Hello, I’m Brannon Howse, and welcome to the Worldview Weekend Hour. Tonight I want to speak to you on a two-part series – we’re going to have to spend at least two weeks on this – “Pride, Pragmatism, and Profit.” Pride, pragmatism, and profit. These, I believe, are the three snares that have compromised evangelicalism. Please understand again the theme here is pride, pragmatism, and profit, the three snares that I believe have compromised evangelicalism.
Our main verse for this series, although we’ll look at a lot of Scripture over the next two weeks, our main verse is going to be 1 John 2:16, which reads, “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world.” I’m going to explain to you what this verse means in context. What does it mean when the writer in 1 John is saying “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life?” What is John saying there in 1 John 2:16? I’m going to explain that to you, if not this week, we’ll get to it next week. We’ll see how far we get.
A lot of what I’m going to share with you tonight is going to be history. Before we turn to the Scriptures – and we will look at a lot of Scripture dealing with pride, pragmatism and profit, but before we do that, we need to, I believe, lay down some history here. I believe it’s very important for us to understand how evangelicalism got where it is today in order for us to understand what are the snares that we ourselves need to look out for.
Recently, Glenn Beck spoke once again at Liberty University, and it got me to thinking, “How did Liberty University get to the point where they would bring in, as their commencement speaker a few years ago, Glenn Beck, and then as a convocation speaker, just a few weeks ago, in April of 2014, Glenn Beck to speak for a second time?” It’s very evident what the worldview of Glenn Beck is if you spend any time listening to his program, watching his website, reading his articles, reading his book Seven Wonders that will Change Your Life. It doesn’t take long to realize that Glenn Beck, by his own words is a Mormon. But I believe he’s more than that; I believe he’s a New Age Mormon. I believe he’s following New Age teachings mixed with Mormonism. And yet, there was Glenn Beck, once again, at Liberty University, speaking, as I said, for their convocation service in April of 2014. How does an institution like Liberty end up in such compromise? That’s the question.
And so, I began to do some studying this week, and I believe that we have to come to an understanding that much of what is going on at Liberty University today, and much that is going on within evangelicalism today is as a result of the example that has been given to many young people today, many people who are no longer younger but middle aged, who learned from their fathers, who learned from the last generation. In other words, the new religious right, as I’m fond of calling them – to distinguish between the religious right of the ’70s and what I call the new religious right of today – many of the new religious right today learned, I believe the issue of compromise and pragmatism for the issue of profit from the last generation. And I want to explain that to you tonight.
I want to share with you some video clips that are quite shocking, and I’m going to share with you some video clips from the mid-’80s that some of you have probably never seen. But first, let’s deal with Glenn Beck at Liberty University. Here he was, as I said, speaking for their convocation service in April of 2014, this New Age Mormon Glenn Beck. Watch this video clip of Glenn Beck at Liberty University, claiming before these thousands of students that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was a martyr. And then he shows the pocket watch of Joseph Smith. Watch this clip.
Days before Joseph Smith was martyred, he was taken out by the sheriff. They tried to tar and feather him several times. He was taken out by the sheriff, and the last time they took him, they said, “You owe $200.00,” or I think it was $25.00, “You owe him $25.00.”
He said, “I don’t owe a man anything.”
He said, “No, you stole a stove.”
One of the most ridiculous charges I’ve ever heard. At that time, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket watch. This is his pocket watch that he pulled out. He gave it to the sheriff and said, “I owe man nothing.” They let him go, and they killed him. But on the warrant for his arrest, he wrote on the back of his warrant to his people, “Put down your guns. No matter what happens, put down your guns. Put down your guns and trust in the Lord.”
Well, let me make it very clear, Joseph Smith was not a martyr. Joseph Smith was a thug. He was a shyster. He was a thief according to numerous historical accounts. Glenn Beck said he wrote on the back of his arrest warrant to put down your guns, and yet the real history of Joseph Smith is that he himself didn’t put down his gun. And in fact, a gun was smuggled into him, into his jail cell there in Missouri, and it was a six-shooter, and he begins to shoot at people who were in the jail there.
The story is that some folks came into the jail, and some say that there was a group of people that were coming there to deal with him, maybe a mob. But regardless of what it was, the facts seem to be rather clear, from numerous historical accounts, that a six-shooter had been smuggled into Joseph Smith, and when this group came into the jail, he began to have gunplay with them, and was shot and was killed. He was not murdered. He was not a martyr. He is not someone to be respected.
Joseph Smith was the leader of a cult, known as Mormonism, that believes that god was a man of flesh and bone who evolved to become a god and now lives on a planet near the star of Kolob, where he has eternal sexual relations with his goddess wives and sends spirit babies to this Earth. And every Mormon man that lives a good Mormon life and has his marriage sealed in the Mormon temple, he and his wife can become a god and a goddess and have their own planet and have eternal sexual relations and send spirit babies to their own planet. And so, they believe in many gods; they’re polytheistic.
And yet here is New Age Mormon Glenn Beck at Liberty University saying that Joseph Smith was a martyr. And not only that, Joseph Smith talked about putting down your guns. Well, Joseph Smith didn’t put down his own gun; he was killed in a gun battle himself, and he wasn’t a martyr. But yet how many of the students at Liberty University know that? Why would Jerry Falwell, Jr., introduce, as he did, Glenn Beck and put him up in front of these students yet once again?
Let me play another clip. This is Glenn Beck at Liberty saying that God spoke to him and told him what he was to say during a speech that he delivered in Israel. Perhaps you remember Glenn Beck’s rally that he held in Israel a few years ago. Well, Glenn claims that God spoke to him. Well, I guess that means that Glenn is a prophet. Right? Because if God is speaking today audibly to someone, then they are receiving a message from God. I guess that makes Glenn Beck a Mormon prophet? Glenn is clearly telling us he’s into mysticism. I’d like to know either Glenn is (a) making this up or (b) he’s really hearing voices, and then I would say, “Who is it that he’s hearing from?”
