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I'll begin with a little bit of history about myself.
Billy Booth is my pen name. I don't use my current first or last name because what I write about the religion of Islam could endanger my life. I was adopted when I was 9 years old and my last name changed from Booth to my current last name. My pen name reflects the name my mom wanted to give me at birth but did not because she was over-ruled by my dad.
I have lived most of my life in the Dallas Texas area.
I was raised in the Church Of Christ denomination as a child but even though I was raised in church I lost my faith in Jesus during my teens.
When I was 13 years old I stopped going to church after an incident that made me feel very left out and humiliated. The kids in my church class were at a house in a large room that was not supervised. Someone turned out the lights and everyone in the class began to kiss except me. I probably should have perceived it as being like a game of musical chairs and considered that chance had left me without a chair but I didn't. I took it very personal and believed that I was not accepted by my classmates.
After a few years I fell in with people who were not Christians who I felt were more accepting of me. I joined them in excessive drinking, heavy drug use and smoking.
Eventually I started developing into an atheist who resented Christians because back then I believed that they put a lot of needless restrictions off on people.
I thought that the only reason people went to church was because it fit with their social agenda. I figured that they were just church going kind of people. I didn't seem to fit with them socially and I really didn't think anyone truly believed in Jesus. I thought they just liked going to church for other reasons.
Even though I was an atheist in my head (conscious reasoning) in my heart I hoped for salvation. I think I sensed God's love for me! I had tried to put my religious up-bringing way behind me but the way I was raised already shaped me more than I realized. God was working on me even before I accepted him.
I was not aware of God's miraculous dealings with me but I had already experienced many that I had forgotten or thought were dreams.
The reasoning of my heart was different than that of my consciousness. My heart figured that I might as well believe in God because if he doesn't exist then all that's left is hopelessness.
Then one summer, when I was 21 years old my mother refused to allow me to come home on leave from the army unless I agreed to go to Church while I was at home. I was not happy about it but I agreed and came home.
My family began to explain things about the Christian faith that I had not heard as a child. They explained that salvation is a gift that can't be earned through obedience and that we are saved by grace only. What they taught began to make sense and it seemed to coincide with the reasons I could theorize for the need to sacrifice Jesus.
I began thinking that if salvation could be obtained through obedience then Jesus Christ died for nothing. I also read some of the apostle Paul's writings in the bible about salvation being seperate from the law.
My childhood impression was that a person would be saved if that person was good and obedient enough, but my family was teaching me that's wrong. As an atheist I thought myself to be no worse than anybody else and so if I was wrong about Jesus not being real, then I figured myself to be in no more trouble than anybody else.
I began to realize that if salvation is a gift, not based on human merit, then I had better not reject it. I realized that being better than others would not help me to be saved.
Two weeks into my vacation I was at church with my mother and I responded to the hymn of invitation at the Baptist church she attended. I walked the isle to the front pew and told the preacher that I was starting to believe in Jesus.
On my birthday the following day I heard a record album about the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It was put out by the Dallas Biblical Arts Center and was called "Miracle At Pentecost." The recording was about what happened in the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts in the Bible. The Apostle Peter spoke on Pentecost quoting the Prophet Joel about there being dreams and visions that would accompany the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit.
I asked God for the Holy Spirit and a dream while I was sitting on a couch on my 22nd birthday. I fell asleep right there and had a dream that changed my life. I consider it to be my born again experience.
In my dream a large man came to me. He had a large toolbox with him.
He asked me if I was ready to be saved and I told him I was and he opened up the toolbox.
The lid of the toolbox had prongs that held many different sized chisels in order of their size. In the tray were many different sized hammers also in order of their size. He reached into about the middle and grabbed a hammer and a chisel just above it. Then he turned towards me.
I said, "Wait a minute." because I didn't know what he was going to do.
He looked disappointed then turned around. He put the hammer and the chisel back in the box.
Then I told him it was ok to continue and he grabbed the next size bigger hammer and chisel then he turned around again and started walking toward me.
I said, "Wait, why did you get the next size bigger hammer and chisel?"
He said, "Because the longer you take to accept what's been done for you the harder your heart gets."
