In one session, I determined that much of what we were being taught
wasn’t worth learning, if not contrary to truth. I decided
to go home. Dal Fulford informed me that if I did so, he wouldn’t
pay my wages. I changed my mind and stayed.
Was it for the money? I think so. Did I compromise principles of
God? I can’t honestly say, except that if it had been a clear-cut
decision between right and wrong, I believe I would have chosen,
by God’s grace, to lose my wages without hesitation.
The turnaround did teach me that I needed to determine, as much
as possible, the nature and degree of importance of something, and
decide how far I am willing to commit myself, before making decisions
and declaring a position on a matter, particularly if involving spiritual
and moral matters. I was learning the necessity of wise assessment
and counting the cost before taking a stand.
Particle – Proved
Satan knows his stuff, and by God’s grace, we must come to
the place where he can find nothing in us, whether through wrath,
praise, reason, affection, bribery, flattery, threat, or any other
Particle – Unclean
One day a woman from the Catholic Charismatics called us, suggesting
we meet with Mary Jeffries, an alleged traveling minister in her
sixties or so, who was passing through town. She sought out people
who would receive her into their homes and support her. We decided
to call Mary and see what she was all about. She came over, declaring
herself a faith healer and intercessor. We visited for a few hours.
Mary spoke of a time when she was at a Morris Cerullo “crusade.” She
said that during one service, God was publicly pleading with her
through Morris to get right with God. She gloried in the thought
that God or a famous evangelist would be so intent on her.
I thought, “You’re proud that God had to beg you away
from sin? Ought you not to be ashamed of yourself? Obviously you
I also thought, “Woe to those men, those so-called ministers
of God, with whom sinners thrill to identify, not that they might
believe, but so that they might glory in those who impress the world.” There
seemed to be no fear of God in Cerullo or Mary.
Mary suggested we kneel and pray together. Reluctantly, we consented.
She began to speak to God, and then she cried, pleaded, shouted,
and finally, laughed – it was all a performance. She went on
to explain that her tears, shouting, and laughter were part of the
intercessory prayer procedure and then asked if she could lay hands
on us and pray for us.
The Lord had taught us that we ought not to let people lay hands
on us as they pleased, lest we be spiritually violated. We politely
declined and she, of course, perceived that we were skeptical of
her. She told us of other Dauphinites who had received her, people
we didn’t know. We weren’t interested.
We soon ended our visit and she left. Marilyn immediately proceeded
to clean house. Mary had worn unpleasant cheap perfume. We found
her to be unclean physically and spiritually, and so did a “housecleaning” on
So many people are out to be ministers of God, serving themselves
and the powers of darkness.
Particle – Garland
Ever on the watch for spiritual fulfillment somehow, somewhere,
anywhere, Marilyn and I decided to go to Garland, Manitoba, about
sixty miles north of Dauphin, where we heard things were happening.
There we met Bill and Sally Burla, Nestor Rushinka, his brother,
Eugene, and wife, Christine, a woman I had known as a child in the
Catholic Church during summer catechism school.
John McMasters from Melita, Manitoba was preaching. He was a Pentecostal
preacher with the Pentecostal energetic preaching style.
After the sermon, he looked at me and said, “God has His hand
on you, doesn’t He?” I knew he was right, but not until
now, as I write, did I realize more specifically what he meant by
it. He meant that God’s call was on me to ministry.
Particle – Wrestling
Nestor Rushinka was a divorcee and a farmer from the Garland area;
he was very religious. I think his wife left him because of religion
and he was rather affected by it, as many men are when divorced.
He would often come to visit us at the Thorndale Apartments and tell
us of the many things he was doing to promote God’s Kingdom.
He found that we weren’t running around doing a lot.
We shared many truths with him, which he wasn’t able to receive.
We spoke of resting in the Lord and working only if the Lord was
working. He couldn’t understand that; indeed, didn’t
want to understand. He would spend much time in fasting and prayer,
traveling, recruiting various preachers to visit Garland, arranging
healing services, and witnessing to the community.
He asked if I would come and preach. I said, “Lord willing.” But
he couldn’t accept our doctrines and was concerned that I might
not be of God. He never called on me to preach. In any case, I knew
I wasn’t prepared or led to do so.
We spent many hours talking, and I tried to get him to repent of
his ways, to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, not only in word, but
in deed. He thought he was doing so, far more than we.
I finally said to him, “Nestor, you don’t believe anything
I say to you. Why do you keep coming back? Your ways aren’t
pleasing to the Lord at all. It can’t go well for you.”
It seems he found us entertaining, but also was there to try to
save us from our error and spiritual indolence, as he perceived it.
