This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Daniel Liberek (CN 385, T4) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. Nothing recorded has been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. In a very few cases, words were too unclear to be distinguished, so the word "[unclear]" was inserted. This is a transcription of spoken English, which of course follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Robert Shuster and completed in December 1996.
Collection 385, T4. Interview of Daniel Liberek by Robert Shuster, January 15, 1988.
SHUSTER: You were saying about your being on the radio.
LIBEREK: Oh yes. Well it's...one of my members came in with an ad one day and he said, "Now, did you notice this Daniel?" I looked at and [a few words unclear] a horror show was going to be shown at the Cultural Center of our city. The Cultural Center is owned by our city. It represents the city, actually. And this horror show was based on spiritualism and occult practices and different things like that. Voodoo, that was part of their publicity.
SHUSTER: When you say horror show, what...?
LIBEREK: That was the name they had for it. "Horror Show." And then there other subtitles, like, "Voodooism." "Resurrection of dead people." And things like that, occult things. So I went to where they were selling the tickets and the people who were selling the tickets didn't know anything about it. They were just selling tickets for this organization. I tried to call the numbers that were on the sheet and the information I had was...pretty much backed what I thought of it. It was based on occult practices. So I went to see the person in our city who is responsible for the town hall...for the Cultural Center, the director of it. And he said, "Oh, I don't know what to say! I am taken aback by what you are saying. Well, I'll just call [name unclear]. " He is right under the mayor in our city and he is responsible for culture in the city. And he happened to be there. So we called over and I talked to him for a few minutes and he showed dismay and amazement at what I was saying. He said, "Well, I think I have been tricked by these people. They called and they said it was just magic, presti...." Prestidigitation?
LIBEREK: Something like that. "And now what you are conveying to me is much more sinister. I'm surprised. I'm a good Catholic man." And on and on. And I said, "Well, I am very unhappy about this and I am very unhappy that my tax dollars will not be used for this. And *I am going to do something about it. He said, "I cannot do anything about it. I signed a contract and if I back out, I have to pay them." And I said, "Well, you think you've been tricked and you have reason to break the contract." He said, "Well, if you think so, you pay it." I said, "I didn't make the mistake, you did. You signed the contract. You pay the consequences of your mistake. And if you don't back out, now know that there are voters who will be upset. And I will represent so many people in our church." Well, I went on and nothing happened, so I tried to shake a few people in our city. And I went to see the main Catholic priest in our city and I was hoping he would be with me about this and he wasn't too interested about it. He didn't think it was too bad, really. So I went to see another Catholic man and they did nothing. Nothing at all. I thought I was going to have allies in this case, but they were not interested in working together. They were not interested in working at all, actually. So Sunday morning came and the show was for Sunday night. I had no time before me to do any thing else. So we prepared a petition and most of the church signed it. I preached about the occult on that morning and shared what was happening and what I thought we should do. And then I was prompted to move and have a demonstration in front of the hall, where this was supposed to happen. So I advertised it to my own [?] people. I checked to see if I could be liable for suits, in demonstrating and giving leaflets out on the street.
LIBEREK: Not persecution, but...
SHUSTER: Prosecution, I mean.
LIBEREK: ...say a fee or, what do you call it, a ticket. And I checked with some friends of mine who are Catholics and could be Christians, but had not committed themselves to really follow Scriptures. I checked with them and they called one of their lawyer friends and I was complimented for reacting to this, at least by those people. I printed little leaflets, with a warning about what was going on and urging people not to go into the hall where they were going to have this horror show. At night, maybe about twenty of us showed up. It was cold, it was very cold. It was November. [a few words unclear] And we stayed there and we helped a few people to turn back, probably, and saw probably sixty people...up to a hundred people go into the hall. That hall could seat seven hundred people. As far as the organizers were concerned, it was a flop. They lost money on the deal, I bet. If they had...I saw they had two trucks, they had a lot of stuff to bring, they had to pay the rent. They lost money on the deal. Well, the next day I was at home and someone called and they said, "I think you're here on the radio on the local radio station. You were bawled out." I said, "I was?" "Yes. They said that you were idiots, that you had little brains. And that you were God's crazies from..." and they gave our address. Now that is slander, plain and simple. You can say anything you want on the air waves, but don't mention names. So I picked up my phone and I called the radio station and I said, "Sir, you have been talking about us and I would like to get a transcript of whatever you said about us on the radio." He said, "Oh, I just wanted to get in touch with you! Could you come for an interview on...on our radio and answer the charges that were made against you?" "Well, I don't pass up such a chance and I went for an interview for an hour and a half. For an hour and a half, free of charge, I was able to refute the charges that were brought against us and explain why we did what we did. And all the phone calls that followed were positive. They...they asked people to call up and say what they thought and, of course, I had orchestrated a little bit with my people. I wanted to be that I had some people backing me. And many people were praying, I knew that. And then I was able to share what our church was doing, what we stood for, the gospel. Several times I shared the gospel in different ways. And it gave us a lot of good publicity. Now, any time I have an activity in the church, I can go back to the radio station and they will give me time. That's what I mean by media. If you could have this kind of breakthrough on a national scale, I think it could be done [?]
