Early in their marriage, Greg and Katrina Owens made the decision that their family would serve the Lord. Greg had been raised in a very quiet Baptist church where, according to Katrina, "You could've heard a pin drop—unless someone was snoring." On Katrina's side, she came from a broken and abusive home, and her family's church attendance was inconsistent at best. In an effort to avoid being seen as hypocrites, the young couple made a conscious choice to join a church that they believed did everything the right way. Intent on becoming good Christians, submitted to God in all ways, the Owens quickly became entrenched in legalism. Now, after 11 years in the death grip of religion they have come to know what it means to truly be free in Jesus. The Owens found freedom in 2009 through reading Andrew's book, The Believer's Authority.
In their former church in North Carolina, the Owens submitted to an exhaustive list of rules. The stringent regulations eliminated just about every enjoyable aspect of modern life, but eager to please the Lord, the Owens lived within the church's regulations. For five years Greg's brother served as their pastor, and under him, Greg stepped into a position of leadership within the church; first as the choir director and then as a preacher. Eventually Greg was ordained.
The Owens sat passively under condemning and sin-conscious teaching for nearly a decade. They were taught that they were wicked, that God was angry and that they needed to fear God's wrath. Preachers consistently used Old Testament examples of people being killed for their disobedience to scare and condemn the congregation—ultimately keeping church members bound by fear.
For Katrina, and many other women in the church, particularly those within the leadership circle, striving to meet the church's ultra high standards came at a price. Try as she might Katrina never felt like a good Christian wife. Even when women around her marveled at what she accomplished in her daily routine, she felt worthless. Failure to meet the standards caused internal struggle and depression for many women in the group. Some, Katrina included, relied on anti-depressants to manage their struggle.
"I was trying so hard to be a real Christian, but all I saw was my sin. One day, I heard this verse, 'Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed in thee, for he trusted in thee' (Isaiah 26:3). It was then that I began to realize that having a focus on sin was the same as having my eyes on me instead of Him," said Katrina.
Frustrated and tired, Katrina began to realize that the people in her church were all poor, broke, and disgusted. She and Greg craved the truth and they began to pray for a way out. After years of being beaten down with graceless teaching, Katrina started asking God bold questions. One of her questions was, "Why did He let Satan exist?" One day in 2009, as she lingered in a Christian bookstore, she received an unexpected answer to her question. The Holy Spirit led Katrina to Andrew's book, The Believer's Authority. "This [book buying] was actually against my religion. So I argued with God. This was not the title I expected so I asked for confirmation. I told God that if the Scripture references in Andrew's book were from the KJV, I would take it home. The references are, and Katrina began what she calls her "enlightening."
Reading Believer's Authority was a real eye opener for the Owens. The first thing that caught Katrina's attention was the authority originally given to man in Genesis. She went over the scripture references with a fine tooth comb and began to share what she was learning with her husband. The couple then downloaded The Believer's Authority teaching so Greg could listen to it on his way to and from work.
Katrina began to recognize the Lord's voice. Even while mopping the floor, He reminded her of the scriptures in the book. He told Katrina she had authority over sickness; that the power of life and death is in the tongue, and ultimately, He told her He would deliver her from religion if she would receive it. "When God said that to me, I wanted deliverance. I didn't even realize at the time how much religion I had," Katrina said.
As the Owens gained revelation of the Truth, it became increasingly more difficult to sit through a church service without feeling angry. They knew they were being deceived and could see clearly the intentions of the people they called their leaders. "I was ashamed," said Katrina.
Through Andrew's teaching the Owens realized that God is not controlling everything and it changed their lives. As the revelation came that God has given believers dominion, and that He is not controlling or demanding, and that He is not holding sin against believers or withholding healing, the Owens were set free. "The more we read, the more we studied and found Andrew to be right. Our lives did a 180. I could see how Satan loved putting people in religious bondage. I saw that I was under that and began to rebuke death, sickness, etc. We were Pharisees transformed. For the first time, we began to "speak to the mountain," and we saw it move. Our marriage has been changed. The way we raise our children has been changed. Nothing is the same and we both agree—we will never go back," said Katrina.
The Owen's new revelation and understanding freed them from their bondage and gave them the courage to leave their controlling church. As they walked away, they were shunned by their friends, and some family, and the church stripped Greg of his ordination, but the Lord was faithful to provide comfort and new fellowship. Eventually, the Lord led them to move to Greenville, South Carolina where they found a new church home at Foundations of Faith pastored by Charis Bible College graduate, Larry Romero.
"It takes courage and boldness to break free, but it is worth it. There is nothing to turn back for, but everything to look forward to. We had to choose not to care what people thought of us. When we heard the good news from Andrew Wommack, we threw out everything we had ever known and grabbed hold of Jesus. We had to stand against family, friends, and everyone we knew, but a new love for Jesus made it easy. I am so thankful for a personal relationship with Jesus. Since reading Believer's Authority, life will never be the same," Katrina said.