CRI: Dueling Bible Answermen – Pt 1 — Walter Martin Era by Jackie Alnor

The history of the Christian Research Institute (CRI) is an ongoing story. The Cast of Characters is too long to list. I will endeavor to record the events I can testify to, but keep in mind there are many sides to this story. I offer my insights as a labor of love for the Body of Christ as one who has a small role in this saga. Reliving certain chapters is very painful for me. I have tried to forgive and forget and leave it all at the foot of the cross and in the archives in the attic. Yet I see so much disinformation – or at least incomplete data – that I can’t really lay it all to rest until I’ve told my side. Perhaps I need closure.

I can honestly say I have no grudge against any of the players, even if I recall some unpleasant events. I believe I am uniquely qualified to analyze the topic now as seeing things in hindsight. I am in need of no reconciliation with anyone. It will all come out at the Judgment Seat of Christ – and I’m good with that.

So many relationships can be destroyed when communication breaks down. Families are divided when battle lines are drawn and we land on opposite sides. If my position clashes with yours – forgive me – I meant nothing personal.

Walter R. Martin: The Bible-Answerman

I was born in Southern California; raised in a Catholic family; and rebelled against religion before I hit high school.[i] I spent my teens and most of my twenties living a life of revelry until Jesus stepped in and rescued me on July 4, 1981. My friends ridiculed me and made wisecracks like, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” The events of Jonestown were still fresh in the public mind. I was determined not to end up in some cult and I took those warnings to heart, even if my tormentors’ warnings were disingenuous.

So I didn’t attend any church because I didn’t know a good one from a bad one. I just read my Bible – I was so hungry for Truth and I was soaking it up like a sponge. I stayed isolated from other believers – I didn’t trust anyone calling themselves Christian until, as God would have it, my younger sister Joni came to the Lord. It was not in her nature to sit around at home. Up until then, the only other person in my inner circle to come to the faith was my older sister Janet. We didn’t attend church, but just shared insights we were getting from our studies with each other.

Joni called me all excited one day to say that she was going to audition for a Christian play and wanted me and Janet to go with her. At first I didn’t want to go, but Janet loved the idea and the two of them compelled me to go. We come from a very theatrical family – were raised in children’s theater, so this was up our alley. I was bugged that the group rehearsed at a Lutheran church – it smacked too much of Catholicism to me at the time. As it turns out, auditions were superfluous – they were desperate for bodies to fill the parts. All that was required was a heartbeat and a limited ability to speak English.

I won’t go into all the drama that was going on back-stage with that theatrical company – I could write an entire chapter on that alone – but the show must go on, as they say (whoever ‘they’ are!). And the play was set to debut at Melodyland, a church/concert hall ‘in the round’ near Disneyland. There were opposing cliques in the group: one headed up by the director (who shall remain nameless) and one by an Asian charismatic guy who came across as much more on fire for God. The former was a pianist; the latter a guitarist. We did not know at first that they took turns leading worship for a teacher that had a class at Melodyland on Sundays. Nor did we realize the animosity the director’s mom had towards the guy she saw standing in the way of her son’s worship ministry.

So that’s how we met Walter Martin, the founder of CRI and host of The Bible-Answerman radio program and author of The Kingdom of the Cults. The guitarist introduced us and all three of us instantly loved him and started attending his Bible study every Sunday. The presence of the Holy Spirit was there and the teaching was food for our hungry souls. Dr. Martin’s Bible study: our first church – though not exactly a church. All three of us were baptized by the worship leading guitarist at Corona del Mar.

New Age – All the Rage

The time was April `1982. Not even saved a year and I was learning about Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Then one Sunday morning, Dr. Martin held up a copy of the Sunday LA Times to show his class a full page ad. The headline shouted: “The Christ is Here Now”! It went on to say that soon all God’s people would be directed to the location and identity of the “christ” telepathically. The entire audience  – all of us – responded with groans – we were all frightened by this.

