30 March 2011

A link and a few comments pertaining to 'Christian' news, radio, and commentators

Here's a worthwhile read from Paul Roberts.

Speaking of hypocrisy, add the hypocrisy of the Christian Right...cheerleaders for war when their man is at the helm, critics when their political opponents initiate it.

Yesterday I caught about five minutes of the AFR (American Family Radio) Report. This show is usually one of the worst examples of Christian-Right propaganda. Not only is their commentary irresponsible, deceitful, manipulative and inaccurate, it's often just plain buffoonish and juvenile. Shame on Calvin Beisner a well known name in Reformed circles. He was their special guest yesterday. Even if I agreed with him, which I don't, I question his integrity in appearing on a show that is little more than blatant political propaganda.

Anyway, their take on the Libya business? They often play a little dialogue game...kind of good cop/bad cop type discussion. One guy will play straw-man advocate for the position they don't agree with it. Then when the other host demolishes it, it makes their position look better and they can also pretend they were being fair in representing both sides.

Bottom line on Libya....Obama is helping the Libyan opposition because, yes...they're Muslim. And we should be attacking other Muslim countries where Christians are being persecuted, but we don't because Obama doesn't want to. They don't come out and say that he's a crypto-Muslim, but they imply every chance they get. I don't pretend Obama is a Muslim or a Christian. He's lost, just like the hosts on AFR.

Good thing their audience glories in ignorance and like these hosts know nothing about how the world really works. And I suppose it's also a good thing that they don't realize that American foreign policy has directly led to the persecution of Christians. Of course as we've talked about in other articles, these people are often confused as to what a Christian is. But granting for a moment that the Syriac community in Iraq meets the Biblical definition of Christian (as opposed to the Dominionist/Constantinian definition) then their present persecution has come about as an act of retaliation versus the Bush/Cheney/Obama policies.

Something is wrong when people purport to be reporting and commenting on news events and before you hear or read anything they say you already know what their take will be. The facts never enter into their thinking. They have an agenda driven by a supposedly Christian worldview...end of story.

One is left wondering if the American Church is just simply under Judgment and being handed over to delusion, blindness, and the endorsement of lies and murder. I was also listening to CrossTalk the other day. That's another Christian Radio programme. My new job situation won't allow me to listen to this stuff anymore. That's probably a good thing. The show is meant to be pretty conservative and takes hardline positions on the issues. Many look to it as some kind of beacon in the midst of apostasy.

It's even more subtle. They critique Glenn Beck of FOX news....because he's Mormon. Though they will freely admit that they like what he says in terms of political issues. So they like him, they just don't give a blanket endorsement and you see this shows how discerning and wise they are.

Yes, he's Mormon, but his political agenda is just as erroneous as his Mormonism.

They'll critique John Piper because he seems to have sold out and has become a friend of Rick Warren.

I've never liked Piper very much and on that point I can agree.

But because they take these stands on Piper, or the seemingly ultra-conservative stand on Beck, they have credibility. They're critiquing in house as it were. And because they'll critique modern worship music and immodest dress....they're really standing for the truth. They make Dobson look like a wishy-washy liberal.

And yet when I listen while they do indeed stand for some good things, they mix it with the same Americanist heresy that I find with Dobson, Colson and the rest. In the end, they're just as bad. Just the other day they had a programme on the state of American knowledge regarding Civics. A recent Newsweek (a leftist magazine they called it) poll demonstrated that American's are woefully ignorant concerning the Constitution, other founding documents and American History in general.

No one would disagree that despite the technology boom the general public is more uneducated and ignorant than ever. No would disagree that our public education system has degenerated into something of a joke. I don't think any Christian in their right mind would send their kids to public school.

But the tone of the show made it pretty clear that these were not just social issues. These were moral, spiritual, and theological issues. It was apostasy that the American public doesn't know the Constitution. Ingrid the host was passionate that these things (the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address) should be treasured in your heart  and memorized. Those who died to 'protect and defend' the country were martyrs, and so forth. Even our folklore and nursery rhymes were important to know. And English...well, it's practically the language of heaven itself. It's interesting how these issues become so important to them. Did they find this in the Bible? Are these concerns generated from the Bible? Is the Western Tradition somehow inspired from the Bible?

