Then in 1984 I again travelled the same route, but this time I took two friends along with me. One of them was the pastor of the Pentecostal church I attended. We slept in the back of my bakkie (as small pick-up trucks are called in South Africa), and sought to visit priests, monks and nuns. We did get to speak with a monk, two nuns, and some priests on different occasions, including one who appeared to be drunk and who chased us away, shouting at us to “Go to those who don’t have Christ!” But again, our “Gospel message” was so very deficient.
Much time was spent in writing letters to priests of Rome; and indeed I was able to engage in correspondence with a few. But unfortunately, although earnestly seeking to point them to Christ as the only Lord and Saviour, I was still in Arminian/Pentecostal error.
In early 1985 the name “Bible Based Ministries” was given to the work. I wrote in the newsletter at the time, “The work of God must be biblically-based and Christ-centred.” This was my great desire for my work, even though, at the time, my own doctrinal position was not, in some very important points, biblically-based at all. But the Lord was working in me, and I would soon see and forsake the unbiblical doctrines and practices to which I still held.
In 1985 I travelled to the United States, to Los Angeles, California, to meet with Alberto Rivera, a man who claimed to be an ex-Jesuit priest converted to Christ. This would prove to be a very momentous event, but for reasons quite different from what I at first imagined.
Some years before, I had been given some famous comic books published by Chick Publications in California. These purported to be based on the true-life story of a man named Alberto Rivera. This man, a Spaniard who was by that time living in America, claimed to have been a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest before being supposedly converted to Christ and beginning a ministry of supposedly taking the Gospel to the Roman Catholic people. The first book in the series, Alberto, was causing a huge stir in many parts of the world. It was a thrilling story to read, and I determined to try to meet him if possible. There was much in the comic books that was accurate historically (little did I know it at the time, but there was also much that was completely inaccurate as well), and it is an historical fact that the Jesuits have done, and are doing, many of the things described by Rivera in the books. His story appeared genuine.
Accordingly, I wrote to Rivera and was duly invited to spend time with him and his co-workers in California. I ended up spending three weeks there.
There was little, on that trip, to arouse my suspicions, and the few things that did concern me somewhat, I put down to cultural differences, etc. I was invited to become a representative for Rivera’s ministry, being in charge of following up on all his correspondence from Africa, Asia, and Australasia. My ministry would remain separate from his, but we would work closely together. And indeed this is what happened, for a few years, until it became clear that he was not at all what he claimed to be.
Meeting with Rivera and then working in association with him for a while was in the providence of God. Not because he was a true man of God, for he was not, as became evident in due course, but for at least three other reasons:
First, in God’s providence it was through a conversation I had with him that I really began to question my Arminian doctrines as never before, and to carefully examine the doctrines of sovereign grace.
Second, by becoming his representative for Africa and Asia, a vast amount of correspondence which he had received from countries throughout these continents was passed on to me. Not only did this mean I was able to contact these people and introduce them to my own ministry, but also, when the truth about Rivera became known, it meant that we were able to warn many people about him and his “ministry”.
And thirdly, through my association in those years with Rivera, the Lord brought me into contact (in 1988) with a brother in Christ who would become not only a very close friend, but in time the U.S. distributor for Bible Based Ministries’ books, and the worldwide distributor for our recorded messages. Thus Bible Based Ministries began to reach people in many other parts of the world.
But that was still in the future. Meanwhile the work continued to expand. In 1985 I started to sell books on the subject of Roman Catholicism. From the outset materials were supplied free of charge, as able, to those who could not afford to purchase them, a policy from which we have never deviated through the years.