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Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

2 Thessalonians 2:
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

For me, one of the major questions I had when I fell away from Christianity altogether about 45 years ago, was the question about authority. I reasoned that IF there really was a God out there (which I have somehow always known even through that period), then surely He would not authorize conflicting doctrines, pulling some here, some there, contending with each other about who is right (the ultimate contention being to bloodshed). Over a period of time, I determined for myself that I would never again join any church unless I could somehow be certain that it was actually authorized by God to be speaking for Him (I doubted such existed). It made no sense to me that God would approve of so many speaking in His name when their claims were contradictory.

So the question became one of authority, and whether God granted it to anyone on the earth. And while I quite unexpectedly found the answers to that dilemma (and in a manner designed to accomplish something quite different than what was actually found), the reasonableness and logic behind my original questions have proven to have been remarkably sound through the last 40 years. Despite that period of falling away having been a particularly dark time in my life (though I did not recognize it as such at the time), I am now grateful for it. And I’m grateful for having developed the intense belief that either there was authority given by God, or there was not, and without such authority I should not bother with any man-made church. If I had to wonder where something was coming from, and could not establish God-given authority for it, I would not be pushed or pulled this way or that by “every wind of doctrine.”

In a most unexpected way, at a most unexpected time, and in a most intensely powerful manner, the answer came, and within hours the direction became clear. It was literally as simple as, “If X is true, then Y must be true. And if Y is true, then Z has to be true. And if Z is true, then it’s a package deal, and I either accept all of it, or I accept none of it, because if I accept only parts of it, I’ve made another man-made church according to myself.” There is either authority established by God, or there is not. Anything else is, a) the ramblings of sincere but misguided people, b) the intentional deception of people by those looking for a following for their own power and gain, or c) the intentional deception of people by those of truly evil design, working against God.

And as an afterthought to all of this, one might have to wonder why the Catholic Church did not come out and censure Fr. Esseff for his participation in what has turned out to be false claims of authorized prophecy. Where has the formal, ordained Church leadership been through all of this, and why no exercise of its claimed authority in order to avoid the deception of innocent people, along with the potential loss of faith altogether by those that believed on those things? Why should any Catholic put any trust whatsoever in the ordained authority of a priest that perpetuated all of this, or even those that presumably should have recognized what he was doing, and stopped him? These were the very kinds of things that drove me away from Christianity in the first place. It comes down to a question of authority: where is it, does anyone have it, and if so, who’s got it? Fortunately (and very thankfully), there are answers to those questions.