It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that I am what I am. And it is through His mercy that I continue unto this day, witnessing the mighty works of God. I am publishing this testimony by the same principles that Paul, the Apostle, used in the 12th chapter of II Corinthians; that is, to make known the fact that there are reasons for my tribulations even as Paul revealed there were reasons for his tribulations. And even though I am not ashamed of the story of my life; yet, I even as Paul, am become a fool in glorying. But, in like manner as Paul, I have been compelled to write these things to stand as a witness to God working in my ministry and life through an abundance of revelation.
I trust the reader will use the12th chapter of II Corinthians as a comparison to this testimony and render to it just judgment; because, it is not that I desire to be thought of beyond that which I am; but, that through this testimony the God of my ministry might be respected.
I solemnly submit the following in the love and Spirit of Christ and hope that it will be accepted in the same.
YOUR BROTHER IN CHRIST IN THE TRIBULATIONS OF HIS
Grady R. Kent
TESTIMONY OF GRADY R. KENT
SATAN CHALLENGES, BUT NONE OF THESE THINGS MOVE ME
THE WORDS OF GOD AS OPPOSED TO THE WORDS OF MEN
The Bible is not a library book! Neither is it just reading material! Its words contain a separate power to promote the purpose for which it was written. God has not given the words of the book to be under the control of man and neither is man the authority! But, God expects man to promote and support its cause.
According to the writer of the Book of Revelation, man is not permitted to hinder or change its course in any form. The two outstanding words of the Scripture in Revelation 22:18-19 are "THINGS" and "WORDS" of the book. This supports the fact that the Word of God contains a power to create! "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book."
If a man tries to interrupt the fulfillment of the Word of God or tries to change its course, he is out of order and subject to being plagued a double portion of the plagues of the book! Or if he attempts willingly, to change the meaning of the Word of God and takes from it, even a jot or tittle, though he be a good Christian, his name shall be erased from the book of life! And he shall not share any of the blessings or glory of the latter house as written in the book.
The minister is chosen of God to promote its cause and use the "THINGS" that are "CREATED" by the Word of God to reveal God. It is for this reason, that man is not to attempt to change the "THINGS" or bother the arrangement of the Word of God. As the prophet, Isaiah said, "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding (Isaiah 40:13-14)?" This is also supported by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-34.
The Word of God is a formula that was prepared before the foundation of the world. It is fixed to reveal the will of God to man. As the beloved John described it, the Word of God is God. God is a Spirit, and the Word is a formula but the two go together and both are the same. God! For this reason, Paul instructed Timothy to study the Word to show himself approved unto God and informed him to be sure that he placed the Scriptures to the "THINGS" to which they belonged, that is, by rightly dividing the Word of God! And if the speaker does not do this, he is held responsible and is subject to being made ashamed.
Even Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39), a Pharisee and doctor of the law possessed the knowledge that a man must not be found tinkering with the Word of God. He even knew that a man's idea or theory would not hinder the Word of God coming to pass, but would bring destruction to himself automatically and then all men would know the will of the Lord. Likewise, the man or group who is found fighting something of the Scriptures, even though he is ignorant of its revelation, will be found fighting against God. So, let us take heed that none of us err from the true course of the Word of God and be found a curse. Amen!
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: For great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:22-12)."
With as many as rejoice in the persecutions and conflicts of those who pioneered the Early Church and the New Testament, and even as the Apostle Paul stated: "...I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. I am become a fool in glorying; YE HAVE COMPELLED ME: FOR I OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN COMMENDED OF YOU: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest Apostles, though I be nothing. (II Corinthians 12:10-11)."
As touching the sufferings of Christ and the Apostles, I feel that I know them in the fellowship of their suffering. Were they ministers? So am I in labors, night and day, and many times I have preached practically all night-- and one time, from sun down to sun up. And in the late hours of the night, I was teaching the Scriptures to those who had journeyed from afar and nearby. As many as four hundred messages in one year and more than eight hundred hours of preaching.
In journeying and weariness for many days and nights without food. In cold and nakedness without clothes to keep me warm; only a shirt and trousers without coat or underclothes. My wife and children without sufficient food and clothes. My family compelled to eat green apples to live. Many times my meals were eaten in the blackberry patch. But none of these things stopped me from going forth with the gospel. And in my long journeys and weariness, I slept on the ground and on stone tables beside the road in order to save my little means to do my church work where I was going.
