Can A Person Be Baptised Even Though He/She Doesn’t Quite Believe?

Let me begin my saying who this essay is NOT being aimed at. It is not aimed at those of you who are about to get baptised, who on the whole possess a sincere faith in Jesus Christ, but due to immaturity, may still struggle in certain aspects of your faith.

Rather, this essay is aimed at those of you who do not possess a genuine faith in Jesus Christ, but are planning to get baptised due to ulterior motives.

The ulterior motives include the wish to get baptised to impress your believing boyfriend or girlfriend.  Or perhaps you think it is “cool” to be labelled as a Christian (even though you don’t believe in Jesus Christ). Or perhaps your friends or relatives have been nagging you to become a Christian and you wish to get them off your back.

Whatever the reasons, if you do not possess an ounce of faith in Jesus Christ, you must refrain from getting baptised.

Some people may view baptism as nothing more than like an act in a movie, but what they don’t realise is that the act has indeed serious spiritual implications.

In particular, baptism is an emblem of death and burial, as Romans 6:3-4 below (with emphasis mine) explains:

3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Please read that again (and slowly), paying particular attention to the following two words:  death and burial.

Not that I wish to alarm you unnecessarily, but one’s involvement with spiritual emblems do indeed open the doors to consequences in one’s life, be they positive or negative.

For instance, in 1 Corinthians 11,  we find that believers who partook of the Holy Communion (the emblem of the body and blood of Jesus Christ) in an unworthy manner came under God’s judgment (verse 29), and led to their sickness or even death (verse 30).

A real-life example of someone who had perhaps take baptism too lightly was the late Dr Richard Teo.

In a speech in 2011, Dr Teo admitted: “I was baptised 20 years ago, but it was because it was fashionable to be a Christian then. All my friends were becoming Christians then [and] I wanted to be baptised, so that when I filled in a form, I could put there “Christian” – [it] feels good!”

“In truth, I never had a bible; I don’t know what the bible is all about.”

“I went to church for a while; after some time, I got tired.”

Indeed, although Dr Teo had been baptised, and therefore, was in principle supposed to be dead to the world and living a new life in Christ (Romans 6:3-4), perhaps due to the lack of proper guidance in church, Dr Teo found himself, over time, increasingly drawn to the things of the world.

By the time he was in his 30s, Dr Teo achieved almost everything that most Singaporeans can only aspire to — wealth measured in millions of dollars, a thriving business and membership in high society. (Read about his story in my previous blog)

However, his life came crashing down when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

The good thing, though, was that his sickness led him back to God.

Dr Teo would also later come to the understanding that his sickness was God’s way of disciplining him.

Eventually, Dr Teo did not recover from lung cancer and died at the age of 40 years. His inspiring testimony of God’s dealing with him can be watched in the Youtube link below.

That said, baptism is a sacred and serious event in one’s life. It represents the death to one’s former life and the intention to live a new life in Christ (Romans 6:3-4)

Personally, I wish that every person on this planet would find faith in Jesus Christ, repent and be baptised (Acts 2:38). But it would be naive to think that everyone alive would be willing to say ‘no’ to the world and its pleasures, and to give up one’s former life.

The Lord Jesus Christ told those who wanted to follow Him to count the cost to being His disciple (Luke 14:25-34), and this is exactly what those who are planning to get baptised need to be aware that they are getting themsleves into.

Advertisements

If God is Good, Why Do Some Christians Suffer from Terminal Cancer — The True Testimony of the Late Singaporean Aesthetics Doctor, Dr Richard Teo Keng Seng

God is good. But some might scoff, “If God is good, why do some Christians suffer from terminal cancer?”

There are no easy answers to this question, and if you are a believer who does suffer from terminal cancer, you might take some comfort from the true story of the late Dr Richard Teo Keng Seng.

Dr Teo had everything that most Singaporeans could aspire to by the time he was in his 30s — wealth measured in millions of dollars, a thriving aesthetics practice, and sports cars, including a Ferrari 430.

