Abuoma Boanerges: Personal Testimony of a Nigerian Pastor

My Miraculous Conversion From The Pentecostal Religion.

Written and officially published on 10th June 2014

I was raised in a Christian home in Umumbara-Umunoha, Mbaitoli Local Government Area (LGA), Imo State, Nigeria. By the time I was ten years old I had become actively involved in the activities of the Charismatic church where my parents were members. The church was called Glory Time Bible Church.

I remember how the church music was very loud and always enthusiastic and exciting, with drums and many other musical instruments, and lots of singing, clapping and dancing. Besides the music, the church also emphasised the “Charismatic/ Pentecostal spiritual gifts” and outward shows of holiness. For example, the women were not allowed to wear jewels and earrings.

During my childhood the church was unregistered. Later, when it tried to register with the government for incorporation and licensing, the church had to change its name because there was already a church registered with a similar name. So our church became known as God’s Revival Christian Assembly.

(In this article I will often describe these doctrines and phenomena as Pentecostal, because my background is in a Pentecostal church. But in the wider world today, they have penetrated many other church denominations and the whole movement (or as I call it, the whole religion of these doctrines and “spiritual gifts,” “anointing,” getting “slain in the Spirit” etc.) is described as the Charismatic movement. So sometimes I will also describe these things as Charismatic. I use these names interchangeably. When I say that God brought me out of the Pentecostal religion, I mean that he brought me out of the Charismatic movement.)

 

My Encounter With Jonathan Edwards’ Sermon, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God”

From my early years I read and believed many things in the Bible. I believe that in this, God was preparing me so that I would understand a special, famous sermon when God brought it into my life. This one sermon in particular awakened my conscience and brought me to my knees before God in repentance, begging to be forgiven for my sins.

It was my first year in secondary school around the year 2001/2002, and I was twelve years of age. When I came back from school one evening around 5 p.m. I saw a small booklet on the table in the centre of our parlour. The booklet had only a few pages and a faded yellow cover. On the cover was the drawing of a white-haired man and the title was in bold, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It was the famous sermon by the American pastor Jonathan Edwards, from the 18th Century.

The title attracted me. I had never read any Christian books before that time, only the Bible. I don’t know who had put the book there. Whenever I think of my conversion, I always ask how that book came into our house. Nobody in my family knows who put it there. And so I think it may have come from my late older brother, Nnaemeka. But I have no idea where he got it from.

I would normally have changed out of my school uniform as soon as I arrived home, but instead I began reading the little yellow booklet. I just sat there, reading this sermon and becoming increasingly interested in it. By the time I had read two pages, a real terror filled me. I had to take the book to a private place in the house so that I could continue reading alone, without being disturbed.

I struggled with reading it late into the night. The little book was taking me a long time to read because I couldn’t understand some archaic words (such as “nigh”). But I didn’t let that bother me – I could see how important this old sermon was to my soul.

I was so scared by what I had read, that I could not sleep in my room alone that night. So I had to go sleep with my mum. I was so afraid of hell! I had been brought to fully understand that I was a sinner – and that if I was not saved, then the right thing for God to do was to send me to hell in punishment for my sins.

For almost 6 months I couldn’t sleep alone in the night. Whenever I was alone in my room, I often heard a voice telling me, “You will die this night and go to hell because you are a sinner!” – “God is angry with you!” – “You are living in darkness!” etc.

When it was daytime, and I was about my normal life in school or at home, I didn’t think about these things. But as soon as it was night and I had time alone to myself, then the fear and terrible voices returned. All my conversations that day in the school would appear vividly before my mind as I tried to sleep. I would re-live in my mind how I had lived that day, and all the things I had done would stand before me – all adding to the evidence that I was indeed a sinner.

There was one time, when I was alone in my room and the light bulb in the room was shining brightly, but as soon as I tried to sleep it was like a thick darkness covered the room and fear came over me. I ran out to my mum. They tried to understand what was wrong but I couldn’t explain it.

 

I Was Led In The Wrong Direction

My mum took me to a “prophet” in our church. The prophet said it was an attack from a visiting demon! I remember clearly what he said. Therefore prayers were made for me, and for some time I felt relief. But after about two weeks I returned to the little yellow book. And the same fear and voice of death came to me again. But this time, it grew heavier and heavier.

I had dreams where I saw myself burning in hell! The dream occurred every night. Sometimes I had dreams where I died and was buried and my family were crying, and at the same time, my soul was in hell burning. I often awoke with shouts from sleep sweating all over.

It got to a time that my mum got fed up with this, and she started demonstrating hatefulness towards me. (I know she didn’t hate me – but she was tired of all this and she was trying to make me “snap out” of this mood.) She would force me to sleep alone, or rebuke me unnecessarily. And yet I couldn’t tell anyone exactly what I was going through.

Finally, I resorted to trying to keep awake all through the night – to avoid these bad dreams. I started watching TV until dawn, but I would eventually fall asleep and have the dreams all over again. They were always about me burning in hell or me dying and my parents burying me and crying.

Later in my teenage years, I started hearing the voice that “I would die and go to hell” in the classroom. I was fond of flirting with girls. And as soon as it was break-period in the school, if I got near enough to a girl to flirt with her, then I would hear the voice saying “Sinner! There you go again. After this sin, God won’t spare you. Your chance is over!”

I was in bondage to this great fear and this voice that only I could hear. My conscience pricked me so much that I couldn’t move freely with my mates at school. I began staying alone, trying to read my Bible and praying. I found myself isolating from my normal life with other people.

The only peace I had was whenever I was alone reading my Bible or praying.

Whenever the evangelistic altar call was made in our church for those wanting to be born again, I would be first to go out to the front. I never missed an altar call at all. After doing this for several weeks, it got to a time that whenever the call was made, every eye in the church would turn towards me because they knew I must be first to “move forward.” However, due to my increasing shame, I eventually stopped going out when the call was made.

I tried very hard at cutting down on my sinful life, and forming the habit of reading the Bible and praying. As I did this, the experiences of those fearful dreams and voice of condemnation were gradually stopping. I started being more interested and involved in religious activities and serving God in the church. I did my best to avoid sin, and I joined several groups in the church such as choir, prayer group, etc.

I did not understand what was happening to me those days when I read that Jonathan Edwards’ sermon booklet. And I did not discover anyone who had similar experiences as me in the Pentecostal churches. Nobody could explain it, so they “explained it away” by saying that I had been visited by a demon! Even later, during my time as a pastor in the Charismatic movement and reading a lot Charismatic books, I never saw Edward’s book anywhere and I never read or heard anyone talking about it.

It was when I started reading Calvinistic books that I came to understand that what was happening to me then was conviction of sin.

 

Getting Violent With God

I will now tell you about the time when I became inducted into the Pentecostal religion. In 2006, when I was 17 years old, I was attending a Three-Nights Youth Meeting in my family church, where the whole group of us were together praying what is generally called “hot (spiritual) warfare prayers.”

“Hot warfare prayers” are normal for the kind of church in which I grew up and, later, I became a pastor. Other churches call these prayer sessions the “hour of fire” or the “Mount Carmel hour.” In these sessions all the people pray their own prayers at the same time.

