11 May 2011

Discerning Discernment Ministries- Part 3

updated 5 Oct 2011- I removed a factual error I made regarding the Department of Education. It was started under Carter, not Reagan...but that's hardly the end of the story.- proto


Howse:

Romans 1 clearly states that a nation that rejects God over and over will suffer five specific consequences and America is experiencing all of these now.

Romans 1:21-32

1. A Nation of Fools: V. 21-22

This verse declares that a nation that rejects God over and over will become vain, useless, futile or foolish in their thinking. Despite claiming to be so wise and so smart, the nation will become so foolish in their thinking that they will succumb to spiritual deception and accept spiritual lies and false teaching.

Proto:

That's really interesting in light of America's Christian Heritage which practically speaking has been a complete rejection of the New Testament teaching regarding the Kingdom of God and the ethics that govern it. From its initial support of rebellion, to its history of encouranging war and its long standing legacy of supporting materialism and seeking power, the American Church has a shameful legacy.

Interesting that so many have tied the fate of the nation to the fate of the church and spend all their time and energy engage in Dominionist and Political issues.

Howse:
2. The Nation Accepts Pagan Spirituality V. 25

The Denver Post in June of 2008, reported that pagan spirituality is doubling in America every eighteen months. Pagan spirituality is the worship of nature, the belief in pantheism which proclaims that god is all and all is god. Whether you call it Cosmic Humanism, the New Age Movement, the New Spirituality or pagan spirituality, this worldview is becoming the dominate worldview in America with the help of people like Oprah Winfrey as well as the leaders of the Emergent Church.



Proto:

Okay, paganism is on the rise. Actually I'd rather have pagans than false Christians. They're much easier to witness to. But if Americanism is a false religion as I maintain it is, where does that leave us?

Again though, he's assuming that somehow the nation can accept..Christian Spirituality? What's a Christian Nation look like? Where did this doctrine come from? Since when can unbeliever's worship and please God?

What's the solution to these problems? Electing Sarah Palin? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? Huckabee?

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of the kingdom at work here. Misidentifying the problem, leads to wrong solutions…wrong battles.

Our weapon is the gospel, not laws about Mexicans, increased Military and Intelligence spending, free market economics, or hanging the Ten Commandments on the schoolhouse wall.

This stuff just distracts the church. Instead of learning Scripture, we're learning about Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, and how bad Obama is. Instead of learning worthwhile doctrine and history we watch FOX news and get worked up.

Howse:

3. The Nation Accepts Homosexuality V. 26-27

Whether it is states that have approved homosexual marriage, the curriculum in many of America's public schools that teach the homosexual agenda, or the non-judgmentalism of a postmodern generation. Laws are seeking to give special rights to homosexuals and homosexuality continues to become an acceptable life-style to an ever increasing percentage of Americans.



Proto:

I've discussed some of the issues of society in other posts and why we as Christians should support freedom…which allows us to be free but yes...also allows sinners to go on in their sin. We don't expect much from the government, it will always fail in creating a perfect society.

As far as schools…any Christian who grasps the nature of the Church and of whom it is compromised and has a notion of what our duty is as parents….wouldn't even think of sending their children to a public school. Of course the schools are largely the result of attempts to create a uniform Christian society. It has backfired on them. Constantinianism, both Protestant and Catholic was the primary motivator in creating the original public schools.

Howse:


4. The Nation becomes violent and debased V. 28

A study by David Barton of Wallbuilders reveals that since the 1962, and 1963, U.S. Supreme Court rulings that outlawed prayer and Bible reading in America's public schools, our nation has seen a spike in the rates of murder, rape, child abuse, unwed pregnancies, and violent crimes.



Proto:

The fact that he would even quote Barton is telling.

Again, somehow an unbelieving teacher leading a classroom full of kids in some kind of deistic prayer….makes them Christian? Or does it create a Christian veneer that makes it even harder for the gospel to work?

