Where Was the Church All This Time?

By Al Benson Jr.

Back during the 1970s and 80s Francis Schaeffer wrote a whole series of books that catered to a broadly evangelical audience. I didn’t read all of them but I did read a few, and some of them, to be honest, left me a little flat. Dr. Schaeffer passed away in 1984, I believe, but toward the end of his writing career (which was only one part of his ministry) he wrote a couple books that seemed to me to indicate that something had awakened him to where the country and the church in this country were really at.

He wrote A Christian Manifesto in which he noted through biblical history how many people that the Lord had blessed had disobeyed their rulers because their rulers were acting in open defiance of God’s will. One Bible verse he noted in this aspect was Acts 5:29. This was in reference to Peter and the other apostles preaching about Jesus and His resurrection in Jerusalem. They had been forbidden by the Jewish religious establishment from doing this. They were dragged in front of the high priest and the council for this and the high priest asked them directly, as noted in Acts 5:28 “Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” How conveniently they forgot their own statements, uttered in Matthew 27:25, when, after Pilate had washed his hands, they stated: “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” Remember that statement guys? Oh I realize you got the multitude to shout it, but it was your sentiment. Has it ever occurred to you that you got only what you asked for?

But in reply to the religious establishment’s command to stop preaching in Jesus’ name, Peter said: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). The Bible sets a precedent, regardless of how Romans 13 is misrepresented, that says there are certain places where it is the bounden duty of believers to resist and disobey government. If government commands you to do that which is contrary to God’s will, then you have to obey God rather than man.

Another interesting book that Dr. Schaeffer wrote toward the end of his life was The Great Evangelical Disaster. I had this on my shelf for years and never got to it, but in recent weeks I pulled it down and opened it and was surprised at how accurately Dr. Schaeffer had described what is going on in this country, and others, in our own day.

He wrote, in 1984 (the year is interesting) that: “Something happened during the last sixty years—something which cut the moral foundation out from under our culture. Devastating things have come in every area of our culture, whether it be law or government, whether it is in the schools, our local communities or in the family. And these have happened within the lifetime of many who are reading this book. Our culture has been squandered and lost, and largely thrown away. Indeed, to call it a moral breakdown puts it mildly. Morality itself has been turned on its head with every form of moral perversion being praised and glorified in the media and the world of entertainment.” And, at this point in time, you could add the federal government to that list. Sounds just like today doesn’t it? And this was written over thirty years ago. While I might not totally agree with Schaeffer’s timeline for all this (I think it started earlier) the thing is that he has seen the problem. He noted the great burst of freedom brought about by the Protestant Reformation, and he said: “The freedoms which grew out of this were tremendous; and yet, with the forms grounded in a biblical consensus or ethos, the freedoms did not lead to chaos” as much of our so-called “freedom” today does.

And Schaeffer noted, quite accurately, that: “Sixty years ago could we have imagined that unborn children would be killed by the millions here in our own country? Or that we would have no freedom of speech when it comes to speaking of God and biblical truth in our public schools? Or that every form of sexual perversion would be promoted by the entertainment media? Or that marriage, raising children, and family life would be objects of attack? Sadly we must say that very few Christians have understood the battle we are in. Very few have taken a strong and courageous stand against the world spirit of this age as it destroys our culture and the Christian ethos that once shaped our country.” He noted that this is a “life and death struggle over life on this earth.” He asked also “Why has the Christian ethos in our culture been squandered? Why do we have so little impact upon the world today? Is it not because we have failed to take the primary battle seriously?” He asked penetrating questions—questions that most Christians today do not even begin to want to deal with. Having to wrestle with these things would require Christian responsibility and much of the church today is not having any of that. Years ago I spent a goodly amount of time in an evangelical church and looking at the things those folks didn’t want to deal with was an exercise in futility. In most cases, for some of them, it was much easier to just put the messenger out of his misery than it was to deal with anything he said. I recall, one time, they had a guest preacher for one Sunday morning (he never got an invite to come back) and he told the congregation, quite plainly, some of the issues they needed, as Christians, to be aware of and he named names as to people and organizations that were contributing to the neutralization of Christianity. You could feel the discomfort in the congregation. They didn’t want to hear it. One man said, on the way out, “we don’t need any of this right wing stuff.” Yes, you did need it, but you didn’t want it and it wasn’t “right wing stuff” it was the truth! I told the preacher as I was leaving “You didn’t make any friends here today.” I agreed with his comments and there was one other lady there that was not unsympathetic, but his sermon covered territory evangelicals should have known about and didn’t want to be bothered with. The rest couldn’t get out fast enough!

