Message from South Africa
I’d appreciate it if someone could help me study the Word of God. I do study it on my own but I feel the need for the guidance of a seasoned man of God.
My parents are both born again Christians and my dad is a Pastor. I turned away from Christ due to a couple of factors, namely 1) Witnessing people calling themselves Christians indulging themselves in all sorts of sins, 2) The difficult circumstances of my upbringing brought about by my parent’s choice of a lifestyle, 3) Witnessing criminals and corrupt people prospering in life, 4) Witnessing the Church persecuting my father in unspeakable ways and 5) My father’s ill temper when I decided to ask him any scripture related question.
I decided to stop asking questions and try liberating myself through studying other religions. I first became drawn towards Islam because it spoke about the same monotheistic God Principle. After attending the mosque for about a year; I decided to backslide because they taught us Arabic but then spoke in Urdu whenever they discussed matters of importance. I felt extremely alienated and offended by their actions. I then decided to abstain fron Church and God and went on to indulge myself in alcohol, fornication, crime, etc. In all that I never found satisfaction as deep inside I’ve always known right from wrong.
I then started reading a lot on magic/k, philosophy and a whole host of religious texts such as Satanism, Hinduism, Christianity, Bhuddism, Judaism, Egyptology, Hermetism, African Traditional, Paganism, the New Age, etc.. That study has gone on for the past 3 years. I found a lot of information but, none of them were fulfilling enough for me.
The reason for the most part was that I believe in Moses’s concept of one God. I believe in Jesus Christ’s teachings of Truth, that He is God’s only Son and I believe in The Holy Trinity. I believe in the Prophets and I’ve learnt to Seek and decipher the Esoteric message of the Scripture.
I now need to re-establish that personal relationship with my Creator in all of His manifestations. I need to re-learn how to pray and to live in unison with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I very much long for His presense in my life. I wish my whole family could see Him through me and for my sons to grow up knowing Him and feeling His constant presence in their lives.
I believe your course and you guidance can lead me to growing back that Love I long for. I pray that I learn to repent and all my sins to be forgiven. I know God doesn’t hear a sinner’s prayer and I don’t deserve His mercy but, I cannot harden my heart. I Love Him dearly.
Thank you for your request for our Bible correspondence course. We will be sending it to you by mail.
But I also want to write a proper reply to your very thoughtful message to me.
Everyone could use the guidance of a “seasoned man of God.” When the eunuch of Ethiopia was returning from worshiping God in Jerusalem, Philip was divinely directed to go to him. The eunuch was reading Isaiah chapter 53, and when Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”, the eunuch responded, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:26-31)
I suppose I qualify as a “seasoned man of God.” The first Sunday of May will be my fifty-second anniversary of preaching the gospel. And preachers of the gospel are men of God (1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 4:1-2).
But just because someone claims to be a man of God does not mean you must accept whatever he says uncritically. The apostle Paul and Silas were certainly men of God, but when they preached in Berea, the Bereans “were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). It is absolutely essential to your salvation that you make me or anyone else seeking to teach you prove beyond doubt all our teaching by clear Scripture used in proper context.
As a youngster, you ran against many of the same stumbling blocks to faith that all encounter. There are many hypocrites, who “say and do not” (Matthew 23:3, 13). These hypocrites will be lost unless they repent (Matthew 23:33), but so will those who stumble at their sins and do not follow Christ (Matthew 18:6-7; 1 Peter 2:7-8).
All our parents made mistakes common to people, even as I did with my children (Hebrews 12:10), and hardship is a part of serving Christ (Acts 14:21-22), but our own choices determine our salvation or condemnation (Revelation 22:17).
Indeed, the prosperity of the wicked can be a great stumblingblock. Asaph, the ancient psalmist reflected, “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:2-3). He thought, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning” (verses 13-14). But finally he declared, “When I thought how to understand this, It was too painful for me– Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction” (verses 16-18). The clever, unscrupulous wicked sometimes prosper throughout life and die of old age surrounded by adoring children and grandchildren without ever suffering (Job 21:7-15). But their end is destruction.
Do not forget that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2
Timothy 3:12), and perhaps the hardest persecution to bear is from false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26).
I am sorry your father was not gentle and patient as a teacher. “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). I promise to be diligent to be gentle, patient, and humble.
There is nothing wrong with investigating other religions. The apostle Paul could quote pagan poets (Acts 17:28). I have tried to study the various major religions and denominations of Christendom with an open mind.
But do not just look for what is personally fulfilling. That is looking within yourself for guidance and is doomed to failure (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25; Jeremiah 10:23).
Look for the truth. “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23). Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), and the word of God is truth (John 17:17).
Jesus does not ask you to believe in Him because you find Him fulfilling. He asks you to believe the evidence (John 5:39,46; 10:37-38; 20:30-31; Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). The religion of Christ is the only religion that appeals to unassailable historical evidence to prove it is true.
I would like to add that the Scriptures are not “esoteric” (“understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest”). There are difficult parts of Scripture (2 Peter 3:14-16), but the gospel is for all (Mark 16:16), and the message of Christ is for the humble and lowly (Matthew 11:25).
I visited your beautiful country in 1995. I have several friends there who preach and teach the word of God. Would you like to be in contact with one?
I am delighted that you want to return to the Lord. It will be my privilege to assist you. May the Lord richly bless your search for truth.