A History of the Church
There was always something new for me to learn at Raj. And not only about things which have been known for a while. With so many heads to knock together, new ideas are constantly forming.
Raj is as much an economic concern as a spiritual one and keeping financially solvent is important. As in so many things, keeping a balance is vital. Many good business opportunities have, over the years, presented themselves but as ever Stan is keen to ensure that no disproportionate amount of time should be spent making money which could better be used in spiritual endeavours. Business must be time-efficient above everything else. In the beginning Isabel ran a small shop in Lublin but the returns were so little and she was kept away from home so much that Stan ordered it closed down. It was time down the drain. Much time is spent seeking the Lord's will for He always seems to know what is best at any one point in time.
Kasia was involved in a number of abortive sales projects and the wives learned through experience what was God-honouring and what was not. Stan had little love for money and the things of the world but knew that basic needs had to be met. After a number of misses they finally got a mail order firm running which suited the family perfectly - everybody could get involved and nobody had to leave home to do to work except to drive to the Central Post Office in Lublin once a day. With everyone employable, great flexibility in hours became possible which made home schooling all the more easy.
I arrived in Lublin with only two weeks to find out whether this was where I was to make my home. I had saved money working after college and it would be a while again before I could return. My "mission" was not, however, simply to find out whether I was called into polygamy and specifically to join Stan's family as his seventh wife, but involved investigating their whole spiritual way of life which in some respects was very different from the Protestant Christianity I was involved with. Every aspect of Królewiec life touched was reflected in their theology - theirs was a total way of life. In the Patriarchal Movement generally there are those who might be called Pentecostal polygamists, Baptist polygamists, Lutheran polygamists, Methodist polygamists, and so on, though there was a trend towards a wholly new "denomination" which Stan was spearheading, though he didn't like to call it that.
The Gospel Stan and his wives believed in represented what they claimed to be a complete restoration of the "Biblical Way". They were constructing not only patriarchal, polygamous families but a whole way of being - cultural, spiritual, and emotional that was radically different from anything else in Western Christianity. Trying to understand this mission of Stan's was every bit as important as finding out about my calling into polygamy and to being Stan's wife.
"You look troubled," Stan said to me on my third day. "Can I help?"
The trouble with Stan is that 90% of the time he knew what it was I was thinking or what was bothering me. He had so thoroughly explored the human condition and laboured hard to find the spiritual remedies that it seemed as though he knew more about people than anybody else I had met.
"Well, Stan, I'm trying to figure out exactly what you guys are. I've got nothing to compare you with. Sometimes you seem to be one thing but then turn out to be another."
"Can you give me a 'for instance'"? he asked.
I changed position in my chair and thought for a moment. As ever, Stan was looking intently into my eyes. He never avoided a question or a difficult issue. In fact one of the things which did annoy me in the beginning was that he seemed to have an answer for almost everything. Only once in a while I would get a "I don't know, Hélène", but that was usually to do with the future rather than with present realities.
I struggled for my question and then sighed. "Stan, this is all too big for me. It's like I'm at college studying twenty different courses all at once and I'm expected to be able to concentrate on all of them.!"
Stan roared with laughter. "Well, I suppose you might look at it that way. There are no idle minds here. We've all had to learn to become skilled in so many different things. But we're motivated. You see, we're at war, and the stake is men's and women's souls. Never has there been such confusion on our world, and it gets worse and worse as our knowledge exponentially increases. Devils hide behind so many concepts these days and we have to be ahead of them. Always. We encounter people who are deep into all kinds of schools of occult thought, some of which contains some of the latest scientific concepts. We've had to become the Rudolf Steiners of Christianity..."
"Who's that?" I asked.
"Rudolf Steiner was an occultist from the last century who created a school of thought that embraces almost every aspect of life, and because it is so comprehensive, it has attracted many great minds. You've heard, I'm sure of the Steiner Schools?"
I had, of course, and nodded.
"One of the areas where Biblical Christianity has lacked is in providing an integrated universal world view that includes everything - science, psychology, sociology, religion, family, etc.. Most Western Churches kow-tow to the secular fads and are into almost everything from yoga to Freudian psychology. Half of them have bowed to secular evolution and have adopted the cultural norms of society around them. Christianity and other forms of thought are simply not compatible. The great strength of the Catholic Church in the mediaeval period was that society was completely integrated. There was only one paradigm for life and it was centred on God, even if it was somewhat distorted. Protestantism upset this equilibrium and encouraged dissent and rebellion. Free thinking is fine, up to a point, until it starts causing society and our fragile spirits to fragment. True Christianity is a theocracy, just as Catholic Europe was, only Catholic Europe was counterfeit and fatally flawed in so many areas."
