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The Testimony of Stewart Bedillion
 

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While pastoring a church in Arkansas, I was asked to take a church that was on a spiritual and numeric decline. I accepted the call, and in November 1990, 1 became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Columbia, Louisiana. For the first few months, the chairman of the Pulpit Committee regularly visited my office telling me what I could or could not do. He was especially opposed to door-to-door evangelism. Soon I learned that a group of other men shared his views. They criticized most of the former pastors and even explained in detail how they had "railroaded" a full-time youth pastor out of the church. His removal was so slick, they said, that no one in the congregation knew what was happening. Their message was clear, "Do what we want, or we will do the same to you."

They kept me so busy carrying out their plans, projects, and agendas that I had little time to listen to God. When I would move in the direction I felt God wanted, one of them would show up with all kinds of plans and projects. I was continually derailed from God's leading.

There was small numeric growth with these activities, but the church was spiritually dead. Worship was oppressive, as if a dark cloud hovered over the services. Throughout this time the chairman of the Pulpit Committee repeatedly gave me a funny handshake. I had no clue what he was doing.

Finally, God began to speak to me that I needed to listen to His direction, not the direction of these men. His Words were so clear, "Concentrate on worship, revival, evangelism, and making disciples."

When I first began to emphasize worship, I sensed resistance from the Minister of Music, who proudly wore his Masonic ring and tie tack. Several months later, however, he went through a spiritual crisis and prayed to receive Christ. Two weeks later he gave his testimony in church.

After his testimony, I stood to invite others to come forward and receive Christ. I was shocked at what I saw. Although there was rejoicing on a few faces, most were hostile - so hostile that it sent chills up and down my spine. As I looked at their faces, I identified them as Masons and their Eastern Star wives. "This is demonic," I thought.

When I started two discipleship groups, there was tremendous resistance within the deacon body. One deacon, who was also a Mason, tried to wreck every session. When I emphasized a personal relationship with Jesus, he became combative and hostile. He argued so much during Wednesday night Bible study that I had to switch to straight preaching.

Hungry for fellowship, I had been praying for months for a soul-winning partner. God answered that prayer when the Music Minister expressed a desire to go out witnessing. We went from house to house sharing Jesus, and quietly, without fanfare, his Masonic ring and tie tack disappeared. He told me that God had convicted him about being a Mason, and that he had formally renounced Freemasonry through a letter of resignation sent to the lodge.

Gradually, a group in the church began to catch a vision for having a personal walk with Jesus, learning discipleship, and evangelism. The church services began to change. I could feel God's presence in every service. The Masons, however, were not rejoicing. The one who had so frequently given me the Masonic handshake, called my home and threatened me that if I didn't get the Minister of Music "calmed down," the deacons would "take care of him."

As one group in the church grew closer to Jesus, another group became increasingly resistant toward what God was doing, and hostile toward me as pastor. Seven couples began forming a wall of resistance. Of the seven couples, two individuals were not Masons, nor members of the Eastern Star. One was a Seventh Day Adventist, and the other's father was a 32nd Degree Mason.

During this same period, a sister church was experiencing a touch of God, with the same resistance from Masons. Not willing to participate in the battle, several couples left that church and came to ours. They openly acknowledged that they had been upset because the Masons had squelched the moving of God in that church. The Masonic group in our church immediately began a verbal attack against the newcomers.

One Mason summoned me to his house and warned me that the newcomers could cause trouble in our church because of their attacks on Masonry. He revealed that he was a Mason and that there was not going to be a discussion of Freemasonry at First Baptist. He warned that a previous pastor had tried to deal with the Masonic issue in the church and had created problems as a result.

I located the former pastor and learned that he had maintained a bookstore which contained several books exposing Freemasonry. One night someone broke into the store and stole all the books on Masonry.

"If Freemasonry is just a harmless men's fraternity, why get upset about a few books? Why all the scrambling to hide books and refuse to even discuss Masonry? If Masonry is of God, let's bring everything out in the open and see what wonderful things God has done in Masonry. But if it is not of God, then there are many reasons to operate in darkness and secrecy." These were my thoughts.