A favourite Bible verse associated with these prayer meetings is Matthew 11:12: “The kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” That is certainly what we thought we were doing! During these exciting and exhausting hours of prayer, the leader often yells at the people, “Take the kingdom by force!” – “Take your blessings from Satan by force!”

In that youth meeting we were all shouting and pleading our own prayers to God, and we were shouting at Satan and the powers of darkness whom we imagined were behind all our problems. We were praying aggressively in an effort to overthrow them.

In one of the intense prayer sessions, in the midst of the noise the preacher suddenly declared, “Someone here was receiving a Divine touch.” I cannot tell you exactly what happened next but I myself fell into “speaking in tongues” for a number of hours. Something had been induced to bubble up within me, and I let it happen and I felt exhilarated. But like I said, I don’t remember exactly what happened the moment when I received this so-called “second blessing.”

With these “tongues” there also started coming a special ability to predict future events, and to tell people their personal problem (which I had previously not known) and I started seeing things “in the spirit.” This visionary gift was so much in me that I was soon assigned the place of chief prayer warrior in the church!

Soon after that I became an Assistant Pastor. And not much later I became a full Pastor. All of this without books, or seminary training, or proper church ordination. No, for in these Nigerian Charismatic churches all a person needed was manifestations of the “Holy Ghost gifts” – this was all the training you needed! I had reached this level of accomplishment when I was 19, in 2008 – only two years after I had started speaking in tongues.

 

Other Churches In Our Neighbourhood

The Pentecostal churches in which I was now becoming a leader were well known for their evangelism activities, besides their Charismatic gifts and services. In the region where I lived, most of the non-Charismatics were Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Sabbatharians. We saw all of these people as lost souls and we tried to convert them.

But the Jehovah’s Witnesses never gave us a hearing, because they say Trinitarians are polytheists. And the Sabbatharians, which make up about 50% of ‘Christians’ in western Nigeria, are a sect which is believed to have been started by a Charismatic preacher who went into the thick forest of Nigeria to fast for 40 days in order to receive greater power and anointing for working of miracles.

It is claimed that on the last day of his fast he saw a vision of angels dressed in white robes and without footwear, who were worshipping and falling down before God. For this reason the Sabbatharians do not wear any footwear on their church premises, which they highly regard as “holy ground”. They also have their worship services on Saturdays and in their church they have candles, which they believe are a symbol of light (goodness), and they burn incense, because they believe the scent of incense drives out devils. And they strive to follow the Mosaic Laws. Their women don’t appear in the church when they are in their menstrual periods. They forbid eating all unclean animals like snails, pig, etc. And they always wear white robes like that of the angels to their church services. They make more of an outward show of holiness than the church of my childhood.

But the main reason why the Sabbatharians were most difficult for us Charismatics to convert is because they had all the same gifts as we did! Also, when their churches started splitting into various factions, they gave their churches amazing names in a similar way as we did to our churches. Some took to the name Cherubim and Seraphim Assembly. Some called themselves The Celestial Church of Christ. And some called themselves The Holy Sabbath Mission. But they still had common fellowship under the name Sabbatharians.

And so the Roman Catholics were our major prey. We considered them the easiest of the three groups to convert. They loved visiting Charismatic/Pentecostal churches to receive visions, prophecies, and prayers for themselves from our gifted people. A few Roman Catholics did convert to Charismaticism and join our churches, while the majority of those who visited us only came to receive prayers when they were in trouble. They believed that they were saved but their churches didn’t have the powers like us. We always told them to join us because we had the Holy Spirit which they didn’t have.

 

My Life As A Pentecostal Pastor

As a pastor I was actively engaged in both these sides of our our church activities – evangelism and teaching and manifesting the Charismatic phenomena. My ministry was popular in my locality because I was well-gifted in tongues and visions and prophecies. I predicted some events as accurately as anyone else with these gifts.

For example, I was enabled to know in advance the exact number of recent-converts (immature Christians who needed the “second blessing”), who would visit my church on Sundays. And I knew what their problem was. I could tell who in the congregation was having a court case or who was diabetic or who had eaten poison (contaminated food). I knew who were demon-possessed and who had come to disrupt and break up our church meetings. I knew how many people would fall on the floor in a trance. I had visions of my father-in-law’s death two weeks before it occurred. I knew which particular week I was going to lack money or going to be sick.

At times after I had engaged in times of “prayer and fasting,” anyone I came in contact with would “fall under the power” (that is, they would fall under a trance, which we believed came from God the Holy Spirit).

Yes some, indeed many, of my prophetic predictions did some true. I shall give you some particular examples:

(1.) In April 2009, I told a sister (we call all professed Christian women sisters in Nigeria) that on 12th June, 2009, there would be a burial in her father’s compound. She later went about telling people it can’t be true but the next month (being May) her father suddenly died, without having been sick for one day. His burial was fixed for 11th June 2009. But there was a general problem in that community so the burial was not held on the 11th but was shifted to 12th June as I had predicted!

(2.) I told another sister that in a vision I had seen her mourning for someone dear to her. Immediately at that point in the church service she picked up her bag and Bible and walked out angrily. But two weeks later she came back with tears because her husband had fallen from a palm tree and was picked up dead!

(3.) I told a sister from Orodo, Mbaitoli LGA, to bring sand from her house for prayer and after praying on the sand I told her she would pick up a charm buried in their compound against her mother. The very next morning, while she was sweeping the compound, she saw a hole open by itself in the ground and a thick, black nylon bag was in the hole. She was afraid and called me on the phone. I told her to call people and show it to them. When the people opened the bag, there was a charm inside!

We loved show-casing such outstanding miracles so that more people would join our church!

(4.) In the service one day, I told the congregation that as they go back home, one of them would see a live serpent in the room and the serpent would be so weak and powerless and won’t slip away until they killed it. And this is how it happened exactly. A woman went home that day and opened the room and looked around but no serpent was in the room. She kept her little child and went out to cook outside the house. Coming back into the room she saw the child playing with a live but powerless serpent!

(5.) A member of my church gave my number to his brother who had traveled to Switzerland for business but was stranded there. When he called me from Switzerland to pray with him, on the phone I told him he was dealing in drugs. He denied it. But he later “opened up” when I told him that he was married to a lady there and had had two kids already which he never disclosed to anyone in Nigeria!

I can give you many more examples like these.

 

“Explaining Away” False Prophecies

When I was part of the Charismatic movement I never doubted the authenticity of these prophecies and manifestations were from the Holy Spirit, and I didn’t question these things, even when some were proved false. Neither did anyone else involved, so far as I know.

So how did we explain it when prophecies were sometimes not fulfilled or when healings sometimes did not happen?

When a prophecy was not fulfilled we simply believed it was because the conditions were not met by the recipient. For example, if we prophesied that so-and-so barren sister would conceive this year and still within three years she was barren, we would say she was not prayerful enough or that there was some unknown sins in her life. Similar with failed healings.

I will give you some examples:

(1.) When I was as a Charismatic pastor, a young lady was brought to our church for prayers. She looked mentally deranged and was quoting Scriptures and shouting a lot. When we saw her, we told her parents that their daughter had the “call of God” upon her life and that she would become a great evangelist, and God would use her mightily. We prayed for her and told the parents that when God was through with her she would be okay.

