M O R E L E T T E R S
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
The earth consists of two sorts, the wise and the foolish.
The church consists of two sorts, the wise and the foolish.
The foolish in the church were, ironically, once the wise man who, after hearing the words of Christ, made a rational decision to build on those words. But since their born-again entrance into the family they have regressed. Now when they read and hear His precious words they ignore them, choosing instead to place their devotion on men and the gospels they have invented.
Catholic Terry and Sheri, pentecostal Barry and Carrie, as well as televangelist Gerry are three examples of the foolish majority in the church. Prayer leader Harry and Father Jerry are two more. Dr. Perry is still in the world, in awful danger, totally lost.
Those who have ears to hear, let him hear!
Greetings, my brother, in the name of the Lord Jesus.
You have been on a real adventure since that day you were nominated group leader of People of Charity prayer group. I am sure you have experienced many ecstatic moments as you witnessed first hand the Spirit of the Lord impact catholic lives by the dozens. Awesome, incredible and unbelievable are understatements to describe the visitation into your catholic community.
It was not long ago you first experienced the wooing of the Spirit in your own life, only a few years since you embraced the lordship of Jesus, since you were washed in the blood of the Lamb. I remember my own moment. It was indescribable.
How could one so young in the Lord carry the weight thrust upon you? You are constantly tugged from two opposite and opposing forces. Your church – priests and bishops and most laity – insist you make decisions to satisfy the status quo. The pressure to compromise the gospel by which you were saved must be intense and unrelenting. It has always been the nature of man to control man, the stronger subdues the weaker, and the weaker becomes subservient to his conquerer. As the middleman, you were seriously coerced to compromise the Word of our precious Lord.
But, conversely, Christ doesn’t conquer, doesn’t coerce. He instructs, and once the instructions are understood He backs off. He gives us freedom to obey or disobey. Though the consequences of disobedience are immense and awful, He will not coerce.
Perhaps you have come to learn that as one cannot serve God and mammon, neither can one serve God and man. I hope it is obvious by now you chose the wrong master.
Harry, I am here to tell you it’s not over. There is an abundant life before you if you but choose it. Jesus said to His twelve and to You and I, “Abide in Me and I in you.” He was talking about relationship. The invitation is not rescinded by our failures. Jesus is calling you into a deep and permanent and fruitful relationship with Him.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Jesus is actually extending to you an invitation of friendship. On His terms. No more compromise. No appeasing man. No longer prostrate before the gods of catholicism.
You once came, in repentance, to Christ for new life; now come again, in repentance, into the fellowship you had at rebirth. Humble yourself. Confess your unfaithfulness. Ask for, and receive, His forgiveness. Enter into intimacy.
And…. brace yourself for persecution.
The moment you refuse to be the pawn you were is the moment they will turn on you. Nice, congenial, loving Harry will immediately become poor, confused, selfish Harry. You will be the enemy, blamed for the division sure to come. You will be uprooted, and your departure cheered. The troublemaker is gone.
You will learn the simple, terrible truth: they don’t want Him. Those who don’t want Him are not victims of misunderstanding. They don’t want Him because they have chosen another lord, be it themselves or others or a religious system. “He came to His own and His own did not receive Him.” Conciliation will not cause them to adjust their fixed wills.
Harry, I wish you well. Again I say, a decision for Christ will bring, along with persecution, much success in every aspect of your life. And that of your family.
Your brother in Him,
Dear Dr. Perry,
My name is Larry Jones, I am a christian, an ex-catholic, and I have something of urgency to relate to you. I come to you in a true state of humility, not bearing an ounce of criticism but instead a weighty concern for your eternal future and that of your family. Please hear me.
First, however, I would like to commend you for the advice you gave to Sheri, advocating she and Terry make a firm decision one way or the other regarding her institutional church and People of Charity prayer group. Many thousands in the catholic charismatic movement throughout North America and beyond can relate with her inner anguish. You realized rightly her indecision to leave or stay, to give allegiance to the Bible or her traditional church, was the chief cause of her turmoil so detrimental to her health.
And now I would like to speak of the crucial matter of your salvation. At this time in your life you are not saved from the consequences of your sin, nor convinced of a need to be. Because I was where you now are, and you never were where I now am, I have an advantage of perspective. Jesus often said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Do you, Dr. Perry, have ears to hear?
