I converted to Christ from hippiedom in 1977, under a mesquite tree in an Arizona desert. At 27, I thought I was dying and wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to hell. That covered, I got baptized in the Holy Spirit, after dozing off in a women’s Bible study about Israel, where three men laid hands on me, and I shouted out in tongues and experienced the glory of God.
Six years later, married, with two children, I was ordained and sent to plant a church in Toronto, Canada. After two years and a handful of converts, and after burying my wife, Lynn, who died from cancer, I returned with two small children to my home church in Tucson. Three years later, I married Laurie, and with a family now of six, we packed up for Edmonton, Canada to plant another church, leaving it self-sustaining before leaving again to become missionaries to South Africa. Eight years later, while planting and pastoring two churches in South Africa, battling against a coup attempt to hijack our church fellowship into the “hyper-charismania” movement, and my family being held at gunpoint for four hours in a home invasion, we returned to Arizona, where I became an evangelist.
After 30 years of ministry and relationships, we were forced out of our church organization, when it was learned that Laurie, while consoling a friend, who was angry with the senior pastor’s son, said that he would one day have to stand before God. With shades of Jezebel’s trumped up charges against Nabal, twelve unsustainable charges were invented to bolster our being ousted, and letters were sent to the 1000+ pastors, warning them against being contaminated by our rebellion.
I became re-ordained with another Pentecostal organization, where their Pentecostalism was practiced exclusively on their website. After two small, failed churches, where one of the present deacons had been kicked out of his home church in another city for marrying the young daughter of his best friend, and the other church’s board had voted, before we got there, to ditch their organization, steal the church funds and building, and join the hyper-charismatics. When I wasn’t keen on joining their coup, they retaliated by sending angry letters to headquarters, denouncing me for everything from changing the worship style to having communion after the preaching rather than before. Headquarters, siding with those who were threatening to pull their tithes, determined it would be best if my preaching credentials were rescinded and I was blacklisted as a “firebrand.”
And now I write on spiritual abuse, the hyper-charismatics, and in defense of genuine Pentecostalism. I don’t write out of anger or bitterness, but as self-therapy and the hope of helping others.