Well, the young woman’s raving continued for 4 days and so the parents, becoming worried, took her to a hospital where the doctors detected that she had cerebral malaria. After a few days of treatment she was restored to health. And after that, the parents took her and returned to their Catholic church. I believe they had enough sense to understand that we had prophesied falsely.

(2.) A brother (a professing Christian man) had a land dispute with someone. We prophesied that he would have the land restored to him. But after everything he lost the land. Of course, the cover-up for our failed prophecy was that he was retaining some unknown sins.

(3.) Several areas again where our predictions failed were in the area of the sex of the baby to be born. Here in Nigeria, a woman that has no male child is often regarded as equal to a barren woman, who cannot have children. These are the ones that patronize the Charismatic prophets so much. When a woman delivers two or three female children without any male child it is believed that some strange powers are behind it and that a greatly anointed man of God is needed to break “the yoke” (or, the curse). These women often came to our churches to receive prayers for a male child whenever they were pregnant. And since they were anxious for male children, our prophecies to them were always that they would have a male child in that pregnancy. But when they delivered, I estimate that eight out of ten delivered female children again.

Again, the cover-up for our failed prophecies was usually “lack of faith” in the woman being prayed for, or some “secret sin” in her, or sometimes we that God actually gave them baby boys but “a witch in the family” through evil powers changed the baby’s sex in the womb. At times, we told them God was testing their faith, and that they would have a male child the next time after.

With these made-up explanations from our sincere but heretical minds, we never had enough sense to check our practices. And when one prediction comes to pass we herald it all over the town as a miracle! But we never spent much time thinking about how a thousand others were never fulfilled!

Doctrine was much less important to us than Charismatic gifts and manifestations. We were always focused on them. We often talked about other churches that we had heard about (or that we were warned about), where they dwelt more on doctrine. We mocked them as being “cold and lifeless” churches without “power and fire.” We taught our people that such churches were deceiving people and wasting their time with endless and useless theologies. Our slogan was, “A church without power is dead!”

 

Who Is The Most “Anointed”?

I had started my life as a pastor with a zeal for serving God in this work – really, a zeal for the Charismatic “gifts” and having a great “ministry.” But I must confess to you, I was developing an envious spirit of competition and comparison against pastors in other churches.

Any Charismatic church member or pastor, if he will be honest enough, will tell you how he is aware that everyone is trying to show themselves to be the most “spiritual.” Everyone is trying as much as possible to out-do the others in prophesying and seeing visions. Our church services and meetings were a show of who is the more “anointed” than the other, or who can predict peoples’ problems or see into the spirit realm more than the other.

Every Charismatic pastor I knew enjoyed seeing people fall under anointing when we laid hands on them or when we prophesied their problem through a “word of knowledge.”

The people were flooding from one ministry (or, church) to another looking for more and more miracles – looking to see which leader was more “powerful” (or as we said, more “anointed”). Many of these people were were deceived by prophets who collected money from them in the name of “seed of faith.” Some were especially defrauded many times by different “great prophets” and “bishops.”

I know many people who were confused about what was happening in Pentecostal churches, and they returned to the Roman Catholic church because of the things they had suffered from these preachers and prophets. So many people left these churches and so many joined them, that the leaders couldn’t tell who was a full member or not. Members worshiped in this church this week and another church next week.

In less than 3 years as a Charismatic pastor, I had opened 13 different ministries (i.e. churches, congregations) in my own. This was common practice among pastors whom I knew, because we were all carried away with the idea of becoming General Overseers (“bishops”) over several congregations. It is the easiest thing in the world to open prophetic ministries, especially if you are very gifted with seeing into the spirit world, and if you can lay hands on people and make them fall down “under the power.”

However, all these ministries that I founded faded away because the pastors that I put over them couldn’t prophesy to the level that the people wanted. So when they heard of a greater prophet nearby they left my ministries and joined them. The only solid ministry left was the one I was handling myself.

As a Charismatic pastor, I thought I had to work hard in prayer – I thought that I always had to do more prayer each day and each night to get more power from God. So, prayer became a burdensome work that I did to “pull down” (so I thought) greater power and anointing from God. I spent many hours “wrestling God” in prayer, arguing with him in my language and many hours speaking in tongues, all in an effort to get God to do things for me, to build me up as an anointed powerful pastor.

Another thing is that we never saw prayer as a fellowship with God but as a means to use God or achieve our ends. We often heard it said that by prayer King Hezekiah changed God’s decree of death, and therefore, prayer must be able to change God!

I started my Charismatic life “getting violent” with God. And I continued it “wrestling” with God in an effort to “make him” give me health and wealth and power. This is what the Charismatic movement teaches. We had such a distorted view of God! Our Charismatic idea of God was that he was not GOD, in the fullest and proper sense of that word! Our God was somewhere above all things, but we didn’t understand him as supreme and sovereign, actually ruling over all things.

Meanwhile, we believed that anything negative or evil, or anything we didn’t like, was from Satan. For example, if my child developed a fever in the night, I never humbly asked God for mercy upon the child’s health. I would face the devil, “binding and losing” (as we called it) and casting out the devils. Yet after all, we must end in the hospital or clinic! (Oh I can imagine, my old friends will say I didn’t have “enough faith” because of this! Or that I had some secret sin, or that a demon was hindering the child’s healing from taking place.) Another example: If the rain fell during our services, it was an attack from the devil, etc.

 

The Blind Leading The Blind

I attended a conference where much was spoken about Kenneth Hagin and Benny Hinn, and how God was using them mightily. So I visited the book table at the conference and I bought their books. I became a dedicated follower of Kenneth Hagin, buying and reading twenty of his books. I also bought about thirty books by other Charismatic preachers, but my main mentor (though his books) was Kenneth Hagin, and then Benny Hinn second.

If you have ever read Kenneth Hagin’s book I Believe in Visions, you would know why I loved him so much!

My life became full of Charismatic books. If you are familiar with such books, you will know how Charismatic preachers often write a lot of books, which all say much the same thing. They publish new books on faith, miracles, tongues, power and anointing – every week there is a new book out. I have noticed that many of these books have part 1, part 2, part 3, etc.

Charismatic books sell a lot because almost every page is about some great miracle or prophecy or vision or exploit that they did in such-and-such place to so-and-so person, and they say how God can use you, the reader, to do the same miracles as the Charismatic author does – if you have enough faith. It is always the same story.

Just go into almost any Christian bookshop and get books like Kenneth Hagin’s I Believe in Visions or Benny Hinn’s The Anointing, and you will see that every page is about them and their miracle power and how Jesus appeared to them in their hotel room or some such place.

There is absolutely nothing in these books about the wrath of God, or the sovereignty and supremacy of God, or of the Godhood of God – except where they diminish God’s Godhood and where they call themselves as “like God” or that they are “little gods.” Every page presents the author as a superman or anointed hero. Every story is aimed at making you, the reader, crave to become a little “god” or a superhero yourself.

From my early conversion, I have always read through my Bible, verse after verse from Genesis to Revelation, as often as possible. I would strive to read the whole Bible through every year. If I failed to do this in a particular year I didn’t feel comfortable. Yet despite all this accumulating Bible knowledge, I was in a culture where we all followed wolves in sheep clothing. I interpreted the Bible according to what Charismatic/Pentecostal churches teach. And I was a prey to these wolves (Matthew 7:15), who had convinced me to see the Bible the way they saw it. And now as a Charismatic pastor myself, I had become one of them!

