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Tag Archives: Ex-WoF

SEE PART 1 HERE

As the spring turned into the summer of 1990, I continued to ponder what precisely was accurate about charismatic teaching. I had, however, noticed a trend: charismatics were every bit as PC as everybody else, only they thought they weren’t. Three issues still occupied my mind: Word-Faith views, the lordship controversy, and eternal security. I was torn on the first, settled strongly on the second, and somewhat settled on the third, having traded in my more Pelagian colors for semi-Calvinistic threads.

I mentioned earlier that I read MacArthur’s book regarding the lordship controversy. In the spring of 1990, his radio show began airing on our local AM station. The broader-reaching FM station added him in the fall, and now it was possible to hear John preach without that interference noise I get when listening to the Cincinnati Reds on WCKY when I’m in Omaha. Because of Mac’s book, I got on his mailing list, which became important when I began receiving his ministry’s magazine, “Masterpiece.” It was quite the glossy little thing, complete with articles, items for sale, and book reviews. In the first one I got, the book reviewed a new tome called “The Agony of Deceit.” This was a polemic written by about a dozen authors criticizing the Faith movement (for the most part). The review was mostly positive, with two negatives: 1) it noted that everyone criticized in the book was a charismatic; and 2) it felt the book was too overly negative and implied that no televangelist had ever succeeded without appealing to common desires.

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I understood the gospel call on November 30, 1987. I was raised a Southern Baptist but never before had the truth of God penetrated my heart. It is unfortunate, however, that the SBC’s emphasis on getting everybody saved – to the exclusion of everything else – led to a stunted upbringing in theological education. Nor was anything about personal relationship really discussed. The emphasis was on believe. In all seriousness, it sounded like Zane Hodges was the source of all things SBC back in the 1980s. That is not to libel him but to simply give you a point of reference.

Upon salvation I turned my back upon everything I’d ever been told. If I couldn’t find it in the Bible, it wasn’t true. Immediately, I rejected eternal security – quite viciously, actually. I knew only two things from the ten years I’d spent in the Baptist church. I needed to believe to be saved, and I could never lose it no matter what I did afterward. A decade in church and that’s ALL I ever learned doctrinally. Well, I did learn that Jesus said, “Thou shalt not drink” and gave a whole list of behavioral requirements to get into Heaven. I also learned that you couldn’t work your way to heaven and yet they’d shame you into doing work at church as if you were the unfaithful servant who buried his gift.

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I was Wof in Tulsa for almost 13 years. I must admit during that time I probably grew in many areas of my spiritual life more than I had up to that point, but I also must admit that I was also becoming a bigger and bigger ‘flake’ in many areas, too. Each time I’ve given a portion of this testimony, the Wof will say that I was not really Wof during this period of my life. I can only say that with all the honesty I can muster that I was as sincere in my Wof beliefs as I knew to be. I studied under some of the “greats”; Billy Joe Daugherty, Ken Cope, Jerry Seville, Fred Price, Buddy Harrison, Ken Hagin, Capps, and a cast of many more. In fact, we were members of Beverly Hills Baptist in Dallas during the ‘hay days’ of Howard Conaster. I knew the Wof scriptures and I lived them. I realized, however that even though we were ‘believing’, confessing, giving, and serving in the Wof way, our lives were no more blessed or miraculous than some of our Baptist friends. Our group was getting sick, losing jobs, divorcing, and having trials just like the Baptists we knew. Then joy of joys…..my dear wife got pregnant with our second child after three miscarriages! We confessed and praised over the blessing ( we never said a word about the miscarriages – that would have been a bad confession and an admission that we were not living the victorious life we said we were ). Our baby was born big and healthy just like we and the Wof church we attended had confessed. Eighteen hours later, he was gone. There we were alone in the hospital wondering why. After my wife was able to come home we began the process of laying our boy to rest and went to our church and talked with the assoc pastor. During our talk we asked him the question on our hearts….why ? That’s when he went through a number of scriptures to show that we must have allowed satan in with either unbelief, sin, or bad confessions. Since I knew my heart better than him, I knew that I had done the best I could have and it “didn’t work” ! From that day we became more sensitive to the Wof insensitivity towards the pain and suffering around them.

I “stumbled” into a fine Baptist church right there in our neighborhood that we began to worship in. I was amazed at the topics that were emphasized that were never mentioned in the Wof circles we traveled in. Topics such as discipleship, and a daily quiet time. We still have several friends from that time that are Wof. One now suffers from a painful nerve condition that he says he’s healed of. Most of the others have divorced or they are Wof/Christians by association only. The biggest regret from my exposure to Wof was the smug I’m-more-spiritual-than-thou attitude I carried for many years after leaving Wof. I’m certain I hurt many dear people’s feelings during the time after leaving the Wof sect.