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G'day From New Zealand

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G'Day and Kia Ora from New Zealand! :)

My name is Rowan and I'm 40 years old. I'm from Wellington, the capital of NZ and the world's southernmost capital city. I am an "old and new" Christian. What I mean by that is I was raised in a Christian home and have always had a faith of some sort. So in that sense, I am an "old" Christian. But I was not truly born again until 26 September 2011. So in that sense, I am a "new" Christian.

I said I was raised in a Christian home, but it was not very spiritually sound. My father was very much a nominal Christian - I think he really only professed a faith for my mother's sake. He used to pray with me at nights when I was a child, but he was only ever going through the motions, and there was never any real joy in his prayers, plus he generally just repeated the same few words. These days he's pretty much openly atheist (or maybe agnostic).

My mother had a conversion (of some sort) at a Billy Graham crusade in the late 1950s, and is what I now understand to be New Evangelical. She attended a Methodist church for a while and she and my father were married in it. She also used to go to Youth For Christ on a regular basis. Some of her friends were Pentecostal, and this had an influence on her, so that her faith became a rather strange Methodist/Pentecostal hybrid. She was orthodox in some areas, but also into things like rebuking the Devil or playing Christian music (usually CCM or CWM) at a loud volume to drive the Devil away. I don't think she believes in baptism. Also, she had a terrible temper, refused to submit to my father, and was very controlling of him and controlling and overprotective of me (still is). On the up side, she did instil an aversion to the occult, alcohol, cigarettes and sexual immorality into me, so that was something.

For the first 28 years of my life, I was New Evangelical, but this was by default, as it was the only form of Christianity I knew for all that time. When I was aged nine, my mother gave me a Good News Bible for my birthday, and this was the Bible version of my formative years. In that same year, Radio Rhema got a permanent broadcasting licence in Wellington. Rhema introduced me to CCM and all manner of other spiritually unsound stuff, although there were some good things on it too. To this day, Rhema (with its affiliates Southern Star and Life FM) is the only Christian radio network in New Zealand.

For a while during my childhood, my parents took me to a Baptist church, but then they stopped going (in part, I think, because of disagreements over getting baptised). They have never attended another church regularly since. During the 1990s, I went to a Salvation Army church for a little while, but was discouraged by how worldly many of the members were (rather hypocritical of me considering how worldly I was myself at the time!). It was also rather Charismatic in nature - and in fact, some people who went to it would also go to the Elim church in town at night (the Elim church being Pentecostal). I eventually drifted away from it and, although now saved, am still not going to a church - not because I don't want to, but because it's awfully hard to find one that's Scripturally sound and not Emerging, or ecumenical, or otherwise steeped in all manner of faulty and spiritually harmful theology and practices. New Zealand is really in terrible spiritual shape.

Anyway, around the turn of the century and millennium, my core theology underwent a major shift from New Evangelical to Fundamentalist/KJV Only as I got the Internet and discovered sites like Chick Publications, Way of Life Literature, Dial-the-Truth Ministries and Jesus-is-Lord.com. Even though I was not saved as yet (there was enough evil fruit in my life to attest to that), I believe the Lord still led me to these sites (during one of my more "religious" phases) to show me the errors of my New Evangelical theology, the problems with the Bible version I was using and also to prepare the way for my eventual salvation. As a result of reading these and other sites, I bought myself a King James Bible and began using that rather than my Good News Bible. However, as I was still walking after my own lusts and going my own way, I didn't study it that regularly.

In about July last year, I got into a rather heated debate on a forum I was on (but left a few months ago) about the Harry Potter books. Some people on that forum were trying to pressure me into reading them, and I said I wanted nothing to do with them because of how they promoted witchcraft and the occult. Those non-Christian people naturally mocked me, called me ignorant etc. Somehow, as I reflected on that incident later, it got me to thinking about how we don't wrestle against flesh and blood etc., and that in turn got me back into reading the Bible (KJV of course) and looking up the Christian Web sites I'd found a decade earlier. The verses God eventually used to deeply convict me and bring me to repentance were 2 Timothy 2:19 (specifically the part that said "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity") and 1 Thessalonians 4:7 ("For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness"). I realised that although I called myself a Christian, I was full of iniquity and that all my ways were unclean and very definitely not holy. It also dawned on me that even though I knew how to be saved, and although I had even THOUGHT I was saved in the past despite my wicked ways, I had never really properly repented and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. My mother reckoned I said "Come into my heart Lord Jesus" at a very young age, but I actually have no recollection of that and suspect that I was only repeating the words after my mother without actually knowing what they meant. So on 26 September 2011, I finally asked God to have mercy on me, a sinner, and acknowledged Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. In that moment, I got born again, and a deep change occurred within my heart as the Holy Spirit came to indwell me. A lot of evil habits went out the window and a lot of big changes happened, although there are still many areas where there is room for improvement. Plenty of room, in some cases ...

There's a lot more I could say, but this is probably too long already, so I'll leave off for now. I'll just say this one last thing in conclusion, which is that despite my background, I think you'll find that I have a lot in common with you guys, as I am KJV-only (and not Ruckmanite either) and generally Fundamentalist/IFB in my views. Thanks for reading and God Bless. :)

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Welcome aboard!

Rowan, I only know of one other brother in New Zealand but, he's far from you, up near Pukekohe; Bro. Ted Snyder is a missionary from the U.S., maybe another source for fellowship.

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G'day Rowan, and welcome.
Good to have someone from smaller eastern islands of Australia on board. :D
(I'm from Western Oz)

For the rest of you - there is an ongoing war of inter/independence between Australia and NZ. ;)

By the way, my second son is a tight head prop for the local union team, and most of his team mates are Kiwi - so ..... Hey Bro!

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