Leaving the NAR Church: Lizzy’s story (Part 1)

“One time I was flat out on my back at the altar and a female prophetess stretched herself on top of me like Elijah had done in the book of Kings to the dead boy. We also headed over to Lakeland to meet and be a part of the Rodney Howard Brown meetings and would all experience visions and laughter and all the uncontrollable nonsense. It was called a Holy Ghost revival.”

Lizzy sat under some of the most famous NAR pastors and pastorixes in the nation, and by the end of this story you will see how twisted and demonic these teachers were and still are.

She has allowed me to include her story in this series about a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR for short. Her story has so many twists and turns that we are presenting this testimony in two parts. In this series, I want to take readers beyond the textbook What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movement explanation, into the personal experiences from those who have been there, and what happened when God opened their eyes to the truth.

Here is Lizzy’s story in her own words:

Two words: Female. Pastors.

Without fail, a lifetime, as in almost 40 years full of them, has made it very clear in my life that wherever this female pastors are allowed, false teaching has followed.

Without exception.

I find it hard to know where to start and to know where to end with my story. Only because it has been a lifelong journey of error and horror as I now realize something I once held dearly and defended so strongly has been one big trap to keep me in the darkness were it not for God’s mercy and grace.

As a child I’d grown up Catholic, and attended a private all girl’s Catholic school. As a teenager my family moved to a South American country go be with family after my father suffered some health scares. The fast-paced life he was living in the U.S. was going to take his life earlier than later if he didn’t slow down. In this new city, new country, I first came in contact with a Christian Youth Prayer Group at the age of 13, where I was asked to invite Jesus into my life. I remember being inside a room all by myself waiting for Jesus to come into my life and “never be the same again”. I sat there asking and waiting “for something” to happen. I was hungry for God with no one to walk me through or disciple me in any way.

In my high school years I had a best friend who claimed to be a Christian and have prayer groups (like the one I attended to when 13). She lived in a very affluent neighborhood. Her family didn’t like going to church; they were very carnal and only wanted prayers to see if they could get a “word from he Lord.” This was when I was introduced to “the prophetic”. A lady by the name of Olga would visit them and when she did it was like being before a psychic. She would flow in the gifts of the spirit and speak prophetic words predictions.

These friends had a sweet and a very humble aunt living with them. I loved the simplicity of her love for the Lord that was evidenced. She lived with this family and just loved Jesus. I always felt comfortable around her; she would read the Bible to me and always quoted Scripture. I would listen to each word like a hungry and thirsty spiritual waif that I was. It was through her that I was made aware of the wretch and sinner I was and how I needed a Savior. I just remember repenting and weeping at her feet crying like a baby as I cried out to the Lord for forgiveness and asking Him to be Lord of my life.

Although this wealthy family didn’t go to church, they talked about a Charismatic church just blocks away from my home. They preferred having a lady over to pray and receive prophetic words rather than attend the church. It was with this family that I experience my first so-called deliverance session.

We also visited a Charismatic woman who would prophesy. It always felt like we were going to a medium, though once in awhile she read Scripture. Not knowing better I believed it was just the way things were done. One day in her home, I started “speaking in tongues.” The window blew open, a strong breeze blew over me and I started to speak this “language.” I was convinced it was God, especially after she had laid hands on me. When doing so, I saw demons. They looked like black wolves with huge teeth and red eyes trying to consume me. I cried to Jesus at that moment, and then she took her hands off of me. When she did, the demons left. She never had me back after that.

I started going to a Four Square Charismatic church that was a satellite of Jack Hayford’s Church in California. The pastors were a couple from the U.S. that had planted over 50 churches in my country in South America. The female pastor took me under her wing and gave me my first Bible. It was there where I started to learn more about these gifts and the Word of God, and sought to live a life a that would be pleasing to God.

I went through all kinds of discipleship classes. Our churches had female pastors and they were leading some of the satellite churches in the city. They also were really big on “deliverance ministry.” I sought “deliverance counseling” (AGAIN). I would do everything that was required to be qualified to minister and volunteer in any responsible capacity.

