The Bondage of Deceit
(A personal testimony of deliverance from a "Pentecostal" experience.)

The Christian world of today stands perplexed concerning the Charismatic experience, better known as "the baptism in the Holy Spirit." Some Christian leaders have taken a firm, Biblical stand against this as being an invalid Christian experience for this age. Others are receiving and leading many of their people into this experience. Still others are asking if this experience is of God and is it for the individual.

Being one of the latter questioners, I opened my life to Satan. I was raised in a Bible-believing Baptist church. At the age of ten I answered the call of the Holy Spirit and confessed Jesus Christ as my Savior. Many times during the next twenty years a great hunger came to my soul to know the Lord better. Not being a student of the Word, I did not really understand the simplicity of God's teaching to be filled with the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit.

In 1967 a friend gave me the book "They Speak With Other Tongues". My spiritual life was at a low ebb, and I was intensely seeking after God. I knew I was saved, but there seemed to be an emptiness in my soul. After reading this book, I began to believe that the experience of tongues was necessary to fill the spiritual void. I began praying for the "baptism." Each time that I asked the Lord to fill me with His Spirit, a peace and quiet would come over my yearning soul, but disappointment would soon follow because no tongue came to prove the filling. For six years I asked for the experience. During 1973 I became ill. The desire for a closer fellowship with the Lord and to have the power of God upon my life became more intense than ever before. I read several books on tongues and the Holy Spirit baptism, and I began seeking out people who had this experience. My husband, a Baptist minister and a student of the Word, would explain the Scriptural teaching on this subject, but my mind was settled that tongues were the ultimate and only reliable evidence of being Spirit-filled. The desire for fulfillment became so strong that I was miserable. I felt spiritually starved, and I was drawn to the Charismatic experience by an unseen power who I supposed was the Holy Spirit.

I contacted a Charismatic Baptist minister and received the "laying on of hands" which brought a most ecstatic experience. I was very "high" emotionally and had many physical sensations and manifestations, which were undoubtedly supernatural. I had never experienced such a wonderful feeling too different to be merely psychological. I felt certain that no one had ever before been so happy, contented, and filled with joy. Many times since this experience came, the truths of God's Word have come to me, teaching me that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Again, His teaching is that "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."

Tongues did not come to me with the "laying on of hands," but I kept asking for them. Two months later they came accompanied with unusual happenings. Each day was a new and "wonderful experience." Prayers were answered, miraculously and always in the name of Jesus. One of the greatest deceits is the other Jesus Spirits who do not confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. (See II Cor. 11:4) At that time no one could have made me believe that Satan could produce these happenings although the Word of God says that he is the "prince and power of the air."

The week that the tongues came to me, strange happenings occurred inside my body. My will had no control over the happenings. And I was doing nothing to produce them. Some of the manifestations were lewd and vile, and my mind was greatly disturbed. I knew that my God was a God of righteousness, a God of holiness and purity; yet these happenings always came after the tongues, which I supposed were produced by the Holy Spirit. The tongues were new and exciting, and I used them frequently at first. I knew the physical happenings were Satanic, but I thought he was trying to defeat the wonderful experience of the Holy Spirit. I was filled with glory over the tongues, but at the same time, suffered agony over the constant evil that prevailed. I returned to the Charismatic people time after time for help. Each time there was the "laying on of hands" and the command for Satan to leave me alone. Although the physical manifestations never left me, for several days I would have relief from the mental oppression. I asked for more tongues, going deeper into the experience, trying to get away from Satan. When the glory of the "high" was over after each tongues experience, the presence of evil was more prominent. Many times it seemed that the entire room was filled with evil. I stopped reading God's Word because every time I would read the name of Jesus or the Holy Spirit, a power of the most vile intentions would attack me. I would quickly call upon the name Jesus Christ to deliver me from this evil. Praise His Name, He always heard and answered that plea.

