I Was Seduced by A False Prophet - A Testimony
A Word from the Webmaster:
What you are able to read is a testimony of a believer of the End Time Message in India. I knew this young man and his friend, Stanley, and had fellowship with them back in the late 1990s. One day I received a tract from Stanley after I received news that they had followed a certain preacher with "signs". I read it and the following was my reply to them.
November 8, 1999
Dear Bros. Stanley & Shadrach:
Christian Greetings in the Precious Name of our Lord Jesus!
Thank you, Bro. Stanley, for the unused money you felt to return me. Your honesty is commended. I was looking forward to meeting you while I was in CBE, but time just did not permit. I was tired having preached in three conventions in 3 cities. The dust and pollution also had a toil on my throat.
I read through the tract "Brother Vs Brother in Christ" which you enclosed in the envelope. Yes, Christian brothers are fighting Christian brothers all over the world. The Apostles already foretold of it long ago. Yet we must also realize that, as not all Israel are Israel, so not all Christians are Christians. Certainly, the enemies work from within, not from without.
When a Christian believes wrong, he will live wrong. But when he believes right, he will live right. You are what you eat, so to speak. A Holy Ghost sanctified person will live a holy life. His characters will match what he believes. But he will certainly not go about to live a religious (ritualistic) life to attain a so-called altitude of holiness about him. If he does that, then he is no different from the Pharisees and Sadducees. Because it is self-righteousness.
We are holy by virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit of Christ. We cannot be any holier. Either we are holy or we are not. The Pharisees and the Sadducees had that "holier than thou" attitude that God abhorred. Can any Christian be holier than another Christian? If anything is already 100% clean, it cannot be any cleaner. If it is 99% clean, then it is not clean at all. It's still dirty. But when Christ cleanses a believer, the believer is 100% clean, not 99%.
Many Christians fail to maintain their walk in the light of God's Holy Word. That's while they backslid and grow cold towards God and His Word.
On para. 3, page 2 of the tract, the writer wrote these words:
"Only the word of God diligently read on the knees and fervent prayers could fill a man with his holiness and perfection, because it is given from above. ‘But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy’. - James 3:17."
Now, not only is this statement false, but a Bible verse is quoted out of context to support it. The person who wrote this may not be aware of that. No place in the Word of God can one ever find that ‘only the word of God diligently read on the knees and fervent prayers could fill a man with his holiness and perfection’. Show me one place in the Sacred Scriptures.
I believe you both know that the perfection of God's saints comes by the HEARING OF THE WORD through the 5-Fold Ministry (Eph.4). Paul said, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom.10:17). See? Faith does NOT come by reading the Word of God! If faith can come by reading the Word of God, then why would God bother to send preachers to preach (that is, to speak) His Word? Why did God send Phillip to meet the Ethiopian Eunuch, who was reading the Book of Isaiah, in the desert? When Phillip sat down with the Eunuch in his chariot, he certainly did not take the scroll from the Eunuch's hands and read the whole Book of Isaiah to him. Did he? If Phillip did that, the Eunuch would probably have kicked him out, for wasting his time as he, himself knew how to read. But Phillip was sent to "speak the word", to expound the mysteries, written in the scroll which the Eunuch, in reading, could not understand.
Certainly, there are things in the Scriptures that Christians do not understand, as much as they would read the Bible day in and day out, even if they should pray on their knees. And fasting would not even do any good for that too. Believers must understand that the revelation of God is channeled to the Church through God's anointed servants who will speak the word that He put in their mouth. When the truth is understood and received, then as the believers subject themselves to God's Word, they will walk in the light and live in God's holiness and perfection. This is God's work.
Prayer and fasting have no connection with God's work (see Jhn.6:29 and Eph 2:10). God is working a work in us. But Christians are trying to do a work for God. Prayer is one's supplication to God and for a closer walk. Fasting is just a quicker way to try and get God's attention for one's needs. Christians usually fast when they are in desperation. I have told many, who were desperate, to fast and God have answered their prayers.
Again, God is the "I AM". He is -- now, today. He is in the PRESENT, not yesterday or tomorrow. Hence, "the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts..." (Heb.3:7-8). That's right. God has a "present truth" ministry -- a present SPOKEN WORD ministry through the 5-Fold Ministry. This is what will perfect the saints for the rapture. I have association with many men of God around the world and I have known of several who have certain gifts -- miracles, healings, open visions, raising dead to life, supernatural fire appearances, etc. And these men go about their everyday life without any pretense of what they have. They do not go about wearing a certain garb and have a certain hairdo. They do not proselyte believers to form a group of their own, but associate themselves with all ministers in the faith.