Dr. Martin calmed our fears and told us about the New Age Movement – the first we ever heard of it. He assured us not to take the proclamations of cultists and occultists seriously. They are big on boasting, but powerless against true Christians. False prophets never get it right.

That certainly was an important lesson to learn early in my walk with the LORD. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” is a promise I learned early on as I had been harassed by the demonic and their human agents time and time again. I had to have access to “the full armor of God.” It didn’t take long for the diabolical infiltrators to rear their ugly heads.

Attending Dr. Martin’s class gave me the confidence to venture out of my prayer closet and attend church. I began attending Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa on Wednesday nights, the only non-Catholic church I ever stepped foot in before I was saved and the one that I turned to for guidance when I sought the LORD.[ii] And Sunday nights I would regularly go to Calvary Church of Santa Ana, pastored by David Hocking. Pastor Chuck and Pastor Hocking helped to establish me in premillennial eschatology – the study of the prophetic end times. I wasn’t getting that teaching from Dr. Martin.

I was invited by the piano man from Martin’s class to attend a film in L.A. that was about an eastern religious cult that was stirring up trouble in Oregon. It was a commune called Rajneeshpuram, headed up by a creepy guru named Rajneesh.  A couple of carloads of people from the class joined up to go. When we got there all of us were surprised to see strange people wearing red or orange flowing robes lining up at the box office. In my naiveté, I thought these older students of apologetics would start sharing the faith with the cult members. I was finally going to see apologetics in action – what a great opportune moment!

Instead, they all started behaving like the people had cooties. Gloria, the mother of the piano man, a woman who served Dr. Martin his water at every study, went visibly spastic in making sure none of them rubbed up against her. Her face contorted like she was smelling something bad. A female midget who worked as a typist at CRI slinked behind the piano guy and his mother, running behind them for cover. I was flabbergasted. I thought the point of attending Dr. Martin’s cults class was so we would be equipped to pull people out of the cults. Where did I get that idea (eye roll)? As a new believer, this was my first glimpse that not all people calling themselves Christian truly were Christians. This really burst my bubble.

In fact, the ungodliness from the clique I had fallen in with at Melodyland soon turned on me. My crime? Being friendly with one of the piano man’s former girlfriends who had a lot of dirt on them. I hadn’t been clued in on the policy of ‘your enemy is my enemy.’ Gloria had a meltdown one day at the church where they held rehearsals. The Lutheran pastor had to get in between me with my sisters and this crazy lady who turned demonic on us. She was taking out on us all the rage she had for her son’s ex-girlfriend who had the audacity to ask that her boyfriend not bring his mother along on their dates. After that explosion, it became too uncomfortable to attend the Melodyland study with the water-carrier giving us the evil-eye every time we walked in. Just the sight of us brought the demon out of her. We had to get Dr. Martin’s teaching from the radio.

As Fate Would Have It

A couple of years later my sister Joni was job hunting and saw an opening at CRI for an executive secretary to Walter Martin. She applied and was hired. We found out that Dr. Martin had had a falling out with the pastor at Melodyland, Ralph Wilkerson and moved his Bible study to the campus of Southern California College and Newport Mesa Christian Center, an Assembly of God church pastored by George Wood. This class wasn’t nearly as well-attended as the one by Disneyland, but the three of us believed that our return was God-ordained.

We didn’t let the water-lady get to us – although she still had her water ministry — We just didn’t let her dagger-looks get to us. We were not as vulnerable now that we were no longer baby Christians.

In my two-year absence from Dr. Martin, I became acquainted with another teacher, Dave Hunt, author of The Seduction of Christianity. After reading his books, so much became clear to me as far as false teaching coming into the church. He was well ahead of anyone on the diverse research staff at CRI, who just seemed interested in studying the cults out there. In fact, each researcher had their own assigned specialty. For instance, Lutheran Craig Hawkins was the ‘expert’ on Satanism and witchcraft. Calvinist Rob Bowman was the man to see about the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormonism. Head researcher at that time, Dan Schlesinger, the token Dispensationalist, was the church historian.

