False ‘gospel’ lured me to the devil’s door

It wasn’t a normal, vertical door but a trapdoor – and it was about to be sprung with yours truly standing on it!

In terror, moments beforehand I’d thought “My number’s up!” because I was suddenly at the end of my life AND shocked to realise hell’s below – AND, I’d be heading there – even though I used to think hell didn’t exist!  I was wrong – oh so badly wrong!!

Being anti-Christian had been a serious mistake – but it was now far too late!  Yet I’m now able to tell this true story; it is told purely for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How did I get there? you may ask. And, how on earth did I get out of it?

SEARCHING FOR ‘TRUTH’ BUT HEADING FOR DEVIL’S DOOR!

First, we need to go back in time to the evening of 13th September 1989. As a result of conflict in childhood (as here) between school and church I thought the Truth must be out there somewhere. So I decided to investigate and search for it myself, as told here.

First port of call was the supernatural and possibility of an afterlife. Having a scientific bent I looked for consistent, reliable reports of post-mortem contacts with deceased persons. Accounts by those who’d almost died seemed more authentic and consistent than claims by mediums of contacting the dead.

Then came yoga and eastern religions, and years before the Beatles introduced the British public to Transcendental Meditation into Britain, I studied and accepted esoteric spiritual doctrines and practices, eg reincarnation and karma. At 21 years of age, after learning about the Western esoteric tradition, I joined a brotherhood supposedly descended from ancient Egypt through a chain of historic personages such as Da Vinci, Bacon, Wren and Newton all of whom, it was claimed, added to and transmitted that ancient wisdom which had been held ‘sacred’ by 12-13th Century ‘heretical’ Cathars of southern France, and later the Knights Templar. (Later freemasonry merely skimmed the surface of that arcane, initiatory knowledge.)

What made it especially attractive from my standpoint were references to secret doctrines of Jesus, who was claimed to have been one of the perfected ‘masters’! This teaching was supposed to have been akin to that of Christian Gnosticism and Jewish Kabbalah. My historical interests devoured the rise of the early Church, medieval alchemy and the start of scientific method in the early 17th Century, as well as literature and secret codes then in use in England and German Brunswick-Luneberg and Palatinate of the Rhine.

Consequently, I was well placed and connected to know modern authors’ claims about a romantic connection between Jesus and his disciple, Mary Magdalene, were untrue. Such stories and their dramatic conspiracy claims make fascinating fiction. (My source confided that it was a publishing ploy to attract sales!)

So I embraced Eastern and Western occultism plus concepts known as deism, and thus appreciated the distinct difference between Islam and Judaeo-Christian belief. Many years later I read its Book and studied its early history.

I thought all religions are equal and, therefore, many paths to a supreme being – one not identical to the anthropomorphic deity of the Abrahamic religions. In those days I preferred the notion of a ‘cosmic mind’ with which we can attune and attain ‘cosmic consciousness’ and perfection through many incarnations.

Thus, two decades of occultic study and exercises had made me disdainful of churches and Christian clergy and laity. They were all so very behind the times – even archaic! In my intellectual and spiritual pride I thought their preaching just couldn’t compare with the more profound philosophy found within ‘New Age’ movements.

AN EARTHLY VISITOR

Sometime in July/August 1989, a young man named Peter knocked at the front door with an invitation to hear the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham at Earls Court in London. We could be taken in a coach trip from outside our house west of Reading. How much? Nada, entirely free!

Naturally, I rejected the offer outright but my almost-teenage son piped up he’d like to go because a classmate had told him about it. So I said I’d take him.

As can be gathered from the story of my journey thus far into spiritual captivity, personal experiences had made me very wary of churchgoers. Never did I suspect my own well-being hung on the moment of that request.

Can you imagine my bewilderment, therefore, upon sitting ‘up in the gods’ in the Earls Court auditorium and finding myself agreeing with what Billy Graham said as he spoke from the rostrum?  I was flummoxed! Utterly bewildered! Who’s thinking that? Can that be me? Never!… Really?