Bible college was grueling. There was so much Scripture memorization that I honestly think by the grace of God was what sustained me throughout all the error in my life. We read many books, some Christian classics like the story of Corrie Ten Boom and books on the Life of Paul but we also dabbled with books that taught the “name it and claim it” heresies and deliverance ministry.

The church embraced prophetic utterances and then they would wait for an “interpretation “of the “tongue.” It wasn’t “supernatural translating” though; someone else in the congregation would speak a prophetic word believed to be what this other person’s gibberish was saying. It was around that time when  I became very interested in the prophetic. All kinds of evaluations at church were pointing to the fact that I had a prophetic gift and could very possible be a “Prophetess” myself.

I studied and tried to learn the best ways to use the “gift” correctly. I remember clearly having to read a book that talked about the power of the tongue and how we had power in our words to speak life or death. Unbeknownst to me, Word of Faith and what is now known as the N.A.R. was operating in this church and no one had any idea.

Benny Hinn once visited our church. I had no idea who he was. I figured he was someone important because the parking lot never looked so packed. The church also invited a couple by the last name Marzulo to conduct a healing session. Legs were lengthened during these services.

We were highly encouraged to be read the book, “Pigs in the Parlor” by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond. Deliverance was necessary in order to clean up and close doors that had been opened because of sin. We needed to be sure we were “all clear” to operate in any ministerial capacity.

I stayed grounded in that church till I left the country. I made the decision one day to walk away from my career as a TV actress and from the fame of being a TV celebrity. I was part of, worked and hung out with the jet setters of the day in my country. Some of them I was inviting to the church in hopes they would get saved. However I kept seeing how risky it was to try to be a Christian and how challenging it was to guard my testimony and not compromise my “walk with the Lord’.

The time came when I had enough, wasn’t willing to compromise, and walked away from the life of celebrity. My sister who lived in the U.S. invited me to spend a summer with her and see if maybe I’d consider moving back to the U.S. She kept telling me that there was a great church she had been attending and was very excited about me becoming a part of everything they did. She said all my talents could be used and for the Lord. So one summer I packed two suitcases and came back to the United States.

Upon my return to the U.S. I fought God in my heart because I had believed to have heard from the Lord that I was going to meet my future husband at this church. I had seen a picture of a young man my sibling had shared with me when she jokingly said, you really need to meet this guy. Something inside was pulling me towards him but totally rejected the idea. When I’d open my Bible it seemed like everything was directing me to believe God was preparing me to be a bride…. his bride. Unbeknownst to me I was about to fall into one of the enemy’s greatest deceptions. It would take me years to realize it was all error and God was never in it or a part of it or anything else they allowed in that church.

The reason I believe I need to share this part of my testimony is because dozens upon dozens of men and women alike in Charismatic churches in particular, are deceived in thinking the Lord tells them to marry someone. I thought I had heard from God, and with no proper biblical teaching I was sucked into terrible error. This church embraced all the sign gifts and believed in modern day Apostles and Prophets. I fought every thing inside me to believe I was going to allow that to happen and marry some guy I didn’t know. Yes he was a great teacher and preacher, he was kind and was also easy on the eyes, but in my TV career I had been around good-looking mean and he was just another pretty face.

I had intended to return to my father’s house once I was done with my summer stay. However deep inside I knew I wasn’t going back to live there but I knew I was going to make the U.S. my home. I started seeking God alone in my apartment praying and asking Him what He wanted of me. I never said anything to anyone about this “revelation and word” that I believed God had brought me to marry a man of God I didn’t even know.

A few months after my arrival, church prophets started calling me or approaching me at church, telling me they knew why God had brought me to their church. I started writing down everything I “got” from the Lord, and unbeknownst to me at the time I was practicing automatic handwriting. With leaders coming to me in private to “confirm” the prophetic word, it had to be God, no one else knew. I dared not speak with anyone outside of this group. These people were leaders of this church, they were the pastor’s confidants and right-hand people. They embraced the prophetic and everything that WOF  and NAR teaches, except the term NAR as such didn’t exist…but the belief system was there.