Of course, there are those who, because of some gifts, whether true or false, have harped greatly about themselves as if they belong to God's "Exclusive Club" of super preachers and believers. Such groups are almost always a minority in their particular locality where they live and minister. The Early Apostles who scattered themselves to different parts of the world to preach the Gospel did not behave like that. Thomas, while in South India, certainly did not cut himself off from the rest and said his Gospel was superior. Neither did Bartholomew, who ministered in the north and Persia.
Today, we have many preachers, whether in the Message, in the denominational organizations or independent, because of certain gifts, have proselytized people and led them into some religious order of their own. But God's true ministers will bring His people together in the unity of the faith that was once delivered to the saints.
Once again, thank you. May God bless and guide you.
26 Dec. 2002
Dearest Brother Gan,
Praise the Lord!
This is Bro. Shadrach Arjun from the church in Coimbatore. I hope by now, you might have heard my testimony recorded on tape by Bro. Billy Joseph at his request. If not, I guess, you might be very surprised indeed to hear from me.
I am currently residing in Bombay. I was in Bro. Hubert’s place for a while and am now with Bro. Vally till our accommodation here can be arranged.
First of all I would like to explain to you, as you may have heard, the reasons I drifted into bad situations and areas of spiritual darkness. And secondly, the things that prompted me to examine my spiritual state at that time and return to the true light.
At this time, I am seeking solace and comfort with the brothers and sisters here in Bombay. They are well aware of my situation and my past. They have accepted me into their fellowship with open arms. I intend to get back on my feet literally, as well as spiritually.
The Lord really blessed the Convention here in Bombay with Bro. Billy Joseph. I trust that the meetings held in Singapore and your trip to the Philippines together was a success. I pray that the church there in Singapore is blossoming. How is Bro. George Matthew from Malaysia? How is your family?
I shall try to briefly describe my experience of the past 3 and a half years. I’d like to take you back three and a half years. If you remember, someone from a place called Valparai in Coimbatore district had asked you for financial help, claiming to be in the Word. And you had asked Bro. Richard D’Souza to check up on him. Bro. Richard had sent Bro. Jayprakash with one Bro. Jude to find out about this. They had come to Coimbatore and with my help had visited that place and discovered that the man was a Pentecostal pastor only in search of funds. At this time, I had had a general discussion with Bro. Jaypraksh about the Ministry work, and ministers of God working in India; during which, he mentioned the name of one Mr. Jerry Fernandez who was well known to Bro. Jude. Bro. Jude at that time claimed that he was attending Bro. Richard’s fellowship.
After their trip was over, I requested Bro. Jayprakash to investigate this Jerry Fernandez, and let me know if he really was a man of God, that I may be able to contact him. He informed me on his trip to Pune that the man spoke about the inner man, that his conversation and demeanor was spiritual, and only regarding the Word.
At this time, my spiritual state was such, that I was searching for more than I already had experienced, and I thought that it would be a good opportunity to get in touch with this man, and hear him, and probably arrange some meetings in Coimbatore with him as the speaker, as Bro. Hubert could not make himself available at the time. According to Bro. Jayprakash’s report I went on to meet this man in Pune. The time I spent with him, at first, he spoke of the Word. He said that during a period of 21 days that he had spent in prayer and fasting on a mountain top, he had met the Lord. He said that he saw a ring of light from which a voice spoke and revealed to him many mysteries regarding the Word, about the Elijah ministry – and the scriptures relating to it – about which (as he claimed) he had not read any books or literature and knew nothing until that time, and a vision of Bro. Branham. After the vision, he said, he was transported back to his home by the Spirit of the Lord. All experiences he had, he tried to prove through scriptures – "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip that the eunuch saw him no more…….."(Acts 8:39)
He said, he had raised 5 people to life, that AIDS and Cancer patients in a place called Ahmednagar were healed, that the lame in Kolhapur were able to walk through him. (I later checked up on these statements. I asked him to take me to a man who as he said had been raised to life. The man could not speak or understand any English, and I couldn’t properly converse with him about his experience. Mr. Jerry Fernandez acted as translator, and was reproaching the man in Hindi about how the Lord had saved his life twice, and yet he didn’t come to church. The word used in hindi was "bachaya" which means ‘saved’ – not "jeevanth kiya" or "uttaya" which means ‘raised’ – a difference that did not appear as significant to me then, than it does to me now).
I was with this man for 6 days and during all this time nothing but the Word was spoken and shared. He spoke about the New Jerusalem, about which I had just read in one of your books, and many other messages which I already was knowledgeable about through the scriptures, Bro. Branham’s books, and others. I was surprised. He told me that he hadn’t read any books and at the time I believed him. His façade of sincerity drew me in and I was overwhelmed that I was hearing the same things I had read from someone who had no prior knowledge of those messages. It appeared to be the Word in co-ordination.
