Friday, 6 April 2012

STIGMATA: DIVINE SIGN OR FAKERY.

One of the most curious mysteries in Christendom is the stigmata. Throughout the centuries, a variety of oddball people claimed to have had the marks of Christ's crucifixion appear on their hands, forehead, and sometimes their feet. A few have even claimed to have the spear wound of Christ in their side.

Forty years ago, I was in a cultic house church where the minister, who I call Brother Herald, claimed to have the stigmata. Back then, I was an awestruck new believer with no discernment skills. Because of that, I accepted whatever this charismatic leader and his elder taught me. Now I know from proper exegesis of Scripture that this man was a liar and a fraud.

From my upcoming How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, here is an excerpt that tells of my introduction to what I now believe was a false sign.

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Meanwhile, an incident on Good Friday strengthened my faith in Brother Herald. As proof of his being a teacher of God through divine election, according to Sister Roberta, he suffered from the stigmata.

As Sister Eileen, her mother, and I sat waiting at the card table, I asked them, "Where's Brother Herald? I thought I just heard his voice."

"He's in his room," Sister Roberta explained. "Don't disturb him. He has the stigmata."

"What's that?"

"It's a special burden of God which only a few exalted people get. Brother Herald bears the wounds of Christ in his body every Good Friday. He bleeds a lot sometimes and he doesn't want to be seen."

"Why?"

"It might be too disturbing for people."

Then she opened her Bible and read to me the passage from Galatians 6:17. "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus."

She looked up at me and cautioned, "He's in a lot of pain so he doesn't want you disturbing him with questions."

Sister Roberta's rebuke smarted but I held my peace. After all, I still knew little of the faith whereas both she and Brother Herald seemed well-educated in its particulars.

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How I Was Razed is the testimony of how God revealed his true character to me after charismatic house church elders misled me for more than fifteen years. You're welcome to contact me directly for more information about this upcoming paperback.