SHUSTER: What exactly were they charging you with?
LIBEREK: That we were dumb, that the occult was harmless. Well, concerning that we were dumb, we didn't have to deal with that, really. [laughs] That's not a charge you can refute, really. That we were little brains. They just had slandered us and said inaccurate things also.
SHUSTER: You say they....
LIBEREK: The radio station, the broadcaster. They.... I can't remember exactly now. It has been two years almost. But they had said that we did not understand what we were talking about, things like that. And then I was able to convey what we had done, why we had done it. It is possible that we had overreacted to what was actually in the show, but that's not my problem. I went by the publicity, I called the numbers that were given, I checked as much as I could. Now it appears that the show was a flop in itself and the people who were really robbed were the people who paid to go and see it. But that's what I explained. I went by what I could see, by the false advertisement and I counted what they were saying about themselves. The manager of the show was very upset with me, he almost kicked me. [chuckles] We were out there and they walked out and they had those two gorillas. They were huge. And they came and they told us to get lost. And I was pretty much...I stood my ground. "This is my constitutional right. I will stand here as long as I want to and distribute whatever I want." And they grabbed a couple of us and shook them up a little bit. It's amazing. They walked straight in front of me (I was pretty cool and collected) they walked straight in front of me and grabbed my father-in-law. And he's not cool and collected. It's amazing they picked out of the crowd the one that's most likely to blow up. Just a...I am sure the devil just directed them to grab him. He wasn't vocal, he was just standing there. If there was anybody they should have grabbed, it was me because I was the first in line and I was the leader of the gang. They didn't grab me. But the Lord helped Calvin [?] to keep his cool. And out of all of it, we had a lot of good media exposure, what we are still benefiting from today. So, if we could untie the hands, if we could un...if we could break through the media barriers that we have, we probably could dispel some of the misinformation and exactly state what we believe, why we believe [unclear], what Christ can do in your life. And we could dispel the false notions about Christianity that are prevalent today in Belgium. Christianity is viewed as a dead option. It's been tried. It's bad. [unclear] "Talk to me about something new." Christ is new, but they don't realize it. That's what we need to do, for the work [?] in Belgium.
SHUSTER: You've talked about this a little bit, concerning the state church and the media. But what in general is the attitude of the state toward the church?
LIBEREK: You do your own thing, don't bother us, we're doing our own thing. It's pretty much a smorgasbord approach, I would say. In the public schools, people have to take two hours of religious education every week - Catholic,, Protestant, Buddhist, Islamic, secular aspects - they have to take something. It's the same on the state level. You can do all that you want privately. Don't disturb the peace. If you want to distribute leaflets, that up to you. You pay for it. You do whatever you want. If you want to have a demonstration in this city, ask permission, usually granted. If you want to have a rally, car rally, going through the city, ask permission, usually granted. No problems. And we...some...say about four years ago, we were in for a lot of reactions, persecutions. We would go into town and we would have a riot and we would be thrown out of the town.
SHUSTER: You mean you would go in and have sidewalk evangelism?
LIBEREK: Sidewalk evangelism, distribute tracts. If you wanted to distribute Bibles, the police would come after you and burn them. Now, this is fact.
SHUSTER: This was about four years ago?