Sadly, this is where most of the church is today. If you try to give them any truth you are some kind of a “right winger” or even worse yet, you are being “negative.” And that’s the most cardinal sin in evangelicalism today—being “negative.” Many Christians would much prefer a lot of “lovey-dovey” nonsense than having to deal with the truth—because the truth is often negative and history is often a real mess, and yet we have to deal with what is, not what we’d like to have.

What Dr. Schaeffer may not have recognized, (at least he didn’t write about it) is that much of the horrible downturn in our culture has not been by accident or by natural degeneration, though that has occurred.

Look at the history of the public school system in this country since its inception. It was the creation of Unitarians and socialists and they had a worldview that contributed to the cultural downturn due to their anti-Christian worldviews. I have always found it interesting that one of the first things the federal government did in the South after they were victorious in the shooting part of the War of Northern Aggression was to bring the public education system, replete with Yankee/Marxist teachers, into the South to “educate” the “rebels’ children.” This was cultural genocide, still being practiced today, and it’s a real downer when it comes to uplifting the culture. This was not by accident.

And even in the 20th century, when the Frankfurt School and John Dewey were putting the final socialist touches on American public education—where was the Church? Why didn’t they have some clue as to what was going on? Did they even care? Because it seems that they had no clue, we have the educational mess we have today and sadly, many Christians rush to defend that against such “primitive” concepts at Christian education and home schooling. Yet another example of many Christians coming down on the wrong side of history. Instead of defending what the Church was doing, though the Church didn’t do it perfectly, they opposed it and stood up for what Marx’s disciples were planning for their children. When the pastor of your church comes to your house and tries to talk you into putting your kids in public school instead of giving them a Christian education at home, then you have to realize that the Church has major problems!

So you will have to pardon me if I ask “where was the Church all this time?” It seems we’ve mostly been out to lunch for the past 150 years! Please understand, there are exceptions to this, but unfortunately, not enough. Not what there should be. The leadership in this country, in just about all areas, is at war with the Christian faith and their agenda is to destroy it—and maybe replace it with the Muslim faith. I have to wonder when the Christians will wake up and smell the coffee.

Please Don’t Awaken the Sleeping Church

By Al Benson Jr.

Recently on http://www.thedailybeast.com I read an article entitled: A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent. It was written by a Kirsten Powers. I don’t know anything about this lady but she did posit some thoughts that American Christians should be thinking about and probably haven’t a clue about.

Anyone who has read my material in recent years realizes that I have grave questions about what the Church in this country is doing (and isn’t doing). The Church today seems to be submerged in what I would call a wait for the rapture, just be nice, the Lord’s in control and so we do nothing theology. That’s about the briefest way I can describe it and keep it civil.

Powers states in her article: “Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.” She noted further down in the article an event that took place in Nairobi, Kenya that killed more than 70 people. She said: “The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab ‘confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.’ The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot…In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls.” It’s interesting that weve been told what a bad guy Assad in Syria is and yet Christians, it seems, have been safe under his government and they realize that if he goes, then their safety net is gone.

It’s the same game they played in Iraq a couple decades ago. We were all told what a scumbag Saddam Hussein was, and I will agree, he was no Sunday school teacher, but yet under his regime, Christians in Iraq were left alone. You can’t say that has been the case since. Christians in Iraq now are an endangered species. I find it interesting that in these instances, regimes that have not harassed Christians are the ones that our government has targeted. Any pattern here?

Powers has observed that: “American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.”

So what’s the problem with America’s churches? And what “issues” do they organize around that are so important that they easily overlook what happens to their brethren in other areas? Some organize to combat abortion. That’s good. No problem there except that not enough are doing it and not enough are concerned.