The token hippy, Elliot Miller was the New Age expert, although he didn’t seem to pay much attention to those teachings infesting churches and his book on the topic came out six years after the ground-breaking book on the topic, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow by Constance Cumbey. In fact, Mr. Miller made a crusade out of trashing her book –professional jealousy perhaps – even though when his Crash Course on the New Age Movement came out, it contained much of the same information and pointed to the same New Age influences such as David Spangler, Marilyn Ferguson, and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Miller also was the editor of CRI’s magazine, Forward, later renamed the CRI Journal. I recall on a couple of occasions at Dr. Martin’s Sunday morning Bible study, Miller stood in for Dr. Martin when he couldn’t make it in. You could almost hear the groans of disappointment from the class who loved Walter Martin. None of the researchers had any compelling speaking skills and Miller would drone on about one occultist or another. I remember thinking back then how the only time we would see anyone from the Research Department was when Dr. Martin couldn’t be there. It seemed as though they didn’t hold Dr. Martin’s Bible teaching in as high esteem as his class – we hung onto his every word.

Thanks to my sister’s position at CRI, I got to know and become friends with several other employees. And I would help out with Dr. Martin’s resource table, selling his books at some of his speaking engagements. I also started doing some research myself – I would gather documentation on the antics of certain televangelists – though we didn’t call them that at the time. It was my friend Dave Hunt who really got me inspired to do that. Since I lived near the Crystal Cathedral, I would go over there to pick up Possibility Magazines for Dave and keep him up-to-date on them. And I got on all the mailing lists of the TV preachers and would alert both Dave and Walter when I came upon anything of significance.

Schlesinger, head researcher, was also starting to keep an eye on the false teachings happening in the church. If my memory serves me correct, he accompanied Dr. Martin to confront TV preachers Frederick Price and Robert Schuller. Price was teaching the ‘we are gods’ error and Schuller’s Possibility-Thinking heresy denied the doctrine of original sin. Schlesinger seemed to be Dr. Martin’s right hand man. He was probably the most likable guy in there.

Through some of my contacts, I was shown a letter that Elliot Miller wrote to the CRI Board complaining that he didn’t want to be just one of Dr. Martin’s lackeys. He told them that he wanted the work of the researchers to be more in the forefront. It was a nasty back-handed way of doing things. I was appalled. I heard Elliot myself put down Schlesinger to others, complaining that he wasn’t working hard enough and soon Schlesinger was out. I could see ugly back-stabbing early on – although it was a couple of years before the dirty dealing would fully manifest.

Formal Education Required

Although I would supply Dr. Martin with lots of intel, he told me that a bachelor’s degree is the basic requirement to be on the research staff. And researchers without any higher degrees had to continue their education in order to stay on. Dr. Martin taught a class on the cults at nearby Simon Greenleaf School of Law[iii]. The founder and dean was his good friend Lutheran theologian, lawyer, and barrister John Warwick Montgomery.[iv] The college evolved from a small Bible college the two men started at Melodyland years before. This new institution offered graduate degrees in apologetics and law.

Jackie Miller at Simon Greenleaf

I started sitting in on his cults class with my friend Debbie who worked at CRI in the office. Neither of us had an undergraduate degree at that time so we could not enroll. But that didn’t keep us away. But I was in the right place at the right time when an opening at Simon Greenleaf became available. Dr. Montgomery needed to replace his Administrative Assistant, an Australian guy named Lloyd who had accepted a position with an airlines and had given notice. I got the job.

I spent the next couple of weeks with Lloyd to learn the job. Lloyd told me that he was so glad to get a position with the airlines for the travel benefits. He told me he just got his working visa, something he had not been able to get until just recently when a female friend of his agreed to marry him to make it possible. I asked him if they were in love – he said, no, but she was very homely and had no marriage prospects, so this was fine with her. I asked him how he could work here for the past year without a visa. He responded by telling me about the around-about money laundering way he got his tax-free paycheck. Dr. Montgomery would write a check for his salary to his local Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, and his friend and pastor would put it in the benevolence fund and then re-cut the check from the fund to Lloyd every month.

