The Price of False Doctrine
By Douglas J. Brackbill
Many people have been taken in by false doctrine over the years, so this doesn’t make my story unique, unfortunately. However, I hope that in sharing my story it will help someone else from having to experience this firsthand, and show the pain and agony that false teaching can and does produce. All that I describe here was done in the name of religion and most times in the name of Jesus.
I was a young man who had an enormous thirst for the truth and knowledge very early in my life. My grandmother raised me for the majority of my young life (that is another story for another time). Every night she would read aloud a chapter of the Bible to me. I loved to hear her read, and the first real book I owned was a very large book of Bible stories. I learned to read from that Bible story book and the Bible. But my grandmother did not take me to church on Sunday, because the church was too far out of town and we did not have any way to go. My grandmother never owned a car or learned how to drive. In retrospect, I see that she used that as an excuse not to go. But on Sunday mornings we would get up and watch the “Gospel Singing Jubilee” and other TV religious shows like the “Lamp unto My Feet”. This is where my religious roots lie.
When I was around 12, the preacher of the church that we “belonged” to come around to talk to my grandmother, and asked why we didn’t go. My grandmother gave a myriad of reasons why she didn’t go, but I spoke up and said I’d love to go if I had a way. He said he would make sure I had a way to church. I began to attend “church” then. It was a holiness/Pentecostal denominational church that we “belonged to”. I loved to learn more about God and Jesus, and was quite intrigued to watch everyone “whoop, holler, jump up and down, and speak in tongues”. I wanted to learn more, so that I could do all that too. I studied the word, learned more and more, and at 13 obeyed the Gospel and was baptized. But I did not “get the Holy Ghost”. I began to wonder why I couldn’t speak in tongues though. I was told it would come in time.
It was around this time that the kindly old preacher moved on and we received a new preacher, a young man in his early twenties with his very nice young wife. This man saw the hunger in my eyes and took me under his wing. I was so happy to have a male role model in my spiritual life finally, and we began to study the Bible every time we could get together. He had a fire and zeal about him that was electrifying. When I would find a passage of scriptures that disagreed with some doctrine we had, I was told that “scripture was open to interpretation as the Holy Ghost gave men wisdom”. Being young and naiveté, I of course never questioned this. I carried my Bible to school every day, witnessed to everyone I met. I gave testimony during revivals and worship services, and began to preach to the youth of my church and others as opportunity arose. I sang in the choir and took part in every Christmas and Easter play we put on. I still hadn’t “gotten the Holy Ghost” yet, and kept asking why. My mentor told me to be patient and it would come in time. I would listen to everyone else in church “speak in tongues” and wonder why I couldn’t.
I then started mimicking those who were, and no one noticed. I would jibber and jabber the same way that everyone else did, and never did loose control of my speech or my body movements. But then, I kept wondering why I couldn’t really? I still thought that they were really able to speak in tongues, and there was something wrong with me. I wondered if it was because I had done something terrible in my life, or if it was I was the product of an affair between a married man and a separated woman. Or was I just too terrible to be saved. I was even told that a full scholarship would be made available to me to attend the college of this denomination after I graduated from high school to become a minister. I couldn’t tell anyone that I couldn’t speak in tongues, because they all had seen and heard me fake it. I was lying to everyone I truly cared about including God.
So at the age of 16, after preaching, teaching, and believing with all my heart that I wanted to spread God’s word, I thought that God had told me that I was too sinful to do that by His withholding of the Holy Ghost from me. I left the church, God, and everything else that went with it, feeling a failure and alone. There was a gaping hole in my life that nothing could fill.
I began my 20 years of “wandering in the wilderness”. During those years I smoked cigarettes, socially drank, cursed fashionably, and lived what the world would consider a fairly normal life. But I still had this gaping hole in my life. During this time I was married: had a son; was divorced (due to spousal adultery); remarried; and divorced again (due to spousal homosexual adultery).
Then the most wonderful thing happened to me. I met my beautiful wife. She is a member of the Lord’s church and her grandfather was a Gospel preacher. I began to attend worship with her, and began to listen to the Sunday school teacher’s lessons about Jesus, and grace, and Christian love. I had never heard about God’s love for me, only that I should obey what church leaders told me or I would burn in Hell. I began to read my Bible again, and really study His word. The Sunday school teacher was one of the elders of the congregation, and he gave me the “Hurt” Bible study series to take home and complete. I devoured this course, and wanted more. I spoke with this elder, and after we determined that my baptism was scriptural, I was restored and placed membership at the congregation I now attend.
I know now that in 2 Pet 1:20-21 we are told “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. Also, the “speaking in tongues” that the Pentecostals refer to is not the “speaking in unknown tongues” as they claim, but the “speaking in other tongues” referred to in Acts 2:4. They also ignore the verses 6-11 where all the languages are identified. Also, 1 Cor 14: 27-28 are also conviently overlooked as well. “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” The whole theology of the Pentecostal/holiness denomination is what I call a cookie cutter religion. They take the parts of the scripture that fit their beliefs and piecemeal them together into what they call sound doctrine.
All you need to know to “speak in tongues” is how to repeat the names of 4 or 5 oriental car names rapidly over and over, and you can “speak in tongues” as well as any Pentecostal preacher ever could. I was once told by an older preacher that I would be a real good revivalist because I could “cry, sweat, and shout” as well as anyone he had ever seen. I was 15 at the time. Are these really the qualifications of a good man of God?
Am I a bitter man? No I am not, but I do wish to help correct the error being taught by these charlatans in the name of truth. That is why 2 Tim 3: 16-17 are so important for sound doctrine. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” And remember that also in 2 Tim 4: 2-4 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Now here I am, a faithful member of the brotherhood, and restored Christian, and a man who God has blessed with more than I could ever deserve. I have a beautiful Christian wife, five children (biology gave me a son 23 and a daughter 5, and God made special gifts of my daughter 21, son 17, and son 15). I have a wonderful set of in laws, a loving Christian family, a great position with a stable company, and have once again began studying to preach God’s Word, but this time I have the truth.