When I lived where you lived – that is, in the spiritual sphere where you still are – I was totally dissatisfied. Peering into the lives of others – family, relatives, acquaintances, as well as actors and sport heroes and religious folk – was thoroughly depressing. I knew what the richest and smartest and most favored possessed would never satisfy me. I could see the riches of some – financial, educational, social – and my relative poverty made no measurable difference to one’s well-being. There was nothing worth striving for.
Looking back, I realize the cause of my unrest was my propensity to think. The axiom, “Ignorance is bliss” is not without truth. Had I just stopped considering, I could have squeezed some enjoyment from my toys. I could have become a movie/television freak. Perhaps a successful money-making machine. An employer with numerous, nervous underlings eager to cater to me. But oh no, I had to look around and consider and…. think.
I am sure your experience with people has taught you that people, generally, are inconsiderate, this not in the sense of unfeeling for the welfare of others, but simply non-considerate of…. What makes the world spin?, What’s it all about?, What is the end result of where I am going?
I don’t think you are inconsiderate. And I can’t imagine that you are satisfied with where you are, that what was hollow to me satisfies you. This letter points to a better way.
I have a story to tell, Dr. Perry, a story that has brought me, and my wife, into a world – a much finer world – than the one you are now in. There is room for you and yours in this very real spiritual kingdom where Christ is king, my present dwelling place. Please hear my testimony.
When Linda and I came together at the marriage altar we were young and gullible. We would have both been startled if we could have peered inside each other to see the real person to whom we were about to vow to share the rest of our lives.
Lin’s white train was not the only thing dragging behind her wedding dress. Trailing her wherever she went was a cumbersome collection of fears and failures, guilt and loneliness, heartaches and frustrations – a twenty-year accumulation since her conception.
And I was a fake. Being less than real was something I was and did. This talent to appear to be something I was not is common, I believe, to most. Image is all, reality not to be regarded. I wanted to appear to be capable, unafraid, unassuming, though I was none of these. I was a vacuum. A few days past the vows, in the privacy matrimony affords, I would begin extracting from Lin respect, honor, love and obedience. My intent was to receive, not give. Unfortunately Lin, like myself, had little to pour out. I think we were both in survival mode, just wanting to get through life.
Lin’s rejection began when she was discovered. Her mother had already given birth to four unwanted babies and simply gave them to the government. But not even the government would accept another child from her. Lin spent the earliest days of life as a reject – unloved, untouched, neglected. Five months passed before she was given to the first stranger who asked for her – no interview, no questions asked. Fortunately this lady and her husband were generous with their time and adulation, and the sickly baby revived. Lin would not have to bear the memory of those early tragic months, but the bruises would remain and were much a part of the young lady I married.
I was eighth of nine children. Back then nine children wasn’t an awesome accomplishment for a catholic couple, but not bad. I was born into a family strained financially and emotionally, and into a house already bulging. The news of my expectancy brought little enthusiasm. Pregnancies and births brought sickness and work to an overburdened mother, and more stress to provider dad. Had my younger brother never come along my life could have been more rewarding. He was always the baby of the family and I merely one of the in-betweens.
On the other side of the country, a few years later, Lin’s security with her adopted parents was being threatened by the same government that refused her as an infant. Their house did not have an inside toilet and her dad’s income was minimal, making them unqualified to adopt. Her mother, the one every considered her mother, felt compelled to share with Lin the possibility of her being taken from them. A full year passed before adoption papers were finally signed and every day of that year the young girl lived under the threat of being whisked away. Seeing an unfamiliar car on her return from school, Lin would remain outside until the stranger left. Nighttime was dread time.
My first day at school was a nightmare, as were many others. I was simply incapable of coping with responsibilities or pressures. Many days I cried, the only one of a large class to do so, bringing public shame. My teacher, a catholic nun, had no patience or welcome for me. My teeth became protruded as I tried in vain to suck security from two fingers. School life was a misery and home life wasn’t much better. I never competed for approval, but accepted defeat at an early age.
In second grade I was being prepared for first confession, a prelude to first communion. I know, Dr. Perry, you’ve been there, done that. Being older, my experience may be different than yours. We were instructed it was pardonable to forget to mention a venial (minor) sin, but intentionally omitting a mortal (serious) sin brought serious consequences. That is a sacrilege.
