The Baptism with the Holy Spirit – Part 15

There was however a serious problem brewing in my heart. That was to do with my parents.

I knew that Dad and Mum would not understand what had happened to me so I decided not to tell them but to allow the changes in my life to speak to them. That was the case for three months.

Then came the biggest crisis of my life to date.

It was around this time that the eldership at Edgmond Hall received two letters from missionaries they supported and had sent out from the church. Both Ian and Brenda McCullough with their children, working in Argentina, and Irene Wade working in Brazil, independently wrote to tell the eldership that they had been baptised with the Holy Spirit and had started speaking in tongues. The elders met, discussed the matter and then made a statement in the church. They basically said that they did not believe in the validity of their experience, that the gifts of the Spirit had passed away and that what had happened to them was of the devil. As a result, they cut them off from all assembly support, including financial support.

I think there were about six, maybe eight, elders appointed in the assembly then. One of the was Mr Willie Prentice, Nick and Nigel’s father, and another of them was my own father. I immediately knew that I could no longer keep my own experience private. Dad had been part of that fateful decision involving missionaries thousands of miles away, so I told them about what had happened to me, in their own house. I knew that it would be a massive dilemma for my father being party to such a statement but then discovering what had been going on in my own life.

I remember the pain and difficulty of those days. My parents did not know how to handle me. There was silence in our relationships. They did not seek to ask me questions or enquire about how things had happened to me, or where Dad stood in relationship to the decisions that the elders had made and me etc. I had always been very close to my mother but the strains now were intolerable.

Many years later, after I was sorting out my parent’s affairs after they had died, I found a couple of letters from Mr Ransome Cooper, who I have referred to previously. They were addressed to my parents, who obviously had written to him, now back in New Zealand, for his advice as to what to do with me! He (mis) quoted, or (mis) applied, the scripture in

1 Corinthians 11:10,11 “when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I would put away childish things”.

He told my parents that what had happened to me was just a childish passing phase!

He was clearly, like all Brethren churches in those days, a cessationist. In other words, they believed that the gifts of the Spirit stopped when the canon of Scripture was completed along with apostolic ministry which established the early church.

Willie Prentice testified to the change in his son before the elders and he opened his heart to seek God for more. He already had wider links with churches and ministries beyond those from Brethren circles, and he arranged monthly interdenominational meetings bringing in new and wonderful men including Arthur Wallis, George Tarleton, Uncle Sid Purse and many others.

I must add that Mum did speak to me many years later about my experience when we were married and living in the Longcroft, that although she could not see the same thing for herself, she could not deny what God had done in my life.

I am not sure what was the outcome of these events for the missionaries. I know Ian McCulloch returned to the UK sometime later and led a work in Emsworth. I never heard again regarding any news of Irene Wade.