In 1986, after an intensive study of the Word of God, the Lord graciously opened my eyes to the errors of Arminianism, and showed me the truth of the doctrines of sovereign grace. As these precious biblical doctrines dawned on my mind and in my heart, I was awestruck! The sovereignty of God; the fact that not even the flight of little sparrows occurs without being foreordained; the glorious truth that the elect were ordained to eternal life from before the foundation of the world; the unutterably comforting truth that once a person is in Christ, he is in Him forever; all these truths, and many more, were applied with power to my soul, and I embraced them, and rejoiced in them.
In early 1986 I married Stacey. We had known each other since our early teens and had similar spiritual journeys. On our honeymoon, as we sat in a treehouse in the African bush, I read to my new wife from a book I had discovered, which helped to answer the remaining questions we had about Pentecostalism. All the pieces of the jigsaw now came together. We saw that we had been deceived, and we were fully delivered out of the Pentecostal movement.
I informed my dear friend, the pastor of the church where I was assisting, of what had happened; that I no longer believed in either Arminianism or Pentecostal errors. It was arranged that I could explain my “new” doctrine to the advisory board of the South African Evangelistic Mission at a specially convened meeting. I agreed to this; but when the time came, I was given no opportunity to speak or to explain anything; instead, despite not having heard my doctrine from my own mouth, one pastor after another got up and for a period of five hours spoke against what I was teaching, and against me personally. They questioned my stability; they implied that I was blaspheming the Holy Spirit; one even labelled me Antichrist; etc. And well after midnight, when the meeting broke up, I now knew what so many before me had realised through the centuries: one cannot hope for “reform from within” when it comes to religious error; one must always make a clean break, for a false religious system will never be reformed. That which is false cannot, in fact, be reformed; a false religious system cannot become a true Christian church; it must only be rejected.
I was of course barred from ministering in the denomination, and our modest income was discontinued. Newly married, we faced an uncertain future, humanly speaking. We looked by faith to the Lord, and month by month He provided our needs.
I knew the Lord had called me into the ministry of His Word as far back as 1980; but it was only in 1986 that I was fully delivered from the false doctrines and practices to which I had held. This delay was the result of an utter lack of sound teaching and the imbibing of false teaching, which as a young, untaught new convert I was simply unable to counter and refute. This period of breaking down and building up, of unravelling and casting off the false and embracing the true, of seeing through the doctrines and traditions of men and devils and of laying hold on the precious doctrines of God’s divinely-inspired Word, had taken some eight years, from my conversion in 1978. Blessed be the Lord, He graciously taught me, during that period, through His Word. I have proved, in my own experience, the truth of Psa.119:130: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” To God alone belongs all the glory!
When the Lord opened my eyes to the deceptions of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, it was not long before I began to speak out and preach against it. The break had been made, the bridges were burned behind us, and our colours were nailed to the mast.
In that same year (1986) I established a small, independent, sovereign grace house church, the Bible Christian Church, and I have been pastoring and teaching ever since. It has never been large, always numbering just a handful of souls. South Africa is a land filled with churches, but the vast majority of these are liberal, ecumenical, and political in their message. We stand separate from all these, seeking to serve the Lord without compromise, having “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11). The doctrines we uphold and proclaim are not those which the vast mass of professing “Christians” want to hear today.
An important aspect of the work which began in 1986 was our cassette tape ministry. By this means the truth was spread abroad on a very large scale, and has continued down through the years; and of course tapes ultimately gave way to CDs, many years later. Many thousands of sermons and lectures have been distributed worldwide by this means.
1986 was, truly, a very eventful year for us. It was a very happy one, because of our marriage and because of our rejection of the errors we had held; but it was also a very painful one, with the loss of dear friends as a result of our rejection of Pentecostal/Charismatic error. A note in the February 1987 issue of the newsletter gives a hint of the troubles we had passed through: “‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body’ (2 Cor. 4:8-10). The last few months have been full of troubles, persecutions, and spiritual warfare. But we can truly say with Paul that we are not in despair, nor are we forsaken, nor destroyed. The Lord has stood with us, and strengthened us, that ‘the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear’ (2 Tim. 4:17).”