He quit coming. We would discover his end some years later.
Particle – Better
to Be Nothing than to Try to Be Something You’re Not
We decided to go to a meeting in Winnipegosis, where John McMasters
was slated to preach. The Utech family had invited him there. Utechs
were very religious, ever looking for something sensational. Before
their desired church service, John, Len and Lillian Delafuente, Marilyn,
and I were seated outdoors, and the Lord showed me Len’s heart.
Len was striving to be a spiritual minister, apparently trying to
convince everyone of his worth as such. He wasn’t trusting
and waiting on God. I told him that if the call of God was on him
to be a minister, it wasn’t for the present moment. I was speaking
somewhat from experience as well as discerning his spirit. I prayed
for him and asked God to give him repentance and rest from his labors
and healing of past hurts.
When we were done, Mr. McMasters confided and confirmed to me that
Len indeed had been rather traumatized some while back. He had tried
taking the leadership of some people, and they had rejected him.
This embittered Len, and he didn’t seem able to get over it.
At that moment, Mrs. Utech came out, looking for John to begin the
service. John pointed to what was happening, saying, “You’re
looking for a church service. Here’s one right here.” It
was a mild rebuke she was unable to understand or receive.
We did go in then and have a service, and nothing happened, which
is the usual case with church services. Men’s efforts of worship
are sterile, and while teasing with the promise of good things, leave
people empty and disappointed. Continuing in those things, they get
used to the disappointment and take it to be the norm, yet always
hoping that, maybe next time, God will visit them in a special way.
We would bump into Len again in a few years in Winnipeg. Would there
be any change?
Particle – The
Kingdom Comes without Observation
Marilyn and I heard that Dennis Robinson was to preach
at Bethel Tabernacle, a Pentecostal church in Dauphin. The pastor
Rathjen, who billed himself as “Pastor Greg.”
In that Sunday evening service, Dennis was prophesying to several
people there. Turning to me, he said, “The
Kingdom of God comes without observation.”
I had been ever watching and longing for things to happen, not recognizing
they were, and not realizing that if more was to happen, it would
never be as I expected.
Particle – No
Rest in the Works of Men
We saw Dennis in Melita at the McMasters once, while on our way
back from North Dakota (more on that later). Dennis had the spirit
of one trying to be pious in all things – table manners, dress,
speech, countenance, everything. He was oblivious to others except
where he perceived opportunity to glorify himself as a man of God.
I don’t know if it was visible to Mr. and Mrs. McMasters,
but it was somewhat apparent to us that Dennis was laboring in his
own righteousness. What a burden! We knew there was a rest of God
that must be entered, if we were to please God. Failing that rest,
“Now, God has offered us the promise that we may receive that
rest He spoke about. Let us take care, then, that none of you will
be found to have failed to receive that promised rest” (Hebrews
“For those who receive that rest which God promised will rest
from their own work, just as God rested from His. Let us, then, do
our best to receive that rest, so that no one of us will fail as
they did because of their lack of faith” (Hebrews 4:10-11 GNB).
Particle – Which
Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg?
Harold McNab, a young man fresh out of seminary, was the pastor
of First Baptist Church in Dauphin. We met in a restaurant to talk.
I don’t recall why we met, but I do recall his great effort
to be a wise, knowledgeable spiritual leader.
No matter what we talked about, he had to have the higher or more
authoritative comprehension. He was compelled to fulfill his duty
as a pastor, a spiritual superior. After all, who was I but a layman?
What layman is equipped, trained, or educated to know more than the
shepherd with papers from seminary?
Thus are the works and attitudes with which men of religious organizations
burden themselves. Bible schools and seminaries pump out men who
must presumptuously go in their carnal limitations. Their heads are
filled with useless knowledge, while their hearts are entirely unprepared.
Their anointing is artificial. They don’t know the Lord and
therefore don’t have His Spirit and power to do that which
only God can do. And congregations are content to have it so. After
all, who wants to be faced with reality?
They don’t stop to consider that the spiritual leaders in
Scripture - the prophets of old, John the Immerser, the apostle Paul,
and the other apostles – weren’t prepared in men’s
formal schools of learning. And while men’s spiritual kingdoms
and their kings may appear healthy and successful, the greater they
are in the sight of the world, the lesser they are in God’s
“And He said to them, You are those who justify yourselves
before men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is highly esteemed
among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15 MKJV).
