KEYWORDS: lewis, lord, moderator

Joseph Lewis Story, The

David Berg

DO 1862 12/4/75

(Condensed by Isaac)

1. YOU DON'T ALWAYS KNOW EXACTLY WHEN OR HOW TO DO IT, BUT THE THING TO DO IS JUST WAIT FOR THE COMMANDING ORDER‚ THAT'S ALL. When the time comes, you'll know when to attack. Like that time I went to Joseph Lewis' anti-God, anti-Bible, anti-Christ, anti-healing meeting in Miami at the Unitarian Church. He was this famous atheist who wrote the book "The Bible Unmasked" & was a multi-million-dollar Miami Beach lawyer always writing things against God & the Bible.

2. JACK COE‚ THE HEALING EVANGELIST, HAD JUST BEEN TO TOWN & THE LORD HAD HIS SAY FIRST, then the Devil stepped in & the Unitarian Church invited this guy Joseph Lewis to have a lecture against faith healers!—Which shows how the Devil hated Jack Coe!

3. THE FAMOUS HEALING EVANGELIST JACK COE HAD COME TO TOWN, put up a big tent & was praying for the sick right & left! It was later proven that this guy Joseph Lewis & his Free Thinkers hired a poor little girl stripper to take her little boy there who was in braces from polio & have him prayed for.

4. THE WHOLE THING WAS DONE DELIBERATELY AS A FRAME-UP because they were going to charge him in court for fraud, quackery & all the things they could pull! So they brought him into court on the charge that praying for the sick was practising medicine without a license.

5. WELL, THEY NEVER REALISED WHAT A STORM THEY WERE GOING TO BRING UP, because immediately the huge powerful multi-million–dollar church of the Christian Scientists arose & hired big lawyers to fight the case, & nearly every healing evangelist in the United States came down for the case to sympathise & help finance it & raise money for the lawyers. I mean, the courts couldn't hold the crowd! Coe won the case! The judge threw it out for insufficient evidence, particularly when the poor little stripper mama got on the witness stand. The defence lawyer proved that she had been paid by Joseph Lewis himself to take her boy there to have him prayed for & then claim that he wasn't healed! The minute the judge heard that, he threw the case out of court! He said, "No case!"

6. SO IT RAISED A GREAT SENSATION IN THE NEWSPAPERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY IN THAT DAY, & it was amazing because all the healing evangelists usually fought the Christian Scientists tooth-&–toenail!—But here they were both in the same boat congratulating each other that they'd won the case!—Ha!—Because the Christian Scientists pray for the sick too.

7. ONE OF OUR STUDENTS IN OUR LITTLE SCHOOL THERE IN MIAMI HEARD ABOUT THE JOSEPH LEWIS LECTURE & said, "Jack Coe left & a horrible atheist who's fighting the Bible in the public schools & all that sort of thing is going to be at the Unitarian Church tonight speaking against healing & against the Bible!"

8. THEY SAID, "WE OUGHT TO DO SOMETHING, DAD! We ought to get out there & really witness outside of that church & really pass out tracts & really demonstrate & picket!" I said, "Well, maybe so, maybe no, I don't know! I'll have to pray about it. You might get in trouble‚ they might arrest you like they did Josh that time, saying he was disturbing the peace. I'll just have to pray about it."

9. SO AFTER I PRAYED ABOUT IT, I FELT THE LORD WOULD HAVE ME & THE STRONGEST MEN GO, the strongest students, real fighters for the Lord! I figured 12 was a good number, like the 12 Apostles, so I chose 12 of my best men & said‚ "I don't know what we're going to do, but let's go!"

10. IT WAS QUITE LATE & WE DIDN'T GET THERE TILL THE GUY WAS HALF DONE—everybody was inside & nobody outside—so what could we do? We couldn't pass tracts outside, there was nobody there, so it was settled that that wasn't what we were supposed to do!

11. SO I SAID, "WELL, MAYBE WE'RE SUPPOSED TO GO INSIDE! COME ON, LET'S GO IN." But first I gave them a lecture, "Now boys, listen! You follow my signal & don't you do a thing until you see me act, not a thing! I don't know what God's going to do. We may just sit there & listen to it & be educated & leave, I don't know, but don't do anything unless I do something. When you see me act, then you'll get the cue & you'll know what to do!"

