9/29/10

Glorifying God

By Enjoying Him Forever
By: Jonathan Harris

John Piper has had a big impact on my life through his books Don't Waste Your Life, and most recently, When I Don't Desire God. The main premise of just about every Piper book is that "God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." Piper maintains that it is a command to have joy.

David said in Psalm 16:11 states, You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:8, Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The term for this philosophy of life in which we "do all for the glory of God" with the "joy of the Lord" is entitled "Christian Hedonism" by Piper. Most of you may know what a hedonist is: Someone who's motivation in life is the maximum amount of satisfaction. Hedonism itself is blatantly anti-Christian, however "Christian Hedonism" pursues maximum satisfaction in the person of God. See the difference? I would highly recommend reading Piper if this concept at all has you curious. There is a way to live with complete joy. It's the same way Paul, David, and the writer of Hebrews lived.

Don't Waste Your LifeThe book, Don't Waste Your Life is excellent for use in a small group setting, especially with college students or youth group. It challenges adolescents to think about the direction of their life, and how the ultimate joy in life will only come through Christ, not the world. The American dream is heavily criticized, and so is the secular/sacred distinction that we so oftentimes make. The common philosophy of the Western world, existentialism, is shown to be empty, and Christian young people are challenged to make resolutions for their lives at an early age. This is truly a must read for anyone entering college!

When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight For JoyWhen I Don't Desire God is made for the spiritually depressed. The man or woman who knows they must seek after God with all their heart, and do it with a joyful attitude, yet doesn't know where to start or can't seem to figure out why they don't have joy. Piper introduces the believer to many different weapons and impresses on the reader's heart that life is a battle for joy, not a cake-walk. In the last chapter, When the Darkness Does Not Lift, Piper offers some of the deepest encouragement for the emotionally disturbed and the person who doubts their own salvation. If you know you want joy, but can't seem to "enter in" to it, this book was written by a godly man who's experienced the same things, and has your best interest in mind.

Both books are Biblical and practical. Use them to supplement your devotional time, use them in a group study, use them throughout the course of your life. Order your copy today! Simply click the icons above or the links below.

Don't Waste Your Life

When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight For Joy

Woman's Wrongs

When Eve Took Another Bite
By: Jonathan Harris

First, there was the prominent "Black, Lesbian, Feminist" poster which greeted every visitor as he or she walked up the stairs. Then, there was displayed a Bible in which Elizabeth Cady Stanton had cut out portions with which she had disagreement. Finally, there was a video equivocating abortion rights with women's rights. Some of you may know the location I am speaking of. That's right, the Woman's Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY. I had the opportunity to visit there a couple days ago while seeing friends who go to school in the area. Most of you have at least probably heard of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 in which the woman's movement was first started on American soil. Perhaps less of you however understand exactly what took place in and surrounding  the events which culminated at the Wesleyan Chapel where the convention was held. Would it shock you to find out that many of the attendees were avowed socialists, or that seances were thought to be taking place in and surrounding the event, or that local churches universally condemned what was taking place? I believe this is a portion of history in which we've all- including myself- been duped into thinking that a bunch of noble women stood up simply for the right to vote amidst the ugly sea of bigoted men. If the Lordship of Jesus Christ extends over every area of life, we must let it extend over history as well, and therefore reexamine whether the heroes of the history books are really heroes at all. Join me as I briefly relay my historical adventure through time and place which has brought me to lament what happened in Seneca Falls over 160 years ago.

Socialists in the Ranks

While the museum itself did not cover the socialist-feminist connection, the whole place reeked with its anti-capitalist stench. Feminism was not a new concept in the minds of mainland Europeans in 1848. Some of the more astute students will remember 1848 as the year in which socialist revolutions broke out across the whole continent. In fact, Elizabeth Cady Stanton herself is said to have given a speech at the convention in Seneca Falls in which she appealed to the socialists in Europe for help. Conveniently, she left this speech out of a history of the event.  Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott (both primary figures at the convention) met European feminist Anne Knight  in London in 1840 at an anti-slavery event. Knight was the publisher of a the French newspaper, "The Voice of Women," a publication with decidedly socialist viewpoints and connections. In fact, we can observe some of the same terminology - such as "the cause"- being used by both the socialist revolutionaries such as Knight and the American feminists in reference to their "struggle."  On her way to the Seneca Falls convention Lucretia Mott spoke with optimism about the socialist effort to take over Europe. In the book Red Republican's and Lincoln's Marxists, Al Benson Jr. points out, "The majority of feminists supported and otherwise aided those revolutions. . . Many observers of the American left have contended that what happened in Europe in 1848 had some influence on the gathering of American feminists at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848."  

It is a well established fact that the failed 1848 revolutions across Europe culminated in the transformation of American society through the immigration of banished socialists. The ranks of the Union Army during the War Between the States swelled with socialists, and their dedication on the battlefield for Lincoln's cause gave them the connections they needed to gain Federal and State political positions. I would argue that they laid the groundwork for the "Progressive Era," and as most of you know, we haven't been able to get rid of progressives ever since.