If a blind man leads a blind man, no matter how educated and learned the blind follower is, both will still fall into in a ditch! Such was my case, sadly, even with all my zeal in reading through the Bible every year.

There was something else happening in my heart. At first I had eagerly devoured these books in my studies. But later I came to see that they promised much but delivered little. Reading these Charismatic books only created dissatisfaction in me. One book directs you to another and so on, each promising you greater knowledge of how to achieve success, greater health, greater wealth, greater anointing, greater power. And yet each book was missing the (allegedly) essential teaching that allegedly unlocked even greater knowledge and power – but you would have to buy the next book to get that knowledge!

For example, in one book Kenneth Hagin would hit a key point in his teaching but instead of explaining it there, he would direct you to buy another book of his where he treated that subject more fully. So one book by Hagin (and other similar authors) leads you to buy at least 8 more of their books before you can clearly understand a subject; and these 8 books in turn directs you to 49 others! So – the more you look the less you see…!

And as I accumulated all these books, I came to notice something. Each book promised more than the last, but didn’t really deliver what was promised. The later books didn’t really give you any more than the earlier ones – they all taught much the same thing. Just more stories of miracles. For example, Kenneth Hagin has over 8 different books on faith but in different titles, yet all these different books on faith contains the same false doctrines but explained in different words. Their titles are: New Threshold of Faith, Power of Faith, Unleashing Your Faith, The Gift of Faith, Mountain Moving Faith, Bible Study Course On Faith, Faith That Works, etc.

 

A Warning Against “Faith-Killers”

Charismatic authors such as Kenneth Hagin feel that they need to warn their readers about some people they call “faith-killers,” and “short-sighted Christians,” and even, “Christian atheists.” They often warn their readers to avoid these people. They say such people claim to be Christians but they deny God’s miracle working power, etc. Well, I never met such people until 2014.

These people that Hagin and his co-authors warned me about that they were not faith-killers or practical atheists – but they were real, faithful, faith-filled, Biblical Christians! (Question: who would want to keep me from meeting with Christians?) These so-called “faith-killers” are actually the ones who have faith in a supreme, unchangeable and unchallengeable God – they were the Bible-believing, God-believing Christians! Sometimes these people are called Calvinists. They do not deny that God is all-powerful – unlike Charismatics who do deny that God is the all-powerful God, to tell you the truth! But what these Bible-believing Christians deny is that these so-called miracles, prophecies, tongues, anointing and power in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches are from God. So they are also known as cessationists.

Hagin, Hinn and others write so much to paint cessationists black and spoil their true image and reputation. They heavily criticise them, and gloat over how sometimes they die in sickness without submitting to their anointing and miracle power, etc. But they never present the truth about what these Christians actually believed.

O how I thank God I have now met these people for myself!

 

Searching For Bible Versions That Support False Doctrines

Another thing about Charismatic authors I read when I was in the Charismatic movement was that they used several Bible versions to prove their false doctrines. I remember when I read one Kenneth Hagin book, Woman Questions, he quoted from some Bible versions I haven’t even heard before to prove that women should be preachers. I went to market searching for those Bible versions but didn’t find some of them.

I remember one day I took with me four Bible versions to preach from in my church.

Many people don’t see the problem of having many Bible versions as a serious decline from apostolic Christianity. But why must it be that the reader must have three or more Bible versions to understand one Christian book on one subject? And why do they they search out Bible versions that support their opinion?

As a matter of fact, it was the issue of Bible versions that finally brought me to the truth I have now found in Christ.

In the Charismatic movement we said that we believed the inspiration of the Bible but now I see that we were only confessing what we didn’t know at all. We always had many versions to prove our heresies.

 

My Troubles And Doubts

The people in  my church people adored me for my gifts and anointing. It was as though I was a superman! But in my own heart I was troubled. I was becoming increasingly saddened because of the reasons why people were coming to my church. They were coming merely to be entertained by the spectacular spiritual manifestations. Or they came because they craved to have these gifts for themselves. Or they came because they were in need of some physical healing or a solution to some physical problem in their life.

These people received the gift of tongues. They fell “under the power,” collapsing to the floor in a trance. Yes, sometimes they did get the thing they were praying for, and which they had asked me and our church to pray for them. But, so far as I am aware, no-one ever came to my church because they desired to be saved from their sins, or to be born again, or to be changed from their old life. My Charismatic ministry missed the point of what a true Christian ministry is all about. And the same can be said about Charismatic ministries in general.

I had more than thirty adult members in my church, besides many others who attended or visited. The Sunday morning service was always full of people. But not one of my members attended the Sunday evening Bible-study service. However they were always present but our Monday prophetic service, and our Friday faith-clinic service was always packed full of people.

I repeatedly told my congregation about the importance of the Bible-study service and I often got angry with them for not coming to it. But they said  that they don’t attend the Bible study services because I only gave teaching at that time and never prophesied!

I preached on hell many times so to help them see their need for salvation. I remember at one time I preached on heaven and hell for nearly six hours in all the services but it didn’t move them. I often preached the points that I learned from Jonathan Edwards’ sermon Sinners in the hands of an Angry God, because that was the sermon that God used to move my heart. Yet it didn’t move them in the same way.

Yes, some did “move forward” to the front of the church to receive prayer. When I made altar calls for those that wanted Christ, they rushed out in their numbers and showed brokenness over their sin – but it was not a very deep brokenness. After the invitation their lives never changed. No true conversion towards God. These sermons did not make a lasting, life-changing impact on these people.

I began to ask myself, “Am I preaching the wrong sermon, or the right sermon in the wrong place?!”

Another thing that amazed me was that these people received the gift of tongues, and got the experience of laughing in the spirit, and they were falling down (in a trance) “under the power” – even without ever having Christian conversion! They were not converted either before or after the experience of “Holy Ghost baptism.” Some returned to prostitution, smoking, gambling, illegal business and all forms of sin – and yet, they still continued speaking in tongues.

In my church services, often even before I said the words “Jesus is Lord” at the start of my ministry session, after all the singing, many were already coming “under the power,” shaking and speaking in tongues and prophesying (sometimes the prophecies came true), calling out people’s names and declaring the sickness that they had. But their lives weren’t changed after those experiences. No true conversion.

I asked other pastors, friends of mine, about these things. They said they were having the same experiences as myself. They too were wondering why their members never showed interest in God or his word after those experiences in their church. We just concluded that was “how the system goes.” We concluded that nothing could be done about it.

No true conversion. And this was not only true of church members but also of pastors. During the days I was in a strait concerning leaving the Pentecostal churches to follow the truth I have found in the Calvinistic books I started reading, I often asked my pastor friends if they had such an experience as I had when I read that Jonathan Edwards’ sermon. I asked them if they had any strong conviction of sin and any conviction of their condition as a lost sinner before their conversion, and always their answer was, “No.”

Some pastors told me that all that they did was make a decision for Jesus Christ or become zealous. Some even told me they were aware that such experience and conviction was not of God, but mere guilt of the conscience, etc.

