PART TWO – Pentecost to Israel (cont.)
Glen’s younger sister, Laura Bradford, came to a house meeting we had in Prince Albert. She was troubled and spiritually confused. She had once broken her leg in a car accident. When they repaired her leg, one ended up nearly an inch (2.2 cm) shorter than the other, and they had put a steel pin in her knee. She said the Lord told her that He was going to heal her leg.
One day, as she was going up the steps of a church, she heard the pin in her knee snap, a very unusual thing, I was told. If I recall correctly, their proposed solution was now to fuse the leg; at least it was one of the options they considered.
Laura was led to come to Marilyn and me for prayer. She came over to the house we were sitting at Branion Drive. She was wearing a 2.2 centimeter lift on one shoe.
We looked at her legs and prayed for her. Nothing happened. I instructed Laura to lift up her hands and give thanks to the Lord for her healing. As we all lifted up our hands and thanked the Lord, the short leg suddenly grew to the same length as the normal one.
Laura rejoiced, saying, “The Lord told me He would heal me!” She left immediately. She still had some discomfort, but it was fast disappearing and she walked out normally, without her lift. We were told that, the next day, she was playing volleyball as a normal person.
Who says there is no God, or that the gift of healing isn’t for today?
This event, which served as an encouragement at a dark time, came shortly after the very unpleasant and discouraging experience at Gord and Mary Campbell’s with the Lutheran Charismatic group.
The sad part is we heard later that Laura didn’t remain faithful to the Lord, marrying someone she ought not to have married. We heard he was a graduate of Prairie Bible Institute. True believers don’t yoke themselves with the products and doers of men’s religious works.
Not for nothing did Jesus warn after healing and forgiving others their sins, “Go and sin no more, lest something worse befall you.” Years later, we would hear more of Laura, and it wouldn’t be pleasant. We would also hear of some making us out to be liars about these matters.
Marilyn had a dream in 1975, right after we had prayed with the Hlewkas to receive the Spirit and be delivered and healed. She dreamt that I found Wally lying wounded in a ditch. I picked him up and drove him to the hospital. She next saw him and Dr. Lorne Rabuka, who was the Alliance adult Sunday school teacher, come driving back, laughing, having left me in the hospital.
She then saw them in a warehouse, where they were jumping on boxes of books which were ours, although they couldn’t do them any harm. But I feared that the dream warned of some unpleasantry to come.
Prior to the dream, we had prayed Wally out of Hell and routed the enemy, as I have related. He was delivered of demons, including a vicious demon of suicide. He, his wife, and his children were all healed of back problems and allergies. Wally and Adeline were so excited about what the Lord had done.
But a few weeks later, his friend and spiritual mentor, Lorne Rabuka, came visiting, wanting to meet with us, in opposition to Wally’s newfound life in Jesus Christ. He denied any validity whatsoever to Walter’s experience. He argued that, doctrinally, the notion that there was another experience in the Lord besides “accepting Christ as Savior into one’s heart” was error.
I pointed out to him that A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Missionary Alliance, in which church Lorne was choir director and adult Sunday school teacher, spoke of “an initiatory infilling of the Holy Spirit after conversion.” He wouldn’t listen, throwing out defensive, meaningless arguments.
However, he prevailed, in part at least, because I lost it. I blurted out, “Wally was miserable, ready to take his own life, he was despondent, his back was bothering him, his wife’s back was bothering her, his kids had allergies; now Wally has a new life, they are healed, and you say that what happened to him and his family is not of God?! What good has your doctrine and counsel done him until now?” I was angry.
Walter and Adeline weren’t impressed with my reaction, thinking it quite unChristian, particularly when Lorne made pretense of righteousness, meekness, and love. The common nominal Christian spirit and demeanor known as “Christian love” had deceived them. It is a love few professing believers know to be the love of Satan – yes, Satan – though I didn’t understand that then. I had much to learn.
