Recollections of Born Twice: From Demonism to Christianity (V)

Chapter 11: The Surrender

On the first day of the crusade. Kalu had deployed more than 100 of his agents to infiltrate the crusade ground. Some were assigned to sell a cocktail of rum or gin in small nylons while others were to distract listeners by engaging them in mundane discussions.

These were being monitored on the screen from the spirit realm. As crowds began streaming in, he gave them their signals and these agents commenced their assignments. Many of the attendees who bought the drink became tipsy and fell deeply asleep. But some spat it out, received the gospel and became saved.

On one of the days, a preacher mounted the crusade podium and began to pray. From the screen Kalu was viewing, this preacher was surrounded with flames of fire and as he preached on, some of their agents fell by the power of God. At the end of it, many of the agents were also converted. The others returned to give him their report.

The next day, he mobilized more agents to the ground and instructed them to bring back their reports, but most of them didn’t return as they were arrested by the power of God and became converted.

At this point, Kalu decided to launch attacks against the organizers of the crusade. He invoked the wind, rain and storms to destroy their billboards, posters and damage their items of equipment. That worked, or so it seemed.

By the third day, it was obvious that the more agents he sent to the crusade ground, the more their loss and the greater their defeat was becoming obvious. One afternoon, while the crusade was ongoing, an helicopter hired by the crusade team was distributing fliers of the program and Kalu’s window was opened. The wind made many of the fliers stream into his room.

He picked up a copy and saw “Greater Abiriba for…” with fury, he clutched at the papers, tore them, squeezed them and threw them out through his window. Not only has he sent his agents to this crusade at his own expense, they even had the effrontery to bring their fliers into his own room!

Later, he shut his window and reached for the last egg from India and after chanting the words required, he angrily smashed it on the floor. The chief demi-god appeared. This time he cared little about protocols and began venting in rage, shouting at the chief to behold the defeat and shame that have befallen the kingdom. He has already lost many agents in this war, he has done all he knew, yet there was victory in sight.

The chief sounded rather conciliatory, appealing to him to exercise understanding that they too were trying their best but there’s nothing much they could do at that point.

He proceeded to invoke Satan to address Kalu. When he appeared, he complained to him also also what was going on. Satan arrogantly stated that he would have the victory. He commanded Kalu to go to the crusade himself and make use of all the powers he had been given to thwart the crusade. Then he disappeared.

As the chief demi-god was speaking on, there was a roaring voice like that of thunder from above and he instantly disappeared too. At that moment, Kalu felt a great presence in his room. The room was dark, but a big white hand emanating a glow of light, appeared and began to write things in gold letters on the wall of his room.

He was so engulfed in fear, unable to even move his mouth as he felt totally subdued by the power in the room. A searing heat engulfed him making his heart thud so loudly that he could feel it in his mouth.

The hand wrote with the index finger: “Will you surrender to Me, Yes or No?”

He couldn’t answer. But in his heart of hearts, he affirmed yes. Then the hand wiped it off and wrote another: “Whether you like it or not, you will surrender and you will become a fisher of men.”

Then it wrote: “Write your surrender letter before you go to My crusade.”

With that, Kalu picked up a pen and paper and wrote his surrender letter. He could no longer control himself and was completely unable to resist the power of God which arrested him.

He went to the crusade ground the next day after enduring what he described as a searing heat like someone made to stand on a family long stick while the whole of Aba town was engulfed in flames. When he got to the place, he sat at the far back and dispersed his spirit man into different places which made the internal heat subside a bit. He quickly realized he wouldn’t be able to operate there.

He paid little attention to whatever was going on but from where he was, he could see with his occult eyes that Satan was right when he said he had captured Abiriba town because about 90% of the people at the crusade ground were stark naked before the powers of darkness.

The preacher that night was Rev. Uma Ukpai but he couldn’t remember the title of his sermon. Kalu clearly avoided looking at his direction because his face was radiant with the glory of God, just like those of the angels he encountered before. At the end of the sermon, he invited those who wanted to give their lives to Jesus Christ to come forward and he began to pray.

