Preparation & Bible College

‘Showing mercy to thousands of generations, to those who love Me and keep My commandments’ (Exodus 20:6).

“The Holy Spirit fell in wave after wave of power,” said Paul Backholer, “as God purged me of the old life, preparing me for a life in Christ.”

Brothers Paul and Mathew Backholer found faith in Jesus at a young age after a miracle of healing brought their parents and them to the Lord. After growing up in evangelical charismatic circles, both needed to renew their faith in Christ as they drew towards adulthood.

“Our Dad walked closely with the Lord and inspired us. I was a believer but undecided on my commitment,” said Paul’s brother Mathew. “The party lifestyle exhausted me spiritually; it was all a momentary escape from the emptiness inside when you’re not walking with God.”

Paul equally found life empty being inside of the Church, without walking with God. “Nothing the world offered could still the turmoil inside,” he said, “there was a battle. Was I going to choose the world, a good Christian life outside of God’s will, or follow Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?”

The answer came when Paul listened to an audio cassette of the Hebridean revivalist Duncan Campbell. “Are you real with God?” was the preacher’s question and the Holy Spirit anointed these words setting Paul on fire for God. “The scalpel of the Holy Spirit exposed the root of my problem,” said Paul. “I was living outside of an intimate fellowship with God in Christ, playing with Christianity. I wasn’t real.”

As Paul repented of his half-heartiness the Holy Spirit fell in wave after wave of power. The direction of his life changed and years of sacrificial acts of obedience followed to prepare him for a life of preaching, missionary outreach and writing, as a Christian author, missionary and documentary maker.

The power of God fell upon Mathew too, when he realigned his life to reject worldliness and chose the path of God. “I went from Friday night partying to Friday night prayer meetings,” he said. “The Lord and His work consumed my life, as I surrendered one by one, the empty promises of the world, for the presence of God.”

The brothers spent years attending every meeting at church from the early morning prayer meeting to the all-night cry for revival. “The Holy Spirit compelled us to give up more of ourselves and the temporal things,” said Paul, “so He could fill these areas with His power and purpose.”

Deep sacrifices followed, as the Spirit pinpointed hindrances to God’s blessing and the presence of Christ filled, with each surrender. “The call to Bible College came when I was in revival,” said Mathew. “The Spirit of God asked me to lay down my plans for life and let my hands become His.”

The brothers expected to attend different Bible Colleges until an old prophecy outworked itself into their lives. The Joshua and Caleb Prophecy, as it is known to ByFaith Media, declared Paul and Mathew, like the two aforementioned men, would enter the promised land of faith to fulfil the purpose of God.

Bible College years became a time for deeper submission, sacrifice and surrender to Christ. Starting at 6am, thirty-five meetings a week ended by 9:30pm, with the brothers preaching on Sundays, weekly street evangelism, leading youth camps, and weeks of outreach working with local churches.

“Growing up in church, the personal experience of meeting the risen Christ, receiving the Holy Spirit and moving in the gifts of the Spirit were stressed,” said Paul. Now the brothers studied in-depth theology laying deep foundations.

After completing studies the brothers remained at Bible College as staff members and undertook their first missionary endeavours overseas. “God was preparing us for a future in missions, publishing and Christian TV,” said Mathew.

Visited by preachers, missionaries and the founders of ministries, the Bible College hosted Christian leaders to inspire the students and staff. Paul met Michael Scott and the two talked about the possibilities of reaching people for Christ through the media. Michael went on to be a founding partner and CEO of Pure Flix, which has produced more than 40 Christian movies, including the hit God’s Not Dead. With Pure Flix video-on-demand, it is the largest faith and family movie production and distributor in the world.

Michael Scott invited Paul to join his brother Tim and fellow missionary William to ‘Travel the Road,’ sharing Christ to the ends of the earth, with a film camera capturing their experience. The TV series Michael produced with the missionaries aired globally and made an impact with CNN and other networks inviting Michael on screen.

Michael on CNN, with a clip of Paul fishing for supper in Papua New Guinea, with the missionary team

With Paul at the ends of the earth preaching Christ, his brother Mathew smuggled Bibles into North Africa and trained students for future ministry. Soon the Lord would call the brothers together again to found ByFaith Media.

The blessing which flooded into the lives of Paul and Mathew has a deep source. When their parents came to Christ there was no known Christian witness in their ancestry. However, the Bible promises a blessing to a thousand generations of those who love God and ancient documents unveiled a mystery. 

In the thirteenth century, Walter of Bacalar, in the West Country, England, sold his lands and possessions, entering into the monastic life. Three hundred years from the same area, Henry Bacaller leaves home and studies at Oxford University. Unsettled by the religious spirit of the time, he returned to Scripture, preaching God’s Word in the villages, seeking a return to the pure gospel. His relative also called Henry Bacaller became a moderator at the famed Exeter Assembly in 1699, an organisation for non-conformist ministers in Devon and Cornwall.

From the home village of Henry Bacallar, Moses Backaller arose in the sixteenth century, the 6th great-grandfather of Paul and Mathew. The spelling of the name develops in documents over centuries, settling in the early nineteenth century. “It thrilled me to read of the deep faith of our ancestors,” said Paul, “not knowing our forefathers served the Lord.” The blessing of God promised to thousands of generations, “has come upon us,” said Mathew.

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