LIBEREK: Four years ago. I know people who actually suffered these things. I remember well in my lifetime not being able to rent certain halls. They were closed to us. Protestants. Well, just a year ago, I went to get time...or space in a paper and I couldn't because I was a Protestant. It was a Catholic newspaper. Today, after Vatican II (that was 1987) it is amazing to still face this type of opposition today. The state is very neutral. It's..it's a secular state and I honestly believe that our main enemy is no longer Catholicism (it is still very powerful) but the main enemy is this humanism, this secularism that is rampant. Many people claim to be Catholics, but they are practical atheists. They live as if there was no God. They live for their belly, they marry, they marry their daughters and they die. That is the life that they have. We can refute the Catholic doctrines very easily. The Bible is very powerful in doing so. But they don't believe those doctrines any longer. Now they might...when you attack the Catholic Church and when you say something, they'll be very defensive about it. They'll say, "Oh! My church!" But if you let them talk, they will themselves destroy the Catholic Church. They know many more stories than we do [chuckles]. They have been inside of it, they know that there is a lot of hypocrisy that is there. They know it. We don't have to prove it to them. But what they really believe is, "How can I get money? How can I push? How can I get ahead in the world?" This secular philosophy of forward, of going forward, the evolution theory that is prevalent in all the areas. Not just the biological evolution, but the evolution that we are doing better, the state is going to manage. In...in Belgium, you don't have the church providing for people, you have the state providing for people. I was just saying that about the relationship to pastors. The state provides for you. You have a problem, you go to the state. You don't go to God anymore. You go to the state. You don't have enough money, you go to the state. You need this, you go to the state. So that's a relationship [?] and I think that's the enemy. And maybe we are coming to a time when we will change...have to change the sacred [?] alliance I was talking about. Socialism is no longer our ally, in many, many, ways. And maybe Catholicism is going to have to be our ally in some areas. Abortion is not legal in Belgium yet and the Catholic Church is standing against it., against abortion. Well, we can be the ally of the Catholic Church in that area. Or against legalizing homosexuality. And different things like that. They are the bulwark of morality, while Socialism is all for abortion being paid for by the state, is prohomosexual lifestyle and so the alliances are going to have to change in years to come, I believe. But still, we have a very different message than the Catholic Church that we have to preach.
SHUSTER: You mentioned Vatican II a little earlier.
SHUSTER: Do you...did that have much effect in Belgium?
LIBEREK: It did have an impact. Finally we were no...we were no longer heretics. We are the estranged brothers. It did have an impact on the way the hierarchy treated us. It is slowly having an impact on the way people are treating us. Yet I think in a sense it is irrelevant. In a sense I would rather have the opposition, because it puts us apart. It shows we're different. Today it's pretty much the option...I remember talking to a young man who said his priest had said this and that. I started talking about this and that and I started talking about hell. [a few words unclear] So I said, "What do you think Christ thinks?" I said, "What do you think?" He said, "Sure [?]. I think it's unreal. I don't think Christ taught about hell." So I took out my Bible and showed him a verse and said, "Now, who said this?" "Christ." "What did he say?" And he talked about...." I can't remember the verses that I had, but one was Christ was sharing about hell. He was dismayed. But the Catholic Church is not a monolithic body as we often think of it. In Belgium there are very ultra-conservative people. Then we have charismatic Catholics. There is a Catholic sect called the Lion of Judah that is wild and wayout, in the charismatic area. It is even hard to define them. And you have Cardinal [Leon Joseph] Suenens in Belgium, who is at the forefront of the charismatic movement in the Catholic Church.
LIBEREK: He's written a book about it, a book you could agree with until the last chapter. The last chapter says, "My charismaticism and the Holy Spirit helped me to worship Mary." Last chapter. You can go so far. It's hard to say that the Catholic Church is not.... It is so different. Most of the people do not believe what the Pope says anymore. Most of the people do not agree with the Catholic doctrines anymore. They just derive their identity from it. It is more of a specter, a phantom. It is like an antique. It is more like an eggshell. It still has the shape, but the inside has been pulled out. And [pauses] I do not know if it is better for it to crumble. I know it will be good when people realize it is no...not Christianity. That would be it. But it is very hard to get that message across because we don't have a platform to speak from, we don't have the media to use to...to proclaim this message.
SHUSTER: You talked earlier about the occult. How important is the occult in Belgium in the culture?