“I’m a typical product of today’s society,” said Dr Teo in a speech in November 2011.

“From young, I’ve always been under the influence and impression that to be happy is to be successful. And to be successful, is to be wealthy. So I led my life according to this motto.”

Despite being born into a poor family, Dr Teo excelled in his studies and was accepted in medical school.

In medical school, he chose the quick way to big bucks — by switching from opthalmology to aesthetics.

The move paid handsomely for him, and in the first year, his cosmetic surgery clinic ‘was raking in millions’.

Dr Teo’s newly-made wealth opened the door to high-society life. He loved dinning at Michelin-rated restaurants and rubbing shoulders with celebrities.

Dr Teo also loved life in the fast lane and, at the pinnacle of his life, owned sports cars like the Honda S2000, Subaru WRX, Nissan GTR and a Ferrari 430

On how he would spend his weekends, Dr Teo said, “Typically, I’d have car club gatherings. I’d take out my track car and go up to Sepang in Malaysia for car racing. It was my life.”

Dr Teo had no time for God although he had been baptised many years earlier. When his friends experienced a personal revival, they advised Dr Teo to return to church with them, but their advice fell on stony ground.

“In my arrogance, I told them, “You know what? You go tell your pastor to change his sermon to 2pm and I will consider coming to church,” said Dr Teo.

In his arrogance, Dr Teo also uttered the following statement to his friends, “If God really wanted me to come back to church, He will give me a sign.”

It was a statement which he later said he would live to rue, because by the end of 3 weeks, he would — without first being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer — find himself back in church.

Said Dr Teo, “My whole world just turned upside down. I couldn’t accept it. I have a hundred relatives on both sides — my mom’s and my dad’s — and not a single one has cancer. To my mind, I have good genes, I’m not supposed to be having this! Some of my relatives are heavy chain smokers. Why am I having lung cancer? I was in denial.”

Dr Teo also fell into deep depression. He searched for answers. There weren’t any… until he heard an “inner voice”.

Said Dr Teo, “There I was lying on the operating table, staring blankly at the ceiling in a cold, quiet operating theatre. Suddenly, I heard an inner voice; it was not coming from the outside; it was inside. This small inner voice was one that I had never felt before. And it said very specifically: “This has to happen to you, at your prime, because it’s the only way you can understand.””

“I said, “Woah, where did that come from?” You know, when you speak to yourself, you’d say [something like] ‘what time should I leave this place?’ [or] ‘where shall I have dinner after this?’. You’d speak from a first person point of view…whereas the voice that came spoke as a third party. It said, “This has to happen to YOU, at YOUR prime, because this is the only way YOU can understand.” At that time, my emotions just overflowed and I broke down and cried alone there.”

Dr Teo did later understand why the ‘small inner voice’ had told him that this was the ‘only way’ he could be made to understand. Explained Dr Teo, “I was just so full of myself that there was no other way I could have turned back to God.”

God continued speaking to him.

Said Dr Teo, “I was in bed one afternoon, struggling and asking God, “Why? Why do I have to go through this suffering? Why do I have to endure this hardship, this struggle? Why me?”

“As I fell asleep, in my dreamy state, a vision came and said ‘Hebrews 12:7-8’.”

“Now, mind you, at this time, I had not read the bible [and] had no clue what’s Hebrews. I don’t even know how many chapters there are. Totally clueless.”

“But it (the vision) said ‘Hebrews 12:7-8’, very specifically.”

“I didn’t think too much of it [and] continued sleeping. After I woke up, and I said [to myself], “What’s there to lose? I’d check it out.” Danny (Dr Teo’s close friend, who had previously advised him to return to church) had bought me a bible; it’s still quite new… So I flipped to the Old Testament. Hebrews to me sounds like something ancient, so it should be in the Old Testament right? So I flipped through the Old Testament. No Hebrews there. I was so disappointed.”