I had been baptized at 17 years by a preacher who had been in the ‘Branham Christ’ group before, but had thereafter repented. Jerry Fernandez told me that Peter on the day of Pentecost was filled with the Holy Ghost and baptized the people, and a preacher who was in Branham Christ had carried a wrong spirit which there was no way of judging even after his repentance, and hence I had to be rebaptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. The time I met this man and heard him, I was materially, and financially in a bad state, as well as spiritually shattered because of a number of bad experiences that had left me a broken man. I was at a point of life where I was seeking the Lord, seeking to feel the comfort and fulfilling essence of the Spirit in my life, earnestly, desperately; and so I was rebaptized - for conscience sake I would say.
I invited the man to Coimbatore. He came after a month. The first time he arrived, Bro. Jayprakash was with him, and spoke to a few of us about a dream he had in which as he claimed, "Jesus and Jerry Fernandez had the same appearance." When I asked Jerry about this he publicly said, "I am not Jesus." Another man in our church – Bro. Henry, as soon as he saw Jerry, fell down at his feet and said, "Thou Son of David, save me!" He preached twice there – nothing uncommonly out of the Word, - but about rebaptism, after which the entire church was again rebaptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Here I would like to mention something about Bro. Jayprakash. When Jerry left, he asked Jayprakash to go to his hometown in Madurai, and to be in prayer in a place that Jerry had marked out for him. After that, Jayprakash, came to me and said that he had been rebaptized in the name of Paul Asser Lawrie. I did not understand how he had been influenced with that false spirit, but in the later days I came to know)
After Jerry’s departure, Bro. Stanley who had been my long time companion and friend began acting strangely, stopped speaking to people, became rigid, turned me away from his home when I visited saying that he was in prayer, began writing scriptures on the walls of his house…He said he felt like the Lord was leading him into prayer; then, left without anyone’s knowledge for Pune and was there for 70 days. At this time my mother had a vision – Stanley’s spirit was strangling her. I spoke to Jerry over the phone the next day, and inquired about Stanley’s health, and prayer life. He told me that Stanley had been in continual prayer and would come back ‘transformed’. I also spoke to Stanley that day and he said that his silver cord was cut, and he went into another dimension where he felt that his spirit was lost, it was as if he had visited hell – he said the Lord had given him a conviction of his lost state that he may be saved.
After he returned to Coimbatore, he truly was transformed in the sense that he began speaking incessantly of his time of prayer, and the revelations he had received which remained untold. In him, I saw a degree of boastfulness that does not become a man whose spirit was touched in prayer. He was trying to exalt himself in the eyes of the people he spoke to, by displaying how in touch he had been with the spirit world, as if it would seem that he was spiritually closer to understanding the deeper things of God. There was something in his manner and poise – perhaps the dis-co-ordination between our spirits that caused him to display a certain bitterness towards me. My mother began to dislike him as he began behaving quite rude to her. There were misunderstandings as his attitude changed even more. And my mother was quick to note that his overall attitude was contrary to that of a man who had been spiritually quickened through prayer and quiet time alone with God.
At this time, Jerry Fernandez had come along with him. This was the second time he preached there. He preached " the Son of Man has come down in the flesh.". This session went on for 5 hours continuously from 6:30 pm to 12:30 pm. The supporting scripture was Heb. 1 :12 - "God who at sundry times and in diverse manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds." I misunderstood the underlying cruel intentions of this man. I interpreted his message as being about the Spirit of Christ manifested through the ministry.
During the next 2-3 trips, Jerry spoke only about the Sonship ministry –‘Christ has come down’ – He would usually come every month and stay for about a week. All his visits were on the full moon days. Gradually, Stanley spoke to me repeatedly, trying to subconsciously induce in me a revelation of subtle deceit. He kept saying, "You do not know anything about Jerry Fernandez. You do not know how great a man he is!" Indirectly, the underlying message was that Jerry Fernandez was the manifestation of Christ. I however, did not really think that Jerry had meant this. I thought that it was Stanley and the others who were misunderstanding the man, as I recalled his previous public denial of the fact that he was not Jesus. (Ref. above – para. 12) The ministry that Jerry started in Coimbatore was named, "The Tabernacle of the Almighty God with the true saints of the Lord Jesus Christ". Once, Stanley even confessed that in the eternal plan of God, Jerry Fernandez was the tabernacle of the Almighty God. These slow suggestive remarks of his over the time and his reverence of and reference to Jerry in this manner incredibly disconcerted me spiritually. I began having a lot of misunderstandings and arguments with him, that left my spirit distracted. I kept justifying the man Jerry by thinking that his thoughts on this matter would be in reference to all of us as a body being the amiable tabernacles of the Almighty God in which the Spirit of Christ indwells. (Ref. Psalms 84:1) When I mentioned this to Stanley, he agreed that we were all tabernacles but insisted that Jerry was the tabernacle comparing it to the tabernacle of Moses in which the Shekinah glory of the Almighty God dwelt, and how the people from their tabernacles, would come out unto it to worship the Lord.