As he mentioned the name of Jesus, Kalu saw himself levitate several feets into the air and land back on the ground. The policemen and some people seated around him quickly fled. At that point he became physically unconscious but spiritually active as he tried to project his demons into the others who fell with him.

He was carried to the podium where the ministers began to pray for him. When he came out of consciousness, he reached into his pocket and gave one of the ministers his letter of surrender.

The man asked Kalu, “Have you given your life to Jesus Christ?” Kalu asked, “Who is Jesus Christ?” As he said that, one of the occult rings Satan gave him (the good, the bad, the destroyer) knocked him unconscious again, apparently to prevent him from affirming Jesus as Lord.

The pastors came together and began to pray for him as various demons began to manifest through him. He was said to pull out weeds from the grounds with his teeth and nails, ripple on the ground like snakes, swim and scream. When he came to, many of the visible and invisible rings on his toes and fingers had vanished, some of them had peeled out his toenails while leaving. The ministers further prayed for him and the light of God entered his heart.

He took them to his place and surrendered all his paraphernalia and occult tools for burning but two items refused to be burnt: the transcendental flying saucer (which demons utilized in supplying his applicants with power) and the ring Satan gave him (the good, the bad, the destroyer).

He was so exhausted that he fell deeply asleep but woke up later in the night to realize someone sleeping next to him. It was the queen. He was facing the wall while she was facing the other direction. She began to speak that she knew he has left them, but she’s ready to welcome him back if he chooses to return.

Kalu struggled to remember the name of Jesus. It wasn’t a name he was familiar with but he knew its efficacy. If only he knew, he could have asked anyone of the ministers to write it on the wall for him. Suddenly he remembered it and even before he called it out, the queen herself experienced a form a fire and quickly vanished.

He went back to sleep and was taken up to heaven accompanied by a friendly angel to see its beauty. The streets were more beautiful than the ones he had seen in the kingdom of darkness and their structures were superior. This, he was made to understand, was what God has prepared for those who serve Him.

Chapter 12: I will make you a fisher of men

After his salvation and deliverance, Kalu sought to live a normal life again. He visited a man who used to owe him some money and when he narrated his newfound faith to him, the man admitted he became suspicious he was involved in the occult due to some strange dreams he began having after he held on to his money.

He was paid back the money and he moved to another town. While he was there, he visited a friend who informed him that all his possessions he kept at his place had mysteriously disappeared from the room. Kalu assured him not to worry since he knew full well who had taken it.

He wanted to start a business and began to make some contacts. One of the contacts promised to take him to his boss who would help him procure the resources he needed. Then he followed the man, and after hours of journey, finally lead him to an uncompleted building in the outskirts of town.

As if he knew what was going on, Kalu wasn’t surprised to see Satan, the queen and two agents carrying the luggage that his friend had declared missing waiting for him there. The queen told him they had lots of goodies for him; they would give him more wealth and power and whatever he asked for, only if he’d sign on their register of agreement.

They handed him the register and he realized his name was no longer in it. They also gave him a blood-soaked pen to sign in agreement. When he saw the blood in the pen, he simply declared the blood of Jesus. At the mention of that, they all vanished, leaving him stranded at the place too as the money he earlier put in his pocket had also vanished with the spectres.

He met a man who was traveling to Afikpo (in Ebonyi State) to buy fish by canoe and he decided to help him. An elderly man he was carrying and didn’t know, suddenly paid his fare and he blurted out that he didn’t want his assistance; he had just been robbed and wanted to get by safely. When the man saw that he didn’t yield to his ploy, he quickly put the money back in his pocket.

Later that night, he was arrested by the police by sleeping at an unauthorized place and put in jail because they thought he was a thief. In the jail, one of the inmates walked up to him, introducing himself as the boss, and asked him for money, when he told him he had none, he dealt him a painful blow and left him.

That night, he had a dream in which an angel of God encouraged him not to be discouraged by his experience as God already planned that he would through that place become a fisher of men. He was told that God has called him to preach the gospel and narrate his testimony pointing to the love of God and His readiness to save no matter the depth of one’s sins.

