I thought I knew you, what did I know
I’m looking through you
You’re not the same
— The Beatles
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
– James 1:22
People have asked me, after Jacob Prasch did such and so, why would you still help him out in ministry? Looking back, I’ve asked myself the same question. No person is all good or all bad. I would get offended one time, he’d leave town, and the next time he was back in the States I’d forgotten all that. He’d be speaking at a conference and I was blessed to learn from the various experts in their fields of ministry. I would be there bright and early with my Bible and happy to lend a hand at the Moriel table that was always, back in the day, the one highest in demand. The crowds descended en masse – scrambling for teaching tapes.
Jacob appealed to people in what was much like a stand-up comedy routine. He would have us all laughing and learning at the same time. It was like Jackie Gleason or Jackie Mason quoting Scripture. We couldn’t get enough. But there’s a back side to all that adulation – it can go to one’s head.
But I would be remiss if I left out his attributes. Since these are my memories, I’ll include these fond ones to balance out the big picture of Moriel. It’s difficult to recall many due to how he has changed since the Pretrib venues closed on him. But I’ll give it a try.
Olvera Street, Los Angeles
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels opened in the early 2000s when the pedophile priest scandal was rocking the Catholic Church. Around that time, I was visiting family from my then home in Pennsylvania and my sister Janet and I planned to see this new monstrosity overlooking the freeways intersecting downtown. Jacob was in town. We spoke on the phone regarding setting up the tables for his next speaking engagement and he said he was staying in Los Angeles visiting friends. I told him about our plans to see the cathedral and he said he wanted to see it too. Janet and I came in her car and we met up with him in the parking lot at Union Station.
We decided to have lunch on the way, all three of us in his rental car, and then head over to the new cathedral. We agreed on Mexican food and where better to get the authentic cuisine than one of the oldest streets in L. A., Olvera Street. It is well known in the area for all things Mexican. The street is closed to traffic and looks like one big Mexican Bazaar with shops of all kinds, booths to buy imports, and of course tacos and enchiladas.
As we approached the restaurant in the parking lot, a Hispanic young lady appeared to be passed out in the walkway leading to the Bazaar. She looked so wasted. Jacob hurried over to her and tried to wake her up. When she revived he spoke to her in Spanish, asking her if she needed help. Could he get her some food? She refused, thanked him and got up and stumbled away.
Janet and I were impressed at the care he showed her. We enjoyed our lunch while being entertained by the live music of the Mariachi band. It was very crowded – must have been a weekend. As a child my mother would take me there to get taquitos and guacamole sauce – the only place in the county to get them. So I had to order those again – just as I remembered them.
Jacob picked up the bill. It was too noisy to witness to the waitress to the sound of La Cucaracha, but he did the next best thing and a left her a Spanish language gospel tract along with a large tip.
Then on to the Cathedral where we watched Jacob pacing the inside of the place like a man on a mission (no pun intended). There was an alcove with a tribute to child victims of pervert priests and that really had him going. We didn’t hear the conversation, but he had a word or two with the priest there – I believe he was confrontational about Cardinal Mahoney, L.A.’s top prelate who covered up for the pedophiles. Jacob was in his element.
On the way out of the parking lot of the cathedral, Jacob witnessed to the Hispanic lady receiving the parking fees at the exit. Another tract came out of a pocket and she accepted it cordially.
Over the first good ten years I knew Jacob, that seemed to be his habit when out and about. He had a real zeal for evangelism. After events he would always treat the entire helping crew to a big dinner and we all bonded as one in our mission. (There’s that word again.) If he did not have enough tracts for the serving crew, all of us would put out some of our own.
Women on the Watch
In 2007 I had an inspirational idea to give Christian women an alternative to the usual cutesy women’s retreats most churches offered, almost always focusing on matters of the family, care for husbands and children. This would leave single women out in the lurch. I would hear concerns express by many ladies saying they would prefer to be at the men’s retreats where at least they would get some solid teaching.
That’s a long time ago now – so my memory is a bit fuzzy on all the details. But I talked to David Lister about my burden for the women to ask his advice on it. He said he’d talk to Jacob. He did and Jacob was on board right away. That’s another thing I loved about Jacob, he had vision. None of the pastors I’ve ever had would veer from the same old, same old, church calendar or even consider such a suggestion.
I would do all the ground work — find the facility, invite speakers, do promotions, etc. Moriel then picked up the tab.
The first annual ‘Women on the Watch’ took place January 18-19, 2008. It was held at the auditorium at Fullerton College. There were a few snags – free parking confusion as to where to park. But overall we had about 200 women and a sprinkling of guys too. I made it plain that men could come too just to keep us honest. I know women should be free to teach women, but I knew we would minister to all so I made it co-ed, though focused on women meeting like-minded women.