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism also claimed to have had an angel come to him, the angel Moroni. Yet it is no secret that Joseph Smith was involved in occultic activity. What is Glenn Beck involved in if he’s truly hearing voices? Or is he making it up? I don’t know. I can only report to you what Glenn has said, and here is the video clip of Glenn saying that God spoke to him and told him what to say at this rally in Israel. Watch this clip.
I’m walking down the streets of Jerusalem praying, “Lord, what do you want me to say? What do you want me to say?” And unlike anything I have ever felt before, I know the love, I know the gentleness of Christ. I’ve never felt the wrath. “Lord, what do you want me to say?”
“You tell them I am coming, and I will settle scores.”
So, God is telling Glenn Beck what to say and to tell people that He’s coming back and He’s going to settle the score? Well, here’s Glenn Beck at Liberty University saying that God is our Father; God is our Father, as though all the students there at Liberty University – thousands of students gathered in this convocation service, and some of the leadership of Liberty University, including Jerry Falwell, Jr., that can be seen sitting on the platform there, as though they all worship the same God as Mormon Glenn Beck who has said he is a Mormon. Watch this clip.
But it is important to understand not what the world has said, that He’s our Creator. He is our Father. He is our Dad.
Well, of course, that is nothing more than ecumenicalism. But then again, what do you expect when you have Glenn Beck at your school, who organized his One Nation Under God rally in August of 2011, I believe it was, or 2010. 2010 – August of 2010, on the mall there in D.C., on the grass there, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where he challenged everyone to gather of all faiths and look to one God and literally interlocked arms, including, according to Glenn Beck, even with Muslim imams. What do you expect when you bring him to your school, and why is a self-professed Christian university, that claims they want to train young people to be champions for Christ, why are they bringing Glenn Beck to speak to these people, to these young students, these young, impressionable minds?
Here’s another clip of Glenn Beck stating that he is a Christian. He’s a Mormon. He says he’s a Mormon, but he’s a Christian of a different denomination. Again, here is the great, I believe, lie of Mormonism that they are wanting to convey, that Mormonism is just another Christian denomination. And how many times can so-called evangelicals become useful idiots for the cults and the false religions of the world? Please understand, when I use the term useful idiots, I’m not calling anyone a name. That’s a historical term. Evangelicals seem to be – self-described evangelicals seem to be, again and again, useful idiots for the false religions and the cults of the world.
And there he stands at what is described as the world’s largest Christian university saying, “I’m a Christian. I’m a Mormon, I’m of a different Christian denomination, but nonetheless, I’m a Christian.” And then he goes on to praise Joseph Smith and talk about Joseph Smith, the martyr of their faith, and ask these young people what do they stand for. Again, why is this going on at Liberty University? Where is the outcry from evangelical Christians today over this, or are they too busy entertaining themselves to death, or have they become so tolerant they don’t realize a false religion and ecumenicalism when they see it? Watch this clip.
I share your faith. I am from a different denomination. And a denomination, quite honestly, that I’m sure can make many people at Liberty uncomfortable. I’m a Mormon. But I share your faith in the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. I ask you now, in my faith, we have a guy who gave his life for what he believed in. You don’t have to believe it. I’m not asking you to. I’m asking you, what is it that you believe? Are you willing to give your life?
Well, here is Glenn Beck promoting what can be described as nothing more than Mormon theology. He speaks about the Grand Council. The Grand Council sends people here for different jobs. This is, if you look it up, nothing more than Mormon theology when you’re talking about the Grand Council. And yet, where is the press release after Glenn spoke at Liberty? Where is the press release from Liberty University denouncing Mormonism?
We’re still waiting on the press release of Liberty University to denounce the worldview and the philosophy and the theology and the heresy of Benny Hinn, who a couple of their guys were on a television program a few weeks ago. We’re still waiting on that. But then again, was Liberty completely clueless as to the fact that Glenn Beck is a New Age Mormon? How could you be? Glenn has been quite vocal about what he believes. But here is, on the platform, in a convocation service, at a Christian university – so-called Christian university, talking about the Mormon theology of the Grand Council. Watch this clip.
I don’t know what the reason was. But I can tell you this; it wasn’t – nobody – nobody in the Grand Councils, as we are all saying, “Okay, Lord, what is it you want me to do?” No one – I can tell you now, I do not believe the Lord said, “Well, I’m going to send you down, ’cause you need to be an accountant.”
All right, now, again, Jerry Falwell, Jr., should have known very well what Glenn Beck stands for, because a few years ago, when they had him speak at their graduation service, Glenn Beck declared this New Age phrase. Watch this.
I Am that I Am is the most phrase in any language, as it is the name of God, and never take it in vain. Use it to create who you want to be. I am blank.
Folks, that’s nothing more than the law of attraction, name-it-and-claim-it. The New Age movement practices this. Oprah Winfrey has promoted many things like this. Joel Osteen promotes this very thing, the power of I Am. This is nothing more than New Age teaching. And sadly, it’s come into – quote – Christianity today, through the Word of Faith, positive confession, but it’s within false teaching. It is false teaching that’s come into the Church today through the theological cult of the Word of Faith. It’s within the occult of the New Age movement. But here was Glenn Beck at Liberty University, spouting this a few years ago. That should have been one of their clues – of many – not to bring Glenn Beck back to Liberty University. But indeed, they did bring him back, and he spoke again at their convocation service in April of 2014, as I told you.