I knew I had lost the Hlewkas, according to the dream, which I also knew I couldn’t alter. Wally believed his friend/doctor/Sunday school teacher, and lost the blessing God had bestowed on him and his family. He soon returned to his old ways. I tried reasoning with them; I wrote them letters and called, but they wouldn’t listen to me.
After this, we were once coincidentally stalled in a traffic jam north of Prince Albert, wherein I sought opportunity to speak to them yet again, but there was no receptivity. I was devastated by the whole experience, not that I doubted my faith or the Lord, but because the outcome was so tragic and upsetting.
I blamed myself. I thought I had blown it that night, when Rabuka won Wally to his side again, away from the Lord, because I had lost it, trying to defend Wally against the obvious contradiction I was hearing from Rabuka and his arguments.
As time passed, I began to recognize that there was something in me seeking my own glory, and therefore I had to lose all and die, so God’s will, not mine, was done. I was looking to lead, to be the spiritual giant or hero, to be at the head table, sitting in the uppermost seat. The Lord took me down, mercifully, necessarily, and now I can say so, thankfully – though I was anything but thankful then.
Greatly disturbed by the experience with Rabuka, I sought the counsel of the Christian men in Calgary at a men’s Saturday breakfast prayer meeting. I told them the dream Marilyn had, what happened, and how the dream was fulfilled. Carroll Vance received that Marilyn and I needed to ask the Lord for the second half of the dream she had. Someone else agreed with what Carroll received.
We did ask the Lord, and that night she dreamt again. This time she saw us at a zoo. As I was walking along some cages, a large python-sized serpent struck at me from a cage, and knocked me slightly off balance. Two keepers came along and took the serpent away.
I was somewhat comforted that the second dream seemed to indicate that it wasn’t sin on my part that had caused Wally to fall away, but the enemy attacking.
As for their jumping on the boxes of books in Marilyn’s previous dream, we were given to understand that they were trampling on the knowledge the Lord had given us, but they couldn’t hurt it or take it from us.
This seemed like a bunker mentality to me, however. Why should I be satisfied with merely saving myself? Why could I not save others as well? But that was for another age of my spiritual history.
After receiving His Spirit, the Lord exposed us to, and separated us from, all formal and organized religion, churches, and denominations, as I have already said. Again, this was not a reaction out of hurt or bitterness, which some erroneously presumed – it was the definite call and direction of God.
Soon, I threw away all “Christian” books, and we spent hours each day in the Scriptures for the next two to three years. I discovered that what was taught and practiced in all churches and what was taught in the Scriptures were quite different in many crucial points (I don’t use the word “crucial” loosely).
There ensued an intense battle inside me with unbelief. Doubts assailed me, people criticized me from every quarter, and we were quite alone, for many years. It was hard, very hard, but good. In all that time, the Lord provided everything we ever needed in body, soul (mind), and spirit.
The most common verse in the whole Bible that would be used against us by countless churchgoers in the years to come was:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25 MKJV).
“Stay in our church! You need fellowship! Satan will get you if you leave the church,” they would insist. “You know what happens to a hot coal when separated from the fire – it dies out!”
But we knew that God was leading us to come out and away, contrary to conventional wisdom and traditional churchianity.
Satan comes as an angel of light and uses the Bible to thwart God’s will. That is his job and modus operandi. As God uses men to speak, so Satan uses men to thwart God’s will. Both sides use Scripture. The Scriptures can be used to justify any action, good or evil.
What would the church systems do without that verse to justify themselves by Scripture? Not to worry; I have found that those who wish to justify themselves before men are quite capable of interpreting anything in the Bible with fascinating creativity and imagination.
The Lord revealed to us that religious groups represent the bundles of tares that the Lord’s messengers are binding together, to be cast into the fire of His judgment. Each of these groups have their unique overriding spiritual characteristics and personalities. The harvest messengers are effective indeed in neatly bundling denominational tares with effective strings of spirit, lifestyle, doctrine, and practice, which bonds are impossible for a tare to escape. If there is wheat among them, that wheat will be spared, gathered out, and saved.