I am a Reformed Christian and so I expect I will make some folks mad with my comments, but I feel I have to say what I am saying here. This is a subject I have struggled with. Many churches and Christians today, and for over a century have been caught up in what I call “the rapture cult” (there was a book written by that same name around 30 years ago). The main idea is that the Lord could come back anytime now and so why be involved in anything political, educational, or culture changing because we won’t be here anyway—so just sit back and do nothing and don’t worry about it. You have to wonder where the rapture was for those poor folks getting slaughtered in the Middle East, or for all the martyrs over the centuries that have died for their faith, some of which are still dying for it. It almost seems that this rapture concept was invented for American Christians to keep them on the couch, and therefore doing nothing. Now understand, when I question the “rapture cult” I am not questioning the Lord’s second coming. Scripture says He will return and I believe that. I just don’t think it will happen in the next ten minutes like some of these folks do. Their belief in this neutralizes them.

Then there are the “just be nice” folks who don’t want to offend anyone, anywhere, at anytime and to call sin by its real name they’d have to do that, and so they don’t—anytime. Now admittedly, Christians shouldn’t run around trying to be ornery, but stop and think a bit. Obviously Jesus “offended” the Jewish religious establishment or they would not have schemed to get the Romans to nail Him to the cross. If you read the Gospels, Jesus spent quite a bit of time offending the Jewish religious establishment—and He did it not only by healing and helping people, often on the Sabbath, but He did it by telling that establishment the truth about Himself. They weren’t having any of that. Three years after He started His ministry they proved it. And they continued to prove it all the way through the Book of Acts if you care to read about it. Jesus told them that their religious establishment had become apostate and revolutionary and that He had come to inaugurate God’s Kingdom and do away with their religious establishment and that really ticked them off. It ticks off some Christians today, too, who feel that Christians ought to support political Zionism no matter what. This is a complicated subject and I will try to do another article on it later.

And, last but not least, at least for me, come the folks, many of them Reformed, who say “The Lord’s in control of it all, so why worry or get upset, just let Him take care of it all.” Again, let me state that I have never said the Lord wasn’t in control of all things. I don’t doubt He is, but, again, lots of folks use this as an excuse for doing nothing. If the Lord’s in control then He will sort it all out and I don’t have to do anything except go along for the ride. Another great neutralizer! The Lord’s in control, therefore, I don’t gotta do nothin’. I’ve talked with some of these folks and put forth the novel concept that, while the Lord is in control, maybe, just maybe, He wants to exercise some of that control through His people. That doesn’t go over real well. They don’t like that idea anymore than the Pharisees liked the idea of Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath.

I recently heard a minister say that maybe God is allowing Islam to do what it’s doing in this country and in Europe because the church is basically asleep, or so concerned about non-essential issues that it doesn’t have any time for what’s important. That might explain the great big yawn American Christians give when they hear about horrendous atrocities being committed against their brethren in the Middle East and Africa.

Somehow, American Christians seem to have been neutralized to the point where they really think “it can’t happen here.” They don’t realize that as long as they sit and do nothing about anything it will happen here and is happening while they enjoy spiritual slumber.

Between the Scofield Bible Notes, bland evangelicalism, and unconcerned “Reformers” the Church is in serious trouble in this country and in others as well.

Evangelical Marxism–part 4

by Al Benson Jr.

Eileen Flynn did an article for Cox News Service on October 20, 2008 in which she said: “According to the Faith in Public Life survey, younger evangelicals are more likely than their elders to support bigger government with more services and show more support for diplomacy versus military strength abroad.” Now I have no problem with genuine diplomacy, although I don’t think we get much of that anymore, and I think it’s long past time that America should quit trying to be the world’s policeman.  All that has done is to cost us American lives and much financial loss as well as the loss of good will around the world. Of course the multi-nationals are reaping big profits while everyone else suffers. As they say, follow the money. What bothers me is the seeming evangelical willingness to go along with more and bigger government. Where is that supported in Scripture? Didn’t any of these people even read 1 Samuel 8:10-20? The government has stepped in and taken over in many areas the churches used to be active in until many churches started practicing retreatism and were willing to accept Christianity as a “sub-culture.” I wonder where they ever got that idea–but then that’s a story for another series of articles which I guarantee would really tick lots of folks off.