Now, none of this is really shocking to me for a couple of reasons. One reason is because Jerry Falwell, Jr., was a guest, according to Glenn Beck’s own website, in 2010. And Jerry Falwell, Jr., who was there to introduce Glenn Beck, as you will see if you look up the entire speech online – Glenn Beck’s website reports that Jerry Falwell, Jr., had this to say when he was a guest on his radio program back in August of 2010 – quote – If we don’t hang together, we’ll hang separately. I mean that’s what my father believed when he formed the Moral Majority, an organization of Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, people of no faith. And there are bigger issues now. We can argue about theology later, after we save the country. End quote.
My friends, that is a ridiculous statement, as I have described in other programs. And I give this quote in my book Religious Trojan Horse, and I describe a lot of this in Religious Trojan Horse as far as this quote by Jerry Falwell, Jr. But this idea that you can set aside theology, and we can work together with all religions to save the country is not even biblical, much less practical, because Glenn Beck himself, at his event, was calling for people to look to one God. One God. That it was a spiritual event, not a political event. Glenn Beck wasn’t setting aside his theology. And yet, here’s Jerry Falwell, Jr., saying, “We can set aside theology and all come together to save the country and argue about theology later.”
Well, Glenn Beck’s not doing that. Glenn Beck wasn’t setting aside theology; he was calling people to unite under one God, all faiths, and look to God, “It’s a spiritual event.” And yet if a nation is to be saved, it has to be because there is repentance in the land. Right? The Scripture seems to lay that out rather clearly, that a nation of believers that do not honor God and follow God can be brought under judgment. We see in Romans 1 that when the pagan, the unbeliever rejects God over and over, God gives over their nation; God gives over their nation; God gives over their nation. Romans 1 is clear as to that’s what happens to the pagans. So, their response needs to be – what? – to repent, if indeed they could. At that point, maybe they’ve been so given over their conscience has been seared as with a hot iron.
But we also know from 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 that if unbelievers unite in spiritual enterprises with unbelievers, God will not welcome them, bless them, or have favor on them. Well, what is the opposite of that? Judgment. So, for Jerry Falwell, Jr., to say, “We can set aside theology, we can argue about theology later, after we save the country, is ridiculous, because the only way you can redeem a nation is through the preaching of the Gospel and the changing of people’s hearts through the power of the Gospel.
Now again, this isn’t – doesn’t surprise me because back in 2010, I noticed Liberty University hosting an event there on their campus called The Awakening. And there’s a picture on your screen. And maybe you can identify them, but in that collection of speakers you have false prophet Rick Joyner, false prophetess Cindy Jacobs, false prophet Lou Engle. These are all people that make up the New Apostolic Reformation that I talk about in great detail in my book Religious Trojan Horse. And if you don’t understand the New Apostolic Reformation which, by the way, Business Insider, in January of 2011, said was the fastest growing movement inside Christianity that you’ve never heard of. And it is growing rapidly.
If you want to understand more about it, you can order my book Religious Trojan Horse, where I deal with it in a couple of chapters there. And if you don’t want the hard cover copy, you can get the e-book right now in our bookstore at worldviewweekend.com/bookstore. Worldviewweekend.com/bookstore. You also get a copy of Religious Trojan Horse automatically in your membership when you join the Situation Room at situationroom.net. Situationroom.net.
But here’s Liberty University, back in 2010, holding a spiritual event called The Awakening with known false teachers. So, this is not new for Liberty at all. Now, here’s the point I want to make tonight. Why is this happening? And this is just one of many examples where we can show you institutions – Christian institutions, Christian organizations, Christian ministries, churches that have gone away from biblical truth. That have entered into spiritual enterprises with unbelievers, with false teachers. They have embraced false theology, or at least the false teachers that are preaching a false theology. Why does this seem to be an epidemic in America and in other parts of the world? Is this something new, or was this actually going on in another generation? The reality is it was actually going on in another generation.
Now, I’m not going to get into it in great detail tonight, but I will in my upcoming book Harlot Church. And I’m not saying this to be unkind. Please understand, I’m not saying this to be unkind. But one of the people that opened the door to this religious Trojan horse, and it created a movement, whether by default or by design – and I think it was probably by compromise, not on purpose – one of the people that has helped to open the door to this religious Trojan horse that is now building a harlot church was none other than Billy Graham.
And I know that’s very shocking for some of you. I think it was Martyn Lloyd-Jones who correctly said that Billy Graham was preaching the Gospel while he undermined the Gospel. Billy Graham was preaching the Gospel while he undermined the Gospel. In other words, back in about – I think it was 1957 – in the 1950s, Billy Graham had the option of sponsoring one of his crusades with known conservative evangelicals, or the modern-day liberals that were known as the modernists. Modernists. These were people who rejected the authority of God’s Word. They rejected the authority of God’s Word. They were really into higher criticism, this idea that you can’t really trust the Word of God as the authoritative, inerrant, sufficient Word of God. They were known as modernists. And Billy Graham had the choice, in the 1950s, to sponsor one of his crusades with known conservative evangelicals or the modernists, and he chose to go with the modernists. And I believe, as I detail in my upcoming book Harlot Church, that Billy Graham helped to open the door to the religious Trojan horse in ecumenicalism within mainstream evangelicalism.
And I can detail, and I have, the documentation from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the St. Louis Dispatch, where Billy Graham was training – having trained the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association counselors – counselors were being trained for his crusades in Catholic churches, particularly in Minneapolis, where a Catholic church was the location. Where counselors for one of Billy Graham’s crusades that was held in the ’90s, at the Metrodome, there in Minneapolis, the counselors included self-professing evangelicals, and Christians, and Catholics being trained at a Catholic church.
