and I at once felt at home. The people were, above everything else, centred in the Bible and they made no bones about it. They were deep, and when I say deep, I mean really deep. They frightened me because I saw by looking at them how shallow and superficial I was. I saw Christian discipleship for the first time in my life and real committment. They were also a prophetic people and had insights into the Scriptures which I had never seen anywhere before. I would have joined them there and then but fate took me to Sweden where I met Björn and Misha."
She turned to Björn and smiled. I saw in her face more than just friendship. Could it be that these three were POLYGAMISTS? I dared not ask. Perhaps, I thought, they had become Mormons or Muslims, but they didn't sound like either. Besides, Muslims don't believe in Christ.
"I moved to Jönköping," Sonja said, "because I woke up one morning and heard a voice deep within me say, 'Go to Jönköping!' I had an idea that Jönköping was in Sweden but I wasn't sure as my geography wasn't so good."
I smiled. I knew just how she felt.
"But I found an atlas, and there was Jönköping on the southern end of lake Vättern in southern Sweden. But where would I go to in Jönköping? I didn't know anybody there.
"When I had a weekend free I packed a bag and took a train there. I thought I must be mad, going to a place I knew nothing about all because of a voice in my head. Where would I stay? What would I do? Little did I know that this would be my first real experience in listening to the voice of the Lord. I would just have to go and trust in Him to lead and direct me."
My admiration for Sonja began to grow. I had always wanted to be led like that but had always been taught to look for "open doors" when dealing with difficult questions. I had never heard voices in my head and had been warned of how demons can manipulate people in this way. Yet there were Baptists I knew of who had had supernatural experiences and even witnessed dramatic healings. I had to give Sonja a fair hearing even though I was sceptical.
"Anyway, I arrived in Jönköping late on a Friday evening and checked myself into a youth hostel. I was tired and was about to fall asleep when I heard that voice again, saying: "Sonja, go to the Rådhus (Town Hall) in Kyrkogatan at 10:00 tomorrow and wait outside the main entrance." I sat upright not knowing what to say or do. I just believed. So I thanked the Lord for bringing me to Jönköping and asked Him to bless and protect me."
"You asked in Jesus' Name, didn't you?" I cheekily said, wanting to assure myself that this woman was being led by the Lord and not by some deceptive spirit.
"Oh yes," said Sonja, not at all offended. "I always test the spirits and always pray to Jesus".
She winked at me, instantly discerning where I was coming from, and I was a little embarrassed.
"Anyway, I did what I had been told. I found the town hall with no difficulty at all and stood by the entrance as I had been told. I prayed to the Lord, asking: 'What do I do now, Lord?' and I just felt that I had to wait. I was a bit early, keen not to miss this appointment, and had a half hour wait. The clock on the town hall struck and I looked about. People were walking about as usual and nothing looked especially unusual. Then I saw a couple - a really tall blonde Swede and a tiny dark-haired woman. The contrast in height was so great that you couldn't not notice them."
"Moreover, they were walking up and down the street, and I noticed that they were handing out leaflets to passers-by. I felt something within me push me to go to them. 'I'll go and get a leaflet and come back here,' I thought to myself. So I cautiously went right past them knowing I would probably be offered a pamphlet. I was, and I took it. I was so excited that as soon as it was in my hand I ran off, forgetting that I was trying not to be conspicuous. The tall Swede turned around and wondered what was happening."
Björn smiled. "True, I was a little startled. Most people were taking the leaflets and then screwing them up and throwing them into litter bins a bit further up the street or just dropping them on the sidewalk. That's normal in Scandinavia, so I was a bit surpised when this young woman grabbed the leaflet out of my hand and ran off...."
Sonja butted in.
"Hey, this is my story!"
Björn and Misha laughed. I let my guard down and smiled too.
"OK," said Björn, "you go on. I guess I'll get my word in at the end sometime!"
Misha giggled and so did I. I found myself being drawn to these people like a magnet and I couldn't help it.They were so open and transparent. I felt safe with them even though we had only been together half an hour and were virtual strangers. Yet I've experienced this deep fellowship with other Christians before, even with strangers. The brotherhood of Christ seems to know no boundaries.
"Anyway, I ran down to the end of the street towards the lake and when I was sure the couple couldn't see me, I opened the leaflet. It was an invitation to a meeting to be held that Saturday evening by a group called Det Nya Förbund or "The New Covenant". I couldn't believe my eyes. The New Covenant Christian Fellowship (Den Nye Pakts Kristne Fellesskap) was the group I was about to join in Norway and here was another group with practically the same name."
"I rushed back to find the couple but they had gone. I searched the street and the neighbouring streets. I was too late."
"That's right," Björn butted in, "Sonja had actually taken our last leaflet. So having given them out, we went back home for our family devotions."
Misha picked up the thread: "We gave out over two hundred leaflets but only Sonja came along to the evening meeting in our home. We had, of course, prayed to the Lord to lead us to the right people. Evangelism isn't easy in Scandinavia because it's so secular. People are just too materialistic. It's like the prophet says, there are only one or two true believers in each city."
