80. Escaping the Rumor Mill

By William, USA

In October of 2016, I came to New York, and was later baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus at a Chinese church, becoming a Christian. But after more than a year in the church, I’d only learned how to pray and sing hymns, and my knowledge of the Lord and my understanding of the Bible were superficial, which left me disappointed. So, I’d often search for sermons on YouTube on my own so that I could understand the Lord’s will.

In March of 2018, I met a few brothers and sisters in New York and learned a lot of truths and mysteries I’d never known before by gathering and fellowshiping with them, like the story behind the Bible, what the incarnation is, what salvation is, the difference between the true Christ and false ones, the difference between God’s work and man’s work, and so on. It was eye-opening and I gained a lot. I really enjoyed those gatherings. At one gathering, Brother Bryce read many words that weren’t in the Bible. I was really surprised by this and asked whose words they were. He said these words were the utterances of Almighty God, Christ of the last days. When I heard the name “Almighty God,” I was shocked. The pastor and elders had repeatedly warned us not to have any contact with the members from The Church of Almighty God. They said they believed in a person, not Jesus Christ. I felt flustered, and began to feel so anxious I couldn’t sit still. I didn’t register the things Bryce said after that, and I made an excuse and left the gathering.

When I returned home, I tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep, as scenes of my gatherings with members of The Church of Almighty God flashed through my mind. Their fellowship was very enlightening and practical, and very beneficial for me. But what the pastor and elders said about The Church of Almighty God echoed in my ears. I was upset, and I didn’t know who to listen to. I took out my phone and went to the website I trust most, Wikipedia, to see how it described The Church of Almighty God. When I read on Wikipedia that the Church was founded by a person, that it was a human organization rather than the church of God, as well as some alarming negative reports from the CCP, I instantly became nervous and didn’t dare listen to their fellowship anymore. I was about to remove all their contact information, but just as I was about to delete it, I recalled how I’d gotten on with them. They were upright, loving and patient with others, and I had great admiration for their character, what they lived out, and the way they talked. I only got good impressions from them. They weren’t anything like what I’d seen online. This gave me pause. But I put too much stock in Wikipedia, so after thinking it over, I still decided to delete all my Church of Almighty God contacts and told Brother Peter about what I learned, who was investigating Almighty God’s work with me. Peter said welcoming the Lord is an important matter we must take seriously, and persuaded me not to carelessly judge it, but to pray more and seek the Lord’s guidance. I felt very conflicted, thinking, “What he says makes sense. Welcoming the Lord is an important matter that we must treat seriously. If Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, and I don’t look into it, won’t I miss my chance to welcome the Lord?” So I prayed to the Lord, “Lord! I am very confused right now. The Church of Almighty God’s sermons are really nurturing and I’ve gained a lot. But Wikipedia says that it’s a human organization rather than the church of God. Lord! I have no discernment. I fear I’ve gone astray, and I ask for Your guidance.”

One day, on the way to church, a sister told me a story: “A believer in the Lord asked God to save him in a time of crisis, so God arranged three chances for him to be saved, but he missed every one. He said, ‘No. I’ve already prayed to the Lord. The Lord will come to save me.’ After his death, he realized that God had arranged these three chances, and he lost his life because he failed to seize these opportunities.” At church, I was surprised to find my pastor telling the exact same story. I was shocked, and thought, “This is incredible! I’ve heard two people telling me the same story in one day, reminding me to seize my chance to be saved by God. Is the Lord telling me to continue investigating the work of Almighty God?” So, I decided to continue to investigate Eastern Lightning.