And in fact, some of the leaders of the Catholic Church there in the Twin Cities said this was an opportunity for them to bring home disenfranchise to Catholics. And many people, when they would go forward at a Billy Graham crusade, and would say that they were a Catholic, or they were a lapsed Catholic, or they had been Catholic but had stopped going to the Catholic Church, they would be directed back over to a counselor that was with the Catholic Church. Some of cards were diverted right back to the Catholic Church for follow-up after the crusade. Folks, this is all documented, and I’m not pleased to report this. Did Billy Graham preach the Gospel? Many times I’ve heard it with my own ears. I’ve seen the black and white video footage of him preaching a solid Gospel and the moral law, the character and nature of God, and using it to bring conviction of sin or the awareness of sin, the moral law, the school master that brings you to repentance through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, yes, I think Martyn Lloyd-Jones was right. Billy Graham preached the Gospel while he undermined the Gospel with these ecumenical activities. And I think a lot of it was due to pragmatism. And yet, that’s the title of our show tonight, of our program, our broadcast, “Pride, Pragmatism, and Profit.” And many people will compromise for different reasons. Some for pride, some for money, but pragmatism is right there. Pragmatism seems to be the foundation for so many decisions that have been made that are the snare to compromise the Gospel. “Well, we can reach more people if we do that. We can bring in more money. We can have more converts. We can have a bigger following.” And they begin to be involved in pragmatism, the belief that the end justifies the means.
But Billy Graham wasn’t the only one doing this, and we all have to be careful not to do it ourselves. I have to be careful not to be involved in pragmatism or compromise for selfish gain, whatever it might be. Many of you know that I have made some decisions over the last few years that have cost me, and I had to come to a fork in the road and make a decision, “Will I be quiet? Will I allow my silence to be purchased with threats or intimidation or be told, ‘Hey, if you mention what you’re mentioning about these people who we’re working with in an ecumenical prayer rally, if you mention this, you won’t be able to rent our e-mail list’? If you mention this, you won’t be on our radio network anymore. If you mention this, we won’t promote your conferences.’” And I had to come to the position where I said, “Will I compromise? Will I be involved in pragmatism?” It’s a hard decision to make, and sometimes it comes with a price.
So, this message of “Pride, Pragmatism, and Profit” is one that I must preach to myself as much as to anyone else. But Billy Graham wasn’t the only one. I looked at Jerry Falwell, Sr., and I believe that a lot of what Jerry Falwell, Jr., is up to today at Liberty University is because he saw what his father was doing. I believe there are many in evangelicalism today that saw what Jerry Falwell was doing, what Billy Graham was doing, what other members of the evangelical community were doing, leaders of the evangelical community, leaders of the religious right were doing, and many of them today are mimicking what they were involved in. They are copying their compromise. They were poor examples for the next generation, I believe, in many ways. In some ways, they were good examples, but in other ways they were very poor examples, and they have opened the door to our religious Trojan horse and to ecumenicalism, and to pragmatism.
Let me give you an example. But before I give you an example, let me say I knew Jerry Falwell. I was a guest on his television program there in Lynchburg, flew out there, was on the set with him as a guest. I had him on my radio show a couple of times. I wrote for his newspaper, the Liberty Journal. I didn’t agree with everything Jerry was up to. I’m not – I can’t judge his heart, and I’m not going to. Jerry, of course, is now deceased. I can only look at what he was doing and say, “Did that line up with Scripture?” In some cases it did; in some cases it didn’t.
But I have to tell you, I’m shocked at some of the things that I uncovered in the last few days in researching for this program. Like I said, I knew Jerry Falwell, and I didn’t know these things. I have talked this week to people who knew Jerry Falwell a lot better than I did, and they didn’t know some of these things. I have talked this week to one gentleman that was on staff at Liberty University as a professor. He didn’t know some of the things I’m getting ready to share, but yet it’s there in the Los Angeles Times, in Forbes Magazine, in The Washington Post. And I believe this gives us an example of the dangers of pragmatism, of compromise, of ecumenicalism. And it’s still a lesson for us today.
So, I want to be as gracious as I can in presenting this, but I believe this is very important history. Because you see, I was talking this week to a couple different people. One of my friends who is about 35 years of age. He was not aware of some of the history that I’m going to lay out tonight. I asked him, “Do you remember when Jerry Falwell took over the PTL Club from Jim Baker?” He didn’t know what I was talking about.
I talked just this morning to a man that’s a national radio talk show host and tracks a lot of what’s going on within evangelicalism today and the compromise, and I said to him, “Do you remember when Jerry Falwell took over the PTL Club?” And this man in his mid-30s didn’t know what I was talking about.
One reason I’m doing this program is to not only teach the biblical truth that I’m laying out and will lay out in this program and the next, but it’s also to give some history so that the young people in this 20s and 30s, and even maybe some folks in their 40s – early 40s – who weren’t aware of these things, weren’t really watching these things that were going on at the time, will understand this history, and we can avoid the same snares of pride, pragmatism, and profit.
Well, for those of you who don’t remember, and for those of you who do, Jerry Falwell took over the PTL Club in about 1987. I was a junior in high school. I followed it extensively, this part. There’s some other things I learned about this week I did not know about in relation to Jerry Falwell’s association with Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a cult leader. I’ll get to that in a minute. That was all new to me this week.
But I was very aware that Jerry Falwell took – was trying to save the PTL Club. He took over, trying to pay off its debt. And what his ultimate goal was, I don’t know. I can only speculate. Some believe his ultimate goal was to get a hold of the satellites, because at its peak, the PTL, the Praise the Lord Club, led by Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye Bakker, was on a lot of television outlets. And some believe that Jerry’s ultimate goal was to get a hold of that satellite network. I don’t know what his ultimate goal was; he shouldn’t have done it.
