Charlie Johnston’s Farewell

Charlie

CharlieYou may recall at the beginning of last year, I wrote an article about a man named Charlie Johnston, a Catholic layman who claimed to have been visited by Jesus, as well as by a number of Saints and angels.

As a result of these visitations, Charlie warned people of a coming “storm”, a series of catastrophic and calamitous events which he said would befall humanity. While he wasn’t predicting the end of the world, his descriptions of economic collapse and widespread war certainly carried with them an apocalyptic character. Although he said that it would be a very dark time, Charlie promised that the Immaculate Heart of Mary would ultimately triumph and this victory would usher in a period of unity and peace.

At the time I wrote that earlier post, Charlie had already been on my radar for some time. Although I had reservations concerning his teachings, I was rather impressed with the way he seemed to be operating. He was obedient to his Bishop and was also under spiritual direction. Despite the content of much of his message, he ultimately presented it as one of hope. Finally, there was nothing to suggest that he was attempting to profit from his message in any way. As a result, despite my skepticism regarding his predictions, I defended Charlie against those who immediately dismissed him as “crazy”, or who called him “a charlatan” or “liar”.

Having said that, I was becoming increasingly concerned. Quite a few of my friends had enthusiastically embraced Charlie’s message and I started to worry about the effect of his teachings upon them. When one of my friends cancelled an out-of-state trip for fear that it might coincide with Charlie’s “storm”, I decided that it was time to speak openly about my concerns…

Concerns

In my original article, I explained my principal fears. The first fear was that more people would follow the example of my friend and start making major life changes as a result of Charlie’s predictions, something which he explicitly told people not to do.

My second fear was that, in the event of Charlie’s predictions failing to materialize, some of his followers would become disillusioned and, feeling betrayed, would leave Christianity altogether. I made the point that Charlie’s teaching was “private revelation” and, as such, was not binding upon Catholics and was something quite apart from the Deposit Of Faith.

In response to my article, I was delighted to receive a message from Charlie himself. Ever the gentleman, he thanked me for my balanced presentation of his message and reaffirmed that he didn’t advocate the “survivalist” mindset which would require radical life changes. He reiterated that he was simply calling people to “Trust God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope”.

Trumped Prophecy

In my original post, I noted one particular claim of Charlie’s revelation, that President Obama would not complete his second term as President. I highlighted this particular prediction, pointing out that this would be a very easy way to test the veracity of Charlie’s message.

Unless you were hiding under a rock for the last few days, you will know that President Obama did complete his term as President and Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

The Last Post

The day after Donald Trump assumed the presidency, Charlie made a final post on his blog. He began the article with an immediate admission of error:

By my own standard, I was wrong about the peaceful transfer of power in the U.S. yesterday…I was wrong.

He went on to make an appeal to his followers:

I ask my friends to avoid trying to find scenarios in which I was somehow right on this. I have never been a fan of the sort of verbal and logical gymnastics that would transmogrify a horse chestnut into a chestnut horse.

This request is worthy of admiration, since there is a long tradition of failed prophets and their followers attempting to twist a prophecy in order to rescue it from failure. For example, Harold Camping predicted that Judgement Day would take place on 21st May 2011, but when Jesus failed to turn up he explained that it had been a “spiritual” day of judgment.

The next right step

In the weeks leading up to the Inauguration, Charlie reiterated that if there was a successful transition of power from President Obama to President Trump, he would retire from the public scene. True to his word, Charlie has confirmed that this is what he will do. He has handed over management of his blog to a friend and has said that he won’t return to the public scene unless something dramatic happens, such as a coup.

I’ll admit, I’m rather glad that we can finally draw a line under this particular private revelation, having grown weary of hearing about the “storm” and Charlie’s other predictions. However, I must say that Charlie’s honesty and refusal to try and save his failed prediction, as well as his fidelity to his promise to withdraw from the public scene, all impress me greatly. Charlie has demonstrated integrity and shown his fidelity to Jesus and to His Church. So, with that, I would like to conclude this post with Charlie’s own words…

I have endeavored to be God’s good servant. I will continue to do so in obedient submission to Holy Mother Church. But now, chastened, like Job, I put my hand over my mouth…

Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That is the sure and ordinary path to kinship with God, to peace and to joy, whatever happens.

What are your thoughts about this article?