Committed communists Mathilde Franziska Anneke, who was acquainted with both Marx and Engels, and fought - yes, literally she cut her hair and fought- in the socialist revolutions of 1848, started the first American feminist newspaper completely published by women in the 1850s. In addition, Anneke became good friends with the leading feminists of the day, lobbied in D.C. on behalf of woman's rights, and used as her reasoning "reason" alone. According to Anneka, "Reason, which we recognize as our highest and only law-giver, commands us to be free." It is no wonder her newspaper was accused of being a "freethinking" publication in addition to its radical views on gender. This is completely consistent with the secularism which motivated the 1848 revolutions, and the secular rationalism which dominated the woman's rights movement. Of course, man cannot merely kick God down the stairs without having something else to keep him on the top floor- something to give him  legitimacy outside of himself. This is where Spiritualism comes in, which we'll examine shortly. Anneke eventually, with the assistance of Cecelia Kapp- a cousin of Forty Eighter (the name used for participants in the socialist revolutions) and professor at Vassar Friedrick Kapp- established a school in Milwaukee the year the War for Southern Independence ended. A interesting related tidbit is that Margaretta Meyer Schurz, wife of Forty Eighter Carl Shurz, established the first kindergarten in this country in 1856. It's fascinating to note that the Prussian government outlawed kindergartens two years after the socialist revolutions because of their reputation for indoctrinating young children into socialism. If you want to read something scary, look up how many socialist revolutionaries got involved in education in the years preceding 1848. It's shocking to think our system of learning has been under radical influence for so long.

In concluding to this short segment on the socialist-feminist connection, it really shouldn't surprise us that such a connection exists. As Mike Huckabee- in his critique of libertarianism- has long maintained, "Poverty and crime are the direct results of broken families and broken values of responsibility, work, marriage, and respect of others." In other words, there is a connection between social and economic issues. When the family drops the ball, the government is more than happy to come in and pick up the slack. I don't believe it's a coincidence that the free public education movement, radical abolitionism, feminism, centralization, and a rejection of orthodox Christianity (i.e. Calvinism) all seem to have escalated around the same time.

Spiritualism Without God

As stated previously, the woman's rights movement was very "rational" in nature, however, one cannot base a worldview on reason alone. Humans will either compartmentalize their own religious viewpoints and experiences- like we see with today's "New Age Movement"- or they will personalize reason and scientific laws into god-like entities (i.e. as noted in phrases such as "the wisdom of evolution"). In the case of the key figures at the Seneca Falls convention, a shared Spiritualism (i.e. practicing cult practices such channeling, etc.) itself seems to have quenched their inner desires. Radical Spirits by Ann Braude chronicles the connection between feminism and spiritualism in detail. According to Braude, individualism is what lead to the seances, cult practices, etc. that accompanied the women of 48. Braude quotes feminist Miss S. Hill as writing in a Spiritualist periodical:

Let every woman who feels imposed on her the chains of tyrant custom, resolve to break them, cost her what it may. How can we be our own sovereign as long as we allow others to think, feel, and act for us . . . Let man too, the slave of passion, of prejudice, and of ignorance, become his own sovereign.(underlined for emphasis)

The sovereignty of man directly opposes the concept of God's sovereignty. In fact, I would have to say that this one point explains the late 19th century social movements perfectly! Every single one of them, whether it's socialism, evolution, public education, feminism, and yes, even radical abolitionism, has its roots in this one concept: man is god. It's the same lie Satan has used from the beginning of time, and it has continued to usurp the position of our Lord from His rightful domain. It is no wonder that if you examine the figures behind such social movement you'll find Quakers, Spiritualists, Transcendentalists, Unitarians, and yes, at times certain sects of Arminianism (which can serve as a slippery slope towards this direction. Thus the Wesleyan Church being the meeting place for the convention itself.).

Regarding the Seneca Falls convention Braude states:

The American woman's rights movement drew its first breaths in an atmosphere alive with rumors of angels. . . Raps (i.e. supernaturally inspired sounds) reportedly rocked the same table where Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton penned the "Declaration of Sentiments" which formed the convention's agenda. The table stood in the parlor of progressive Quakers (and future spiritualists) Thomas and Mary Ann McClintolk. Raps were reported at Stanton's house as well.

It is not a coincidence that the same summer in which the convention was held in Seneca Falls, the Fox Sisters (prominent early spiritualists) visited Rochester, a relatively close town. In fact, we should perhaps take a step back at this point and realize the religious context of upstate New York in the mid-1800s. According to the National Park Service in one of the displays at the museum, Seneca Falls was part of the "Burned Over District," which was a term used to refer to upstate New York due to its "evangelical fervor created by many sects." The exhibit went on to say that the "many sects" resulted from the central tenet of the "revivals," that conscience is on an equal authoritative position as Scripture itself. Charles Finney- a man who's salvation some I respect have questioned, and a founder of what we call today "easy believeism"- was given the main credit for this environment. The curator was telling me that the churches Finney himself established are almost all gone. In other words, what lit the Burned Over District on fire was not the Holy Spirit but emotionalism, and it's this tenet that Transcendentalists, Unitarians, Quakers, and various shallow sects of Arminianism have in common which opened them up to Spiritualism and its occult practices.

The question then is, "What happens when the dictates of conscience collide with the Word of God?" This is where the "Woman's Bible" comes in. Elizabeth Cady Stanton's Bible was on display at the museum with a description which stated that it "justified Eve" while condemning Adam. The curator informed me that some parts were completely ripped out of the text, while others were merely clarified by Stanton herself in her parallel commentary. Obviously, we don't have to imagine what Stanton did with the verses describing the roles of both men and women. This heretical action on the part of Stanton makes sense in light of her statement, "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation." Susan B. Anthony felt the same way. She said, "Out of the doctrine of original sin grew the crimes and miseries of asceticism, celibacy and witchcraft; women becoming the victim of all these delusions." It seems hypocritical for Anthony to condemn witchcraft when she herself became a Spiritualist. In 1854 She recorded in her diary in reference to a feminist and abolitionist meeting at Lucretia Mott's house that "Spiritualism as usual was the principle topic."