"So you admire the Catholic system, in a way, then?" I said.
"In a way. It has elements that are vital and missing from Protestantism. The problem with Protestantism is that its foundation is rebellion, which God considers obnoxious. That is not to say that Protestantism wasn't necessary - I don't believe the Reformers had any choice - but it did set a precedent for revolution which has simply got out of hand.
"True Christianity is a strange creature when adjudged by the world's systems, Hélène. It's a curious blende of righteous dictatorship and complete freedom. Christ, you will remember, offers us the freedom only to reject Satan's hegemony and accept His lordship. How trite most Protestants are when they call Yah'shua "our Lord"! They forget that a "lord" is a master and that those who obey lords are slaves. We are all slaves of Christ, just as Paul said we were. Most Christians, however, just want to be His pals or buddies. They want equality. The whole West has been contaminated by French revolutionary and Bolshevik ideas. We've seen it here in Poland, we know what it's like. And you're getting a taste of it in America though you don't yet realise it."
"What don't we realise?" I asked.
"That American society is Marxist at its core but with a capitalist exterior. The United States is heading for a communist-type dictatorship far worse than anything we ever had here in Eastern Europe. What makes it particularly dangerous is the secretative way in which it's being set up. At least the Old World Communists said what they meant and we knew where we stood. You're ruled by secret conclaves of occultists whose aim is to create a form of new communist state whose religion is witchcraft."
I didn't like what Stan said but I had read a lot about the Illuminati in New Covenant writings and knew that what he was saying was true. And I'd recently heard about the Federal Concentration Camps being set up in secret.
"If Christianity is going to survive and not be swallowed up by the monsterous social system being formed today it's got to get out of the world system now. But there's a huge movement in evangelical Christianity called "Kingdom Now" which has a theology that says, contrary to Bible teaching, that Christianity will take over the world by getting involved in the "Moral Majority" and in politics generally. Yah'shua said the opposite - that His Kingdom was not of this world system at all and would be established only after bloodshed and His personal intervention supernaturally.
"We do not believe that Christianity is going to take over the world - we believe Satan will, and that he will gain the upper hand for seven terrible years. We believe that those who don't get out of the system will be destroyed by it. Our mission is to create the alternative society for the survivors, and part of that is polygamy. We are building the Millennial theocracy in miniature - a whole new way of life, with biblical rôle models. It isn't liberal-democratic, it isn't fascist, it isn't communist, and it definitely isn't atheistic or occultic. It's theocratic Christian, or Messianic Israelite. It's the old Israelite theocracy of judges elevated into a New Covenant or Christian context. It isn't the old imperial or royal Israel either, which was started in the days of Saul and was an aberation that led to Israel's demise as Samuel warned - it's the Tribal Confederacy led by Patriarch-Judge-Apostles."
I was fascinated and wanted to know more. "Spell that out for me in simple English, would you, Stan?"
"OK, here goes.The Catholic and Eastern Churches are run on the monarchic system. They are run by a Pope and Patriarch, respectively, though their systems are very different. The Catholic Pope has absolute power and calls himself the "Vicar of Christ". He is a virtual dictator. One of the ironies is that he is selected by democracy, by a conclave of cardinals. The Patriarch of the Eastern Church is more of a figurehead, like a constitutional monarch. The real power is devolved amongst the Metropolitans, who are like the Catholic Cardinals. Are you with me so far?"
"The Protestant system is based on total devolution. There is no equivalent of a Pope or a Patriarch. In the Anglican Church there is an Archbishop of Canterbury but he is not a dictator like the Pope. He presides over the Anglican Synod which convenes at Lambeth to decide doctrine and practice. The Syndod, composed of both ministers and lay people, decides what the Church does and believes in.
"In the Presbyterian system, the highest office is the Presbyter or Elder - they've done away with Bishops and Cardinals. Doctrine and practice is decided by conferences. Most Protestant Churches are like that. The highest unit is either the synod, the conference, or the local congregation, from which we get Congregationalism. Your own Baptist Church is basically congregationalist but with different Unions. The people decide doctrine or practice. If some of them don't like the decision of the democratic majority, they split off and form new Unions, denominations, or congregations. It is assumed, without any sort of evidence, that the Holy Spirit is behind such schisms and denominations.