Particle – “Pastor
Greg Rathjen tried involving us in his church. We shared with him
and his wife at their home. His wife seemed quite unhappy. Politely
he declined to accept what I was teaching, such as the doctrine of
the reconciliation of all things, the baptism in the Holy Spirit
being the new birth, and the formal churches being men’s, not
Of course, Greg Rathjen was by no means alone in rejecting these
doctrines. We would hear more of his reaction later, from another
direction, an unexpected one. We would also hear of the consequences
of his stance.
Particle – The
Reconciliation of All Things
We first heard of the doctrine of the reconciliation of all things
in 1975, soon after receiving the Spirit. Jim Flynn and Carroll Vance
shared it at the Calgary Christian men’s breakfast fellowship
I related how I reacted when Jim Flynn first proposed this doctrine
to me. I denounced it. But I couldn’t discount the Scriptures
he had left with me. Later, hearing that Vic Graham preached salvation
for all, or as some call it, “universalism,” we went
to hear what he had to say. Slowly, I came to realize the Good News
to be far better than what we’d been hearing in nominal Christendom.
Think about it: God made the willing supreme sacrifice and perfect
offering of life and blood through His beloved only begotten Son.
Just how great a victory would it be for the Savior of the world,
the Lord of lords and King of kings, to redeem 5% of humanity and
One could liken it to a poker game. Even good poker players walk
away with more success, and Jesus wasn’t gambling! He was doing
what He had to do, something He had planned from the beginning, something
He had perfect wisdom and power to do, something the Bible declared
He would succeed at doing, and something He said was finished when
done. He won all that was in the pot. He brought down the house.
He took all the winnings. He succeeded. There was perfect cause for
perfect celebration for all of creation.
This truth gradually took hold of me, yet I was reticent to dwell
on it overly much for many years. While Vic Graham declared that
the message of the reconciliation of all men was the Good News, I
preferred to believe that the Good News, more specifically, was that
salvation was available through repentance and faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ, Who paid the price for our sins by His blood, His death
and resurrection from the dead. He made a way for hope where there
To me, that’s good news. Imagine a bunch of miners trapped
miles underground, knowing no way out of their dark entrapment, having
no hope of rescue, and then they receive notice to take courage,
because help is on the way! That’s good news! I didn’t
think it necessary to believe or know that all would be saved in
the end; just that salvation was definitely available.
Indeed, I felt that if I were to emphasize the eventual reconciliation
of all men, I might encourage people to continue to live in sin,
assuming they would get away with it in the end. In the years to
come, I would receive a fuller understanding that would make sense
in all known aspects and serve others well.
Let me say this: If all men aren’t eventually saved, none
of us has any cause for hope because we are all the same in every
way, in terms of perfect need, and perfect inability and lack of
desire to meet that need.
Particle – Lois
Lois Benson came to Dauphin in the summer of 1977 to
visit her sister, Pat Yakimishen, and her husband, Hilliard. She
to visit us at the Thorndale Apartments.
She said, “I’ve been hearing things from the family
about you. They say you have really changed. You used to be the life
of the party, and now they don’t know what to make of you,
except that you’ve withdrawn from everybody and you’re
poor and religious. And now I hear you don’t even go to church.
“You used to be excited about God. What happened? What causes
people to believe and be on fire for the Lord, and then go cold spiritually?”
Lois wasn’t one to waste time getting to the point.
“What makes you think we’ve grown cold, Lois?” I
“I’m told you’re not going to church.”
We then began to share with her about how the Lord
spoke to me in the little log cabin in
Prince Albert the year before and called us out of the church systems.
I shared with her the truths
the Lord had been revealing to us. I told her that rather than growing
cold, we had gone on to more in the Lord.
When the visit was finished, Lois was excited and rejoicing. I drove
her back to Pat’s, where she was staying the night, and returned
At that time, Marilyn received a Word from the Lord: “Lois
doesn’t believe now, but she will later.” Though Lois
clearly appeared to believe, we were not surprised at what Marilyn
Two or three weeks later, we received a letter from Lois. She had
spoken to her Pentecostal pastor in Stettler, Len Rosenfeld, who
called Greg Rathjen in Dauphin, who told him I was a nutcase. Rosenfeld
returned this report to Lois, advising her that we were heretical.
Lois wrote us, using her pastor’s words and telling us we were
deceived. She cut herself off from us.
We had heard from the Lord, however. And since the first part concerning
Lois came to pass, we believed the latter portion would, as well.
Particle – A
Would-Be Shepherd Comes Seeking a Flock
Who else should come along to visit one evening but
Bill Koster, the fellow we had met in Caroline, Alberta, who had
along with Ernie Gouchie, for my first spiritual healing.