There seems to be little discernment today among young evangelicals as to what the proper functions of government are (or aren’t). Of course if the majority of them attended public schools then that should come as no surprise. Many evangelicals are big supporters of public education and don’t want to hear about any other kind. One young evangelical noted that “Jesus is constantly talking about taking care of the poor, taking care of the least of these.”  And she honestly thinks that Obama’s platform better reflects the Gospel! This young lady needs to learn the lesson that party platforms, no matter which party, are strictly for public consumption and seldom reflect what a politician does once he is in office. Party platforms are for the gullible who actually think the president or whover will actually do what he said he would. I agree that Jesus is concerned for the poor, but where in Scripture does He advocate big government “taking care” of them? And how does the program of a Marxist candidate reflect the Gospel? Somehow that one is just a bit much for me to swallow.

In an article from http://www.cnn.com for July 2, 2008 it was noted that “Brian McLaren, a former pastor who spent 24 years in the pulpit and is now an informal advisor to the Obama campaign, believes that a significant portion of evangelical voters are ready to break from their traditional home in the Republican Party and take a new leap of faith with Obama.” McLaren stated: “I think there’s a very, very sizable percentage–I think between a third and half–of evangelicals, especially younger evangelicals who are very open to someone with a new vision.” Only problem is that Obama’s “new vision” is really the old, failed vision of Marxism and the poor evangelicals can’t figure that out. And part of that “new vision” is the desire to end “global warming”  and the war in Iraq.  I can agree with them about the war in Iraq, where we never should have been in the first place, but in light of the “climate gate” revelations only a few years ago I think they really ought to be willing to take another look at the global warming scam–if the media will ever actually report on it. On the other hand, maybe you had better check out the Internet. The “news” media won’t give you anything even approaching an honest viewpoint.

Another young evangelical noted that the Republicans had failed to deliver on the abortion issue. He was right, they did, but voting for a candidate who was openly pro-abortion and openly in favor of sodomite marriages somehow doesn’t strike me as a solution to that problem.

And often, the leadership in many denominations lets their people down. When they could give their congregations some truth, they take a pass and continue on with the usual leftist propaganda. A case in point in Richard D. Land of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. According to an article on July 19, 2010 on http://gulagbound.com by Arlen Williams “He (Land) is supporting the ‘transnational progressives’ cynical and destructive policy for imposing a virtual open borders policy and granting of amnesty to America’s multiple millions of illegal aliens. And he is joined by Matthew Staver, of Liberty Counsel and the frequently leftist-leaning Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, the world’s leading proponent of ‘seeker sensitive’ evangelical church services, this according to the New York Times article of July 18, 2010, ‘Obama Gains Evangelical Allies on Immigration.'”

Of course Richard Land has been listed as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. That he even belongs to this One World government organization should tell you something.

For decades the term “social gospel” was the Christian equivalent of a four-letter word. The social gospel was something that liberal “Christians” introduced as far back as the 1880s. (Yes, there were liberals back then and before). Gary North had an interesting way of describing it when he said: “When you hear the words social gospel immediately think ‘Pastors justification of armed government agents acting on behalf of certain special-interest voting blocs to take wealth away from other groups of citizens in order to benefit these special interests.’ This is exactly what the Social Gospel has always been. The central moral, judicial, and political issue of the Social Gospel is compulsion.” Mr. North, on http://www.garynorth.com (I don’t have a date for this article) noted that the Social Gospel started to become more prominent in the early 1900s, after it was adopted by the old Rockefeller-funded Federal Council of Churches, which in the 1950s morphed into the National Council of Churches. North states, and quite correctly, “The Social Gospel asks this question: What would Jesus steal? It’s answer: As much as he can convince politicians to vote for.”

Having said that, we now come to Jim Wallis, “the American Evangelical Community’s Most Famous Promoter.” Gary North observed that “Jim Wallis supports the economic conclusions of the Social Gospel. This is the #1 fact of his ministry and activism.  This is understandable. In his youth he was  a Marxist, or so the entry on KeyWiki says, for which it offers evidence.” North states, and correctly in my view, that “The Social Gospel is a theological defense of the welfare state.”

You expected to find liberals and liberal churches supporting the Social Gospel. So why are evangelicals now supporting it? This is the kind of thing  the new evangelical movement supposedly left the liberal churches to get away from. North observed of Social Gospel proponents in evangelicalism that: “Ron Sider arrived in 1977 with Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. He faded rapidly in the mid-1980s, to be replaced by sociologist Tony Campolo. Campolo’s close connection with President Clinton as one of his spiritual counselors backfired during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998.  Campolo then rapidly disappeared from the evangelical scene. Today, Jim Wallis is the best-known representative…Jim Wallis holds to Ron Sider’s original vision…” Anyone remember Mr. Sider? We started out with him in part one of this series. All these above-mentioned evangelical leaders have spent more than ordinary time promoting a leftist version of what Christianity should be.