I don't mind discussing these issues in their proper context, but this was taking all these issues to a new level. The host, Ingrid Schlueter has or did have a website called Slice of Laodicea. She slams all the Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer types as well as no doubt Rob Bell and other heretics. No problem there. The American Church is filled with false teachers and apostates.

But....while I can't accuse her of Laodicean lukewarmness, after listening to her dozens of times on CrossTalk I can without hesitation accuse her of the same error found throughout American Evangelicalism. I would add her, AFR, and CrossTalk to the same list.

Idolatry. There's no other word for it. They have made America into a divine state, an object of worship and their affections. Not understanding the Bible, the nature of the Church and Kingdom, they have made a perilous and soul-destroying error and elevated a wicked empire (they all are) and given it Divine Sanction. This error, straight from the pages of the Apocalypse is the story of Church History.

A friend told me I've been on fire lately. I apologize...sort of. He didn't mean it as a critique, but I myself become concerned. I don't want to degenerate into some kind of ranting maniac. But from my perspective, things are quite bad. Understand what sense I mean. It's all going according to God's plan. We're to expect this. And as things get worse, God continues to work and the Remnant also progresses and becomes more manifest. So in that regard as things degenerate there is also much to be excited and optimistic about.

But you can't help but be moved, whether to tears or anger when you see what is happening in the Church at large.

Yesterday I drove by a 'church' that purports to be Conservative and Evangelical. They have one of those accursed signs out front and not to disappoint their's proclaimed:

Stop on in, we have great Sunday's

Big deal right? For those who might not get it. In the United States when you mix ice cream with chocolate syrup or some other kind of topping it's usually called a Sundae. So there's a little joke here as this church and many others like to borrow from logos and little sayings from our consumer culture. Another one you commonly see:

Wal-mart isn't the only saving place.

This is supposed to make you want to attend their church presumably to get saved. They're being kind of cute, attempting to be clever and get your attention by mixing Americana with....some kind of marketing strategy? What are they hoping to accomplish?

Before this degenerates into a rant, I'll make my point. I read my Bible and I'm not reading it as some book of rules. I'm not reading it looking for codes, hidden meanings. I'm not reading it with my newspaper in hand trying to find the secret meaning behind current events. I'm not reading it to have my best life now, or to find seven secrets to a better marriage. I'm not reading it so I can work to take over the world or to affirm some kind of romanticized notions I have about the country I live in. I don't want to read it to defend a political or theological tradition, to construct coherent philosophical systems that I can turn into political and cultural action.

I read it to know God and to be reconciled to Him. To know His ways and His character. I want to know the truth because it is true, because its the way the universe works.

I guess I just get upset because when I see those signs on Churches or when I listen to 'christian' radio....

I don't know what god they're worshipping. It's not the one I know from the Bible. I'm not the standard. My experience isn't the lens by which to look at these things, but when I listen to these christian leaders and how they view the church and the world, I'm left with a dilemma. Maybe I'm lost? I suppose they would say so. I am so antithetical to almost everything they stand for and care about it would seem we're standing for two different religions.

But I go back to my Bible and I am comforted and I press on. I read history and I am comforted because this has all happened before. For centuries groups of people clung to the Bible. They were imperfect, they did not have all the answers but they were facing the same thing. They faced a Christendom narrative and theology, an acculturated version of the faith, a perversion of doctrine stemming not from Scripture, but from alien ideas, speculation, and arguments driven by necessity from bad cultural-theological foundations.

We are there once again.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your post, I could’ve written myself. I stumbled onto your blog a few weeks ago when I was looking for a connection between dominion theology and dispensationalism. I read your post titled “Advancing the Kingdom Pt. 4” and it’s the only thing I’ve been able to find regarding those two positions together. I was trying to figure out why dispensationalists are so frightened of dominion theology, when their view is just as erroneous. My only guess is dominionists or sacralists as you refer to them are not really concerned about Israel. Maybe dispys don’t want to lose their position, who knows.

As you pointed out about Crosstalk, I too started to see the “Christian nation” sentiments in most of Ingrid’s writing and programs. I’m grateful for sites like hers for helping me indentify what was not right in the seeker friendly church I was attending a few years ago. But now I really need to move on and read my bible for the same reasons you mentioned in your post. And AFR, buffoonish and juvenile are perfect words to describe most of what I hear on that station.

