Jacob Report #4 – Who is Jack Wasson?

Those who already know me, and those who will get to know me through the Jacob Report, are aware I have a “unique perspective.” That’s a polite way of saying I frequently suggest biblical ideas which are not mainstream, or traditional. In fact, frequently I will suggest ideas contrary to what you’ve always heard. Therefore, the reader has a right to know my background—that which shapes my perspective. I truly don’t like writing about myself, but in the interest of full disclosure, I have made the effort which follows. Whatever you think about what I have to say, at least now you will know where I’m coming from.

In Brief

Jack Wasson has been a student of the Bible since he was a teenager. In 1972, he graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God College, Waxahachie, Texas. In 1979, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas, Arlington, with multiple bachelor’s degrees that included modern European History, International Political Science, and Psychology. He served in the Army as an officer in military intelligence. As an independent businessman, he has worked in real estate and oil development, construction and finance. He has been actively involved in evangelistic and mission’s work since 1965. He travels frequently to the Middle East. “No Rapture” is the first book by Jack Wasson.

In Detail

A Teenager in Houston, Texas

In 1961, at 13 years of age, while living in South Houston, Texas, Jack made the decision that would shape the rest of his life. He wholeheartedly accepted Jesus Christ-Yeshua the Messiah-as his Lord and Savior. From that moment, the Messiah was his central focus.

While in high school, he became active in the Manor Assemblies of God youth group, Pasadena, Texas. Every Sunday the group, led by other teens, held evangelistic outreaches at the Houston prison farm for adult men. In addition, once a month, the youth group would visit a local area nursing home, conduct an evangelistic service and then disperse going room to room ministering to the elderly residents.

In 1964, David Wilkerson, having begun Teen Challenge in New York City to reach the teenage gangs and drug addicts, came to Houston to begin a similar Teen Challenge outreach on Houston’s streets. Jack, a sophomore in high school, became a regular participant on weekends. The boldness of David Wilkerson’s witness inspired Jack and the other teen volunteers from Houston’s churches, stirring in them a lifelong desire to preach the gospel, even in the most difficult environments.

As a teenager in high school, Jack began to study the Bible with a growing hunger for a greater understanding of the plan of God. Regularly, Jack would get his paycheck from his afterschool job as a grocery checker and head directly to the Bible bookstore where he would buy Bible dictionaries, concordances, theology books and various translations of the Bible. He was intensely hungry for a deeper understanding of the workings of God for his generation.

Young Adult- Singled out

In 1970, Jack completed two years at San Jacinto Junior College in Pasadena, Texas. Later, he was accepted and subsequently enrolled in Southwestern Assemblies of God Bible College. SAGC is located in Waxahachie, Texas, a small farming community just south of Dallas. Although attending classes at SAGC, Jack frequently traveled to south Dallas to attend Sunday meetings of Gordon and Freda Lindsay during the startup years of Christ for the Nations (CFNI), another Bible College.

During the spring of 1972, another milestone occurred for Jack. One of his classmates, having graduated during the winter term, returned to speak to the entire student body at the daily chapel service regarding his startup Jewish outreach in Chicago and in New England. Following the school wide assembly, Jack returned home to have lunch and to get ready for his afternoon shift at the local hospital where he worked in the admitting office. That was when Mike Evans, the classmate and chapel speaker that day, knocked on Jack’s cottage door. Invited in, Mike sat on Jack’s couch and told Jack that while he was addressing the student body, God had spoken to him and told Mike to challenge Jack with a word from the Lord. “What are you going to do when you 

graduate?” Confessing his uncertainty, Jack told the truth. “I don’t know. I’ve been praying about it.” It was then that Mike challenged Jack to pray about a calling to the Jewish people. Mike told Jack he believed God was calling them to work together in the Jewish ministry Mike had just begun. Mike promised to follow up the next time he was in Dallas to see if Jack received confirmation and was agreeable.