Bible Reading? Great. Except can unbelievers understand the Bible? That's fine if they read it…God may even use it to convert them as he did me.

But again from a civil standpoint unless we're going to have state Christianity…you'd have to let the kids read other things as well….things many Christo-American parents might not want their kids to read.

Do these folks understand how a society works?

They don't seem to. They want a society dominated by them and everyone else had better get in line...or else what? That's what I wonder. The Theonomists are pretty clear about what they would do. But I'm not sure what these folks would do if they ever really wielded that kind of power.

A Christian society by force...interesting.

Howse:

5. The Nation's leaders are corrupt and immoral V. 32

This verse declares that when a nation continually rejects God, they will have leaders that are not only immoral and corrupt in their personal lives but they will also approve of and encourage immoral behavior in the people. Whether at the state or federal level, the leaders in our legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government are continually passing laws, handing down legal rulings, and signing executive orders and sponsoring legislation that is against the righteous judgments of God.

A quick look at Isaiah chapter five further reveals a few of the unrepentant and continual sins for which God will bring judgment to a nation. God warned Israel for these sins and America should also consider itself warned.

Proto:

Again, assuming a Christian nation is possible or that unbelievers can somehow act like Christians.

This is once again all assuming the Right-Wing Political viewpoint. I neither celebrate or lament the current state of law. Some things have improved, some things have declined….about what I would expect.

As far as the leaders……as long as he's willing to include the Republicans along with the Democrats, then fine. Generally that's not the case, though Conservatives and so-called Christian politicians have often enough been some of the worst.

Howse:

Isaiah 5

V. 8-10: Materialism:

Money is not the root of all evil but the love of money is the root of all evil and at the heart of materialism is the love of money. Materialism is a form of idolatry, it is the worship or love of money that also includes knowingly disobeying God's principles and standards in order to obtain money.

Proto:

Right. And most modern Christian financial teachers promote non-Christian views of finances and economics. Evangelicalism is largely middle class…the very block of the nation that most committed to materialism, consumerism, and the values that go along with those things. It's evident in their homes, cars, the way they raise their children…even in what they think they need to worship God…their multi-million dollar temples etc…

In many cases they've taken these values and throw the word 'Biblical' in front of them. The Church for the most part doesn't seem to have the tools to work through this. If they did, they would quickly discover the most popular Christian financial teachers are not reflecting the Bible's teaching on money at all.

Howse:

V. 11-12: Hedonism:

Hedonism says that the purpose of life is not to seek God but to seek pleasure. Hedonism rejects the absolute truth of right and wrong based on the character and nature of God and instead proclaims that if it feels good do it, you only live once, or eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Proto:

That's most of American Christianity. Howse and I would probably agree on that.

Howse:



V. 12: Apathy and Foolishness:

Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have bad consequences. Apathy has led Americans to take their freedoms for granted, to become intellectually lazy, to reject reason, logic, and context. The Bible speaks over and over about the need to acquire knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, yet Americans have done the exact opposite and have rejected knowledge. Wisdom is the acquisition of truth and knowledge is the application of truth. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is truth, that His Word is truth, yet Americans have developed an apathy toward God that has now turned into disdain toward His character and nature and this has made us a nation of fools.



Proto:

Sorry…I think most of the positions Howse and others like him advocate show this very lack of wisdom and understanding and instead demonstrate a blind and almost idolatrous commitment to a human kingdom and the ideas that support it. While full of zeal, I am constantly confronted with Christians who can tell me all about the latest in politics and current events, constitutional battles and moral statistics…most of these they get wrong in my opinion. But these same folks know precious little about Justification, Sanctification, the Two Adams, the Covenantal Structures of Scripture, Eschatology applied to Ecclesiology and Soteriology….the teachings of Scripture….how God governs the world and the Church…who He is and our place in His universe.

Instead it's Republicanism masquerading as Christianity.