Ever heard of Brannon Howse at Worldview Weekend? Lately he’s been slamming Christian American patriotism and rightly so. But unfortunately, he’s wrapped up in dispensationalism. The other day he proposed that maybe Japan’s earthquake and tsunami were a result of God’s judgment. Apparently some guy named Bill Koenig says there’s evidence that Japan was urging Israel to give up “covenant land” prior to the disaster. What a horrible thing to say! Doesn’t the bible say that the sun rises on the evil and the good and the rain falls on the just and the unjust?

Also, here’s a link for a Wash. Post article about Chuck Colson that was interesting. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/evangelist-chuck-colsons-final-mission-spiritually-cloning-himself/2011/03/01/AB10oL9_print.html

Thanks for letting me rant. Urging

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "urging" at the end of my post was a typo.

fleebabylon said...

One is left wondering if the American Church is just simply under Judgment and being handed over to delusion, blindness, and the endorsement of lies and murder.

What to say brother, words fail me...

Protoprotestant said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for writing. Yes, Dispensationalism (which I grew up under) has long been antagonistic to Reformed varieties of Dominionism. However, the Culture Wars have led them to embrace many of its tenets. You're absolutely right, Israel is the big stumbling block.

Dispensationalism isn't as bad as it used to be. Most have abandoned the Scofield system in terms of different forms of salvation and some of the other older peculiarities. However they retain the whole eschatological system and so when Covenant Theology comes along and identifies the Church as the New Israel and that God is either done with the Jews or their only task is to bring them into the Church, the Dispensationalists get quite upset.

Hal Lindsey wrote a book...The Road to Holocaust or something like that. His basic premise was that if you didn't embrace Dispensationalism you would end up an anti-Semite.

He laboured to show how Catholicism's Replacement Theology led to all the medieval pogroms and the modern Holocaust.

But he missed it. It was Replacement Theology or Covenant Theology, or even Dominionism per se. It was Constantinianism, the Christian version of Sacralism that led to the persecution of the Jews. I think Constantinianism is fueled by and buttressed by Dominionist notions.

Like I've said though, Francis Schaeffer changed everything. Now you've got mainstream Dispensationalists teaching forms of Dominionism on the radio. Modern Dispensationalism has become pretty schizophrenic.

It's America and Israel vs. the world. What's really strange though is if I were a Dispensationalist I sure wouldn't be upset over the downward spiral. I would be rejoicing...the Rapture is going to happen right? If events are headed toward the Tribulation and the 2nd Coming we must be getting close to the pre-2nd Coming/2nd Coming...the Rapture. Why do they want to fight it? It's like they're trying to fight God's will.

Protoprotestant said...

As far as the radio...yeah, it's aggravating because sometimes, programmes like CrossTalk do stand for the truth and are helpful. I've even heard a few Focus on the Family shows that were decent. Not many, but every now and then there's something good.

I have heard of Brannon Howse. I'll have to look that up because I've also heard him on CrossTalk basically functioning as a Republican operative. I'd be curious to see if he's just inconsistent or perhaps nuanced.

And yes, the Dispensationalism throws a wrench into the whole matter. Not only will that skew our thinking in regard to nations and geo-politics, but it also fatally misunderstands many key doctrinal points from the NT regarding the Church.

Thanks for the Colson article. It was interesting. I wrestle with whether he's just deceived or deliberately deceitful. Probably a bit of both. He was a wicked guy back in the day and though he pretends to repent, kind of like Newt Gingrich, he makes other statements that indicate he's quite proud and unrepentant. Listening to him, I've always had the impression he's bitter that being a felon he's been excluded from directly participating in the political realm. But, he was recruited by The Family in the early days and he's been one of their top men. They got his little black book of connections as well as his insider knowledge. He's brilliant but sinister. It seems like now that he's in the twilight of his year, he's just trying to make a name for himself and establish a legacy.

He is indeed on of the main leaders of late 20th century/early 21st century Evangelicalism.

I just happen to think it's nothing to boast of. It's a badge of shame.

Thanks for writing. It's an encouragement.

And to Jim- words fail me too! Just kidding. I'm afraid sometimes I just explode and start to rant. It's so overwhelming sometimes it's hard to know where to begin. I am encouraged though. The numbers are small, but I think there are a growing number of people who know something is wrong. Hopefully as they go searching they will turn to their Bibles instead of some new fad.