Another revelation we received as we studied the Scriptures was that God is not three persons, but One. What a relief from utter confusion! One may as well try to catch clouds as try to understand, explain, or relate to a trinity.
God has expressed Himself in all of His creation. Where in the insect, bird, fish, or animal world does one ever find a three-headed, or even a two-headed, creature?
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV).
Read from our section Jesus Christ Is God.
To confirm to us some of the truths we were receiving, the Lord sent a United Pentecostal couple from the US, Gerald and Theresa Roberts, to visit us. As we prayed before their arrival, God told us they would tell us things we needed to hear, of which there were three. When they came, they told us:
That God is one, not three;
That the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the new birth;
That one needs to be immersed, not in the Name of “the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” but in the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 39; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5).
Through the Roberts, the Lord confirmed that which He had been teaching us. Until that time, I don’t recall hearing these things from others.
A short time later, we were off with the Roberts to Pike Lake just outside Saskatoon, on a chilly, windy, overcast October day in 1975, to be immersed in the Name of Jesus Christ. That made it the third baptism for Marilyn and the fourth, and final, one for me.
I had been “baptized” or “Christened” as an infant in the Catholic Church, which is no baptism at all, according to Scripture. Then, when receiving the gift of repentance, I was baptized at the Alliance Church. However, when joining the Southern Baptists, they expected me to be water baptized into their “local body of Christ.” Finally, having received the Holy Spirit and learning that God is one, and that His Name is the Lord Jesus Christ, we were immersed in His Name, once and for all.
I have not been baptized since, not because I am waterlogged, but because the matter is settled.
Now I perceive that water baptism is just another physical ordinance that had its day in history, as with circumcision. External righteousness and religious rites and ceremonies avail nothing. Paul said, “Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel…” (1 Corinthians 1:17).
I stand amazed at the ways of the Lord. He uses unrighteous men to bring us truth. Whereas He used the Roberts to confirm things to us, they were spiritually, as well as doctrinally, in error on many things, unable to discern between good and evil on some matters.
I recall their presenting us with a sermon audiotape by a man who was screaming as he preached, not sporadically or rarely, but consistently. I knew immediately that something was terribly wrong, likely demonic, but the Roberts were entertained by him.
We heard later that the preacher died a premature death. It wasn’t a surprise that the Lord had to take him out. I don’t recall his name, but I expect some United Pentecostals from that day might know of whom I speak.
The Roberts also had an emphasis on form, in dress and ceremony. They were part of the system, as were George Lynn – who led me to Christ; Dave Loewen – who was used of God to lead us to receive the Spirit; and R. A. Torrey – who wrote the booklet Dave left with us, “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit,” through the use of which we received the Spirit. Torrey was associated with D. L. Moody, another man who was part of the system. There were many such occasions and examples in our lives.
In spite of themselves, the Lord uses all, and all have their purpose. Indeed, man’s unrighteousness commends God’s righteousness, in more ways than one. He works His purposes with all, and we have all been among the unrighteous.
We were bringing tithes and offerings to the Lord of all that we earned. In the first year of my Christian life, I gave 10% of my gross paycheck. He greatly blessed – I earned nearly twice what I was earning at the Bay in my last year there. In my second year as a believer (1974), I tithed 10%, though my income was almost nil, and it didn’t matter – I had all my needs met. In the third year, 1975, after Marilyn and I were married, earnings were modest, but in that year we tithed 20% of gross.
In 1976, our gross income was $3,400, a fifth of what it was in 1973, my first year as a believer when I earned $17,000 in commissions at Homes Canada. Of that $3,400, we gave 50% to the Lord, or $1,700, the same amount tithed in 1973. Did we suffer? Not at all! At all times, we were well provided for, lacking nothing.