Howse:

V. 20: Moral Relativism:

Since the late sixties, millions of American public school children have been educated with values clarification courses that proclaimed moral relativism which is the belief that all values and beliefs are equal because there is no absolute truth or standard of right and wrong.

Proto:

Yes, lost people are lost. The Christian Veneer proved to be just that…a veneer. It didn't last. Once challenged, it quickly crumbled.

Howse:

V. 21: Arrogance leading to spiritual deception:

This fits right in with Romans 1:21-25 where the nation becomes so arrogant and foolish in their thinking that they accept spiritual lies such as pagan spirituality.



Proto:

Or Syncretisms that are patently unscriptural but the masses do not have the discernment to see it.

Howse:



V. 21-23: Corrupt leadership and rulers drunk with power and enriching themselves with brides

and ill-gotten gains:

The examples of this are everywhere. Americans are beginning to realize that the majority of our local, state, and federal leaders are only interested in power, using their position to enrich themselves and their special interest groups so they receive kick backs, under the table payments, and political contributions for their re-election. A judge recently made national news because he had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to sentence minors to a private, juvenile detention center. The judge was thus sentencing minors to this juvenile facility for the smallest of offenses.



A Christian response:

Christians must occupy till the Lord returns.

Proto:

I hope he means tarry. This verse has been twisted by many as of late to mean…occupy/take over.

Howse:

Sadly, as America goes under, Christians that were only committed to the reconstruction of America or building a Christian America, will retreat from the culture and become defeated. This is not how Christians should respond. Duty is our and the results belong to God. If indeed God is judging America, (I believe He is) and if His judgment is going to greatly increase, (which I believe it will) then we need to use His judgment to preach the Gospel to the unsaved. As I stated in an earlier article, we need to see God's national judgment of our sins as an opportunity to speak in the natural realm and then swing into the spiritual realm. Explain to the unbeliever what sin is, why God must judge sin, and that the judgment that nations experience in this life is nothing compared to the eternal judgment that unrepentant individuals will receive in the next world. Share with them that grace and mercy is only extended to those that repent and that Jesus Christ has provided the way for us to pass from judgment into life.

Proto:

So he does indeed believe in Reconstruction and in building or to use a better term Transforming America. He just thinks things have taken a bad turn and wants to encourage people not to give up. He has no problem with the idea of a Christian Nation and viewing America as being some kind of 'special' nation even though the Scriptures give no warrant for such a belief.



Howse:

American Christians cannot rate our success on how Christian we make our culture because we may very well see a drastic increase in the persecution of Christians in America. American Christians are not exempt from even the kind of persecution that our brothers and sisters in Christ have experienced in China, Cuba, and many other parts of the world. Our faithful fulfilling of the Great Commission must be our standard for success as Christians, not our popularity in the culture, the balance of our bank accounts, the house we live in or the car we drive.



Proto:

It's sad indeed that it ever came to the point that Christian's judged their success in cultural terms. The problem with Howse is….he still accepts the whole paradigm of a Christian Culture.



Howse:

Peter Marshall put it this way: "It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail."Dr. Erwin Lutzer added to this by saying: "Better to fail within the church than to be successful outside of it…God wins even when the church appears to lose."



Proto:

The fact that Howse would quote two of the most vocal proponents of the Christo-American Heresy is very telling. While these particular quotes are fine, both of these authors have been great promoters of this error.



So in the end….Howse and the folks at CrossTalk may be helpful on some topics, but in many cases they're critiquing symptoms….symptoms of a disease they also are infected with. We end up with more confusion, more spiritual disease and the practical effect is their followers end up being twice as hardened in these positions.

Okay, you agree America is not a Christian country. But you think it WAS, that it COULD BE. You're on the other side of the line….now you're just arguing about symptoms and different issues related to the problems generated by this position.

Where I'm coming from is entirely different. From my standpoint there is very little difference between Howse and those like Glenn Beck that he's so critical of. They have more in common then they realize.

