By Brannon S. Howse
When the National Association of Evangelicals was founded in 1942, it was organized in part to counter the liberalism of the Federal Council of Churches which eventually became the National Council of Churches. The Federal Council had been organized by Fabians Walter Rauschenbusch and Harry F. Ward, two revolutionaries we discussed in Chapter 2.
Today, the NAE embraces many of the same radical ideas supported by the National Council of Churches. From radical environmentalism to redistribution of wealth to compromising on biblical theology and doctrine, the NAE is a major player in the religious Trojan horse.
An article in the April 28, 2011 Christian Post explains the NAE’s participation on a socialist scheme called “The Circle of Protection”:
In a move that may be surprising to some, evangelicals have formed a coalition with progressive Christians as well as Catholics to oppose federal budget cuts that would hurt the poor.
“Progressive” is another word for a socialist. So even the Christian Post writer admits this is an agenda of socialists. The article also reveals that the NAE is working with Jim Wallis and the radicals at the National Council of Churches to accomplish their goal of redistribution of wealth:
Alongside the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, David Beckmann of Bread for the World and the Rev. Peg Chemberlin of the National Council of Churches USA, NAE President Leith Anderson is among the signatories to the “Circle of Protection.”
A progressive income tax is one of the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto so it should come as no surprise—since socialism is the economic philosophy embraced by Karl Marx—that Leith Anderson, Jim Wallis, and the other members of this theological and economic cabal embrace taxing “wealthy” Americans in order to steal the private property of one group and give it to another. The Christian Post reported:
In a Wednesday media call, coalition members also urged for increased taxes to the wealthy… The Circle of Protection’s mission is a continuation of the “What Would Jesus Cut?” campaign launched by social justice group Sojourners and Evangelicals for Social Action’s “Call for Intergenerational Justice.” All three proposals emphasize the biblical importance of helping the poor. They also all recommend that Congress explore other financial options rather than make cuts to programs that offer health, educational and food aid to the poor.
I would guess that Leith “Robin Hood” Anderson and Jim “the Red” Wallis have never started a for-profit business from scratch and earned an appreciation of America’s free-market system. Both men have likely lived their entire adult lives off the donations of others as the primary source of their church and organizational salaries.
What’s more, in talking about the poor, it is crucial that we understand the biblical definition of “poor.” In the Bible, someone who was poor did not have a coat or a place to lay his or her head. The Bible also speaks at times of the unsaved as poor. This is a reference to being spiritually poor.
What we call “poor” in America today is not poor in the biblical sense. The facts noted below refer to people defined as poor by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:
Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.
Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
While I believe in bringing the gospel and material assistance to the truly needed, the reality is that most of today’s neo-evangelicals are only interested in promoting their socialist agenda, not in helping those truly in need—and they are certainly not interested in sharing a biblical gospel.
NAE’s Third Way Proponent
Keep your eye on the NAE. I believe it is being driven by neo-evangelicals and change agents. For instance, one of the organization’s board members, according to its website at the time of this writing, is Pastor Joel Hunter.
For several years, I’ve noticed that Hunter’s name keeps appearing on lists of those who participate in one radical conference, initiative, or organization after another. He has a long history as a Methodist pastor but today is the founding pastor of Northland Church in central Florida. Northland boasts an attendance of 15,000 people in four locations.
Hunter is a proponent of the “Third Way,” the Hegelian Dialectic Process I discussed in Chapter 1 as well as in Grave Influence. Pastors such as Hunter want evangelicals and progressives to “dialogue” and find consensus on issues like global warming, abortion, stem cell research, and same-sex marriage. Yet 2 Corinthians 6:14 tells says this is impossible unless the “evangelicals” involved compromise on biblical truth: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
Author and columnist Aaron Klein revealed in a June 1, 2011 article that the NAE’s board member, Pastor Joel Hunter:
…is part of a group of evangelicals and progressives who organize under the auspices of the left-leaning “Third Way” organization. There, he helped draft a new position paper, “Come Let Us Reason Together: A Fresh Look at Shared Cultural Values Between Progressives and Evangelicals.”
Klein reports that Hunter “has spoken at numerous interfaith forums including a 2009 Georgetown University panel, ‘A Common Word: Religious Pluralism in the 21st Century’.”
Recall that President Bill Clinton, in his 1998 State of the Union Address, declared:
We have moved past the sterile debate between those who say government is the enemy and those who say government is the answer. My fellow Americans, we have found a Third Way.
