One morning on an unsuspecting early March day we got a phone call from our parents about our church. The news just blazing the Chinese Christian community was that a widespread cult from China (dubbed 東方閃電派, Eastern Lightning) had infiltrated into the neighboring island, and churches around the country were quietly going down, one by one. Anyone who had ever heard or been somewhat exposed to anything about the cult warned us: Stay far away. Far, far away.What we heard was alarming, unsettling, and hit relatively close to home for us.
As most of you may know, the church we have been attending and even committed some time to serving here is called New Songs church. What we didn't know was that the Eastern Lightning cult was re-branding and calling themselves by the same name in Taiwan. The big question for us became whether or not we had unwittingly inducted ourselves into a cult.
We took a little break for a while. We (mostly B) did the research -- we asked questions, we asked non-affiliated pastors in the area, we stepped back and evaluated. What jarred me the most during that time was that we had begun to feel just a little bit settled at New Songs; begun to establish some relationships and throw out some tiny roots. A familiar feeling of betrayal would creep around the thought that the friendly faces we had encountered were hiding something false and dangerous; it was simply inconceivable to me.
One thing we discussed was the theology of New Songs -- what we had witnessed and heard in our short time of attendance. Although the pastor had been on leave for a several weeks due to heart problems, what we had heard was nothing short of the Gospel: Christ the Son of God and Savior, the Bible as the infallible, inspired Word of God, the Holy Spirit's convicting work to bring about repentance and change. It would have been such an irony if the leadership actually had devious, underhanded motives to use the Truth to draw people in, then turn the tables and trap them when they least expected it. But how paradoxical would that be?
On Easter Sunday we went back. That morning no sermon was preached, but one by one, testimony after testimony was shared of the power of the Resurrection of Jesus -- in the nitty gritty, daily moments of life, in the broad picture of God's perfect plan, in the very personal and spiritual part of our beings. That Sunday also marked a new beginning for the pastor after his two-month hiatus. He was back with renewed energy and redoubled vision: falling in love with the Word of God all over again. Bible study. Discipleship.
In the Olivet Discourse Jesus Himself told us that there will be false teachers coming as ravening wolves in sheep's clothing. But He gave us the gauge with which to measure them by: "You will know them by their fruits."
I looked around and saw in each person present the fruit of God's Truth being sown on a personal, consistent, authentic level.
I thought to myself, "There is no wolf in sheep's clothing. Because the True, Good Shepherd is here."
Finally, I understood what He meant.