Last week I spent 4 hours with a couple of Canada’s street preachers, and what I found was shocking.
These preachers are making their rounds, in the USA, and in Canada. You may come across them. Your friends, your family, your children may come across them. You need to know what they are all about.
How it Began
The U.S.A. has several prominent street preachers, known for their “turn or burn” message to society. But what about Canada?
I did a search on the Internet for “Canadian Street Preachers” to see what I could find. The majority of the top results yielded the names Steven Ravbar, and Matthew Carapella. But who are they?
After reading a few articles, and watching a video, I was able to determine that these street preachers were based in London, Ontario, Canada.
My First Contact
Street preachers are typically known for preaching against sin, and preaching repentance. Thus, often these kind of preachers preach righteousness – that is, how to live right in the sight of God.
I am always interested in meeting people who preach righteousness, as I believe that this is a very important part of the gospel that is often left out. I assumed that these two gentlemen were just like the majority of other street preachers. But what I found was quite the opposite.
I was hoping to find a couple of good street preachers, who preached against the sin and corruption that society is plagued with. But I needed to find out more. So, I did a little more searching on the Internet, but instead of searching for “Canadian Street Preachers”, I searched for their actual names. I combed through the results, looking for a website owned or operated by them. But I didn’t find a thing.
However, there was a phone number that popped up. I thought that it might be just click-bait advertising, or perhaps someone else with the same name. Surely, such prominent street preachers wouldn’t have their number publicly available.
So I went on Facebook to search for them on there. I searched for Steven Ravbar. No results. I searched for Matthew Carapella. No results.
Then I went on Twitter. I searched for Steven Ravbar. Nothing. Matthew Carapella? Nothing! hhmmmmm. Well, I thought to myself, these guys must not be interested in a Facebook, or Twitter presence. Quite unusual.
Ok, perhaps these guys just don’t like social media. But I remembered the phone number that popped up in the Internet search results from earlier. So I went back to it. I ultimately decided to give it a shot.
I called. An elderly gentleman answered the phone. I explained who I was looking for, apologizing in advance, if I got the wrong number. The man on the other end assured me that I got the right number! He said that he was Steven’s father. And that Steven was out of the house, with Matthew. He gave me Matthew’s cell phone number. And suggested that I call Matthew, and ask for Steven.
When I called, a gentleman, presumably Matthew, answered the phone. I asked for Steven. I spoke with Steven for a few minutes. I briefly introduced myself. The conversation was very shallow. But he expressed great interest in meeting me. We ended up setting a time and place to meet.
It was Wednesday, February 7, 2018. I didn’t want to travel all the way to London, Ontario, Canada to meet these guys. We decided to meet at a location closer to where I live. They had to travel a fair distance to meet with me. We decided to meet at a restaurant. There was a snow storm that day. I told Steven that I didn’t want him to risk travelling in such conditions. I didn’t think it was a good idea. But he did anyway. I was actually quite impressed that they spent so much time, money, and effort to meet with me.
I ended up talking with these guys for about 4 hours. They told me that they are out preaching every day. They said they have been doing this for over 3 years in Canada, and the United States.
It became evident early on in the conversation that these guys were infatuated, and absolutely obsessed with a long-gone and controversial preacher named William Marion Branham. It seemed as though every other sentence from Steven Ravbar’s mouth was praising Branham as God’s one and only end-time prophet. It was quite obsessive, and excessive.
This of course, made me quite concerned. They said in no uncertain terms that William Branham’s teachings are irrefutable, inerrant, and infallible. Although they had a Bible in hand, they spent much more time talking about William Branham than Jesus, God, or even what the Bible actually says.
Finding Common Ground – Satanic?
Initially, I avoided arguing with these men, as my goal was not to argue with them. It wasn’t my intention to have an all-out debate with these guys.
These men were getting more and more aggressive as time went on. They were hell-bent on making me conform 100% with their Branham-fueled theology.
I made it clear – they shouldn’t expect 100% agreement, as it is not going to happen. And I stressed that we should find common ground – the important things – and build on that.
Matthew immediately condemned any idea of finding common ground, saying that if it’s not 100% agreement, it’s Satanic! He said that looking for common ground is what Korah and Balaam did! And He said that was a scheme of Satan!