The National Woman's Rights Historical Park also had part of an exhibit dedicated to Sojourner Truth, who I always thought was a hero (though I couldn't remember why?). Apparently she herself received frightening visions which inspired her to get involved in woman's liberation. One more interesting fact related to spirituality that the museum informed me on was that the Women's Interfaith Institute of the Finger Lakes, which is located right next to the National Park which preserves the Wesleyan Chapel- where the convention was held- was, according to the curator, the building where the Wesleyan Chapel itself moved to in 1871. I find it ironic that a church in which the Bible was compromised in 1848 later became an "Interfaith Institute." The mission of the institute is- according to their flier- to focus on "women's empowerment. . . 'bringing peace to life' and . . . promoting pluralism, dialogue and understanding." Nowhere is the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be found.

The Tenets of Woman's Emancipation

It is no wonder to me, after understanding the preceding material, that local pastors universally opposed the gathering in 1848. Women themselves were taking a position of authority that, according to the Bible, did not belong to them. In addition, the many heretical attendees and rumors of spiritual activities didn't help much in gaining approval from true believers. One of the most prominent quotes as you enter the main exhibit in the museum reads, "To render home happy is woman's peculiar province. Home is her world." This was the battle cry of woman's emancipation. This idea that woman should be independent from men has lead to where we are today in the feminist movement. No matter how much they fight it, women still have been designed by God in a certain fashion, and to go against it is to live a life of frustration. This is why recent statistics have proven that women are less happy now then they were forty years ago. They still have a sex-drive so they become lesbians, or have relations with men but remain independent of their responsibilities to care for the by-product of that relationship culminating in abortions. They still have a maternal nature, but have less than ideal venues in which to use it, or don't even use it all in deference to their career. As I've stated in a previous blog, Rev. R. L. Dabney predicted this exact outcome in the 1870s. Women are now more abused and less satisfied yet have more independence than ever before! Another displayed quote was from Rheta Childe Dorr who stated, "Woman's place is in the Home but Home is not contained within the four walls ... Home is the community." In reaction to these criticisms of traditional (Biblical) roles at the convention, the "women of Philadelphia" wrote in the September 26, 1848 edition of the Philadelphia Public Ledger:

A woman is nobody. A wife is everything . A pretty girl is equal to 10,000 men and a mother is, next to God, all powerful. The ladies of Philadelphia, therefore…are resolved to maintain their rights as wives, belles, virgins and mothers and not as women.

I find this to be a thoroughly adequate response to the woman's liberation movement. As Christians, God has given us responsibilities and it is in those duties of obedience that we obtain rights. In fact, that's what our founders believed a right was. It wasn't an autonomous granting of freedom to go do whatever you want. It is a responsibility we have between ourselves and God that government shouldn't take away. The right to vote, from a Biblical perspective, is a masculine right, not because it's some privilege men get to take part in for their own pleasure. Rather it's a responsibility that belongs to men as those who are accountable to God for a society. This is why in ancient Israel men were the leaders, and when a woman did lead (note: female leadership in government is not a sin.) such as Debra, it was a "shame" to the men present because she was showing their inadequacy. This is why in the church, the position of "Shepperd" belongs solely to men. In a democracy, where everyone participates in the leadership of government, should it not still be the man that takes on that responsibility? We can see clearly what's happened now that man has given this responsibility up to women. Ultimately, every other responsibility has likewise gone to her, and she is overburdened. Women rule the homes where men have figuratively left. The American dad is no longer respected, but rather trashed as merely a "television watcher," "glutton," and "hobbyist." Unfortunately, he deserves it. I enjoy the quote, "A mother is, next to God, all powerful." It is so true that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. This is why in the Bible, typically the name of the mother is mentioned and given more space than that of the father in the genealogies of kings. The mother has the influence! The Bible does recognize there are certain men and woman who possess the gift of "singleness" but this is a "gift," not a generality, and the desires for a spouse are not present in such cases. The problem we have today is that women want to have the best of both worlds, theirs and men's. This is a complete contradiction of not only biology, but God Himself.

To understand all the issues that feminists fought for in the mid-1800s we should take at the very least a passing glance at their "Declaration of Sentiments." The Declaration, which itself is a mock of the Declaration of Independence, starts in absurdity by implicitly chiding the founders for their wording, "all men are created equal." Obviously "men" here refers to "mankind" in general and not to masculinity (Note: The Biblical position is that men and women are equal in value and separate in their complementary roles).   Nonetheless, the Declaration goes on to say, "The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her." (You can even hear the Marxist class warfare tone). After this statement comes the long chain of abuses men have enacted on women among which are the following (Note: this is not extensive):

He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead. (That's a very low view of marriage. The Scripture states the "two become one flesh." This is an effort to make the two remain two.)

He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns. (I will concede there may be some legitimacy in this, though I have not studied the topic enough to really know to what extent it's true.)

He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes, and in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given, as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women--the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands. (Study the results of "No-Fault" Divorce and you'll soon find that colonial divorce laws actually protected the women from abuse! This may be the most ridiculous charge of all.)