I'm arguing the Scriptures gives us an entirely different paradigm that allows us to think as Pilgrims and citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Though they would argue their positions are Biblical….they're asking non-Biblical questions to begin with…based off an assumption and thus their answers are not Biblical.

Their information can sometimes be helpful, but generally speaking I find they get a lot of their facts wrong. Sometimes it's a culmination of small errors, other times it's just a general misrepresentation of issues because they're viewed through the Christo-American lens. And even when they have discussions about Church Music or related issues, it's argued from a Constantinian standpoint…the so-called Canon of Hymns and the standards of Western Music… which again it to either assume that the West is the chosen instrument and/or to suggest that Bach and other Western artists are somehow Sanctified because they come out of our Constantinian heritage. This is a rather narrow view of things.



I know a lot of people who come to this site appreciate CrossTalk and Brannon Howse and will not be pleased that I'm critiquing them. I don't know these people, but I've listen to the programme and read their materials. Just because I critique them doesn't mean I'm a fan of the Emergent Church, Rick Warren, or Barack Obama. I want to strike at the root to answer the questions of the day. Crosstalk wants to trim the tree, but they fail to see that their views of America, Culture, and the Church would just cause the same tree to grow back over and over again. I want to cut the tree down.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I turned Crosstalk on one day last week just...I don't know why, really.
Ingrid was talking about the Royal Wedding and read the vows that were spoken.
She was very impressed with them. She was also impressed that the hymns that were chosen were "traditional" hymns.
She had some rather disparaging comments about modern "contemporary church" music.
I don't care for all contemporary praise music, either, but there are some that I really love.
But what can make me see red sometimes lately is that word "traditional".
It is as if we must all go back to some time that is designated by people like her and stop there.
Nothing written since that time is acceptable.
When Isaac Watts was beginning to write hymns, he was a young man who was tired of the "traditional" hymnody and decided to write something new. "Contemporary", if you will. People hated it! How dare he write anything new for the church!
Now he's traditional so he's ok.
How far should we go back? 100 A.D.? 1200 A.D.? Actually, most "traditionalists" seem to think anything written in the 1800's is alright.
After that - we begin to get contemporary and we don't want that.
What matters is the content - there are some "traditional" hymns that are very Biblically incorrect.

I pray you keep chopping at that root, John.
Bless you, Lisa

Anonymous said...

This is just more of the same from Howse, if he had even bothered to go back a litle in Romans 1 to verse 18, he may well have had a better go at putting this passage in its context.

vs 18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men....

Bereft from this passage is any notion of a " nation" , and yet Howse takes great liberty in tossing this terminology several times in to his take on this scripture. For sure, God's wrath is against all unrighteousness, not only the variety found in America. Just what is Howse's perception here, that only Americans are in sin, while the other " nations " are not?
The book of Romans is a fascinating one , Paul in his letter to the Romans makes some astonishing statements that even to this day many christians are unable to grasp. If Howse is unable to properly expound on these verses in a sound manner, then what chance is there of him in faithfully exegeting various other parts of this wonderful letter.

Ray

Anonymous said...

I wanted to share what a comfort it has been reading this particular post of yours and others on your website/blog.

I have been in search of like-minded individuals who have seen what I have been seeing, and who have heard what I have been hearing.

I have started to ask people if they are an "American Christian" OR a Christian who "lives in America"? I think you have put it better when you say the "religion of Americanism". Certainly it is a religion, or perhaps a cult, and it is in my estimation the most dangerous threat to the "real" church in the USA that I am aware of.

I look forward to continuing in reading through your blog, and THANK YOU for taking the time to put all of this together in such a readable and understanding fashion.

Anthony

Protoprotestant said...

Thanks Anthony....feel free to email me at protoprotestant@gmail.com

As you can see I've been largely offline the last couple of months. I've been tied up with a large work project coupled with a few other inconveniences. But God willing, I can return to writing soon. In the meantime I'm trying to get caught up on comments and email......