I'd never heard of that. "Which prophet?" I asked, thinking it was some cultic leader she was talking about.
Misha took out a well worn Bible from her bag. "Here in Jeremiah 3, verse 14: 'I will choose you -- one from a town and two from a clan -- and bring you to Zion'. And the next verse says: "And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding".
Sonja picked up the story. "Well, I went along to the address on the leaflet and I arrived on the dot. It was in a small apartment and I was the only one there apart from Björn and Misha. We talked for about five hours, I was so engrossed. They knew their Bibles like noone else I had met and they brought a vitality and an enthusiasm for God's Word that was refleshing for my parched soul. I don't know how to describe what happened - I was just burning from head to toe, my heart was full of love, and my mind had a hundred questions, each of which they answered without hesitating. Everything they said made sense. It was all Biblical and I couldn't deny any of it."
I was getting excited myself now. "What did they teach you??" I urged her to tell more.
"Well, I discovered that they were New Covenant Christians just like the group in Oslo. That was the first big surprise, but they had a different more specialised ministry. Björn and Misha were a part of a movement led by Stanislaw Królewiec in Poland whose purpose is the complete restoration of Patriarchal Christianity..."
There it was again, that mysterious word "patriarchal" which I still didn't understand but which sounded like some male chauvanist club. But I held my peace. I knew that once I got my fists out it would be hard for me to put them down again. I must first listen and learn.
The waiter came and served the three - I had already eaten and was drinking my coffee when they came in at sat at my table. Whilst Björn and Misha hungrily downed one of Blum's best, poor Sonja's food got cold. Nothing was going to interrupt her story, save for a brief nibble when one of the others interjected.
"Björn and Misha drove me back to my hostel and invited me back the following day. I couldn't refuse. My mind was in a whirl the whole night and I did not sleep too well. It was just all too exciting."
I was by this point coming to the boil. "What was so exciting?", I thought to myself, "and why won't they tell me?"
Sonja went on to tell me the history of Christianity over the centuries and how our western version and become progressively paganised. Björn and Misha had taught her about the original Hebrew Gospel before it became Hellenised4. She traced the gradual restoration of Hebrew Christianity through the Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, and Messianic Jews, and described how it had finally come to fruition in the New Covenant Christian movement. They weren't cultists, as I originally thought, but accepted, along with evangelicals, that the Body of Christ is to be found across the whole spectrum of denominations, and principally those derived from Protestantism. In short, I learned that what these people were doing was taking Martin Luther's reformation to its logical conclusion whilst clipping away all the pagan European additions.
Björn took over from Sonja so she could finish her lunch. "You see, Hélène, the Lord is moving rapidly in these last days to gather a remnant people who are willing to follow Him in every thing, including ideas and practices that have been forgotten and persecuted for centuries. The Catholics tried to suppress the Reformation militarily because it threatened their whole raison d'être - they were fighting for their life as an institution, because the institution and its traditions had been added to the simplicity of Christ's Gospel. But Luther never completed the work - there were important political considerations and he compromised in many areas, as did the other Reformers. God has been restoring His Gospel gradually through different parts of the Body but now He is reaping His harvest. And that harvest is souls willing to obey Him in all things."
I simply couldn't argue with him. He knew his Bible and history impeccably. Misha was the theologian of the family and kept interjecting with tidbids of Greek and other languages. And even Sonja, who had not been as well educated, seemed to have an amazing Bible knowledge. I was impressed.
"We're Patriarchal Christians....", Björn said.
There was that word again. I knew that Patriarchal meant male leadership by now and not male chauvanism and that these people were simply imitating the patriarchs of old, including the apostles. I had never thought of Paul as a "patriarch" but Misha was quick to point out to me that he called himself this.
"You're polygamists, aren't you?" I asked, finnally plucking the courage to say that unpalitable word.
They all smiled without the slightest bit of embarrassment and then went into a long explanation of what patriarchal marriage was, and how the Lord had called them together as man and wives. It seemed so "unnatural" to me and I couldn't help but feel revulsion at first. And yet when I looked at the three and the spirit of love and unity that emmanated from them, I could only marvel. These guys had something that obviously worked, but it wasn't for me.
Björn paid his check and it was time for us all to leave. I drunk the last dregs of coffee in my cup, forgotten and left to go cold hours before. They were taking a flight out of San Francisco that evening and had to get packed. We exchanged addresses, hugged each other. But before we parted, Misha pressed a book into my hand. It was by the founding father of Christian polygamy, Stanisław Królewiec, called Patriarchal Destiny. It was to become as worn as Misha's pocket Bible.
I didn't think I would ever see them again. I had, unbeknown to me, started on a new journey of discovery that was to change my life forever.
A Christian term meaning denomination or Church.
The science of scripture interpretation.
The pre-cursor of the modern New Covenant Church of God or B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh.
Modified according to the customs and practices of Greek pagan culture.
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