I met all the big names at this church: Myles Monroe, Perry Stone, Rod Parsely, Jentzen Franklin, RW Shambach, Benny Hinn. and many more. The pastors had been very close to Benny. Benny believed them to be the next big thing in Evangelical Churches in America. They did become famous for sharing the Prosperity Gospel. They were young and looked “the part,” and they surrounded themselves with a very young and very attractive looking staff.

This young man I had believed I was “supposed to marry” trained us, instructed us, and gave us ministry advice and etiquette. We learned about the heroes of the faith: “God’s Generals” like Aimee Semple-Mc Phearson, Wigglesworth, Seymour and all the other people  whom are considered – now I know- False Teachers.

We were groomed to serve and work hard in the ministry. We were to memorize scripture; we volunteered late hours making sure everything that needed to be taken care of got accomplished for the next big event for the community or at the church. We were trained and taught “how to preach.” I was taught that this is how you prepare for being in Ministry full time, and I wanted to serve the Lord full time for the rest of my life. I wasn’t getting paid; I was volunteer staff. One time the pastor took me to his office and said that while he could pay me $375 a week to lead worship, where would my faith be in doing that? He encouraged me to trust God, that God would take care of me.

Endless times I felt guilted into giving. There would be services where the Pastor believed the Lord was challenging us to stretch our faith and to double tithe, and at times put our whole week’s paycheck in the offering basket, believing that God was going to do something amazing.

We (the Ministry team/Altar Counselors), were always were encouraged to look presentable. There was a big emphasis on “looking impeccable,” well-dressed — almost feeling like there was a fashion show going on from Sunday to Sunday. The Pastors and staff were treated like celebrities with security detail they’d call “Armor Bearers.” These guards would carry their Bibles, water bottles and purses. I never understood why, in a church where servanthood was so talked about, they couldn’t carry their own Bibles. I found myself in a church witnessing the very thing I walked away from in my worldly career but this time I was seeing this in the leadership of the church. It confused me and made me uncomfortable but I kept thinking since this was Christian it had to be ok, so I embraced the vanity of it.

I could write an entire book on the experiences I had during my years at this church. Many services were filled with crazy nights of altar calls, with preaching from both the senior pastor and his wife. There were nights when no Bible was opened, and that’s when “the spirit” would decide to visit. I often saw a frenzy of dancing and falling into convulsions, all in the name of revival. One time I was flat out on my back at the altar and a female prophetess stretched herself on top of me like Elijah had done in the book of Kings to the dead boy. We also headed over to Lakeland to meet and be a part of the Rodney Howard Brown meetings and would all experience visions and laughter and all the uncontrollable nonsense. It was called a Holy Ghost revival.

This church was into Deliverance Ministry. In order to be an Altar Counselor, first you were required to go through deliverance. Once AGAIN, for the third time I found myself behind closed doors having people praying over me casting out demons this time of supposedly some of the “characters” I had portrayed in my career as an actress. It seemed like there were always issues I needed to resolve to get “deliverance.” It was this insatiable endless pit of works. I personally never witnessed any other staff go through deliverance; their lack of vulnerability and willingness to expose their ugliness was never called into question).

In my personal life I had not dated, though I desired to be married. I had asked the Lord for a Godly husband and in prayer told the Lord I didn’t want boyfriends. I told the Lord to give me the grace to wait as long as I needed to but I wanted to marry a Godly man with a heart after Him. I wanted to stay celibate and pure for my husband. The Deliverance Counselors thought that it was odd that someone so young and attractive didn’t date. They believed “something” must have happened to me to be so fearful of dating, so they cast out a demon or a couple that were believed that had caused that open door in my life. This didn’t make me go out and start dating like crazy though…thankfully.

