Who Am I

My name is Albert Van Leeuwen. I was born in Holland in 1948 in a Christian environment. I came to Australia in 1961 and found salvation at age 20, alone in a car  on a deserted beach road. There I asked Jesus to take away the desperation and unrest in my soul and He filled me with light and peace.

From that moment I had an urgent desire to see the Church become what Jesus wanted it to be. In those early days, of course, it was deep seated but unarticulated. I was only prepared to go with the real thing and wouldn't accept an imitation. If what I was experiencing was not the Holy Spirit, I wouldn't have a bar of it. But I was young and naïve. Discerning the Spirit requires not only a close relationship with the Lord, but also extensive exposure to the imitation.  Very often, I found that what I believed to be the Holy Spirit's leading was greatly influenced by my own desires and agendas.

In John 17, Jesus prays that His followers will be so filled with love and unity that the world out there will be convinced He is the Son of God.  At least, that is my reading of that chapter. I figured that if anyone deserves to have his prayers granted, it would have to be Jesus.  So I have been searching for the last 30 something years for the love that would make us want to lay down our lives for each other.  I didn't see that love as being a dramatic or heroic death, rather I saw it as a daily sacrifice of considering your brother's welfare as more important than your own.

I have since been to many churches, from the traditional denominations to the Pentecostal and Charismatic. I didn't consider this to be 'church hopping', as I felt I was a permanent member of the only Church that mattered. I found that those congregations which were most 'in touch' with the Lord were also most subject to spiritual opposition.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, but Satan is very predictable. He knows our fallen human nature like the back of his hand.  He exploits our human weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is that we want to be in control. Another is that we like to know what comes next. This results in us organising and ritualising our meetings. Once we’ve restricted the Holy Spirit’s leading, Satan can have a field day.  I have seen too many congregations fall apart. And congregations that survive usually lose that initial burst of spiritual reality and power very quickly. And while I encountered many wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord, it was obvious that life goes on for most Christians, controlled by their own agendas.  I saw glimpses of the love I was seeking, but they were too short-lived to be life-changing.

I don't consider myself as having any greater merit than anyone else.  I am just another human, struggling with his humanity. I have been through a marriage breakup. I have had leukemia. The only reason I am still alive, or for that matter, the only reason I am going to heaven when my time is up, is the incredible grace of God!

So I have struggled with the concept of speaking out when you recognise something is wrong.  The seeds of doubt tell you: 'Why should you see something that no one else can?' It is always much easier to let someone else stick their neck out.  In the end it simply came down to this: I would feel I am letting down Jesus, if I don't say something. I will let you decide whether what I have to say is truth.

I encourage healthy and well-intentioned debate, so you are encouraged to email me at the address above.