My story involves the New Apostolic Reformation and GOD TV. The following is an excerpt from Man: The Dwelling Place of God by A. W. Tozer:
How to Try the Spirits:
“THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.
“Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.
“Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21). “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”” – end quote by A. W. Tozer
I discovered this classic book by A.W. Tozer shortly after my ordeal ended in 2009. With the encounter still so fresh in my mind, I comprehended Tozer’s words with a keen understanding and with full discernment.
In light of my story, you need to know that I did not have a computer until the end of 2011, so when it came to Christian programming, I was at the mercy of TBN, Daystar, and a few small channels.
Whenever I discerned a red flag on one of those channels, I’d often switch to another pastor with another sermon. That was all just part of “spitting out the bones” as I had been taught to do.
I didn’t know the terms Word of Faith or New Apostolic Reformation.
I loved Jesus with all of my heart.
What I did not realize was that I was the perfect candidate to fall into deception. I matched Tozer’s qualifications perfectly, in that I fervently craved more of God and would not settle for lukewarm Christianity! I wanted everything that I could get from Him!
In 2008 I was introduced to GOD TV (a New Apostolic Reformation channel), and I quickly became addicted to it. The programming, the worship music, and the pastor’s sermons were completely different from the TV channels that I had become accustomed to watching. They were fascinating to me! Even the music that led into their commercial breaks was intriguing. Quite frankly, I couldn’t get enough of this lively, exciting channel. The worship music was different than the hymns and praise choruses that I knew. Their songs were almost seducing at times, captivating the listener with repetitious, hypnotic lyrics. I could get lost in them. The pastors spoke of deep, prophetic messages that they had received via personal revelations or dreams.
It wasn’t long before I had completely abandoned the other channels for GOD TV. I was totally blind to its influence.
Looking back on it, the red flags were there from the start. Spiritual experiences seemed to dominate most of the sermons, while repentance and the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus were not being mentioned at all. Many times, I sensed that something was not quite right or just a little “off.”
There were stories of angelic encounters, oil dripping from the speaker’s feet, feathers and gold dust falling on the worshipers, rain falling inside of the buildings, and supernatural gems being found all over the church.
Due to my strong Christian upbringing, I knew that those things were not coming from God, but by then I was so intrigued that I kept watching it. Their programming was exciting compared to the money-seekers and fake healers that I had become so accustomed to watching.
Then, my own experiences began to happen.
One night, on my way home from work, I heard a sermon on the radio that spoke of *****. (I don’t remember what it was about.) However, when I got home and turned on the TV, the first thing out of the pastor’s mouth was, “if you just heard *****, you are a part of us!” Hey, how could I resist a confirmation like that? It made me feel so accepted!
Let me pause here to say that, by allowing this programming to continue, I gave satanic deception an open door. When I initially noticed the red flags, I should have rejected this false doctrine. Instead, I chose to ignore the warnings.
Another night after work, I turned on GOD TV to find a woman introducing a special training program that her ministry was offering through the mail. As she introduced the material, I watched as the television disappeared from around her, leaving only her face in the room. She continued to explain how to order the program. I was not afraid of her. Having surrounded myself with deception for months, I thought, “Surely this must be from God.” I ordered the series.
A few days later, it arrived in the mail, and I began to listen to the CDs. When I got to the middle of the series and realized what it was all about, I was literally shocked. It was demonic. It was angel worship. It was astral projection in the name of praying for others. Yep, they claimed we could go to them! We could also hover over other countries as we prayed for them to be spiritually awakened. We could even leave our bodies and visit the “third heaven” at will. It was purely satanic.
Instead of throwing the CD lessons away, I put them away in a closet. A few days later, I pulled them out and listened to them again. Then, I listened to them again; then over and over. I was strangely intrigued.
A few weeks after that, having gone through the lesson several times, I began to practice a few of the things that they suggested. I invited an angel to appear in the room even though the thought of it frightened me.
Thankfully, it didn’t happen.
On several occasions, I tried to experience “going to the third heaven” with them as I “soaked” in the music that they had provided specifically for that purpose. I also imagined my spirit leaving my body and going into another person’s house to pray for them.
By this time, I was spiritually bound to this deception. The more I immersed myself into the lessons, the more Jesus became an insignificant afterthought.
