An excerpt from Pastor John's new book: The Iron Kingdom
Beginning in the late-1970s and throughout the 1980s, it occasionally happened that while I was praying in the Spirit, the Spirit would begin speaking in my own language, fervently saying over and over again – and I knew it was being said to me – “Come on! Come on! Come on!” In the beginning, that exhortation did not trouble me, but when it continued, at seemingly random times of prayer, I started wondering if Jesus was trying to tell me something that I was not understanding. By the early 1990s, I had begun replying to the Lord when he spoke to me like that, asking him what he meant. No answer came, and so, I didn’t know what to think, but the exhortation increasingly troubled me.
I distinctly remember one occasion in about 1992 when my frustration became especially acute. Kneeling in prayer beside my bed, I was praying in the Spirit when the Spirit began again to call to me earnestly in my own language, “Come on! Come on!” With a sense of desperation, I looked up to heaven and pleaded, “But I am here! I have already come! What do you mean by ‘Come on’? What are you telling me?” Once again, I received no answer; however, the answer – the unthinkable answer – was not very long in coming.
In early spring, 1993, the astonishing answer finally came, and it changed my life completely. Jesus showed me that in all those times, through all those years, he had been calling for me to “come on” to him – out of Christianity! I had striven to be the best Christian I could be; I would have given my life for Christianity, “thinking to do God service”, but now, Jesus was calling me out of that religion! It would have been impossible for me to have made the distinction between serving Jesus and serving that religion, had Jesus not shown me the difference. And what a difference there is!
At the time, I thought I was the only person on the planet to have heard such a call from God, and I was afraid. My mind was consumed with thoughts about it. It was as if I had been living my life in a deep, dark cave, and suddenly, Jesus had brought me out into the sunlight to behold the real world and its beauty. I could not take it all in at once; it was in all directions, and it was overwhelming. I remember talking to Jesus the next day as I entered my office, confessing to him, “Jesus, I am afraid – but don’t stop!” I knew that what he had revealed to me was true, that Christianity is not of God and that He wants His children to come out of it; at the same time, I felt desperation, for Jesus had revealed truth to me that I scarcely had the faith to believe, and I pleaded with him to give me faith to believe what I now knew to be true.
In the years following, I was blessed to meet other believers who had heard the call to “come out”. One elderly sister told that one day when she was a young woman vacuuming her house, she heard an audible voice call out to her, “Come out of her!” The voice was loud enough to be heard over the noise of the vacuum, and she turned it off and went to the front door to see if someone had come in. But no one was there, and she did not know what to make of the experience. So, puzzled, she went on back to her housework, but she never forgot it. There are many such testimonies, and among believers who have heard such a call to come out (or, in my case, to “come on”), I have found none who understood what Jesus was saying when he spoke to them any more than I understood him before 1993.
Driving past a steepled church building two days after Jesus revealed to me the meaning of what he had been saying for so long, I felt like a complete stranger to the religion that had produced that church building. This was my first experience with what it truly means to be “a pilgrim and a stranger” on this earth, no longer belonging among Christians, just as I had for some time not belonged among sinners.
I was taught from the beginning of my walk with the Lord that no Christian sect, that is, no denomination, is the body of Christ. But if Christian sects are not the body of Christ, what are they? At the time, I did not know. In a radio sermon in about 1977, I posed that question to my audience, not because I knew the answer, but because I wanted the answer. That answer is what Jesus gave me in 1993. Christianity itself, with all its sects, is an institution that God abhors. It claims falsely to represent Christ, and it provides no security from the coming wrath of God. The whole religion of Christianity is a fraud; it is a damnable lie.
What a relief it was to let go of the title, “Christian”! And what a relief it was to cease from trying to “make Christianity pure again”, as I previously thought I should do! Those thoughts were the biggest part of my confusion. For Christianity has never been pure; it arose among apostate saints after the beginning of the New Testament, perverting the pure faith of Christ. “Christianity” provides no cure for the sins of man; it is, in fact, the name of the disease from which the body of Christ has need to be cured for almost two millennia. Christianity is the thing that ruined the fellowship of believers and has dimmed the light of God in the world.
I believe the Bible. I trust it to be historically and prophetically true. I believe that Jesus is Lord of all, that he was born of the virgin Mary, that he suffered and died for our sins, that on the third day, he was raised from the dead by the power of God, that he ascended into heaven to offer himself to God for our sins, that he will return at the appointed time to reign on earth a thousand years, and that in the Final Judgment, he will be the Judge of both the living and the dead. I believe that there is no hope of salvation except by faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Jesus has filled me with his Spirit and taught me. I am his servant.
I also believe that the religious system known as Christianity is an abomination to both God and Jesus. I believe that, to date, Christianity is Satan’s crowning achievement; and that by it, he has successfully divided and confused the body of Christ; and that he reigns over the flock of God through Christian ministers, though they do not realize it. And I believe that in order for God’s people to attain to the unity and purity that Jesus prayed they would enjoy, they must come out of Christianity.
I am, by the wonderful grace of God, a follower of Jesus. I am also, by that same grace, not a Christian and not a part of what you know as Church religion.
The Iron Kingdom Series, of which this book is the third part, is an explanation and defense of my faith.