When he woke up in the morning, he was really encouraged and after a day, he was set free and found his way back to his place and became established.

The book ends with series of questions and answers such as:

• Does Satan attack unbelievers too?
• Who were really the demi-gods and what are their roles?
• Why do some babies have ogbanje (familiar) spirits shortly after they are born?
• Why some children sought in white garment churches often have dreadlocks?
• How can someone who is not a member identify a member of their kingdom?
• Is it true that witches and satanists can transmogrify into animals?
• Which cities/towns did Kalu have more influence than the others?
• How many people were in his rank and level of power before his conversion?
• Can the queen of the coast control Christians?

To the last two questions he answered that there were 17 occultists on his equal rank worldwide, but he happened to be the youngest and the most aggressive.

And he said it’s impossible for the queen of the river to control Christians but as for others who are not born again, they are like toys in her hands.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit: Requirements to Receive it

One question that usually comes up when this topic is being discussed borders on the requirements of receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

There are two schools of thought in this regard: those who believe one has to be “entirely sanctified” before one can receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit and those who believe it is received on the basis of grace through faith.

The first school of thought argues that the disciples received the Holy Spirit after they were totally sanctified as evidenced by their being “with one accord” in the upper room at Pentecost (Acts 2:1 KJV).

The disciples been together in a place had more to do with obedience to Jesus’ instruction to “stay in the city” until they were clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:49 NIV) – and possibly their fear of antagonistic Jewish leaders – than “entire sanctification.”

After Pentecost, the Epistles didn’t indicate that the disciples were sinlessly perfect. Peter, for instance, became hypocritical by discriminating against Gentile Christians (Gal. 2:11-14) and Paul admitted later that he’s not “already perfected” but was still striving towards attaining it (Phil. 3:12).

While I respect the sincerity of those who subscribe to “total sanctification before baptism with the Holy Spirit” doctrine, their position requires an inconsistent and tenuous interpretation of certain Bible passages.

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)

Two things are mentioned here: repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus. It describes the Holy Spirit baptism as a gift from God; we receive it by faith in Jesus Christ as an all-sufficient Saviour apart from the works of the law.

If we earned this gift or deserved it, it wouldn’t be a gift but a wage. Jesus says receiving the Holy Spirit is a gift (Luke 11:13). We receive it on the same fundamental conditions as the gift of salvation: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal. 3:2)

The Galatians fell into the error of believing that unless one adhered to the law of Moses along with the grace of Christ, one wasn’t practicing the true faith. Paul attributed this drawback to works of the law to a spell: a deceiving satanic influence.

This same idea is still with us today in the form of teachings that unless you followed a long list of legalistic rules or a set of standards arbitrarily set up by mankind, you can’t receive God’s blessings.

In the book of Acts we see a divine precedent in the experience of the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house who received the Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 10:24-48).

These weren’t Jews seeking to follow the law of Moses. They were Gentiles, and this was probably the first time any of them had heard the Gospel. Yet the Holy Spirit fell on them while Peter preached the word of God, and they spoke with tongues.

It would be unrealistic to think that they were totally free from the defilement of their Gentile background or that every area of their lives was in line with God’s standards. Yet Peter commanded them to be baptized, thereby acknowledging that they had become members of Christ’s church. (Note: water baptism wasn’t a prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit).

Speaking of this experience later, Peter said:

“God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us [Jews] and them [Gentiles], for he purified their hearts by faith.(Acts 15:8-9)

This is the essential requirement to receiving the Holy Spirit: a heart purified by faith. Contrary to what some are led to believe, the Holy Spirit will dwell in a vessel that is not totally clean provided He has been given access to the central area of the human personality: the heart. The Bible says:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23). Once our hearts are open to the Holy Spirit, He will change all other areas of our lives by the outworking of His grace.

Again, we see from Acts 19:2, 6 that sometimes, the experiential reception of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is conditioned on the believer’s knowledge that there is such a blessing and that it is for him or her now.

