How the Pentecostal Jesus failed me in times of need

Former Pentecostal lost many friends after leaving the Charismatic movement, and shares how God saved him out of the movement when the doctrines of name-it-claim-it abandoned him in times of need.

I’m glad I found a group of like minded Christians who has had the same kind of experiences I’ve had in Charismatic Pentecostalism and are willing to edify one another. The following is an outline of my testimony as a former Charismatic Pentecostal whom the Lord has graciously saved from grave error. I hope to one day make a video/audio presentation of the Biblical/doctrinal side of my testimony, which is the reason I am no longer a Pentecostal today. The following text is my personal journey. I am sure it isn’t as interesting or exciting as most of the testimonies you might read, but it’s my story of finding true fulfilment at the feet of our Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ.

I renounced Charismatic Pentecostalism in 2009 after seeing and experiencing the high levels of corruption, decadence and Biblical/doctrinal manipulation within the movement (most of these unbiblical practices have the blessing of the church/ministry leaders).

From the beginning, there was this nagging feeling deep within my heart, convicting me that most of what I see and hear in the Charismatic Pentecostal realm is grossly unbiblical.

After I was saved as a 11-year-old, the Lord led me to read most of the Bible within a year. As I was taught about the unique doctrines of Pentecostal Charismaticism, my mind would drift back to the Bible and I would find myself questioning if these doctrines were really true to God’s word. I still remember the time, as a 12-year-old, when I was frantically flipping through the pages of the New Testament trying to find references for the ‘doctrine’ of ‘slaying in the spirit’. I couldn’t find any. Later on I was taught that the ‘anointed’ men of God – the so called ‘Apostles’ and ‘Prophets’ within the walls of Charismatic churches – received many new revelations from God that was relevant for the modern day church. So, if I don’t find references to some of the church teachings in the Bible, it was all okay as the Lord is using his anointed men to teach us new things in this day and age. This explanation somehow sounded wrong to me but I could not, as a young boy, explain to myself how or why it sounded wrong. It was only much later in my life that I realised that it was the Lord working at my heart to help me get back to the word of God.

All the doctrines of ‘naming’, ‘claiming’, ‘proclaiming’ and ‘declaring’ seemed to have abandoned me at my time of despair. There I was all alone in that hospital corridor, with a Bible on my lap, a heavy heart and a broken spirit, with eyes which wanted to burst out in tears…

During my early and mid 20s I was actively involved in what is known in Pentecostal circles as youth/music/concert ministry. To me, organising ‘Christian Rock’ concerts was the only way to get the gospel message out to the young, urban generation of the 21st century. There was very little emphasis on repentance, holiness or separation from the world, but the focus was always on appearing ‘cool’ and ‘sophisticated’.

But the Lord as slowly working in my heart and He started to show me how wrong I was in what I was sincerely trying to do for Him and His Kingdom.

I would spend days and nights in sheer confusion and guilt, pondering over the unholy, worldly means and methods which I had employed in attempts at propagating the gospel. Deep within me, I once again knew it was all grossly unbiblical and unworthy of a Holy God. I knew it was all wrong but I was afraid to leave it all behind and start anew. I did not know how or why (biblically) I should do such a thing, but I knew I must if I were to get closer to God and mature as a Christian. My mind was in disarray and my heart was troubled.

Events in 2008 and 2009 – my mother was in the intensive care unit of a hospital 3 times in the space of a year – led me to turn to God, get down on my knees and cry out for mercy. I was broken, alone and helpless. My only source of comfort was at the feet of the Lord. I realised I had no one else to turn to. All the doctrines of ‘naming’, ‘claiming’, ‘proclaiming’ and ‘declaring’ seemed to have abandoned me at my time of despair. There I was all alone in that hospital corridor, with a Bible on my lap, a heavy heart and a broken spirit, with eyes which wanted to burst out in tears, but remained dry. All I could do was call out to the Lord and put my hope and trust in Him alone. I spend many sleepless nights in that corridor, reading the Bible and praying.