He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration. He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known. (They may have a point with the "medicine," if this is true. However, both theology and law are in the Biblical category of men's responsibility)

He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education, all colleges being closed against her. (I'm all for educated women, but there were plenty of good reasons for universities at the time to bar women from entrance. First of all, I believe all colleges would have been private and therefore the right to bar someone from entrance is up to the institution itself. Secondly, mixing genders in a classroom situation does tend to reduce concentration. Thirdly, the careers college trains you for-especially at that time in which most were started for divinity training- are mostly the domain of men. Fourthly, there was no law I know of stating a group of women couldn't start their own school. Fifthly, women were expected to know the basic skills of wife-hood and mother hood which is what occupied their time during the typical man's college years. Sixthly, it's not the government's place to require private institutions to accept certain groups or individuals. Perhaps this complaint can best be understood by remembering the socialist connection.)


He allows her in church, as well as state, but a subordinate position, claiming apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the church.
(That's what the Bible teaches.)

He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated, but deemed of little account in man.
(Yes, women are held to a higher standard generally because they are the bedrock of society. They are more important for the purity of a culture. If feminists want to gripe about a double standard they should work on holding the men higher, not on loosening the rules so they can slump to a masculine level.)

As you can see, there may have been a couple good points made, but the most of the charges are blatantly anti-Biblical and the motive for them is downright blasphemous. We need to be careful when we look back into history and authorize the title of "hero" to be given to those who were not heroic at all. Hero means standing up for what's right, not merely standing up for what you believe in (a postmodern cliche). The Women's Rights National Historic Park blatantly furthers the ideas of abortion, education quotas, specialized women and minority classes, lesbianism, and complete autonomy. One of the videos has buttons beneath it in which you can vote for which side of an issue you're on. I voted that continuing the women's liberation movement today is unnecessary. I was immediately greeted on the screen with a feminist looking female who stated, "I worry about your opinion." My first thought was, "I worry about where my tax dollars are going." One of the exhibits was on clothing. In the center of the exhibit there was very prominently quoted this statement, "My basic principle of dressing is that I refuse to be identified by my appearance. It is a way of saying I will not accept my place, my role, my slot." Unfortunately, for the woman who stated this, her "place" is recognized right away as being a rebellious feminist when she wears men's clothing.

In conclusion, we need to have Christ as central when examining anything and everything, including history. We must not take what the culture says for granted. Remember, they have no authority by which to make moral decisions at all. We do. As politically incorrect as our opinions may be, they are the right ones because they reflect the person of Jesus Christ and his relationship with us as the church, the submissive Bride of Christ. We must stand for what's right even when evil is taken for granted. When society strays from the Biblical model and grants us freedom to do the same we must self-impose God's standard. It may be hard, it may be unpopular, we may receive persecution for it, but we will be upholding God's standard by calling what He calls good "good." "Woe to them who call good evil and evil good."

Note : None of the preceding material should be construed to mean that my position is that in our society women shouldn't vote, or at times take on positions of leadership. My position, and I believe the Word of God's position, is that when such things happen it is to the shame of the men in society. Therefore, while the reforms spoken of above should have generally never taken place, we are currently living in a culture in which the men should be shamed, and it is therefore perfectly legitimate for a woman to vote with a clean conscience. And if there ever comes a time when men seek to regain their rightful responsibilities which they've cast onto those to whom it did not belong, my hope is that all Christian women would vote to allow men the exclusive responsibility of voting. (However, this can only happen after men have proven themselves able leaders in the home.) So as it stands currently, women should vote, it is right to vote, they have a responsibility to vote, and it is not a sin to vote.

9/10/10

Five Ways to Reform Society Without the Federal Government

What Glenn Beck Should Be Doing
By: Jonathan Harris

Most of you know that I'm wasn't the biggest fan of Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington D.C. In fact in my previous blog I spent a great deal of time ripping the whole thing apart. Beck has formulated a national god of the least common denominator, or as some of us call it, a "false" god. This god doesn't ask for much, just that we don't "kill people," in the words of Glenn. So as long as we aren't worshiping a god who says, "kill people," we're worshiping the true god I suppose, at least in Beck's mind. So rather than just criticize what Glenn Beck is doing- let's at least give him credit that he's making a valiant attempt to do something- I figured I'd offer up five ideas that actually have some hope of working, and would be well worth the effort. These are the five things Glenn should have done instead of his counterproductive rally. Note: None of them involve the Federal government.

1. How About a Real Revival?

Of course, only God can truly bring about an authentic revival, but He will never do so without the Gospel. So if Glenn had ushered all his sheep into the fold and then actually given them food (the Gospel) instead of poison (humanism), a prerequisite for a true revival would have been met. For all Glenn's talk about George Whitfield, he forgets that Whitfield was a minister of the Gospel, and individual rights- the freedoms to meet your personal obligatory responsibilities before God- were a result of the unadulterated Gospel. You can't preach a vague ecumenism and expect that people will see themselves as having an obligation to God because they simply won't. God is angry at sin and without personal repentance there is no such thing as individual freedom. A real revival doesn't invoke some nationalistic "we all can agree on" God, it promotes the Holy, Sovereign, Righteous King of the universe whose terms we must meet, not the other way around. America itself is the result of an authentic revival in which something like the Restoring Honor rally would have been a result, not a cause.