Two months later, as promised, when Mike returned to Dallas, he met Jack and asked Jack what God had shown him regarding a calling to the Jewish people. “Mike, I have received an absolute assurance regarding my calling to the Jewish people, but, this calling is not depended upon you. I have, however, received absolute assurance that I am to focus the rest of my life doing what I can to reach the Jewish people with the gospel of their Messiah.”

Mike and Jack, both licensed with the Assemblies of God, immediately approached the headquarters of the Assemblies in Springfield, Missouri.  They each related their plans and desire to work together in the new Jewish evangelistic ministry Mike had recently formed which he called “B’nai Yeshua” (Sons of Yeshua.) Springfield immediately dismissed the idea, stating Jack and Mike were both young and full of vim and vinegar. The two of them together was potentially a volatile combination. Instead, the Home Missions department said they would pair Jack up with a “tried and true” Jewish Evangelist, Monty Garfield of Messiah Missions located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Monty had been working in (or at) Jewish evangelism for over 30 years.

Thus, upon graduating that summer of 1972, Jack was appointed by the Home Missions department of the Assemblies of God as an evangelist to the Jewish people and was assigned to work with Monty Garfield and Messiah Missions in Philadelphia.

Detour and Redirection

Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, Jack began to visit the Temple University campus, which had a large Jewish faculty and student body.  He regularly engaged in personal evangelism on campus, appealing to both students and faculty, entering into healthy “discussions” regarding the claims of Yeshua as Messiah. Jack also frequently spent the early mornings meeting off-campus at a local high school in Northeast Philadelphia with several of the Jewish students who made up about 80% of the student body. This “activity” resulted in the placement of a full-page ad in a Philadelphia newspaper by the newly formed JDL (Jewish Defense League). The JDL threatened an action to blow up 801 Welch Road if they (Jack) did not cease “evangelizing” Jewish teenagers.

Distressed by the negative reaction and threats, Monty Garfield immediately called a board meeting of Messiah Missions and promptly fired Jack. Monty explained, “In over 30 years as a Jewish missionary, I have never had persecution! Yet, within weeks of your arrival they are threatening to blow us up! You must find someplace else to work-maybe New York?”

Although Jack was willing to head to New York, his wife of six years was not.The decision of Monty Garfield to dismiss Jack in behalf of Messiah Missions was the final straw. With their two small sons, she boarded an Eastern Airlines flight that same day in order to return permanently to Texas.

The disappointment of back to back rejections in a single day led to a sinking depression. Also, the Assemblies of God denomination was clear. If one of their minister’s marriages terminated, no matter the circumstance, the man could never again be active in ministry. Make it three rejections in one day!

Unwelcome any longer at Messiah Missions, Jack knew no one in Philadelphia except through Messiah Missions. He did have an address for a group his longtime friend from the Manor A/G youth group had joined. The friend, Sam Halbert, was doing missions work in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The organization which Sam was part of, the Children of God (COG,) was already located in over 70 countries in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. The group was even in the Middle East. And they had a “colony” (Christian commune) in Philadelphia.

Jack had once “visited” the urban commune of the group in Philadelphia. Following his dismissal from Messiah Missions, with no clear alternatives, that same night he decided this could be an answer for a place to stay, at least in the short term. As Jack began to pore out to the COG leadership the account of what had happened with his family and ministry, and to explain the procedure whereby the Assemblies of God would promptly remove his license, the group’s leaders mocked the “established systemite” church and assured Jack he could again serve God, even with a divorce! Although Jack was somewhat of a “free thinker” and had dismissed many of the hard core policies and beliefs of the A/G and their Bible College, (Christian men do not wear facial hair, especially beards; Christians who partake of a single sip of wine or beer are on a clear and direct road to perdition) he actually believed his wife could make a choice (to leave and divorce him) which would forever preclude either his remarriage or his ever again serving God in any meaningful capacity. The deepest wound of all that happened that fateful day was the pain that came with the belief that he could never again serve God! The COG’s dismissal of the idea as crazy was both a welcome revelation, and provided a new hope to Jack in this distressing moment.