I told Matthew that Korah did not try to find common ground with Moses. He did not claim to serve the same God as Moses. He was opposed to Moses!
Matthew subtly danced around the issue.
For a Christian, especially a preacher, I have tolerance for a lot of things. If they have it half wrong, perhaps there is hope! But Steven Ravbar, and Matthew Carapella didn’t come close.
Most of what they say was absolute nonsense.
Without exaggeration, at least 90% of what these men said about scripture was simply wrong. They read things into the scripture that it simply did not say. It’s like the word is “RED”, but they said it reads “BLUE”.
It’s like, I ask them, how do you spell “blue”?
R.E.D., they would reply. The amount of presumption, and denial was absolutely incredible.
The vast majority of their Bible referencing was all-out fabricated. I was astonished!
They would say, “The Bible says…”, when the Bible didn’t say that at all!
But when challenged – when asked to show me where the Bible says it, they would fail to provide a coherent answer, of course. I feel sorry for those who come across these guys, who are not knowledgeable of the scriptures. People could easily be deceived if they didn’t have a good education in the Holy Scriptures.
Baptism in Jesus Name Only!
One of the things these men emphasized is the so-called importance of being baptized “in the name of Jesus”.
They contend that the common way to be baptized (being dunked in water, while a preacher recites the words “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”) is Satanic!
They contend that if a person was baptized having the phrase “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” recited over them, they were baptized incorrectly, and they need to be baptized again, having only the phrase “in the name of Jesus” recited during baptism.
They said that if the preacher literally said, “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” during baptism, that person would go to hell.
They said that you must literally say “in the name of the Lord Jesus” ONLY when being baptized in order to go to heaven.
They fail to realize what the phrase “in the name of” means. In short, doing something “in the name” of someone else does not mean that you literally recite “in the name of …” while you are doing it. You can do something in the name of someone else without actually reciting the phrase “in the name of”.
“In the name of…”, simply means, in the authority of, or, on behalf of. Simply saying you are doing something “in the name of” someone else does NOT make it true.
Baptizing someone “in the name of Jesus” can be done without reciting that phrase at all. Simply baptizing someone by the authority, and under the command of Jesus IS baptizing someone in the name of Jesus.
Eve had Sex with Satan?
Of course, Steven repeated the Branhamian theology called the “serpent’s seed”.
He said that the first sin in the garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit was sex with Satan. They said that Eve had sex with Satan, and conceived Cain, which is the son of Satan. And that when Jesus called people the “sons of Satan” in John 8, He was speaking to the descendants of Cain.
This is obviously false on many levels. I assured them, that according to ancient documents, the descendants of Cain all died off.
Matthew immediately said, “No. The descendants of Cain were not wiped out because Lamech said, “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” (Gen 4:24)
I said that Lamech was not the descendant of Cain. They insisted he was. Obviously, the opposite is true according to the Bible. Lamech in the descendant of Seth.
They fail to realize that all unrighteous seed was destroyed in the flood of Noah.
So much error, it is astonishing. They say that the Bible says something that it clearly does not say. It is all fabricated.
Denial of the Trinity
The vast majority of Christians believe in the Trinity, that is, that God exists in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But both Steven Ravbar, and Matthew Carapella clearly teach that the Trinity is an evil doctrine that had its origins in the Roman Catholic Church.
They also propagate the cultic doctrine that only William Branham is God’s prophet of the day, and only his doctrine is true to the “original church” found in the book of Acts.
Being a student of church history myself, I attempted to kill two birds with one stone here. A simple understanding of church history proves that the doctrine of the Trinity preceded the Roman Catholic Church. Also, there are other churches in history whose doctrine, and practice is more closely linked to “book of Acts”-type, first Century Christianity than Branhamian theology today.
In a matter of a few minutes, I gave them a brief overview of church history – which clearly refutes their claim that the doctrine of the Trinity originated with the Roman Catholic Church, and that Branham is the only New Testament prophet that is true to the historical “Book of Acts” church.
Knowledge is Evil?
Since I was on the topic of church history, I decided to touch on Bible history as well – and I spoke of how pretty-much all older Bibles have the apocrypha in them.
