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A Catholic’s Testimony: Learning How to Distinguish the False Way From the True Way, I Welcomed God’s Return

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By Xinkao, United States

Editor’s Note: I’m sure many Catholics have observed how unorthodox practices within the church occur with ever increasing frequency, parishioners seem weak in their faith and the church seems ever more bleak and desolate. Some Catholics would like to look elsewhere for a church that has the work of the Holy Spirit, but because the priests are always saying they must be wary of the false way, they don’t dare seek and investigate. Sister Xinkao, however, actively investigated the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit, learned how to distinguish between the true and false way and welcomed the return of the Lord Jesus. Want to know more about her experiences? Read on to hear her story …

A Bleak and Desolate Church, Feeling Lost and Directionless

Before I put my faith in God, I came under the influence of certain unhealthy social trends that led me to begin gambling and, in the process, not only lost money but also developed several health conditions that left me in suffering and agony. In 1998, after converting to Catholicism, I quit gambling and my health improved as well. In the years that followed, I continued to pray every day, did morning and evening recitations, attended mass and felt very joyful and grounded. In 2011, I immigrated to America and, although I was often busy and fatigued with work, I continued to attend masses. At that time, the priests would often say to us, “Eastern Lightning claims that God has already returned, but you mustn’t believe them and you shouldn’t attend the masses of groups you are unfamiliar with. There are many now preaching the false way—if you are stolen from the true way partway through your journey and betray God, not only will you have believed in vain, you’ll also be doomed to hell….” I thought to myself, “I’ve enjoyed God’s good grace, so I mustn’t betray Him with ungratefulness and disloyalty—that would be unconscionable! My stature is small and I’m incapable of discernment, so I’d best not associate with people from other denominations. That way I won’t get mixed up with people preaching the false way.” After that, I closed myself off and never told anyone from other denominations that I believed in God. I just kept on attending mass at church.

However, I slowly began to observe that our church had succumbed to heterodoxy. Some of my old friends from church had started bringing their family’s ancestral tablets to church, placing them on the altar and making offerings with incense. I thought to myself, “Isn’t the church a place to worship God? Why are you worshiping your deceased ancestors here? This isn’t in keeping with God’s commandments!” Our priests, however, didn’t stop them from acting in this way, which left me feeling very disappointed. What’s more, during mass, attendance was often sparse and those that did come would doze off or play on their phones. Worship of God had been reduced to a mere routine performance of ceremony and a kind of going through the motions. If our priests weren’t emphasizing the need to be wary of the false way, they would just be talking about raising money to build a new church and often forced parishioners to make donations. The priests would post the donator’s name and amount donated on the wall for all to see. This particular practice made me very uncomfortable and I began to question, “Is there something wrong with this church? Other churches probably don’t have these kinds of practices? Maybe I should check out some of the other churches?” However, thinking back to how the priests were always saying to be wary of the false way, I again hesitated …

Why the Church Had Become Bleak and Desolate

In May of 2018, I met Sister Li. We often discussed the Bible together and we held similar views with regard to much of what was going on in the church. We got along very well, and so I shared with her my idea of going to check out some other churches. Sister Li said she knew a brother who gave very good sermons and asked me to come listen with her. I happily agreed.

A few days later, I met Brother Liu and a few other sisters while visiting Sister Li at her house. When the topic got around to the current situation at the church, I confided in them with regard to some of my recent confusions, “Brother Liu, why has the church become so bleak and desolate? Why is it that the priests allow people to place their ancestral tablets on the altar and even let them make incense offerings?”

A Catholic’s Story: Learning How to Distinguish the False Way From the True Way, My Reunion With God

Brother Liu fellowshiped saying, “Sister, you’ve brought up a key issue. In the church, unorthodox practices abound, the priests don’t keep the commandments, don’t put God’s word into practice and their sermons lack authenticity. What’s more, parishioners are weak in their faith and even when there are meetings people just seem to be going through the motions and not truly worshiping God. They live in sin and without the discipline of the Holy Spirit…. This shows that the church has been bleak and desolate for some time now and lacks the workings of the Holy Spirit. Thinking back to the Age of Law, the temple of that time was at first full of God’s glory, no one dared defy God’s honor, and all abided by law within the temple. Later, once the Holy Spirit had ceased to work within the temple, it became a messy, dirty marketplace where oxen, sheep and pigeons were sold. It seems now that the situation in the church is not that different from the temple of the late period of the Age of Law. So why is it that the church has fallen into this kind of predicament? The reason, actually, is that God has already begun a new work in a different place and so the Holy Spirit has ceased to guard the old work and has moved onto the new one. We haven’t kept up with God’s newest work, our spirits have not been supplied, we don’t fear God, we’ve displeased Him but haven’t been reprimanded and disciplined by the Holy Spirit and so our spiritual situation grows ever darker. This fulfills the following prophecy from the Bible, ‘I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon: and the piece whereupon I rained not, withered. And two and three cities went to one city to drink water, and were not filled: yet you returned not to me, saith the Lord’ (Amos 4:7–8). Jesus Christ does the work of sowing seeds. He has been sowing His seeds for over two thousand years. Now, in the last days, when the time of the harvest is upon us, God has already left the church and has begun the work of harvesting in the new age. The phrases ‘rain upon one city’ and ‘one piece was rained upon’ refer to the church which has the work of the Holy Spirit. Only by keeping pace with God’s footsteps and accepting His new work may we receive the work of the Holy Spirit.”