“Then I said, “Maybe [it’s in the] New Testament; let’s have a look!”. WOW — New Testament; there’s Hebrew’s!! [And turning to] Hebrews 12:7-8, it said, “Endure hardship as discipline as God is treating you as His children.””

“I said, “WAH!! Where did that come from?” I was getting goose pimples all over my body. I said, “This can’t be, right?” I mean, what’s the chance of somebody who has never read the bible to have a vision of a chapter [and] a specific verse that answers my question directly?”

“So at that point, I was sold [and] said [to God], “YOU WIN! YOU WIN!!””

“From that day onwards, I started believing in my God. And the last time I heard that inner voice was [at] the end of April. And that inner voice — same thing, in the afternoon, as I was sleeping. In a dreamy state, I just heard Him say, “Help others in hardship.””

“It was more like a command, rather than a statement. And that’s when I embarked on this journey [of] helping others in hardship.”

Dr Teo obeyed the command up to the day of his death.  He reached out to numerous individuals, including single mothers, insurance agents, medical students, cancer patients and church members.

Mrs Teo, Dr Teo’s wife, told The New Paper, “He wanted to inspire those facing hardships, that life has more to offer than to be filled with hatred and emptiness”.

Dr Teo was adamant in getting his message across even as he lay sick and dying. According to Mrs Teo, a day before her husband died, his laptop was filled with new sets of photos to be shown to his audience. He had also been working on a new speech.

Dr Teo’s inspiring testimony of God’s dealing with him can be watched in the Youtube link below.

Dr Richard Teo

Dr Richard Teo’s story was featured in the 28 October 2012 edition of The New Paper.

Self-made Millionaire at 30; Dead at 40; In the End, His Wordly Success and Wealth Meant Nothing — The True Story of the Late Singaporean Aesthetics Doctor, Dr Richard Teo Keng Seng

Dr Richard Teo Keng Seng had everything that most Singaporeans could aspire to by the time he was in his 30s — wealth measured in millions of dollars, a thriving aesthetics practice, and sports cars, including a Ferrari 430.

“I’m a typical product of today’s society,” said Dr Teo in a speech in November 2011.

“From young, I’ve always been under the influence and impression that to be happy is to be successful. And to be successful, is to be wealthy. So I led my life according to this motto.”

Despite being born into a poor family, Dr Teo excelled in his studies and was accepted in medical school.

In medical school, he chose the quick way to big bucks — by switching from opthalmology to aesthetics.

The move paid handsomely for him, and in the first year, his cosmetic surgery clinic ‘was raking in millions’.

Dr Teo’s newly-made wealth opened the door to high-society life. He loved dinning at Michelin-rated restaurants and rubbing shoulders with celebrities.

Dr Teo also loved life in the fast lane and, at the pinnacle of his life, owned sports cars like the Honda S2000, Subaru WRX, Nissan GTR and a Ferrari 430

On how he would spend his weekends, Dr Teo said, “Typically, I’d have car club gatherings. I’d take out my track car and go up to Sepang in Malaysia for car racing. It was my life.”

Dr Teo’s cars became symbols of his success, but in the end, after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, they meant nothing to him.

“Chinese new year… I would drive my Ferrari, show off to my relatives, show off to my friends, do my rounds, and then you thought that was true joy?” reflected Dr Teo during a talk to dental students.

“In truth, what you have done is just to elicit envy, jealous and even hatred. In my death bed, I found my joy whatsoever in whatever objects I had — my Ferrari, thinking of the land I was going to buy to build my bungalow, having a successful business.”

It was towards the end of his life that Dr Teo found the meaning of true joy.

“What really brought me joy in the last ten months was interaction with people, my loved ones, friends, people who genuinely care about me, they laugh and cry with me, and they are able to identify the pain and suffering I was going through. That brought joy to me, happiness,” he said, in a speech given to an undergraduate medical class before passing away in October 2012.

Dr Teo’s speech can be watched in the Youtube link below.