2. Nullification!

So I just alienated half my audience. That's ok, I'm use to it. The doctrine of State interposition has a history that goes back to the times of Jefferson and Madison who both had a hand in authoring the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions which nullified the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts. Imagine that? Two states told the Federal government, "You're breaking your oath to us!" This was back in a day when the states were still able to hold the national government's feet to the fire. If you carefully read the constitution you'll notice that the doctrine of "judicial review," isn't actually found. In fact, the old saying, "The supreme court interprets the law," doesn't even make sense if you read the Constitution. All the supreme court does is apply the law. Nowhere in the Constitution do we see that the Federal courts have the final say. In fact, I believe a better legal argument can be made from the tenth amendment that the States themselves have more of a right to "judicial review" than the courts do. Therefore, it is my humble opinion that the States should reinstate this right. It is rumored that the attorney general of the State of Virginia is currently looking into the possibility of nullifying Obama Care. All of the states opposing it have done so thus far at the level of the court, however if nullification is reasserted, the courts will be bypassed because it is the State that has the final word on whether the Federal government is holding its end of the bargain up. Glenn, why don't you spend some programs talking about this, and then have a rally outside a State government building encouraging them to pick up this long forgotten tool!

3. Secession Anyone?

Ok, so now the half that stopped reading when they saw the word "nullification" will be joined by the 90% of those left who just viewed the word "secession". Well now my loyal 10%, will you seriously consider this even more potent tool against Federal tyranny? We've all heard the old line, "Wasn't secession outlawed during the Civil War." The answer is, "No it wasn't." Seriously, show me what law says a State does not have the right to secede? I'd rather not beat a dead horse, so I'd encourage everyone to read a previous blog on the practicality of the idea entitled, Trending Toward Secession. I would like to however make one point which was not made in the aforementioned article. I have often heard the objection, "A state can't survive on its own!" I would like to offer one web-page that should totally crush this notion in one simple swoop. Bigthink.com's State/Country GDP comparison is worth taking a look at.

4. A Christian Exodus

This is my favorite idea, not just because of its flexibility, but also because it has the most potential of actually working if implemented. The problem unfortunately is implementing it. Millions of people would have to be convinced to leave their homes and jobs in order to form a Christian society. This is not out of the realm of possibilities. I'm reminded of the Boers of South Africa and the Puritans of America. If a mass of Christians saturated a community with their presence creating overwhelming political majorities we would be able to establish a Christian society in which freedom can prosper (That's what America was originally). There are two ways we could make this happen.

A. We take over a state. We get a bunch of Christians to settle in say Alabama (half of them are there already!). Then we reassert nullification, and if that comes to not we use secession as our weapon.

B. We take over a country. This is a lot more difficult, but there are some unstable African countries which with a couple mercenaries we could easily take over. I know I know, dream on right?

Although a man of Glenn Beck's popularity could be able to get things moving in this direction, it's still a rather daunting task. More than likely something like this will happen eventually, but not because we make it happen. Let me illustrate. Old people go to the Carolinas and Florida to retire. Why? For economic reasons mainly. In other words, there's an incentive. So what happens when Massachusetts, New York, and California start making it illegal for Christians to evangelize, etc. without getting hailed away to jail. Where do you think they'll move too? Exactly!

5. A Constitutional Amendment Sponsored by States

As many of you may know there are two ways to amend the Constitution.

The first method is for a bill to pass both houses of the legislature, by a two-thirds majority in each. Once the bill has passed both houses, it goes on to the states. . . The second method prescribed is for a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States, and for that Convention to propose one or more amendments. These amendments are then sent to the states to be approved by three-fourths of the legislatures or conventions

The second route has never been chosen before, but it's outlined in the Constitution as being legitimate. All we need are for 2/3 of the State legislatures to call a convention to pass an amendment that abortion is illegal, or the president must show proof of citizenship, or illegal aliens are not entitled to the same privileges as citizens, etc. (you get the picture) and half the battle is over. After that 3/4 of the legislators of the states, or state conventions (think constitutional convention on a small scale) can pass the measure into law. Guess what, the Federal government has no hand in any of this, yet the Constitution allows it! Glenn Beck could have called for a convention of state governors to put something together and reawakened the idea.

So there you have it. Five practical ideas, not involving the federal government, that have a chance at restoring some semblance of a free society in America. I hope at least some of you have been introduced to solutions you hadn't considered before. If there's a solution I might have missed simply leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

9/9/10

Hitler, Glenn Beck, and the Church

The U.S. Church 2010 Meets the German Church 1933
By: Jonathan Harris

There has been growing an ever increasing fascination within me regarding how the Third Reich gained and managed to keep control in Germany from 1933 to 1945. Perhaps much of this can be attributed to my love for history, but not all of it. I see the study of Nazi Germany to be extremely relevant concerning the situation the United States finds itself in currently. We are ripe for a Hitler! Economically, socially, and politically much of the framework is already in place. A non-extensive list of parallels would include our economic condition, our "politically correct" ethic, our value for human life, our consolidation of power in D.C., our interest in Eastern religious philosophies, our "green" movement, our educational system, our familiar breakdown, and most importantly our compromise within the church.

Liberal Fascism

Many conservatives think we should be afraid of a Hitler showing up in the ranks of the liberal democrats and many liberals, the conservative republicans. After going through both Mein Kampf and Liberal Fascism- both of which I highly recommend to anyone wishing to understand the Nazis- I think I can safely say that from a political, economic, and religious point of view we are looking more at a product of the left. Fascism is a political philosophy in which the state replaces God as the source of authority and rallies around a culture and/or ethnicity. Those who try to put communism on one side of the political spectrum and fascism on the other frankly don't know what they're talking about. The Soviets spread many slanders against the fascistic "right," simply because it was a tenth of a degree off from their political agenda. Fascism is not concerned with socioeconomic class like communism. Karl Marx's "worker's of the world unite!" is replaced with Hitler's figurative, "people of Germany unite." Both are forms of socialism with this key difference. Communism is international and fascism is national. Both however are totalitarian in nature disallowing any vestige of Christ's true church to practice unhindered.  While I myself can honestly say Barack Obama has much more in common with Hitler than Glenn Beck will ever have, I due believe Glenn Beck is in the process of creating an open road for a future Hitler. This may sound ridiculous to some. I would simply ask that before dismissing my point you read the rest of what I have to say.

