I have honestly considered it, but no I do not think am guilty of exaggeration. Especially after reading online last weekend in the New York Times Magazine about what some of the Kingdom Theology boosters are up to in the state where I live. The story, titled "How Christian Were the Founders?" and written by Russell Shorto, reports on the machinations of what Mr. Shorto calls "the Christian bloc" that sits on the Texas State Board of Education -- a bloc which actually ought to be called "the Kingdom Theology Bloc."
One of the primary reasons that the United States still enjoys the most spiritual light of any nation on earth, is because for longer than any other, this land has recognized its citizens' LIBERTY to make up their own minds on spiritual matters more than elsewhere. A liberty whose roots are deeply planted in God's rightly-divided Word. But just because we enjoy a lot of spiritual light today in the United States, that does not mean that we will enjoy it tomorrow.
The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. And for a nation whose citizens are falling asleep at the wheel, "today" can quite rapidly become "yesterday."
Traditionally both Protestants and Catholics in the United States -- whether evangelical or mainstream theologically, whether conservative or liberal politically -- have understood the importance to American Liberty of the First Amendment's prohibition against a governmental establishment of religion. Over most of the course the history of the United States, they have understood that the power of governments, and therefore the power of state-sponsored religions, resides solely in their power to coerce compliance. And that genuine Christianity, if it has any power at all, that power resides in the Faith's ability to persuade the human heart to believe.
At best the unwitting boosters of Kingdom Theology dogma are naive johnny-come-latelies. Sheep, shepherded and sheared by media personalities and reprobates of their ilk behind pulpits. Shepherds, who have forsaken God's Word -- along with any minimal standards of human decency -- for a craven pursuit of worldly power and influence. Not to mention the money that goes along with that power and influence, especially if you can drag enough hapless Christians along behind you in your train.Grand Poobahs has been unable to restrain himself yet again. Since his fellow-apostle in the movement Jerry Falwell has begun his appointed stint at pushing up daisies, this time the Right-Reverend Pat Robertson opened his pie hole all by his lonesome. In order to take advantage of yet another golden opportunity presented by the sudden deaths and injuries of hapless human beings. This time, the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of people in an earthquake.
Really Pat? An entire nation swore a pact with the Devil? And the Devil replied, "Okay, it's a deal," is that a direct quote? How, exactly, did they make the pact? Did they take a vote? Hold a referendum? Or maybe the Devil conducted a poll, going from house to house and asking the question:
Dear Sir / Ma'am: Would you sell your soul to me to be free from the French? You know, Napoleon III and whatever?Absolutely ridiculous, Biblically or any other way you want to look at it. But not surprising from a man who was once under the misapprehension that he had a calling higher than his supposed calling to be a minister of Jesus Christ. A ministry which he resigned in order to make a bid to be the President of the United States. Which according to his Kingdom Theology would have given him "dominion" in the "Kingdom of Politics" in America. A better job, if not more lucrative, than being a TV preacher I suppose.
c) DON'T KNOW
"Ha, ha, ha! Fifty-one percent answered 'YES'! Cue the tectonic plates, Beelzebub! Their country is mine!"
Do American voters really want this kind of big-mouthed morally-bankrupt ignoramus in high office? In any office? I wouldn't vote for that fool or any other Kingdom Theology fool for dog catcher. Thank goodness that American voters weren't so ignorant as to fall for Roberson's song and dance back when he ran.
That said, I will concede that his follow-on observation has some validity to it. Sharing the same island with the relatively prosperous Dominican Republic, there have to be spiritual reasons that Haiti manages to remain permanently backwards, beyond the social and economic reasons that exist.
The widespread practice of Voodoo in the country is hardly a prescription for producing individuals and families who are spiritually sound enough -- or even naturally sound enough -- to contribute to the good of their society.
Like for instance, politicians who will enact sound building codes, civil engineers and architects who will strictly adhere to them, and building inspectors who will honestly enforce them, producing structures that are able to endure a major earthquake without causing mass casualties of the kind seen in Haiti. (See Engineer: Construction crux of Haiti earthquake tragedy and Haiti earthquake exposes deadly, largely unregulated construction.)
But don't you get it? The Devil is nothing, if not highly adept at playing both sides of the truth-versus-error game. Robertson's conscience-seared blithering merely represents one high profile for-instance of how the Adversary is able to bury the truth beneath so much foul-smelling rot that nobody has the stomach to dig for it.