What would we give in the next year – 60%, 75%, 90%? What we finally came to realize was that all our income was His, both what we gave and what we kept. He also revealed to us the sham of the works to which we had given, to persons and organizations like Billy Graham, Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, Operation Mobilization, and World Vision. Yet, the Lord honored and blessed us because, in our hearts, we were giving to Him. No matter how little we earned or how much we gave, our needs were always provided for; we had no lack.
“And when they measured with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little lacked nothing. They gathered each one according to his eating” (Exodus 16:18 MKJV).
Who says there is no God?
We would personally put to use all we had for and by Him. All was His.
Many years ago, possibly in the 70’s, the Lord gave me the illustration of a husband and wife as being an arrow, the husband being the arrowhead, and the wife being the feather. While the arrowhead leads and does the “damage,” the feather guides and is essential for the head. The bow is the Church of God, and Jesus Christ is the Archer.
On one of our times in Calgary, the Lord spoke to me, telling me that we would have to leave behind Carroll Vance, Jim Flynn, Dave Loewen, and others who had ministered to us. We were admonished not to be critical of them, but we needed to go on without them.
In that first year of the Spirit, Dave Loewen told us of how the Lord had once commanded him to rebuke a gathering of pastors, and to read Jeremiah Chapter 23 to them, a piece of which said (please read the full portion in the Bible):
“A curse is on the keepers who are causing the destruction and loss of the sheep of My field, says the Lord. So this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, has said against the keepers who have the care of My people: You have let My flock be broken up, driving them away and not caring for them; see, I will send on you the punishment for the evil of your doings, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:1-2 BBE).
But Dave said he didn’t speak, being too afraid. My thought, according to what I understood from Scripture, was that it couldn’t and wouldn’t go well because of his disobedience. “The fear of man brings a snare,” the Scriptures declare. I knew that the Lord didn’t take disobedience lightly.
Where in Scripture does one see where God commands one to speak, but the one commanded refuses and gets off without consequence? It doesn’t happen. There are not options from which to choose. We would see my thoughts dramatically confirmed, with remarkable details, in the years to come.
Dave was disobedient in more than one matter. Upon receiving the Spirit, it soon became quite apparent that we needed to come out of all religious works and systems. Though used of God to bring us into the realm of the Spirit, Dave didn’t recognize such a requirement. He and Irene remained in the Mennonite church. I tried talking to them, but they wouldn’t listen.
They argued, “While we know what you are saying is true, we need to stay in the church for the children’s sakes, so they will be brought up to know the Word.”
I was amazed at their reasoning. “If it isn’t good for you to be in men’s works, how could it possibly be good for your children?” I asked, to no avail.
We parted ways. I called years later to see what had become of them.
We were invited to the Pentecostal church in Prince Albert to services led by Charles Enloe, a native Pentecostal evangelist who could hold and woo a crowd with simple messages and music. I recall that Marilyn and I went forward near the end, as had many people.
The people all looked up to Charles on stage at the front. People were crying, singing, waving, and clapping hands. An older woman beside us suddenly fell with a thump like a stone to the floor. We came to learn that such an event was known as being “slain in the Spirit,” something we found to be spurious much of the time, but real at others – as for examples in the Scriptures with Daniel, Isaiah, and John in Revelation.
I bawled like a baby, not knowing what was happening to me. I was searching for guidance and fulfillment, not knowing where to look. I was somehow hoping somebody would take me under wing, but it wasn’t to be.
Charles was bawling, too. He later came down into the crowd and prayed with us. Besides the prayer, I don’t recall his saying anything more than that he was only a man, nobody special, but it seemed he was flattered by the response of the people.
Some years later, I heard that the militant American Indian Movement had taken Charles hostage and was holding him for ransom and that nobody could locate or contact him. I heard that he was asking that someone comply with them and send them money or meet certain conditions for his release. I have not heard the outcome or anything more, and I don’t know how true those things were.
While living at Branion Drive in Prince Albert in Meiers’ home, we received word that Marilyn’s mother, Laura, had cancer. While she wanted sympathy and condolence, we wanted healing for her. We wrote her telling her that she needed to seek God for what He required, be it repentance or some matter of obedience. We said that in doing His will, healing was hers. The true solution was to get to the root cause of the problem.