In the final analysis, I discovered that none of my pastor friends in the Charismatic movement was ever convicted that they were lost sinners before their conversion.

Ah, I now see what the honest truth is about these so-called gifts: Satan used these experiences to harden their hearts in sin.

 

More Counterfeit Miracles

There are three other things in particular that began raising doubts in my mind concerning the Charismatic teachings and manifestations:

(1.) I became aware that many witchdoctors here in my village had folded up their shrines and gone to cities where they were not known, where they had opened Christian ministries. They did this so that they could earn more money doing their same practices but as “Christian pastors.”

As I visited and stayed in various cities, I saw many witchdoctors I knew from the village who had come to the city and opened Charismatic/Pentecostal ministries and were performing miracles. They could call people’s names, sicknesses, and phone numbers – the same as I did! I personally went to visit their churches and but they never permitted me to preach. I heard their stories about how God appeared to them and told them to stop worshipping idols and go preach the gospel. I knew their stories were forgeries. These fake Christian pastors had crowds attending their services, where they did miracles and laid hands on those seeking tongues and they received tongues – all just the same as myself, and other Charismatic pastors whom I knew!

(2.) When I finally moved from my village to the town in my LGA, I discovered that some “Rev. Fathers” (Roman Catholic priests) and their congregations were also speaking in tongues and performing miracles exactly like us – they too had become part of the Charismatic movement.

I discovered that a school girl, ten years old, had opened a prophetic ministry not far from my church. She could predict events as accurately as anything. Her nickname was “little angel.” She ran her ministry services from Monday to Friday, but on Sundays she herself worshiped in the Roman Catholic church. She said God had given her a mandate from her mother’s womb to go and bring back the lost children of Virgin Mary from the world (including from “Protestant” churches) to the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, when she began predicting these events a “Rev. Father” prophesied to her that she had a call from God to be a prophetess for Mary and for her Son Jesus. She was nine years when she started but I knew her when she was ten. She did many miracles and her services were well attended.

(3.) I became aware that many Charismatic pastors whom I knew had police cases of rape, stealing, homosexual practices and so many crimes. And yet they still performed miracles.

I will give you one example of this, which stands out to me. One of my close pastor friends, named prophet Osita Iloputaife, had held a Four-Day Crusade. (I myself ministered at one of the services.) Over 300 people attended and miracles that surprised the eyes were performed there. Over 80 people received tongues and several other experiences.

Two weeks after the crusade, the city watchmen caught him naked with one of his workers in a school hall where they were committing homosexuality. He was taken to the king and was asked to provide four goats to appease the gods of the land. And he was commanded to walk round the whole community naked, which he did.

Exactly three weeks of that incident, he packed all his belongings and musical instruments and went to a far community where he was not known. And there he hosted another great and powerful Crusade where more than 500 souls attended. I discovered this when I visited a church member in that community some time later. I saw the bill-board posters they had used for the advertisements of the crusade.

Also, in other churches I saw strange things which I can’t explain. But I will spare you the details.

I will say one more thing here. Surely men of God should be honourable and respectable and godly. They would not take to themselves nicknames such as these that I knew Charismatic/Pentecostal pastors around me were taking: “Demon Destroyer,” “Final Authority,” “Last Bus Stop” (for demons!), “Back To Sender” (they thought they could send demons back to hell!), “New Testament Elisha,” and so on.

All these things troubled me seriously and all created discomforts within me.

 

How God Used A Smart-Phone

Then in 2013 one of my church members named Ikechukwu Mbachu from Isi-Ozi-Akah, Umuaka, gave me a smart-phone (Nokia 6600) and taught me how to browse the internet with it. He also told me that I could access any information I wanted by using the Google search engine.

The very first thing I Googled for was that sermon that brought me to the cross Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I got it on the website www.jonathan-edwards.org and started reading it online.

The same fear of hell and coming judgement came over me as at when I first read it. My heart became heavy within me and I felt condemned as my sins came standing before my mind. I tried praying but I couldn’t, because the more I tried to pray the more my heart was heavy with convictions of my sins. My lips became heavy and couldn’t say any words at all.

I visited that website repeatedly and I read many other sermons by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards preached a lot of sermons on hell. Reading those sermons, I started seeing how far I was separated from God. I came to the point in my thinking where I wasn’t even sure I was actually saved.

Later I wrote to the man who hosted the website. His name is William Nichols, an author and a descendant of William Brewster, who was a father of the Puritans. He took the matter of my conversion very seriously. He also sent me helpful books by so many puritans. He encouraged me and promised to be praying for me.

After that I came across a website www.letgodbetrue.com that defended the King James Version of the Holy Bible, the best translation in English. I also wrote to them. There was a church behind that website and I developed a good relationship with them – although I did not know what their beliefs were at first.

One day the pastor of that asked me to tell him much about myself so that he could get to know me better. And I did so, telling him my age, marital status, and that I was a Charismatic pastor. He loved me more but didn’t bring up the subject of tongues yet.

After some time the pastor told me about the doctrines of grace, also known as Calvinism. He sent me links on his website to pages on Seven Proofs for Unconditional Salvation and Five Phases of Salvation. But I told him I couldn’t swallow that evil doctrine that God loves some and hated some, and that Jesus died for some and not for all. I cut off my relationship with him for almost 6 months.

Later on Facebook, on my phone, I came across some folks who were preaching that a sinner could accept Jesus as Saviour even if he is not yet ready to submit to him as Lord. I seriously objected to their post, and so I responded to them on their Facebook page. They asked me to tell them how I was converted. When I told them it was through Jonathan Edwards’ sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, they told me Edwards was a preacher of works-salvation, and that that he was a Calvinist who said God loved some and hated others, and that Jesus died only for some and not others.

That surprised me! And so I went to investigate whether this was true that Jonathan Edwards preached that doctrine I hated most. (And I could not understand why I didn’t see this before.) I read some more of his writings on the website that I had discovered. To my surprise it was true – but not in the way the guys on Facebook presented it at all. After reading about these things in Edwards’ writings, I was humbled before the truth of unconditional election!

I ran back to the pastor behind www.letgodbetrue.com who had earlier introduced me to the doctrine through the Seven Proofs for Unconditional Salvation and Five Phases of Salvation. He was so happy and he sent me books on those doctrines, although he knew it would be hard for me to understand some of them. I understand now that he knew Charismatic ignorants such as myself could only be brought to see the truth through helpful books.

These two men – William Nichols of www.jonathan-edwards.org and International Outreach, Inc., (www.intoutreach.org), and Jonathan Crosby, pastor of a church in Greenville, North Carolina, USA (www.letgodbetrue.com) were chief instruments in my conversion. I say conversion, because this was such a huge change that I was going through that I now think that this was my real conversion – to real Christianity. There is so much of my past as a Charismatic that I have now repented of.

William Nichols sent me so many Puritan books. I will here mention the titles of some of these that I have read and spiritually benefitted from: The Almost Christian Discovered by Matthew Mead; Torments of Hell by Jonathan Edwards; The soul’s Preparation for Christ by Solomon Stoddard; Genuine Salvation by William Nichols.

