(Cyril’s account of his conversion is reproduced as he wrote it)
I was born into a Roman Catholic family and have grown as a Catholic since childhood until the age of sixteen. I was baptized into Catholicism in April 2000 and developed an interest in scripture while very young, though my parents were not regular church- goers.
As a teenager I used to receive Jehovah’s Witnesses whenever they passed around our house in their evangelism tours. We would arrange for regular meetings at our residence and debate doctrinal issues like The Kingdom on Earth, Hellfire, Trinity, Baptism etc.
I would always disagree with their points though not Biblically, but with the baseless view that since the Catholic church was older than almost all churches in Christendom she must be right.
Also, I believed in the false teaching that Peter was the first Pope and so no matter what these Jehovah’s said I told them that never would I accept their teaching. Besides, I consoled myself with the thought that the Pope has read the Bible and if our Catholic doctrine was what it is then it must be the right one.
The Divorce With Catholicism
My interest and curiosity did not die since I continued with the readings and started to have serious problems reconciling Catholic doctrine with scriptures.
I pounced on this “Christian” literature entitled “ The Challenge of Christian Theology” by Ewald Frank.
The author vehemently criticized the doctrine of the Trinity calling it paganism and unscriptural. However, he believed Jesus was Almighty God Himself, believed in a literal Devil, in Hellfire, in Heaven going and possession of the Holy Spirit Gifts and speaking in tongues.
I believed these things too, but what frightened me so much was the fact that I would burn in hell yet never die forever and ever if my sins were not cleansed. It was after reading this book that I entered into open confrontation with my parents about Catholicism. I stopped going to church no matter their pressure, for what interested me at this time was how to escape from hell by being baptised properly, that is by immersion.
I contacted Mr. Ewald Frank via the Internet and asked him how I could contact any of his representatives here in Cameroon and was told to see the brothers around my area, but I did not know which brothers he was talking about. Maybe it was one of the Pentecostal wings, but I had never seen any Pentecostal movement that did not believe in the Trinity, except his own. I tried to continue the correspondence but all the email I sent was returned with a failure notice.
Due to this I ended the correspondence with him and a friend told me about certain doctrine classes which a group of Christians of different denominations were teaching. They claimed their doctrine was the true doctrine of the Bible and offered lectures on demonology and other subjects. They also believed in Heaven going and their teaching was really that of the Pentecostals.
Whenever we were about to begin a lecture we would start by a prayer and I was surprised with the way they were conducted since everyone was praying at the same time and some were babbling in their so called speaking in tongues.
So one day I stumbled on this tract from the Church Of Christ on the theme Baptism. The Greek meaning of the word was explained which was “to dip or immerse in water.” When I was convinced by what I read I set out a few days later in search of the Church of Christ. I was so afraid to die and go to Hell that the first Sunday I attended their meeting I requested baptism. After about 10-15 minutes of talks I finally got the “good bath” I so eagerly wanted to receive, in their baptismal pool.
I was so happy and when I reached home my mother noticed my clothes were wet and asked me if I had been baptised. I remained silent. Immediately she started to shout and scold me, saying I had been initiated into a cult and that the wine we drank was the blood of our victims. However I did not care and continued my regular fellowship with the brethren of the church.
I was very committed and read scriptures regularly. I asked the elders about the Trinity and they managed to convince me about the issue. Since I was so naïve and wanted to console myself about the fact I was baptised and one leg out of hellfire I dared not ask too many questions for I did not want to spark suspicion amongst the brethren.
At school I engaged my Roman Catholic friend into debating with me about the personality of Jesus. He vehemently refuted the idea that Jesus was Almighty God himself. I tried to persuade him that Jesus was equal to God but he would not buy the idea.
He would accept that Jesus was God the Son, but not equal to God the Father. So I asked him” what kind of Catholic are you? Your church statement of faith has it that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all equal in everything; where then do you come up with this idea of God being greater than Jesus?”
He said that never would he accept that Jesus and God were equal. He made this point to me “ You say that Jesus is God and we know that Mary is the mother of Jesus, therefore Mary is the mother of God”. I told him that Mary is not the mother of God, yet I was trying to point out that Jesus was God – quite difficult.
The Influence of Bible Basics
Still a full, active member in the Church of Christ I went into a salon to have my hair shaved.
In the salon was this Christian literature “ Bible Basics” on the table. I opened to its contents. I was looking to see if there was anything on Baptism and the Trinity.
When I found the page where baptism was evoked I immediately began reading. I did not need to read much for the explanations given were only a confirmation of what I now knew. I did not waste time there for I’d seen other subjects in the contents which interested me a lot – particularly the Trinity.