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of MeaningPresident Obama is more of an international socialist, whereas Hitler was a national socialist. This would put them both at odds with each other on a couple points, however, when it comes to the basics tenets of socialism they would be shaking hands in hearty agreement. Jonah Goldberg points out in Liberal Fascism- which you should order by clicking the previous link- that,

. . . in many respects fascism is not only here but has been here for nearly a century. For what we call liberalism- the refurbished edifice of American Progressivism- is in fact a descendant and manifestation of fascism. . . She is hardly identical to her uglier relations, but she nonetheless carries an embarrassing family resemblance that few will admit to recognizing.

Obama, being a modern progressive, does share many similarities with both Hitler and Mussolini. The consolidation of power in a central government, bypassing of the legislative process, the green movement, opposition to gun-rights, the expansion of government control over education, abortion, racial politics, and state capitalism, are merely a couple of the key points of similarity. However, there are some differences I should highlight as well. These differences will serve to point out why Glenn Beck could potentially lay the groundwork for a future Hitler with the full cooperation of the church. Obama and Hitler would disagree on the importance of reinstating the volk, i.e. "folk", heritage of their nations respectively. Hitler looked back to the First Reich of  Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire and the Second Reich of Otto Von Bismark and the unification of Germany to propel the German people into believing he would usher in a Third Reich of perpetual government. Hitler spoke very favorably of the heroes of ancient Germany, even commending Martin Luther in Mein Kampf. He stated, "To them [i.e. the German people] belong, not only the truly great statesmen, but all other great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great stands Martin Luther as well as Richard Wagner." The point is not that Adolph Hitler was a Lutheran. In fact, he bears almost nothing in common with Martin Luther. Let us depart one moment from our current discussion on the volk and examine what the Fuhrer's religious beliefs were.

Hitler's Cross: The Revealing Story of How the Cross of Christ was Used as a symbol of the Nazi AgendaHitler's Religion

Hitler was raised in a loosely Catholic home but quickly rejected even that. He admired Guido Von List incorporating his "Heil" greeting, swastika, and rabid antisemitism into mainstays of the Nazi ideology. List was a worshiper of the German ancient god Wotan. In fact, the more one engages the religion of Hitler, the more one is forced to come to terms with a floodgate of twisted occult and sexual practices that lead to a rather damning conclusion. According to Hitler's Cross by Erwin W. Lutzer, the Fuhrer hated Christianity and loved the demonic pre-Christian religious traditions of pagan Germany. Deitrich Eckart, one of the seven founders of the Nazi party and avowed Satanist spoke this of Hitler on his death bed in 1923.

Follow Hitler! He will dance but it is I who have called the tune! I have initiated him into the 'Secret Doctrine,' opened his centres in vision and given him the means to communicate with the Powers. Do not mourn for me: I shall have influenced history more than any other German.

Lutzer also states that "Allan Bullock, who wrote an extensive biography of Hitler, dutifully listed what Hitler studied in his youth: yoga, hypnotism, astrology, and various other forms of Eastern occultism. . ." Hitler's use of psychedelic drugs in order to produce visions, his belief in reincarnation, and especially his obsession with religious objects have become so well known that movies have been made regarding them. Has anyone seen Indiana Jones? Again Lutzer explains,

Even those who knew Hitler from his early days were well aware of his occult powers. August Kubizek, a friend, said, "It was as if another being spoke out of his body . . . . It was not a case of a speaker carried away by his own words. . . . I felt as though he himself listened with astonishment and emotion to what broke forth from him."

Indeed, even Hitler's closest associates were occultists: Rudolf Hess, Himmler, Rosenberg, and Goebbels. The final solution itself was inspired by Hinduism's ideas on race, a religion which itself regards Hitler as an Avatar. A reoccurring scenario described by Rauschning was one in which Hitler "yells for help . . . seized with power that makes him tremble so violently his bed shakes . . . in his bedroom he is muttering . . . 'It is he! It is he! He's here!' His lips turn blue. . . . He was dripping with sweat. . . . He was given a massage and something to drink. . . . Then all of a sudden he screamed, 'There! Over there in the corner!'"

He told Rauschning on one occasion, "I will tell you a secret, I am founding an order. . . . the Man-God, that splendid being will be an object of worship. . . . But there are other stages about which I am not permitted to speak." On a separate occasion he exclaimed, "Man is God in the making." This is why it should come as no surprise He told Rauschning that making peace with the church "won't stop me from stamping out Christianity in Germany, root and branch. One is either a Christian or a German. You can't be both."

Conservative Fascism?