The people’s illusion of Stanley’s increased spiritual status and close walk with the Lord, because of his constant and repeated confessions of sudden spiritual revelations, visions, dreams, and self exultations; and my humble and silent observation of it all, lowered me in their eyes. They began to consider him more spiritually adept. In the course of time, Jerry Fernandez appointed him pastor of the church. I humbly stepped down, respectfully regarding Jerry Fernandez’s words. The will of the Lord was vague to me. And I felt that if Jerry was a man of God, what he was suggesting was not to be trifled with. (As yet there had been nothing to make me doubt him, as all his messages were taken as ‘within the Word’, and I had no knowledge of his ulterior motives.) He (Jerry) made me feel as if I was unable to perform my pastoral duties, and because of my shaken confidence in my spiritual state and my broken life, I mutely accepted his decision.
Every time, I tried, even gently to broach the subject, Jerry kept telling me that I was jealous of Stanley. I was coerced into silence, as there was no one who actually considered my words of any worth in the church Stanley had suddenly turned into a subtle destroyer. What the relations and plans foiled between Jerry and Stanley were, during those 70 days they were together, I do not know until today. All I do know, is that through Stanley, Jerry Fernandez established control over the church in Coimbatore. I didn’t know that Jerry was the brain behind the scene, as his words had always flown kind and loving, and his behaviour towards me in front of others was as if he favoured me more. He had even told me at times, that I ought not to take Stanley’s attitude towards me seriously, as men had their weaknesses. Thus, my misconceptions were all directed at Stanley.
Once Jerry Fernandez preached that ‘the Spirit of Paul, Peter, Joshua, Ezra, Nehemiah are come.’ He made the entire church believe that these men were actually speaking through him as his tone, the inflections of his voice, the characteristics of his speech and manner changed so dramatically in front of us. He intoned the very being of those men of God on the pulpit, and drew people into a sort of trance, and swept them away with a spirit that captured and dominated their souls. Here he spoke on how the rapture had already taken place,- that we had already been raptured when we were enlightened by the Word, that rapture was a spiritual experience, and how we were gradually being drawn into a spiritual realm of which we were unaware, but which, as he said, we would realize soon. I myself felt as if I had gone to another dimension when the preaching was over. There was a powerful aura that pervaded the room with a false light which none of us were able to discern.
Jerry also brought in doctrines from the Old testament and preached on their being followed:-
- abstaining from unclean things as food according to Lev. 11,
- women during mensus were not allowed to touch their Bibles, come to church, and even if they did come, they had to stand outside to hear the message,
- those who touched the dead, attended a funeral, remained unclean till the evening, and what they touched remained unclean, etc.
- growing beards (mentioning that as we are priests of God, we need to)
- women after birth were considered unclean for forty days.
The most alarming of all doctrines was ‘marriage deemed not necessary’ for the time. The supporting scripture shown was – "And Jesus answering said unto them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage." (Luke 20:34,35). And even intimacy between married couples was to be forsaken for which Jerry claimed the authority of the scripture – I Cor. 7:29 "But this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that both they that have wives, be as though they had none." And "And Moses said unto the people, Be ready on the third day: come not near your wives." (Ex.19:15)
He interpreted the scripture from Exodus as : This is the third day spiritually speaking, and the Lord has risen, there should be no intimacy between married couples as they were supposed to be sanctified and made completely holy as the resurrection was going to take place. Due to this many families were affected and there were problems between husbands and wives, and as most of the Pentecostal pastors and end time ministers knew me, my name was being spoilt as the man who had started this new fangled doctrine, and was responsible for splitting up families.
All this time, I was literally trapped in a spiritual warp. I was unable to voice my shaken opinions of Jerry Fernandez, as I questioned his doctrines, but was uncertain about my own spiritual standing and authority. Jerry never allowed me to preach. He had a dynamic influence over the elders in the church, appointed by himself, who were instructed to stop me from preaching, exhorting, or edifying anyone whenever I made an effort to share, and voice my thoughts. The elders emphasized the importance of my being a part of the choir and that alone. I was influenced as being incapable of standing at the pulpit to minister. I hesitantly assumed a silent role in all this. When I would question Jerry about all this, he would outwardly display forbearance and try to divert my mind off the subject. Within though, he was a ravening wolf waiting for a chance to ensnare me.