"And, of course, the Bible is the "rulebook" for all of them. Odd, isn't it, how the same book is interpreted so differently. The problem is, they don't actually believe all of it, only those parts which they like. They all have their own specialist theological gymnastics to avoid biblical teachings that contradict their own.
"Then there are those groups which recognise that there is something wrong with this whole democratic or semi-democratic system and have formed their own churches claiming an exclusive mandate from God - what Protestants often call "cults" - the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Worldwide Church of God, and a whole host of smaller ones. They all claim to be the one and only true church or organization. Actually, they have the right governmental idea, but are led by another Spirit which has given them false scriptures, false prophets, and false teachings. They are very Catholic in their approach - both the Mormon presidents and the late Herbert W. Armstrong conducted themselves like Popes. Armstrong's Church has since had its "Protestant Reformation" and has fragmented into hundreds of parts. History repeats itself. Mormonism has been more stable because it has a carefully worked out succession system like the Catholics but based on seniority.
"As you look at what's happening in the Christian Church worldwide you will notice certain trends. The day of the new big denominations is over - people just won't buy it any more. They've seen the works of the 18th and 19th centuries - the Joseph Smiths, Ellen Whites, Marry Baker Eddys, the Charles Taze Russels, Judge Rutherfords, and Herbert Armstrongs. The Catholic system, which all of these men and women imitated in one way or another, has shown itself to be flawed because no one man or woman is pure enough to weild such power without being corrupted. People have faithfully paid their tithes to them and seen their money squandered and abused. They've seen the constant change of doctrine, uncovered secret histories, and the general confusion. They are no more enlightened than all the rest. True, some have uncovered some truths here and there that have been missing from the Body of Christ but none has got the whole picture right.
"What we're seeing in the world is a rise of the independent congregation and the house church. But what's missing is apostolic leadership. Even more problematical, the independent churches are fiercely independent, as their name might suggest, and they don't want any sort of apostolic leadership. We're actually seeing Protestantism come to its logical conclusion of every local congregation becoming its own denomination! Take that one step further and you've arrived at the New Age concept of the supremacy of self - the little personal "christ", in which each individual is his own congregation, his own christ, his own religion."
"So what's going to happen...to the true Christians, I mean?" I asked.
"The model is in the Bible. Return to the Tribal Confederacy of the Old Testament, marry it to the apostolic local congregation of the New Testament, and you have, effectively, the Millennial Theocracy. The Church is a family of families. Each congregation consists of patriarchal families - some monogamous, and some polygamous - with a "presiding patriarch" or Pastor. According to the New Testament we are adopted as the sons and daughters of Abraham when we become Christians. We are adopted into Israel - into the twelve Tribes. The Holy Land was divided into twelve tribal units plus several Levitical cities. The Church of God has twelve divisions - we are all adopted into, or are literally descended from, the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Each tribe has a head - anciently, a Judge - today, an Apostle. The Twelve Tribes had a head Tribe, Ephraim; the Twelve Apostles have a head Apostle, a Presiding Apostle, or Patriarch..."
"A modern day Peter, that is," I butted in.
"No," replied Stan insistently, "not Peter. That's a Catholic myth. Peter began as the leader, but leadership passed first to James and then to John as the Church matured. The head of the Church is a triumvirate, a Presiding Patriarchate, presided by John. John is the Beloved Disciple, to whom Peter deferred at the Last Supper."
I was lost. "Wasn't Peter always the head?"
"No. Peter's custodianship was only temporary. Even Paul stood him to his face, correcting him. Peter was the man of the moment, but as the Church matured, leadership passed to James, whom we find presiding at the Council of Jerusalem. But even he was only a custodian, until John came of age. Remember, John was very young, and like Timothy the evangelist, had problems with the older members.
"Christianity has passed through a three-fold evolution too. It began with a Petrine Church, the Catholic Church, whom the Lord gave mastery over Europe. Protestants never seem to have considered why Yahweh allowed the Catholic Church to rule for over one thousand years. Why, if it was so corrupt, didn't he raise a Luther earlier? Instead, Luther and the other Reformers don't appear until the 16th century. Luther and the Reformers represent the Jacobean phase - and remember, there were two James' - first, the fisherman son of Zebedee, and second, the half-brother of Yah'shua. It is my personal belief that Luther represented the first James and John Knox of Scotland the second."