As a follow-up, those who’d been on that trip were invited to an informal meeting at a local ‘free’ church. The leader explained similar chats could be held at our own homes, should we so wish. I agreed to be on-hand for my son, but I was definitely NOT interested. A youth worker, Peter, was assigned to help him but, in practice, he ended up discussing the material with me.

The evening of Wednesday 13th September 1989, is Peter’s third visit to discuss Billy Graham’s follow-up material entitled Life. I have not yet divulged to him my firmly held and entrenched opinions – but this time he goes too far!

WHAT WENT WRONG?

This session is entitled, ‘Yoga, Eastern Religions and The Occult’ – all of which I’d been involved in since before Peter had been born!

Peter shows a diagram of two cliff-like objects facing one another. One represents heaven and the other, earth, with a large, deep gap separating them from one another. Over this Peter then places an overlay depicting a large plus sign over the gap and the ends of its horizontal arms touch each ‘cliff’, thereby bridging heaven and earth. He explains that the cross of Christ is the bridge between both realms.

He then says the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. This statement implies my ideas are incorrect. Without giving the game away I gently question him on this. But he insists not many paths lead to the same, supreme God – there’s only one way to one almighty God and it’s through his Son Jesus Christ.

What’s to be done with a young man half my age who unwittingly points out the error of my ways?

I’m thinking, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. How can he, who’s not done anything I know far, far more about…just how can he tell me it’s wrong?  He’s wasting my time!” Peter’s ideas are not only mistaken but also intolerant. Before the end of the evening I’ve had enough!

So I bring our discussion to an early close, politely bid him farewell and excuse myself from any future meeting. Peter is most gracious about it – as ever, he smiles politely and goes on his way.

Little did I know that I may not survive that night!    

That night’s second visitor was far more challenging – this time it’s life or death – MINE!

The account will be published overnight – when else?….

Note: Originally written 25 years ago as ‘More Than A Dream’, this was posted as one of my first blogs. Then, it elaborated upon my life as a committed non-Christian but is now expanded to refute a recent visitor’s rebuking me not to say things “on a subject (Islam) for which you don’t have sufficient knowledge”!!

8 thoughts on “False ‘gospel’ lured me to the devil’s door

  1. Hello again Richard, I’m glad you haven’t forgotten me yet!
    At first I was surprised to find someone who was familiar with the name “iblis”, usually people knew what they are taught at school or at home. To have a broader knowledge someone must have searched for it. But I was quite disappointed when you wrote this:

    “Also, when I read the Muslim book I noted a similarity in style to a mediumistic-inspired book (or ‘automatic writing’) dictated by a ‘Jesus’ who belittles his disciples’ incompetence and misunderstanding of miracles. It pretends to tell where they went wrong and ‘how to perform miracles’. Also, in denying the divine nature of Jesus, the qur’an is unhelpful as regards a born-again believer hearing the Lord, and is therefore not competent on the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet. So I directed ‘BGC’ to dip into this blog’s hub on Prophecy”

    It didn’t seem to come from a person who studied different religions before choosing the best one. As I’ve written in the comment that day “the Quran isn’t the book of Nostradamus” to be competent on giving the prophecy to anyone at any time.

    “Note: Originally written 25 years ago as ‘More Than A Dream’, this was posted as one of my first blogs. Then, it elaborated upon my life as a committed non-Christian but is now expanded to refute a recent visitor’s sternly rebuking me not to say things “on a subject (Islam) for which you don’t have sufficient knowledge”!!”

    It seems to me that you’ve searched for a path leading to God, among different beliefs leaning on “dreams” to help you decide which is best.
    For the record I should be the one complaining for rebuking my opinion in the first place

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    • Thank you and so pleased you ‘twigged’ on my use of that name (suggest you examine iblis’ excuse for rebelling) and reconsidered and re-visited. It wasn’t so much ‘leaning on dreams’ – I had no other choice because I was presented with an offer I couldn’t refuse!

