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(See part 1 for background information.)

Please excuse this impersonal response to your reply to our first letter. In time we hope to be able to respond personally.

For your information, responses have been divided between those who have wished us success, and those who have reacted with suspicion about why we have not said more about ourselves, and what it is that we really believe. It is with these suspicions that this letter deals.

As for why we have not said more about ourselves, it is because we are not here to promote ourselves.

John the Baptist was bothered by too many questions about himself: Do you think you are the Messiah? Are you Elijah? Are you claiming to be a prophet? And his reply was that he was just a "voice in the wilderness" trying to prepare people for the coming of the Lord. (John 1:19-23) John said of Jesus, "He must increase; but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

God is still looking for people who can see beyond personal empires and institutional religion. Nicodemus had that problem. Jesus said that all of Nicodemus' education and status in the institutional religion of his day counted for nothing. It had only served to blind him to the true organisation that God was building. "Unless you become like a little child (i.e. start all over again), you won't even be able to see my organisation," he said. (John 3:3, John 3:7)

And yet, after all these years, people continue to measure spiritual worth by the organisations that we each belong to. We need what Nicodemus needed. We need to be "born again". But that can only happen by full immersion in the teachings of Jesus. (1 Peter 1:23)

The question we started by asking was, "Which Christ are you following?" And we began to cast doubts on the authority of any leader who has not taught you to follow Jesus Christ more than you follow them. This has upset some people. They have jumped to the defence of the institutional church, or at least some section of the institutional church which they feel should be above such criticism. Anyone who would criticise their church or their pastor must be a troublemaker, and should be treated with suspicion.

But take a closer look at what is really happening. I am saying that Jesus, the Anointed One has been replaced by lesser 'anointed ones' who teach greater loyalty to themselves than they teach to the true Christ; and these people have reacted defensively on behalf of their 'anointed ones', even before they have heard the grounds for my claims.

Isn't this exactly the kind of blind devotion that I was warning against?

So what do I believe?

Well, so far you know that I believe the authority of Jesus Christ must be recognised as superior to any other human authority... superior to the Pope, Billy Graham, the Apostle Paul, you name it. I have not come to you in my own name, or in the name of any other great leader or organisation. I have come to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day, "Your house will be [spiritually] desolate until you can say, "Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord'." (Matthew 23:38-39)

In another place he said, "I am come in my Father's name and you do not receive me. If another should come in his own name, you would receive him." (John 5:43)

Isn't that what is happening here? You "know" your pastor/priest. You've seen his face, met his family, laughed and wept with him. You've heard him preach. You know his name. But all you know about me is that I think the authority of Jesus should be superior to that of your present spiritual leader. You don't even know my full name. All you know is that I have come in the name of the Lord. For many, that is enough reason to treat me with suspicion!

But what if I turn out to be teaching something that Jesus did not teach? What if I too am a false christ, trying to steer you away from Jesus and into my clutches? Then do the same thing with me and my teachings, that I am asking you to do with your present religious leaders. The Bible says, "Test the spirits." (1 John 4:1) In another place it says, "Prove all things. Hold fast [or tightly] to that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

The acid test must not be whether I criticise your religious leaders; but rather it must be whether I encourage you to be more faithful to Jesus Christ. Wanna hear more?

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