Which is exactly why, when on a financial forum that I belong to people started using Robertson's diatribe as justification to discount the truth of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Word of God, I wrote:
"The dude's a counterfeit. A wolf in sheep's clothing. An imp of Satan."How Christian Were the Founders?" manages to give a decent, if long-winded, description of what that bloc is aiming for in general as it busily constructs its Rube Goldberg theological, academic, and governmental contraption.
The Christian "truth" about America's founding has long been taught in Christian schools, but not beyond. Recently, however -- perhaps out of ire at what they see as an aggressive, secular, liberal agenda in Washington and perhaps also because they sense an opening in the battle, a sudden weakness in the lines of the secularists -- some activists decided that the time was right to try to reshape the history that children in public schools study. Succeeding at this would help them toward their ultimate goal of reshaping American society. As Cynthia Dunbar, [a] Christian activist on the Texas board, put it, "The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next..."America is Christian nation? Really? Impossible! Biblically, it is no more possible for a nation to be Christian than it for a dog to be Christian. Neither nations nor dogs can be born again of God's spirit. That privilege belongs to individual human beings alone. Period. Amen. Close the hymnbook. Go home and watch basketball. Mr. Shorto also does a decent job describing the cultural vacuum that exists in America today, and showing how the Christian political activists who subscribe to Kingdom Theology are exploiting the void to garner political power for their movement:
The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation's Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn't merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a "Christian nation," they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country's roots and the intent of the founders.
Some conservatives claim that earlier generations of textbooks were frank in promoting America as a Christian nation. It might be more accurate to say that textbooks of previous eras portrayed leaders as generally noble, with strong personal narratives, undergirded by faith and patriotism... Maybe the most striking thing about current history textbooks is that they have lost a controlling narrative. America is no longer portrayed as one thing, one people, but rather a hodgepodge of issues and minorities, forces and struggles. If it were possible to cast the concerns of the Christian conservatives into secular terms, it might be said that they find this lack of a through line and purpose to be disturbing and dangerous. Many others do as well, of course. But the Christians have an answer.No, Ms. Dunbar, it is highly deniable.
Their answer is rather specific. Merely weaving important religious trends and events into the narrative of American history is not what the Christian bloc on the Texas board has pushed for in revising its guidelines. Many of the points that have been incorporated into the guidelines or that have been advanced by board members and their expert advisers slant toward portraying America as having a divinely preordained mission. In the guidelines ... eighth-grade history students are asked to "analyze the importance of the Mayflower Compact, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut and the Virginia House of Burgesses to the growth of representative government." Such early colonial texts have long been included in survey courses, but why focus on these in particular? The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut declare that the state was founded "to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus." The language in the Mayflower Compact ... describes the Pilgrims' journey as being "for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith" and thus instills the idea that America was founded as a project for the spread of Christianity. In a book she wrote two years ago, Cynthia Dunbar, a board member, could not have been more explicit about this being the reason for the Mayflower Compact's inclusion in textbooks; she quoted the document and then said, "This is undeniably our past, and it clearly delineates us as a nation intended to be emphatically Christian."
Sure, early immigrants founded colonies envisioned as projects for the spread of Christianity. But when the communal living that the Pilgrims agreed to after signing the Mayflower Compact resulted in starvation -- notwithstanding the Biblical record of the first-century Christians in Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:31-37 -- the colonists began to rethink their goal.
The United States of America, the country that the descendents of the Pilgrims eventually founded, was and remains a project for THE SPREAD OF LIBERTY. The kind of liberty under which the Texas State Board of Education, WHICH IS A GOVERNMENTAL BODY ARMED WITH THE POWER OF COMPULSORY PUBLIC EDUCATION, keeps its intrusive governmental nose out of spiritual matters. Matters which, being between the individual citizen and God, are none of their cotton-pickin' business.
The Kingdom Theology crowd has to pick and choose very carefully among the founding documents of the United States. Because many of those documents were produced by men who were not "believing Christians." Especially not, according to the so-called Christian orthodoxy of their day or ours. Thomas Jefferson for instance, who was the primary composer of the Declaration of Independence, held religious views that can be characterized as Unitarian and Deist. Views which right or wrong, by the way, have no bearing on whether or not he was born again of God's spirit.Shorto is correct that, "America is no longer portrayed as one thing, one people, but rather a hodgepodge of issues and minorities, forces and struggles," and not just in the vast majority of public school textbooks in the United States. It is portrayed that way at all levels of academia, at every level of government, and throughout the news and entertainment media.