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding to my post. I have a question for you though. I thought Dominionism and Constantinianism were synonymous. Would you mind explaining the difference? Plus, have you ever heard of the New Apostolic Reformation? Does that tie in somehow? Brannon Howse was talking about the NAR on his show yesterday, you should check it out. I don’t if he’s turning into “chicken little” or maybe he’s on to something. He even admits he was a “Republican operative”, but no more. http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-radio/episode.php?episodeid=18532

I hope you don’t think I’m some kind of paranoid kook, I’m not. I’m just trying to figure out what’s wrong with the Church and stay away from false teaching. And what I’ve been seeing and hearing lately is very disconcerting and surreal. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Thanks, look forward to your response.

Protoprotestant said...

Constantinianism is the Christian version of Sacralism...the idea that a culture or nation is somehow holy and thus by implication its institutions and agenda are also divine. All cultures more or less engage in some form of Sacralism. That doesn't mean it's something we should endorse...it's just something fallen man does. He builds idols and tries to make a name for himself.

Dominionism is the idea that we're to try and transform the world in the Holy Realm. We're to transform and subdue every part of the fallen creation and make it part of God's Kingdom.

We would all agree that after Christ returns and we're in the final state or the Age to Come, that indeed all will be Holy...but that can't happen pre-2nd Coming.

I think Dominionism leads to Constantinianism, and certainly gives it teeth. There are some Constantinians who are perhaps inconsistent and unprincipled. And you have some Dominionists that believe we are to try and achieve the goal of universal dominion, but don't believe we will necessarily succeed. Many of these folks also believe that our cultural achievements will continue on into heaven. We'll have Back and Rembrandt in the Age to Come.

The difference is subtle. More or less they do go together, but not in every case. And of course, there are many variations.

Dominionism is a more thought out and consistent way to go about and pursue a Constantinian agenda.

Protoprotestant said...

As far as the New Apostolic Reformation.

Yes, this is Dominion theology tied to Charismatic Theology. So it takes on a different tone, but it kind of stems from the same root. At this site whenever I'm talking about it, I'm usually focusing on the Reformed version which was disseminated through F. Schaeffer who in turn was largely influenced by the Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper.

It's through these channels that it has trickled down to Colson, Dobson, Falwell, and others.

I don't think the Charismatic version was built on the same foundation, but from what I understand there's been a little bit of cross-pollination as it were.

If you look over at the link list on the right, there's websites like The Reformed Traveler and Sola Dei Gloria. They've got a lot more information regarding the Charismatic end. That's not by background, so I don't know as much about it, except I know it's growing.

I will check out the Howse show. There's a good example. I've heard him and others on CrossTalk discussing the NAR. And as far as that goes...they're good. But when it comes to many other issues....not so good.

I'm sure no one reading this thinks you're a kook at all! That's why I started writing some of this stuff. I keep running into people who are struggling to figure out what's going on. If you're reading your Bible, then you can hardly be content with 99% of what's passing for Christianity. But what are the alternatives? A bunch of whacked out stuff, cults and the like. It's very frustrating. So I started writing and slowly I've found others. We don't agree on everything, not at all. But there's a common spirit and commitment to Scripture as well as something of a common discernment. Some of this stuff out there is so blatantly wrong and it is really disconcerting to watch people just chase after it.

So welcome and please feel free to question, critique, or challenge. I'm not looking for anyone to agree with me 100%. That's not possible nor frankly desirable. I want to provoke and challenge in a healthy way. I'm hoping to maybe give people some tools or concepts to consider as they're trying to figure it all out.

I have one request. I don't place any restrictions on posting comments, so you can post anonymously. But, could you sign your letters even with a nickname or something, just so we don't confused by different people posting anonymously?

Thanks. And again...welcome.

Anonymous said...

From Vicki:
Welcome to the discussion, Anon!
I don't at all think you're a kook, Anonymous! My background has lots of exposure to the NAR, and it is bad stuff. Everyone we used to fellowship sweetly with is now either NAR or reformed theonomic or or reformed christo-american. The NAR is quite militaristically dominionist, but in a gnostic new age super-spiritual way. The "streams" are beginning to flow together more and more these days, which Sola Dei Gloria's blogs note.

If you have been a real Christian since the 70's or 80's, what is passing now for Christianity is hardly recognizable! What a time to be seeking the Lord and praying and encouraging one another.
Vicki