Steven Ravbar asked, “What is the Apocrypha?”
He honestly had no clue what the Apocrypha was! He’s a very public, visible face, preaching on the streets every day. And He didn’t know this?
It became very obvious me that these men do not know anything outside of their finite little Branham box. I told them that they need to do some studying. I told them to study church history and study the Bible.
They told me plainly that they will NOT do any research because “knowledge is evil” because Satan tempted Eve with knowledge.
I assured them that church history has nothing to do with the fruit in the Garden of Eden. I also reminded them that the same Bible they have in their hands tells them that knowledge is light.
They must not know about the scripture where God says, “My people perish because of lack of knowledge”.
They must be ignorant of how many times Jesus rebuked people for their lack of knowledge. God gave us the capacity and ability to obtain knowledge.
This is not to mention the outright double-standard confusion that saturates their theology. They said that the forbidden fruit was “sex with Satan”, then when I told them they need more knowledge, they said that the forbidden fruit was “knowledge”.
They made it clear: knowledge is evil. They don’t want to learn.
I said to then, “Well, then be STUPID!”
Matthew looked at me with innocence, sincerity, and sobriety, and said, “I will”
I said, “You want to be stupid?”
“Yes”, he replied.
The most astonishing thing was that he wasn’t being sarcastic. He was serious! He wants to remain in ignorance. He doesn’t want to know anything outside of his Branhamian knowledge-base.
Worshipping William Branham
Steven and Matthew repeatedly said that William Branham is the “Noah” of our generation. And if anyone doesn’t listen to Branham, it’s like the people of Noah’s day not listening to Noah.
“The ark is here!”, Ravbar, and Carapella insisted, “And the ‘Noah’ of our day is Branham. If you don’t listen to him, you’ll be lost.”
Steven and Matthew also emphasized their belief that Branham was the “John, the Baptist” of our day, and that he fulfills the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6, where Malachi prophesied about the coming of “Elijah”.
Jesus clearly said that John, the Baptist, is the “Elijah” that Malachi prophesied of.
Let’s take a quick peek at the ancient prophecy:
[Mal 4:5-6 NKJV] 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. 6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
Now, let’s look at what Jesus said about this prophecy, concerning John, the Baptist:
[Mat 11:13-14] Jesus said, 13 “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John [the Baptist]. 14 And if you are willing to receive [it], he is Elijah who is to come.”
Ravbar, and Carapella says that Branham is the John the Baptist of our generation. They even went as far as to say that Branham is Elijah! And that Branham fulfilled Malachi’s prophecy about Elijah!
I told them that Jesus made it clear, Malachi 4:5-6 was talking about John the Baptist, not Branham. But they said that John only fulfilled the first half of that prophecy – turning the hearts of the fathers to the children. Branham completed the prophecy by fulfilling the last half, turning the hearts of the children to the fathers.
But the Bible does not say that. In fact, no credible evidence supports that. And the Bible doesn’t even imply that. That is another thing they are reading into the scripture that is simply not there. Another fabrication of scripture.
No Prophet since Jesus is Perfect
I made it clear that no prophet, not even John the Baptist was perfect. In fact, near the end of his life, John the Baptist wasn’t even sure if Jesus was the Messiah!
I told Ravbar and Carapella that every “man of God” since the time of Jesus had their flaws. I made my point that even Martin Luther, the father of the protestants, said that he doesn’t believe in much of the New Testament. Martin Luther thought that the books of Hebrews, Jude, Revelation, Peter, and James should be completely removed from the Bible!
My point was this: there is NONE worthy of worship but the Lamb! That even IF Branham were a prophet, you should never say that he is perfect, or that his teachings are inerrant, and infallible. The more these men spoke, the more I realized that street preachers Steven Ravbar, and Matthew Carapella were no less that hard-core cult members out on the street recruiting followers to populate their Branham-cult.
Word of Advice
If you ever meet these men on the street, you should probably ignore them. DO NOT engage them in conversation unless you are VERY WELL VERSED in the scriptures. And by all means, take it SLOW. Ask them to show you every single point they make in the Bible, CHALLENGING EVERYTHING THEY SAY.