12. SO WE WALKED IN & THERE IN THE FOYER WAS THIS WOMAN COUNTING HER TICKETS & THE MONEY who said, "That'll be 50 cents each, please. Of course, you're awful late!" I said‚ "50 cents each! I wouldn't give you a plug nickel to hear this guy!" She laughed & thought it was funny & said, "Oh well‚ he's already half-done anyway, so why don't you go in." So here the 13 of us, six-&-a-half dollars worth, walked right in free of charge! And I'm telling you, we were pretty poor in those days & that was a lot of money!

13. ANYWAY, HE WAS BLASTING AWAY AT THE BIBLE & using dirty language & calling Jesus an S.O.B. & all kinds of filthy stuff, that Mary had been running around & blah blah blah!—I mean, as blasphemous & as dirty & as vile as you could get! This foul-mouthed old Jew was atheist‚ anti-Christ, anti–Bible, anti everything, except the Devil! And it made me so mad, it made me so sick I wanted to start screaming & blasting away! But the Lord said "not yet" & just kept me sitting there.

14. I SAID‚ "NOW LORD, YOU'VE GOTTA TELL ME WHEN! I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say!" It's against the law, you know, & you can get thrown in jail almost anywhere in the South & California too for disturbing a religious meeting, interrupting a speaker or heckling. So I said, "Well, Lord, I don't want to do anything I shouldn't do & just get us all in trouble, because whatever I start doing the boys are going to do. So Lord, You just let me know & I'll just wait for Your signal."

15. SO LEWIS KEPT ON BLASTING AWAY & IT MADE ME SO MAD I WAS TEMPTED TO GET UP & JUMP THE GUN & START SHOOTING!—But I didn't. He kept droning on & I almost felt like shutting my ears, I didn't want to hear all that filth! Then all of a sudden he said, "Nobody's ever been healed in the Name of Jesus Christ, it's all a lie! If there's anybody here tonight that's ever been healed in the Name of Jesus Christ‚ I challenge you to stand up!" That's all he had to say! It was like saying "sic'm" to a dog!

16. I LEAPED TO MY FEET & I SAID, "I'VE BEEN HEALED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!"—AND I STARTED FIRING AWAY MY TESTIMONY!: "I was in the Army hospital & the doctors gave me up & said I wouldn't live at all, they thought I was going to die, & even when they sent me home they said I wouldn't live a year, I've got the Army records to prove it!"—And I started giving the whole history!

17. THE WHOLE AUDIENCE WAS IMMEDIATELY ALL ASTIR, & IT TURNED OUT THAT A LOT OF THEM WERE THERE FOR THE SAME REASON WE WERE & I WAS HEARING ALL THESE "AMENS"! Of course, my gang was saying, "Amen! Hallelujah! Preach it, Brother!" But I think that really the atheists were outnumbered because the Catholics were there & the Christian Scientists were there & everybody who believed in miracles & healing were there—anybody who had any guts & didn't like this guy & was trying to do something.

18. SO WE LED THE WAY, WE STARTED IT OFF, & THERE WAS SUCH A FUROR! The speaker, Mr. Lewis, this diabolical Jewish lawyer—he wasn't even a good Jew because he didn't believe in God—he just suddenly looked absolutely flabbergasted! Apparently he was throwing out a rhetorical challenge & didn't really expect anybody to get up & take him up on it! So there was such a commotion & furor‚ he just stopped talking!

19. THE WHOLE AUDIENCE WAS IN A HUBBUB! Some were egging me on & others were screaming, "Shut up! Sit down! Let him finish his talk!"—Because the Devil was really mad too! So the MC had to get up & start pounding & pounding & pounding & pounding his gavel: "Quiet! Order! Order! Let Mr. Lewis continue his speech! When the meeting is through there is going to be a question & answer period & you can ask your questions then." I said, "Is that a promise?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Okay!" & I sat down.