During his initial visit to the COG commune, Jack had met Constance. Connie had been born and raised in southern California. She was one of the earliest members of the COG, having joined in Huntington Beach, California in 1967. Following his divorce, Jack and Connie reconnected in Cincinnati, Ohio, and were married in May, 1973 at the Cincinnati courthouse by an accommodating judge during his lunch break. At the time of their marriage, Connie already had two children, Benjamin, eight months and Elijah, barely 2 years. Connie’s husband had committed suicide, leaving her alone in the group with two toddlers. Jack promptly adopted Benjamin and Elijah.

More than a few of Jack’s friends warned him not to associate with, much less join, the COG. The friends all stated the same objection-“The Children of God is a cult! They are false prophets!” In every case, Jack asked “Why? What is their false prophecy?” The response, “I don’t know the details but they are!” What Jack knew was that the Children of God had taken him in without conditions and had given him both the prospect and the opportunity to “serve God” while his own denomination, adhering to their rigid policies, had disowned him over matters Jack could not control.

Off to Europe

Once married, Jack and Connie resolved to leave for Europe. The COG was making a big push into many countries in Europe. They caught the cheapest Icelandic Airlines flight “by faith” landing in Luxembourg and immediately caught a train to Bern, Switzerland. The family of four arrived after midnight with $80 and no certain destination, having traveled without sleep for over 72 hours. In the following weeks, the Wasson family traveled from Bern to Zürich to Amsterdam, where they eventually reconnected with the COG.

Shortly after arriving in Amsterdam, while doing street evangelism with the COG, Jack met Don Stephens, a director of Youth with a Mission (YWAM). Don engaged Jack in friendly conversation about their mutual Bible College background. (Don had also graduated from an A/G Bible College- although one in Southern California.) As they separated, Don offered Jack and his new family a safe haven if and when they decided to leave the COG. The day came sooner than either could have imagined. Within three weeks of that encounter in Amsterdam, it became clear to Jack and Connie they had to leave the COG.

The majority of the leadership of the COG had always been suspicious of Jack. The group had been excoriated by a nationally televised, NBC 20/20 report which led to the COG becoming persona non grata throughout much of the USA and Europe. The group blamed the “Systemite Church” (historic, traditional, Church establishment) for the “negative” reports. Jack, having been a “Systemite minister” was already suspect. Following his and Connie’s decision to marry, without the usual “group,” approval plus the fact that Connie had been a member since the beginning and, thus, knew many of the “darker” details of the group, caused many in the hierarchy to theorize there was a grand conspiracy afoot to take the group down!

Shortly after his divorce, having committed to the group as a “member,” Jack had been accused by the Dallas, Texas leadership of being an FBI agent planted to gather “information.” At the time, Jack laughed and thought little more of it. But, when Jack and Connie arrived, “unauthorized” in Switzerland, the suspicions began to escalate. The hostility had become so intense, that after Jack and Connie’s arrival in Amsterdam, they and their children were required by the COG to live in Vondel Park, sleeping at night in sleeping bags, while the group decided what to do with them.

With the tension between the group and the Wassons heating up by the day, Jack and Connie called upon Don Stephens and YWAM for help. YWAM immediately moved the young family to the Ark, which was the YWAM ministry boat located behind the Amsterdam central train station. From there, YWAM offered Jack a chance to study German at Schloss Hurlach (castle Hurlach) which was located just outside Munich, Germany.