Though I had to take a cut in pay to take the job, I did so with the assurance from the Dean that I could attend class for free – even taking 12 credits a semester – and he would present me with an MA in apologetics after I earned my BA. I went through all this just because of my desire to get on CRI’s research staff. I attended full-time during the 1986-87 school year. They were all night classes – but I was single and inspired. CRI was covering the expenses of some of its researchers. I had classes with fellow students Craig Hawkins and Elliot Miller.

Montgomery turned out to be an uptight perfectionist of a boss. He was/is certainly a genius – but perhaps that’s a bit too close to being crazy. His wife Joyce, a brilliant woman with a Masters Degree also worked at the college – doing the work of a provost – and I would hear him cuss her out, screaming – my office connected with his. Then he would feverishly be searching for something and scream in my face to find it for him. More than once, Joyce and I sat together after he’d leave consoling one another with our PTSD.

The Dean’s love for spirits was known by all. He would head up tours up to the wine country for wine-tasting, often with other faculty members. (I found out how acceptable boozing is among Lutherans – grace, grace.) One time while I was in class, he peeked in and motioned me to come out to the hall. Prof. Rod Rosenbladt stopped in mid-sentence while teaching his Classical Theology class and Montgomery made a funny joke that had the class laughing. He told me he needed to borrow my car and would have it back before class was over – it was a three hour class that met once a week. I handed him my keys, and Rosenbladt continued where he left off.

As class was letting out, a couple of students met me at the door – both laughing their heads off. They said, “Jackie, wait till you see what Dr. Montgomery did with your car!” “Oh no – did he wreck it?” “Come see,” they said. I followed them out to the parking lot. There was my car parked sideways across the aisle, blocking cars from getting out. The guys said he left it there and was totally sloshed stumbling to his wife’s car who was picking him up. They just thought it was hysterical. I was appalled.

But such is the way of a narcissist – drunk or sober.

Keep in mind that everyone thought of Drs. Martin and Montgomery as an inseparable twosome – Abbot and Costello; Martin and Lewis; Mutt and Jeff. But one semester, Montgomery cancelled Martin’s cults class after finding out that a member of the soon to arrive accreditation team was a Mormon. There were certain limits to a friendship. And, Dr. Martin used to jokingly say of his ‘best friend;’ “Dr. Montgomery is the leading Christian scholar in the world, and he’d be fine if he’d just get born again.”

Terrorism of the Tares

It was sometime in 1985 before I started working at the college when CRI’s magazine ran a review of Dave Hunt’s Seduction of Christianity.[v] When that issue was published, I couldn’t believe that CRI would slam the book in print. CRI associate Gretchen Passantino, a long-time editor of Dr. Martin’s, wrote it and it was a nasty and cleverly worded hit job.

Dr. Martin always began his Bible class answering questions people would leave on his pulpit. One Sunday the question of Dave’s book was brought up. Dr. Martin’s answer struck me as a paraphrase of Mrs. Passantino’s vicious attack that was published in Forward. I was so angry hearing that, I couldn’t even stick around for the study. I left and got in my car and headed for home in tears.

I was almost home on the freeway when I felt compelled to turn around and confront him about what he had just said. I turned around heading back toward Newport and was speeding, got pulled over and given a ticket. That only added insult to injury. By the time I got back to Newport Mesa, everyone was gone and Dr. Martin was getting the last of his materials into his car. I pulled up and called to him with my window down.

He came to my car and I simply asked him, “Dr. Martin, have you even read Dave’s book?” He said, “Well, I’ve read through it.” “You never sat down and read it?” “No.”

I was visibly upset as I told him that he was just repeating what Gretchen had written and if he had read it he would see that he would be very much in agreement with most of the book. He listened to me carry on about the book for ten minutes or so and promised to look more closely at the book.