LIBEREK: It is growing. It is growing. When we went to Chênee, it's a suburb of Liege, to preach, (we planted a church, actually) on a weekend, I remember we were coming back from the tent...the tent meetings we had, we saw a bunch of hooded people, walking and entering into a property. We didn't know who they were. They looked like druids. Long point hats, black...or white robes. We had seen in...in that property that there a structure a globe, half a globe. Very big. Probably about twenty feet high in the center. It was a half globe, different colors. Just a frame, wooden frame, with different colors and symbols. And we didn't know what it was. it looked like a...a playland. But then we realized that this was an occult cult, sect. And they were getting together to analyze the sky. And this was the use of the framed half globe. They use it read the sky. And for hours you could hear something of...of drums. We saw the oppression, very definitely. We got together and we prayed. We did not go out to witness to those guys. We got together and prayed. We felt the devil was right there close to us. That was an instance. Two years ago I had a very strong encounter with demonic forces in the...in one of my...one of the people of the church. I didn't quite identify it right away. I am not too used to that type of a encounter. And I tried to counsel him and his wife. I knew when they left that I hadn't said the right things. You get that feeling sometimes that you...you should have said something else, but you did not know what. And so finally we let them go, because it doesn't come to you what you should say. They seemed to be doing better. I still knew there was something wrong. And after a few days he...he blew the lid again and much more came out about his anger, beating his wife, beating the car, banging on the walls. In their house it stunk. They took a bath every day, a shower every day, but still the room where they slept smelled like death. There was something...a voice would come out of his belly. Different things that we heard about. Then with the elders, we asked that he be freed by the Lord and he was. Wonderful couple today. The smell was gone, from him, from her. The voice disappeared. He had been involved in alcohol, in drugs. All of that fell by the wayside. And through him...he is one of the most [unclear] young men in the church. If I say something on Sunday morning, he's going to try it. It doesn't matter how crazy it appears to be. He's going to try. And I remember one day I was just suggesting, I wasn't asking people to do it, but I said, "Isn't it funny? We will give a tithe of our money, but we won't give a tithe of our time to the Lord. And he spent two hours and forty minutes praying and reading the Bible. He did that for several days. He said, "You know, it's great." And he maintained that. You know, he's the kind of fellow who'll try anything you say. He asked me for work, so I gave him work in the church. And he works with us. He does several things. It varies [?]. And through him several people have come to the Lord, just because he was turned on.
SHUSTER: You mentioned that the occult is growing in Belgium. Why do you think that is?
LIBEREK: Because there is a spiritual vacuum. The secular state can provide for your needs. It cannot provide for all of your needs. So the physical needs are met. The spiritual needs are not. And it does not matter how nice a house you have, it's empty.
SHUSTER: Well, why the occult. Why not Christianity or Judaism or...?
LIBEREK: Christianity is identified with the Catholic Church. If you go to Belgium and say, "I'm a Christian," automatically you are a Catholic. The Catholic Church has shown it is powerless to provide meaning. That is a fact. In Belgium eighty-six percent of the people claim to be Catholics and less than five percent go to church. We've got over eighty-one percent of the people who are non-practicing Catholics. They've discovered it does not provide what they are looking for. Judaism is for the Jews. It's very simple. "It's not even an option for me. It's for the Jews. I'm not a Jew, so I don't go." Eastern mysticism is also growing. I would say the entrance to Belgium has been through karate and judo and this type of martial arts. And it's spreading. Often I will posters about this guru giving conference or this sage giving conferences. I can see it here and there. There is interest growing for it, Eastern mysticism. And, of course, if something happens, it's on the news, the...and they'll get publicity. And with publicity, it's almost better to have bad publicity than no publicity. It's almost to that point where something happens, people are interested, people want to know, people study and some accept. We also have cults in Belgium, of course, like Hari Krishna and Moon...Sun Moon and the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons and different others who are just...just specifically Belgian or European.
SHUSTER: So, you think then it is not a question of the occult having a particular attraction, but it's just the spiritual vacuum?
LIBEREK: Yes. And the occult usually promises power, power over the circumstances of life, power over people, power over death. Now all of those things are promised in Christianity. We have destroyed the power of death, we have destroyed the power of sin and through love we can change people. We have this power but it has not been exemplified. And so you have Christianity having big claims and no proof in Belgium. Now you have the occult comes with negative power, but still power. And so people are interested in what is being proclaimed and they will try it sometimes. The horoscope is a prominent part of life now. If you watch the news (like say in the States you have the ten o'clock news) you watch the news, right after the news what do you have? The horoscope. Right on TV, every day. I don't know my sign. I don't want to know my zodiac sign. But most people will watch it for fun. Horoscopes and oijia boards and different things. So it becomes part of life, little by little. Sort of like machines that will draw people in, from the horoscopes to this to this. And it is taking slowly power. It is nothing big yet. But any foothold the devil has is dangerous. In a country like ours where.... It is weird. People reject the supernatural, reject Christianity because it doesn't fit with the laws, they will flee to the horoscope, that is totally unscientific. It's been proven that it is hogwash. But they will believe this. The pendulum is swinging back to the other side.
SHUSTER: C. S. Lewis said that if people don't believe in God, it doesn't mean they will believe in nothing. They will believe in anything.
SHUSTER: What about Islam in Belgium? Is that also growing there?