The fact that the evangelical community has within its fold men who promote what only liberals promoted decades ago shows that the evangelical community has been severely penetrated by what may well be a creeping apostasy. Evangelicals need to start checking out some of those that burst suddenly upon their scene to attract a following and take the time and effort to find out where these people are really coming from.

Evangelical Marxism–part three

by Al Benson Jr.

Writer Roy Beck noted, in an article back in October, 2009, on http://www.numbersusa.com that: “Leaders of most of the nation’s evangelical Christians made a shocking endorsement of illegal-alien amnesty today in Senate testimony…Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the NAE, was invited by Senator (Charles) Shumer (D-N.Y.) to testify in favor of the Senate immigration chairman’s push to create amnesty legislation this fall. Sen. Shumer asked Rev. Anderson if many of his colleagues agree with his support for legalizing 12-20 million illegal aliens and increasing the legal immigration far higher than the 1 million a year current level…Rev. Anderson answered that there was no dissent in adopting the pro-amnesty resolution on the 75-member NAE board of directors. Zero dissent!” Not only that, the NAE doesn’t want to be bothered hearing any other viewpoints. Their minds are made up, so please don’t confuse them with any facts! So the entire NAE board of directors is in favor of amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. Charles Shumer is one of the most leftist members of the Senate, yet here he seems to be in concert with the NAE. That should tell you something–not about Shumer, but rather about the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals).

Roy Beck observed: “I would note that NumbersUSA and others have made requests to NAE for several years to present our moral arguments for less overall immigration to protect the stewardship of the nation’s natural resources and to protect the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. The NAE has resolutely refused to hear any voice but pro-amnesty voices as far as we have been able to tell.” It’s worth noting that Beck and his group are not calling for locking up illegal immigrants. They are calling for letting them return to their homelands with no further penalty. But, according to Mr. Beck, “…the NAE has proclaimed that our forgiveness of illegal aliens should allow them to keep the very things they broke the law to steal: U.S. jobs and access to U.S. infrastructure.” Undoubtedly the NAE leadership sees this as a major way to help redistribute wealth in the United States and so they are all for it–taking the same position as do the Marxists.

I have been informed that, since all this came about, there has been some complaining in the evangelical community. Some of the folks in the pews are not all that crazy about what some of their leadership has been doing “for” them (or to them) and so now some of the denominations involved with the NAE have sought to withdraw their support.  After all, if the folks in the pews get too ticked off they may go elsewhere and the weekly contributions will drop off.

This all goes to show you, though, that, over the years, the neo-evangelicals have continued to come down on the leftist side of most questions, while subtly demeaning those to the right of themselves as “unloving” or “lacking in compassion.” Maybe it might be premature, but I would suggest that some of the new evangelicals do a little homework regarding some of the people and left-wing groups they so piously support to see just how “loving and compassionate” they are. If they were honest they might be more than a little shocked, but then, it would be much easier for them to accuse me of being “unloving” for even daring to bring some of this up.

You see, the new evangelical’s love affair with the left has been going on for quite some time. I recall, way back during the 1972 presidential election in which George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon. While Nixon (I am not a crook) was no saint by any means and was, in fact, a Rockefeller devotee of One World Government, George McGovern was a dedicated leftist. In fact, the 72 election, once George Wallace had his “accident” in Maryland, was yet another where the American public had no real choice.

Yet, in spite of his leftist credentials, McGovern was supported and encouraged by a group called “Evangelicals for McGovern.”  If I recall, the group mentioned somewhere in whatever literature they sent out that McGovern spoke strongly in a manner resembling that of Amos, the Old Testament prophet. You’ll have to pardon me if I was just a bit skeptical, but somehow, i don’t think Amos was a left-winger, but apparently some evangelicals couldn’t spot the difference.