Dr Richard Teo

Dr Richard Teo’s story was featured in the 28 October 2012 edition of The New Paper. His story serves as a great warning against wholeheartedly pursuing after wordly wealth.

Akiane Kramarik (Child Art Prodigy): Her Story is Believable, But I Have Concerns…

Akiane Kramarik (pronounced AH-KEE-AH-NA) is a child art prodigy, who began drawing at the age of four. Born in Illinois on July 9th, 1994, Akiane was raised up in a poor family with three other siblings. She primarily is a self-taught painter.

At the age of four, Akiane started sharing her visions of heaven with her parents. Because Akiane was home-schooled and did not watch television, and had never been out of their sight, her parents were certain that no one else could have influenced Akiane’s sudden and detailed descriptions of the spiritual realm. Akiane’s mother was Lithuanian, and had been raised as an atheist in Lithuania; Akiane’s father was raised as a Catholic, but did not share in the family beliefs. Akaine’s family never talked about religion, never prayed togehter, and never went to any church.

According to Akiane’s semi-autobiography ‘Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry‘, about the same time as the visions began, Akiane suddenly began showing an intense interest in drawing. She began sketching hundreds of figures and portraits on whatever surfaces she found at hand, including walls, windows, furniture and books. Akiane seemed unusually patient and serious for one so young, totally immersed in her work. Akiane was not a perfectionist in any other area of her life, though; she could leave her room untidy or her hair uncombed, but her portraits always had to be absolutely perfect.

Akiane told Christianity Today that the first time God started speaking to her was when she was three years of age: “He said, ‘You have to do this, and I’ll help you.’ He said, ‘Now you can help people.’ I said, ‘Yes, I will.'” Since that time, Akiane has donated a substantial portion of the money generated from art sales to charity, and when asked why she thinks she received the gift, Akiane said that she believed that she has been blessed by God for one reason and one reason only, and that is to help others.

When Akiane was eight years of age, very early one morning, her mother found her gazing through the window at the sky, and when asked what she was doing, she replied, “I was with God again, and I was told to pray continually. He showed me where He lived, and it was so light. He was whither than the whitest of whites. I was climbing transparent stairs; underneath I saw gushing waterfalls. As I approached my Father in paradise, His body was pure light. What impressed me most were His giantic hands — they were full of maps and events. Then He told me to memorise thousands upon thousands of wisdom words on a scroll that didn’t look like paper, but more like intense light. And in a few seconds I somehow got filled up. He showed me the endless universe, its past and its future, and He told me that from now on, I needed to get up very early and get ready for my mission. I hope one day I’ll be able to paint what I’ve been shown.”

It didn’t seem very long for her to reach her goal, since before she turned 9, Akiane completed her best-known painting, the Prince of Peace, and between the ages of 9 to 12 years, most of Akiane’s drawings seem to have a spiritual theme and a prophetic/visionary quality to them.

Akiane’s boost in popularity came when she was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show at the age of 10, and on CNN, at the age of 12.

There is no doubt over Akiane’s artistic talents, but can her claims of having met God be believed?

I do not see why not, and note that Matthew 5:8 says: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”; I believe that Akiane’s blessing of seeing God was afforded to her due to her childhood innocence.

Akiane’s claim of seeing Jesus Christ is supported by Colton Burpo, the little boy in ‘Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back‘, who purportedly went to heaven at age three, and who on seeing Akiane’s painting the Prince of Peace, declared it to be the only one (among many others that he had seen) that ever captured what Jesus looks like.

Akiane is no longer a prepubescent child, but a lovely 20-years-old young lady, who now resides in Gold Coast, Australia. Has she maintained the same close walk with God, as she did when she was a child, free from all the distractions of growing up? Her art work in recent years seem to suggest that she may have taken a different direction as compared to her prepubescent years. I don’t claim in any way to be an expert in art, but in my eyes, the quality of her recent work remains high (if not higher than when she was a child), and her artistic style seems unchanged, however, I perceive that the inspiration behind her work may have changed somewhat.

