Something else occurred in 1996 which was a cause of personal joy to me, as well as being of eternal benefit to the one concerned. The Pentecostal pastor whose assistant I had been all those years before when I was in that movement, providentially got in touch with us again after many years. He had left the Pentecostal “ministry”, and was “examining himself, whether he was in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). During the next few months we held weekly Bible studies together, and he was in much soul-travail as he sought the Lord; but finally, the Lord was pleased to reveal His Son Jesus in him, saving his soul. It was my privilege and joy to baptize him. What a testimony to the sovereign grace of God, that a man who had been a Pentecostal pastor for many years was enabled by divine grace to see his lost condition, and to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith! We rejoiced to welcome him and his wife into membership in our local church.
In 1997 we were again back in the United States. I was again interviewed for the TV programme produced by my brother in Christ. We also had the opportunity to visit the world headquarters of the Mormon religion, the largest cult in the world after Roman Catholicism, in Salt Lake City, Utah. We stood on top of the 26-storey office building that is the Mormon nerve centre, from where we had a commanding view of the Mormon “holy of holies”, the temple itself, with its giant golden image of their so-called “angel Moroni” on its pinnacle. The Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, claimed that this “angel” told him where to find golden plates which he claimed to translate as the “Book of Mormon”. This book, of course, is full of utter fabrications and contradicts the Bible, and Smith was influenced by a demonic “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). What hellish spiritual darkness! As with Romanism, the dreadful spiritual plight of those within Mormonism should move all true Christians to evangelise the Mormon people whenever they come into contact with them, or when their zealous young missionaries come to their doors!
By this time Bible Based Ministries had contacts in 29 countries. From some countries we received a large amount of correspondence, whereas from others it was just a trickle; but we praised the Lord for each contact, for each opening He had given.
In 1998 we started using e-mail. A small thing in itself, at the time, but the world was computerised and this was now essential. Having e-mail made communication much faster and more efficient. Having our own website was still some years away, but this was a very good start.
The following year, we were able to report that one of our Gospel tracts was now available in French for the first time. We had had a translation of one of them in Afrikaans for some years, but this was the first in a European language spoken by millions of Roman Catholics.
For some time I had been in the habit of writing letters to the paper whenever the Lord or His blessed Gospel was attacked, or a false “gospel” was promoted. In late 1999 I wrote a letter in response to an article the newspaper had published by a homosexual ex-Anglican priest, who had written approvingly of a Gay and Lesbian Pride Day march through the streets of Johannesburg, and had attacked Bible-believing Christians. The paper published my letter, and it stirred up “an incredible hornet’s nest” (to quote one of the editors). For weeks afterwards, the letters column of the paper carried letter after letter on the subject, and these were only a portion of the letters actually received by the paper on the topic. I was interviewed by the paper for an article, which was duly published, which provoked still further responses from the public, including one man who said he almost choked on his breakfast when he opened the paper and saw my photograph accompanying the article!
As I wrote after this in the magazine: “Wherever Paul went and preached, he caused a stir! There were often riots in the streets as wicked men, offended by the truth he preached, sought to kill him. Read Acts 19, or Acts 13:50, 14:2, 17:13 and 21:27…. Brethren, if our message does not offend the wicked, agitate the sinful, and stir the unrighteous to anger, then we have failed to preach the truth; for the Gospel truth is always offensive to those who love sin and hate righteousness. God’s holy law condemns the sinner, and this it must do, for the Gospel, the good news, can only be embraced once a man has first heard the bad news: that he is a lost, hell-bound sinner, and that there is no hope for his soul apart from Jesus Christ, the only Way, Truth, and Life, the only Saviour of sinners.”
In early 2001 I visited Zambia. For many years we had been corresponding with Christian men incarcerated on death row in a maximum security prison in that country: men who were once hardened criminals, but who read the truth of the Gospel in some of our literature, which in God’s providence found its way into this prison, and professed salvation from their sins through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. A church was established in that dark place; and week by week they assembled together to listen to the taped sermons we sent them. It had long been my desire to visit them; and in early 2001 I was able to fly to Lusaka, Zambia, with a brother in Christ from the United States, our purpose being to attempt to get to see the prisoners, and to deliver some clothes and other items to them. In the process we were almost arrested!
Knowing that it was an offence in Zambia to film government buildings, I had no intention of doing so, but as we were still a long way from the prison buildings, and were passing an open field, I had my video camera running. We stopped at a gate, and an irate prison warden came up and angrily confiscated the video cassette. We were surrounded by a number of prison officials, and things started to get ugly very quickly (to put it mildly), not so much because of the video, which was soon forgotten, but simply because we were there. Although we had an official permit from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the wardens said this was worthless: they insisted that a permit was necessary from the Department of Home Affairs. This was Socialist African bureaucracy at work! After confiscating our passports, the officer in charge told us to go and see the commissioner, to obtain permission to enter the prison. We did so, but – possibly hoping for a bribe – he refused to grant us permission. Back we went to the prison, where the officer in charge said that although we could not see the prisoners, we could leave the items we had brought for them – even though the commissioner had said we could not! Every single item we had brought for the brethren in prison was carefully itemised. By this time the wardens were very apologetic, saying it was sad that we had come such a long way and yet were denied permission to see the prisoners. We later learned that all the items were safely delivered to the prisoners.