And this same trend continues today, with some evangelicals firmly supporting our current Marxist-in-Chief. There was a definite trend among certain evangelicals during the 2008 election that showed strong support for Obama. There was a short blog on http://my.barackobama.com  that was entitled “Evangelicals for Obama.” Sound familiar–like something you may have heard about before in previous elections? The message said, in part, “Senator Obama presents us with the best choice for the 2008 elections…On matters of social justice, he is more closely aligned to progressive evangelicals than the Republicans are…After much soul searching  I believe Obama is a candidate evangelicals can and should support. This group is for evangelical Christians interested in Obama and in furthering his progress toward the DNC nomination and beyond.” The operative word in this partial quote is probably “progressive.” In his book A Communese-English Dictionary Professor Roy Colby defines progressives as “Those who deliberately or unwittingly promote the (Communist) Party Line.” The man who authored this blurb talked of “soul searching” before deciding in favor of Obama. How much homework did he do to determine just what Obama’s background, political and otherwise, really was? I’d be willing to bet he did zip, zero, nada. Rather he responded emotionally to the pro-Obama propaganda he got via the “news” media and ended up supporting a Marxist–albeit an “evangelical Marxist.”

In an article on http://www.forbes.com for January 22, 2009, the writer noted: “It’s no surprise that much of the improvement for the Democratic Party among evangelicals came from the 18-29 year olds. According to our online polling in 2004 Kerry won 14% of their votes. In 2008 Obama received 28%.” What does that say about the decline of evangelical discernment in four short years? Now evangelicals in this age group are supporting a man with verifiable Marxist proclivities. What does that tell you about evangelical “discernment?” Anyone watching what Obama has done in his time in office has to realize where he is coming from. If some of those young evangelicals that so strongly supported him haven’t smelled the coffee by now, one honestly has to wonder, is there any hope for them?

If their parents had really been conservative, then what happened to the kids? And how many of the kids went to public schools?

Evangelical Marxism–Part two

by Al Benson Jr.

Regarding all this, a case in point is a book, originally written in 1977 by Ronald J. Sider and called Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. It was published by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Downer’s Grove, Illinois. I understand this book has gone through several printings and some of the later ones are not quite as left-leaning as the earlier printings. I wonder, did some folks catch on and complain and so the publisher decided to tone it down a bit? Nonetheless, something like 350,000 copies of the earlier left-leaning printings still went out to a mostly evangelical audience. In the copy I have, which is the 1977 printing, Mr. Sider is quite hard on anyone that didn’t immediately sell all that he  had over and above the bare subsistence level and give it away to the poor. On pages 75-76 he wrote about rulers cheating the poor. What else is new? Surely this isn’t “news” to Mr. Sider. This has gone on in every culture and in every century of human history.  It’s not a peculiarly American problem. On page 76 he wrote about the “God of the poor” as though God were not God to anyone but the poor.  Somehow you get the impression from Sider’s comments that no one but the poor deserved to have God be concerned about them. In John’s Gospel, in chapter 3, we are told that God loved the world, not just the poor that happened to be in it.

On pages 84 and 85 Sider seemed to be indicting all rich people as oppressors–and to be sure, some of the political rich, many of them ideological leftists or corporate fascists, do oppress the poor–and those that oppress them the most are usually those that prattle about how much they are concerned over the plight of the poor. Concern for “the poor” is often the last refuge of scoundrels. However, one should not just issue a blanket condemnation of all rich people for the sole reason that they are rich. On page 116 Sider made distinctions between property rights and human rights.  It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that property rights are also human rights. He is forced to admit that the Bible allows for private property. There are just too many instances in Scripture proving that for him to deny it, but he seemed to admit it grudgingly. One wonders if he went out and sold all his extra goods and donated the receipts of it to the poor before he wrote the book.

Among his ideas for combating world hunger, Sider proposed more foreign aid (pages 218-219) and he proposed a “national food policy” on pages 214 and 215. In other words, Sider promoted the idea that governments get into setting “food policy” which is an area governments have no business being in. From some of what I have read lately, this seems to at least be on the minds of some in Obama’s Marxist administration. I’ve read articles talking about the government limiting the amount of food one can store in their homes. The government, in some cases, even seems to be going after people that grow their own food–making them “food criminals” because they have home gardens–something that was encouraged during World War 2 when I was a youngster. They called them “victory gardens” back then. One can only wonder what draconian title the Obama regime will levy on them. One thing you can be sure of, once the federal government really gets into implementing “national food policies” everyone’s rights will be trampled on–even more than they already have been. Yet this sort of thing seems to be part and parcel of the mindset of many evangelicals, who, again, don’t know history.  Stalin did the same thing in the Soviet Union–and starved millions to death, but you can figure that many evangelicals haven’t figured that out yet. They may be well intentioned, but their solutions to some problems are as draconian as those of the Marxists.

