By Teena Myers
This first time guest experience is not with a church but with an evangelistic ministry. The email invitation from a friend in Christian broadcasting appeared creditable. An evangelist wanted to hold a regional prayer meeting. The group appeared small, offered a free dinner, and encouraged us to bring a friend. I was aware of the evangelist’s ministry. There had been several prayer meetings in New Orleans led by this ministry in the past.
I believe in prayer, but I am not fond of group prayer meetings. There is a long story behind that attitude. In summary, the prayer meetings I’ve attended told God how to fix the world, as though he did not already know how. All of them ended with the sins of people in leadership being exposed, and the sheep scattered.
I believe the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman avails much. It does not matter how big the group is, how long they pray, or how loud they pray. God responds to request that fit within the guidelines of his will. One person whose heart is right with God can offer a one sentence prayer and get faster results than a mob shouting, crying, and instructing God about things he already knows.
Mildly interested in the invitation, I phoned a friend to ask if she would accompany me to the event. If my friend had said, “No,” I would have stayed home. An hour drive to the destination at night and alone did not appeal to me. Unfortunately, she said, “Yes.”
I entered the address into the GPS and received a warning the route included a gated community. I assumed the tickets I printed for the event were for the guard at the gate. A box stood guard at the gate.
“Try the call button,” my friend said.
No one answered. I backed away from the entrance to see if there was a phone number in the email. About that time a row of cars approached. The gates swung open, and I quickly pulled in line to follow them into the gated community.
We pulled in front of a small mansion and followed a couple holding Bibles into the house. A very friendly host offered a warm welcome. “There will be more people than we thought,” she said, and then left for more chairs.
The meeting I assumed would be small was anything but small. Most of the people were in the kitchen eating snack food. Since the invitation offered a free dinner, I had not eaten. I had already had my quota of junk food for the day, so I sat on the couch. A lady sitting behind me belong to a church I had visited. We chatted while my friend browsed the food in the kitchen.
It appeared we had walked into a Bible Study. Three musicians led us in an hour of singing. The evangelist prayed for the meeting, and I opened an App on my Ipad to record the message. The evangelist asked us not to use our phones to record the meeting because things would be said that people would not understand. I wasn’t recording with my phone, so I left the App on.
From this point on I will address the evangelist as “Evangelist”. Evangelist described God’s judgment upon America. I was impressed with the skillful intertwining of scripture and current events, but questioned that things spoken to Israel and Judah could be applied to America regardless of the similarities in the sin. The nation Jacob’s children became is the only nation on earth that entered into a covenant of law with God. They alone are judged by the law God gave to Moses. The rest of us will be judged according to our conscience and the knowledge we possess. Therefore, the rules might be different when God is administering judgment. Aside from that Evangelist had a lot of good and valid points that gave food for thought.
The first warning sign erupted when Evangelist told us we can bring the kingdom of heaven to earth now like Jesus did. I don’t agree. We are children that God has filled with his Spirit as a down payment he will keep his word to adopt us at the appropriate time. Jesus is the only son that God publicly acknowledged as his beloved son in whom he is well pleased (Matthew 3:17, 17:5 / Mark 1:11, 9:7 / Luke 3:22, 9:35). Creation obeyed Jesus because God acknowledged him. He was more than a mere man, because he did not have a human father. That is why Jesus was able to bring a taste of heaven to earth. We are flesh and blood. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, so how can we bring it to earth now (1 Cor. 15:50).
The second warning sign erupted when Evangelist explained a phrase in 1 Corinthians 13:12 “I shall know just as I also am known.” Evangelist said we existed before we inhabited a human body. God sent us to earth to fulfill a mission. We had all gathered in the house that night because we already knew each other in heaven. Earlier in the meeting, Evangelist acknowledged a background in Buddhism before accepting salvation. Her teaching sounded like the Buddhist doctrine of reincarnation had been mixed with Christianity.
The third warning sign erupted when the meeting turned into an information session on how to survive the coming apocalypse. According to the Evangelist NASA had already declared a massive meteor will hit the earth in September. Camps are being prepared by the government for rebellious people, meaning Christians, when the United States president declares martial law, and refuses to step down in the next election. A long discussion followed about buying dried foods to store and stocking up on water.
In fairness to Evangelist, I googled NASA and searched the site for an article about a meteor hitting the earth in September. Nothing. The only article I found talked about a large meteor passing close to the earth in January. The next day, I found an interesting article about the origin of the September apocalypse included in a list of eight apocalypses the world has survived because they never happened. Remember Y2K. Friends at my church, some in leadership, ate a lot of canned tuna fish after the world failed to end at the turn of the century.
Jesus made it clear that no one knows the day or the hour this age will end with God’s judgment on earth’s arrogance. The saddest thing about Christians promoting conspiracy theories is no one will believe anything we say after repeatedly being discredited.
At 10 p.m. Evangelist asked everyone to stay after they received an offering, so we could be prayed for. I was not interested in Evangelist laying hands on me and speaking a word allegedly from the Lord. I looked at my friend and mouthed, “Are you ready to leave?”
“Please,” she whispered.
We made our escape during the offering. If you are reading this article, you have survived apocalypse #9 crafted in the vanity of human minds and prompted by immature Christians with good intentions.