In reproaches by my enemies, in bondage, often. In bonds by authorities from persecutions from my enemies; other times I slept under a large church flag on the ground for as long as two weeks; my food poisoned and later it confessed to. In perils of false brethren. In perils of my countrymen. In perils of the desert. In perils of waters. In perils of the air. In storms. And all of these for the sake of the Gospel.
Men have drawn straws to take my life and placed guns in my side, while sleeping, to destroy me; but, out of all these--the Lord delivered me! Once I was taken by a mob, who on the way blasphemed me, pushing my hat down on my head and smiting me on the mouth telling me they were not going to have my religion in the community. I was brought before four judges by the people and out of this the Lord delivered me out of their hands. Once I was taken to the woods and stripped of all my clothes; seventeen men surrounded me while two of them lashed my back with approximately sixty lashes. The whips were four feet long, four inches wide, half inch thick, dipped in tar and sand, fastened in the end of a baseball bat, beating me until the flesh could be raked off my back. And for many years afterwards, I continued to shed blood from these wounds, and bear holes and scars in my body until this day. Then again, I was forced to live in the woods and hide away and was chased from city to city, all because they did not believe in the gospel which I was preaching.
I have lived to see judgment pronounced on many of those who mistreated me. The Lord says, "..Vengeance is mine..." and also to, "...touch not mine anointed...".
Once I was stoned out of a city. Once I was stoned in the pulpit. And at many of my revivals, men mistreated me and threatened to take my life. I saw judgment come upon them and they lost their lives by some mishap of justice. Many times I have been in distresses for Christ's sake. And beside all these things, my ministry has been witnessed by signs and wonders of the Lord and many miracles.
DELIVERED FROM CERTAIN DEATH
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4)."
Speaking of deliverance, I have seen God's hand because I was there. I feel that in my testimony, I should add a few other types of miracles that causes me to know I am divinely moved by His Spirit. It is not that I want to boast, but I love to make known God's work, and especially when I am involved.
Once, on a certain occasion, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah, during World War II. The ticket agent and I were arguing as to what train I should ride to Phoenix, Arizona. I wanted to ride the one that would make connection with the streamliner out of Los Angeles, California. He wanted to sell me a ticket with no explanation to why he did not want me to go my way. So, I eventually submitted and on my way to Phoenix, the conductor inquired as to where I was going. On the train, the conductor gave me special favor to stop the train on the desert at a small place called Tollison. The train was not suppose to make stops at these little places. People ran to the train excited and some gentlemen favored me with a ride over to the State Overseer's home. And on my arrival, all the saints were gone. I waited until after midnight, sitting on the porch. On the return of the saints, they came up to me excited. They had been to Phoenix searching for me in the hospitals. The reason for this is that the train that I was suppose to have ridden and the one that I had wanted to ride had derailed some distance out of Phoenix, killing and wounding many people. And here I saw the hand of God in the ticket agent refusing me a ticket.
This picture shows Bishop Grady R. Kent, after many years, visiting the lonely, wooded spot where seventeen men kidnapped and took him on May 22, 1939, to whip and leave to die, all because they did not believe in the gospel which he preached.
Another time in my life I saw the hand of God. This was in the year 1945 at the close of Bible Training Camp. The State Overseer of Texas, Brother Vandergriff, had scheduled me to go home with him for a revival at the Bay City Church. Brother Earl Cowen was the pastor. Brother Cowen was driving his car and when we got ready to leave, his niece, for some reason, became upset to the extent that she refused to ride back in the car and preferred to ride the bus; but she was unable to explain her reason. At this point, there was a decision to be made as to who would ride in the car out of the Texas truck. I preferred Brother Vandergriff, but he and all the others decided that I should ride in the vacant seat in the car instead of the truck.
The last time we saw the truck was at the foot of Mont Eagle, Tennessee. The truck and car had stopped for water. Brother Vandergriff handed me a jar of water and all loaded up to leave again. And looking out of the back of the truck, Brother Vandergriff waved goodbye to us as we went around. In just a few hours, a long freight train plunged into the Texas truck, scattering it for more than a mile down the tracks, grinding and cutting the people asunder. Five were killed and others seriously injured. Here, again, I saw the hand of God.