Jacob gave the opening welcome talk on the subject of women being watch(wo)men too. He was encouraging to me, Johanna Michaelsen, Jill Martin-Rische, Dwayna Litz, Sherry Neese, and Deidre Bobgan.
Some of our message titles are those you wouldn’t find at Calvary Chapel Retreat Center.
- Test the spirits
- False prophets preparing the way
- Ecumenism and the Mother of Harlots
- Matriarchal shift to goddess worship in Christianity
- The Gospel of Inclusion
- Victimization of the believer
We broke down some old stuffy barriers with this conference. I was very grateful for Moriel’s assistance in making this such a success. We had four more with other co-sponsors, the final one at Calvary Chapel Cypress, hosted by Pastor Chris Quintana whom I was co-hosting a show with on Rapture Ready Radio at that time, standing in for Matt Buff who was on sabbatical. One of my special guest speakers at this one was Deborah Menelaws, direct from Scotland. You can watch her tour of the TBN headquarters that I took her to. She had her professional camera equipment in tow.
The death of my husband and my move to Pittsburgh ended this event. Life got complicated.
California State University
In March 2007, my day job was as an administration assistant in the Academic Senate at California State University, East Bay in Hayward, California. My husband was a professor there heading up the Journalism Department. I saw my job as a means to an end. It gave me lots of free time – summers where it was very quiet and I was basically there just manning the phones. I had my own office across from the library that I utilized for my religion research – for instance, the entire library of the late occultist Manly P. Hall was behind locked doors that I had access to. The dark history of the devil’s plans for humanity was contained therein – Don’t tell me secret societies are harmless. When I wasn’t researching the books, I could listen to Christian radio and such as I worked. It was a dream job.
The drawback, as with any university – even worse today than it was then – was working in harmony with leftists who assumed everyone thought like them.
One day the Philosophy Department advertised a coming event open to all to attend a film and discussion afterwards hosted by Adjunct Professor Russell Abrams. The film, “The God Who Wasn’t There” was making the rounds, touted by atheists as proof the Bible is just another mythological book, among many. The title was a mockery of apologist Francis Schaeffer’s classic book, The God Who Is There. The film ends with a “blasphemy challenge” – where students are shown laughing and blaspheming the Holy Spirit as an act of ridicule of the unpardonable sin, and challenging others to do likewise.
I found a good review online that tore it to shreds and made lots of copies and came to the event loaded to bear. The very first words out of the prof’s mouth was, ‘this film debunks Christianity’. I do admit, I could not restrain myself from heckling from the back of the room. During the discussion, I refuted every empty word the prof said and he looked like he wanted to strangle me. Afterwards, as the students filed out – I handed out the paper to all who would take it.
I followed that up with a letter to the school newspaper – one my husband was adviser on – and of course it got printed in the next issue in the letter to the editor column. Abrams responded and his letter too got in print. Funny but I have a copy of his in my files, but not mine, though he quotes mine through clenched teeth. Lol
His diatribe was twice the length of mine – typical academic (eye roll).
The redacted version of Abram’s blast at me:
“Dear Editor, I would like to respond to the letter of complaint published in The Pioneer on March 1 about me and the Philosophy Society’s recent showing of the film “The God Who Wasn’t There” and the discussion that followed. The letter was written by one of the attendees, Cal State East Bay staff member Jackie Alnor. I have five points:
- Virtually none of her claims about what I said during the discussion are true. She was correct in claiming that in my brief introduction to the film I said that it debunks Christianity. What I should have said is that the film attempts to debunk Christianity…
- During the discussion Alnor was extremely disruptive. Indeed, she pretty much destroyed the possibility of having a reasonable discussion. She interrupted people continuously and simply would not stop talking…
- Alnor does not seem to understand two academic conventions: the Philosophy Society’s showing a film does not mean the members endorse it; and second, that skepticism regarding any claim, religious or otherwise, is completely acceptable.