And Jonathan Crosby sent me several helpful books. For example, The Sovereignty of God by Arthur Pink; The Attributes of God by Arthur Pink; Abstract of Systematic Theology by James Petigru Boyce; The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen; Lectures to my Students and the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge by Charles H. Spurgeon. Pastor Crosby also sent me several Bible dictionaries Bible commentaries.

God used these men and these books to lead me to my conversion and deliverance from the “end-time doom” of Charismaticism. They were patient in answering my questions and doubts. They were always there for me.

 

A Real Deliverance Ministry!

Reading these books set me on an entirely different search for the Truth. What I found in them made me begin to suspect my beliefs in the Charismatic movement.

In my experience, and from the books that I have read, Charismaticism teaches that the sinner assists and cooperates with God before he is regenerated by making a “decision for Christ” and by repeating the “sinners’ prayer,” and that a Christian – a saint – could undo his regeneration and lose eternal life and God could delete his name from the book of life, etc. In most places where that Charismaticism is found in the world, it is an outgrowth of Arminianism.

In complete contrast, those Puritan and Calvinist books magnified God and humbled me. They taught me that God was sovereign, supreme and in charge of every event on planet earth today. They taught me the real meaning of grace, and that God didn’t owe any of the fallen sons of Adam any right to salvation but rather he has mercy on whom he wills, and hardens who he wills.

As a matter of fact, these gospel doctrines were 100% opposite to our beliefs and understanding as Charismatics!

When I started preaching these new truths (that is, old truths that were new to me) in my church, my people looked at me as though I was blaspheming! To them, it was like  I was telling the whole world that the sun will rise from the west tomorrow morning. How they hated it! Their angry response was so un-Christian, it stunned me.

Try telling a full-time Charismatic (or Pentecostal) church-goer that genuine salvation can’t be lost and that making a “decision for Christ” or “going to the front” in an evangelistic or miracle crusade service doesn’t necessarily regenerate a dead sinner – and you will see for yourself how angry he or she will get. They may even spit on your face.

While I now had joy teaching these truths, my unregenerate Church members didn’t accept them as true.

I tried carry them along gently, piece by piece proving these doctrines to them from the Bible, to help them see the truth. But they couldn’t accept these truths. I gave books to the more learned ones among them. But they returned to tell me that such books were only theory and not practical, and so were of no use to them.

They loved their interpretation of John 3:16 so much that that they could not accept the interpretation I now gave them from our brother Arthur Pink’s book, The Sovereignty of God. The Charismatics prefer a “God” who, in a love for all mankind, sends “Jesus” for the potential salvation of all mankind – but then allows the effect of this salvation to be limited by whether a person makes “decision for Christ” or not. But I had learned that fallen man never does good and never seeks God and has no fear of God at all (Romans 3:10-18). So every time a person turns to believe in Christ and therefore receives everlasting life, this believing is also itself the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). The truth, plainly explained in John 3:16, is this: God’s love for this world is demonstrated in his sending his only begotten Son for the purpose that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God knows how much I loved my congregation, and how much I went out to help them and patiently persuade them about these truths. But what I now experienced was this: everyone who is devoted to Charismaticism, who thinks of himself or herself as a kind of superhero or “little god” on earth, hates to hear that the one true God is sovereign and in charge of all things, and that he gives eternal life to whosoever he wills.

Charismatics are taught that they can be like superman with gifts and powers – and many of the worst Charismatic leaders say that we can all be like gods ourselves, “little gods.” And so to be suddenly taught about the true GOD is such a shock to them!

I thank God for my smart-phone. I often contacted those lovely men of God who were my guides and they always – alwaysalways told me to be patient with them, which I was. Also I remember that I myself rejected these truths at first, and yet God brought me to love them. So I knew that God could do this in any of these souls in my church.

 

Taming The Tongues

When pastor Jonathan Crosby saw I was taken up with the new truths I had found, the doctrines of grace, he then brought up the issue of tongues!

He told me that I would never succeed in bringing my members to believe the doctrines of grace (the sovereignty of God, unconditional election, eternal security, perseverance, and so forth) unless I clearly teach them the difference between the Biblical gifts of tongues – which were, purely and simply, earthly languages spoken by those who had not learnt them, and today’s Charismatic gifts of tongues (and the pagan gifts of tongues) – which were counterfeit of the true gift and merely satanic babbling.

Pastor Crosby explained to me how “tongues” is Satan’s major tool used to harden people’s hearts against the truth of the gospel. He said that tongues, if done away with in the church, the leave the people more able to be sober, contrite and humble to accept the truth. He said that tongues puffs up but grace humbles the heart. He said that the genuine gifts of tongues passed away with the 1st Century Christians, either around 70 AD or soon after, upon the completion of the Holy Scriptures.

Well, that was as much a shock to me, as T-U-L-I-P (the Five Points of Calvinism) was when I first heard it! So I just ignored pastor Crosby and tried minimizing the tongue-speaking in my church. I tried adjusting the tongues-times in the services. I tried controlling the tongues – but it was useless!

At first, I tried combining Calvinism with Charismatism, as I discovered the ministry of John Piper, a famous pastor in the USA. But I soon came to understand that this compromise doesn’t work. Piper has somehow been deceived into thinking that the so-called prophecies and miracles of Charismaticism are genuine and comparable to those in the Bible. They are not. They are counterfeit. They are not the work of God the Holy Spirit. But with Piper’s fame and influence he is able to spread this his deception widely. In this he is instrumental in the ongoing transformation of reformed churches into Charismatic churches around the world. As someone whom the Lord has recently brought out of Charismaticism – leading me in the opposite direction to this disastrous undoing of the Reformation – it especially distresses me to see this spread of essentially occult practices in the Church and calling them manifestations of God.

I started searching the internet on the subject of tongues and what I found made me marvel. I came to understand that what we ascribed to God the Holy Spirit was actually very different from what he gave to the apostles to confirm them as ministers of the New Covenant.

Finally, when I couldn’t stand by and watch tongues-speaking anymore, I held three days of teaching specifically on the Biblical gift of tongues in my church, to help them come to the same understanding as I now had. But after that their resistance to me grew worse.

Tongues is the easiest miracle to fake – anyone can do it! And if they can be tricked into thinking that they tongues-speaking is evidence that they have the Holy Spirit, then this counterfeit miracle can make anyone think that they don’t need the gospel, don’t need salvation, because they think they are already saved. Or if they are already Christians when they start speaking in tongues, then this babbling in fake languages holds back their growth so that they don’t become mature. And as they think that they are now receiving direct communication from God, so they don’t study their Bibles properly.

The more tongues-speaking, the more the Bible becomes a closed book – except for the favourite Charismatic proof-texts, which they take out of context and misinterpret. The people think they are becoming super-spiritual, but in reality they are suffering from a famine of the word of God!

 

God Changed Me

During these months some radical changes occurred in my own life. It was not only that my beliefs were changing.

My ability to see visions and to know things supernaturally ceased by itself sometime after I started reading the Puritan and Calvinist books. I can’t point to the precise moment when these changes occurred.

My church members noticed even before I did. My wife started me telling me that my members were saying I had committed a grievous sin against the Holy Spirit and so he has left me.

