Archpriest Oleg Stenyaev. "A Non-Boring Life of an Orthodox Missionary".
Once, when I still studied at the seminary, I was invited to a joint meeting of Pentecostals from different communities, despite the fact that the person who invited me and many others of them knew that I was Orthodox.
“A person has arrived who has all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and he will help you break these Orthodox complexes of yours and see the truth as it is!” – I was told.
I was glad that such a “vessel of grace” appeared, and immediately agreed to go to this meeting. I have always had some kind of burning interest in such people, just a hunting passion. I left my seminary jacket at home, put on an ordinary jacket, shirt and immediately set off.
The meeting, however, was already coming to an end, but I got to the most interesting part: this man worked miracles. A whole queue lined up for him, people came up one after another and confided their secrets and aspirations to him.
“I have very poor eyesight,” someone said.
The "Man of Grace" took cotton wool, dipped it in a glass of water, smeared his eyes and said:
- This is how Jesus Christ healed!
People came up who spoke "in other tongues." Pentecostals and charismatics have such a thing as glossolalia, and now those who came up spoke in these languages, and this was such gibberish! But he "translated" to them from this gibberish some "spiritual secrets" and prophetically predicted the future.
I also stood in this line - the local Pentecostals looked at me with great interest ... I come up, he asks:
"Brother, what's your problem?"
- Behold, I also have tongues, - I say
- Well, pray, pray, I will listen!
And from my youth I was fond of oriental languages, and then I begin to pronounce the words from Deuteronomy in Hebrew:
- Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai echad! (“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One Lord”).
And he translates:
- "Labor, labor, hallelujah, bring sheaves, hallelujah gather a team and work."
I began to read a prayer for blessing:
- “Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melech”: “baruch” is blessed; "ata" - you; Adonai - the Lord; Eloheinu - our God; meleh - king.
"Labor, labor, sheaves, hallelujah.
"Perhaps in Latin?" - I think, I began to read "Our Father": "Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur" ...
He repeats the same thing again.
“We need to try something in Arabic,” I decided. I remembered the first sura from the Quaran (“Al-Fatiha”): Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim. Alhamdulillahi Robbil ‘alamin. Ar-Rahmani Rahim. Maliki yaumiddin (“In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful! Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds, the most Gracious, the most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment”).
And he repeats his:
"Labor, hallelujah, the team is assembled, Go, do not sit idly at home."
And then I did something that I would not do now - but I was young then, impudent. I extended my hand so shockingly forward and said:
“You have no gift of interpreting tongues!
He decided that I was from the local young Pentecostals and decided to interpret myself, and he says to me:
“Brother, it is too early for you to understand these mysteries.
“Although, of course, we are brothers in Adam,” I tell him, but not in Christ, unfortunately. I am Orthodox and have come to test you.
- Who gave you the right to test?
I open the Scripture and quote: Beloved! believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1)
Then he says to me:
“You were talking empty words! Some abracadabra!
“No,” I answer, I am ready to translate every word for you. These were quotations from the Scriptures in Hebrew, as well as "Our Father" in Latin. I can repeat everything again. Or, for example: "Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim" - "in the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful." "Alhamdulillahi Robbil 'alamin" - "Praise be to God, the Lord of all the worlds." What did you translate? "Labor, team, gather sheaves."
- And this last one - in what language?
- This is the Quran in Arabic.
- Christians are not allowed to read the Quran.
“But you didn’t even tell me that,” I tell him.
And then the senior presbyter of the community, who spent twenty years in the prison camps for his beliefs, says:
- But Oleg is right, it is said: try the spirits, whether they are of God. This should be discussed in the presbytery.
We went into the presbytery, and he asks me:
- Do you think this person is cheating?
“No,” I say, “I think he believes what he says, but this is exactly the problem: people often believe in things that they themselves cannot verify. And this is a problem to a large extent just for Pentecostals - they are very gullible people.
And whenever I had the opportunity in my life to check something like this, I soon became convinced that it was almost always a crafty deception or self-deception, an imitation of the truth.