A Letter from a Reader in South Africa

Dear Friend:

I write to you, as a concerned child of God and ex-member of ____________ Christian Church. Since leaving this church, God has revealed the true Gospel of Jesus Christ our Saviour to me. Among other things, He has exposed the true source of the so-called "anointing" or "outpouring of the ‘holy spirit’" which is being experienced in many Charismatic churches. Although it seems to have its origins in the spiritual realm, I can assure you that is most definitely not the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

If, at this stage you are tempted to simply shred this letter, I implore you to at least read it through, before doing so. If however, thereafter you still feel inclined to do so, then be my guest. After all, it is not for me to convince or convict you in any way. That is the work of the Spirit of God. It is however, up to you to decide what you are going to do about that conviction. You can either choose to act upon it. or you can choose to simply ignore it.

In July 1995, after re-committing my life to the Lord, I experienced God’s Miraculous Healing Power twice within a single week. In the first instance, God totally delivered me from a sexually immoral lifestyle and six days later He supernaturally healed me from smoking. As you could well imagine, these experiences had a dramatic influence on my life. Within a period of six days, God turned my whole life upside down.

I had heard that God touched the lives of people in similar ways in ____ Christian Church. But, I must admit at the time I wasn’t really convinced that these ‘manifestations’ were from God. I just couldn’t believe that God would heal people in such strange ways. Then, to my utter amazement, I experienced not one, but two supernatural healings in the privacy of my home. I must admit, I began to think that which was being experienced in the ________ Christian Church must be from God.

I began attending the Church’s services on a regular basis, but to my dismay, I didn’t experience the ‘anointing’ of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, I became extremely agitated when these ‘manifestations of the spirit’ were displayed during the services. Needless to say, I became somewhat concerned. When I spoke to my fellow members about this problem, I was told that is was an attack from the devil to prevent me from experiencing the presence of the Lord and that I should seriously pray about the situation.

Thus began a period of serious spiritual warfare against this attack from Satan, but alas, still no manifestations. I could not understand it. Why was God withholding His Spirit from me? What was I doing wrong? I prayed and prayed to God to Fill me with His Spirit - but in vain. I continually pressed in, but nothing happened. At one stage I actually began to doubt my salvation due to the fact that I wasn’t experiencing any manifestations.

I became so totally obsessed with the manifestations that I found myself concentrating solely on trying to induce a manifestation whenever I prayed or worshipped. It was only then that I finally managed to successfully induce a manifestation. To my utter disgust, this so-called ‘anointing’ was a far cry from the wonderful life-changing experience which I had previously experienced when God had delivered me from an immoral lifestyle and smoking.

I noticed that for some strange reason praying and reading my Bible suddenly became virtually impossible. Furthermore, I became aware of the fact that I often felt tempted to fall back into sin in the areas where God had delivered me. I asked myself, "why is this happening?" I was confused. Then I blamed Satan for the fact that I was unable to effectively pray and read the Bible. As for falling back into past sins, I promptly found Scriptures with which to justify why God was supposedly allowing these things to happen, but in fact I used these merely to lull my own conscience.

In the eyes of my Charismatic friend, I had made it! God was actively working in my life. I most definitely couldn’t allow anyone to know that which I had experienced as the "manifest presence of the Lord" wasn’t everything it was made out to be. I couldn’t risk being heard speaking out against the Holy Spirit - after all according to Matthew 12:32 and Mark 3:29, 30 - this is an unforgivable sin. I certainly wasn’t prepared to be guilty of that. And so, the masquerade began. I pretended to enjoy these experiences when in actual fact, every single time I allowed myself to experience the ‘anointing’, something deep inside my inner being would be pleading with me to put an end to the charade.

I was bewildered by this predicament that I found myself in:. .Was I the only person who felt this way?. . Were there others who had the same problems? . . or. . Was Satan yet again attempting to stop me from receiving God’s blessing? Yes, that had to be it. Satan had to be responsible for these doubts, as well as for the discomfort I was experiencing. Of course, the only way I knew how to counter Satan’s attacks was to engage in Spiritual Warfare.

Once again I launched not a serious battle against Satan. I earnestly prayed to God to: Remove anything and everything in my life that wasn’t from Him, as far away from me, as the North is from the South and the East is from the West. If it wasn’t from Him, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I thought He would take away the doubts and the discomfort.

Instead, when I prayed to God in this way, the most horrific thing happened. God took this strange ‘spirit’ away from me. Yet, amazingly for the first time in many months, I was able to read my Bible without having to force myself to concentrate on what I was reading. Suddenly God’s Word once again became a reality to me, as it had done when I gave my life to the Lord; I could once again actually understand what I was reading. What’s more, I noticed that my prayer life dramatically improved and that the temptations which hounded me before had disappeared.

But, alas as far as the Charismatics are concerned, it is only when we experience what they define as the "presence" of the Lord (or the anointing or the outpouring of the ‘spirit’ as they call it) in our lives that we truly grow spiritually. In fact, according to their teachings, a so-called ‘personal touch from God" is considered to be far more important than the Word preached from the pulpit. What was I to do? I sincerely desired to become spiritually mature. So, I yet again sought the so-called anointing and before long I found myself caught up in an action reply of the previously described scenario, but with one small difference. As I had had previous experiences, I was now able to achieve the manifestations much easier than I had the first time round, but as I did, the battles against Satan re-commenced. Surely something was wrong - But I was reassured by my friends that these incessant attacks were a sign that I was doing something right because Satan only attacks those who are making progress in God’s kingdom.

At first I fell for this explanation, I even thanked God for the attacks, but after a while I began to doubt whether it was true. I simply could not believe that what I was experiencing was God’s will for His children. I simply had to find the answers. Thus with much difficulty at first, I endeavored to seek answers to these and other questions I had in God’s Word. (The Bible).

The first subject I tackled was that of the Scriptures used to justify these so-called manifestations of the Spirit. It wasn’t too long before I realized how totally misquoted, twisted and misinterpreted these were. Should you doubt this fact, read the following Scriptures - in context: Acts 2:15, 16 and Eph 5:18 (being drunk in the "spirit"); Amos 3:8 (prophets - roaring like lions); 1 Pet. 1:8 (uncontrollable laughter) and Acts 9:6 (shaking in the Spirit).

Don’t just skim over them because you believe you know them. Read them carefully. Sincerely pray that God will reveal the content through His Holy Spirit. Should you still believe that they do justify the so-called manifestations, and that these are of God, then read the following Scriptures carefully: I Cor. 12:7-11 (Manifestations of the Spirit); Gal. 5:22-24 (Fruit of the Spirit); Romans 12:6-8 (Gifts of the Spirit). In fact, perhaps you should also study Luke 4:33 and Luke 9:42 (Demon spirits).

I also had believed that what I was taught was Biblical and it took some time for my to fully comprehend the truth. The reason for this is described clearly in Isaiah 5:9 and Matthew 13:13. Christians hear these Scriptures quoted so often, they actually no longer hear their true contents. They only hear what they are taught to hear. Even when reading these Scriptures they do not see what they are reading.

God has shown me that what is happening in many churches is that the truth is being traded for a Lie. The danger lies in the fact that when a lie is believed for long enough it becomes the truth to those being exposed to it. God helped me to see that what I perceived as being the Holy Spirit was actually a Deceiving Spirit. And what I perceived as being a Deceiving Spirit was in actual fact the Holy Spirit.

Your friend in Christ,

Yvette Hoffman (Pretoria, South Africa)


Write to Discernment Ministries