I must have made an impression because soon after that he invited Dave to come on the Bible-Answerman program when it was taped at the annual NRB convention and talk about it. They did disagree agreeably on some things. Dr. Martin didn’t like Hunt’s blasting of “Christian” psychology and James Dobson – that was his biggest issue. And Dr. Martin was favorable to hypnotism as long as it was for clinical purposes, and Seduction blew the lid off that occult practice. But the program finished on a good note and I never heard Dr. Martin blast Hunt after that.

Sadly, he had already written a foreword to the Passantino’s book, Witch Hunt, (pun intended by authors) a dishonest piece of vengeance for him daring to expose the faulty religion to which they belonged. And when he wrote, A Woman Rides the Beast, the couple were again incensed because they were pro-catholic traitors who even showed up on EWTN (the catholic channel) singing the praises of Roman Catholic idolatry.

It was often said of Dr. Martin that he was the foremost expert on the world of the cults, but had zero discernment about people. That would explain why he referred to EWTN priest, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, as his “brother in Christ.” And, as you will see soon, with his friendship with Dr. Montgomery and later Hank Hanegraaff.

TBN Tug-of-War

Don’t hold me to the timeline (this was all some 30 years ago), but around that same time frame (1985-86), I got a call from Joni with an assignment from Dr. Martin. She said he wanted me to take a copy of Seduction and highlight important things with which he would be in agreement.

She told me that our other sister, Janet, had called her and told her that she was watching TBN’s Praise the Lord program the other night and the Crouches were hosting their guest, Hal Lindsey. Hal mentioned Dr. Martin in the conversation and Jan said, ‘Oh we love Dr. Martin” while rolling her eyes. Hal responded to them that they should have him on as a guest to talk about a particular cult that had come up in the conversation and Paul Crouch said, “We’d love to have him on.”

So, Joni passed that along to Dr. Martin and he asked her to follow that up and call TBN to get him on the schedule. I had already informed him that TBN had blacklisted Hunt and others from appearing on their network. I suppose he wanted to be armed to confront that, so I got busy with my highlighter.

Joni accompanied Dr. Martin to the green room for the taping. Janet sat in the studio audience. I stayed at home manning my new VCR (I didn’t know how to set the timer).

Dr. Martin expected Paul and Jan to be the hosts, but they put in a replacement at the last minute – prophecy teacher Doug Clark and his wife. We heard later from Joni that Walter was getting very impatient at how long they kept him waiting. They could see from the monitor that Clark seemed to be stretching out the time with the guests ahead of him, to where it became obvious that they had nothing more to say. He seemed to be stalling.

But that action proved to their detriment. Dr. Martin utilized that time to pour over the highlighting from the book and he was pretty charged up by the time they announced him. I guess they wanted to keep the best for last.

The hosts squirmed in their seats as the interview progressed. Dr. Martin, in his inexorable style, came out the gate swinging. Using notes from Hunt’s book, he confronted the false “little gods” theology, naming names of TBN regulars. And he quoted from Hunt’s book and declared that no matter what they think about the author, when he’s right, he’s right. Janet told us later that whenever Walter made a huge point against a TBN regular, the Clarks sunk into their seats while the guys behind the cameras shouted for joy – they couldn’t contain themselves.

It’s good that I recorded the program, because it was not aired in the Praise program’s usual slot the following week-day, and audio tapes of the show were not available – although at that time they sold all Praise programs to their viewers.[vi]

It wasn’t until a couple of years later during a telephone interview my husband and I did with Doug Clark, that he recalled that night. He told us that he was instructed by Praise’s producer to hold off getting to Dr. Martin until the end. And while he was doing the live interview, the producer kept handing him notes from the phone banks from Jan Crouch telling him to “shut that son of a b**** up.” He was told that she was in a crazed frenzy watching from home. That was the last time he was ever asked to host.

A short time after that, Dr. Martin was able to sit down with Paul Crouch and convince him that a program on cult apologetics would be beneficial to TBN viewers to keep some out of dangerous cults. So, much to Jan’s chagrin, Paul Crouch gave Martin the approval to start such a series. I can’t recall the name of the program – something with CRI in the title – but it was going to be a good platform for the researchers to get their work and their voices heard out on the airwaves. The entire CRI staff was ecstatic.