Again, I saw the hand of the Lord. Five of us were riding across the desert from Las Vegas, Nevada to Salt Lake City, Utah when we developed fan belt trouble. Soon the fan belt broke and the heat of the motor boiled away all the water at least fifty miles from any water. Having no water in the car, we would have been stranded if it had not been for the hand of God. I worked at making a fan belt from two old fan belts, but it was necessary to have water. Here is what happened. God let a black cloud hover over the desert with a downfall of rain. However, the desert soaked up the water as fast as it fell. But in the asphalt road, there was little potholes beat out by car wheels. And these holes were filled with water from the rain. I took a little patching box and jug down the highway dipping up the water. Using this method of filling up the radiator, we were soon on our way.
In this, again, I saw the hand of God!
Assistant Attorney General shows the Governor of Georgia the two whips which were used in whipping Bishop Grady R. Kent with 60 lashes. The one held by the attorney is four feet long, four inches wide, and approximately one-half inch thick.
On another occasion, a mob waited for me to hang me with a rope and drag me by the neck up and down the road behind their automobile. Yet, God delivered me safely out of their hands after preaching approximately an hour in pointing out that it was of this same kind of spirit that persecuted and killed the prophets and the apostles and saints referred to in the Bible. It was in this place that my wife, my children, and I lived in perils of rattlesnakes in an old forsaken house which was known by the people of the community as a rattlesnake den. Our bed was a set of springs with nothing on them except a blanket spread over them. Several big snakes were killed during our stay. Out of this, my family and myself were delivered unharmed, of which, I give God the glory.
Did they handle serpents? So have I. Did they cast out devils? So have I. Did they speak with tongues? So do I. Were the sick healed in their ministry? Let say that I have seen abundance of healings; the removing of cancers, tumors, Tuberculosis, ulcerated stomachs, serious growths, and the dumb to speak by touching their tongues with the finger. I have seen invalids healed during my sermons. Have they been touched by angels? So have I. Have they seen angels? So have I. And all of these things are no secret. Hundreds live today who witnessed these scenes.
Last, but not least, thousands know that in my revivals the Holy Ghost gave messages and interpretations through consecrated men and women that God had chosen me to be his light. And on one special occasion the former General Overseer, A. J. Tomlinson, was moved by the Spirit to crawl on his hands and knees to where I was preaching, then, taking my head in his arms, laying his hands on my mouth, speaking a message in unknown tongues, saying -- while rubbing my lips with his fingers -- "Mouth, preach this message, I said, mouth, preach this message." My subject was, 'THIS AND THAT MAN." I have never felt the same since. Approximately fifty people were witnesses to this scene. Many have received the Holy Ghost in my revivals by the laying on of hands and this is no secret. These things have happened in foreign countries as well as in America.
This testimony does not complete the work of my ministry, but gives a portion of my experiences. I know the sufferings of Christ and the Apostle Paul; only, I have not experienced that of a martyr. But otherwise, I know them in the fellowship of their sufferings.
I can truthfully say that I have experienced the same feelings through these things as the prophet Jeremiah did. Read: "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore of His name. But HIS WORD was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay. For I heard the defaming of many, FEAR one very side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Par adventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. But the Lord IS WITH ME as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail; they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper, their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten (Jeremiah 20:9-11)."
Have I gloried? Then, so did the Apostle Paul. Have I sought my own? Then, so did Christ. No, a thousand times no! God forbid! Rather than through a knowledge of these things you might realize that I, also, bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.
FIELDS OF THE WOOD
A Religious Project Which Now Speaks Forth The Gospel To As Many As Eight Thousand A Day
THE VISION SPEAKS
Did you know that this project which is located in Cherokee County, N. C., of which portrays the Holy vision of the Bible, was revealed in the spirit and power of the writer of the book of Revelation? Everyone of its markers are located in the words of the Book of Revelation, and the writer can tell you the day and the hour that each marker and its purpose was revealed to him save one; and, they have been kept secret until the writer reached the day and hour -- God's appointed time, to make it known.
Do you know that thousands have attempted to reveal the sacred side of this book as well as thousands have tried to reveal the anti-Christ and harlot church? But, no man has been able to capture its true meaning until the year of nineteen hundred and thirty-nine.
I am firmly convinced, even as other revelations have been made known to me, that this book and its glory was kept secret until the spirit and power of John, the Revelator, made its return (Revelation 10:11; John 21:20-24) to earth to reveal its true meaning. This is supported by many of the Scriptures of the Bible. I will give three of them and leaving them quoted.