I say to you that the apostate church has also found the Third Way, and it wants you to compromise biblical truth in order to join a consensus supporting this way. When you and I do not compromise, we will be accused of hindering unity. We’ll be castigated as “narrow-minded,” “bigoted,” “intolerant,” “selfish,” and “extremists.” Hate crime laws will be a likely tool to punish those of us who dissent from this consesus.
Pluralism holds that all religious are equal. So it is unconscionable that a pastor would take part in a panel that pushes the unbiblical philosophy of pluralism. It is worthwhile noting, though, that Georgetown University, where Hnter participated in the panel, is a Jesuit school. The Jesuits aggressively promote ecumenicalism, liberation theology, and dominion theology.
Klein also reports that Hunter, author of Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won’t Fly with Most Conservative Christians and A New Kind of Conservative, appeared at this Georgetown event with Ingrid Mattson of the Islamic Society of North America. This is the same Ingrid Mattson with whom Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention has served on the U.S. Muslim Engagement Initiative. Land has claimed that Christians need to build bridges to Muslims, but Klein explains why such a goal is absurd: “The ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas, and has been listed by the Muslim Brotherhood as one of its ‘like-minded’ organizations.”
Hunter is even listed on the website of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions as a participant and also as part of the United Nation’s “Alliance of Civilizations” from 2008-2010. So is he part of the New Religious Right, a change agent working undercover as a neo-evangelical, or a neo-evangelical who has become a change agent? Whichever is the case, I believe Hunter is on board the religious Trojan horse, hoping to convince evangelicals to accept a one-world religion.
I have warned the Church of people like Joel Hunter who want us to compromise with Third Way-think. In Grave Influence I explained:
The pastors and authors of one of America’s fastest growing spiritual movements, the Emergent Church, sing the praises of socialism. As I’ll explain in more detail later, the Emergent Church champions the neo-Marxist call for a utopian society through spiritual evolution where good and evil merge to form a “better” third option. This idea derives from the belief system of philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and finds its contemporary manifestation in the “Third Way” movement of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. In the Third Way, capitalism, socialism, and communism merge to form a misanthropic combination of the three. This blending is now represented in the terms “the New World Order” and “the new enlightenment.”
The Third Way promotes Communitarianism, a toxic blend of communism, socialism, atheism, and Cosmic Humanism. Communitarians believe in universal health care, government-subsidized housing and education, radical environmentalism, Fabian socialism, and the like.
Not to be hoodwinked by the window dressing of Third Way advocates, however, Vaclav Klaus, prime minister of the Czech Republic, warns against the real future it offers: “The Third Way is the fastest route to the Third World.” But that seems to be where communitarians (more about them in the next chapter) want to take us.
Dr. Amitai Etzioni, often referred to as the “guru” of the communitarian movement, founded the Communitarian Network in 1990. Etzioni received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, served as professor of sociology at Columbia University, and then went to George Washington University as director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies.
Etzioni characterizes President Obama as a communitarian in a February 4, 2009, Jerusalem Post article: “There is no philosophy that better describes Obama’s position than Communitarianism,” which Etzioni calls a philosophy “that would speak for community and the common good.”
Prior to Obama, Dr. Etzioni even noted Communitarianism at work in the Bush administration. In “Needed: Catchword for Bush Ideology; ‘Communitarianism’ Finds Favor,” a February 1, 2001 Washington Post article, Etzioni described the inaugural address of President George W. Bush as “a Communitarian Text.” The article also revealed that staffers inside the Bush White House were familiar with Communitarianism and the Third Way:
“This is the ultimate Third Way,” said Don Eberly, an adviser in the Bush White House, using a favorite phrase of President Bill Clinton, who also sought, largely unsuccessfully, to redefine the debate with an alternative to the liberal-conservative conflict. “The debate in this town the last eight years was how to forge a compromise on the role of the state and the market. This is a new way to rethink social policy: a major reigniting of interest in the social sector.”
Some have pointed to Communist Mikhail Gorbachev’s “perestroika”—which sought to merge socialism with capitalism when he was president of the USSR—as an example of the Third Way. Whatever you call it and no matter how it evolves, it is the foundation of tyranny and punishment of those who dissent and reject collectivism.
Communitarians have repackaged socialist ideas contrary to a biblical worldview and to the purpose and responsibility of civil government declared in America’s founding documents. Christians must expose and fight all degrees of socialism, communism, and Marxism/ Leninism. Regardless of how it begins or the assurances given, the end will be infringement of parental authority and freedom of religion, the elimination of freedom of speech such as radio programs that speak out against the government’s tyranny, the establishment of hate-crime laws that criminalize Christianity, and much more. But many Christians and pastors still just do not get it. Pastor Jim Belcher has written a book, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional in which he calls for the Emergent Church (neo-evangelicals) and traditional evangelicals to blend their worldviews. This is yet another recipe for building the religious Trojan horse.