While all of CRI was busy planning show episodes, Martin’s best friend, Dr. Montgomery was hard at work behind the scenes trying to hijack the project.

One morning when I arrived at work at Simon Greenleaf, the whole place was abuzz. Dr. Montgomery put out the call for his whole staff to meet in the conference room. He had some big announcement to make. We were all on the edge of our seats – we had never seen the boss so excited.

Without batting an eye, Dr. Montgomery’s opening words went something like this: “I have great news. I met with Paul Crouch last night and told him that if he goes ahead with the CRI program, it will only create problems for him. Naming all those cults and religious groups will come back to bite him. I told him I had a better idea and would be careful not to name any group by name, but merely teach the viewers how to defend the faith from a variety of teachings in the cults, then there would be no personalities to fight with. I just got a call from him approving my proposal for the replacement show.”

The staff seemed delighted, but I spoke up. “Dr. Montgomery, is that right of you to take the show away from CRI?” He chuckled nervously, and said something to the effect — “all’s fair in love and war” or some such adage.

His show stayed on less than a year – it starred Dr. Montgomery all by his lonesome just preaching his usual resurrection defense – calling the show the same as his radio broadcast,’ Christianity on Trial’. He’s the one that ended up on trial – a regular public hanging – not long after that.

Marriage Amid Mayhem

I met journalist William Alnor on the same weekend that the PTL scandal hit the press. I was attending a Christian conference in Phoenix, Arizona and he was there on behalf of Eternity Magazine as a correspondent. The theme was the New Age influence in the church and society. The speakers were authors such as Dave Hunt, Caryl Matrisciana, Hal Lindsey, Johanna Michaelsen, Dave Breese, and Constance Cumbey. Cumbey embarrassed the hosts of the event by announcing from the platform that Eternity Magazine had sent someone there to spy on them. She was suffering from a persecution complex after Elliot Miller and his friends the Passantinos had blasted her work for the offense of allegedly causing Christians to fear the rainbow.

The truth was that Bill volunteered for the assignment as a freelance writer because he was interested in the topic and quite an admirer of Hunt and Breese. He lived in the Philadelphia area where he had been a full-time reporter for a local daily tabloid paper and had just quit to strike out on his own. He and some friends at his church had started a ministry for former cult members to help them adjust to being a Christian without the cobwebs from false teachings. And he had even infiltrated a major shepherding group and wrote a front-page feature article about it in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sunday magazine.

We just happened to sit at the same table at the banquet and we were simultaneously love-struck. Although we lived on opposite coasts, we saw it as providential that we shared the same calling in ministry and interest in apologetics. I’m sure Bill was intrigued that I was friends with Dr. Martin and worked and studied at Simon Greenleaf.

I recall being a bit distracted that weekend waiting for the scandal to hit the fan. My inner circle at CRI and Simon Greenleaf were following the drama behind the scenes. John Stewart taught law at the school and he also was the back-up Bible-Answerman for Dr. Martin’s radio show and his stand-in at the Bible class. He had been assisting a ministry associate, Paul Roper, in negotiating an out-of-court settlement on behalf of their client, Jessica Hahn – some girl he reported to be “an innocent sweet secretary” who was victimized Jim Bakker. They were able to get her a payout of almost half a million dollars. Bakker would later refer to it as blackmail.

To digress —

Just a month or so before, Walter Martin and other church leaders like Jimmy Swaggert and John Ankerberg had confronted Bakker at the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) convention. Bakker denied his involvement. A reporter for the Charlotte Observer had caught onto the story and interviewed the “innocent victim” and her counsel. I was told the story was about to break as I left for Phoenix.

By that time my sister Joni was no longer secretary, but had been promoted to producer of the Bible-Answerman and she worked closely with Stewart on the radio program. I saw that Bakker’s cohort in the affair, John Wesley Fletcher, was doing a seminar at the Anaheim convention center and I wanted to hear him and see if he made any apologies as the scandal played out. I asked Joni to come along. His seminar was sparsely attended and he didn’t breathe a word about his involvement. His focus was on begging for money to keep his ministry busy saving souls.

