So who did he think he is, this MD? It turned out, sometime along the way, that he revealed to us that he believed he was Jesus. I came home from work one weekend and there was a new nameplate on the door of his office that said, ‘Master Jesus’. So this was a new dilemma for me. I remember thinking, “Why Jesus, of all people, why does he have to think that?” Then I considered and wondered if this meant that I should leave, since there is no way he is Jesus. And then I wondered, okay, what if he is Jesus? Is that even possible? I hadn’t yet read the Bible all the way through, I would do that several times years later, after leaving the community, so I didn’t know that much about the theology of Christ’s second coming but I knew that He would come as a thief in the night, and be revealed on the last day, and other things that obviously weren’t the case with MD, plus I knew that many would come in His name and call themselves by His name and they would be false prophets and worse. However I also knew that most people in the Old Testament had their conceptions of what the messiah would be, and how he would come, and what he would do, and that most of them were wrong when Jesus came the first time, and they didn’t believe because of their incorrect understanding of scripture. So I admitted that I barely knew scripture, and even if I had known it better then, I also admitted to myself that being human, I most likely would have an incorrect, or partially wrong understanding of what I believed was the truth contained in the Bible; so perhaps it was possible Jesus could come in this way in addition to all of the other prophesies in the New Testament. I decided that I didn’t know one way or the other for certain who MD was and the validity of his claims.
Next I pondered that what if he isn’t Jesus, which seemed more likely; then he is either crazy or perhaps a devil. And if this is the case then shouldn’t I leave? But for all the reasons I’ve already explained I wanted to stay, I believed and hoped in him, and what he taught, and I had first-hand experience of the spiritual, emotional and intellectual benefits of learning from him. ‘You will know them by their fruits’ the scriptures say, and in me, the fruits that came from MD and his teaching, were good.
So I further considered, if he isn’t who he says he is, couldn’t I still follow Christ anyway, who is God, and who is Spirit and should be followed and worshipped in spirit and in truth, as scripture says, couldn’t I still follow the Spirit of God while in this community, and even while following and be obedient to MD, couldn’t I ultimately and actually be trusting in the Spirit of God to guide and protect me along the way? Because I knew that scripture said in many places that God often took what man, or the devil meant for evil and used it for good. So even in the worst case, if MD weren’t who he said he was, but was far different, or far worse, I could potentially follow the real and true Christ and God in my spirit and in truth, and even if what MD was doing was really harmful and wrong, my genuine and sincere faith in the true Christ, the true spirit of God, could turn what was meant for evil, whether intentionally, or involuntarily out of error, and use it for good in my life and for a good outcome in the end. I decided that this was very possible and wouldn’t require me to make any decision then about the validity or error in his claim to be Jesus.
Regardless of who MD was, I decided that from then on, I would be devoted to the true Jesus, the Spirit of God; and regardless of what anyone in the world did, or who anyone thought they were, I would be a Christian in my spirit and in my soul and I would devote myself to this in my heart forevermore, to the best of my ability. I had my spiritual eyes on the Lord now, and if it so happened that MD stepped into this vision, and his teachings were of God then all the better, but if it happened that it wasn’t of God, it would still be okay, because I would be looking past him, beyond him, and ultimately to the true and living God, my Christ, and my King.
This dilemma then, of who MD said he was, and all of the considerations it spawned within me, since I determined not to just dismiss it all out of hand as crazy, this dilemma is the very thing that brought me back to my Christian roots, with a determination that in the future I would learn what a true Christian is, not the versions I had seen in my youth; and that hopefully someday I would become a Christian, a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, as scripture and as Jesus defines that, not as man, in his sinfulness, defines it for himself.
(to be continued)