Venial sins were likened to little black marks on our white souls, wiped away by the sacrament of confession whether confessed or not. Mortal sins were big black marks that would assure an ushering into hell if ‘caught dead’ with one. All mortal sins are equal, except of course the sin of sacrilege. That was the biggy, to be avoided at all cost. A sacrilege is participating in a sacrament while in mortal sin. It brought a reserved furor from a holy God.
I was an overly scrupulous lad, and after confession I simply didn’t know if my soul had been cleansed or that horrible sin of sacrilege had been stamped on it. There was no way off the course toward first communion which, if received in this condition, might bring upon me a second sin of sacrilege. In those days confession and communion were frequent, and every time I partook of a sacrament I imagined myself entering deeper and deeper into God’s wrath. If I was killed by a car I would be in eternal damnation in less than a minute. I never walked close to curbs.
When Lin was ten, she spent boxing day at a small neighboring mining community under the supervision of family friends, a young couple. She was given permission to try out her new skates at the local rink. Inside the dressing room with a friend, warming herself by the wood heater, some teen-age boys crudely broke the news that her house in Princeton had just burned down. Delighted by Lin’s horror, they exaggerated the bad news, saying her dad had burned as well. Further, they described in gory detail the death of her mother and sister and brothers. Lin ran, in her skates, the full mile to the young couple’s house.
The black cloud of shock and fear so enshrouded her mind that they could not convince her no one was hurt in the fire. She spent the night weeping the loss of her family. When her family arrived the next day it was as if they had been resurrected, so convinced was the ten-year old of their death. After touching them individually, the cloud lifted but not without leaving a permanent scar. In future years anxiety came quicker, solace slower.
Before this experience, Lin’s dad broke his back in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Now having lost almost everything in the fire, they entered fully into poverty. My wife-to-be not only suffered the stigma that poverty and second-hand clothes bring, but her source of approval was drying up as father’s spirit became as broken as his back, and mother became more demanding of Lin’s help. Increasingly Lin felt the weight of eldest child. She fantasized a husband who would take her into a better world, someone vigorous and able and understanding. Unfortunately, he never came.
I ended my high school years a failure, having the lowest marks of all four grade twelve classes, the second from the bottom far above me. Teachers for the most part left me alone. I was bored, I was lonely, I was afraid, and spent many hours in unnecessary sleep. At nineteen, with no accomplishments or awards behind me, a few dollars in my pocket, I walked to the highway to hitchhike to a new life – somewhere, anywhere.
Marriage was a contest to see who could get the most out of the other. Only a continuous supply of adulation from my partner could offset my failures and emptiness. And Lin was in no better shape. We were both vacuums, trying to suck life from each other. This is how we hobbled through marriage.
I was totally unprepared for my new role as husband and, soon after, father. Getting through life was hard. And so I began to look around. What’s it all about? I searched for reality in a society that seemed to be plastic and shallow. My catholic faith gave me nothing. I searched within for authenticity and value, but found none. Just lots of self – self-concern, self-importance. I brooded. I stared into the clouds, wondering, wondering. What’s it all about? Is there really a God? I became desperate in my search for…. something. What is true? What is good? What is worthwhile?
So that, Dr. Perry, is the world I came from.
In February, 1972 I discovered there was a new life, the life that I am pointing you toward. I will now tell of how I found and entered this new life that Jesus so bountifully supplied for every man, woman and child.
It started with hunger for truth and reality. I prayed to God, who I wasn’t sure was there, to show me the way if there really was a way. I was at mass, another boring mass, when the Holy Spirit came upon me, a rare happening indeed. Tears leaked out of my eyes as I stared transfixed at the crucifix behind the altar at the front of the church. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “Don’t you get it?” I answered, “No, God, I don’t get it.” You see, I was staring at the answer – Christ, hanging on the cross. The Holy Spirit repeated, perhaps four or five times, the same question, “Don’t you get it?” And my reply was the same, “No, God, I don’t get it.”
Shortly after, the Holy Spirit told me a certain nun had what I was searching for. Later, when with a group from my church, this sister in black handed me a tract – The Four Spiritual Laws, produced by Campus Crusade – with these astounding words, “The Holy Spirit told me to give this to Larry.” Wow!
I was filled with expectation reading that tract, but was sorely disappointed because all it talked about was Jesus. Like you, I had heard about Jesus throughout my life. This was nothing new! Obviously God was toying with my emotions, and I struck back. I cursed Him, shook my fist toward heaven, and vowed to never repent.