In Acts 5:32, we read:

“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

From this, we see that obedience can also be a requirement and this proceeds from a heart that loves God (“If you love Me, keep My commandments” John 14:15). The Holy Spirit will not come upon those who hate God or rebel against His Word. They will dwell in a spiritual dry land (Psa. 68:6).

There could be some instances where a believer would fruitlessly seek the Holy Spirit baptism without success, in these cases, one needs to discern their spiritual state. They could be from occult backgrounds with pacts, oaths and seals that still bind their minds to Satan or it could be that they lack faith, or they harbour bitterness against God or others.

For instance, in Acts 8, Simon who was formerly a sorcerer had made the whole of Samaria a New Age village of sorts. He was converted after believing the gospel, was baptized in water, but he obviously couldn’t receive the Holy Spirit because his “heart [was] not right in the sight of God… [he was] poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (vv. 21, 23).

The same can (and does) happen today. But nowhere does one find in the Bible perfect holiness or sanctification as a condition for receiving the Holy Spirit baptism. There is a difference between gifts of the Spirit and fruit of the spirit.

Balaam had a beautiful gift of prophecy yet died in apostasy. King Saul received the Holy Spirit, but because of his self-will and disobedience, he lost God’s approval and eventually died under His judgement.

Samson was amazingly empowered by the Spirit of God, yet fleshy lusts dominated him and he died unable to rescue Israel from her enemies. The real proof of holiness is not the gift of the Holy Spirit, but the fruits
of the regenerated spirit.

Conversely, the teaching that every area of a person’s life must be totally clean before the Holy Spirit will indwell him may result in one of two grave consequences:

It may deter some sincere believers from seeking the infilling of the Holy Spirit, since they say to themselves, “I’ll never be able to reach that pinnacle of Christian experience.”

Or it may condition others who have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit into smug hypocrisy. With that, they assume: “I must have been perfect to have received the Holy Spirit, so now I have to be perfect all the time.”

This has resulted in some duplicitous and judgemental lifestyles in which Christians view their own sins through a rose-coloured glass but are quick to beat down other believers who are not living up to their own finicky rules with the club of condemnation.

Such people still tell lies, but will call them “white lies.” They still hate other people, but will justify it saying, “My spirit doesn’t flow with them.” They still lose their temper and rechristen it “holy anger.” They become proud and unteachable because…well, “I’ve been saved, totally sanctified and baptized with the Holy Spirit and that settles it! Glory.”

Every Christian is in a constant striving against sin as long he/she is still in this mortal flesh. That’s why several places in the Epistles (in continued tenses) admonish us to be cleansed from personal sins. For example:

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

“But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13)

You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:4)

Hebrews 10:14: “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

If sanctification is an instantaneous process, these passages wouldn’t be addressed to us. In the last verse, the writer uses a perfect tense to describe the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is perfected finally and forever complete. Nothing needs to be added to it and nothing can ever be taken away from it.

In describing the work of sanctification, however, the writer uses a progressive tense: They are being sanctified.

Becoming holy is a stage-by-stage appropriation of what has already been made available to us by the sacrifice of Jesus. In this process the Holy Spirit is our Helper. He doesn’t fill us when we become perfect; He helps us to reach it.

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit: A Distinct Experience

There are sincere Christians who have been taught that when you receive the New Birth, you receive the Holy Spirit. This is true.

But where they introduce a degree of falsehood is when they teach that there is no other experience for you beyond the New Birth, that at the moment of salvation, you received the baptism with the Holy Spirit and have all the Holy Spirit you can have.

To remove this blindfold, we need to back away from “denominational positions” and allow the light of Scripture illuminate our minds.

Paul Enns, mentioned in the first article, wrote that:

Pentecostals tend to confuse the terms for baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the Spirit. They suggest the same Greek phrase (en pneumatic) is used to describe believers being placed into the body of Christ at salvation (1 Cor. 12:13) and being empowered for service subsequent to salvation (Acts 1:5). (The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Publishers: Chicago. 2008 p. 677)

At this juncture, I’m not convinced that this scholar is accurately presenting the beliefs of those whom he disagrees with.

