THE REALITY OF SALVATION:
My Personal Testimony
The Mystery of Being
Pinkney: A Brief Testimony
might be meaningful to share a little about my own spiritual background.
In Christian meetings plain sharing in the form of 'God talk' though
probably the most important fellowship aspect, may not occur. So if
I may, I will share a few pivotal events that highlight significant
chapters in my own 'God quest.' This will be abbreviated touching
on the principle events that brought me into belief in Jesus as savior.
With the writings that I share on links above, I have included more
details that relate to the transformed life. These are my God stories.
These I offer that you may also be persuaded to believe in the supernatural
intervention of Heaven and the Lord Jesus toward yourselves just as
to me. All of these experiences are God initiated and God empowered.
Skeptical listeners abound and rightly so since there are so many
false paths to truth and salvation. But for the true and Living Way,
unbelievers and skeptics will be difficult to persuade even if one
were to testify having "risen from the dead!"
modest God stories. Testimonies of many others are more dramatic and
vary in detail. This is my story how God has allowed me to experience
some of the realities of heavenly (Spiritual) things. These accounts
are validated by similar stories written since the early days of the
church's beginning, when the Messiah's apostles wrote to instruct
and encourage all believing disciples. For truly God is the same
yesterday, today and forever. The testimonies I write about here
ought rightfully, to be the normal
among believers. God remains very much alive and is still doing mighty
exploits all over the world in this very hour. He may be revealing
himself to someone just down the street and maybe tomorrow he will
reveal himself to you!
are those who follow denominational traditions that say God doesn't
work that way anymore. To you I would advise not to disallow or marginalize
such testimonies. They are dramatic and life-changing. I will use
some italicized items
here and there. These denote matters that are significant, questioned,
misunderstood, or commonly rejected. In the final analysis, traditions
of men should never impede the truths which are given to us in Scripture.
It is important that we understand the Gift of God as recorded in
the Gospels. The gift of God touches upon all good and perfect things
that come to us from the Master's hand. These experiences are of a
heavenly substance and transcend the boundaries and expectations of
the natural (unredeemed) man. To experience heavenly gifts is a marvelous
thing. Truly greatest gift was the Messiah Jesus himself. All subsequent
gifts are owed to him and and give testimony of his completed work
on the cross that "purchased" these gifts for you and me.
a time shortly to come the Kingdom of God will be manifested upon
the earth. (Christians pray a prayer all the time, "Thy Kingdom
come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.") After the Jewish
nation receives their final redemption, the Messianic age will
come. In this long awaited time, the glory of God will at last saturate
a restored earth.
apostolic epistles describe the God-transformed life called the new
new creation experience allows believers to be recipients of a down
payment of heavenly things for
which Jesus prayed in John 17. This is the new creature
is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Strangely, while we become new creations of the God kind, the world
neither recognizes this or comprehends it. God makes his selection
from the world's humanity and causes the world to lose its allure
to no longer be the focus of their lives.
- Selected chapters in my "God-Story"
I was forty years of age, I was a faithful church goer. At various
times I was a Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Congregational
church at the time of my encounter. I regularly sang in choirs and
taught Sunday School. I Looked as good as any other member of the
congregation. All the while, I was aware of the lack of the evidence
of any sort of Spirituality in these church houses. Services were
familiar and routine. I had a comfortableness with the familiar church
traditions. I liked well-performed music. I liked the friendly interaction
with folks although it was a mostly superficial friendliness. God
was absent from my life in any real sense in those days. I did not
know Him. As every other unregenerate human being, my heart was self
focused, wicked, sinful. My mind was unrenewed. I had no knowledge
or faith in the Word of Truth these were only words. In God's eyes
I was a tare among any wheat that may have existed in any such congregation.
always had a curiosity and a desire to really know God from my earliest
days. This curiosity focused on the supernatural and spiritual world.
I sought the
while in college and outside of church activities, in the world of
Mysticism, Astrology and Eastern Philosophy. As I pursued knowledge
in these studies I learned a lot; but these pursuits when finally
put to the test proved to be empty, only vanity.
or three years before I was saved I returned from a night at
the local piano bar. It was my favorite social outlet, where I sipped
wine and sang in my company of good but worldly friends. Late that
night, I had a powerful night vision. As the vision
commenced, I saw portrayed
before me an huge, ancient book. It might have been such as presented
in a book on magic or alchemy. As I turned each ancient page, my eyes
met with mysterious inscriptions, glyphs, charms and symbols representing
the deepest hidden magik, the mysteries of God. The next scene brought
an amazing transformation. As I turned each page, all at once, the
book turned into the Holy Bible.
the next scene of the vision an unseen someone placed a white robe
upon me. A voice of someone announced, "With the covering of
this garment you will
be a spokesman for God".