But why is that, Mr. Shorto? Because that portrayal reflects EXACTLY what the vast majority of the liberal elites in this country believe. As a matter of fact, that statement PUTS IN A NUTSHELL their basic theory of governance and education, and their basic outlook promulgated via the media that they control. As a matter of fact, it is SPELLS OUT EXACTLY the belief that is displayed every day on EVERY PAGE of the newspaper that you work for.
So don't act surprised, Mr. Shorto, when those pushing Kingdom Theology use YOUR STUPIDITY as an open door in which to stick their foot as they bid for political dominance in the halls of political power. Not when PEOPLE OF YOUR ILK who are responsible for its preeminence in the first place. And who remain JUST AS BLIND OR MORE SO to what binds the citizens of the United States of America together as your enemies in the trenches on the other side of the culture war are.
Like I stated earlier, the Devil is nothing, if not highly adept at playing both sides of the truth-versus-error game.
Despite such blatant hypocrisy, Shorto nevertheless manages to report fairly accurately on how the new educational guidelines that the Kingdom Theology members of the Texas Board, ramrodded by Don McLeroy, have pushed through distort the basis upon which the laws of the United States rest:
In the new guidelines, students taking classes in U.S. government are asked to identify traditions that informed America's founding, "including Judeo-Christian (especially biblical law)," and to "identify the individuals whose principles of law and government institutions informed the American founding documents," among whom they include Moses. The idea that the Bible and Mosaic law provided foundations for American law has taken root in Christian teaching about American history. So when Steven K. Green, director of the Center for Religion, Law and Democracy at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., testified at the board meeting last month in opposition to the board's approach to bringing religion into history, warning that the Supreme Court has forbidden public schools from "seeking to impress upon students the importance of particular religious values through the curriculum," and in the process said that the founders "did not draw on Mosaic law, as is mentioned in the standards," several of the board members seemed dumbstruck. Don McLeroy insisted it was a legitimate claim, since the Enlightenment took place in Europe, in a Christian context. Green countered that the Enlightenment had in fact developed in opposition to reliance on biblical law and said he had done a lengthy study in search of American court cases that referenced Mosaic law. "The record is basically bereft," he said. Nevertheless, biblical law and Moses remain in the TEKS [the "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" standards].No doubt the Founders were "informed" by the Law of Moses about the nature and character of God. Certainly it "informed" their moral and ethical outlooks. BUT THE FOUNDERS DID NOT FOLLOW THE PATTERN OF LAW AND GOVERNANCE ESTABLISHED BY MOSES, and for good reason too.
The Law of Moses was the vehicle whereby God established the only genuine theocracy the world has ever known. Which was the ancient nation of Israel. It was in Israel that God ruled as king according to the Law of Moses. All the rest of the theocracies which have existed or exist today, are counterfeit theocracies. INCLUDING THE THEOCRACY THAT KINGDOM THEOLOGY WANTS TO BUILD IN THE UNITED STATES.
Clearly, Americans on both sides of the culture war have become so engrossed in fighting their take-no-prisoners battles, that they have become willfully blind to the unique band that binds all of them together, whatever their race, whatever their creed, whatever their political persuasion, whatever their status. Paradoxically, it is not only the band that binds them together, it is also the wings that makes them free. Its name is struck on every coin in their pockets. Its namesake still stands in New York Harbor, facing the world and holding its light skyward. IT IS CALLED LIBERTY.The reason the Old Testament Law does cannot apply to United States or any other country in existence, IS BECAUSE GOD IS NOT INTERESTED RULING OVER A BUNCH OF MEATHEAD GENTILES. As we saw from the Word of God in Part One, during the Administration of Grace GOD IS ONLY INTERESTED IN DEALING WITH INDIVIDUALS BY BECOMING THEIR FATHER. And if He is only interested in dealing with individuals, then He is only interested in dealing with individuals. End of discussion.
I would add that most of the original colonists who migrated to North America, such as the Pilgrims, did so because they were FLEEING religious persecution at the hands of the so-called "Christian nations" of Europe. The same kind of archaic religious persecution that the clueless political activists who follow Kingdom Theology are doing their level best to open the door back up to. The same kind of archaic religious persecution, as a matter of fact, that the Founders of the Republic of Texas aimed to prevent when in 1836 they made it Constitutionally illegal for clergy to serve in state office.