Indeed, I was most alarmed by her painting (entitled ‘Enlightenment‘) of a Hindu swami. To add to my concern is the following description that accompanies the painting:

I was always interested in Asian culture, and recently my interest focused on Southeast Asia — India, in particular. My dilemma was that there were virtually no Asian Indians in our local area, and if I had worked only from my imagination, it still would not have been enough, because any authentic culture demands a thorough knowledge of traditions and customs.

Ironically, a few months later a gentleman from England called my gallery to make an appointment with me. When he arrived to our Idaho gallery we were stunned to see a Hindu Swami from top to bottom dressed in his own traditional robes. His intention was only to share an urgent, confidential and spiritual message, then return back home. But after hearing him, we all convinced him to stay with us longer. During five days of his visit he was teaching us about his culture and faith, eventually agreeing to model for me.

This turned out to be a four-month-long painting project, because every detail had to be authentically accurate.

The Enlightenment is not only about the Hindu worship and prayer, but about all of us finding our own way to spiritual enlightenment, peace and contentment…”

I’m sorry to have to disagree, Akiane, and wish that your family had not opened your lives to the influence of this person. I am not saying that this person has no spiritual power, but I would say that the source of his spiritual power differs to the Source (the Lord Jesus Christ), whom you knew as a child. Indeed, the scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; NIV) tells us:

14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

17 Therefore,

“Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

18 And,

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Signs that Accompany Someone Who is About to Die

Because I sometimes help my pastor to lead worship during funeral services, I get to hear more stories concerning pre-death as compared to the average person.

On analysing the stories that I have heard (and from those involving my personal relatives), I surmise that death doesn’t come unexpectedly for most people, and that there are usually a number of signs before an aged loved one breathes his/her final breath.

These are the signs:

  1. Reports/complaints of Supernatural Activities

Before they die, many Christians report seeing or even talking to angels (which they may refer to as good-looking people wearing bright white robes).

Also, elderly Christians with mild dementia may express to their family members that there are “people” (or a car, or some other form of transport) waiting for them, and request their family members to dress them up, or to groom their hair.

On the other hand, at the nursing home where my grandmother was staying, an elderly lady, who was a non-believer and who slept at the bed next to my grandmother, used to complain about (and was fearful of) someone/something that would torment her by poking her with a sharp object from beneath her bed. This elderly woman lucid and not demented or hallucinating — when asked, she could recall many things about her past, including the place she had been living at before staying at the nursing home. In addition, whenever I came to visit my grandmother, I would invariably see her reading the daily newspaper.

I eventually bought a bible for her, hoping that it might bring relief from her torment, but later lost contact with her when she was transferred to another nursing home.

  1. Untypical Behaviour

I had an unmarried uncle who passed away suddenly (of internal bleeding) in his late 50s. He did, however, experience a bout of gastric pain before his passing, but nobody in the family expected that this would be associated with his death, and everyone thought that all he required was some medical attention for the gastric pain.

Because my late uncle did not leave a will, nor any instructions on his funeral in the event of his passing, my mum and aunts were left to make that decision for him. They eventually decided that his funeral would be held at one of the funeral parlours in Sin Min.

After the funeral, one of my aunts was tasked to sort through his personal belongings, which had been left untouched since the day of his death.

My aunt was shocked to find the business card of the funeral parlour in his wallet; the funeral parlour was the very same one that my mum and aunts had chosen for him. Apparently, my late uncle had visited the funeral parlour a few days before his passing, without the knowledge of any family member. There are actually a number of funeral parlours at Sin Min, and it was just too coincidental that my mum and aunts would select the very funeral parlour that my late uncle had visited, in spite of the fact that there never had been any prior family conversations about this.