One morning during a power-packed service, the pastor’s wife was slain in the spirit and was stuck in a trance-like state at the altar. I had been returning from the altar where she was, and I fell under this “power” and became stuck to the floor. It was just her and I stuck there for over an hour-and-a-half after the service had ended. I believed this meant something really special from God, given it was only her and I. The enemy weaving a web of deception even greater and deeper and I had no idea.

This church decided to start a “School of Prophets” to hone in and perfect the prophetic giftings. It was well intentioned, but misguided and utter lunacy as I look back now. We were all obviously hearing something and being VERY accurate at times, but it was not God.

Upon counsel from some in the church leadership and after much time in prayer I believed I needed to go to visit our associate pastor. He was a single man, and I wanted to share with him what I had believed the Lord had been speaking to me before arriving to the U.S. I felt it was time to share with him the “prophetic word and orchestration from the Lord” of being brought to him to consider me for a bride.

In our conversation he was very patient, kind, and gracious, and said that he believed he had heard the same things from God. But he believed God was telling him to pursue another young lady, that God told him to marry someone else. This was very humiliating for me to even come to him to talk about this. He had just gotten engaged to her, and the leaders felt I needed to go speak with him, so in obedience I did. Just a few weeks earlier I had shared my testimony with his now fiancé, and she’d told me that she could never marry him because he was her best friend. I then had to watch her accept his public proposal to her in front of the whole congregation a few weeks later in a Sunday morning service.

How could I have missed it? I talked to the pastor and shared what I believed the Lord had shown me before I set foot on American soil. He asked if the Lord has showed me anything else. I said that if they were going to go through with it and get married, they would be gone within the month of being married. We were talking about the pastor’s golden boy, his successor so-to-speak. The pastor was grooming him to be his right-hand man. What I had just shared was absurd in their understanding, something impossible. So the pastor decided to disregard my word from the Lord.

One month after they married they were gone.

It’s kinda freaky now to think I was hearing, seeing, and knowing something, but this was not of God. There WAS NO ONE in sight to give sound biblical teaching or speak the truth in love and help me realize WE WERE ALL IN TERRIBLE ERROR. The female pastor never once did or said anything to speak into my life, give me sound biblical counsel, or help me during this confusing and extremely difficult time.

Most of the trained and groomed by staff by these Pastors eventually all married and eventually left or fled the church decades after I did. Some continue to be in ministry, and their wives are called “Pastors.” Some pastor large churches, rubbing elbows with all the great names in the apostate Evangelical American Christianity of today. They have large social media followings. They are treated like celebrities, they know no other way. Social media hasn’t helped, especially when the congregants have turned them into idols. Every social cause is slathered all over social media with their in house photographers and audio-visual team to always make them look good. Many have associated with endless well known false teachers in the country and worldwide as if to validate their “success” in ministry.

Those from my church were all very kind, sincere, hardworking individuals, but all terribly deceived, as was I. If anyone ever contradicted leadership you were” being used by the enemy.” Things said were twisted to their convenience. We were always taught to “NEVER, ever TOUCH God’s anointed,” so to speak negatively for any reason was unheard of. You simply kept smiling and loving.

There was always an unspoken hierarchy. If you were staff you were better than the lay, but they’d never actually come out and say it. However it was evident in the way in which they conducted themselves. My heart genuinely breaks for them as I hold no hard feelings towards them. I was just as guilty of wanting my ears tickled. Today I want absolutely nothing to do with them, and now can only pray for God to have mercy on them like He has with me.

I would have never imagined that this church’s senior female pastor would one day become the personal advisor to a president of the United States, while also being considered a very popular false teacher of true Biblical Christianity, the latter being a very grievous feather in her cap to be known for.

This is only part one of my journey of leaving the NAR. At this time when I left this church I had yet to have my eyes open to the error of such a demonic doctrine.

Part 2 will share more experiences including a church service with gold dust, and manna appearing and more importantly,  I’ll share how God finally opened the eyes to our error and mercifully brought me and my family to the truth.”


Author’s Note:  You can read the entire series of NAR testimonies here.

 

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