20. WELL, HE ONLY TALKED FOR ABOUT FIVE OR TEN MINUTES MORE, HE JUST ACTED LIKE HE WAS ABSOLUTELY FLABBERGASTED! I mean, the Devil had everything his way, but all of a sudden he was challenged & he was just reeling back! Finally Lewis kind of weakly & lamely ended his whole diatribe & just kind of trailed off to where his voice even got faint & he went white as a ghost! He was a big red–faced burly guy, but he sort of staggered back to his seat on the platform & hunched over holding onto his heart. Then we saw the Moderator go over & speak to him & they were whispering to each other on the platform, & we wondered what was going to happen next.

21. WE FIGURED‚ OF COURSE‚ IT WAS QUESTION & ANSWER PERIOD, SO I LEAPED TO MY FEET AGAIN & I said, "He challenged that nobody's ever been healed in the Name of Jesus Christ, I want to give you my testimony that I was healed in the Name of Jesus Christ!"—And I went on & on & on as fast as I could because I didn't know how much I was going to get to say! "I have documentary evidence to prove it because I've got hospital records in the governmental hospital that I was sick & dying with heart trouble & double pneumonia & a fever of 106! The doctor said I was dying!"—& I gave my testimony, the whole thing! It took me about 10 or 15 minutes.

22. SO THE MODERATOR BEGAN POUNDING HIS GAVEL AGAIN, BOOM‚ BOOM, BOOM! "That's enough! You've had your say, that's enough out of you! Somebody else, please, somebody else!" In the meantime, old Lewis was sitting on the chair back there holding his heart. I wasn't asking him any questions because what could we find out from him?—Just lies!—So we just gave testimonies.

23. ALL MY BOYS THEN BEGAN POPPING UP GIVING TESTIMONIES OF HEALING‚ ONE AFTER THE OTHER until the Moderator apparently kind of got the point that we were a group.—Probably because we were kind of sitting together, which is one mistake we made. So the Moderator said, "That's enough out of your group! Let's listen to somebody else."

24. AND THEN SOME CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS BEGAN GETTING UP & TESTIFYING, Catholics began getting up & testifying‚ & there were besides us at least a dozen other people that just began popping up all over the audience testifying that God had healed them & answered prayer etc. You'd have thought you were in a testimony meeting! It turned into a regular testimony meeting of the Lord's healing!

25. SO THAT'S WHEN THE MODERATOR FINALLY BEGAN POUNDING HIS GAVEL: "That's enough! We've heard enough from that side, how about some questions from the other side!" Well, some little weak-minded, weak-kneed, weak-brained, pusillanimous something-or–other little skinny guy got up & said, "Well, I happen to be one of the members of this Free Thinkers group of which dear Mr. Lewis is our fond president, & we would like to ask him what do you think about so-&-so?"—Some ridiculous stupid question!

26. BUT MR. LEWIS DIDN'T GET UP, & HE DIDN'T ANSWER‚ HE JUST SAT THERE LOOKING LIKE DEATH ITSELF! He had a handkerchief hanging in front of him mopping his brow & was hunched over holding onto his heart. The Moderator had been mostly concerned with the audience because the audience was raising such a stir, but he looked around at Mr. Lewis & he looked like he was amazed! Mr. Lewis was still sitting there hunched over & holding his head & his heart.

27. HE NEVER SAID A WORD AFTER I GOT UP & CHALLENGED HIM THE SECOND TIME, in fact, right after I got up & challenged him the first time he began clutching his heart & closed his speech & sat down! He had a little problem with apoplexy or something like that, he said‚ kind of a heart trouble or stroke. I mean, you just challenge the Devil, just resist the Devil & he'll flee from you! (Ja.4:7)

28. SO THE MODERATOR WALKED BACK OVER TO HIM, they whispered a little bit together‚ & he came back to the podium & said‚ "I'm very sorry but Mr. Lewis does not feel well & does not care to answer any more questions."—He hadn't answered one or even gotten up since he squeaked off!—"The meeting is dismissed!"

29. THEN THIS REALLY RAISED A FUROR because all these other people who wanted to testify for healing didn't get to testify, & they began jumping up & saying, "That's not fair! That's not right! I didn't get to give my testimony! I didn't tell you how God healed me!"