Joni ran into someone she knew there – John Stewart’s brother, Don. His reputation preceded him, but this is the first time I met him. He had written a series of apologetics books, co-authored with well-known minister Josh McDowell. I knew of him because one of my friends that worked at CRI had already had an intimate relationship with him and after he cut off the brief affair she would stalk him at his speaking engagements, even answering his altar calls to be near him. She told me that she just knew that when I met him that we would end up getting married. It was her biggest fear. She warned me that if that happened, she would never speak to me again.

It turns out her fears were unwarranted. After John Wesley Fletcher finished his sheep-fleecing act, the three of us went to lunch together. Don was visibly shaken. He told us that he was trying to contain himself the whole time the guy spoke to keep from running to the stage and punching him out. He went on to tell us that he was in love with the ‘virginal secretary’ and had spent time with her trying to negotiate a deal to help ghost-write her story. He only had eyes for Jessica Hahn and my first impression of him was reminiscent of when I was a child and my mom took me to see Bozo the Clown – I think it was the wild and frizzy red locks.

Later that year at my wedding to Bill, my stalker of a friend smiled bigger than I’d ever seen. I know not what’s become of her, but two wives later, she still hasn’t landed her big fish. His first wife later told me that after they were married, she called on the phone and told her that God had meant him for her. Sad story – I hope she finally found a good husband.

John Stewart told his story in the 1987 book, Holy war: An inside account of the battle for PTL  — something that no doubt embarrasses him to this day. He really should have held off until the famous trial all played out – he jumped the gun on that one. And his involvement cost him his gig at CRI. The Board didn’t think the association was good for public relations. But another door opened – he accepted a job at the largest Christian radio station in the area, KKLA, and took Joni with him as his producer of John Stewart Live – a call in show – which was quite good while it lasted.

And that summer of 1987 Dr. Martin officiated at the wedding of William Alnor and Jackie Miller in beautiful San Luis Obispo – here’s a portion of what he spoke over the couple.

“I have a particular interest in this young couple’s marriage today because some 37 years ago I embarked upon an extremely controversial and confrontational ministry in the kingdom of the cults and the occult. It has brought about in the minds of some people the question of my sanity.

“The fact that more than 200 counter-cult organizations now exist in the United States and abroad is proof that I am not the one that’s crazy and that indeed there are people called by God to unique ministries.

“Bill and Jackie are not only in love, not only being joined together in marriage, but uniquely in ministry. Scripture says, ‘Sanctify the Lord always in your hearts, and be ready always to give everyone who asks of you an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within you with humility and fairness.”

“To every man an answer is what Bill believes and what Jackie believes. They have a common ministry, a duty to carry that out, beyond a duty to themselves, a supreme duty to the Lord Jesus Christ.

“…The Gospel has two sides like a coin. One side is very positive – Preach the Word. Be consistent and do it whether it is popular or unpopular says the Apostle Paul…See, you have to put both sides of the coin together, just as you put two people together. One is not complete without the other. Preach the Gospel, and contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints

“… And that is something that I will give you as a word from the Lord on this your wedding day. Together you will never be alone. But always, even when there seems to be loneliness, wherever it may come from, there is a promise: ‘I will never leave you; I will never forsake you; I am with you always even to the end of the worlds.

“…And now comes the joy and the life together…as brother and sister in Christ and husband and wife because of Christ, you may dedicate your lives to His service with the confidence that His blessing is upon you. Not only preach Jesus Christ, but remember the other side of the coin, tell it like it is – the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

To be Continued – Part 2, The Hank Hanegraaff Era

[i] My testimony is included in the book, On the Wings of Grace Alone : The Testimonies of Thirty Converted Roman Catholics, Editor Richard Bennett, Berean Beacon

[ii] See 6-part series for more details, Enduring to the End,—PART-1-by-Jackie-Alnor