I had received the conviction that Laura was a whore, and I told her so. We didn’t hear back, but we did hear later by others that she was offended, understandably so! To most people, as to us, it would be a surprise if she wasn’t offended. But if innocent, why should she be offended?
How and why was she a whore? I thought it was because she had left Marilyn’s father for a younger man, Les Klein, taking her infant child, Sheila, with her, leaving behind Marilyn and younger brother, Les, who both chose to remain with their father. How can a mother leave her husband and children for another man?
It wasn’t until many years later that I understood what had been revealed to me. I was wrong, but I was also right. Laura was a perpetual compulsive people-pleaser, apologetic, giggling, always trying so hard not to offend, but to please any and all. I would say fear consumed her… fear of rejection. Perhaps her background of being an adopted child had such an effect on her. That is what I saw in her and that is what I called being a whore.
Man-pleasing is prostituting oneself. We have all done it; I hate the thought, and only by the grace of God will we be delivered from fear of man. Man’s purpose and destiny is fear of God, but when he falls to fearing man, he is in idolatry. God calls it adultery and whoredom.
Marilyn was twelve and her brother ten when their mother left. Marilyn told me of how she would be on her knees scrubbing the floor and praying that God would bring her mother back, but it didn’t happen. It embittered her to the point where she said, “There is no God.”
She told me how her father had been a violent and raging person, and how he mellowed right out after Laura left him. Marilyn told me how she would make mistakes or burn something while cooking, and her father was always patient and tolerant, encouraging her.
She was ever trying to make things appear as though the family was doing fine. For example, she would iron Les’ shirts and try to make sure there wasn’t a single wrinkle anywhere.
In those days, divorce and single parenthood had more of a stigma, particularly in a small rural community. It would seem that Marilyn was denying the reality of the situation. Her reaction to those circumstances would have consequences in the future.
Christmas can truly make one feel wonderful, loving, kind, and generous. We came to realize, however, that it wasn’t of God. While we hadn’t learned a lot about its pagan origin, we perceived how many of the customs were ungodly, seductive, and deceptive.
It was hard giving it up. Christmas carols would tug at my heart, and I loved the special seasonal foods I was raised with from the cradle. The stores would bring out all the decorations, music, and wares, to instill that Christmas spirit. I enjoyed giving gifts (but not receiving them – I seldom received what I liked). I loved drinking, celebrating, and getting together with friends. I found it hard to be eliminated from the card mailing lists of all those who continued to observe Christmas.
Many in nominal Christendom reasoned that if Christmas were to be observed the way it “should be” and for the “right reason,” without all the commercialism, it would truly honor Jesus Christ. The belief, therefore, was that if “done right,” it would be perfectly acceptable to God, and even sinful not to observe. In future, we would come to know there was no right way of celebrating Christmas; the celebration deeply grieves God.
The origin of the celebration is pagan. One doesn’t put new wine in old wineskins. What’s more, speaking in Old Testament terms of clean and unclean, one doesn’t put new wine even in new dog hides.
There is a spirit of Christmas that didn’t give up on me overnight. I had to resist it for a few seasons before I experienced the state of full conviction and peace. Victory doesn’t come by merely knowing the facts. It comes rather by knowing and loving the Lord, believing and obeying Him.
And by the way, as good and loving as Christmas makes one feel, there is the abiding knowledge that, in a few days, that feeling will be gone, and we will be back to a dog-eat-dog world without the true and lasting love and fulfillment that can only be found in the new birth through Jesus Christ.
Did you know that Christmas was a celebration of the anti-Christ – Baal/Tammuz? Tammuz is the messiah of the flesh, of the carnal man, posing as the Savior, yet keeping man in his state of worldly pleasure and death by promise and mimicking of life. There is no escape from the anti-Christ but by a death and resurrection in Jesus Christ, Who has come to save us from ourselves, the anti-Christ within.