Then another scene followed. I was among several others all gathered
together in a circle. While I was wearing this robe, I experienced
a mental transformation. I began to act as Jesus sharing amount his
friends. There was a powerful spiritual presence manifested in our
midst. God was acting through all, teaching and discipling. When I
awoke from this vision my body was trembling. There was a sensation
like a tingle of electricity pulsing through my body from head to
Following this vision, I said to myself, "There IS a God life
and a world of Spiritual world that I must one day pursue and when
I do, I know it will be all consuming passion. It would be one from
which I will never be able to escape or return to my ordinary life
the next few years, my first marriage had descended to ruin. I was
quite aware that I was not a devoted and loving husband, or a good
role model for my children. During a time of growing marital stress,
I felt greater depression and emotional instability. The marriage
end with dissolution and final divorce. A powerful lonliness and depression
grew within me. I felt unloved and unhappy. During this time, I studied
to find out how I might straighten up my life and reconcile with my
wife with a loving relationship. I attempted counseling and group
therapy. Yet, no methodology, counseling or worldly wisdom could bring
me peace of mind. I drank to medicate myself. I believe the Lord kept
me from seeking another relationship which surely would have been
reached the nadir of my depression at the end of Christmas vacation
from my classroom teaching. It was 1980. The night of the New Year
of 1981. Having it a point of desparation, I called out with tears
for God to reveal himself to me and bring me out of the darkness and
fearful torment that possessed me.
It was only then that I was ready to do serious business
with God. My heart was broken (see Psalm 51) and I realized my hopeless
and wretched condition. It was then after the briefest heartfelt prayer
that God answered my prayer making his presence known. Within mere
seconds of my calling out to God for mercy and relief, my racing mind
became suddenly still. As the stillness settled into my soul. Words
dropped into my mind. From somewhere outside myself, complete
sentances came into focus. The words began, "fear not for I am
with you" - - His words continued
to come into my mind for a long time. For perhaps an hour or two here
was a dialogue. I would ask a question and God would answer. Clearly
speaking from outside of myself, words came to
me stating of His love for humanity and how people experience pain
and confusion when his love is not realized or received. I felt the
power of his Holy love for me and my fear left me. The voice imput
from God spoke to me that his love had the power to transform every
hurt of humanity. Of this God source of love, there was no limit.
Love of the heavenly kind is like an endless flowing river. He spoke
to me about matters of human fears and dysfunction directly hinge
upon the absence of love in that life. It was supernatural peace that
came to me and the desire to know God more and more. He told me, "Unto
you is born this day, Immanuel. He will be with you from now on."
It was to be God with me working steadily to know Him more in Truth.
this night I wanted to share with someone about my experience, my
encounter with God. That night I learned about his power and his unlimited
love and the changes it can make in someone's life. But who would
I share it with? With students at school? Was there a church anywhere
that this kind of testimony would be allowed? I didn't know of one.
Such practices in church house religion is uncommon. Who would understand
that I had really had an encounter with a Holy God? My ex wife only
shared that she was happy that I did not feel so unsettled for what
youngest sister Edie had been born again a little while before this
time and began to encourage me. Someone told me there was an evangelist
name _I won't name him_ who shared deep Spiritual
truths in his teachings. I thought that sounded promising. So I began
to listen to that man's teaching. His message essentially said it
is all in the Bible. There is
just so much to believe in the Bible! The Bible when examined seriously
has marvelous revelation. He also taught that there was a Holy Spirit
from God to enable believers.
I began to read the Bible regularly. Strangely, when I tried to read
and comprehend the Bible, I would fall asleep before I got very far.
Life style patterns cling on. I still wanted to go about with my old
friends, drink and carry on in the familiar pleasures of the habitual
night life. I watched broadcasts of Christian evangelists and said
the 'sinner's prayer' every chance I'd get.
large evangelistic conference came to Minneapolis five months later,
in May. It was the Kenneth Copeland Ministry. The auditorium was filled
to capacity. I entered the building going up the ramp to the second
floor. As I ascended the stairs I heard a huge volume of sound of
worship coming from the auditorium. I could literally feel a kind
of weight of the presence of God in a tangible way. There was amazing
worship the kind I had never seen, heard or experienced. People were
swept up in a true passion for worship. In a new electrified atmospher
hands of the worshipers were uplifted. They seemed oblivious of anything
else but God. Although I was thrilled with the experience I still
wanted to leave early to meet my chums and sing with the piano bar
folks. That very important mile stone moment did not change me to
any great degree. My heart was still entangled in my habits and thought
patters from my old life style. These habit patterns take a long while
to drop off. These are the grave clothes that cling to the 'man of
flesh' but through the GRACE which is the POWER that God provides
the patterns and tastes of worldliness DO eventually end.