At first, I was unable to understand the subtle influence with which this man had conquered so many souls – his serpent like venom waiting to destroy; his spirit and mine were not in concordance. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but somehow, somewhere, I felt we were not right together.
Jerry began maintaining that we ought to celebrate the Old Testament feasts – the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and feast of the tabernacles. During these times, we usually had conventions.
Eventually, there seemed to be a predominance of the insistence that Jerry Fernandez was the manifested Son – never directly, but through certain references to scriptures, inducing people’s extreme reverence to himself. Once when Jerry was preaching, and mentioning the scripture, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased…" , Stanley who was translating the scripture, gesticulated toward Jerry. When Jerry once prayed he used the words, "Father, as I and you are one, so let them be one in us." It was never a direct approach to the minds of the people to accept him as Christ; but a slow, deliberate, build up of sub conscious thought. It was like he was injecting a wrong spirit into their minds, and binding them into a submissive receipt of his words.
Once during the breaking of bread service, Jerry washed everyone’s feet himself, as the Lord did, thus putting himself in the Lord’s position. There appeared to be sudden flashes of light in the church during certain services, that were witnessed by everyone, and sometimes, a silent mist that enveloped us, then vanished in a second’s time, seen by myself. Whenever, anyone tried to question Jerry or confess their doubts about anything to him, or seek clarification of some spiritual matter, they were silenced by the words, "Speak against the Lord, and He will smite you with a curse." Or, "You are trying to test the Lord, as the Pharisees tested Him." He kept the people under the bondage of fear, which resulted in gradual indifference, and mute acceptance of what was said by him. It came to a point where even I felt numbed by the kind of spiritual authority this man exuded. Deep down in my heart there were a million doubts that were never given a chance to surface, as I could never open them up to the man himself, nor to others because I was always prevented. His Spirit even prevented my mind from trying to reason, and think out aloud anything against him, and I kept asking myself, "If this could really be – whether all this is really true?"
Jerry coerced everyone into confessing to him. He heard the confessions of past sins, and the weaknesses of all the brothers and sisters in the congregation. It was because he had everyone at this stage of vulnerability, that he could evince power over them. It was indirect blackmail in my opinion. No one could ever question Jerry after this. They always felt, that he knew how frail they were in the flesh. And they thereafter couldn’t really look the man in the eye and question his authority knowing that he was aware of these areas of their life. It was as if they considered themselves less worthy to stand up to him.
Before the confession, my mother went and spoke to mostly all those in the fellowship exhorting them against this. She said she would never accept him as a saviour to confess to. And shared her views with others for which she was demeaned by Jerry. He told me – "Your mother’s going to die soon." I had lost all sense of authority in my life. I had no control of my own over my mind. The brokenness of my spirit and the hardness of my life had crudely shaken me. To hear these words, about someone I loved deeply agonized me, and I convinced my mother to go along with it.
The money I had earned was always spent on the ministry work in Coimbatore. All I had I gave up for them. When I borrowed funds to start a timber business, it resulted in a loss, and made me a debtor.
I had spent a lot for the church. And the very people who had praised me at the time, now scorned me for my ‘foolishness’ as they termed it. All known to me left and betrayed me. I had reached an extent of depression in life as it seemed like nothing was working out for me. Everyone had begun to regard me as someone who was incapabale of anything, and so on many occasions, I had even considered suicide.
After the confessions, Stanley kept pressurizing everyone, even the poor labourers who attended service to render tithes and offerings they just couldn’t afford. And everyone gave in to them. Stanley had begun to resemble Jerry in behaviour – tyrannical. He was in a state of extreme authority, controlling the church with tight reins. Many times, I had confronted him about the rule of enforcement of the payment of tithes, as if the people were kept in slavery and being taxed by a Pharaoh of Egypt. Rivers of tears have always flowed from my eyes, whenever I pondered the state of the church at that time. Jerry Fernandez had drained the very essence of regarding him with anything less than affability – a spiritual trap.
Stanley and I had 12 years of friendship between us. He had been with the fellowship for 10 years. He knew the psychology of mostly all those in the congregation, and had probably informed Jerry of just how to arrest them, just how to invoke interest within them – about the kind of messages they liked, the form of preaching they accepted the most willingly, how to exactly prey on the people’s soft points and draw them into an eventual acceptance of Jerry’s authority.
Many times, the Lord had tried to reveal these things to me, and my mother in dreams, visions, and mostly through the Word of the Lord. My mother had warned me many times, but I had never heeded her warnings. And has dismissed my thoughts and dreams as uncertain, even vague witnesses. I still couldn’t really bring myself out of the shell of despair, from which I had looked upon the man Jerry with profound respect.