So I went into a three-days fast to pray and seek for the “gifts” again. But when I opened my mouth to pray in tongues, my tongue would be very heavy and my conscience would condemn me. I was now admitting the fact that these things were all fake – whether of man or Satan, but not of the Holy Spirit not the same as those gifts of the Bible’s apostles. Something would be telling me, “Since I have now come to know the truth and yet still try to return to falsehood, it shows that I still love darkness rather than light.”

But I tried to get this “power.” I went to my old Charismatic books and I started reading them again, in an effort to regain those gifts. Yet it never happened at all. I could not see visions anymore, and I could not predict events or know new people’s names, problems, and so on.

As my understanding and of these “new” cessationist doctrines became what I now personally believed, indeed became convictions in me, I gathered those Charismatic books and burnt them to ashes.

 

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Photos of my burning books, from my smart phone

 

I explain all this to you, reader, because I want you to understand that I didn’t leave the Charismatic movement because of failure or frustration. I was a successful and growing Charismatic pastor. I was deeply reluctant to leave these things – they were my life!

But God was leading me to the truth, and I was resisting him. Yes God was (and still is) merciful and gracious to me, and he persevered with me.

God brought me to repentance for my involvement in the Charismatic movement. It may shock my Charismatic readers to see me write this, but what I am now writing I hope will sober them and be helpful to them.

I will say it plainly: what is called the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” in Charismatic churches is nothing but counterfeit. In many cases it is merely human. But in some cases it is demonic. For example, I have now come to understand that some “prophetic gifts” are no different from the spirit of divination which was operating in the life of the young girl in Acts 16. Similarly, Charismatic “tongues” are essentially the same as “tongues” in African tribal religions, and in other parts of the world, and in other modern false religions such as Mormonism. And the so-called healings! There is much that I can say about Benny Hinn and others like him, whom I know.

But when there is genuine conversion by the sovereign grace of God, the soul is delivered from the power of darkness, just as that young lady in Acts was delivered when Christ took over her life after Paul rebuked the Spirit. No one genuinely converted will continue in any so called gifts of the Holy Spirit which Charismatics cling to. The true Holy Spirit will bring them to honestly repent of these evils.

 

God Changed My Ministry

In God’s dealings with my soul, unknown to me at first, he caused my “Charismatic fire” to cease. What I mean is, my preaching style shifted from shouting to simple doctrinal teaching. I no longer made those emotionally supercharged proclamations that were common in our churches, such as, “You will prosper!” – “Your miracle is now!” – “Your Red Sea has divided!” – “Those who wanted you dead are dead!”

Now I was preaching soberly and reverently concerning the sovereignty and supremacy of God, true holiness, practical godliness, the total depravity of man and his inability to save himself, the need for a new heart, etc. I no longer jumped about vigorously like a madman on the pulpit. Neither did I go about laying hands on everybody and pushing them down or blowing on them, commanding them to be “slain in the Spirit.”

Ah, something left me, as it were overnight, and another thing entirely came into my soul.

At first, my church members believed it was spiritual weakness, and that I would recover my “fire.” But when I continued in such a mood, they turned to gossiping that I had committed some grievous sins and therefore “lost the anointing”!

After this I began investigating every experience that some where manifesting in the church and I concluded these phenomena never amounted to any good but were totally counterfeit of the true Christian spirituality, being not the work of the Holy Spirit but either human or devilish.

I started seeing things differently from the Charismatics. Or to say it another way, I went though a huge change in my worldview.

So profound was this change that I even told my  church members that since we started this church congregation, we had never really seen apostolic signs and wonders as he had claimed – although we had indeed seen some amazing answers to prayer from God. I reminded them now the barren sisters (Christian women), about whom we prophesied would conceive within a year but they were still barren. I told my people and I and other Charismatic pastors had deceived them.

But these honest confessions didn’t move them. They said that they still believed those experiences were of God and that they would leave me and become members in other Charismatic churches. 35 to 38 people left my church. Only 6 youths remained.

My old church members criticized me and said I was an apostate. But my joy is full and I knew that I had found the real Holy Spirit of the Bible!

While all these changes were happening in my ministry, I drew courage from such Scriptures as these: I had now put my hands to the Lord’s plough and I didn’t look back (see Luke 9:62), because I now counted being with Christ and suffering reproach with him better than all the treasures of Egypt (see Hebrews 11:26).

 

My main reasons for coming out of the Charismatic religion

In a summary, these following are the major reasons why I left the Pentecostal/Charismatic Religion:

1. I came to understand that what we were speaking as tongues were vain babblings – meaningless sounds pretended to be a foreign or angelic language. 

The Biblical gift of speaking in tongues is the God-given, supernatural ability to communicate the Gospel message (the “wonderful works of God”) in a language the speaker has not known before (Acts 2:11). Speaking in tongues is the power to speak known earthly languages, not some babbling. The next time anyone in your church speaks in tongues, ask him/her the language they spoke and you will see how they will stare at you as though you were a ghost! In Acts Chapter 2, the Holy Spirit did not leave us in darkness as to the true nature of speaking in tongues. The 16 different languages which Peter and the other apostles spoke were listed in that passage for our comfort and confirmation. These early disciples didn’t speak meaningless sounds into the air as we do today.

2. The Pentecostals and Charismatics are deceived by the idea that every dream has a meaning, and that God is trying to pass a message across to them through these dreams. 

When I was in the Charismatic movement, my church members always came to me with one dream or the other which they had, and we start praying to get the meaning. One day, Jonathan Crosby sent me an email and it contained these words: “Dear Abuoma, dreams are chaff, the Bible is wheat! If I tell you that I had a dream or some word of knowledge from God, how can you prove it? If I tell you God said so and so to me in the dream, how can you prove it? Abuoma, dream is not a special medium by which God wants to speak to you. God wants you to hear his word in the Bible and obey it….” In the Pentecostal religion, if you had a dream where you saw some dead relative speaking with you, then it means God is warning you of untimely death. That is nonsense!

I see the foolishness of those beliefs now that I have left the Pentecostal religion. Why would God want to warn me of some coming untimely death? Will I assist him to prevent it? Is he not God enough to do it alone? If the life of my relatives depended on the assistance I gave to God, then they will all perish because I cannot see how I can give God any assistance! Away with those useless superstitions that feed only those who don’t want to hear the truth! And one funny thing is this, you are never going to stop having those nightmares if you believe they are God’s way of communicating to you.

Another folly we practiced is that when you have a dream where you were swimming in the dream, The Pentecostals say it means you have a covenant with the Mermaid spirits and marine powers. If you eat in the dreams, they say you have been initiated into the witchcraft coven and you need a special deliverance prayer conducted for you. Men: if you dream of having sex in the dream, that is the worst demon attack you can imagine – it means you have been married to a spiritual wife! If you see yourself in your grandfather’s mud house, it means you have been attacked by ancestral powers which your forefathers served. If you dream of picking snails in the dreams, they say you have “slow success syndrome.” Women: if you see yourself pregnant in the dream – ah, forget it! – the Pentecostals say you are pregnant from a spirit in the water. If you see yourself eating meat in the dream, or running in the bush, it means you have been bewitched. If you dream of seeing yourself in traffic jam, then they say your progress is being hindered by the powers of darkness. If you see yourself preaching in the dream, then it means you are called to be a preacher. If you see a vulture in your dream – forget it! – the spirit of death is haunting someone in your family. If you see yourself carrying crates of eggs, you must rejoice because your plans will be successful. If you dreamt and saw policemen in your dreams, then pray hard because a court case is coming your way, so they tell you. If you dreamt and saw soldiers surrounding you, then be rest assured, your guardian angels are at work!