The Holy Spirit again spoke to me, “Give Jesus a chance. Give Jesus a chance.” Okay, I thought, I am at the lowest place of my life, what have I got to lose?
So I received Christ. I just received Him. In prayer, I mean. And that’s when it happened. I became different. Something real, something surprising occurred. I actually became a different person than the one I was. Yes, I looked the same, and sounded the same, yet I knew I had entered a different realm. I had never heard the term born-again, but that best describes my experience – a new birth.
Dr. Perry, I testify to you that on that winter day many years ago I discovered the new life Jesus promises to those who will receive Him and His sacrifice at Calvary as payment for our sins. Bear with me as I try to relate the enormity of that 1972 happening.
I want you to use your imagination. Imagine John the baptist baptizing multitudes who made the trip into the scorching wilderness to hear him and be baptized in the Jordan River. Pharisees and sadducees – religious leaders and the hub of that religious society – also came to be baptized, but John refused them because they were hypocrites. The river was murky and warm. Most likely it was a hot and sunny day. John was dressed in camel hair with a leather belt, his hair well below his shoulders, a massive beard, skin dark from a life in the sun. And along comes Jesus.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.” John resisted but the Christ insisted. “Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold the heavens were open to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighted upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased.'” Now hold it there.
This is the scenario: meek and humble men and women with their children on the bank of the Jordan. Not so meek and not so humble religious leaders dressed meticulously, scowling, very unhappy. Bearded and tough John standing before Jesus. Jesus, thirty years old, black hair and beard, dripping wet, waist-high in water. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The Father of Jesus, His presence experienced though unseen.
And now, in your imagination, take a brush and erase the people on the shoreline, including the religious leaders. Next remove John standing before Christ. What you now have are three persons only, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – what is referred to as the Trinity. This is a unique manifestation of the fullness of the Godhead. Holy, holy, holy. Three – eternal, omniscient, all-powerful, holy. Now hear me, Dr. Perry, as I try to relate to you the immensity of my 1972 experience.
Do you see Jesus standing in the Jordan? I know Him.
See the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove? I know Him.
And the Father of Jesus? I know Him. He is now my Father.
Yes, I know each of the Three. I know Them by experience. I relate to Them daily. I abide in Them and They abide in me.
Can you hear me, Dr. Perry?
I am in touch, on an ongoing basis, with the Lord Jesus, His Holy Spirit, and His Father. I have a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Of all the titles Jesus possesses, the most worthy is “Son of God”. I, too, am a son of God. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God.” This sonship is way beyond symbolic. It is actual. It is everlasting. I am actually God’s heir, “joint heir(s) with Christ”.
My world and yours are so…. very…. different. Mine is so…. much…. wealthier. But what I have you can have.
To have what I have you must do what I did. I humbled myself. I came to Jesus in prayer. I acknowledged my sins and repented. And I received Him. I received His Calvary cross as payment for my devious sins. I embraced His lordship over my life.
And then I was taken into a new life, the life Jesus came to give all. I became a saved person. I am no longer on my way to hell. Heaven awaits me and soon I will be home.
Dr. Perry, as the song states, “There is room at the cross for you.” What I have you can have. It’s free, it’s awesome, it’s everlasting.
I greet you, my brother in Christ, in the name of the Son of God.
I heartily congratulate you on your recent entry into the family of God. You are my blood-washed brother. We are joint heirs to all God’s possessions. We are each “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.” Our names have been added to the book of life, heaven awaits us, how very blessed we are.
I think I know the awkward position you are in, and the forces grinding against your initial commitment to Jesus Christ and the words He has given us. I, too, had been thoroughly immersed in catholicism, attended a catholic grade school and a catholic high school. I remember as a youngster gathering with my family in our living room praying the rosary. Being a priest, I am sure your immersion goes much deeper than mine.
When I became His I knew immediately the Bible and catholicism were two opposing thoughts, though each contained bits and pieces of the other. Some catholic charismatics prefer to believe the two are congenial regardless of the evidence to the contrary. Most eventually choose the authority of their church over that of the Bible.
I was fortunate to have outside influences. Their maturity and love for Jesus were obvious proof catholicism was not a requirement to maintain a depth in Christ. I came to see, however, the peer pressure upon evangelicals to conform to evangelical traditions is as weighty as the pressure upon catholic charismatics to adopt catholic traditions. I suppose peer pressure is everywhere.