Jerry had also preached about the end of the world being close at hand. He had prophesied that there would be famine for 5 years. He had said that commerce, finance would fail. That economic recession would lead to scarcity of daily resources, and that every member should have something for themselves. So He had arranged for the purchase of some land in Ooty, where we would grow crops for ourselves. But even though the land was sowed 5 times with the utmost care, the harvest was always ruined. These things made me understand later, that the Lord’s curse was upon this man’s ministry and the things that he did. Nothing was prospering – even our personal professions suffered. The more people took up jobs and tried their best intending to help out with Jerry’s ministry, the more things took a wrong turn, and there were always losses.
I also suffered from a severe skin inflammation as long as I was with the man. Once I turned away from his ministry, the sickness departed.
Jerry and Stanley had come up with the idea, that it was necessary for us to have a piece of land, where we could build a church around which there would be houses for each family of the congregation, that we may all be able to live in proximity to each other and the church. The idea was instituted because of one of Jerry’s prophecies – that when the world would come to an end, this place of His children, would be preserved by the grace of the Lord, and sustained. There, I had many encounters with demonic spirits – creatures that resembled small black cats – darker than the night, I would say – shadowy forms that were next to me one minute, and with lightning fast giant leaps would be 5 yards away the next. Many of the brothers there saw spirits moving around in the nights in that place. We heard wails, and many times my mother had the experience of spirits being around her. The next day, Stanley would always arrive and tell us that we had had a spirit visit us in the night. And we used to wonder how this man knew all these things. My doubts and uncertainties started mounting, as I kept wondering, how, in a place that the Lord has ordained, these kinds of things are coming to pass. (This gave me insight in the later days – that this was some kind of spiritism or occult practice).
After all these experiences, I and my mother felt our doubts of this man’s work and ministry increase and assume significance.
Jerry, from the beginning had always given tremendous messages from the pulpit, by which we had all been enthralled, as these were the things that some of us already were acquainted with from Bro. Branham’s books, your messages, and those of other ministers texts. At first we had had no reason to doubt the man’s word - that these messages were actually his personal revelations from the Lord. Later on, he spoke mostly about the end of the world – that it would be ‘the sudden destruction of the Lord’, as used in I Thes. 5:3. At this time, he also began speaking of a ‘promised land’ prepared for the children of the Lord – that the land was ‘literal’ – and that as the Israelites were led away from Egypt, the children of God, of this age had to be withdrawn from the system of the world, as the system would ultimately be destroyed. And in order to withdraw themselves completely from the world, they would have to be led into seclusion. He kept saying : "We ought to go deep into the forest, deep into seclusion." When there was confusion in the church regarding this, I had questioned him about it, and he told me that we had misunderstood his words – that the land, was in fact spiritual. After a few days, he again drove back the point that it was literal. This was always the way, he used to manipulate us – with a play and twist of words. When I, even after instructions, dared to question him about this, he openly rebuked me in front of all and sundry.
(The women in the church were swept away by him completely. They revered him even as much as they did the Lord. Even later, when I came out of his ministry, it was mostly the young men who stood for me.) I could give Jerry Fernandez the utmost reverence as a man of God (though he was not). At the time I was deceived into thinking that he was. But I could never put in him place of my saviour. For Jerry was a man, like any other sinful man, born of the flesh – not born of a virgin as our Lord was – not the consecrated manifestation of the Word. I could never accept the abomination – the blasphemy that proceeded out of Jerry’s heart – the exalting of himself to that extent.
He had prophesied falsely:
- The Pope was making a trip to India after which he would be going to Israel, and Jerry had said, "He shall come to Pune seeking the Son of Man, but shall not find Him." That when the Pope would visit Israel, he would be shot dead on the Mount of Beatitudes
- That Diwali – a Hindu festival celebrated with great pomp here in India, that the Diwali of 2001 would be the last Diwali after which would come the end of the world – that there would be great bomb blasts.
When these prophesies remained unfulfilled and I asked Stanley about them, he told me that it was because the Lord knew that His church was not yet ready, and that He was waiting for the people to come to the perfect spiritual stature in order to bring about the destruction of the outside world.
In the last few months, we were with him, his innuendoes and practices grew more bizarre. Stanley began wearing a silver ring sometime later – with a white coloured stone on it called a moonstone. He had another stone with him, the name of which I do not know. Jerry also had two silver rings – one with a red stone, the other with a green one. In one of the rings there was a red mark inside; that stone was called bloodstone. Coming from a Hindu background, my mother and I knew the significance of these stones – mostly worn by magicians, charmers, and witches in India – particular stones on silver rings. My mother questioned Stanley – "Peter said to the lame man, "Silver and gold have I none, but that which I have I give to thee…." Why do you wish to wear all these things?" He told us that the stones had medicinal properties to stop his palms from sweating, which was false however.