I thought it very possible that the Holy Spirit had left the church as Brother Liu had claimed. For, if the church really had the work of the Holy Spirit, its parishioners would all follow the rules of the church, abide by God’s teachings and wouldn’t dare do anything to displease God. Currently, however, parishioners worshiped false idols without being disciplined by the Holy Spirit. Thus, it seemed to me that the church had truly descended into desolation and bleakness.

Next, Brother Liu took a pen and paper and drew a picture illustrating the three stages of the work of God’s salvation of mankind (the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom). He gave a detailed description of the background, content, meaning and achieved effect of every stage of His work. I had never heard any priest talk in this way and I found his fellowship supplied me and was particularly refreshing. Afterward, Brother Liu testified to me that God had already returned and was called Almighty God, had already issued many millions of words and is doing the work of judgment and purifying, which is a new stage of God’s work based on the foundation of the work of redemption. At this point, I realized that Brother Liu was preaching the doctrines of Eastern Lightning. Remembering that our priests had condemned Eastern Lightning as a false way, I put up my guard against Brother Liu and barely listened to anything he said from that point on.

How to Determine the True way (1)

After that first meeting, Sister Li invited me to come listen to another sermon, but I made an excuse and declined. However, I felt unsettled and conflicted after rejecting her. I thought, “The priests said Eastern Lightning is a false way, but having listened to their sermons, I can’t find anything wrong with what they say. What’s more, Brother Liu spoke reasonably and provided ample evidence to back himself up. God is the Sower of seeds—if He doesn’t harvest from the seeds that He’s sown, His work will have been in vain. Brother Liu also said that the work that Almighty God is doing is the work of harvesting. If this is the true way and I reject it instead of seeking, won’t I have lost God’s salvation in the last days? This won’t do, I must find the answers to my questions!” Having made this resolution, I contacted Sister Li and arranged to go listen to another sermon with her. When I saw Brother Liu, I hurriedly asked him, “Brother, our priests have said that in the last days there are many preaching the false way, and they told us not to listen to the sermons of other denominations, especially Eastern Lightning, lest we be deceived. However, I found what you’ve said to be very illuminating and I’d like to seek once more. How can I be sure that Almighty God’s work in the last days is the true way?”

Brother Liu smiled and said, “Thanks be to God! Distinguishing between the true way and false way is a very important aspect of the truth. If we can understand this aspect of the truth, we won’t be easily deceived and can seek and discover the true way and welcome God’s return in a timely fashion. Almighty God’s word explains this aspect of the truth very clearly. Let’s have a look.” Brother Liu opened up a document on his computer as he spoke and then read the following: “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 there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the 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 substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way can take man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

Brother Liu fellowshiped saying, “Sister, Almighty God’s word clearly delineates the three principles for distinguishing the true way. First, we must see if this way has the work of the Holy Spirit. We all know that the true way must have the work of the Holy Spirit. When people accept this way, their belief in God and love for God become ever greater and the church flourishes to an ever larger extent. This is just like when the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, as long as the sisters and brothers followed the Lord’s teachings they would receive the Holy Spirit’s illumination and guidance and would be disciplined and reprimanded should they go against the Lord. Those brothers and sisters that truly believed in God enjoyed the workings of the Holy Spirit and felt grounded, peaceful and full of joy. Their faith in God grew ever deeper and no matter what kind of adversity they faced, they persisted in reading scripture and spreading the gospel. What’s more, no matter how the Roman government and the Pharisees condemned and coerced, the gospel of the Lord Jesus continued to spread on a grand scale and the number of His followers swelled with every passing day. In the last days, the Lord Jesus has returned in the flesh to issue His words and do the work of judgment and purification. We brothers and sisters follow Almighty God’s work in the last days, read Almighty God’s word and have all enjoyed the supply of the living water of life. Whenever we encounter difficulties we pray to God seeking and God guides and illuminates us, allowing us to understand the truth and showing us on which path we should tread. When, however, we don’t obey God’s word, but act according to our own notions, God orchestrates various situations, people, things and circumstances to chasten and discipline us, allowing us to recognize our corruption, seek the truth, understand God’s intention, and be willing to betray our own corruption and act according to God’s word. Through repeated experiences of God’s work, we see how God is the true and living God and gradually come to fear Him in our hearts as our faith in Him grows ever deeper. Despite the attacks and judgments of the religious world and the vicious persecution led by the CCP, our brothers and sisters still steadfastly continue to follow Almighty God and actively spread God’s kingdom gospel. What’s more, even as The Church of Almighty God has been subject to the persecution of the religious world and the CCP government, it continues to flourish to a greater and greater extent. In just twenty-odd short years, God’s kingdom gospel has not only spread across the whole of mainland China, but has even expanded to a multitude of countries overseas. This is all the result of God’s work. That which comes from God is bound to flourish!”

I found Almighty God’s word and Brother Liu’s fellowship to be very reasonable—the true way invariably has the work of the Holy Spirit. Thinking back to when I first began believing in God, my faith was deep, I enjoyed prayer and reading scripture and could feel the Holy Spirit guiding and illuminating me. Now, however, I couldn’t feel the presence of God and my faith was weak. What’s more, I noticed that others had experienced the same issue: The priests’ sermons were unilluminating, my church friends followed common societal trends and made incense offerings to their ancestors. The church was in a state of upheaval. Brother Liu, by contrast, had accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days, understood much of the truth, and fellowshiped in an illuminating fashion, making insights that I hadn’t previously heard or had failed to understand. Furthermore, The Church of Almighty God was flourishing. No matter how the religious world spread lies and attacked them, Almighty God’s kingdom gospel continued to spread throughout the world. Could Almighty God’s work really be the true way?

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