My fellow Nigerians, all of these are all nonsense, whether you believe it or not! I once believed them and practiced them, but now I see they are just stupid superstitions.

3. The Pentecostals have wrong doctrine of Salvation. 

They believe they were saved by an effort of their own free will, and that if great care is not taken, then they might lose their salvation. I don’t see any assurance in the doctrine that says I can lose my salvation. If that is true, then it means that when you were saved and brought into union with Christ, what you received was not eternal life but temporary life! This useless doctrine makes the Pentecostal accuse you of backsliding whenever you leave their superstitious practices.

4. I saw that I was in danger of hell if I didn’t come out of their midst. 

Though I had come to fully understand the Calvinistic doctrine of salvation that we are not saved by anything we do, or do not do, but by God’s sovereign mercy, yet, I couldn’t be assured of my salvation while I still walked in darkness and Pentecostal Superstitions.

5. The Pentecostals wrongly suppress import passages of the Bible which they didn’t like or which opposed their carnal minds. 

For example, they are ready to tear away Acts 13:48 from their Bibles because it opposes their wrong idea of free will. This verse humbled me to the dust when I read it: “As many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

6. I left the Pentecostal Religion because they are no different from the Catholics who stick to what their pope says as the final authority. 

If it is not what their pastor or prophet has prophesied to them, then forget about it, you are never going to convince them.

7. I left the Pentecostal religion, with its superstitions, because even after 7 years of full time ministry, I discovered none of my church members were saved. 

They had zeal and “anointing” but that is no evidence of salvation. One sure sign of those that have eternal life is that they endure sound doctrine. Arthur Pink said, “Try them with sound doctrine and you will see how they hate the truth.”

One sound doctrine the Pentcostals cannot endure is, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak [i.e. to be a speaker, as a teacher or leader in the church service]” (1 Corinthians 14:34). And that includes the Pastor’s wife! But in the Pentecostal religion – they who pretend to be filled with the same Holy Spirit as who moved the apostle Paul to write this Scripture – the pastor and his wife are the church board of trustees. If the pastor is not around, the wife holds the pulpit and teaches the people till the husband comes. Or sometimes the woman is equal or more of a preacher than her husband. It is a family business, anyway.

That was how my wife and myself were running the church, but not now. These days my wife endures sound doctrine (unlike those who can’t endure it; see 2 Timothy 4:3). She sits in the congregation and listens to the leading men teach and interpret the word of God. And she is a great help and encouragement to me. If she discovers something she doesn’t like, she questions me me at home after the service; and if there was anything wrong then I humbly make the necessary changes afterward.

8. I left the Pentecostal Religion because I discovered it is different from the historic Christianity that has endured the test of time. 

The Pentecostal Movement started by Charles Parham on January 1, 1901 – just 113 years ago compared to 2000 years of Historic Christianity. Some want something that is new and modern, because they think that the new is better. But true heaven-seekers seeks for the true path even it is is the old path. I don’t want what is new at all.

9. I left the Pentecostal because they have the wrong idea of who God is, and they hate the true God. 

Common sense should tell men that if there is a God, then he must be Sovereign in all his works. Common sense should tell men that God, if truly there is God, should be free to do with his creatures as it pleases him. The one question that constantly stood before me when I came across the true Christian faith was this: Is God Sovereign or not? Is God free to do with me as it pleases him or not? My dear, until you answer that question, you are not yet ready to discover the One True God who has declared “My counsel will stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10).

10. I left the Pentecostal Religion because I was at the peril of losing my soul at last if I didn’t declare the whole counsel of God to them which I had discovered. 

For how can anyone be a true pastor and indeed a true Christian, if he knows the truth but doesn’t lay hold on it with both hands and make stand for it, and instead  continues in that which is false without repenting of it? Now that I knew that we Pentecostals (as I was then myself a Pentecostal pastor) do not have the real thing we claimed to have, why should I hide it from my congregation? Now that I knew that the practice of interpreting dreams was all false, why should I continue in it? Now that I know that babbling in “tongues” is not of the true Holy Ghost, why should I hide it from my church members whom I loved?

11. Finally, I left the Pentecostal Religion because “grace” has wrought so much changes in me such that I fell in love with God and his word. 

I will stand before Jesus one day, and I will say to him, ”Lord, if not that you brought me out of that Religion, if not that you stretched out your mighty hand and pulled me out, I would have perished with them.”

I invite you to read my wonderful article “Some Questions for every Sprit-Filled Charismatic” here.

– Pastor Abuoma Boanerges
https://www.facebook.com/abuomaministries

 


Pastor Abuoma Boanerges made contact with me in May 2014 after he discovered my website. He gave me his testimony over a long series of emails, as his responses in an interview, which he composed on his smart-phone. I have edited and reorganised his emails to build this testimony, and I have added a few explanations and sub-headings. But these are mostly pastor Boanerges’ own words. – Simon Padbury. 25th June 2014.

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3 thoughts on “Abuoma Boanerges: Personal Testimony of a Nigerian Pastor

  1. Dear Pastor Abuoma Boanerges,
    I have just read your article and rejoice to see how the Lord led you out of the Pentecostal church and taught you the Doctrines of Grace. I am also happy that you adhere to the Authorised Version (also known as KJV). It is the only sound and trustworthy version in English. The modern versions are all based on corrupted texts. It is sad that many pastors now use the modern versions. My husband, son and I are in a Reformed Baptist Church in the north of Scotland. May the Lord bless your ministry and use you to build up His Church and teach true, Biblical doctrine.
    Sincerely,
    Margaret Bruce

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    1. Dear Margaret Bruce,

      Thanks for your encouraging words.
      God’s mercy to usward is beyond what tongues can tell. Each day I think of how God saved me, stripped me of all my arguments, and sent me to go proclaim the Gospel of His Grace. The glory and power of the Pentecostal Movement is stripped in the face of Jesus Christ. All that the sinner needs is to have God shine the light of the glory of Christ in his heart through the Gospel, and every religion upon which he has built his hope for eternal will be stripped and exposed for what it is – A COUNTERFEIT!

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  2. I too went to this type of church. It has taken years to get rid of some of the stuff. I never bought the tongues stuff or being slain in the spirit. But I have to tell you I do not like Jonathan Edwards famous sermon. It is sick. If you read up on hell, you will see that the burning forever stuff came in from pagan religions and catholics for control. God doesn’t torture or delight in cruelty. Man does. The true interpretation of hell (read up on it) from the original words is not the burning one. I did not know Crosby was a Calvinist. I thought he was against that. John Calvin was a very cruel man who caused people who disagreed with him to be burned at the stake. Facts. Some of the screwiest people I know with the strangest doctrines are Calvinists. More bondage ajc Crosby knows a lot of stuff but as a woman, it would be difficult for me to go to his church. I am sick of bondage under the guise of Christianity. Compare the spirit and fruits behind some of this stuff.

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