Here I find it necessary to mention this particular incident. The last woman to be baptized by Jerry, was after a while diagnosed with stomach cancer. After about 6 months the doctors had given up all hope regarding her further treatment. When she ultimately lay almost in the throes of death on her death bed, I had called Jerry to pray over her. We had expected that a man who had claimed to raise the dead and heal the sick could render a greater deal of support, and encouragement to our sister – that we would be able to see the power of God made manifest through him in healing. When he did come, he prayed over her and said – "In eight days time, you shall be healed, you shall rise up and walk and we shall see you in church again. I shall leave for Pune only after you are healed. I had come here to heal you." He also strictly instructed that none of the others should pray for her. After his prayer, even the family prayer was stopped. And in 2 days time, the man who had said he would leave only after that sister was healed, was up and away to Pune. The sister began growing weaker after this. There was more pain. She began screaming day and night, and wailing. It would stop for a while, then start up again. On the 4th day, a kind of evil spirit entered into her. She began screaming even more – and her screams were heard up to 1 km away. She hadn’t eaten for nearly 15 days, and we all wondered from where the strength to howl this way, came into her. She kept screaming that someone was taking her to the graveyard, and began using the most vulgar words. On the 6th night, she screamed the entire night. And on the 7th day, she died. I began wondering how such a thing could happen after a man of God prayed over someone in this way.
After this incident, there was no room in my heart for any more clouds. What was vague now seemed clear. It had been the climax of what had been subtly building up for such a long time. Once, I embraced the clarity of my thoughts, and began actually reasoning again, I could see all the folly, and all the things I had not noticed before – all the subtle references, the misrepresentation, the manipulation…After this some of the brothers and me had a heated argument with Stanley in front of the congregation and the local people. Stanley confessed openly that he had been wrong, as he was afraid that because of the sister’s case mentioned above, - the sister’s friends and family would have really created an uproar, and beaten him up. But that wasn’t allowed to happen. We tried our best to prove in front of the entire church how the false spirit that had dominated our minds for so long ought to be finally bound. And at this time, only about a few brothers, and families supported me.
And I have finally come out of that all that mess.
At the end here, I would like to tell you where I actually stand at this moment. When this man came into my life, I was thoroughly broken. There were numerous incidents that had made me feel shallow. There had been pastors who had visited Coimbatore, and who had claimed to be established in the Word, who made an about face, and shocked me. And this had also affected the church there. Everyone had settled into a kind of spiritual lethargy. There was a thirst for the Word which had not been quenched. There had been hunger for a revival of spirits that had been ignored. The people had assumed a negligent attitude. And it was at this time, when I needed help, and encouragement the most, that this man was there for me. When I look back and see the instances that had made my thoughts seem vague, and spiritually unfulfilled, I can see my follies, my errors. But truly, at that time, my mind had been captivated. I had felt what it was like to be in spiritual bondage. There was nothing that Jerry said, that we acknowledged as false. We accepted him at first, as he preached only the Word we knew. Once we had submitted to his authority, we were simply led into the rest of his messages with an insane kind of trust, and reverence for his character. The things I heard at that time – the cause – the words that manipulated so many people’s minds, seem clear as day to me now. But then, everything was dark. I could go on about this for another 100 pages. I guess I ought to write a book about it. As the experience has been completely shattering for me.
Bro. Billy Joseph, when he had come over to India, after hearing my testimony, called me aside, and told me personally that the Lord would rebuild my life, and bless me in the coming days, and that the Lord has a purpose for me to do his will, and that I am personally responsible for exposing the false ministry that had been carried on over there; for which he said I ought to seriously be in prayer, and the Word of God, and when the Lord leads I should write some literature about my experience and expose the darkness. Please do also pray for this.
I have tried to explain at my best. I have not mentioned all the things that have happened there – only the things that I felt were the most important – to present to you a picture of how things were. I cannot explain it any other way. All I can hope and pray is that you may believe and understand. If you feel that this much of an explanation is enough for you, I thank the Lord. But after reading my letter, I know that you may have questions in your mind, about how, I was drawn in after knowing the things I did, and being exposed to the power of the Word, as much as I had been. You may question me, so that I may clearly explain to you even more.