July of that year, I was doing summer work on property I owned in
rural North Dakota. I had been invited to sing in an AG church in
a near by town that Sunday. This AG pastor had come to visit my sister
Mary in town before that scheduled Sunday. She lived next door to
me so I was invited over. The pastor told my sister, her husband,
and I about the baptism of the Holy
Ghost. I had no theological objections
about the matter and wanted to go deeper with God. There were Bible
verses shared to validate the practice. We gathered for prayer and
the laying on of hands.
I was embarrassed and somewhat put off, when I was asked to do something
like expressing words outside of my own vocabulary. How can such a
thing happen? I didn't know. Some kind of utterance was to be released
in my Spirit. Self consciously, I said to the group, "I would
go home and do it." I did just that. That night I had a deep
and life changing experience. Later, that same night about 3 in the
morning a friend came over demonized and drunk. I wanted him to know
what I had experienced. I knew at then How Real God Is.
But I was ignorant about too much! I knew too little about how to
lead my friend in the prayer of salvation even though he was ready
at that moment. Together without Bible knowledge we just took a chance
and opened the Bible at Random. It opened to Psalm 107. It happened
that is was most appropriate for him who was a practicing drunk. Nevertheless,
he was open to the Bible and to God right then. I believe that
was a seeding event in his life nonetheless.
morning came. I may have slept a few hours. When I awoke, I was powerfully
aware that I was aware that everything seemed totally new. I was experiencing
the reality of the new
creation. I felt lighter
than air. The sky was bluer, the world was more beautiful, I felt
peace and joy that goes beyond my ability to describe it. I wanted
to know all the secrets that are in The Bible and I loved Jesus, though
I still didn't know him very well. In the days following, the Bible
became an asset I was never without. From Genesis the Revelation,
It provided continuous revelation of the most amazing kind. I was
at the new born infant stage of being a believer in Christ
the Messiah, a Christian.
following Sunday morning arrived. I was to sing at that church. Throughout
the entire morning, I was in the grip of a compelling Spiritual force
that possessed the focus of my thoughts. It was a force beyond myself.
I became fixated upon one phrase, "Of all the sinners in the
world, I am the chief!" For several hours I was inside what seemed
a spiritual 'vacuum jar' like a spiritual vacuum enclosed in a jar.
No other thought could enter that vacuum, "Of
all the sinners in the world...
That morning I came forward to sing my special. I
was compelled to deliver that phrase before the assembled church.
I didn't care what anyone might think or say? The words came out slowly
as one delivering up in child in birth. After that moment there was
an out-pouring of the anointing that gripped me, I sang with what
is called the anointing though I would know this phrase for several
months. The Spirit led my thoughts and studies. It led my desire to
praise and worship. It grew powerfully. After that it became a regular
feature of my life. God was so very
present. His revelation
was continuous. The Rhema
of God attended the Scriptures
as I studied. (Man does not live by bread only but by every (Gk. Rhema)
that proceeds from His mouth.)
fall, eight months after my first encounter with the Lord, I returned
to my teaching job. Every evening I smoked my pipe and drank my wine
and cocktails until my tobacco supply was gone. Soon I abandoned my
liquor supply. The bottles were left, untouched. I had no desire to
buy more. The desire to consume tobacco or alcohol disappeared.
the next 3 years or more years or more, I taught school during the
day and spent all of my free time after work listening to a number
of (anointed) Bible teachers, then I would read the Bible into the
night. God's powerful presence was
a reality and that presence grew stronger and stronger each day. There
was no interest in TV, no entertainment, no daily news reports. I
was growing as a disciple of the Lord.
this chapter of my God story, my one passion was being with God and
I basked in the warmth of His presence. Words here do not do justice
to the life in God's presence.
with this, at this time I was beginning to experience the Spirit
of Truth and the phenomena
of being Crucified to the World.
To clarify, I can only try to explain that this was a clear witness
within my spirit. I knew the things that were of God and the things
that were tainted by worldly darkness or human vanity. Traditional
Christian hymns and even contemporary Christian music for the most
part, jangled my spirit. Too often In contemporary Christian music
there is a sense that the artist was trying to draw attention to himself/herself
with his or her own performance style. Many forms of music
are laden with a religiosity without anointing. Soul
music is the kind so imbued with
the performer's ego that it loses its message and Spiritual power.
Spirit of Truth was evident in the reading of Christian magazines
and books as well as all worldly publications. Most published articles
eminated an emptiness being without the Spirit. The content was from
the human mind and not God's mind. They were religious, flat; essentially
intellectual without anointing. In the domain of work, classrooms,
at school activities and times spent with my own children, all public
events and professional meetings registered as empty, full of dead
noise performed with vanity. I now know this is what Paul the apostle
called, being "crucified to the world and the world to me."