I got in touch with Bryce and shared my confusion with him. I said, “I know there is truth to your fellowship and it has the Holy Spirit’s work. It’s been really helpful for me. But I saw on Wikipedia that The Church of Almighty God was founded by a man surnamed Zhao, that it was a human organization rather than the church of God. There were also a lot of negative reports from the CCP government on the internet, so it raised some doubts for me and I want to talk this over with you.” Bryce responded, “When investigating the true way, we can’t rely on unbeliever websites, some groups, political parties, or what people may say. We have to look at whether this way contains the truth, whether it’s God’s work. This is the most fundamental, most important principle. When the Lord Jesus came to work, the Pharisees concocted all sorts of rumors about Him and said lots of blasphemous things, saying He wasn’t conceived by the Holy Spirit, that His words were sacrilege, and that the Lord Jesus cast out demons by using the king of devils. They even said He hadn’t been resurrected, and so on. Many Jews listened to the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees and didn’t dare follow the Lord. But Peter, John and others saw that the way He preached about, His miracles and His work all came from God and had the authority and power of God, so they followed the Lord Jesus and gained His salvation. This all shows that what’s key in investigating the true way is seeing whether it possesses the truth and the Holy Spirit’s work. That’s the only principle.” Bryce then read a passage of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, “What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not the work of the Holy Spirit is present therein. For the essence of people’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even their belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent essence of God. So, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not it has the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is truth in this way” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God). Bryce went on with his fellowship, “In the last days, Almighty God does the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. He expresses all truths which cleanse and save mankind, such as the aims of God’s management work, the stories behind the work of the Ages of Law, Grace, and Kingdom and what is achieved by that work, the mysteries of God’s incarnation and name, and more. Almighty God judges and exposes people’s satanic nature and the truth of their corruption that are in defiance of God, and the root of evil and darkness in the world. He tells us how Satan corrupts mankind and how God saves mankind. He also gives us the path to cast off corruption and gain God’s salvation and reveals the outcomes for every type of person. The truths He expresses and His judgment work completely fulfill the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16:12–13). It also fulfills this prophecy in 1 Peter: ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). Lots of true believers from all denominations who long for God’s appearance and work have seen that Almighty God’s words are the truth and the voice of God. They’ve determined that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned and have come before God. All that comes from God will thrive. In just over 20 years, Almighty God’s kingdom gospel has spread across China and is now reaching across the world. This is God’s unique power and authority and the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work. It’s a manifestation of God’s wisdom and almightiness. These facts prove that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, that His work is the true way and the appearance and work of God in the last days.”

Hearing Bryce’s fellowship, I felt that only something from God would flourish more and more. Almighty God’s words really are the truth and they really reveal a lot of mysteries and truths. Who but God could express the truth? If I didn’t read Almighty God’s truths in my search for the true way but blindly believed the lies posted on some website and spread by the CCP, that would be incredibly foolish. Bryce asked me to watch the movie Red Re-Education at Home. The main character’s father heads a municipal United Front Work Department and what he says is just like what I saw on Wikipedia. He says the Church was established by a man surnamed Zhao, that its members all call him the man used by the Holy Spirit, and they listen to his sermons all the time, so that means it’s a human organization, and not God’s church. This is what the main character says in response: “Who founded Christianity? Who founded Catholicism? Could it be Paul or Peter who was the founder? Who founded Judaism? Could it be that it was Moses? Isn’t this all absurd? The atheist CCP has never acknowledged there is a God, much less that God has become flesh. No matter how much truth Christ incarnate expresses, how great His work is, or how great His salvation is, they’ll do all they can to deny, conceal, and condemn it. They think Christianity and Catholicism were founded by human beings, too, and this is totally absurd. If it weren’t for the Lord Jesus’ appearance and work, there wouldn’t be any believers or followers of the Lord and there’s no way Christianity would exist. That’s a fact. No matter how gifted the apostles were, how could they found a church? Just because people accepted the leadership and shepherding of the apostles, does that mean Christianity was founded by human beings? The Church of Almighty God came about entirely because of Almighty God’s appearance and work. Because Almighty God expresses so many truths, and because people know it’s God’s voice and come before God, the Church came into being. After Almighty God began His work, He testified to the man used by the Holy Spirit as the leader of the Church. He is like Moses in the Age of Law, or the apostles in the Age of Grace. He is used by God to water, shepherd, and lead God’s chosen people. He’s doing the duty of a human. God’s chosen people pray in the name of Almighty God and in gatherings they read and fellowship on Almighty God’s words. God’s chosen people accept and submit to this man’s leadership in accordance with Almighty God’s words. The CCP tells bare-faced lies, saying that our faith is in this man. They deny Almighty God’s appearance and work, and deny the truths He expresses. They have ulterior motives. If it weren’t for Almighty God’s appearance and work, The Church of Almighty God wouldn’t exist. That’s an undeniable fact.” I felt like the main character was right. The Church came to be because of God’s appearance and work, but just because God uses someone to lead the Church, the CCP says the Church was founded by a human being. Isn’t that absurd? The CCP knows that Christians in The Church of Almighty God believe in Almighty God, so why would they say that it’s a human organization, founded by a person? As I was puzzling over this, the main character went on, “So why does the CCP government say the Church is a human organization? Why won’t they mention God in the flesh? Why won’t they ever mention The Word Appears in the Flesh? The truths expressed by Almighty God are what the CCP fears most, because they know that all the believers in Almighty God accepted Him because they read The Word Appears in the Flesh. So they try to distract people by saying that The Church of Almighty God was founded by a human to cover up the truth that Almighty God, Christ of last days, has appeared and works. Their true goal in doing this is to stop people from following God. They twist the truth, insisting that the church of God’s appearance and work is a human organization. This is the excuse they’ve found to oppress God’s church.” Only then did I realize that the CCP’s claim that The Church of Almighty God is a human organization is a deliberate distortion of the facts and an excuse to suppress and persecute The Church of Almighty God. More so, they say this to mislead people, to stop people from having faith and following God. That’s the CCP’s evil motive!