- Further, Alnor does not appear to appreciate that this university is committed to free inquiry in a multicultural learning environment…
- In my opinion, Alnor came to the film to promote an agenda. I say this partly based on her behavior, but also on the fact that she handed out flyers entitled ‘The Apostate Who Wasn’t All There’…
Russell Abrams, Lecturer of philosophy
This is where my then friend Jacob Prasch comes in. I contacted him and shared the links to the paper’s letters from me and Abrams. I think it stirred him up – in fact, I know it did. He asked if I could assure him that if he wrote a rebuttal to the film’s claims, as well as the lecturer’s, that it would get in the Letter to the Editor section, he would do so. I asked the paper’s advisor – and got the thumbs up. What he came up with was masterful. Here’s a redacted version:
“To The Pioneer – I am an American born lecturer in Judeo Christian Theology at an accredited British University and Theological College (Midlands Bible College, University of Wales). I was educated in Judaism at Cambridge, Theology at London School of Theology (of which I am an honors graduate) and in science at Hebrew University, hence I speak modern Hebrew fluently as a published theological writer and my work requires a competence in biblical languages…
To begin with Russell Abram’s assertion that the oldest existing manuscripts of the first Old Testament Books (Pentateuch) are Aramaic is frankly ludicrous. Any papyrologist, manuscript historian, or biblical archaeologist will tell him that. The Qumran and other scrolls are Hebrew texts predating any existing Syriac or Aramaic codexes or other major fragments…
Based solely on his own published comments, I am compelled to conclude that with regard to the matters upon which he pontificates, Russell Abrams is not a credible source of information. indeed, his published remarks would quite frankly get him laughed out of any theological symposium or disputation of which I am aware.
I also note Russell Abram’s admission of his own misplaced statement as erroneous about ‘debunking Christianity’ as opposed to saying ‘seeking to do so’. Therefore I remain bemused by his ad hominem diatribes concerning her as her actions were triggered by what he acknowledges as his own mal-phraseology. . .
Judging from what he has written, it impresses me that it is rather the unqualified assertions of Russell Abrams that require debunking. . . “
Etc., etc., etc.
Jacob’s letter, alongside my own, got the attention of a tenured professor in the Philosophy Department who contacted me, thanking us that someone finally stood up to this bad teacher, with whom he shared an office. – But that’s another story. I was very grateful to Mr. Prasch for jumping in as he did.
The Old Pre-Pretrib-Perturbed Prasch
There are more stories I could share regarding the man I knew named Jacob Prasch. I hardly recognize the man he’s become. But space limitations prevent me from going much further.
He always had us laughing. He had a lot of joy and mirth and loved to sing impromptu oldies songs in the various church parking lots. We’re the same age (I’m slightly older, but you wouldn’t know it seeing us side-by-side) so sometimes I sang along and gave him a run for his money as to who could recall the most lyrics.
And speaking of money. Although I was never paid a salary like my Moriel male counterparts, Jacob and David were very generous to me and others, perhaps even to a fault. His entourage often looked like a team of roadies traveling with a rock star. Moriel would reserve lots of hotel rooms to house the roadies. Fed everyone and picked up transportation costs.
It really struck me when Carla and I flew to Calgary at Moriel’s expense, when he spoke at the Red River Bible & Prophecy Conference. We had lunch with JJP and David Hocking whose church I used to visit periodically in Santa Ana before he was escorted to the door. I recall good discussions about televangelists, my subject of expertise, filling the men in on the latest TBN blunders.
We met a Canadian girl volunteer there who was helping out many of the speakers. She came over to our table offering to assist, since as she said she loved Jacob’s teaching. She informed us that volunteers such as herself are always there to assist with the tables. We really didn’t have to come all that way. It wasn’t necessary – they had the man power.
I recall telling Carla that I didn’t feel right receiving those benefits. I didn’t think it was a wise use of ministry money. She agreed but also admitted that it brought her so much joy that she could not refuse. It was that moment that I recognized that these favors came with strings attached. That’s how they bought loyalty of their inner circle.
That was the last time I accepted such favors.
Soon JJP was no longer invited to big venues such as Red River – as already pointed out. His antagonism toward the Pretrib faction became more pronounced, and doors closed. It affected the fervency of his messages. He just started recycling the same ones over and over again. Rarely any new studies. Those of us who knew him well got tired of hearing the same ones – we could finish his sentences.
Jacob could learn a valuable lesson from Rock Stars. Mick Jagger should have hung up his spandex a long time ago. He looks ridiculous on stage gyrating and desecrating his old familiar tunes with his feeble voice. Phil Collins is a pathetic figure of a man entering the stage with a walker and trying to sing his hits in tunes unrecognizable, unable to hit the high and low notes like he could in his prime.
They don’t know when to quit. They should be remembered for their former greatness, not making a spectacle of themselves like Dylan and Paul Simon.
James Jacob Prasch was one great Bible expositor and a rock star entertainer. Sadly, he doesn’t know when to quit – the gifts dried up years ago.
My Moriel Memories — Part IV
My Moriel Memories — Part V