Several months after receiving the tongues and alternating from day to day between glory and misery, a still small voice spoke definitely to me saying that the tongues were a form of Satan-worship. Being certain that this was the work of the Holy Spirit, I was horrified although the suspicion had existed for some time. One day I would try to resist the tongues, which resulted in oppression. The next day I would yield and enjoy the release of emotion and physical pressure, which resulted in a new assurance that the tongues were truly of God. This battle raged for months. Becoming increasingly certain that I was being controlled by Satan, I determined to resist him. Torment beyond description followed. Voices would speak to me about the most hideous and obscene happenings imaginable. Horrible suspicions about my husband and dear Christian friends developed. I trusted no one; everyone was evil just as I. Horrible dreams and nightmares occurred in which my body was the victim of evil and horror Voices said that I should die because I was corrupt, and God would never use me now. Sometimes becoming desperate in fear of losing my sanity or life, I would yield to the tongues which were welling-up within me and pressing vigorously to express themselves. Great relief followed until I refused them expression again. Many times I called upon the blood of Christ for deliverance and pleaded the name of Jesus, but each time I would be thrown on the floor in agony screaming "No, No!" or "Help me!" Fourteen months after receiving the tongues, I was ready to take my life. Although I have a wonderful husband and two lovely children, I could no longer live in such a wretched condition. I had constant torment, day and night.

As a final plea for help, I called a very dear Baptist minister-friend who knew something of these Satanic workings among God's people. I knew him to be one who walks in the Spirit." He worked and prayed with us for about three months, sometimes day and night. Other ministers prayed with us, sometimes for several hours at a time. During this time we saw the power of the resurrected Christ demonstrated against the defeated foes in a most spectacular way. The presence and power of the Lord Jesus Christ was manifested in a way that was wonderful to behold. Although I had lent myself through ignorance to the influence of the evil powers of Satan, our Lord never stopped loving me. He continued drawing me to Himself, to His purity and holiness. He continued drawing me away from the snare of the enemy. I will never understand such love as this, but how I praise Him for it. I confessed sins as the Holy Spirit revealed them to me. As I received forgiveness and cleansing under the blood of Jesus, He also filled every vacuum with His Spirit, causing the evil to recede because righteousness and evil cannot dwell together.

It has been a long journey back from this realm of darkness into which I had gone so deeply, but the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ has been sufficient to meet every need. Although I was truly and sincerely seeking the will of God, and the Holy Spirit was dealing with me: the forces of the flesh, the world, and the Devil were always restraining me from serving the Lord Jesus. I wanted to be a soul- winner, a good wife, a Christian mother, and to live a Spirit- filled life, but "how to perform that, which was good, I knew not." It never occurred to me that the very enemy that I wanted power against could deceive me in such a manner. Because I departed from the teaching of the Word in asking for a physical and emotional experience, I fell victim to "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (I Tim. 4:1).

This is not a conviction or accusation of others who speak with tongues. I am only testifying of what is true in my personal experience as a result of my mind's having been "corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Cor. 11:3). I have many friends and loved ones in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement whose desire is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of them preach the true Gospel of salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus. Some of these became very dear to me during the times of great stress and had a sincere desire to help and encourage me.

All the spiritual hunger and the vacuums of the past years are being filled daily as the truths of God's Word find their way into my heart through the teaching and illumination of the Holy Spirit. How precious are the words "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily," and "ye are complete in him" (Col. 2:9-10). When Jesus Christ came into my life, He came in the person of the Holy Spirit who also represents the Father. Praise to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Now I can say that "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me,and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). I agree that "It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

My prayer is that God will use this testimony to help meet the needs of Christians who have this spiritual void. Your salvation is full and complete in Christ. If you are born- again, the Holy Spirit, a person, a member of the Godhead lives within you. Yield yourself to Him. Bring your will into conformity to His will. Confess every known sin in your life, and ask Him to fill every vacuum in your being. Walk this way, day by day, in conformity with the Holy Spirit. He will motivate our worship and praise which is to be directed Heavenward to the throne of God where our Lord Jesus Christ dwells. Not inward toward His indwelling presence.

Beware of spiritual manifestations that are felt in your body. God works in the spirit of man. As we will to conform to His will our minds and bodies will be motivated for service and worship. God bless you.

-Evalyn Upchurch

(Reprinted by special permission)

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