ARTICLE V, Section 1: Ministers of the gospel being, by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions, therefore, no minister of the gospel or priest of any denomination whatever shall be eligible to the office of the Executive of the Republic, nor to a seat of either branch of the Congress of the same.
At one point in his article, Shorto avers regarding McLeroy's beliefs and then quotes him:
For McLeroy, separation of church and state is a myth perpetrated by secular liberals. "There are two basic facts about man," he said. "He was created in the image of God, and he is fallen. You can't appreciate the founding of our country without realizing that the founders understood that. For our kids to not know our history, that could kill a society. That's why to me this is a huge thing."No matter how much truth there may be in McLeroy's statement about the "two basic facts about man," the bottom line remains that in order to prove the lie that the Founders were Christians just like they are, the Kingdom Theology boosters such as McLeroy HAVE TO LIE ABOUT THE FOUNDERS. Even though I believe it is the Bible, is it not Dr. McLeroy, which declares that, "no lie is of the truth" (I John 2:21)?
The Constitution's separation of church and state is no myth either. In fact IT IS THE CORNERSTONE OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN AMERICA.
Give me a break. Please.
As a matter of fact the Founders -- who meticulously separated church and state by outlawing an establishment of religion in the first clause of the first article of the Bill of Rights -- included orthodox Christians such as John Jay and Samuel Adams. It also included many with highly unorthodox views such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. And it included Deists who rejected Christianity outright such as Thomas Paine, and Ethan Allen.
The Founders were a group, unique in history, that was immersed in the ideas of both an ongoing Protestant Reformation and The Enlightenment, a movement considered cutting-edge among the day's intellectuals. Distilling the best ideas from both as they stood together at a watershed point of history, they not only came to realize THAT IT WAS THE BAND OF LIBERTY THAT BOUND THEM TOGETHER, they committed themselves TO THE UTMOST to the proposition.
So much so, that they willingly staked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on it.
As testified by the first clause of the First Amendment -- whether they were orthodox, unorthodox, or Deist -- the Founders all recognized that godliness -- if it existed -- could not be established by ecclesiastical law backed up by worldly governments. THAT LAW AND THOSE GOVERNMENTS HAD BEEN PRECISELY WHAT THEIR FOREBEARS HAD FLED EUROPE TO ESCAPE. Contrariwise, the Founders knew that godliness -- if it existed -- could only be established by the good consciences of individuals who exercised -- in the sight of the God who gave it to them -- their sovereign freedom to choose.
As differing as the Founders' personal religious convictions may have been, looking back at history through the eyeglasses of Liberty after fighting American Revolution, it was impossible to argue against the proposition that religion and spirituality are matters TOO IMPORTANT to be meddled in by mere governments. The United States enjoys the most spiritual light today, because for longer than any other, this land has recognized its citizens' LIBERTY to make up their own minds on spiritual matters more than anywhere else.
How? By adhering to the First Amendment to the Constitution, that's how. The first clause of which reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...I suggest that, if all of the Kingdom Theology right-reverends and their sycophants on the Texas State Board of Education want to live in a "Christian nation" so badly, that they move back to Europe, invent a time machine, set the dial for the Middle Ages, and push the "go" button. And have a happy life. Somewhere far, far away in space and time from the Lone Star State, please.
Romans 10:4If Christ is the end of the Law of Moses, then he is the end of it. That law is done. Finished. Ka-putt. Not for every clan, not for every tribe, not for every ethnic group, not for every nation, but for EVERY ONE who believes.
For Christ is the end of the law [the Law of Moses] for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The law that applies to individual believers today, and that rules the body of Christ, is a new law. In the Word of God this new law is called the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, it is called The Law of Love, and it is called the Law of Liberty. And it is a law that supercedes the old, because this new law is a spiritual law, whereas the old law was carnal.
Romans 8:2-4This new law is also called the Law of Love in the New Testament. And in making the Law of Moses obsolete, this new law does not contradict the old law morally or ethically. Rather, the new law enables men and women to walk uprightly from their hearts -- not by following carnal rules and regulations which can only be enforced by threatening violators with punishment, which is what carnal laws are all about.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus [the new law] hath made me free from the law of sin and death [the old law].