30. IT LOOKED LIKE ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THE AUDIENCE WAS THERE TO TESTIFY FOR THE LORD instead of letting Lewis have his way against the Lord. The Moderator just stood up there & he must have pounded that gavel for ten minutes trying to get order! He said, "I tell you, the meeting is dismissed, that's it! We're going to start turning out the lights!"—So people finally gave up & saw it was over. Then what do you suppose happened?

31. THE WHOLE CROWD RUSHED UP TO US—NEWSPAPER REPORTERS & ALL—SAYING, "WHO ARE YOU! What's your name? What do you do? Where do you live? What's this all about? Who is this group?" & blah, blah, blah!—And I think that's the first time our little Soul Clinic School ever got in the paper! And God wasn't finished, because besides that little pusillanimous little few they had there that night—a bunch of hopeless cases, anyhow‚ except for the ones that were already convinced—the Lord wanted the whole city to hear it!

32. IT CAME OUT THE NEXT DAY IN A GREAT BIG NEWSPAPER SPREAD ABOUT "THE DEBATE THAT OCCURRED BETWEEN MR. JOSEPH LEWIS & REVEREND SO-&-SO"—& they gave my name & his group & blah, blah, blah & described the whole meeting! There's nothing the newspapers like better than a fight & a controversy, so the whole city got the witness as a result! So the whole thing was a big victory over Joe Lewis & the Devil & his atheism & everything! Then the next morning it all came out in the paper! It wasn't the headlines but it was in a little corner with a picture of me & this article:

33. "LOCAL BIBLE SCHOOL HEAD CHALLENGES NATIONALLY-KNOWN ATHEIST TO DEBATE!"—& went on to say that we had challenged him in his meeting but that he had refused to debate with us! How about that? It told all about the meeting & what happened & the whole thing turned into a complete victory for the Lord; a testimony meeting for healing & a defeat for the Devil! And he wouldn't even debate with us, think of it!

34. SOME OF THOSE STUPID IDIOTIC ATHEISTS WERE SHAKING THEIR FINGERS IN MY FACE & SCREAMING AT ME: "You shouldn't have done that to Mr. Lewis & you should have been more polite & you shouldn't have interrupted his talk & you made him feel bad & now he's sick & blah, blah, blah!"

35. BUT MOST OF THE FOLKS WERE PATTING US ON THE BACK & SHAKING HANDS WITH US & CONGRATULATING US, saying, "Oh‚ that was wonderful, you did great!" I said, "He just asked me, & I told him, that's all! He just challenged & asked if anybody here had ever been healed in the Name of Jesus Christ‚ so I stood up!"

36. BUT THAT SHOWS YOU HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO WAIT ON GOD'S TIMING! Now don't wait so long that you miss the boat entirely, but if it's God's time, He will tell you exactly when. He will let the Devil himself weave the trap & form the noose & then stick his own head into it! Then all God has to do is tell you when to push the button or yank the rope. You just wait & obey the Lord & do God's job, & the minute God says "Go!"—Boom!—You go! So when I got to that point & God said‚ "Now! Bam! Hit him!"—I jumped up & hit him with all fours!

37. SO AFTERWARD THE MODERATOR FINALLY RUSHED UP, PLOWED HIS WAY THROUGH THE CROWD—I mean, they were really crowded around us! He shook my hand & said, "Ah, that was great! You know, we Free Thinkers, we're open-minded & we always like to hear everybody's opinion, all sides of the question."—These old two-faced hypocrites!—He said‚ "I think this will just really be great, I think it would get a big crowd! I'd like to ask you if you'd be willing to debate Mr. Lewis next Thursday night."

38. I THOUGHT ABOUT IT & PRAYED A MOMENT & SAID‚ "SURE! WHY NOT?"—I'd already had a debate with him! He said, "Good! I'll fix it up! We pay $100 a night for our special speakers." And for us & our poor little Bible school that sounded like a lot of money! He said, "We'll have a debate & this will really be terrific! We'll really get a crowd!" He was like a showman & you could tell all he was interested in was getting a crowd—like most church folks!

