Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” I felt the weight of that truth as I read this author’s story.
Recently, a woman reached out to me in the struggle of finding her way to Jesus. She said that she knew that people “could have a genuine experience” and that she was currently re-reading the book, I Dared to Call Him Father by Bilquis Sheikh, a book that gained popularity in the ’70s as the story of a Muslim woman’s conversion to Christianity.
It is my guess that the majority of Christians that read this book considered it a powerful testimony; and, back then, I probably would have agreed with them. Thankfully, discernment now comes into play.
I picked up the book out of curiosity, but the very first paragraph of its Forward stopped me in my tracks. Thereafter, I thought it wise to compare the author’s experiences to biblical Truth. I’m glad I did. I had to carefully select which discrepancies I should mention or exclude in this article. There were too many to list.
I’ve done this research for the sake of the woman who reached out to me because I am 100% convinced that she is genuinely seeking Truth, and I’m sad to report to her that, in my opinion, this author’s experiences do not coincide with the “born-again” walk of Christianity. In the end, I found it to be the perfect example of how deception has crept into the Christian world.
I began this project by going to Amazon’s comment section to see what others were saying about this book. It had been given a five-star rating and, as expected, many of the comments referenced Catholicism, mysticism, and spirituality in general. A YouTube video search rendered the same results.
This article is not meant to explain the book itself, but to highlight many of the discrepancies that I found to be “red flags” of warning. Dreams, visions, and spirit entities (one of whom she believed to be Jesus) were the author’s main sources of influence.
The Forward, written by Catherine Marshall, seemed to be steeped in spiritism. In the very first paragraph, she introduced the author as having a “rare sensibility to the world of the spirit,” and later commented, “At such times I have marveled that a new Christian could have such depth of perception into the world of spirit.”
Truth: Nowhere in the Bible do we hear the term “world of spirit.”
In Christianity, we are born-again when we, in repentance, turn to Christ as our Savior. At that time, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives to direct us in His ways. He does that by giving us a hunger and thirst for His Word.
Having a “rare sensibility to the world of the spirit” is not biblical. God directs all of His children to His Word. He does not have favorites. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are filled. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, and those who study to show themselves approved grow in Word and knowledge.
Mrs. Marshall then wrote, “…The intensity of Madame Sheikh’s passion to witness for her Lord has fulfilled God’s primary condition for bestowing His special gifts of the Holy Spirit.”
Truth: Salvation is the only primary condition for the Holy Spirit’s gifts to be bestowed upon us, and He equips every Christian with them. We need those gifts, not only to lead others to Him, but to live our daily lives for Him. No “intensity of passion” qualifies a person to be bestowed with special gifts. We are all sinful humanity, saved by the grace of God alone.
God does, however, equip Christians from time to time with special gifts to carry out a specific purpose. Most often, He chooses someone who is unqualified in that specific area so He will get the glory for it. The amazing works that He performs through them are generally realized through hindsight. That is the supernatural life of the believer.
In chapter 3, when questioning if Jesus was Allah, the author was given two vivid dreams.
Truth: Faith comes from hearing the Word, not through dreams.
In Chapter 5, she asks the “Father” if He is the God of the Bible or the God of the Koran, in which he responds, “In which book do you meet Me as your Father?”
Truth: Our Heavenly Father, the Almighty God of the Bible, will not share His glory, nor does He give us multiple choices of how we would like to perceive Him.
Quote: “Suddenly, I was filled with wonder and awe. For in that silent pre-dawn room I saw His face. Something surged through me, wave after wave of purifying ocean breakers, flooding me to the tips of my fingers and toes, washing my soul. Then the powerful surges subsided; the heavenly ocean quieted. I was completely cleansed. Joy exploded within me, and I cried out, praising Him, thanking Him.”
Truth: Only the blood of Jesus cleanses our sins and washes our soul. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Quote: “I am a Christian now! I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit!”
Truth: Baptism in the Holy Spirit is given to those who are already Christians. It does not make us Christians.
In Chapter 6, she writes, “Instead of reading the Bible, I found myself living it.”
Truth: “Thy Word is a light unto my life, and a lamp unto my path.” When we forsake the Word, we forsake the Light. Jesus is the Light and Jesus is the Word.