In fact I, in the early ’90s, spoke at a church a couple of times of a man in Maryland, who was the pastor of a Baptist church in Maryland, and he was on the board. He told me he was on the board of Jerry Falwell’s organization, and he told me, to my face, that the board begged him not to get involved with the PTL, and he didn’t listen. That’s what I was told by this board member, this pastor, who’s now deceased as well.
But I remember this, when it was happening, because I was in high school. It was on Nightline, and I was watching Nightline pretty much every night. I loved those news programs, and I was watching it. So, I’m very aware of this part. But for some of you, this is new history. Jerry Falwell goes in to try to take over the PTL Club after its leader, Jim Bakker, was accused of some immorality and other things. And Jim Bakker finds that the PTL organization, there in – right on the border of North Carolina/South Carolina, has a ton of debt. And Jim Bakker was building what was known as Heritage USA, and this big hotel and amusement park, family theme park and water slide, and Jerry Falwell begins to try to raise some $22 million to start with
And first of all, Jerry shouldn’t have even been involved in this because of the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity-gospel false teaching that Jim Bakker and the PTL Club was involved in. He shouldn’t have even been involved. And a lot of Baptists and Southern Baptists were quite upset with Jerry Falwell, and I believe a lot of people, from what I’m told and read in the press, a lot of folks stopped contributing to his organizations. So, Jerry shouldn’t have even been involved in trying to take over the PTL because of what it stood for. It should have been allowed to collapse and close, I believe. But Jerry Falwell, for whatever I believe pragmatic reason, jumped in and tried to take over and raise $22 million.
And I want you to watch this video clip, because here’s Jerry Falwell saying that if he can raise $22 million for this struggling financial PTL Club, he’ll go down the water slide there at Heritage USA in his suit. Now, folks, watching this seems like something you would see on Saturday Night Live, on a Saturday night, where they’re mocking Christians. But folks, this isn’t some sitcom or hour program, on prime time television on one of the major networks, mocking Christians. Sadly, this really happened, and I think it was an embarrassment to evangelicalism. But is this a perfect example of pride, pragmatism, and profit? Is this a perfect example of people wanting something, and going after it, and in the process compromising the Gospel and bringing a bad reproach onto the Gospel? I believe it may very well be. Watch this clip.
Jerry Falwell: As a matter of fact, we’re so sure we’re going to make it, that Doug Oldham and I yesterday – I willingly, Doug reluctantly – agreed –
Male: Very reluctantly.
Jerry Falwell: – agreed that when the one thousandth member of the Resurrection Committee has called one of these phones behind us – and the PTL singers and a lot of us will be taking calls – when the one thousandth call comes in, we are going – Doug and I are going arm in arm, or foot and hand, or whatever, down the big water slide on national television.
Male: Well, that got my money.
Well, I guess he raised the $22 million, because he ended up going down the water slide. Watch this clip.
Jerry Falwell: $22 million. Was it worth it? I don’t know.
Doug Oldham: Well, for once it was. I don’t know about –
Male: Lean back, lean back.
Jerry Falwell: Lie back?
Male: Lean back there.
Jerry Falwell: [Hollering] It’s cold. I’m ready.
Doug Oldham: Go for it. Go for it.
Jerry Falwell: I’m ready.
Well, a lot of folks are not familiar with that footage. A lot of you are seeing it for the very first time. Listen to what the Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1987, reported. The Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1987. I have the hard copy right here. Here is what we read in the L.A. Times. It’s quoting Jerry Falwell as saying:
“There are some pastors who are telling us that they are pulling out their students from Liberty University and cutting off their financial support from the university because we’re trying to prevent the destruction of PTL,” Falwell lamented in a sermon last Sunday morning, at his Lynchburg, Virginia, church.
The article in the Times went on to say, quoting Falwell, “I’m not here to stamp Jerry Falwell on this ministry,” referring to the PTL Club, “or to create an independent Baptist empire. I’m here to maintain what has been a Christian ministry for the family of God period.”
Well, my friends, that’s shocking in itself. Why would you want to maintain something like the PTL Club that was led by Jim Bakker, with his name-it-and-claim-it prosperity false teaching? It was not a ministry. And it was not a ministry to true Christian believers. True Christians saw it for what it was: a silly television program that brought embarrassment onto true evangelicals. It undermined the Gospel, and it was not something that was a ministry to the family of God. True believers saw it for what it was. So, Jerry should have never been involved, I believe.
The Los Angeles Times, in April of ’87, went on to say, “Falwell is the only top electronic preacher who doesn’t have a satellite network and thus has to syndicate his programs. Falwell aide Mark DeMoss told the Times that, “Falwell is indeed considering using the PTL satellite for his own network, but has not yet made a decision about it.”
Now, this next part, folks, is new history to me. I learned all this, this week. I knew all about the PTL stuff and his involvement with that and going down the water slide, and I thought that was an embarrassment. If I had known what I’m getting ready to present to you, I’m not so sure I would have ever had anything to do with Jerry Falwell as far as writing for his newspaper, or appearing on his television program, and having him on my radio show years ago.
In fact, needless to say, when I was doing all that, I wasn’t a believer; I was a false convert. So, I like to think that if I had been a true believer, I would have had the discernment to see through this. But at that time, I was very young, and I was heavily running in the circles of the religious right, a movement, and the new religious right, which I oppose today, and that’s why I wrote the book Religious Trojan Horse, subtitled “How False Teaching from Neo-Evangelicals, the New Religious Right, and the Spiritual Left have Invaded the Church to Establish a Coming Religious World Government.
I make it very clear; I don’t shy away from telling you that I used to run in the circles of the religious right with some of the people that you would readily know, that are members of the religious right, including men that would come and speak at our conferences, who were – like Dick Armey or Tom DeLay, when they were U.S. House Majority leader. Each of them, at different times, were U.S. House Majority leader and came and spoke at Worldview Weekends. I had many other people that were prominent in the religious right at some of our conferences.
