Did This 'Former' South African Satanist Encounter the Real Jesus?

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Recently, the co-founder of the South African Satanist Church, Riaan Swiegelaar, claimed to have a supernatural encounter with Jesus that compelled him to leave Satanism and become a Christian.

Many believers, including myself, rejoiced over Riaan's heartfelt presentation online. He shared how the "unconditional love of God" flowed to him from a Christian radio host who interviewed him on a CapeTalk radio program.

Soon after, he was performing a satanic ritual he claimed was offered to a cluster of demons headed up by a principality, asking for power and influence to spread the message of Satanism. In his own words, Riaan explains, "I opened myself up, and Jesus appeared. I was extremely cocky and I said, 'Whatever.' I said, 'If You are Jesus, prove it.' He flooded me with the most beautiful love and energy, and I recognized it immediately because of what the lady at the radio station did for me. I recognized the love of Christ immediately."

Soon after that, he resigned his position in the Satanist church. Awesome, right?

It is awesome if it is a true conversion. But quite a few things just have not fit the narrative. When I noticed inconsistencies, at first, I gave him grace—assuming he was just a baby Christian and didn't fully understand. Then I discovered about two decades prior he had been part of a Christian group, so he was apparently acquainted with traditional Christian theology.

It seems some of the believers he was around did not accept his lifestyle—so he left and went into witchcraft for 15 years and finally, Satanism. The more acquainted I become with Riaan's belief system, the more I realize it is a hodgepodge of New Age, occultic and compromised biblical beliefs, like the following:

One of Many Teachers: Swiegelaar claims Jesus was just "one of the teachers that was God impersonated to show us that unconditional love." I think he meant to say "incarnated," not "impersonated." To impersonate means to mimic, but the "impersonator" is not the real thing. So, he seemed to be communicating there have been many incarnations of God, many world teachers. However, in John 14:6, Jesus claimed: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

A Spiritual medium: Swiegelaar believes in talking with spirit guides and angels and assesses his present status with these words, "I was considered and probably still am ... one of the top mediums or psychics of the time. And the gifts that I have I'm gonna use them differently now and it's about healing people, it's about helping people." So, he doesn't differentiate between false spiritual gifts from demonic sources and the true gifts of the Holy Spirit. How does God feel about that? Check out Deuteronomy 18:9-12, "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who ... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer ... or a medium, or a spiritualist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord."

Crystals in healing work: Swiegelaar defends his use of crystals by saying that the Bible refers to crystals 220 times. But not one of those references instructs us to use crystals to channel supernatural power, like something Riaan calls a "crystal grid" used to transmit healing, mentally, spiritually or physically. True Christians don't depend on inanimate stones laid in esoteric patterns to receive a miracle. Believers call on the name of Jesus believing "by His stripes we were healed" (Isa. 53:5).

Christ consciousness: He recently posted on Facebook, "I've written ... 700 pages ... from conversations with Spirit and with God and with connecting to the Christ Consciousness." That last phrase is a New Age term meaning a state of self-realization—an awareness of oneness with the universe and with God. This elevated spiritual condition was supposedly evidenced in Jesus as a way-shower who modeled how we, too, can be one with our higher self, but that's not the biblical stance.

A homosexual lifestyle: Swiegelaar also admits when he was about 14, he realized he was homosexual. He offers, "It was quite an emotional crisis ... I tried to talk to several people I respected about it, and it was met with a lot of negativity ... by my parents as well, I think because of their religious beliefs." Like so many in the gay lifestyle, he seems to associate the biblical indictment against that sin with personal hatred vented toward him, but that should never be the case. Christians are called to love the sinner, while hating the sin. The Word of God warns, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers ... nor homosexuals ... will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9-10). In none of his presentations does Riaan express a repentant attitude over that lifestyle choice, which is necessary for salvation.

Conclusions: This is just a short synopsis of some of Swiegelaar's beliefs, evidence that seems to point to the fact that he may not have had a legitimate born-again experience and has actually encountered "another Jesus" (2 Cor. 11:4).

He is right in this: God's love is unconditional. However, grace that grants salvation is conditional, requiring that we repent, humble ourselves and believe. Only God knows Swiegelaar's heart, and only God can judge him. In time, the Holy Spirit may remove the things from his life and show Swiegelaar God's true power. That's why we must pray for Swiegelaar that the true and living God, the Savior of all men, will reveal Himself to this one who has walked in darkness, but now declares that he desires the light.

Mike Shreve is a revivalist, passionate about the manifestation of authentic New Testament Christianity. He is also a best-selling Charisma House author. One of his primary books is titled WHO AM I? Dynamic Declarations of Who You Are in Christ, which is also the subject matter of one of his weekly podcasts on cpnshows.com titled Discover Your Spiritual Identity. His second podcast, on comparative religion concepts, is titled Revealing the True Light. Many of his teachings are posted on www.YouTube.com/mikeshreveministries. A product of the Jesus Movement Era, Mike has traveled evangelistically in the United States and overseas since 1970 with an emphasis on healing. For more information visit www.shreveministries.org / www.thetruelight.net, For a more thorough overview of Riaan Swiegelaar's belief system, listen to episode 130 of Mike Shreve's Revealing the True Light podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.

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