As the days and nights wore on, I found myself looking forward to the time when I could sit on the uncomfortable chairs in the hospital corridor to study the Bible and pray through the night. It was as if the Lord had put me in that situation just for me to turn back to His word and meditate on His precepts. I begged for forgiveness as the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin of hanging on to false teachings. The time of prayer I found there was unmatched in all my life till then.

The Lord began the healing process on my mother and she was back home after 3 weeks in hospital.

As I returned to my normal life, I realised that the Pentecostal doctrines that I held so close to my heart for so long had slowly started to unravel. Each time I heard something preached by a Pentecostal preacher, I would quickly search the scriptures, to see “whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11). And almost each time I would find those things weren’t so….

The Lord showed me how the Bible – His holy word – is the only source of revelation and truth to mankind. The scriptures are the only way for a man to be built up in Christ. (2 Tim 3:16,17; Psalms 119:7)

I eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn’t enough just to renounce the Charismatic movement but I had to voice my opposition against it when rank heresy (and there is a lot of it) was promoted from the pulpits.

I started to share, with people who were willing to listen, about the superiority and sufficiency of scripture over the doctrines of men. When it came to the question of personal/extra biblical revelation, there was much contention and opposition from the pentecostals. Some pentecostal leaders thought of me as a ‘thorn in their flesh’ for speaking against their prosperity ‘gospel’. So you can imagine the bitterness I had to face from some quarters.

Soon I was shocked to find most of my friends – my brothers in Christ, so I thought – had turned against me because in their eyes I had turned apostate. Some of my closest friends proclaimed themselves to be my ‘bitter enemy’ (their own words). This was a very painful experience indeed but the Lord has been faithful to help me quickly overcome such adversity.

Now true Christian friends are few and far between, but I am grateful for those the Lord has given me. Moreover, I’m thankful to God for heeding my prayers and using me to pull a few of my friends out of the Charismatic movement. There is still work to be done and many souls to save…

I have a message to those of you who are either on the brink of leaving Charismatism behind or are in the process of weighing up the Charismatic doctrines of the church you are attending. As a former Charismatic (15 years as a Charismatic and 17 years in Charismatic churches), I know how we have layers upon layers of doctrinal error wrapped around our hearts and minds. We need to earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit to peel and prune away all the doctrinal excesses that has been drummed into us during the time we spent at Charismatic churches/ministries. Remember: Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

We, my friends, have the the sword of the Spirit – the holy word of God – to guide us in the right paths of the Lord as a lamp unto our feet, instructing us in righteousness, continually correcting and reproving us, showing us the right doctrine and guarding our minds from error, throughly furnishing us unto all good works.

Always remember who our God is. Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord. Our confession of who He is determines who we are in Him!

Mat 16:15,16 “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Beware of the damnable heresy that is usually preached from Pentecostal Charismatic pulpits about a Jesus who has a character of fallen man. A Jesus who did all the miracles because, according to the heretics behind the pulpits, he had ‘divine peace within’ and ‘a positive mental attitude’. Shun doctrines such as positive confession/Word of Faith/name-it-and-claim-it. That is another gospel and not the Gospel of the Bible.

You will lose friends and relationships if you decide to leave the movement. But you stand to gain so much more than a few fair-weather friends. You stand to gain fullness and peace in your Christian walk the likes of which you have never experienced before. Moreover you stand to gain the Truth of the word of God. Would you not want this over everything else Charismatism has to offer? In times of adversity the following verse always comforts me:

Rom 8:17,18 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

To the Admins of this group: Thank you for the encouraging and edifying posts. You are doing great work for the Lord. I’m sure many will be saved from error and despair. Please advise if I could help in any way possible. I am at the moment actively engaged in helping a few of my friends come out of Charismatism and its residual consequences. Looking forward to godly fellowship and edification from born-again members of this group. Thank you. God bless you all.

Your brother in Christ,
Nick Arnold

First published on our Facebook on 15 December 2015

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