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      • There is something else in which I don’t believe. The prophet Joseph was gifted with the power to interpret dreams. He was the only one capable of that. Many nowadays pretend to be able to explain your dreams, so you may find plenty of websites or magazines specialized on the topic. But if you check them out you’ll notice that not all of them have the same interpretation. No one can rely on that. I had my share of memorable dreams as well, the only thing that I’ve learned from them, is how I would react in such and such case. I couldn’t interpret those dreams and no one can. In the last one I was dead, I was standing in an “airport” corridor, many people were going in the same direction, wearing different cloths, men and women, they seemed to be in a hurry as if they were summoned somewhere. I was looking at them thinking that my time has come too and I should be going too. I knew that I was dead and it was too late for me to come back to life (after all I was dead) but before meeting my God for the judgment day I wanted to do more for Him. But I didn’t know how or what. Then I woke up. So you see, the only thing that this dream meant for me, was to help me know that if I died, I would be thinking that I haven’t done enough for my God. There is no interpretation as some people suggest saying for example: when someone dreams of death it means less income for the rest of the month.

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        • Re dreams, I agree with you. Joseph wasn’t only one, however, and Daniel explained to Nebuchandezzar how and who gives interpretations: “There’s a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Dan2:24). And as Joel’s prophecy about old men dreaming dreams applies to the Church (Acts 2:17) it would be utterly pointless if they were never to gain insight – and contrary to the nature of God and His promises!

          The Bible’s dream symbolism is helpful but doesn’t give all and, as you rightly say, interpretation books are often unreliable. I’ve known Christians teaching on dreams who can be amiss too! The first course I attended before years of prayer ministry training was probably the best on dreams. I was taught a kind of Gestalt way of getting into their meaning by retelling them but in the present tense so that it is, and gets, relived. Usually, fresh insights then come plus Holy Spirit inspiration, if that hadn’t already happened.

          Also, different levels of sub-, self- and spirit-consciousness can interplay and be symbolised by content of a dream (as in mine), as well as immediate awareness of its meaning. As you say, only the individual can have the proper meaning and then observe if it plays out in guidance for, or actual, events. It’s wise to await confirmations that validate meanings. (As posted Friday, mine took years. Likewise for a dream in 1992 about the future of Islam, where I learned two well-known teachers had a similar prophetic insight that same year.)

          Sometimes a cyber-friend gets dreams foretelling events (eg attack upon Big Ben) and we discuss their meanings. May I offer the following on yours as I’m sure its highly significant?

          Your closing thought is its lesson. Airports are a transit place for ‘travelling’, by going to and from places or levels of awareness. You’re with people who are summoned, and express a deep unfulfilled desire you think hasn’t yet started. The ‘past death event’ may mean death of your old-self and becoming born-again to fulfil that destiny! Naturally (or rather supra-naturally) this necessitates a change that plugs in and aligns your ordinary and spiritual minds under and with the Holy Spirit.

          You awoke to an important realisation and that dream’s all very positive!

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          • I’m sorry but I still don’t believe in fortune tellers or in prophecies occurring in our current world i.e prophecies found in books (even in the Bible) predicting new wars, new events or even new peace process, and we all know that no one is born twice either physically or spirituality. By the way let me get something straight, (please read it fully, I would appreciate an answer if there is one) according to you the monotheistic God is not enough because it’s a “consciousness” and not a being in flesh and bones, am I right? That’s why you became a born again? So you prefere a human Lord which is made by the same atoms, with the same flesh, with the same lungs, bowels, tongue and of course with intimate parts, who gets tired, who gets hungry, who eats, who smells either good or bad, rather than a God above any description who created the universe who knows everything, who created you, who gave you a spirit with which you could be connected to Him, just because you perceive Him nothing more than a consciousness and not a physical being? (I won’t be discussing God’s entity here because it’s not the main topic) You’re adoring a creature He has created and not Himself, this is against the Bible!!! You’ve been looking for God maybe since your 20’s and spent 20 years searching for the Truth and then what? You end up worshipping a man. Something else is bothering me, your mother was a christian, so far as I know you’ve been baptized when you were a baby, and if I’m not mistaking being baptized guarantees heaven for anyone (due to the fact that Jesus died for the sins of humanity) so as it seems to me that God never changes his mind upon something He has decided, that means that if you were the worst of atheist, you are still saved as long as you were baptized when you were a baby. Am I right? So you’ll never be born again, even if you are baptized 100 times a day, it won’t make things easier for you when you die!