LIBEREK: Well, Islam is now the second religion of Belgium. There are more Muslims than Protestants. Catholicism is the first. Well, of course, you could argue about sec...secularism, but it is not a religion, quote, in Belgium. Catholicism is the first, Islam is the second. If you go to Brussels, you will find in the center of the city a big mosque, huge mosque. Mainly, Islam has grown because of the immigrants there. They come from Turkey, Morocco, Egypt.
SHUSTER: Guest workers.
LIBEREK: Yes, guest workers who have now stayed and brought their families over. And there are parts of the city of Brussels where I honestly wouldn't want to live, it is dangerous to live. Your car will be trashed and you will probably be the only white face on the whole block. It is very difficult to live in that area and you can hear prayer call and you've got Muslims around you. I remember when we planted a church in Chênee, near Liege, I was doing door to door. There was a mosque and I saw probably a hundred men walk out of that mosque. Men. That means a wife and a bunch of kids, because they are always very prolific. You are probably talking about a community of four or five hundred people. That is a lot of people. Practicing Muslims. At least a hundred of them I saw there. It's growing in power. We have a few people who are working with Muslims in Brussels, a few. Where...where I live, we don't have any Muslims, really. There might be two or three families, but you don't have any guest workers there. Where we will be going, we will be having a few more, but not many in the particular community where we are going. We'll have a lot of Italians where we are going.
SHUSTER: Can you describe the work of church planting [unclear]?
LIBEREK: We'll be going in '89 to St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is part of Liege. Liege is one of the biggest cities of Belgium, with about three hundred thousand people. St. Nicholas where we are going has about twenty-five thousand people. And with surrounding villages we probably can...we probably will be working with forty thousand people. St. Nicholas itself has about forty percent Italians. That has wracked havoc with our strategy and we've had to really think about how to reach those Italians. Do we reach them the same way we are going to reach the Belgians. Are we going to have to distribute leaflets in two languages. Are we going to have to have a homogenous unit church for the Italians and another one for the French speaking? Cell groups or different fellowship groups, home groups. We still thinking about it. As far as now, the planning is, we will be living in St. Nicholas for six months before we do anything public and there probably will be two workers from United World Mission working with us. After six months, we'll have a large team coming over, we'll run a normal crusade, and then do the follow-up, all the family relationships and homogenous unit relationships we...we can. But will it see the church grow. We have prepared from my classes last semester a whole program of leadership development which we will be using straight from day one. As soon as we have people, we will try to find leaders to train and Lord willing eight years from now we will be leaving St. Nicholas, going somewhere else where there is no church, leaving behind us a church with national leadership.
SHUSTER: What is it you hope to gain from your time at the [Wheaton] grad school?
LIBEREK: First and foremost was still in that area of exegeting the world. I am trying to get handles on what I can do to understand it better, what I can do to better tailor the message and the model of ministry we have too the community to which we are going. Secondly, I want to be exposed to more ideas, strategies. As we are traveling, in every church we go, I am asking, "What are they doing to grow. How do they analysis the community?" I'm finding out...I'm finding out that I hardly meet anybody who does anything spec...specifically for growth. In the church that I go to...there is really only one, where my mentor is, that...the man...he's a challenge to me. There's my dad and this pastor McGalgary [?] in New York. He's tremendously helped us. Furthermore, I appreciate the time away from our ministry. If we had been away for three months, I don't think it would have been sufficent. We are going to be away for just over one year. Away from the [unclear]...away from the people with whom we minister, away from the people to whom we minister, able to analysis what we have done, the mistakes and strong points in our ministry. What we should have done, what we shouldn't have done. This time is very good for self analysis. And I do hope and pray that when we go back we will be able to double our strengths and diminish our weaknesses. Not erase them. I know that is impossible yet, but have a stronger ministry.
SHUSTER: Well, is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
LIBEREK: I don't think so, really. I appreciate the chance to share what...what is on our heart. And I don't know if anybody will ever listen to this, but if...if the person who listens or wants to know more about Belgium, we're very willing to answer. And our...our address can probably be found through the Alumni Association of Wheaton Grad School or tthrough our mission board. The mission board is United World Mission and...well, I'll...I'll give the address...
SHUSTER: Sure, go ahead.
LIBEREK: ...people can find it. It's P.O. Box 8000, St. Petersburg, Florida 38730 [sic]. And they will forward any mail or inquires that will come up.
SHUSTER: Well, very good. Thank you once again for being willing to share in this intereview. I much appreicate it.
LIBEREK: My pleasure.
END OF TAPE