Number One is found written by John, himself, in John 21:20-24, Now read: "Then Peter turning about, seeth the disciple (John, the Beloved) whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him sayeth to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus sayeth unto him, If I will (plan or arrangement) that he (John, the Beloved or Revelator) tarry (is waiting) till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me."
Number Two is found in the first verse and first chapter of Revelation where God gave the revelation to Jesus and then Jesus gave it to His angel to deliver to John, and then John was destined to give or make known the same revelation to the servants.
Number Three is found in the tenth chapter of Revelation where John was told that it was necessary for him to come back to earth and declare, that is, to preach again, the gospel to the ends of the earth. And since he did not fulfill this mission in the early days, then one should be able to see that John wrote the book for himself to use when he returned, in spirit and power to earth, to complete this mission.
Where is the spirit and power of John, the Revelator? Can it not be found as well as others who have come in the volume of the book that was written of them? Since the twenty-first chapter of Revelation contains the written vision of Fields of The Wood, and since the Honor Roll program supports the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, and the same vision revealing the seven spirits, seven horns, seven eyes of Christ, and also the same vision revealing the Gospel being carried by wings in the latter days, this should be enough to support the fact that the writer could tell you more about this book if one was interested enough to be taught.
Who is the voice of the bird of the air? Who is the voice of Fields of The Wood? Who is that man commanded to go in under the wings between the wheels? Who is that angel (minister) seen by John, the Revelator, flying with the everlasting gospel? Who is the man found in Isaiah, the 60th chapter and ninth verse? And who are these found in the eighth verse who followed the man? The man that the Isles of the Seas were waiting for with wings and thy that fly like clouds. Who is this ravenous bird (prophet) that was to execute his counsel and remember things from ancient days and also the things that are not yet done? The writer is able to tell you all these things for it is he that has fulfilled all these things.
The writer would not have written these things if he had not been challenged by the powers of darkness which has tried to destroy him and all that he has done. To the reader: faith and understanding of these mysteries be made known to consecrated men and women who love the Lord Jesus and are willing to stand for His truth regardless of the powers of darkness.
In my testimony, I feel that it is necessary and is not out of order for me to tell you a few experiences in a few of my revivals. And what I shall say is not just my own words but hundreds of Christian people have been eye witnesses.
Space will not permit me to tell you all. I hope, someday, to prepare a book or that it will be told by someone in writing. Those who know my ministry know that my revivals have stirred many to travel from far and near to attend them. God always works in them performing signs and wonders. God has permitted me to operate many of the gifts that are in the church. People patiently listen to messages as high as three and four hours. Also, as many as two hundred have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in one revival.
There have been many who were eye witnesses and have seen many receive the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues by the laying on of hands. Some of these had sought for the holy Ghost for as long as fifteen years. And when hands were laid on them, they immediately received the experience. I have only recently closed a revival where more than twelve received the Holy Ghost in this manner.
And once in one of the meetings, eleven lined up to receive the experience of the Holy Ghost and received the baptism in the same manner. Space will not permit me to give a report on all my revivals but in most of them, this is the way it happens.
Now I hope that you will not accept this as boasting, but as many going about testifying of their success from place to place. I felt that I should put mine in writing that it should be distributed among people to give them courage and faith to continue the good fight of faith. When having done all to stand -- then stand!
Since my last writing, about three days ago, things have happened that has compelled me to add to my writing another paragraph. It is as follows: Since I know without a doubt and have witnessed by signs and wonders the hand of God being present with me from nineteen hundred and thirty-one till this present hour, I am compelled to stand up and declare the completeness of the revelation which God has revealed in me.
God has dealt with me in visions and revelations, of which, no man has taught me, but they were revealed through the Holy Ghost. Thousands know the mighty things that have been revealed through the ministry which the Father has placed in my hands. The hour has, at last, come that it is necessary for all people of the earth to know me in the volume of the book which is written of me. And these witnesses will be declared by thousands upon whom the ends of the earth will come.
Were they prophets? Let me say in conclusion of the whole matter; so am I.
* Article Written By: The Late Grady R. Kent, St. John II, Chief Bishop of The Church of God, 1957-1964. This testimony was taken from Grady R. Kent's personal testimony distributed by himself during his ministry years in Cleveland, Tennessee. Printed for public perusal in The Vision Speaks, Volume 1, No. 10 - September 1958.
All grammatical and typographical errors have been corrected except for direct quotations from the Author. Thought content of said article has not been changed.