We were glad to see him and asked many questions, wanting to talk
about the things of God. Bill spent the evening talking about himself
and his interests. It wasn’t until this visit that we found
out he was the man Len and Ruth Koster held responsible for breaking
up their church in Taras, British Columbia with “Pentecostal
He spoke of “starting a work” somewhere; that is, he
was thinking of getting a church going. When trying to share our
convictions, he wasn’t interested. He was political, diplomatic,
and, well, plainly man-pleasing.
After about four hours of visiting, he realized how late it was
and started to close down. In the end, when he was outside the door,
and we were bidding one another farewell, I saw a sudden look of
shock on his face. The realization, it seems, had struck him that
he had spent the entire evening talking about himself, and had learned
almost nothing about us. It was as though I saw in his face, “What
did I do? What happened?” But it was too late, unless he was
to suddenly humble himself and repent. We never heard from him again.
I didn’t want that to ever happen to me. It wasn’t until
days later that we realized he was testing the waters for those who
might be interested in him as a spiritual leader, whether in Dauphin
Particle – A
Training of Importance
I wondered why the Lord put me in ARC Industries. By the time my
term was up, I understood why. Working with the mentally handicapped,
I had to learn to communicate. I had to learn to be clear in giving
instructions, to speak plainly, and to repeat, sometimes several
times, what I was saying, otherwise most, if not all, people just
wouldn’t get it. I learned that I could take nothing for granted.
Particle – All
Humanity Is Handicapped
I learned that “normal” people are no different from
those with whom I was working at the rehab center. In certain respects,
everyone needed to be regarded the same way. In our sin, we are all,
every one of us, “retarded” in varying degrees.
I came to realize that spiritual handicap was much similar, if not
identical, to mental handicap, and that the condition was not a matter
of the intellect, but of the heart. In fact the apparently intelligent
and educated one can be more mentally handicapped, because of his
spiritual condition, than a common laborer or street person with
little education or intelligence. I’ve known wise housewives
and very foolish doctors, wise children and foolish old men.
As important as effective communication is, I discovered that no
matter how clearly one could explain or prove his case, intelligence
wouldn’t win the day. The heart, not the mind, is at issue;
the heart must be addressed and corrected, if one is to have understanding.
Religion makes stupid; it so darkens the soul. Try, for example,
to speak contrary doctrine with a seasoned JW, Mormon, SDA, Catholic,
Buddhist, Muslim, or any other, and you find yourself running into
a solid brick wall. Yet upon examination, while each is convinced
he is right, all these differ dramatically with the rest. Is it then
a matter of intelligence, seeing any of these can be highly educated?
I was at ARC, working with mentally handicapped people to learn,
to receive a crash course, if you will, among other things, on this
peculiar aspect of the nature and weakness of humanity.
Particle – Some
Truths of Ceramics
Why ceramics? Ceramics had much to teach. For example, I saw that
when clay was first formed in the mold, it was delicate and easily
marred or spoiled. In this state, its identity was tenuous, and it
could still be returned to slip (liquid clay), to be poured and formed
However, once fired in the kiln, it was forever established, not
only in its form, but also in its nature, never to be reversed. This
was the effect of fire upon it.
I also saw that a piece could go through several firings, and the
more firings, the greater the beauty and value. There are pieces,
for example, that are fired to establish strength, then fired again
with a glaze for beauty and utility, at which stage they might remain,
or they can be adorned with gold and fired once more, this time at
a lower temperature, yet adding much more beauty and value.
There are many truths expressed in ceramics, as is true of many
Particle – Appointed
I found that when trainees made mistakes, sometimes their pieces
could be a waste, and I had to determine if I had failed in giving
clear instructions and overseeing responsibly.
On the other hand, there were instances when pieces, because not
prepared as planned, would come out with unexpected accidental, unusual
artistic beauty. Many of the more revolutionary inventions have come
this way, like the vulcanization of rubber.
I would learn that God is also in control of mistakes.
Particle – Ease
Will Please but Increase Disease
I learned that people are capable of much more than it may seem,
if it is required of them. Much destruction has come by pampering
and sympathizing, and much has been achieved by requiring more of
people than they think they can accomplish. There is a place for
hardness. Many are those who will perform only when compelled to
Particle – Carnal
I also learned that parents, or those more emotionally involved,
are prone to baby their children, to their detriment. In the case
of handicapped children, parents may harbor guilt for birthing them,
and thus mistakenly try to make up for their shortfall by sympathy
and showering their children with favors and gifts, spoiling them.
Again, there is a place for hardness.
If not, why does the Lord separate people from families and friends,
as He calls them to forsake all and to walk with Him in the light?
Why did He form Israel as a nation in an “iron furnace,” through
bondage to a harsh taskmaster?