I remember, and maybe some of you all do too, back in the 1980s, they had a famine in Ethiopia and all the evangelicals rushed to collect money to send.  We all saw pictures of the starving kids on television–that was part of the game to help to keep that evangelical money streaming in. The only fly in this jug of buttermilk was that the government of Ethiopia was Marxist, and all that money that was collected by the evangelicals to help the starving kids had to be turned over to the Ethiopian government, to be supposedly dispersed so starving families could be helped.  Guess what? Like most Marxist regimes, the one in Ethiopia did not use all that food money to help the starving. Rather, they used it to improve their armaments and for other purposes “in the national interest.” Later, I read about tons of food that had been sent to Ethiopia  to help the hungry and much of it was left rotting on wharves or in warehouses because no one could be bothered to load it on trucks and take it to where there were hungry people.  This was what the concerned evangelicals contributed their money to–a Marxist government that really had no interest in helping the starving, but rather used them as a pawn to obtain foreign aid for their own purposes. A great big Marxist scam on the West–and the evangelicals went for it, hook, line and sinker!

Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) is another prime example of this. It used to be a country, when it was ruled by the dreaded white man, that exported food. Now that it is a black Marxist regime (they tell us how good that is) it is an economic basket case. Once the Marxists took the country over and started redistributing all the farmlands to their friends, all of a sudden Zimbabwe found it couldn’t feed itself anymore, let alone export anything. It has been proven over decades that most Marxist countries can’t feed themselves. Why should American evangelicals continue to throw money and food at Marxist dictatorships that, if they simply allowed their people some liberty, would be able to take care of themselves? According to evangelicals like Mr. Sider, American Christians should be ashamed that they have so much and Marxist countries have so little. Has it ever occurred to some of these folks that the Marxist countries have so little exactly because they are Marxist and their limitations on personal liberty guarantee that those living under their regimes will continue to have little. Why should we finance that as Christians?

Sider’s book made enough of a dent in the evangelical world that, in 1981, David Chilton wrote a rebuttal to it called Productive Christians in an age of Guilt Manipulators. Chilton called Sider “one of the new voices in evangelicalism.” Sider was a professor of theology at Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia and the president of Evangelicals for Social Action. Chilton asked the question of Sider whether he was a Marxist or not. Sider claimed he wasn’t, but the policies he advocated lead you to wonder. Chilton said of Sider that: “he has allowed his economic views to be shaped by an increasingly vocal, socialistic  element in our society, not by the Word of God.”  And Chilton also quoted writer John Chamberlain, author of The Roots of Capitalism who said: “Thou shalt not covet’ means that it is sinful even to contemplate the seizure of another man’s goods–which is something which socialists, whether Christian or otherwise, have never managed to explain away.”

And Chilton continued: “That is the issue: Socialism is theft. I am not speaking of the voluntary sharing of goods, but rather the state-enforced ‘redistribution’ of wealth. If someone, even the government–takes your property against God’s Word, it is theft. And Sider advocates state socialism.” Chilton noted that Sider has used the concepts of guilt and envy “to manipulate ‘rich Christians’ into accepting socialism.” Unfortunately, many evangelical Christians have accepted socialism at some level without realizing it. Dressing socialist concepts up with a few Bible verses (usually out of context) is often enough to gull unsuspecting Christians into buying into it, because, although we have learned to be as “harmless as doves” we somehow have never learned to be as “wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:16).

Even though Sider’s book was first published back in 1977 and David Chilton’s rebuttal was printed in 1981, this sort of thing still continues today in the evangelical world. Author Gary North wrote in 1997 that: “Rich Christians represented what I regard as the second-worst aspect of neo-evangelicalism: its middle class sell-out to liberation theology.”

And the neo-evangelicals today, as represented by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) continue down this path. In true “liberation theology” style they are now endorsing amnesty for over 12 million illegal aliens because high immigration seems to be increasing the membership roles in evangelical churches and is, therefore, “good for the economy.”

To be continued.