He obviously subscribes to the argument that the Holy Spirit baptism is indistinguishable from regeneration. A Bible passage often appealed to is Ephesians 4:4-5

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (RSV)

This verse is used to teach that there is only one baptism available to the believer but in context, it is referring to baptism into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. This occurs at the New Birth. It is a baptism in (or by) the Holy Spirit that Paul was referring to in 1 Cor. 12:13, which was discussed earlier.

But the type of baptism conferred by Jesus on members of His body, which we are discussing, is the baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5).

Hebrews 6:2 speaks of  “the doctrine of baptisms” (plural). This is referring to all the baptisms available in the New Covenant: first is the baptism in or by the Holy Spirit – which saves us, then we have water baptism and there is also baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Once you note the prepositions used, you can distinguish the first one from the third.

Knowing the difference

Another distinction between the New Birth and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit can be seen in what Jesus did when He appeared to the disciples after His resurrection:

“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:21-22)

Just as God had breathed into Adam the breath of life at creation, Jesus breathed resurrection life into His disciples. It was an act of recreation – an impartation of life into their spirits by the Holy Spirit. This is what we call the New Birth or regeneration.

Yet, it’s clear that the baptism with the Holy Spirit was still in the future for them:

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49)

“For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5)

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8)

Earlier, Jesus had declared them clean by the Word (Jn. 15:3) and He breathed the Holy Spirit into them making them born again. But Jesus didn’t say they “already received all the Holy Spirit that’s there to have” because they still needed to be clothed with power from above. They received this infilling and outflow of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

A man may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

In regeneration there’s an impartation of life, and the one who received it is saved; in the baptism with the Holy Spirit there’s an impartation of power and the one who receives it is fitted for service.

Consider the following passages:

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)

“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” (Acts 10:44-46)

“He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:2-6)

God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb. 2:4)

Notice the phrases used in the NT to describe one and the same experience: “baptized with the Holy Spirit,” “clothed with power from on high,” “filled with the Holy Spirit,” “the Holy Spirit fell upon them,” “the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out,” “receive the Holy Spirit,” “the Holy Spirit came upon them,” and “gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

From the question Paul asked the Ephesian believers in Acts 19:2 and their response, it’s clear that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a definite experience of which one may and ought to know whether he has received it or not.

The baptism with the Holy Spirit is God’s gift reserved only for His children; it’s not for the unsaved. The world can’t receive or know the Spirit of Truth, and that’s why we don’t preach the Holy Spirit to the world. Jesus said:

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

But Jesus Christ is God’s gift to the world (John 3:16). That’s why we preach Christ to the world, so as many that accept Him will be born again. So it requires a travesty of logic to confuse the New Birth with Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 8, the Bible separates out these two experiences that one would have to be mischievous to conflate both.

12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

The Samaritans were saved when Philip preached Christ to them, they were also baptized in water as a public demonstration of their salvation – they had the witness of the Holy Spirit within them – but the apostles Peter and John certainly didn’t think the new converts had all the Holy Spirit they could have.

The apostles came down and prayed for the Samaritan believers, not to be saved, but to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit – a subsequent definite experience!

Saul of Tarsus was converted on the way to Damascus. He believed in Jesus as Lord and surrendered his life to Him. Then the Lord appeared to another Christian, Ananias, in a vision and instructed him to go to Saul and lay hands on him:

“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17)

Notice two things, Ananias addressed Saul as “brother” and he didn’t say “the Lord sent me here to lay hands on you so you could get saved.” Why? Because Paul was already saved, but now he needed to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit for the assignment God had for him.

Yet it may shock you that some teachers will tell you that the book of Acts is merely historical, so we can’t derive doctrines about the Holy Spirit baptism from it. That’s a cop out because:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16)

Since the book of Acts is part of Scripture, it is profitable for doctrine. We can’t dismiss it because the events describe in it conflict with our presuppositions.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not just an event described in the NT, it’s also a doctrine and an experience that is real today.

Next, I will be discussing the nature, purposes and possibility of the Holy Spirit baptism.