Eventually, her quest to remain in the warm, glowing Presence which she called the “glory of God” became an hour-by-hour endeavor. If she did the right thing, it stayed with her. If she did the wrong thing, it left her until she got it right.
Truth: “The just shall live by faith,” not by an endless pursuit of pleasing spirit entities.
In Chapter 7, after a demonic spirit violently shook her bed, she recalled the next morning: “As I closed my eyes in prayer, I saw the Lord Jesus Christ standing before me. He wore a white robe and a purple cape. He smiled gently and said, “Don’t worry; it won’t happen again.”
Truth: Jesus is currently seated at the right hand of the Father in the earthly body that ascended to Heaven at the time of His resurrection. It is the Holy Spirit that works on the earth until He returns. When Jesus was on the earth, He was limited to His one fleshly body. Since sending the Holy Spirit, we are now His collective body. He works through us. If Jesus had intended to appear to people Himself, He would not have instructed us to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel” nor to “do the work of an Evangelist.” He would have done it Himself through apparitions such as the above.
I’ve heard Christians boasting that Jesus has been appearing to the Muslim people lately, and that they are being saved through these encounters. In my opinion, this book gives a tell-all reality check of those rumors and exposes the doctrines of devils that are still so prevalent in our world today.
By the time I got to chapters 9 and 10, the author had become all but a slave to the spirit that she now called “the Presence.” Her ultimate goal was to remain in its warm, glowing, feel-good presence for as long as possible.
Quote: “I’ll go, since You are telling me to go.’ And, of course, the sense of His Presence returned. What an extraordinary series of experiences I was having with this coming and going of His glory. Still, I had the feeling that I was just on the verge of understanding what this was all about. How would I be able to learn to stay in His Presence for an ever-increasing percentage of time?”
Truth: Christians live their lives and go about their daily business as everyone else does. We also trust in God for his guidance, which generally comes from being well-versed in His Word. Our daily Christian walk is not in pursuit of a warm, fuzzy relationship with Him. It is to serve Him in obedience and faithfulness according to the Truth of His Word.
Throughout the entire book, the author’s main focus was to remain in the “glory.” That is a danger in itself. Seeking the glory without knowing the Source of the Glory leads to spiritism and to a never-ending search for the next “glory fix” or “glory experience.” The Bible warns us to “turn away from those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.”
The author also writes of multiple encounters with dark entities and fearful demonic spirits, which leads the reader to assume that this is part of the normal Christian life.
Truth: By far, most Christians have never even heard of these demonic, in-your-face-type attacks as experienced by this author. We are to be aware that satanic forces are working against us, but it is not our responsibility to fight the demonic spirits ourselves. Our defense is to put on the full armour of God by standing in Faith. Our sword, which is the Word of God, strengthens us against the spiritual attacks that come our way. We live our lives for Jesus and trust Him to protect us from evil. Our role is to share the Good News of salvation, not to involve ourselves in the spirit world.
The “red flags” were minimal throughout chapters 11-14, with the exception of excessive dreams and visions. There was nothing new or shocking. It did, however, occur to me that the author had never mentioned having a hunger for the Word. Over and over, when she needed an answer to prayer, “the Presence” would guide her to specific portions of scripture, or she would simply open the Bible and read the verse that her eyes fell upon.
Sadly, I think that it is safe to say that the majority of Christians live out their days, never knowing that “hunger and thirst” for righteousness. The consequence of being satisfied with stale Christianity is that they will never know the abundant life that God so freely wants to give them, nor will they discover the hidden treasures that await them in His Word.
The epilogue, written seven years later from her new home in the United States, seemed to reflect the most normal Christian views of all, which led me to believe that the author truly believed that she was living a God-directed, Spirit-filled life.
Overall, I found that every chapter of this book screamed of (what is now known as) the New Apostolic Reformation, which I’ve heard is currently the fastest-growing denomination in the world. I consider it to be apostate and deadly, in that they allow dreams, visions, spiritual experiences, and prophetic words to take precedence over the written Word. Many strange and demonic manifestations have been witnessed in their meetings, and the Word of God is commonly twisted to fit the situation at hand. Signs, wonders, miracles, healings, holy laughter, grave soaking, and fire tunnels are examples of their never-ending quest to experience the “glory.”
Truth: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Correspondence may be sent to Hope at: firstname.lastname@example.org