After watching that clip, Bryce fellowshiped, “The CCP’s fabrication of these rumors and condemnations of The Church of Almighty God are inseparable from its demonic nature of hating the truth and resisting God. We all know that the CCP is atheist and it believes in Marxism-Leninism. It hates the truth and God’s appearance and work more than anything, and since establishing the country in 1949, it has wildly suppressed and persecuted religious beliefs. It has condemned the house churches as evil cults, and has burned and destroyed countless copies of the Bible. It has arrested, persecuted, and imprisoned countless Christians and Catholics. Religious persecution has become even more brutal since Xi Jinping came to power. The Three-Self churches have been shut down and demolished, and countless crosses have been torn down. The CCP even plans to rewrite the Bible and the Koran to completely wipe out religious beliefs. Since Christ of the last days, Almighty God, appeared in China, the CCP has been hunting Him, scouring high and low, madly arresting and persecuting Christians. Many have been imprisoned and brutally tortured until they’re disabled or dead, and over one million people have been forced to flee their homes. The CCP gets the media to propagate rumors and stir up trouble to frame and smear The Church of Almighty God. This is to incite and mislead the people of China and the world so they’ll oppose and condemn the Church, too. It’s trying to wipe out God’s work of the last days. We can see from these facts that the CCP is an evil demon that opposes God, and misleads and harms people. It’s the beast, the great dragon from Revelation! This completely fulfills these biblical prophecies: ‘And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world’ (Revelation 12:9). ‘The beast opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven’ (Revelation 13:6). Listening to the CCP’s lies when investigating the true way and seeking God’s appearance and work is ridiculous! And some people read what’s on Wikipedia when looking into the true way, saying they trust that site and they’ll only believe it if Wikipedia says that it’s the true way. They use Wikipedia to determine whether it’s the true way. Is that in line with the truth? Does Wikipedia contain the truth? It’s an unbelievers’ website. They compile materials and write everything from unbelievers’ perspective. Unbelievers have all been deeply corrupted by Satan and have betrayed God. They’re not people of faith. They just go along with the crowd and tell lie after lie. They’ll just parrot whatever the CCP says. Why not interview the Church itself? Why not report on it fairly and objectively? Almighty God’s words express so many truths and they have rocked the entire religious world, even the world itself. Why don’t they report on this fact? All sorts of testimonies from members from The Church of Almighty God of their experiences of God’s work have been online for a while. Why aren’t those mentioned at all? The CCP government has been brutally persecuting the Church and this has been publicized on international human rights organizations’ websites. Why don’t they reference that? Why do they only publicize the lies of the rumors and slander of the Church from the CCP government and the religious world? Aren’t they intentionally hiding the truth and spreading the satanic government’s lies? What issue does this highlight? That they’re propaganda tools Satan uses to mislead people. If we believe Wikipedia when looking into the true way, if we believe its lies, wouldn’t that be foolish? Many people have made this mistake in their investigation of the true way. If they see that governments and the religious world condemn something as not the true way, they won’t believe in it. Are they even real believers? Not seeking God’s words or hearing God’s voice in their search, but believing Satan’s words, and believing the CCP and religious clergy means that they believe and follow Satan, that they’ve been misled and taken by the beast, that they bear the mark of the beast.”