"Why John Knox?" I enquired.
"Because he was, in my opinion, the truest and purest of the Reformers. He took the Reformation as far as it could go in the then political climate," said Stan.
"Do you think the fact that there were two James' has anything to do with the fact that the Reformation fragmented so much? Might they be symbols of a divided Protestantism?" I wondered.
"I'm not sure. The two James' were not against one another, being united, we suppose in doctrine and practice, unlike the Protestant factions. But there may, I suppose, be some prophetic symbolic significance as you say."
I felt a little chuffed at having made my little contribution.
"What concerns us is the emergence of the end-time Johannine Church. It was the last part of the true Church of God to survive before the heretics completely swamped it. In John's time the true believers were in a small minority, proved by the fact that men like Diotrephes could excommunicate the Johannine disciples with impunity. The followers of the true Church of God were restricted to seven struggling congregations in Asia Minor much as we believe that by the time of the Antichrist there will only be twelve surviving congregations worldwide."
"That's not much," I said. "Are we really entering that period of time now?"
"It's starting," Stan continued, "but probably won't be too long before the Ruach haQodesh withdraws from the bulk of Christendom and allows it to follow its own delusion and man-made and demon-inspired fables. Time is short for us now. Did all that make any sort of sense to you?"
"Yes, I think so," I replied. "What you're saying is that in a way we're returning to a sort of enlightened tribalism."
Stan paused for a moment. "Mmmm, maybe - the word "tribalism" has many negative connotations in our modern English language, though. Yes, I suppose so."
"The main element is family. The Church is not just to be a symbolic family, but a literal one. In a Johannine congregation there are no single people, no widows, nobody is alone. Take the mother of Yah'shua. She was assigned to John's care as her husband, Joseph, had died long before. She was adopted into John's family, lived in his home, shared his table and family life. Notice that Yah'shua didn't give custodianship of his mother to his elder brother, James, but to a non-family member, John, illustrating the shift that the New Covenant represented in terms of 'family'. We believe that the same happened with Yah'shua's wives and children until His sons could take responsibility for their own families..."
"That's one thing I have problems with - the idea that Jesus was actually married and sired children. Most Christians go crazy if you suggest such a thing. You'd be regarded as a heretic in my church for saying that!"
Stan smiled. "I know. And probably for a lot of other things too. John is not too popular amongst Evangelical Christians...."
I protested: "Surely not! John's Gospel is the favourite of most Baptists I know!"
Stan smiled again: "Only in name, I venture to suggest, otherwise they'd obey everything he said. John taught that faith is only the alpha of salvation - that to be fully saved in the Kingdom of Heaven a person had to overcome his carnal nature. And he also said that a soul can lose its salvation. No Baptist accepts that."
I had to conceed that for I had read a lot of New Covenant literature about John and couldn't argue with it.
"I suppose so," I said meekly. "I see what you mean. But still I have a question: if Jesus had children, surely they'd be part divine like Him? And that's impossible."
"I agree, it's impossible. But Christ was not divine in His body, only His Spirit. His body was made of the mortal elements of Mary. Only His Spirit was God. So any children He had would only have inherited his physical nature, which was mortal. His children would have been just like you and me."
That made sense. "Who are the modern apostles today? Have they been called yet? Are you one, Stan?"
He looked at me. "The Lord has been gathering His apostles since the late 1980's. Only a few have been gathered so far - not all the Twelve. But there will be more before Christ returns. As for me, I am not at liberty to talk about such a calling. I do not occupy that calling right now. Those that have been called are from different nations - one each from the twelve tribes, in fact. I know of three - English, American and Norwegian. None of them have gone public yet. They must bide their time."
"Who's the chief apostle - I mean, who stands in the place of John today?" I asked.
"His name is Lev-Tsiyon haEfrayim."
"Do you have a picture of him? Where is he now?" I asked curiously. "Is he Jewish?"
"He has not been announced to the world yet. I do not know where he is. He and the others will not be announced until the Jacobite phase of the Church is at an end and the Johannine begins. No, he's not Jewish, but Ephraimite."
"Of course, I forgot," I interjected. "The presiding tribe is Ephraim. Yet John was Jewish, wasn't he?"