Now back to our discussion of the volk. As we have seen, Hitler was by no means a lover of Christianity. A plain reading of Mein Kampf will make this obviously clear. He intended to use the church as an organization for the furtherance of German nationalism, but it had to be in lock step with the Nazi party in order to justify its existence. When Hitler referred to Martin Luther in a favorable light notice he didn't go into any specifics. Martin Luther was a hero of the German people of which about 2/3 were proclaimed Lutherans. Hitler saw the history of Germany and its figures, even the ones he would have disagreed with, as being worthy of study and admiration simply because they were German. This is undeniably, in our country, more of a phenomenon of the right. I myself enjoy the study of history and admire such men as Patrick Henry, Robert. E Lee, and Ronald Reagan. However, the idea of "American Exceptionalism" I fear is all to similar to Hitler's German nationalism. Certain parts of our history are whitewashed in order to prove that "America isn't really all that bad." We are fooled into thinking that when we have made mistakes, that's all they were, and they were somehow caused because of a departure from our "real" values. Some conservative Christians will even say that we are "special," "unique," or "chosen." Rev. Peter Marshall's children's book The Light and the Glory comes to mind. Sometimes when I hear conservatives say such things I want to ask, "What are we, modern Israel?" Fortunately, American Exceptionalism has not been used by conservatives to rally us around the state, at least to the extent that Hitler used it. Of course Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster did go in that direction, but I wouldn't consider them anything remotely similar to true conservatives. One of the mainstays of conservatism is that it is antithetical to state control and is instead for federalism and individual freedom. Glenn Beck I think understands this, but he's on thin ice by reinforcing a tool that can easily be used against conservative ideals. Let me offer up a hypothetical. Barack Obama wants a Civilian Defense Force that's as well funded as the military in addition to a Universal Volunteer Civilian Service organization. Mike Huckabee- who I agree with 88% of the time- stated this frightening proposal in his, for the most part insightful book, Do The Right Thing.

During the Depression, the WPA provided jobs to lift Americans out of poverty. Today we need national-service jobs so that more Americans can give back out of their abundance; others still need to be lifted out of poverty. A year of civilian service can be a path for those who have dropped out of school or who are trapped in dead-end jobs to gain some marketable skills and make a fresh start. . . If a voluntary system does not work, we should seriously debate making civilian service mandatory.

There you have it. A "conservative" and a "liberal" agreeing on something that, if implemented, would erode individual freedom even more. We're talking about a civilian draft for crying out loud! Hitler was supposedly able to reach 100% employment through the similar method of requiring that everyone in the nation be employed in a certain skill. The state would even pay for the training and the vacation expenses. As Mussolini so rightly described fascism, "Everything within the state. Nothing outside the state!" The United States secretary of education Arne Duncan wants every facet of social life to revolve around the government sponsored and controlled public school. Don't believe me? Simply watch his interview on Charlie Rose last year. Here's the point: If somehow the American Exceptionalism of the right is linked to the mandatory state control of the left, we will be witnessing a force for the destruction of the church like this country has never seen. The current rallying cries for state intervention in our lives- the ones coming from the left- have little do with our heritage or religion, and more to do with political correctness. The evangelical church, although it has bought into many politically correct ideas, will not consider this a very compelling rallying cry, and neither will the majority of the American people, at least not at this point. Liberals are always looking for a "moral equivalent to war" as Jonah Goldberg calls it, because war is the one situation in which the nation pulls together under the guidance of a powerful state. The green movement is perhaps the best modern example. We are supposed to re-knit the very fabric of our society for the good of the planet and accept any state imposition to this end. Ironically, Hitler had his own green movement which we will not go into detail about now. The green movement does not see the military as a solution. On the contrary, the military is the problem with their pesky bombs and use of gasoline. German nationalism however was entirely devoted to military service. This is perhaps another distinction between the right and left of the U.S. The left does not have the military fervor of the right and the right lacks the enthusiasm for the state that the left possesses. So what happens when in an effort to save our heritage and honor our military we rally around the state?

This is where Glenn Beck's 8.28 comes into play. No it did not cause us to rally around the state, but it had the potential. Let me ask, "If there were a 'conservative' in the white house, how might it have turned out?" Beck held the rally near the footsteps of a giant Bolshevik looking statue of a true statist, Abraham Lincoln, with thousands of supporters flying the American flag and pledging themselves to "restoring" honor. Beck then invoked an "American" ecumenical like God while devoting most of the event to the honor of our military. None of these things is "fascistic" in and of itself, however, something smells awfully suspicious, and it's about to stink even worse. If things don't make sense, keep reading.

Hitler's Church

To understand the core of my concern with Glenn Beck, American Exceptionalism, and the Restoring Honor Rally, you must understand the most important institution of society, the church, and its history under Nazism. Be prepared for some shocking moments as we examine the church under Hitler, and the current church under Obama.

To comprehend the implications of what happened to the church under Hitler, we must first gain an understanding of the context in which the church was surviving. As Erwin W. Lutzer writes in Hitler's Cross,

If the First Reich prepared the way for Hitler by unifying church and state, the Second Reich contributed to the paralysis of the church by teaching that there must be a split between private and public morality. . . . The state, it was argued, would not be judged according to conventional law because its responsibilities went beyond ordinary human values.

For a long time the church in Germany had been very nationalistic. "During the Prussian dominance the king was the head of the church. The clergy were servile to the political head of state." However, this nationalistic church was prohibited from judging the state. The American societal structure featured a church that was answerable to God and a state that was likewise answerable. Each however possessed separate realms of responsibility before Him. This was not so in Germany. Fredrick the Great boasted that "salvation is God's affair, everything else belongs to me!" Georg Hegel, the chair of philosophy at Berlin University in the early 19th century taught that war "was the great purifier that was necessary for the ethical health of the people. As for private moral virtues such as humility and patience, these must never stand in the way of the state's agenda' indeed the state must crush such 'innocent flowers.'" The German church, even before Hitler, was in the dangerous position of being answerable to the state and possessing the pietistic notion that its only job was to cultivate "personal relationships" which had no bearing on culture. Sound familiar to anyone? "With a thicket of swastika flags surrounding the alter of the Magdeburg Cathedral, the dean, Dr. Martin, declared in 1933, 'Whoever reviles this symbol of ours is reviling our Germany . . . the swastika flags around the alter radiate  hope that the day is at last about to dawn.'" Now think about the American flags we so often see in conservative churches. As you can probably imagine, it wouldn't be a stretch to hear a pastor speaking in America about its flag the same way in which Dr. Martin spoke about Germany's symbol.