What made me develop a liking for this book was the fact it condemned the claims of so called holy- spirit possession, speaking in tongues, etc. Also, I hurriedly read about new things I had never known or that had not entered my mind - like angels cannot sin, a completely different view of Satan, a kingdom on earth, No hell fire etc.
At first I thought the writer must be a Jehovah’s Witness, but careful consideration proved me wrong. I looked at the name of the group on the front page and for the first time in my life, at age 19, I came to know the name Christadelphians.
Since I did not have time to peruse the book at the salon I decided to beg the owner to lend it to me, which he did. Within three days I was already beginning to disturb my father with my new findings.
The book was really what I needed and after finishing it I was knocked out. I could not believe the wondrous, strange but true things which I came to see.
The problem of the trinity solved, the personality of Jesus explained in detail, the famous John 1 explained, and I quickly picked up the message.
I tried to persuade my father to read for himself, but he did not focus on what was written but on the fact I was jumping from one place to another, even making fun of me, that I would end up creating my own church. My mother referred to me as a church prostitute.
I gave the book to my Catholic godfather as he was not aware I had left the Catholic Church. I thought the book would bring him to reason. I expected him to tell me his impressions which I knew would be critical so we could engage in debate for I was very sure of the doctrine.
To my surprise when I collected the book and asked his impression he said the book was good. He did not make any critical remark so I knew he had not read it. I could hardly see a devout Catholic agreeing with what Bro. Duncan writes in his book.
However, I said nothing and returned it to the owner, after noting the email address.
Brother Peter Forbes Answers
Sure of my new- found truth I ceased fellowship with the Church of Christ. They tried to win me back, even sending a team to talk to me but I would not give in to them. I sent an email to the address in Bible Basics and Brother Peter Forbes replied.
I asked many questions and all were answered. He was the one who linked me with Brother Fidalis Kwa and that is how I started with the Christadelphians. I called Brother Fidalis and received the 40 -lesson course from him.
After taking the lessons I went away for about two years without further contact with Brother Fidalis. I went through the courses over and over and noted that Bible Basics was even more detailed than the 40- lesson course, so I had no problem but continued reading and studying scripture.
I pleaded with my parents and sister to read these papers and verify them in the Bible but my mother would not and my sister is rather lazy and went about her things. It was my father who used to read these papers at times.
When I understood the vital truth of the Bible by reading Bible Basics I became rather weak and said “if there is no burning in hellfire there is nothing to be afraid of. Even if I do not get into the Kingdom I will not burn in hell forever either”, and so I continued to resist Christ.
Even before receiving the courses I was already very versed with Bible truth and if I had not been baptized since it was only as a result of my stubbornness in surrendering to Christ.
So I lived outside Christ for about two years after I received the lessons from Brother Fidalis.
To be sincere I was always at war within myself for my conscience would not let me continue in my sins and deny Christ despite knowing the truth.
I would ask myself” Cyril, think how far you have come, the truth you have searched for. God has seen your efforts and has provided a way of escape by causing you to know the gospel through the Christadelphians. Will you then live as before?”
I am not a fool and so for many months these battles kept on within me. I was really ashamed of myself as I thought how Christ would be looking at me from heaven.
I spent a lot of time thinking it over. I even asked myself whether I truly loved Christ. I was surprised at how I let my foolish reasoning control me. I would say to myself that if the knowledge of the gospel that I have was given to another he would make good use of it, but here I was making a fool of Christ.
Repentance At Last
After months of consideration I was deeply ashamed of myself. One Saturday at about 1 or 2 in the morning I was lying in bed, sleep was not coming and my mind was reflecting on these things. I wept bitterly that early morning and prayed and confessed my sins and told Yahweh I was sorry. I wept so bitterly that I started fretting.
I decided that I would ask for baptism and so in the first hours of the morning I called Brother Fidalis and told him I wanted to talk with him. When I reached his house I told him I wanted to be baptized. He asked me a few questions to test my readiness and invited me to attend their meeting. He had invited me when I came for the 40 lessons, but I never turned up. When I sat in the meeting next day I wept again and was really sorry for my sins.
After about a month I was baptised. It was Brother Moses from the Buea ecclesia who conducted the interview. I succeeded and was baptized and given the right hand of fellowship.
Bro Cyril Noze Zang (You will notice the cruches, he has only one leg)
Bro Ian Fifield (UK) giving a Bible Study.
Cameroon Sisters singing their hearts out
Map of Cameroon
Bro Cyril Noze Zang, Bonaberi, Cameroon