            These preachers of whom you spoke with admiration for their knowledge on prophecies and maybe for their speeches about God, have less faith than a simple priest on a countryside. They just love their status, speaking in public and arguing theology as if they were the reincarnation of Jesus himself. Of course you’ll ask me for proof, and I’ll be glad to give it to you, just read on.
            The Bible said:

            Matthew 24:36
            No one knows about that day or hour, not even the Son, but the Father only.
            Here Jesus makes a distinction between what he knows and what the Father knows.

            John 5:26
            For as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
            Jesus received his life from God. God received his life from no one. He is eternally self-existent.

            John 5:30
            By myself, I can do nothing: I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who has sent me.
            Jesus says, “by myself, I can do nothing.” This indicates that Jesus is relying upon his own relationship with God. He is not trying to “please myself” but rather is seeking to “please the one who sent me.”

            Mark 10:18
            Why do you call me good? No one is good, except God alone.
            Here Jesus emphatically makes a distinction between himself and God.

            John 14:28
            The Father is greater than I.
            This is another strong statement that makes a distinction between Jesus and God.

            Matthew 6:9
            Our Father, which art in Heaven.
            He didn’t pray, Our Father, which art standing right here!”

            Matthew 27:46
            My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
            Inconceivable if he is God the Creator.

            Hebrews 1:3
            The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.
            Jesus is the exact representation of his being. I send my representative to Congress. He is not me, myself. He is my representative.

            Hebrews 4:15
            For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin.
            Jesus has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he never sinned

            and much more say that Jesus wasn’t God.

            And in the Quran God said:

            Say, “O People of the Scripture! You have no basis until you uphold the Torah, and the Gospel, and what is revealed to you from your Lord.” But what is revealed to you from your Lord will increase many of them in rebellion and disbelief, so do not be sorry for the disbelieving people.
            Those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians—whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does what is right—they have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.
            We made a covenant with the Children of Israel, and We sent to them messengers. Whenever a messenger came to them with what their souls did not desire, some of them they accused of lying, and others they put to death.
            They assumed there would be no punishment, so they turned blind and deaf. Then God redeemed them, but then again many of them turned blind and deaf. But God is Seeing of what they do.
            [Remainder of quotation deleted per Comments Caveat] and much much more say that Jesus was just a prophet.

            If I were you, I wouldn’t be trusting a prophet let’s say Noah if he was living in a palace, wearing diamond rings, and having all kind of luxuries around him. These Billy Graham, Robin Marchant, Pat robertson, etc… are wealthier than any of their followers (including you) they possess airplanes, limousines, golden watches, luxurious houses, all with the money of their followers, they’re actors, running after money and wealth. Do you remember when Jesus told his disciples to sell their cloths and to follow him? The prophets of God weren’t weathy, they weren’t performing songs, or shows in front of a public, they weren’t bards. Closer to God are. Those who are humble, who know their limitations, who don’t run after fame or money.
            I know that you won’t agree but make some research on them (nowadays we can find anything on the internet) you might be surprised. I don’t expect you to agree overnight but just think about it.
            I’ll be happy to answer any question or opinion.

            One last thing, you and I don’t believe in coincides. So take my advice, you’ve been searching for God most of your life, keep searching because you haven’t found Him yet. And may God help you find the truth.

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          • Thank you for I’ve clarified reference to ‘cosmic mind’ in view of your apparent confusion.

            It is grossly arrogant presumption to comment out of sheer ignorance and pass judgement upon my life and my life-changing encounter. (He who points a finger has three pointing back at him! Check Matthew 7:1-2 qualification for entering the Kingdom of Heaven) Clearly you’re not equipped to comprehend or you wouldn’t say, “Keep searching because you haven’t found him yet!” LOL – HE found me when I’d denied Him! Hence, my first blessing that it happen to you too.

            As discussion with you is obviously pointless and my time’s too valuable to waste with diatribes – do not bother replying.

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