Then my heart appeared to me as gray and hard like stone and he chiseled the name Jesus in my heart and it turned into a heart of flesh.
I woke from the dream still on the couch where I had asked for the Holy Spirit and a dream.
My life changed dramatically after the dream. I'm not saying that I instantly gave up all my vices and completely stopped sinning. My interests changed and I began to study God's word and slowly growing. I eventually stopped smoking cigarettes but it took some time.
It took many years of study before my faith began to increase. It took a couple of decades before I started understanding some of the paradoxes in the bible. Some things changed right away but most of my change has occurred over a long period of time.
I have a contentment and satisfaction that I didn't have before becoming a Christian. I was very unhappy and miserable before I had any faith. Now I'm a very happy person.
I believe in miracles and that God answers prayers. I think the Lord is usually very clandestine about his dealings but not always and that he does intervene over time.
I have not had the advantage of attending a school to learn to be a minister but I have learned allot anyway. My home study of Christian issues, history and prophecy is quite extensive. I have studied many commentaries for most of the books of the bible. I used to work with several students of Christ For The Nations in Dallas and I learned allot from them. Most of my church going education has been at Church of Christ, Baptist or Assembly of God churches.
I'm a very independent protestant Christian whose moderate views don't line up closely with any denomination or sect. I just don't fit with any group very well and though I would like to teach I havenít found a place to do it except maybe here on the internet. Probably everyone has disagreements with their church on some things but I have major differences with all sects on major issues.
I think the Baptists are closest to my beliefs because I'm very anti-legalistic in that I believe salvation is by grace only and not by works to any degree.
However unlike some Baptists I believe that works (fruitfulness) must be present as a byproduct of what God has done in a person's life. I'm not like some legalistic Christians who believe that fruitfulness is required yet I'm not so anti-legalistic like some Baptists who believe that you don't have to be fruitful at all. My view is that fruitfulness must result. That's different than saying it's required or that it doesn't have to be there.
I'm also like Baptists in that I believe that if a person is ever a legitimate Christian they can't loose their salvation. Baptists believe once saved always saved but I believe if saved always saved.
Unlike most Baptists I don't believe that salvation occurs at the time a person accepts or appears to have accepted Jesus. I believe in pre-destination and that if a person is born saved then they will accept the atonement of Jesus at some point in their life and not die in a state of denial. I think that anybody who appears to accept Jesus then later denies him must not have ever really accepted him to begin with.
I'm Calvinistic in most of my views about pre-destination but I don't believe that pre-destination means that a person should conclude that just because they can't change their destiny that their behavior is less important.
I'm not a determinist (someone who believes that you can determine your destiny through God's foreknowledge of your will) and I don't believe a person can change their destiny, but since a person's will follows their destiny and gives evidence to their destiny therefore their choices (demonstrations of will) are critical.
I believe God keeps those destined for salvation from denial and that He teaches them throughout their lives even before they except or believe in him. I believe that the Holy Spirit gives a person the will to serve God.
Jesus chooses those who belong to him not the other way around.
I also believe that everyone who is pre-destined for salvation will experience spiritual re-birth by having the Holy Spirit live in them beginning at some point in their lives.
Baptists believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit always occurs automatically when a person accepts Christ (what they call getting saved). I believe that it may occur automatically in some cases but I don't limit its occurrence to a method or time frame.
I believe some Christians receive the Holy Spirit by presenting themselves for the laying on of hands to receive it at a Pentecostal type Church. I believe some will receive it in private the way I did which doesn't fit with many sect's beliefs. For me being filled with the Holy Spirit wasn't automatic because I asked for it and I didn't go forward at a church for it.
Baptist doctrine ignores pre-destination teachings in the book of Romans and places salvation at the point of accepting Jesus. I would place salvation at birth and confirmed at the born again/Holy Spirit filling experience because the bible describes the Holy Spirit as a seal unto salvation.
A seal is a deal and so like Baptists I believe that it's impossible to be condemned after becoming a legitimate Christian. I just differ on how to evaluate whether it has occurred or not.
