today I repent of these things in Jesus name, because like Job, God has answered my demands for the reprieve from my suffering, and I have come up short. Thank God for Jesus Christ who extends His grace and mercy to me so I can be restored to Him.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land
2 Chronicles 7:14