About the Bible Studies Teacher:
My father was a Presbyterian minister. My mother was the daughter and granddaughter of ministers. So, I grew up in denominational Christian surroundings. The first lesson I remember of my father's teachings was about idolatry. This implied knowledge of worship, which was taught by instruction in prayer.
Dad was very dramatic in the way he told Bible stories and he made them live for my brothers and I - Noah, David and Goliath, Samson were all well known stories by the time I was 5.
Racism was also something that was very much talked about and discouraged. His stand caused a commotion in the neighborhood at least once that I was aware of. About the time I started school, a dark depression fell upon me. Without developed expressive skills it was something that was very difficult to communicate. In those days doctors believed that it was not possible for children to experience depression. Living became painful, and this pain drove me to look for relief.
Dad and Mom decided to become missionaries. Dad was offered a position in Iraq, which he turned down. He really wanted to go to Korea, where he had served in the Army as a Chaplin. A position opened up and off we went. It took a year of preparation, and we arrived in Seoul, Korea in August of 1959.
By that time I had just turned 7. The first months in Korea was a tremendous shock to me. The different language, customs and poverty were overwhelming. My brothers and I had been taught some about the different customs, but nothing prepared us for the reality of life in that country.
The struggle for life that unfolded before my eyes personified the struggle raging inside me. I perceived that even in the midst of extreme privation and oppression, people managed to carry on with dignity, and a will to survive.
Even then I was beginning to perceive the differences between what was taught in the Bible, and our practice in denominational Christianity. As early as I could remember, there had always been a palatable sense of vicious emotional turmoil in each church we entered; and we entered many
By the time I was 8, I had received the personal testimony of two believers; one a Korean man, and the other, a missionary woman who had served many years in Tibet. The man had been tortured for his beliefs by the North Koreans. He was delivered from death as he was digging his own grave. The woman had been imprisoned for her beliefs. She had smuggled a small New Testament Bible into prison with her, in spite of the penalty of death if caught. She would memorize each page of scripture. As each page was memorized, she would literally eat the page. This went on until the entire New Testament was eaten.
As we traveled around the country, either in the markets or in the countryside, we would observe oriental customs which are recorded in the Bible. My parents were faithful to point these out, and show us in the Bible the records where these were mentioned. By God's grace, these memories stuck with me, and became a precious resource.
We attended a revival when I was 10. I was desperate for relief and some power to overcome the challenges in my life and I became born again, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Nothing changed. My parents were unable to answer my questions, and the Bible had become a closed book to me.
I was exposed to Buddhism, and Shamanism. The same disconnect between scripture and practice is evident in Buddhism as in Christianity. By the time we left Korea, I had rejected both religions.
The teen years were some of the worst of my life. This is when God saved me from following through on suicidal tendencies. Spiritualism became of interest. One day, after I had seen the reality of the power in spiritualism, God showed me that I had no part in that, that I was of the light, not of the darkness. That was a problem. What was I to do now? He answered with a question - where did you first learn about the devil? My answer was, the Bible! Thus started my quest for knowledge of the Bible. This quest did not involve standard denominational sources, as it was already clear that there existed no interest for the truth in those quarters.
When I was 18, I had a choice, either train to be a spiritualist medium for free, or pay $45 for a class in Biblical studies. Although I had no job, money, transportation, a place to stay (during the class), and no prospects for any of those things, I chose to take the class. God met my need, and I was able to attend the class, where I obtained some much needed (but not complete) deliverance. There God showed me a glimpse of the majestic beauty and precision of His Word.
Although non-denominational, a corporate Christian agency became my standard spiritual environment. After serving a short time in a domestic missionary campaign, I married. This brought on many challenges and difficulties for which I was ill prepared. My application of God's Word in these situations did not produce the desired results. When I attempted to speak to other believers about these problems, there was no understanding.
I knew that God's Word was not the problem. The only thing to do was to work it myself for the answers. The first major breakthrough came when I learned that my expectations had been all wrong. It took a full year for me to accept this.
My family had problems as well - learning difficulties, and handicaps in the children, incompatibility in the marriage, and the constant depression was not conducive to financial stability or success. We separated for a short time. This is when my worst bout of depression was in full force. During that time, I was confronted by a denominational minister. He stated that my rejection of the "holy trinity" was the cause of all my problems. Although barely able to converse, I rejected his assertion and took the stand that no matter what, I would never engage in such a heresy. it was not long after that, while I was reconciling with my wife, that the depression was lifted off me, never to return - I was 34.
The next 13 years were full of growth, spiritually, mentally, and financially. By the end of that time I was out of debt. Three of the four children had moved out. I had held a church in my home for 8 of those years.
My wife and I parted ways, and I moved on, eventually living in Houston, Texas. Although I had made great personal strides and growth, overcoming challenge after challenge, it seemed that the corporate Christian structure was becoming obstructive to spiritual growth and function. In 2006, at the request of some other Christians in the corporation, I began teaching on "Godly Abundance and Prosperity". The individual participants lived in different areas of the country, so I taught over the phone. On the week-ends, cell phone usage was free, and my phone would handle up to 5 lines conference together. This teaching was in addition to any teaching I would do in the local home church I attended. After a time and some spiritual attacks, we stopped meeting on the phones for a while.
Then in August of 2008, I was studying Romans 12. God made it clear that I should continue to teach, and I decided to do so. 2 days later I received a phone call from one of the former participants, who requested that I start teaching again. So, by the end of August the weekly teachings were being done again. This time we went through 1 Samuel, on through the life of Solomon in 1 Chronicles. The emphasis was Leadership, Godly prosperity, and discerning of spirits.
By the end of April of 2009, it had become evident that the Christian Corporate environment is not condusive to spiritual nurture or growth. My wife and I disassociated ourselves from any corporate entity. We continue to serve in the Body of Christ by teaching God's Wonderful Word. God has blessed us by continuing to open His Word so that deliverance and growth in God's people can be realized.
-- Keith Radcliffe
Tags:Bible, Biblical teachings, Bible Study, New Testament Greek, Learn Greek, New Testament Greek Classes, Bible Training, Christian Training