I think Baptists look only to the experience of accepting Jesus to evaluate eternal security but my evaluation considers several factors. I look for acceptance of Jesus in evaluating evidence of salvation and I believe that confession is part of accepting the gift of Christ's atonement. By confession I don't mean that a person has to engage in the work of witnessing though I'm sure that God fore knew that he would make the chosen his witnesses. I view confession as a state of non-denial and not a work like witnessing.
My evaluation also considers fruitfulness even though it will not save someone but because it will result from salvation. I don't look for perfection but I figure a person who is spiritually re-born will experience great change.
I know that once God begins working in a person he will continue his ministry in that person. I believe in eternal security and that those who have been born again know it. They may not know it in the terms born again, baptism of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit filled; but they know they've changed.
Knowing that we are saved by grace only and knowing the change that has occurred gives me confidence. Confidence in my salvation is the only thing that keeps me going!
My beliefs are different than most members of both the Assembly of God and Church of Christ denominations who usually believe that fruitfulness is required and that you can loose your salvation. I disagree with some Assembly of God preachers who believe that we must achieve a perpetual state of repentance. They believe a person would be condemned if that person died with sin for which they had not repented. I think if that were the case we would all be in big trouble.
Church of Christ members are usually A-millennia lists who don't believe in a tribulation period or a 1,000-year millennial reign. They believe that most prophecy is allegorical and not literally going to occur.
I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture and pre-millennialism. I believe that the rapture will occur (Christians will disappear from earth and be caught up to heaven) at the start of a literal 7-year tribulation period. Then Jesus will come and there will be a literal 1,000-year era before the new heaven and earth appear.
I believe that all born again Christians will be raptured (caught up) at the start of the tribulation period because I believe the Holy Spirit is the restrainer of the Anti-Christ and the Holy Spirit is in all born again Christians.
I think the Anti-Christ's persecution of the saints during three and a half years of the tribulation should be towards new believers who don't have the Holy Spirit in the same way (A force that restrains lawlessness and that would expose the Anti-Christ) as Christians in this era.
My Pentecostal or charismatic type beliefs make it difficult for me to fit in with many sects. Unlike Baptists the Assembly of God denomination is Pentecostal like me, but I agree with the Baptists on most other issues.
I've tried several non-denominational Pentecostal type churches but I don't agree with what many of them preach about money. It's common in churches like this to hear teaching about giving money in order to get back money.
1st Timothy 6:6 teaches that "Godliness" is not a "means of financial gain" but that "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
I even disagree with Pentecostals on some things about the Holy Spirit. Most Pentecostals believe that what they call the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not necessary for salvation (a separate experience than conversion). I disagree and believe that what they call the baptism of the Holy Spirit may be the same thing as being born again which is going to occur at some time in a destined person's life. The phrase baptism of the Holy Spirit that Pentecostals use is not in the bible.
In John 3:3 Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." In verse 5 Jesus went on to say; "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."
I think that "born of water" may be a reference to water baptism but more likely could be allegorical to a cleansing effect of grace or God's word. If "born of water" is a reference to water baptism then it would seem that "and the Spirit" is a reference to what some call spiritual baptism and then it would prove that baptism of the Spirit is required because both births are required according to Jesus.
However, re-birth of water or spirit may not be baptism because as Ephesians 4:4-6 points out, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all." This passage makes me think that spritual re-birth may not be baptism or perhaps it is the one baptism and water baptism is not counted as a separate baptism in this passage because it is a representation of the spiritual baptism.
Either way both births (Water and Spirit) are required because Jesus said we must be "born of water and the Spirit."
In any case I believe that a spiritual washing or baptism is going to occur for all those people who are destined for salvation. I believe spiritual re-birth or baptism occurs when a Christian is in-dwelled or filled with the Holy Spirit.
I believe there will be people in heaven that did not have the opportunity to be baptised in water but since refusing water baptism could be associated with denial I think we should think of it as a requirement for most everybody.