Hunter’s approach has found appreciation in some very high places. In 2009, he was appointed to President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, and he has now served there with Lynne Hybels of Willow Creek.
Hunter writes for BioLogos, a pro-evolution organization for which Reformed Pastor Tim Keller and “Gospel Coalition” member also writes. Bio-Logos received a large grant from the Templeton Foundation which has been pushing evolution and ecumenicalism for years. Hunter, like Keller, is a major promoter of social justice.
It was Hunter’s passion for social justice and fighting global warming that caused him to resign in 2006 as president-elect of the Christian Coalition. The New York Times reported that Hunter stepped down “saying the group resisted his efforts to broaden its agenda to include reducing poverty and fighting global warming.”
That Hunter could even become the president-elect of the Christian Coalition reveals that the coalition is not interested in sound biblical theology and doctrine. At that point, it was already clear Hunter is not a conservative evangelical. I believe the reason groups like the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition have been so unsuccessful in recent years is that they lack commitment to solid biblical theology and doctrine.
A person’s theology and doctrine determines his or her worldview. The worldview determines values, and values determine that person’s conduct. Christians cannot change an ungodly culture unless they preach the Gospel, change people’s theology, and set right their errant worldviews. The culture war is a symptom of the spiritual battle described in Ephesians 6:12, yet most pro-family groups refuse to address theological issues because they do not want to offend their Catholic and Mormon donors. Once a pro-family or conservative organization abandons biblical theology and doctrine, though, it is left to fight only symptoms rather than the root problems of sin and apostasy.
Until these pro-family organizations take a strong stand on the Word of God and use the culture war as a platform to preach the Gospel, they will continue to spend millions of dollars with little to show for it. When James Dobson gave his retirement speech to the Focus on the Family board and employees, he all but admitted that there has been little success in the culture war:
James Dobson, 72, who resigned recently as head of Focus on the Family—one of the largest Christian groups in the country—and once denounced the Harry Potter books as witchcraft, acknowledged the dramatic reverse for the religious Right in a farewell speech to staff.
“We tried to defend the unborn child, the dignity of the family, but it was a holding action. We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles.”
In February 2006, I called Dr. Dobson’s office and talked to his personal secretary. I asked her to convey to Dr. Dobson the need to use his radio program to expose the Emergent Church and its social justice agenda, its attack on the Word of God, and its embracing of pluralism and mysticism. At the time, few Christians had heard of the Emergent Church, and I believed Christian leaders needed to warn the church of what I was already calling a religious Trojan horse in articles. I explained that the unbiblical theology and doctrine of the Emergent Church was not only going to take many of our young people spiritual prisoners, but it would also convince them that abortion and same-sex marriage are not biblical issues. Unfortunately, Focus never broadcast any such program even though the organization had interviewed and helped foster the incredible popularity of Tony Campolo many years earlier. There seemed to be no desire to name names or to warn the church of false teaching, to apologize for promoting such men as Tony Campolo and to explain why Campolo had become a threat to the church—as I explain below.
Why did Dobson choose not to interview men like Ray Comfort regarding the problem of having many false converts in the church? Or even simply to explain how to share the Gospel with our children, extended family members, and community like Jesus did? I believe if Dobson had worked with men like Comfort to train Christians in biblical evangelism, countless lives and families would have been transformed because the father or mother or child would have become new creations in Jesus Christ. While I appreciate some of the strong stands Dobson has taken, if he would have been less about “Christian” phsycology and more about biblical theology, he would have provided Focus on the Family far more of an eternal impact.
Regarding the status of the culture war, World magazine asked the president of Focus on the Family, Jim Daley, if the battle against same-sex marriage could be won. Daley replied:
We’re losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don’t know if that’s going to change with a little more age—demographers would say probably not. We’ve probably lost that.
Pat Roberston has also expressed doubt on how much his culture war activities have really accomplished:
In a reflective mood for Easter, evangelical icon and onetime presidential candidate Pat Robertson echoes the Rev. Billy Graham’s recent acknowledgement that he wished he had spent less time on politics and more time on the ministry and his family.
“When you get it all said and done, what did my work accomplish in the political realm?” Robertson wondered rhetorically during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV in which he offers an inspirational Easter message.
We need to follow the example of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, where he declares that his first priority is the gospel:
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
Christian pro-family leaders would do well to examine every initiative, project, book, speech, broadcast, and conference in light of whether it will further the proclamation of the biblical Gospel or compromise scriptural principles clearly laid out in God’s Word.
Copyright 2012 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.