But when I became a true believer, in late 2001, I began to change my conferences in Worldview Weekend, away from the Christian activism and the moralizing and to the issue of false converts, because I had been one. To the issue of, “What is the Gospel?” And I began, as I grew in my Christian faith, truly understanding the Bible now with the spiritual eyes necessary, I began to understand that the religious right in America, many of them that I had been running with and known and been on their programs and they had been on my programs, many of them that I had respected, that indeed I gradually grew to not have so much respect for them anymore.
I came to believe that the religious right in America actually was probably perhaps one of the most dangerous movements to the Church ever to exist. And I’ve come to believe more recently that the religious right of the ’70s and ’80s was involved in activity that really laid the foundation for what we see much of the new religious right doing today. Here’s an example. This comes from the Los Angeles Times as well, but this one is dated November 16, 1997. It’s entitled “The GOP’s Own Asian Connection.” “The GOP’s Own Asian Connection, Reverend Moon.” Reverend Sun Myung Moon.
Some of you, again, have no idea who Reverend Sun Myung Moon is; you’re too young; you don’t remember. Others of you know exactly what I’m talking about, and in just a minute, I’m going to give you a little overview of what is the theology, the worldview, the philosophy of the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who just died a few years ago. But here’s what the Los Angeles Times reported in 1997, an article by Robert Perry, who was a correspondent for the Associated Press and Newsweek. Quote:
Much of Moon’s influence buying is done in secret and often occurs when conservatives are vulnerable to being bought.
Let’s just stop right there. When conservatives get themselves into debt, when evangelicals – so-called evangelicals – get themselves into debt, my friends, that is when the pragmatism really begins. You see, this series is entitled “Pride, Pragmatism, and Profit.” I believe that pride becomes a big issue for many of these people. Pride is a big issue for most of us, right? For some of us it’s a bigger issue than others. Others might have an issue with gluttony or with gossip, and others struggle more with pride. We all, even as believers, struggle with certain sins in our flesh that we need to die to daily, do we not, and have our life marked more by obedience than disobedience?
So, I’m not sitting here saying that I have conquered the issue of pride. All of us deal with that issue. But for some people, their pride goes unchecked and unchallenged, and they begin to say, “Well, I need to build myself an empire. I see what other people have, and I need to do the same thing or have it bigger.” You might have a pastor that says, “I need to have a big church. A lot of my pastor colleagues in a certain church denomination, they have big churches and large congregations, and I want to get the same thing.”
And so, they begin to preach an easy believism, or they begin to preach a man-centered gospel in order to attract more people. And their pride causes them to set aside a pure Gospel and go to a man-centered gospel that feeds the flesh in order to draw a crowd. Pride.
And then pragmatism: the end justifies the means. “Well, I’m reaching more people. At least I’m bringing in the unbeliever, and I can give them the Gospel.” But by that point, folks, it’s a watered-down Gospel. And so, pride and pragmatism. And then it becomes about the profit, the bottom line. They built a big building, and now they need to pay the mortgage.
And I’ve watched many churches and organizations and – quote – ministries do this very thing. I’ve watched churches that were solid, Bible-teaching churches, where a pastor maybe let’s his pride start to cause him to say, “Well, I don’t have the church as big as they do. I want what they have. I want those accolades. I want that attention. I want that recognition.” And they take a church that’s completely debt free, and they’re having a great ministry, and they start to compromise. And they build a big building, thinking that, “If we build a big building – a big, fancy building – they’ll come,” kind of like that slogan from that movie, “If you build it, they will come.”
And they think if they build a big building, that folks will show up saying, “What’s going on here? Look at this big, fancy building.” And so they do, and they go from a church that was debt free to a church that’s millions of dollars in debt. And I’ve watched it happen. And yet, after they’ve built the big building, people don’t start showing up because we’re living in a day and time where people today aren’t really all that concerned about how big and fancy your building is.
I know of churches in our area that are not even in their own building. They rent a movie theater. They rent a school auditorium, and they’re huge. Why are they big? Because they’re appealing to the flesh. They’re these seeker-sensitive churches, and many of them are not churches that have long names like First Baptist of this, or First Evangelical Church of this city. They’re short names like Oasis. Oasis.
And so, some of these pastors have built big buildings, thinking, “If we build a big building, the people will show up.” And they take their church from being debt free to being millions of dollars in debt and build a big building, and people don’t show up because that was a different era, a different time. People aren’t showing up because you got a big building; they’re showing up because of the program, and what you’re teaching, and are you making them feel good in a cotton-candy Christianity world.
And so, now you’ve got this big building and millions of dollars in debt, and the attendance isn’t going up. If anything, it’s going down. And so, what does the pastor start to do? He begins to soften his message. He begins to compromise. He becomes more experience related and talks more about things that are really emotionally based, not biblically based. Starts to manipulate people with feelings and a lot of stories and experiences.
And pretty soon, you’re appealing to a seeker-sensitive generation, which I call a center-sensitive generation, to get the numbers up and the dollars back up. And what has happened? Pride. Then pragmatism: the end justifies the means. And now, we’ll use the pragmatism to justify bringing in more people for the dollars, the profit. Pride, pragmatism, and profit.
Now, I’ve seen many churches do this all over the United States of America. I’ve lived long enough to see this happen many, many times. But I’ve also watched – quote – Christian ministries and evangelicals get their organizations in debt and then be vulnerable to being bought, and that’s what the Los Angeles Times is saying about Moon. It’s says, again, this article back in 1997 says:
Much of Moon’s influence buying is done in secret and often occurs when conservatives are vulnerable to being bought. A recent example is Christian right leader Jerry Falwell, who feared his fundamentalist Liberty University in Virginia was slipping into bankruptcy. Desperate for infusion of cash, Falwell and two associates made an unannounced trip to South Korea in January 1994, where they solicited help from Unification representatives.