39. I THOUGHT A MINUTE, PRAYED ABOUT IT, & THOUGHT, "IF IT'S GOING TO GET THIS MUCH ATTENTION‚ THIS MUCH PUBLICITY, WELL, PRAISE GOD!" I knew it was going to be in the paper now because all the reporters were going to take it down, so I thought, "Well, that'll give us another chance to get in the paper!" So I said, "Well sure, I'd be glad to!" And he said‚ "All right, I'll go up there to Mr. Lewis right now & see if it's okay with him." And the people were still giving congratulations & there was all this excitement & talking & they were gradually beginning to drift out of the so-called church. (Unitarians don't believe the Bible!)

40. AND BY & BY AFTER A BIG LONG TIME, LEWIS WAS STILL SITTING THERE MOPPING HIS BROW & HOLDING HIS HEART & acting like he was really sick. I was casting an eye up there once in awhile & the Moderator was bent over him talking & talking away. You could tell he was trying to sell him a bill of goods. Of course, I knew what the Moderator was thinking about, all those 50-cent pieces the next forum night!

41. BUT THE MODERATOR CAME BACK TO ME ALL CRESTFALLEN & DISAPPOINTED & LOOKING SO SAD. He said, "Well, I just don't understand it‚ Reverend So-&-So, but Mr. Lewis just refuses to debate with you! I don't know why, I told him I thought it would be very good & we'd have a good crowd & a chance to really have a lot of people"—that's what the preachers love, you know, & to make a lot of money—"but he just refuses to debate with you! He's very very sick & he doesn't even want to see you."

42. I SAID, "WELL I'M SO SORRY TO HEAR THAT HE'S SICK, MAYBE I SHOULD COME UP & PRAY FOR HIM!" The Moderator said‚ "Oh no, no, no! I don't think he would like that!" I said, "Well, I'll just go up, at least, & shake his hand & let him know I'm sorry he doesn't feel well & I'm sorry if I upset him or anything." You know, you've even got to give the Devil his due!

43. I REALLY WAS SORRY FOR HIM IN A WAY BECAUSE I THOUGHT, "BOY, THAT POOR GUY‚ HE REALLY LOOKS LIKE HE'S READY TO KEEL OVER! He looks like he's dying of a heart attack!" I had heart trouble & I knew how bad it was. So in spite of the Moderator's protests I climbed up on the platform & walked over to Mr. Lewis.

44. BUT I HADN'T GOTTEN SIX FEET FROM HIM WHEN HE SAID, "GO AWAY, GO AWAY, GO AWAY! I don't want to talk to you! Get away!" It was just like the Devil himself! He couldn't even stand for me to get close to him! And the Moderator looked absolutely shocked! He looked at him & looked at me & said, "I don't know what's the matter with him but I think you'd better go! He doesn't seem to like you."—Ha!

45. SO I JUST YELLED ANYHOW, "MR. LEWIS, I'M VERY SORRY, BUT YOU KNOW, JESUS CAN HELP YOU IF YOU'LL JUST PRAY! GOD CAN HEAL YOU!" And he just practically screamed, "Go away! Go away!" I mean, it sounded like the Devil himself the way he just sort of squeaked it out like a fiend! And I looked at the Moderator & I just said, "Well, I guess that's all I can do, I tried to help him"—& I walked off the platform. The boys were all waiting for me & some of the folks were congratulating us & patting us on the back & everything.

46. SO NOW YOU KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO WAIT ON THE LORD! When the Lord says, "Go!", then attack! When He says "Now!"‚ then start shooting! And so we did & the Lord won the victory & it was all in the paper the next day with all the pictures & everything! It was a big article in the paper.

47. THEN AFTER THAT MORE REPORTERS CAME 'ROUND TO THE HOUSE & WANTED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS LITTLE BAND THAT CHALLENGED THE GREAT JOSEPH L. LEWIS! We were nothing but a little bunch of poor & kind of shabby Christians who braved the lion in the lion's den, but we waited for God's signal, waited for God's time, & it was just the right time! TTL!

48. IT WAS JUST LIKE A FIGHTER SPARRING AWAY, YOU'RE JUST WAITING FOR HIM TO LET HIS GUARD DOWN, waiting for an opening to get a punch through. And all of a sudden he just laid himself wide open by that challenge that he wasn't expecting anybody to accept & the Holy Spirit said: "Now! Sock it to him!" There's a lot in God's timing, when to do it the right time!