For what the law [the old law] could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law [the old law] might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh [according to the old law], but after the Spirit [according to the new law].
Romans 13:8-10Note that the citations from the old law that Paul refers to in verse nine have to do with individual actions, which under the old law were enforced by the government of Israel. Now, individual believers have the responsibility to walk by the spirit, in the love of God, and according to the Law of Liberty from the heart. A way of living that no government can possibly "enforce" -- including the one-and-only historical theocracy that was founded by God Himself.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another [the new law]: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law [the old law].
For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment [in the Law of Moses], it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself [the new law].
Love [the new law] worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [the new law] is the fulfilling of the law [the old law].
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty [the new law].
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free [by the new law], and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage [by the old law].
It is hard to come up with an adjective that adequately describes the effect that Kingdom Theology's blasphemous dogma has. The dogma that, even though God's own law -- the Law of Moses -- was inadequate to bring godliness, we can do it in the United States of America if we elect "godly" people and pass "godly" laws and mete out "godly" punishments. But I think the word that comes closest to describing its effect is "devilish."
If you think that I am exaggerating again, please go watch the above video again and the video from Part One. Then feel free to inform in a comment below how, exactly, I am exaggerating. I promise that I will try to remain civil.As far as evangelist Billy Graham may have fallen short in his ministry from getting back to the in-depth accuracy of God's rightly-divided Word, to his credit he avoided entangling himself and others when the early shoots of Kingdom Theology began to sprout in the late 1970s. No doubt, in large measure because of his Baptist heritage, which has long included a stand in favor of religious liberty. Graham's biography on Wikipedia states:
Politically, Graham was a registered member of the Democratic Party. He leaned Republican during the presidency of Richard Nixon. He did not completely ally himself with the religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party. He did not openly endorse political candidates, but he gave his support to some over the years.
He refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."
According to a 2006 Newsweek interview, "For Graham, politics is a secondary to the Gospel.... When Newsweek asked Graham whether ministers -- if they think of themselves as evangelists, pastors or a bit of both -- should spend time engaged with politics, he replied: 'You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord. A lot of things that I commented on years ago would not have been of the Lord, I'm sure, but I think you have some -- like communism, or segregation, on which I think you have a responsibility to speak out.'"
Obviously, Graham realizes that salvation is a decision which has nothing to do with the decision making processes involved in law and governance. It is up to the individual, upon hearing the Gospel, to decide whether or not to answer the summons of the One who "stands at the door and knocks." And that it is a decision of vastly greater importance than ANY DECISION THAT CAN BE ARRIVED AT IN THE REALM OF MERE POLITICS.
Interestingly Graham omits, among the issues he believes Christians ought to speak out on, any mention of the primary wedge issue that Kingdom Theology considers to be its strongest moral slam-dunk. Namely, the abortion issue. As we will see later in this series, the dogma that abortion is murder is anything but a moral slam dunk. Although in an advice column on his website, Graham toes the line on that dogma, whether the omission in the Newsweek interview speaks loudly or not, I do not know. I guess I'd have to ask him why he failed to mention it.
In the same advice column, Graham wrote the following, which gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to Christianity and Christians in politics. Answering an individual who asked for guidance on whether to go into politics, he wrote:
Q: I'm in law school, and someday I'd like to enter politics if I have the opportunity. But recently I heard someone say that they didn't think you could be a Christian and also be in politics. Do you think that's true? -- R.R.In other words, Graham is in favor of Christians going into politics and recommends that those interested in it do so. What Graham has shown himself to be against is attempts to make politics Christian. There is a VAST DIFFERNCE. The presence of Christians in politics is the genuine will of God. The dogma that politics can be transformed into a Christian endeavor is a counterfeit. A counterfeit that has plagued Western Civilization for almost two millennia.
Dear R.R., No, it isn't true. I've known many men and women who were deeply committed to Christ but were also active in various levels of politics.
In fact, I wish more Christians would get involved in politics, because our world needs leaders who believe in right and wrong, and know they are accountable to God for all they do. The Bible is full of examples of men and women who gave leadership to their people, and yet did not compromise their moral and spiritual convictions. Joseph, for example, was appointed prime minister of Egypt not only because of his wisdom, but because he refused to compromise his moral integrity (see Genesis 39-41)...
In the United States, the current manifestation of this counterfeit dogma is known as Kingdom Theology.