Although physically removed from the COG, the spiritual hold of the COG proved to be much more difficult to be rid of than what could be accomplished by a mere relocation. Jack would later describe it as something like a “withdrawal” not unlike drug withdrawal, but a withdrawal from spiritual addiction. What was becoming clear, even in Amsterdam, was that the COG was becoming more and more immersed in eastern religion, including familiar spirits, and communicating with the dead. When Jack alerted the leadership of YWAM of the direction the COG was heading, YWAM found it difficult to believe! They were incredulous! The COG was a group which had been originally founded upon Christian principles! Time would shortly prove Jack’s conclusions to be correct.

A complete departure from the COG; mind, body and soul, proved much more difficult than either Jack or Connie could have conceived. Though they were “out,” they experienced severe, even intense, “withdrawal,” in the form of hopelessness and depression, especially Jack.  This difficulty in “leaving” turned out to be very typical of other ex-members experiences. The symptoms of hopelessness and depression, of betrayal and disappointment, were so intense that, after finishing German language school, Jack and Connie decided to return to Texas and to get away from ministry and spiritual things for a period of time in order to regroup and to “sort out” their priorities.

Easy Yoke Discipleship Ministry

It wasn’t that simple. Almost immediately, after returning to Houston, Texas, Jack and Connie were approached by families; parents who either had sons and daughters in the COG or parents of “former” members who had made failed, unsuccessful attempts to leave the group. Painful stories of depression, drugs and alcohol abuse, of addiction and even suicide accompanied those who endeavored to leave the group. “How had you managed to just walk away?” They inquired.

Thus, Easy Yoke Discipleship ministry was begun by the Wassons. The stated purpose was “reaching and assisting current and former COG” but it quickly evolved into reaching those “captured” by various other cults including Sun Moon and Hare Krishna. For the next four years, Jack and Connie were based out of Dallas. Freda Lindsay provided an apartment and a refuge at the CFNI campus, as well as encouragement. Jack even did some “substitute” teaching at some of the CFNI Bible College classes.  During that period, Jack began to travel frequently to London, Europe, South America and Mexico, all by invitation of parents and family of COG as well as at the request of law enforcement, including Scotland Yard, Interpol and the Belgian police. By request, Jack also met with representatives of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican in Rome. The confusion and consternation over “brain washing cults” was widespread and the COG was considered foremost in this category by many people. Frequently, Jack contributed background material to the news media, both secular and Christian, and often gave full interviews with the likes of NBC, CBN, Time, and Christianity Today.

Inspiration and Course Correction

During one of his trips to Europe, Jack met and developed a close personal relationship with a man who once again redirected the course of Jack’s life. The gentleman, Dr. Ernst Winters of Vienna, Austria, became somewhat of a mentor to Jack.

Dr. Winters’ father had been mayor in Vienna prior to the Anschluss, (the forcible annexation of Austria by Hitler’s Germany.) Warned of Hitler’s plans, Dr. Winters’ father evacuated his family, fleeing Austria for the West. As a teenager therefore, Dr. Winters arrived in New York. He later became a critical asset of the US after America entered WWII. Following the war, Dr. Winters was immersed in Austrian diplomatic matters, primarily through the newly formed United Nations. By the time he and Jack met, Dr. Winters had worked with the likes of Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People’s Republic of China, and Henry Kissinger. The thing that resonated with Jack was that, in spite of his amazing background and the extent of his diplomatic resume and education (two PhD’s) Dr. Winters was the model of humility. For some reason unknown to Jack, Dr. Winters embraced Jack and encouraged him to explore opportunities in international affairs. “You have a gift that is suited to this arena. You need to pursue your education.” At the time, Jack had only a bachelor’s degree from a Bible college.

Jack accepted the challenge and shortly after returning to Dallas, he made it clear to anyone who would listen that his intention was to return to school at the University of Texas, Arlington (UTA.) Most of his “spiritual” friends objected, saying he was wasting time pursuing “secular” education. “This can never come to anything and you’ll never be the man God wants you to be! You’ll regret it. You’re forsaking your calling (to the cult ministry) like Esau settling for a bowl of porridge!” Within 24 months of enrollment at UTA, Jack had completed three additional bachelor’s degrees, magna cum laude as well as an ROTC program (Reserve Officer’s Training Corp.)