Shortly thereafter, I began to experience many vivid dreams and daytime flash-visions. I saw angels. I heard voices. Even though I knew better, I tried to convince myself that these were Godly manifestations that I had somehow missed in my earlier Christian walk.
On the physical side, flocks of vultures began to hover over my house. If I stood outside, they would circle over me and cast their shadow on me, one by one.
One day, when returning from town, while I was still about 1/2 of a mile away from my house, I saw a flock of about 100 of these birds hovering directly over my house. Another time, I heard a crash outside of my back window as an entire flock crashed a tree limb in my back yard. I later learned that birds can represent demonic spirits.
The breaking point happened one afternoon as I was about to enter my front door. I felt a swat on my backside as if a parent had just swatted a child. This frightened me terribly as I realized that I had just entered a realm that I didn’t want to be in. Demonic spirits had actually been allowed to touch me.
At that point, I knew that it was only going to get worse. So that very day, I threw away all of the materials that I had received from that ministry. I also cleaned house and threw away most of my contemporary Christian music CDs.
The games I had been playing with God were over at that point, and I was being forced to make a decision as to whom I was going to follow. In doing so, I desperately called on the Jesus that I had known as a child. (I didn’t trust myself to call on any other Jesus.)
Even so, it took months… and I mean months… to get back into a right
relationship with the Lord. It still frightens me when I think about how I allowed this deception into my life. After all, I had been grounded in biblical teaching since childhood.
Then, the fierce battle began.
Let me backtrack a little to add that when I went to throw the CD lessons in the trash, I felt a strong, frightening warning in my spirit that said, “If you do that, you’ll pay for it.”
I did it anyway… which sparked a period of satanic rage that lasted for the next several months.
I started seeing demonic faces in clouds, in trees, in bushes, in reflections, and in almost everything else…. all day long, day after day. These were harassing spirits. They were relentless and tormenting, and they robbed my mind of all peace.
I learned to keep music on all the time to block out the mental noise, especially when I attempted to fall asleep. I was worn down, both mentally and physically.
The torment eventually began to subside through the process of fully submitting myself to Jesus again. I could do nothing else but to throw myself into the verse, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
In my efforts to make that happen, I fully submitted myself to God, rejected everything except the simplicity of the cross, and made a conscious decision to resist the devil by ignoring his harassment. I stopped looking up at the sky and turned away whenever I noticed one of the images. I filled my mind with the Word every chance I got, and I constantly talked to the Lord.
At the same time, I acknowledged that by ignoring those initial red flags, I had allowed God’s protection to be lifted. I learned the hard way that “God is a Jealous God” means that He will not compete with our ungodly affections. Instead, He backs off, leaving us open and exposed to seducing and tormenting spirits.
One day, after “resisting the devil” for a few months, it occurred to me that I hadn’t been harassed for a while. I hadn’t had dreams or visions either. It had taken months, but God in His mercy had finally delivered me. The harassing spirits were gone!
I stretched out on the sofa that day and took the most peaceful nap that I have ever experienced. I didn’t need music. I didn’t need a fan blowing on me, or any other noise at all. It was perfect peace. Perfect peace!!!
Today, I’m aware of many forms of deception that I knew nothing about a few years ago. I recognize the Emergent, the NAR, the Seeker-Friendly, the Word of Faith, the Purpose Driven, and on and on.
The Bible isn’t kidding. We must “test the spirits.”
Deception is very real. It is demonic. It is enticing. It is captivating. It is strong. And it is everywhere!
And what did Jesus tell us in Matthew 24 concerning our day? Above all, BE NOT DECEIVED!
I will admit that I cannot prove that all of the NAR teachers allow training to this extent in their churches. Even so, it speaks volumes that GOD TV airs both NAR and witchcraft, and I have yet to hear the pastors on that channel argue against it.
Obviously, when signs, wonders, and experienced-based doctrines are preached in place of biblical doctrine, other forms of deception are tolerated as well.
I realize that I’ve opened myself to ridicule by telling my story, but I also know that we are living in the last of the last days, and that many other Christians are facing this same deception. Hopefully, my story will spare someone from having to go through the same thing.
You need to know that God will let you be intrigued to death, even to eternal death. It’s up to you to keep yourself, and you do that by staying in the Word.
In Tozer’s words, “He expects us to avail ourselves.”
Be not deceived.
Correspondence may be sent to Hope at: firstname.lastname@example.org