  1. Spacey Look on His/Her Face

I used to have a male relative whom, whenever I would visit his home in the past, would sit in the living room facing the television set to watch whatever was showing on TV. A few weeks before he passed away, whenever I came to visit him, his face would be glued towards the door (instead of the TV), and he would have this spacey look in his eyes (he was not suffering from dementia before he passed away). His eyes would be fixed towards the door, until he would catch me observing him, and then he would quickly shift his body towards the TV. But shortly after, he would again be staring at the door. I didn’t dare ask him what he was staring at, but I did perceive that his eyes might have been opened to the spiritual realm, because I did notice him a couple of times suddenly shivering for no apparent reason (although the room was not cold), and almost immediately after shivering, he would turn his head elsewhere, as if to avoid something unpleasant (I have the impression that for some people, when their eyes have been opened to other dimension, they are expressedly forbidden not to tell others what they have seen).

  1. Pets Behaving Oddly

Months before an elderly female relative of mine unexpectedly passed away, there was a gathering at her house one evening, during which another relative brought a pet dog along. The dog was roaming around the house, when it suddenly barked loudly and ran towards the living room, where everyone had gathered. The dog appeared to be running away from something, and it did so with so much fear, that after colliding into a half-ajar glass door, it still managed to pick itself up immediately, and continue running at full speed towards the living room (where everyone had gathered). Dashing underneath a sofa chair, it whimpered there for some time before coming out. A silence overcame the room until the dog’s owner finally broke the ice by noting that her dog seldom barked, and that she had never seen it so frightened before. I then walked over to the spot where the dog had been standing before it started barking to investigate. I did not see anything that could have triggered the barking (there wasn’t any intruder, rat, lizard, or insect), but had a distinct impression that the year would not pass without incident.

True enough, the family was bereaved a number of months by the passing of the elderly female relative, and in retrospect, perhaps an angel of death had come to visit that day…

  1. Dreams

One night in October 2010, I had a dream involving 2 coffins. The first coffin that I dreamt of contained a dignified and petite elderly Chinese lady, who was wearing a traditional Chinese dress. This was followed by a second coffin that contained an elderly male relative of mine.

The next morning, I read in the newspapers that the mother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had passed away. I was speechless on reading the news because the physical features of the elderly Chinese lady that I had dreamt of would have matched that of the Prime Minister’s late mother. Although I was disturbed by the dream, I said nothing to anyone because I did not want to draw any rash conclusions.

Nonetheless, the elderly male relative of mine unexpectedly passed away 4 months later. Perhaps God was trying to warn me of his impending death.

An Indian Construction Worker’s “Road to Damascus” Experience in Singapore — As Told to Me by the Man Himself

One evening, a few years ago, as I was walking along a quiet stretch of road nearby a construction site in Sembawang, I saw a young Indian man sitting along the pedestrian path, reading a book under the street light.

Intrigued, I stood by him to see what he was reading. It was a very worn and well-thumbed bible, albeit the pages seemed intact.

Seeing the young man’s diligence in reading the bible under poor lighting conditions (and he was reading it aloud, albeit quietly), I perceived that there was something special about this young man, and sat next to him.

“Are you a Christian?” I asked, and he shook his head in the affirmative.

We then told me that prior to his conversion, he was a “bad” person, who drank, gambled and got into fights easily.

He said that in India, he had borrowed a lot of money in order to travel to Singapore to work as a constructor worker.

He told me that he had a wife and a child in India, but prior to his conversion, he did not really care about them. Instead, he spent most of his income on gambling and drinks, and seldom sent money back home to his family.

His life took a turn when he was cheated of all his savings by a local Chinese man. The savings were meant to pay off his large debts in India when he eventually returned home, and when he realised he had lost it all, he decided to end his life.

So, with the money that he had on him, he purchased a large amount of illegal ‘toddy’ (palm wine), and went to a dark, forested area in Woodlands, intending to kill himself through an excessive drinking spree alone. (He did not tell me the specific place he had been, but there had previously been a report of a dark, secluded and forested area in Woodlands, which had been raided due to illegal vice activities between foreign construction workers and foreign women).