According to documents on file in court in Bedford, Virginia, months later, Moon’s organization funneled $3.5 million to Liberty University through a clandestine channel. The money was delivered through one of Moon’s front groups, the Women’s Federation for World Peace.
And by the way, it turns out Moon had a lot of front groups he was using to infiltrate evangelicalism.
You see – you notice a pattern here? Whether it’s Jerry Falwell, Sr., and his connection to Reverend Moon, or Jerry Falwell, Jr., and his connection to Glenn Beck, you notice a pattern? In some ways, I feel sorry for Jerry Falwell, Jr., that his father didn’t show a better example to him. But we have a pattern here, from the Moonies to the Mormons. But what is the issue. Pragmatism. Pragmatism. Pride. The Los Angeles Times went on to say that this money:
It passed through the Christian Heritage Foundation, a Virginia nonprofit corporation, that was buying up and forgiving Liberty’s debt. On January 28, 1995, during his nationally televised Old-Time Gospel Hour, Falwell credited the directors of the Foundation, Daniel A. Reber and Jimmy Thomas with saving Liberty. Falwell made no mention of his more prominent financial angel, Moon, who is objectionable to many fundamentalist Christians because of his unusual biblical interpretations and his recruitment of young people away from their families.
The writer of this piece in the L.A. Times in ’97 says:
I discovered the $3.5 million contribution while examining the Internal Revenue Service records of Moon-connected organizations. On the 1995 tax report for Women’s Federation, there was a line item listing $3.5 million going to the Christian Heritage Foundation. Susan Fefferman, the Federation’s vice president, admitted the money was targeted for Falwell’s Liberty University.
Now, what’s very shocking, my friends, is that just a few weeks ago, I played for you video clips of some of the folks from Liberty University – two guys from Liberty University, one of them being Dr. Ronald Godwin, who has the title Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. He appeared with another guy on the television program of Benny Hinn. And we played that video clip for you and our great concern.
Well, what I’ve since learned, in my research on Jerry Falwell and Moon, is that this same vice president at one time worked for Reverend Moon. He worked for Jerry Falwell, then he went to work for Reverend Moon’s organization, and then back to work for Jerry Falwell. And I found this in Forbes Magazine, forbes.com. Forbes.com dated August 6, 2008. Here’s what we read:
Besides his sons, Jerry, Jr., and Jonathan, there was a third force guiding Jerry Falwell in his decade – Liberty’s chief financial officer, Ronald D. Godwin.
“My own little career beats the fool out of fiction,” says Godwin, 67. Godwin is a veteran of the religious right, who did two tours of duty with Falwell. They travelled together everywhere. As Falwell disbanded the Moral Majority in 1987, Godwin was approached by an official at the Unification Church to see whether he might be interested in working for Moon. The job was senior vice president for New World Communications, the Unification Church-backed publisher of the Washington Times.
“They offered me a ton of money and the chance to travel around the world.” That’s a quote from Godwin. It was an easy decision for Godwin, but a tough one for Falwell, who sat in Godwin’s office in tears when Godwin broke the news.
Godwin became an ambassador for the Washington Times and a roving efficiency expert for the giant constellation of Moon’s enterprises in real estate, hotels, and restaurants. He swooped in on Moon-owned operations to analyze productivity and suggest ways to squeeze profits. He says he got to know all of Moon’s children and attended their birthday parties.
Godwin had returned to Liberty after a 12-year absence, becoming Falwell’s chief financial officer and spokesman in 1999. When he returned, he was rich, but his personal life was a shambles. Falwell was alone in his sympathy for Godwin. To some faculty members, hiring Godwin was blasphemy. He was a twice-divorced single man, who had spent the last decade working for the Moonies.
“In our subculture, hiring me was a very outrageous thing to do,” he says. Falwell made a prescient countermove. He convinced the board to appoint Godwin as executive vice president and Liberty’s chief financial officer. Falwell had saved Godwin; now Godwin would say Falwell.
My friends, that’s only a portion of this article from forbes.com. I was just reading excerpts of it. You should go to the website and read the entire thing for yourself. But, folks, before we close, what you need to understand is, this man worked for Jerry Falwell. Then he went to work for Reverend Moon. Then he went back to work for Reverend Falwell, where he is reportedly still in leadership at Liberty University today. From the Moonies to the Mormons. Do you see a pattern?
I believe we’re talking here about pride, pragmatism, and profit. And I believe these are three snares of evangelicalism and have been for some time. They’re snares for all of us. But what is it that Reverend Moon believed? It’s shocking to me that Jerry Falwell would take any money from Reverend Sun Myung Moon. I don’t care how you try to justify it through pragmatism; he shouldn’t have been taking his money.
Not only did he take his money, Falwell admits in some of the reports I have here – look, I mean this is just a portion of the reports I have on what Falwell was up to; I have far more in my office. Falwell admits in some of these reports that he did go and speak for Moon – Reverend Moon’s events, some of his events.
It was well known that Reverend Moon was trying to weave his way into the Church in America. It’s well known, and I’ll share with you next week, Reverend Moon was talking about the need to resurrect Christianity, and that he wanted to do it, and that he would – Moon would move in with these evangelicals into enterprises and be seen with them and have pictures taken with them and then use those in his publications to mainstream his cult. Why would Jerry Falwell or anyone work with him? And he’s not the only one, by the way.
Here’s an article from Christianity Today. This comes from September 7, 1984, Christianity Today, “With Their Leaders in Prison, Moonies Pursue Legitimacy.” Subtitle, “Tim LaHaye and other Christians are helping the Unification Church battle the perceived threat of government intrusion.” There was a lot of Moonie money being thrown around. Say that ten times fast – a lot of Moonie money being thrown around.