"Yes, John was Jewish - of the House of Judah - all the original apostles were, except Paul, who was a Benjaminite of the House of Joseph.. Actually, Lev-Tsiyon reminds me a lot of Paul in temperament, though Paul was a bit more fiery - they had the same forefather, Joseph and mother Rachel. I don't know why the leader of the Tribes was a Judean at that time, but it was probably because ten of the tribes were in exile and to all intents and purposes lost. Yah'shua didn't come to a restored Israel the first time round, only to the southern Judaean tribe with its mixture of Benjamin, Judah, Simeon and Levi. These four tribes had to represent the whole Twelve"
Stan was always fascinating to talk with and he would speak for hours if pressed to do so. We had dozens of such discussions while I was there, mostly alone but sometimes with others of his wives. I never had so much attention again except on our honeymoon week!
After about ten days the theology of Stan's people began to fall comfortably into place. There was still a lot I didn't understand and one or two things I had problems with, but I could see the harmony in the whole doctrinal system. It all made perfectly good sense. Persuading family and friends when I got home was another matter and I remembered Misha's quotation from Jeremiah about those gathering to Zion: "one from a town and two from a clan".- But that had been a reference to Israel - I couldn't expect a literal fulfilment of that in a modern gentile nation like America. I made some calculations in my head: "if there are about twelve thousand (to be liberal) firstborn left on the earth, then that means that there can only be true believers in the last days in up to twelve thousand towns...but there are tens of thousands of towns worldwide". I concluded that such mathematical speculations were pointless. The point was that there aren't many of us.
'Us' - I was already starting to talk as though I were a New Covenant Christian. My theology certainly wasn't Baptist anymore. I wasn't sure what I was, or what I should do. I hadn't been told by the Lord to join either Stan's Church or his family...and he told me that I had to do what the Lord told me and remain where I was in the Baptist Church unless He told me otherwise. The advice made me feel safe - Stan and his people were only looking for those who were genuinely called. They didn't want just anyone. A general membership-drive was not on their agenda no matter how much they craved more fellowship. The nearest New Covenant congregation to them was in Björn's hometown, Jönköping, and that was a long way to go. Could I, as a gregarious person, survive in such a narrow circle of family and friends? I knew Kasia was like me in that respect, but she had managed. Most of the others liked it small and cosy, and they had a point. In my own local Church in Kansas City there were over four hundred members on the roll, none of whom I knew really well. I knew I'd spiritually starve once I got back to Missouri.
That night as I lay on my bed thinking over what had happened that day, knowing that time was short and I mightn't be able to come back to Poland for a good year, I decided it was time to know what I should do.
"Dear Lord, do you want me to be a part of this family?" I prayed.
"Do you want me to marry Stan?"
I thought to myself: "Wait a minute, you're wanting God to do it all for you! What do you want? Yes, what do I want?
I liked Stan a lot, and I liked all his wives too, but I wasn't in love with him. But then neither was Rebekah when she was betrothed to Isaac. The couple didn't fall in love until afterwards, when they met. Stan had always recommended this method - selection by divine providence rather than by the motions of the heart, but all Stan's wives except Isabel and Suszana had come in by the "normal" route, and some of them head-over-heels.
I tried to picture Stan in front of me and started talking to him. I remembered what Suszana had said, that she hoped I would marry him, and that everyone liked me. It was mutual. Was there anything that was an obvious negative in the equation? Oh sure, I thought about money, leaving family and friends, a foreign country, getting a residence permit, and lots of other problems, but God could take care of all those if this was right. I pictured the whole family before me and liked what I saw.
"Well, Lord, what's the answer?"
I reached for my King James Bible and opened it up. The verse my eye fell on shocked me:
"But withall prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you" (Phlm. 1:22, KJV).
I shall be given unto you. I was thunderstruck. Here was I thinking that they might be given to me as husband and sister-wives when the Lord was saying that I would be given to them. I had never thought of that perspective. My whole approach had been ego-centric - what I could get out of being a member of the Królewiec family - and here I was seemingly being told that I would be a gift to them.
Stan had warned me about the Bible-flip method as it bordered on divination. But no matter, the passage hit me hard. Did they need me? That was a question I hadn't really thought about. Suszana seemed to hint that they did - she was so positive. But what were her motives? I had no money, I would be a financial drain on them, so money can't have been the reason. What about my talents? That I'd have to find out the next day.
This page was first created in 2002
Last updated on 5 March 2009
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