In the dark, as he was drinking himself to death, he suddenly saw a bright light in the sky.

He thought that he was hallucinating, but as the light grew brighter and illuminated everything that was around him, he realised that it wasn’t the moon that was causing this, and that he was not hallucinating either.

He quivered as he asked, “Who are you?”

A voice from above replied, “I am the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He said the light then disappeared, and as he was trying to make sense of this mysterious event, he suddenly realised that his body felt completely well, not the slightest bit affected by the excessive alcohol he had consumed.

Although he did not understand it, he felt at peace, and slept alone at that place, before returning the next day to his workplace.

He told me that prior to this event, his fellow Indian colleagues who had converted to Christianity while working in Singapore had tried sharing the gospel to him. However, he was resistant to them.

The weekend after this incident, on his own initiative, he went to a church in Little India to get baptised.

After his conversion, he stopped drinking, and slowly, not only did he save enough money to pay off all his debts, he was also able to buy a new house for his family.

Seeing the change in him, his wife also became a Christian, and although he and his wife face much opposition, he said he was determined to share the gospel and his testimony to his relatives and friends.

While in the past, he spent his spare time doing ‘bad’ things, following his conversion, he spent his spare time in church, or encouraging other believers, or praying and reading the bible.

When I probed about his discipline of prayer and reading the bible, he said that if he didn’t have to work, he would spend a few hours in the evening doing this, and would rise early in the morning, and pray for about an hour before starting work.

When I asked him how he prayed, he gamely demonstrated by kneeling on the ground and opening his palms to heaven.

That was the first and last time that I met that young man (largely my fault, I very seldom walk that stretch of road). Seeing how disciplined he was in prayer and reading the bible, I have confidence that he is still walking with Jesus. The young man is a good example of what it means to be born again — of how someone so ‘bad’ (in his own words), can be so transformed, as if into a totally different person.

The Prosperity Gospel is a False Teaching; Devoid of Divine Power Against Evil

The prosperity gospel is a false teaching that teaches God rewards faith — and hefty tithing — with financial blessings (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/topics/p/prosperity-gospel/).

Numerous alarmed Christian have pointed out the aberrations of this teaching (please see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pastor-rick-henderson/osteen-meyer-prosperity-gospel_b_3790384.html , for example), and with time, I also hope to present my objections to the properity gospel in this blog.

Nonetheless, I recently came across this interesting article in Charisma News (http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-flaming-herald/48828-demon-filled-man-mocks-slaps-powerless-charismatic-pastor ), about a man in Gabia, West Africa, who had been demon possessed since childhood but who had the evil spirit cast out of him, after being prayed for by an evangelist from the U.S..

After the African man got delivered, the evangelist interviewed him, and was fascinated by the man’s testimony:

For 12 years he’d been under the spell of Satan. From a very young age demons unveiled the spirit world to him as degree by degree they possessed him.

I asked him many questions and I will not elaborate on the entire interview I had with him, but I want to enforce one main point that was very compelling to me. I asked him if he’d ever sought to be delivered from these demons. He told me that he’d visited many churches, but none could help him. As a matter of fact, instead of being helped the demons in this young man often hurt the amateur exorcists.

For example, in the largest charismatic church in the country the demon in this man slapped the pastor and ransacked his office, repeatedly telling him that this church had no power to set him free. “All this church does is talk about money and they don’t live holy,” the demon said. Can you believe a demon said that? Demons know churches. Demons know men. “Jesus I know, Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15).

Beware of prosperity teachers! These teachers do not preach out of sincerity, but rather, it’s really your money they are after (2 Corinthians 2:17), and “in their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money” (2 Peter 2:3, NLT).

However, all blame should not be assigned on prosperity teachers — there is a saying that there cannot be leaders without followers, and followers of properity teaching need to do some self-examination and soul-searching:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3, NIV)

Indeed, the bible warns believers, that if they deisre to get rich quickly, they set themselves up for great harm, even to the point of their own destruction:

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9, NIV)