I was totally convinced by Bryce’s fellowship. I’d always thought of Wikipedia as the largest online encyclopedia that covered everything. I had really trusted it, but I realized then that it’s an unbelievers’ website. It contains no truth, nor is it testified of by God. It is a tool serving Satan. Whatever twisted heresies the CCP government may release, Wikipedia repeats these fallacies. How can what it says be trusted? My investigation of the true way should have been based on God’s words. I should have looked at whether this way has the truth, whether it was expressed by God, and whether it has the work of the Holy Spirit, because only God is the truth, the way, and the life, and only God can express the truth and show us the path to cast off sin and be fully saved. But even though I saw Almighty God’s word is the truth and that it comes from God, I was still being controlled by the CCP’s rumors and the words on a supposedly authoritative website, and didn’t dare investigate Almighty God’s work. I truly was confused! But thanks to my brothers’ and sisters’ continually aiding me and fellowshiping the truth with me, I wasn’t deceived. Otherwise, I’d have missed my chance to welcome the Lord’s return.

Then Bryce continued his fellowship: “Since these are all lies the CCP uses to mislead people and prevent them from looking into the true way, why does God allow these fabrications to exist? God’s good intentions and wisdom are behind this. We’ll understand once we take a look at what Almighty God says. ‘In My plan, Satan has, all along, been stalking behind each step and, as the foil of My wisdom, has always been trying to find ways and means to disrupt My original plan. Yet could I succumb to its deceitful schemes? Everything in heaven and on earth serves Me; could the deceitful schemes of Satan be any different? This is precisely where My wisdom intersects; it is precisely that which is wondrous about My deeds, and it is the principle of operation for My entire management plan. During the era of the building of the kingdom, still I do not avoid the deceitful schemes of Satan, but continue to do the work I must. Among the universe and all things, I have chosen the deeds of Satan as My foil. Is this not a manifestation of My wisdom? Is this not precisely that which is wondrous about My work?’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 8). God’s words show us that in His work, He doesn’t evade Satan’s schemes but uses them to render service to determine the outcome for every type of person. God’s work in the Age of Kingdom is the last stage of His salvation of mankind. He expresses the truth to judge and cleanse people, while also sorting people according to their kind, ultimately rewarding the good and punishing the wicked, and ending the work of the entire age. God will make all those who sincerely believe in Him and love the truth into overcomers and bring them into His kingdom. He will expose and cast out the nonbelievers who only seek to eat their fill of bread as well as all the evil people and antichrists which resist God. These lies spread by the CCP are tools God uses in the service of achieving His work. True and false believers, the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats will all be revealed in this storm of lies. This is a test everyone who accepts God’s work of the last days must pass. The Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me … neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand’ (John 10:27–28). God’s sheep hear His voice, and all true believers who love the truth don’t care what the CCP or the religious world says, or what’s written by the media or on websites. They just look at whether it’s the truth, whether it’s God’s voice. Once they confirm that Almighty God’s words are the truth and God’s voice, they follow Him, unobstructed by any person, thing, or event. They resolve to follow God. They are the wise virgins. The nonbelievers, those who don’t love the truth and seek only to eat their fill of bread don’t seek the truth, but blindly accept Satan’s lies and even go along with the CCP and the religious world’s clergy in spreading lies, madly judging and condemning God’s work of the last days. They’re all exposed as tares, as evil servants and antichrists. They’ll be cast out and will be left weeping and gnashing their teeth in the disasters. The lies of the CCP and religious world reveal the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats, the good and the evil servants. Ultimately, God will determine people’s outcomes by how they approached God’s work of the last days, by what they’ve done. Satan’s lies and schemes are clearly doing service for God’s work.”

That was so dangerous! These rumors and lies nearly got me locked outside of the kingdom’s gate. This thought scared me. There’s a true risk to having faith but lacking discernment, and not seeking the truth. Now I know that the key to investigating the true way is to listen for God’s voice and to see if it’s the truth, if it’s God’s work. We absolutely cannot believe the CCP demons’ lies and we have to have discernment over what pastors, elders, and websites say, too. We can’t just blindly believe what they say, or we could fall into Satan’s net at any moment and miss our chance to welcome the Lord and be taken up into the kingdom of heaven. Escaping the rumor mill and welcoming the Lord’s return was God’s mercy and salvation for me! Thanks be to Almighty God!

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