I have a great burden for the people in Coimbatore – for the few souls that have come with me, out of the evil influence of Jerry and Stanley. I wish to minister the Word again, to build up my life, and the life of the people there. I pray that the Lord may raise me up to serve Him, and speak His words once more. All I had I spent on the ministry. And what I tried to invest in a business, resulted in a loss. These matters made me lose my spiritual concentration. I am now a debtor. The creditors are always at my doorstep. By the grace of God, they have not forced me in anyway, but I feel the weight of it on my conscience. If I had the funds to repay them, I would. But at present, I have no property, no bank account or any other source of repayment. This had pressurized my mind day in and day out, for the past 7 years. And if I have to now, look toward the ministry and concentrate on my work, I feel this is a disease that needs to be healed permanently – as it is a great hindrance in my life, and in the work of the Lord. If I carry on the ministry in spite of all this, it will only bring reproach to the Name of the Lord. Please do not think that I am trying to take advantage of you in anyway, as I know you help people. All these years, I had faced a lot of problems, but had never turned to anyone with my request for financial help. I always felt that entering into money matters, would somehow wound brotherly love. I am asking you for help today, as I have absolutely no one else to turn to. The brothers and sisters in Bombay are helping me in whichever way they can, but my debts are looming, and I wish to be rid of them. When I came to this part of India (Maharashtra), I went to my father first, who, as you know, has separated himself from my mother. I thought he could be a source of help, but he only scorned me, and turned me away, though the debts that I have would seem miniscule in front of the wealth he treasures. I only wanted to share my testimony with you that we may be reconciled, but when I went to Ahmednagar, and gave my witness to Bro. Balerao, he advised me to write to you and ask for help. Bro. Vally, too, encouraged me in this matter, and so I have finally asked you. My debts are around 3 and a half lakh rupees. This 3 1/2 lakhs [350,000 rupees or US$7,300] would be helpful to me as I have to distribute the amount between the debtors I have. I don’t know if you believe me enough to accede to my request. I would not know your state of mind on reading this letter. If you do trust my witness, please try to send the help mentioned above. Again, as I do not know your present condition, I would not know if you are able to help me with the whole amount. However, the best you can, I would appreciate it, if you, brother, could help me in any way. And get me out of this mess. This is my own individual request to you which I feel that I should ask, as it had been your books, that had drawn me out of Branhamism, 9 years ago. You had guided me in all spiritual matters, I had come to you with, and today as a brother in Christ, I simply, openly ask you for help based on the relationship I shared with you all those years ago. No one except Bro. Balerao, and Bro. Vally have personally encouraged me to come out with this request. No one else has been involved. If you agree to my request, I pray that the Lord raises me up to an extent that I may be able to repay you, in the future.
After reading my letter, I would like to hear from you, if you can call. I will be at Bro. Vally’s place. The residence no. is 2 894 1648. And also mail be back immediately, that I may know how we stand.
Your brother in Christ
Bro. Shadrach Arjun
Dearest Bro. Gan,
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!
How are you. How was your trip to the Phillipines?
Bro. Billy Joseph's messages were wonderful to hear and experience. We had three meetings in our place here, and the rest in Richie's. Trust that the Lord has worked wonderfully in your fellowship during the meetings there.
We are all well here. As you have received Bro. Shadrach's letter, I wish to speak a few words in his favour. This Bro. as you know, had been very close to us before Satan's craftiness caught him off guard. We pray for him and his life daily. Our fellowship here, as well as that in Ahmednagar has accepted him back. He is truly contrite. His life has been trampled on literally, as well as spiritually. He understands what went wrong today.
He has had to deal with a lot of disbelief and mistrust from those he once loved. He has been betrayed very cruelly by the very people who stayed in his home. His family and friends have deserted him. The life experiences that he has undergone have put him more on guard. He appears sober, and Word conscious, as I see him now.
He has been living with us for almost a month and has revealed a lot of things to us that chill us when we listen. I can safely vouch for this brother's sincerity regarding the Lord's work - his desire for the ministry - his burden for those in his town in the South. He has been emotionally wounded. He possesses all the knowledge of the Word he used to have before, but with it now, is a new found awareness of the value of our delicate relationship with the Word of Life.
Our fellowship has grown. Yet we pray daily for a spiritual maturity that will reach us to greater heights. We pray for a revival in every individual heart.
About Bro. Shadrach, I can assure you that from all he has said, and the other ministers witness of his words, and the general agreement of his spirit with mine, that he is right in the eyes of God; and that he has yet to pull on and fulfill the plan and purpose of God in his life. We ask you to pray for him, and the folk in Coimbatore - few though they may be. And if in any part, as he has written, and as we have encouraged him to go to you for help, if you can help him, please do. We too, are arranging for his accommodation, and to settle him so that he may start some work here, but it will not render him enough to repay his debts. Even in our fellowship, there are but a few earning members, whose earnings are not to an extent that can help him meet his needs, although we are trying to help him in every other way. His main concern is that he ought not to preach in the Name of the Lord as a debtor. And as he has no other help, he comes to you. Please let me know about your decision as soon as you can.
Your Bro. in Christ.