It was at this time we began experiencing demonic manifestations during the services. Usually the demons would surface when I preached on our victory over Satan through the blood of Christ. Any aspect of victory in the Christian life or salvation messages would stir up the demons. During a series of messages on revival, and the filling of the Holy Spirit, there was considerable agitation. All of those with demonic manifestations were either Masons or Eastern Star wives.

Hostility toward me began to increase, all directed by the Masons. Deacons' meetings became nothing more than open season on the pastor. Again, led by the Masons.

Finally, the man who had given me numerous Masonic handshakes came to my office, tearing into me about the spiritual atmosphere that was developing within the church. As he was verbally attacking me, suddenly a force, as it were, came out from him and hit me. Evil surrounded me. I sensed oppression. Within two days the oppression became deep depression.

All that week I read books on spiritual warfare to educate myself on what was happening. By Sunday a black cloud of spiritual oppression had settled over the entire church. I told no one of my encounter with the Mason, yet several people verbally expressed that things were different in the church.

This oppression continued for eight months, while life for me and my family was a living hell. It was as though sharks could smell blood and were coming in for the kill. Vicious attacks by the Masons were leveled against me and my family, and against all who supported me.

I became so physically ill that I had to enter the hospital for two weeks. The church decided to give me a three-month sabbatical, which at first seemed compassionate. It soon was evident that this generous action was a disguise to buy time, so that the Masons could remove me from the church.

When I returned from my sabbatical, the deacons informed me that I was no longer pastor - that the church would have to vote me back in. This was one of those instances in which a few deacons decided their own agenda privately. No one else knew what was going on. This is the way Satan works - always in the dark, in secret, behind closed doors. Satan lost temporarily. The vote was never taken and I was permitted to resume preaching.

Two months later, at a monthly business meeting, the Masonic group succeeded in voting me out. The members voting against me included many who had rarely come to church, and some I had never seen before! I was not permitted to speak, and the meeting was so hostile that I thought I was going to be mobbed. Those who were yelling, screaming, and jumping out of their seats were one and all Masons and their Eastern Star wives.

Shortly after leaving First Baptist I had a counseling session with Dr. Mark Bubek, who is well known both nationally and internationally for his experience in spiritual warfare. After hearing about the man who regularly harassed me in my office, his first question was, "Is he a Mason?" He confirmed that I had been under heavy demonic attack.

I never preached against Masonry, so the attack was not a counterattack. It was simply that the spirit behind Freemasonry opposes anything God-sent, Christ-exalted, Spirit empowered that brings revival to the church. Yes, the Masons reacted negatively to my messages on grace. They were infuriated when I suggested man could not earn his way to heaven. They were not opposed to inviting people to church. They were opposed to the evangelism that was taking place in church, once the visitors arrived. And they were greatly offended by the fact that people in the church were going door-to-door in the community, asking people if they knew that they had eternal life. The Masonic message is one that abhors a Christian life that has Jesus Christ at the center.

The Masons in Columbia regard First Baptist as an extension of their lodge. Well, they have preserved that extension, for today First Baptist has disintegrated into a handful of men and women, primarily the Masonic and Eastern Star group. The price of their success was the destruction of a house of God, and the persecution of its pastor and many God-fearing people. Such is the spirit and purpose of Freemasonry.

Stewart Bedillion

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What are pastors to do?

First, take a stand on Freemasonry. Second, write your position in a letter and mail it to your national headquarters.

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Stewart may be contacted via EMAIL, or snail mail by writing:

Stewart Bedillion
%Ephesians 5:11, Inc
Box 291
Fishers, IN 46038

The following video tapes of Stewart's messages at the Ministry to Masons conferences are available on-line.

Freemasonry: Its impact on revival

Supporting a Godly pastor in the Masonic battle

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Copyright 1997.  This testimony is used with permission.  It is from the 1998 reprint of The Character, Claims and Practical Workings of Freemasonry, by Charles G. Finney.  It was originally published in 1869.   The book is available from JKI Publishing at (800) 333-5344.  A descriptive flyer and order form is available in PDF format.