And it’s sad, once again, the evangelicals that didn’t seem to have the discernment to realize they were being used as useful idiots, I believe, to try to give credibility to a cult. Just as the Mormons and Glenn Beck, I believe, try to use evangelicals to give credibility to their cult. And I believe people are susceptible to this because of pride, and pragmatism, and profit.
You want to know what Moonie believes? Some of you have no idea who Reverend Sun Myung Moon is. He died a few years ago. His cult isn’t like it used to be, but many of you know how he is. But some of you don’t. My friend, the late Ron Carlson, who went to be with the Lord in June of 2011, preached a sermon, in 1978.
Folks, this was all going on in the 1990s, some of this money that was swapping hands, and this article in Christianity Today, dealing with Christian leaders like Tim LaHaye and others, that was in ’84. I mean – by the way, Tim LaHaye is quoted in this article as saying that he didn’t know really what it is that Moon believed. He wasn’t really up on the doctrine of Sun Myung Moon. Well, he could have asked Ron Carlson, because Ron Carlson, in 1978, was giving speeches in churches, giving sermons in churches, warning about this cult of Reverend Moon. And yet here in the ’80s and ’90s, with some of the biggest leaders of the religious right working with him and, I believe, giving him credibility, whether they meant to or not.
So, what is it that Reverend Moon believed? Here’s an overview from my friend Ron Carlson’s sermon. Reverend Moon believed this:
Eve sinned by having sexual relations with Satan. A second Adam was thus required, and Christ thus came to Earth to find a sinless woman by which He would procreate the kingdom of God on Earth. Moon taught that Jesus was not able to bring in the kingdom of God because He got Himself crucified.
Moon taught that there thus needed to be a third Adam. He said that in 1936, Jesus appeared to him on a hillside in Korea and told him he was chosen to complete the plan of salvation that Jesus had failed to complete. Moon taught that in the late 1930s and 1940s, that as the savior of the world, he – as the savior of the world, he was to have sexual relations with 70 virgins, 70 married women, and 70 widows so he might pass on his purity to them and sexually bring in the kingdom of God on Earth.
In the 1950s, he changed his theology to say that blood atonement was required, and that meant non-stop exertion of his followers in servitude to Father Moon. He would call himself “Father.” So, he said no longer was the kingdom going to be brought into this sexual process, but that it was now going to be brought in through blood atonement. And the blood atonement that was required was non-stop exertion of his followers in servitude.
Now, folks, if you study the cult of the Moonies, the Moonies were involved in brainwashing teenagers, brainwashing young people, stealing them from their families. Ron Carlson worked with many families to try to get their kids unbrainwashed and away from the Moonies. Ron Carlson worked with many who were former Moonies, who were now – who were then helping him to get other kids out of this Moonie cult.
And the Moonie cult, according to numerous reports, including Ron Carlson, was known for brainwashing. They were known for torturing people. And so, they would also have their followers believe that they were to be involved in atonement that meant non-stop exertion in working for Father Moon, which for many of them included 18-hour days of selling flowers and trinkets on the streets, which is how many believed that Reverend Moon ended up with millions and millions and millions of dollars.
May I ask you, why would any evangelical leader, why would any member of the religious right have anything to do with Reverend Moon? This was in ’78 that Ron Carlson’s reporting on this. And many of them were involved with him in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ron Carlson went on to lay out that Reverend Moon began to teach that he and his fourth wife were the true parents of humankind. He said that his fourth wife that he married, in 1960, is the Holy Spirit incarnate. He said their marriage was the marriage feast of the Lamb recorded in Revelation 19. He said their eight children were the new sinless offspring that would bring in the kingdom of God. He said Korea was the new Israel, and that the 38th parallel, dividing North and South Korea, was the battle line between God and Satan. So, this is why he was so involved in political work – political work – in America and in his anti-Communism efforts. Moon taught that his followers were to hate the cross, and they were to hate the blood of Jesus Christ.
Would you please pay attention to what I just said? Reverend Moon taught that his followers were to hate the cross, and they were to hate the blood of Jesus Christ. Folks, I’m only scratching the surface of what I have to share with you. And I believe it can all be laid at three snares. It can all be laid at the feet of three snares: pride, pragmatism, and profit. And I believe that many of the religious right were involved in this in the ’70s and ’80s and ’90s, and it’s a lesson and a warning to us.
And next week, I’m going define pragmatism in greater detail. We’re going to go to the Scripture, and we’re going to look at what the Scripture warns about us not being involved in the snares of pride, pragmatism, and profit. And I’m going to share more video clips and more startling information that many people just don’t know, and they need to know this history so that it isn’t repeated again.
Folks, I’ve spent hours preparing this program, and let me just tell you, there are many people that are afraid to produce this kind of television and to talk like this on the radio. We broadcast on 40 stations live every day, Monday through Friday. We put this program out all over the world, and there are many people who are part of the good-old-boy club that are afraid to say the things that I’m saying tonight. I long turned in my membership card to the good-old-boy club. I believe the religious right and the new religious right, and their ecumenicalism, and their moralizing, and much of what they’re doing today is a complete undermining of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I’m not afraid to say it. I’m not afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to warn the Church. I’m not afraid to look at what they’ve done – and are doing – and to make sure that we aren’t doing the same thing.
Now, next week I’ve got a lot more to cover with you, and we’re going to look at a lot of Scripture next week. I needed to lay down a lot of the history today, and then next week we’re going to look at a lot of Scripture as we make sure we are not caught up in the snare of pride, pragmatism, and profit. Till next week, I’m Brannon Howse, thanks for watching.