Evangelical Marxism–Part one

by Al Benson Jr.

Back in 1947, (how long ago that seems now) Harold John Ockenga coined the term “neo-evangelicalism.” New evangelicalism was supposed to be, at that point, a distinct movement within what had been Christian fundamentalism.  And, although fundamentalism, with its Darbyite/Scofieldite theology had its problems, the emerging “new evangelicals” created a whole new set of problems of their own.  Many in new evangelical circles were people who could be described at “socially conservative.” Unfortunately, that seems to have applied more to the folks in the pews than to much of the leadership of the movement.

Over the years, my family and I have attended, here and there, churches that you could probably describe as broadly evangelical, and new evangelical in some cases. I have heard some evangelical speakers and preachers that sounded as though they were giving kudos to the old Communist line  about “war, racism, and poverty” just dressed up with a few Bible verses. And, unfortunately, in many cases, since most evangelicals do not seem to have any grasp of history, all that has to be done to deceive them is to repackage the old Communist line in evangelical verbiage and they will buy it. I recall hearing one black evangelical in the late 1960s do just that, and when questioned about it by one pastor who had the courage to stand up and question his rhetoric, the black evangelical told the pastor that he “didn’t show much love” when he dared to question him as to what he promoted. So, apparently, in some cases, the displaying of what has been called “evangelical love” means that you allow thinly-veiled Marxism to be preached to Christians because it would be “unloving” not to let them hear it.

I recall another case, where a student from Calvin College preached at a Sunday morning service in the church we attended in Indiana at that time. His sermon consisted mostly of verbal jabs at those he considered to be “on the right” politically. He railed about the federal government giving back the Panama Canal because they had “stolen” it. (He might have been right there). And he finished up his “sermon” if you could call it that, by playing a recording of part of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.” To their credit, one or two of the members of the congregation disagreed with him, but only one or two. One lady really tried to correct his erroneous thinking, to no avail, I fear. I can recall, at the time, thinking that if he was a sample of what Calvin College was turning out then I wouldn’t want my dog attending there, let alone my kids. I sometimes wondered if this young man had ever taken the trouble to do any homework in regard to Martin Luther King and his Communist affiliations. I rather doubted it as, again, most evangelicals are not noted for doing any great amount of historical research. Folks, just for the record, you can find lots of stuff out there about Martin Luther King and his leftist connections if you just dig a little. It’s not all that difficult.

As the years passed, I found, among many evangelicals, a definite affinity for socialism. One lady we knew proudly proclaimed herself a “Christian socialist.”  And also, among many evangelicals, no doubt because of their (sometimes unrealized) proclivities toward socialism, there was an often subtle looking-down-of-the-nose at anything or anyone they perceived as not totally centrist, or even worse, slightly on the right.

I remember once, having taught a Sunday school class on humanism. Some of the material I presented was quite explicit as to what the humanists thought of Christians, and of the “rotting corpse of Christianity” which they so quickly decried.  After the class was over, some of the people in it came to talk to me and asked me what John Birch Society publication I had gotten this material from. When I showed them what I had, and its humanist origins, right from one of the humanists’ own publications, they were shocked.  They were fully prepared to denounce the material if they thought it came from some John Birch publication, but when they saw that the material was right from the humanist horses mouth, so to speak, they were in a quandary. They couldn’t disprove what the humanists had said about themselves, and I’m sure the rest of their Sunday was ruined. And, as far as the John Birch Society is concerned, I have often quoted their material in articles. I have always found their research impeccable. In this particular case, though, the humanists had indicted themselves by their comments.

So this seems to be where much of evangelicalism, or new evangelicalism, seems to be at. They have an affinity for much of the political left (which is really part of the theological left) and sometimes ill-concealed disdain for anything on the political right. I once heard an evangelist say that “the hard right cares little for spiritual things.” In many cases he may well have been correct. But what about the hard left? He didn’t bother to mention them. So typical for much of evangelicalism today. Criticize the right and ignore the left as though it were guiltless.

It should come as no surprise, then, that many evangelicals lean to the left and in so doing, advocate agendas originating on the left, all the while labeling them as “Christian love.” I suppose I need to note that there are exceptions to this, the church we now attend being notable among them. However, the leftward tilt of many evangelicals does not bode well for the church as a whole.

To be continued.