The passage in Ephesians 4:4-6 indicates there is only one baptism but most Pentecostals try to proof text their belief in an additional baptism using the following passage:
I don't think this passage proves most Penticostal's view that there are separate (two) baptisms because John's baptism was not a Christian baptism and it occurred in a different era (dispensation). Paul was probably referring to Christian precepts in Ephesians 4:4-6 where he refered to one baptism. It is not likely that two of Paul's teachings would conflict with each other.
I'm very unique among Pentecostals in my belief that a person must receive what they call the baptism of the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. Most Pentecostals reconcile non-Pentecostalís salvation by their belief that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is seperate from conversion (accepting Jesus) and that it's an extra blessing that some legitimate Christians have not received.
I'm not saying that by not being Penticostal that a person is not saved. I believe that there are non-penticostal Christians and I reconcile their salvation a different way than most penticostals. I believe they were born saved (pre-destined) then received spiritual re-birth (baptism) with various gifts automatically, whether they realize it or not.
Unlike many Penticostals I believe a person can be baptised (born) in the Holy Spirit without the gifts of speaking in tongues.
I believe that some people can experience dreams and visions, but be unaware of it.
The problem that I think most Christian sects have is that they don't take pre-destination completely into account and I know that miracles and manifestations (visions) can occur even before a person is baptised or born again.
On the day of Penticost (See Acts chapter 2) Peter spoke about the miraculous things that came with the first out-pouring of the Holy Spirit.
Just because those gifts (dreams, visions and speaking in tongues) came with the Holy Spirit then, doesn't mean they have to now.
Now, I believe that dreams, visions, and other miracles can occur before a person is born again or filled with the Holy Spirit.
I can now remember miracles that I experienced starting when I was 4 years old. When I was 7 and 8 years old I constantly experienced miracles.
I hope that anyone who reads this will not hold my being a Pentecostal type Christian against me. Please don't pre-judge me and give my website a chance. I think it will benefit you even if you don't believe everything written in it.
I just tell the truth about my experiences and let the readers decide if it's real or coincidence or not. Some of the experiences that I've had which I call miraculous were things that were just too coincidental for me to view them as coincidence. Other experiences, I know for certain were miracles.
I had many extremely miraculous journeys as a child though mostly I didn't realize that I was traveling through time and space while it was occuring and I believe the Lord removed the miraculous journeys from my memory until I was 52 years old.
While researching events on the Internet when I was 52 years old I realized that I was actually at historic places and I have read historical accounts of things that I experienced without going to those places except by miracle.
On some of my journeys Jesus was present, but I did not know it was him because he said his name was J'shua, and I did not know at the time that J'shua is Hebrew for Jesus.
One time J'shua showed me a star. I passed it off as a high-powered flash bulb and did not realize what had occurred until later when I began remembering my miraculous experiences.
I plan to write on this web site about many of the miraculous journeys I experienced.
Here is a list of my incredibly miraculous journeys:
It's not just my experiences that I sure will be hard to believe but I make many assertions and conclusions concerning the scriptures that I can't prove. I only ask for consideration. View my website with skepticism or bias if you must but please, just read it.
There will be a large amount of un-provable conclusions and conjecture in my writings because of the subject matter. I primarily write about mysteries and complex controversial issues.
I don't make any claims to accuracy or correctness only honesty. You can always count on my sharing honest interpretations and perceptions. This is a free web site. I have no motivation for dishonesty. I don't make my living as a minister. This is a labor of love for me!
I will conclude with a little more general information about myself.
I sing and play guitar. I've performed many times at churches, retirement homes, hospitals (while visiting patients) and at a jail. I don't perform secular music. I only do Christian music that is mostly from the late seventies or early eighties.
I recorded 2 C.D.s at home that are not for sale. I haven't recorded my own songs so my recordings of other Christian's songs are just mementos for my family and friends and I do not sell them.
My voice has lost some volume and a little range so I can't perform much any more. I really miss being able to sing like I did when I was younger.
I'm happily married.
I started writing in this site beginning in 2008 and I have the outlines for about 5 books and many issues in my head. I know pretty much what I plan to write about so it's just a matter of refining my ideas and putting them in this website.
I will try to work hard on this website and Lord willing I will write quickly but it will take me many years so please keep checking my website occasionally.
I hope it's a blessing to you!