Peer pressure is criminal. Jesus never coerced anyone to conform to His will, though that will was inviolable and entirely beneficial. If God honors the free will He has given, should we do otherwise? But herd mentality is a trait of the human race. Agree or go. Conform or face the wrath of the group. A need to belong turns one’s hearing to the off position. Words, even logical and profitable words, just don’t penetrate.
Jerry, do you at this time in your new life have “ears to hear”?
I want to confirm to you what I know to be your deep suspicion: catholicism is not true. Anyone “born of the Spirit” has the “Spirit of truth” within. I believe you instantly knew, at the time of your rebirth, there was little familiarity between Christ and your old religion.
Very soon after discovering Christ, the “Spirit of truth” gave me an inner witness that the cigarette I was smoking no longer held a grip on me. The addiction was broken. I was free. But I didn’t obey the leading of the Holy Spirit and continued to smoke, and as a result I, and my family, suffered bad consequences. I believe the Spirit likewise gave to both you and I an inner witness that catholicism no longer had a grip on our lives. The powerful religious addiction, years in the making, was broken. We were free. We just had to walk away. But we didn’t.
Our hearts wanted the familiar life. Old friends and approval and familiar routine. But staying was disobedience to the prompting of the Spirit, which was disobedience to Christ. This unfaithfulness to Christ caused us to distance ourselves, somewhat, from Jesus. We lost, somewhat, His protection and guidance. From there it’s been a gradual downward trend until we became a part of the large army of compromisers.
But you still have the Holy Spirit and you still have a love for truth. If that love for truth is greater than your love for your religion, you still have “ears to hear” my simple logic regarding the fallaciousness of catholicism.
Because the catholic church declares itself to be infallible in matters of doctrine, one only has to find one discrepancy between the Bible and the cc to prove that it is quite fallible. And there are many variances. For example….
Matthew 1:25 states that Joseph and Mary had sex after Jesus was born. That being so, the ‘infallible’ teaching of the perpetual virginity of Mary is false. Which means the ‘infallible’ teaching of the infallibility of the cc is also false. Which means that other teachings are suspect.
One more example:
If the sacrifice of Calvary was to be the final sacrifice, sufficient for all people of all time – as the Bible so clearly declares – the “sacrifice of the mass” is not only unnecessary but a very serious snub to the salvation Christ supplied two millenniums ago. After the “last supper” Jesus referred to the wine as “this fruit of the vine”, not His blood. You know the apostles and many others became christians before the mass was invented. The old priesthood came to an end after Calvary. Our one and only priest is our High Priest, Jesus. As there is no need for the “sacrifice of the mass”, there is no need for priests. In short, God does not consider catholic priests to be His priests.
Believing the cc to be the one true church of God because the cc says it is the one true church of God is childish. Actually, the burden to prove or disprove the cc should not be on you or anyone else. They owe you, and everyone, proof their claims are valid. Something more than, “Believe it because I said so.” If you agree the mormon should require validation that the mormon church really is the one true church they claim it to be, and if you agree the Jehovah witness should expect his organization to provide strong evidence that it is God’s only spokesman, as it so claims, then you also should be demanding proof of authenticity, yes, you more than most catholics because you are a priest perpetuating catholicism. To bring it to the simplest terms, if a man were to say to you, “I am Christ’s only true representative”, you might be expected to reply, “Oh? Prove it.”
Catholicism, like every religion, is nothing but a very long story written by a continuum of imaginative religionists who had not discovered the Christ you and I were so blessed to have found. The story widened and got more perplexing as the centuries rolled by. Changes here, corrections there, add a chapter, remove a chapter – constant revisions until you have what you have today (which will be different a century from now).
Again, all this means nothing to he who loves his religion more than Him. Hopefully you still have “ears to hear”.
Jerry, because you have been so steeped in catholicism – more than Terry and Sheri, more than Harry and yes me, Larry – your escape is more difficult. Had you left immediately after discovering Christ it would have been much simpler. And you would have influenced many others to abdicate the cc. But I assure you, Jesus will empower you to keep any quality choice you make. There is a time to run.
This letter brings you to a fork in the road. Continue the old way or embrace, once again, the Christ who saved you and His precious ways. Will you be the wise man who heard His sayings and made a heartfelt decision to build on those sayings?
I wish you well.