I stood behind a glass that separated me from the activities where
I was present as an onlooker.
these years, when I entered any church
house (churches) if the Spirit
of God was absent. There was a pawl of deadness that prevailed. There
was a deadly emptiness. This was a sense that was clearly discerned
but not based upon intellect or reason. My spirit would become grieved
at the absence of God life. How long I would wonder have the souls
who come to this place not knowing that there was no God life present,
or even if He had ever been resident.
It was this experience that has guided and compelled my spiritual
life since that time. I
felt motivated to encourage believers to experience
put God life and direction
back into the fellowship of believers.
And to make it possible to release
into their personal callings to minister their own Gift from God.
my time of being discipled in my 'back of the desert,' I felt entirely
like an alien in every respect. Church-house preaching "fell
to the ground." Most sermons or teaching by Bible experts resonated
similarly without anointing, without life or passion. Preaching was
uninspired, filled with second-hand doctrine, not Spirit inspired
revelation. To keep the interest of the audience, emotional hype and
contrived preaching gimmicks were employed. I knew it for what most
of it was, vanity and self promotion.
Life and Death in Religion
the years that followed, I carefully listened to hundred of sermons
by countless preachers, evangelists, and conference speakers. I believe
I heard every conceivable sermon presented with varying degrees of
knowledge and revelation, but whether evangelical or charismatic these
had one commonality - - the messaged promoted the
institutional church experience.
It was from these dead ashes that I had been released. Something was
so wrong with this churchianity. It labors under human paradigms,
popular understandings coupled with human authority. Except in rare
examples, Bible teaching portrayed theology and doctrinal concepts
but frightfully little experience in heavenly matters and too much
submission to hierarchical form and structure. Discipleship was for
all practical purposes, a foreign concept as it deemphasized experiencing
God or doing the works of God. Church life is for the most part, about
promoting the institution and submission to it or its leaders.
1995 I began to write a book which might have been called The Gospel
for Dummies, or Practical Discipleship, but I did not want to present
another religious book
title in the already glutted market of Christian Books. These already
abound in tens of thousands of titles for Christian consumption, each
claiming some new doctrine or revelation and each contrived to add
to the fame (and fortunes) of the authors. So I decided upon this
title, The Gospel Without Religion.
The purpose of the writing would be to show to people who, like myself
who were hungry to know God more about Christianity but were stymied
in religion. To enable religious people to discover God's reality.
Outside the context of the
religious paradigm, I hoped to reiterate the simplicity of the
God life, the way the apostles described it; no more, no less.
a year after the anniversary of my first God encounter, in my one
room back of the desert
ghetto apartment, I was blessed to hear the audible voice
of God on one occasion in a night
vision. This voice (I always ask others to describe their own experience
with the audible voice) addressed the message of Ephesians 4: relative
to the gifts given to the Body to mature us all into the form of one
He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
and some pastors and teachers, 12
for the equipping of the
saints for the work of ministry for the edifying of the body of
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of
the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of
the fullness of Christ; 140
that we should no longer be
children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who
is the head- "
years following were punctuated with more special times in the Spirit,
God stories involving; (I wish to not be too foolish to draw attention
to myself) visions and dreams, traveling to far away places to minister
in the Spirit, angelic visits and some of such things that are attested
to in the Book of Acts and the Epistles.
kind of testimonial sadly will not be well received among most evangelicals.
More often than not such testimonies produce doubts, questions or
doctrinal argument rather than faith-building hope. As one prominent
world-reknowned international Bible teacher once blustered on his
radio broadcast, "If anyone ever told me that they had a visit
with an angel I would tell him, it is time for him to visit the booby
hatch." J. Vernon McGee,1990,
Such well meaning Bible teaching results in one thing, disbelief.
Such wrong beliefs and teaching grieves me. As Jesus the Great Shepherd
and gatherer of his flock stated, "How I would loved to have
gathered you as a mother hen gathers her own young, but you would
not" (allow it.) And sadly the body remains so divided into disassociated
fragments we can only wonder when this oneness, this one perfect man
come to be?
friends, I wish to say nothing in my testimony suggesting that I am
any way different from those persons that God has called. Needy seekers
who ask, seek and knock, find Grace in His sight. It is so pleasant
to share koinonia (fellowship
of the Body) with those of like hearts, who seek God with an openess
to the Holy Spirit. It is my hearts desire that we who call ourselves
Christians, welcome and receive from one other who are recipients
of their own unique gifts of God. As it states
4:10.; For as many who have received the gift, minister (that gift)
unto one another as stewards of the manifold grace of God.
the very form given to us to express the
kingdom of heaven, As it was in Simon
Peter's day, so is it today.
His presence there is peace and fulness of joy.
E Book 2:
E Book 3:
in the Bible Index
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
Understanding Home Fellowships
Frank Viola Interviews a typical church-goer
of Open Church)
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles