Soldier of a Lost Cross

By Patricia Backora

All names have been changed in this autobiographical story.
Throughout the years I have observed that some of the Lord’s nine gifts of
the Spirit have been neglected in the churches. Perhaps a general neglect of
the Gift of Discerning of Spirits (I Cor. 12:10) has resulted from all the bad
press which has resulted from its misuse. People can get so obsessed they’ll
see a demon jumping out of every bush. But church leaders only play into
the devil’s hands when they forbid the Holy Spirit to move in the Gifts as He
deems necessary to protect the Body of Christ from very real dangers.
As a young girl newly baptized in the Holy Spirit, I faced a real danger. The
devil capitalized on the fact that I was very unworldly-wise and ignorant of
the wiles of men because I’d never dated. Aglow with the joy of the Lord, I
was way too quick to trust everyone who professed to follow Christ. I had
not yet learned to discern a sheep from a wolf.
Before my Baptism, I attended "Gospel Garrison" services with a friend of
mine. That church didn’t believe in the "second blessing", or Baptism of the
Holy Ghost, accompanied by speaking in tongues. I joined the "Soldier
Songsters", a little group which sang to folks at nursing homes and a local
hospital to cheer them up. "Sergeant Ben Beulah", clad in his crisp red
uniform would sing: "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Cross,
Lift up His royal banner, it must not suffer loss!" He would briefly pray for the
people, then shake hands with them and ask how they were. Afterward
our little group (mostly female) would go out for burgers and fries. We
would usually take our food back to the church premises so we could all
enjoy a nice long chat. At first, nothing roused the slightest suspicion.
It wasn’t long before I met "Joan and Lottie", two girls who went out with
our group one night. They turned out to be the link which enabled me to
learn about and receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Curious about a
remark some kid made about their speaking in tongues, I asked Joan and
Lottie to take me to visit their church. The Holy Spirit filled me with a
heavenly joy and love such as I had never known in my life. I ended up
dividing my time between the Gospel Garrison and "Deeper Life Church".
Soon I only went out to sing with the Soldier Songsters, and attended
Deeper Life Church exclusively. Brother Beulah thought they’d stolen me
away from his own church.

Back then I thought only pure-hearted people wanted to preach the gospel
and cheer up sick and shut-in folks. At the time, the Gift of Discerning of
Spirits was not operative in my life. At first, Brother Beulah enjoyed chatting
with all of us over the hamburgers. But soon he wanted to talk only to me,
while the others talked among themselves. He made me promise to keep
everything we discussed CONFIDENTIAL. He knew I didn’t yet realize that
confidentiality between a member of clergy (especially a MARRIED guy), and
a young girl is highly inappropriate.
If I felt the slightest suspicion about
his behavior it wasn’t strong enough yet. I think the devil was playing a
perverse little game to see how many clues he could leave behind and still
dupe me about Sgt. Beulah for as long as possible. None are so blind as
those who have stars in their eyes.
Although I tried to steer Brother Beulah toward decent topics, he was
fascinated by racy Bible stories, such as David’s rendezvous with Bathsheba
and Abraham’s “konky-bine” Hagar. One night he talked about 1920’s ladies’
lingeree. Maybe it was because they didn’t have TV when he was a kid, but
he got plenty of stimulation watching his pet cats cavorting in the barn. God
must have wondered why I didn’t wake up and smell the coffee. If only I’d
had enough sanctified common sense to realize that only satan operates in
so-called confidentiality, which is really darkness, and such a cloak of
secrecy is necessary to hide his evil works from easily duped people who
look up to his stooges for spiritual guidance. Jesus Himself took a dim view
of concealing evil works under cover of darkness.
John 3:19-20 says: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were
evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the
light, lest his deeds should be reproved. In the margin of my Bible, that
word "reproved" means "discovered."
I should have wondered why Brother Beulah was too ashamed for all the
world to hear about the torture cats suffer when they copulate. That perv
gave me a detailed description of the plumbing of a male cat (as if that
would help me grow spiritually). Truly I found the discussion embarrassing,
since I was just a soft-spoken, deeply religious young girl ignorant of the
wiles of men.
At least we had clearly defined boundaries at my own church, where it
concerned acceptable conversation between older brothers and younger
sisters in the Lord. Unrelated brothers and sisters greeted one another only
with a handshake. That seems a bit stuffy by today’s standards, but the line
has to be drawn somewhere.

Brother Beulah never once spoke about his wife and kids and what a
blessing they’d been to him for so many years. He tried to break down my
defenses with flattery. "You’re such a lovely person. You’ve just got a way
about you that draws folks to you. I think of you as my own daughter. I’d
like to just kiss you on the forehead like a daughter.” With a twinkle in his
beady black eyes he said: "If I were a young man again, I’d marry you." I
thought he was just joking. After all, he was three times my age. It was a
good thing his wife couldn’t hear him. That’s a sure sign of the decadence of
the end times. A man doesn’t know how to grow old gracefully and with
dignity, any more than a woman does. So he chases every pretty girl he
sees and puts a spiritual spin on his sin.
If he was attracted to the joy of the Lord I exuded, that wasn’t my natural
side showing. Before my Baptism in the Spirit, I was as cynical as a
wounded war veteran. I’d thought life on earth was just a sick joke. That
was a legacy of the damnable time I served at Hog Pen High. The Holy
Ghost gave me every positive thing in my life, including the ability to love
others, not just tolerate them. But Brother Beulah was too blind to see that
my good points were just the life of Jesus shining through. Maybe at the
time I didn’t fully realize that myself, being a babe in Christ. After all the
**** that was heaped on me at that garbage dump school, hearing kind
comments was soothing to my wounded soul. But Brother Beulah wanted
more than light chitchat.
I did tell Brother Beulah about my Baptism in the Spirit, but he denied that
there was any such thing as the Second Blessing. He had to be faithful to
the teachings of his denomination. I know now that I should have realized
how serious it is for other Christians to be so fearful of religious authorities
that they don’t desire the supernatural works of the Holy Spirit in their
church. All they might give the Holy Ghost permission to do is convict
people of sin...quietly and discreetly in the privacy of their own hearts. But
whatever happens on the outside must remain strictly under the control of
man.
I once thought that any other churchgoer’s opinion was equally valid, no
matter what it was about. But democracy has no voice in the Most Holy
Place of God’s Presence. It’s just not the same as respecting someone else’s
opinion on choir robes or stained glass windows. The Holy Spirit must
absolutely be reverenced. I believe in democracy, fair play and listening to
your own sanctified conscience. On peripheral issues we can all agree to
disagree and still have fellowship one with another. But on issues crucial to
salvation we must agree with the plain teaching of God’s Word, in order to
maintain true unity instead of trying to “build bridges with” the world’s
viewpoint on sin. Lots of Christians think the Baptism is an optional

accessory you can get by without, but I now firmly believe that being filled
with the Spirit IS an issue crucial to salvation. It is a Biblical commandment
(Eph. 5:18-19). If you know the Holy Spirit Baptism is a real experience but
still deride it as being a doctrine of the devil, you’re in deep water with the
Lord (Mark 3:28-29). God’s Holy Spirit and His power is one of the linchpins
which holds our whole salvation experience together. We can’t do that by
struggling to be good people. The Baptism of the Spirit is so precious it
should be above criticism of any sort. Had I realized that at the time, I might
have discerned that Brother Beulah was bound by satan.
I see now that Brother Beulah opened himself up to satan because some
churches don’t war against the devil in the Spirit (II Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:1018).
They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (II Tim.
3:5). If you get souls saved but deny the existence of demons who are
oppressing church members, you won’t draw on the power of God to resist
them. If a church denies the power of the Spirit and the nine Gifts of the
Spirit, its members become more vulnerable to satanic control. A spirit of
lust was controlling Brother Beulah, but I didn’t discern it.
I didn’t want to leave that friendly little group because I treasured
something other young people took for granted: sitting at a table with
friends, talking and sipping a Coke. Even after you receive the Holy Spirit it
takes a bit of time to recover from all the hurts of your past, and to tell you
the truth, I’m still working through a lot of issues 40-odd years later. When I
was in high school I usually ate lunch by myself, because I had been singled
out by satan as THE target for school bullies. Daily I was harassed for my
hair, my figure, even my name. I was always last to be chosen in P.E. I was
attacked on the school bus. At least one lowlife urged me to kill myself. After
my Baptism, prophecy was spoken over me by a minister who had never
met me: That when I was young, satan had tried to destroy me and take my
life. True. During those stinking teenage years I’d been tempted to end it
all, just to get out of the devil’s world.
Satan took advantage of the fact I was still struggling to overcome years of
having my self-esteem shoved down in the toilet, and the fact I was grateful
when anybody said anything nice to me. In getting me to overlook Brother
Beulah’s quirks, satan was taking advantage of those ruined years. He is the
father of all workers of evil, inclulding bullies (John 8:44). Satan fights, but
he is no valiant warrior who fights by the rules and dares to look an
opponent in the eye. He is a skulking coward who attacks the weak and the
walking wounded. The devil knows Jesus stripped him of his dignity and
might at Calvary, so he can only win by fighting dirty. His children are just
as cowardly as he is. Time and again, I hear news stories about a gang of
bullies beating up some little kid or ONE helpless old man. A lone bully is

way too chicken to challenge an individual of equal strength and skill.
Gutless cowards all of them, just like their father satan. If the devil is a lion,
he is the Cowardly Lion of the universe who picks off the wounded lambs of
God’s flock.
The devil doesn’t barge into your world waving a pitchfork and wearing a
corny Halloween costume. He is far more subtle than that. He sets devious
traps for those ignorant enough to walk into them with eyes wide open. With
studied stealth, he deceives people that everything is okay when it’s really
not. Unless you’re sensitive to what satan is really up to, you are like a frog
placed in a pan of soothing warm water which is heated up degree by
degree. But the frog doesn’t jump out because it’s being soothed by the
warm bath. Before it realizes the danger it’s in, it’s been boiled alive.
Brother Beulah started dropping me off last when he drove us all home. For
the first time I felt uneasy. My, how satan takes advantage of naïve church
girls who haven’t been round the block enough to know how this ol’ world
operates! Before I could get out of his car to go into my house, Brother
Beulah grabbed me and kissed me on the forehead, then went for my
mouth. My arms and my head were held in a grip of iron by that 67-year old
reprobate. As soon as I could move I dashed out of the car.
I still didn’t want to admit that Brother Beulah was nothing but a crafty old
rattlesnake; an adulterer in heart hunting for the precious life (Prov. 6:26).
Solomon was always warning about wicked women, but there are also
predatory males out on the prowl. Solomon warned against fools, too, but as
they say, There’s no fool like an old fool who has repeatedly read the Bible
and ought to know better. Such a one is without excuse in the sight of God.
I was way too “nice” to confront him about his ungentlemanly behavior.
That’s a religious lie of the enemy: That as believers, we are absolutely
forbidden to ever think ill of anyone, regardless of how much evidence they
shove in our face. Why didn’t I realize that he took me home last because he
wanted no witnesses? Then, if he did his worst it would be the word of a
respected minister against mine.
But God saw him.
Brother Beulah has long since died. Some interesting
words must have been spoken to him by his Creator, assuming he went
unrepentant to his grave. That, by the way, is still another lie of satan: A
sinner or backslider can wait till he’s about to die before he repents, and
God will still receive his soul unto Himself. But the danger of that belief is
two-fold: Firstly, the blessed Holy Spirit is not at the beck and call of
backsliders who decide to wait for the most convenient time to repent. The
Holy Spirit must be present to grant a backslider repentance (II Tim. 2:25).

Secondly, people who are dying want their final words on earth to leave
behind a warm, loving legacy their loved ones will cherish. If Brother Beulah
died before his wife did, he would only have marred his own memory by
confessing that he had lusted after young girls and that’s the REAL reason he
took them out to nursing homes and hospitals to sing. When confronted with
his sin, he chose to LIE about it to his wife, and I feel that makes it a
thousand times worse in the sight of God. So even at death’s door a sinner
might lack the courage to confess and receive God’s forgiveness. The road to
hell is paved with good intentions.
Like a victim of domestic violence, I thought that kissing incident was just a
one-off, that it wouldn’t happen again. But Brother Beulah followed the
same pattern the following week: driving me home last, immobilizing my
arms and head and giving me an unwanted kiss. I prayed within: "O Lord, if
you let me escape Brother Beulah this last time, I promise I won’t ever go
back." Thankfully, God heard me. Second chances spring from the Grace of
God, because God doesn’t owe anyone a second chance to obey. I got away
before anything worse happened.
A couple of nights later, I was over at a friend’s house. I felt God wanted to
give me a further sign that I wasn’t just borrowing nonexistent trouble. A big
Bible lay on a table. I flipped it open at random. This verse jumped out at
me: II Samuel 13:14: Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but
BEING STRONGER THAN SHE, forced her and lay with her (KJV).
It could have been about me! "He, being stronger than she!" I knew that
story. King David’s daughter Tamar had been overpowered by her halfbrother’s superior strength and what followed was extremely tragic.
Because I listened to God in the nick of time, I was spared the same fate. It
filled me with awe that 3000 years Tamar’s tragedy, God used the story to
warn me that my suspicions about Brother Beulah were neither uncharitable
nor untrue. I just hadn’t wanted to think the worst of a so-called brother in
the Lord. Amnon was Tamar’s half-brother, so she, like me, had not
discerned any danger.
I told my friend about Brother Beulah and the verse and she urged me to tell
our pastor. Surprisingly, he told me that he had discerned a spirit of lust in
Brother Beulah the first time he had ever met him. The pastor apologetically
admitted that he should have voiced his suspicions. Had this working of the
Gift of Discerning of Spirits been acknowledged by the pastor, I might have
been warned through that gift, being a second witness to the witness of the
Spirit’s warning in my own heart: (Matt.18:16).

I didn’t want to leave the group without explanation. I wrote Brother
Beulah a letter telling him that his conduct had been very un-Christian. I told
him he had made me feel like some girl he was trying to pick up for indecent
purposes. His wife got hold of it first, read it and chewed him out. He told
the other girls: "I wonder what’s gotten into that girl, saying something like
that."
Several years later, I was living in another part of the country. My parents
and little sister stopped at a local ice cream parlor. They spotted that old
reprobate sitting at a table with a brand new batch of girls. Well, that old
lecher spotted my folks and had everyone collect their refreshments and
leave at once. Liars and deceivers don’t like to confront reminders of old
sins. Here was a man who claimed to have walked with God as a soldier of
the Cross since his youth, but he refused to come to the Light to confess his
sin of lust and the lies he had told to cover it up. He had misrepresented
himself to impressionable young girls as a grandfatherly saint who only
wanted singing and fellowship. He was like a hunter patiently waiting for a
dumb bird to get caught in his subtle snare (Psalms 91:3).
The stumbling block that had hindered me from seeing Brother Beulah for
what he was was the popular "once-saved, always-saved" heresy so deeply
entrenched in the church world. Like a lot of other spiritual newcomers, I
had thought that verses condemning sin were only for the unconverted.
Among those were verses about people hating the Light which exposes their
sins. I did not feel I had the right to judge any converted person as a sinner,
for Jesus doesn’t want us to point fingers of judgment at each other.
But carrying this lofty ideal to extremes (and truth carried to extremes
becomes error), should sin be ignored in the church, in the name of love?
Paul found plenty of it in the Corinthian Church. Christians were swindling
each other left and right. Paul tells them to judge such matters among
themselves, rather than going before worldly judges (I Cor. 6:1-5).
In
Chapter 5 Paul rebukes the Corinthians for condoning a church member who
has committed adultery with his own step-mother. Paul himself passed
judgment on the offender and delivered him over to satan for the destruction
of his flesh till he repented (I Cor. 5:3-5). That is one example of apostolic
authority in action, an office which oversees the welfare of more than one
local congregation (II Cor. 11:28)
There should be strong anointed
ministries vulnerable people can go to for counseling. Paul did not spare
the man he judged just because he was a brother in the Lord.
The supreme irony of the situation is this: Our Spirit-filled church believed in
unconditional eternal security, while Brother Beulah’s church taught that you
can lose your salvation. If he truly believed that, his actions sure didn’t

show it. Maybe the old perv thought that even if he “went to torment” for
eternity, not even God could take away the happy memories of all the hell
he’d raised on earth.
I no longer accept the doctrine of UNCONDITIONAL eternal security. This
heresy was taught even at the church where I received the Baptism of the
Spirit. My belief is this: Abiding is the key word. We began this walk by
repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus for remission of sins
(Acts 20:21). We must continue this walk in the same way and hold
steadfastly to the doctrine of faith in the atoning Blood of Christ in order to
make it to heaven (Heb. 4:14; 10:23).
II John 9 says: Whosoever
transgresseth and ABIDETH NOT in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. HE
THAT ABIDETH IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST hath both the Father and the
Son. John 15:1-7 speaks of the need of believers to abide in Christ, the
Living Vine. It isn’t enough to come into Christ, we must remain in Him
through abiding faith. Noah entered the Ark and was saved from the Flood.
But what if Noah had jumped out of one of the portholes because he didn’t
like the way the Ark stank after months of monkey manure piling up in the
cargo hold? What if he didn’t want to obey God anymore and keep on
abiding in that Ark which saved him from the water? He would have
drowned like the worst sinner who never made it into the Ark the first time!
As I Corinthians 13: 7 teaches us, love beareth all things, endureth all
things, hopeth all things, and believeth all things are possible by the grace of
God, even the reclamation of a backslider. But God is a God of truth. We
are called to walk in truth, not just sweet love (II John 4; III John 3). Love
does not lie to itself. Love must be tough enough to face the truth and deal
appropriately with it, whenever warnings are given by Spirit of Truth, so that
a snare of the devil might be uncovered and a life saved from certain
shipwreck.

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