Aside from being nationalistic and culturally prideful, the German churches were also liberal in the theological sense. The historic faith had primarily been abandoned in favor of higher criticism. Those who attended the churches didn't necessary believe God's word was inspired and infallible. They were simply good Christians because they had been baptized as a child and after all, in order to be a good German you should be a good Christian. This was the reason that Hitler, although he despised the church, made it a point to come off as a religious person to the masses. The churches that were conservative abandoned the intellectual debates surrounding Biblical authority and instead focused on the Gospel and the Gospel alone having little effect on the world around them. In addition, the German culture itself was saturated with occultism.

So then, what were the effects of this pietism? Lutzer outlines a number of changes to the education system which should cause us to shudder as we notice the parallels that exist between "them and us."

- In 1935 prayers ceases to be obligatory in schools
- Christmas was turned into a totally pagan festival. . . Carols and Nativity plays were banned from the schools. . . Christmas was changed to "Yuletide."
- Crucifixes were eliminated from classrooms
- Easter was turned into a holiday that heralded the arrival of spring

Regarding these changes Hitler stated, "Your child belongs to us already. . . what are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community." In another speech he reinforced, "This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing." Private schools were abolished, textbooks were rewritten, and those who didn't fall in line were reprimanded. Regarding law Goring put it best, "The law and the will of the Fuhrer are one."

It wasn't long until the National Reich Church was formed to consolidate the church into further obedience to the government. A thirty point program outlined the chilling impositions. Complete control was given to Hitler, the Bible was forbidden from being published and disseminated, the church was required to declare Mein Kampf as the greatest of all documents (over the Bible),  crucifixes, symbols of saints, Bibles, and the cross were required to be removed and in their place Mein Kampf, the swastika, and a sword were to be placed.

From 1934 on, a battle enraged between the "Confessing Church" lead by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller, and the "German Christians" who were headed up by different Nazi officials. The Barmen Confession, adopted by the Confessing Church rejected the doctrine of the "two spheres" (Christian pietism) by stating, "We reject the false doctrine that there are realms of our life in which we belong not to Jesus Christ, but to other masters, realms where we do not need to be justified and sanctified by Him." Unfortunately, because of political pressure and the lust for peace, the confessing church all but disbanded with Hitler arresting those who refused to join the "German Christians." Niemoller was arrested in 1937, though he lived through the war. Bonhoeffer was hung by the Nazis a couple weeks before it ended. He had been in the process of formulating a plan for the assassination of Hitler. Their story, and the story of the other confessing Christians should be read. This is why I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Hitler's Cross. Simply click the preceding link and order it off of Amazon. Their stories will provide inspiration for how to stand firm amidst the America of tomorrow.

American Christianity

You may be wondering, what all this has to do with Glenn Beck and the Restoring Honor rally? The answer is, "everything." Listen to the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjack wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. . . . In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. . . . Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner . . . it is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

No let me ask you, "What kind of grace is Glenn Beck selling?" Don't get me wrong, I agree with much of what Glenn Beck says about politics, and I'm not in anyway saying he's Hitler. Nevertheless, he is both offering and revealing something damning that has already taken place in our churches. Russell D. Moore ties everything together with this statement from His syndicated blog.

Too often, and for too long, American “Christianity” has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barabbas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah.

Moore goes on to say


Any “revival” that is possible without the Lord Jesus Christ is a “revival” of a different kind of spirit than the Spirit of Christ (1 John 4:1-3). . . The answer isn’t a narrowing sectarianism, retreating further and further into our enclaves. The answer includes local churches that preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and disciple their congregations to know the difference between the Kingdom of God and the latest political whim.

I second one of Moore's opening lines. "It’s taken us a long time to get here, in this plummet from Francis Schaeffer to Glenn Beck." Francis Schaeffer repudiated the pietistic compartmentalized version of Christianity that plagued the church of the Nazis and plagues ours today. The church must be involved in the political process as salt and light, but it must not compromise the fact that it is the church. In America we have both extremes. We have the hundreds of evangelical leaders- including the entire upper echelon at Liberty University- who have decided to look for revival from an ecumenical Mormon, and then we have the churches that stay completely out of the political process. One side says, "We're willing to compromise in order to be salt," in which case they loose their saltiness, and the other affirms, "We're not willing to compromise anything, you can't have your salt." Either way the salt is never truly injected into the culture. We have bought into cheap grace in America. Doctrine doesn't matter anymore. What matters is a "personal relationship," which saves me from hell, society be damned! What we need is a yellow Gadsden Flag (i.e. the "Don't Tread on Me" flag) which instead of a snake in the background, pictures the Holy Scriptures.

If we compromise on the Gospel for the sake of politics, how are we any different than the "German Christians?" We're simply "American Christians," and in that order. We have bought into a right wing type of fascism where the military and our exceptionalism come before the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I fear we will follow in the footsteps of Germany, only time will tell. All it takes is a "conservative" to rally the churches into a frenzy over something of temporal importance. Christ said it best in Matthew 6:20-21. "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Where's the heart of American Christianity. Is it with the Gospel or Glenn Beck? Does it resemble Germany 1933 or Rome 35 A.D.? More importantly, where's your heart?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...