On August 5, 1979 upon graduation from the University of Texas, Jack was commissioned a new second lieutenant into the branch of military intelligence, the US Army. He was selected as one of only two new lieutenants in the entire nation from amongst every University, including Harvard and West Point, to be selected to serve as a counterintelligence officer, something his mentor, Dr. Ernst Winters had also done during WWII and after.

The sole reason for counterintelligence is that enemies of the USA seek to infiltrate the US government, military, and its bureaucracy with “plants,” spies, moles, all of whom seek the downfall and demise of the USA. There are other individuals who have been “turned” even unwittingly and are being manipulated to subvert US interests. This necessitates “counter” intelligence to root out, expose and dispose of these individuals so as to limit or reverse the damage America’s enemies would do.

It was made abundantly clear to Jack that he had a promising career ahead of him on track for a position as a CIA case officer, with the State Department, or in the military intelligence community, his choice. But he quickly came to a personal conclusion his allegiance was to God and to His people, specifically His brethren according to the flesh-the Jewish people. He therefore opted out, by choice, and requested this career track be foregone and that he be released from further government service. He made a personal commitment to use whatever talent, education and/or training he possessed for the sole benefit of the believing Jewish, Messianic community.

Back on Track

In 1987, Jack and Connie were invited to a Jews for Jesus “Ingathering” retreat being held in Northern California. One evening, Moishe Rosen, the group’s founder, pulled Jack aside and began to quiz him about his earlier days in Philadelphia and his relationship with Mike Evans. As Moishe spoke, Jack began to contemplate the incredible strides the Jewish believers had made as a movement during a period of a very few years. Something powerful was emerging amongst this community of Jewish believers and Jack wanted to be part of it, and he was called to be part of it. Upon returning to Los Angeles after the retreat, Jack and Connie became active in a Messianic Jewish congregation, Ahavat Zion in Beverly Hills. They also attended regular Bible studies with Barry Budoff, the Rabbi of Ahavat Zion.

Since that retreat, almost 25 years ago, Jack and Connie have been increasingly involved with this special community of Jewish believers. They have developed close personal relationships with the community in the USA, Israel and throughout the world.

In 1999 the Israeli Messianic Jewish community was threatened with a “new law” proposed in the Knesset which would have made prison and heavy fines the penalty for “evangelism” in Israel. Jack wrote a response “Is there an Alternative to Rabbinical Judaism?” This response became an ad that was published by the MAC-Messianic Action Committee-in a prominent Israeli newspaper in the name of the entire Israeli Messianic Jewish community. Shortly after the Ad’s publication, the law was “withdrawn.”

Jack has served on the board of the Joseph Project, a humanitarian ministry of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, MJAA. The focus of the Joseph Project is to bring relief to the poor of Israel. Since 2007, he has served on the AdCom (Administrative Committee) of the IMJA, (International Messianic Jewish Alliance) which has its origins with Jewish believers in Britain in the 1860’s. In September, 2011 he attended an international conference of the IMJA for affiliated Alliance presidents held in Berlin, Germany. His first book, No Rapture, is available on Amazon.com.

Download a complete copy of Jacob Report #4 – Jack Wasson’s Bio

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3 Comments

  1. Marty Younger

    Hey Jack, those early days were special. You were the only one that would take time for me when I knew nobody. Sorry for interrupting the World Series that day! It was good to read what happened after you left SAGC. Thanks for the info.!

  2. Kathleen M. Burnside

    I am hoping you can get this message to Jack. I was known as Kathy McCarty when you knew me way back in 1975. I lived briefly with you and Connie Christ for the Nations. You helped me get out of the children of God. I had only been in for a short time but your presence in my life was very important. I hope you and your family are well. I would love to talk to you sometime. I I’m not sure where you are living at this point

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