Friday, July 12, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Churches in the Crosshairs

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Last week, IC, Bernie and I discussed the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Toronto, Canada, which consisted of 8,000 Catholics, Buddhists, Baptists, Bahai, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and indigenous spiritualists. They gathered to complain about Donald Trump and disseminate tactics for effectively infiltrating evangelical churches in order to convert us to the globalist / ecumenicalist cause.

Since they’ve been so kind as to warn us of their intentions in advance, I thought maybe we could consider how best to keep them out, or perhaps how to bring them in while thwarting their efforts.

An Interesting Alliance

Bernie: There’s an interesting alliance happening (I’m not suggesting it is intentional — at the earthly level — but it’s an alliance nonetheless):
  • Evangelicals — in particular — are in the crosshairs of the LGBTQ community.
  • Evangelicals — in particular — are in the crosshairs of the political elites.
  • Evangelicals — in particular — are in the crosshairs of the media (social media, entertainment media and news media, in my opinion).
Something about being salt and light comes to mind, and we’re now awash in a culture that prefers neither. So yeah, we don’t have too many powerful friends (just One) and we aren’t in for a bump-free ride in the time left. That shouldn’t be a surprise.

Immanuel Can: What’s the old saying? “One, plus God, is a majority in any situation.” We should not forget that.

Tom: No indeed. I think you’re right, Bernie, that it’s unintentional on the human level. On the spiritual level, we’re a pain to all of them, but these groups are not natural allies in every case. The globalist political elites, for instance, are bent on bringing in large numbers of people from Third World cultures. When these new “Americans” and “Canadians” start electing some of their own, they are going to make the lives of feminists, LGBTQ people — not to mention Jews — absolutely horrific in the long run. So this alliance is more coincidental than anything else.

Controlling the Debate

IC: Maybe. But here’s the thing: evil does not hate evil. Evil only hates good. So at the end of the day, from a political perspective, anti-Semites, LGBTQ advocates, abortionists, religious liberals, Islamists, new atheists, radical feminists and socialists all have more in common with each other than they have with Christians.

All have an evil purpose in mind, and all of them want to seize the political agenda and use it to reshape the world to their tastes. Moreover, all of them find evangelicals the hardest group to manage. Strange bedfellows they may seem at first … but really, maybe they aren’t so strange at all. Morally, they’re found wanting by scripture; tactically, they all do the same things.

Just an example: have you noticed how they’ve all cottoned on to manipulating language to control the debate in their favor from the start? Just try discussing “Palestine” or “homophobia” or “Islamophobia” or “violence against women” or “choice”, and see how far you get before they position you as 100% wrong. They’ve all learned the propaganda lessons of Joseph Goebbels and Orwell’s 1984, and use them to great effect to shut down all principled opposition.

Tom: I enjoyed the horror with which all these various groups gathering for the Toronto Parliament singled out evangelicals as the reason for Donald Trump’s election. They loathe the U.S. President’s emphasis on nationalism above all. But here is the thing: I don’t think evangelicals in general are all that nationalistic. Where evangelicals are consistently united, however, is in being intensely opposed to abortion, which is why many of them held their noses and voted for Mr. Trump in forlorn hope he might do exactly what he’s done, which is to stack the Supreme Court with strict constitutionalists. It was a happy accident for him in terms of getting elected, but it has also turned out well so far for those who still hope for a shot of reversing Roe v. Wade.

Sitting Ducks

But I do not think most evangelicals are terribly alert to the current globalist threat. They are only on board the nationalism bus by sheerest coincidence. There’s a lot of “coincidence” happening on both sides.

Do you think there are many churches out there that will see these infiltration attempts coming, or are we all sitting ducks?

IC: Right now I think we’re too nice. We’re as harmless as doves, wanting everybody to like us and nobody to fight about anything, but nowhere near as shrewd as serpents. We tend to want to believe the best of everyone — that their intentions are essentially good and that their interest in us is sincere — and we think that’s the Christian way. We would never be sneaky, so we don’t expect false teachers to be. But they are, and the Lord told us they are.

Tom: Well, if we didn’t realize that before, these reports should make us sit up and take notice. I do think their strategy has flaws though. Take the point about leveraging Bible verses in a way that appeals to a wider sense of love and acceptance, for instance. To leverage a Bible verse effectively — to make it convincingly say something it doesn’t — you really have to be a credible teacher, not some moon-eyed outsider dropping a biblical reference as if nobody present has ever heard it before. Only complete neophytes are going to fall for “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” as a plausible justification for open borders. It’s right there in the verse itself: “all one IN CHRIST.” Paul is speaking about the church, not about society generally. Globalists love that one, but I’ve seen dozens of clever, amusing refutations of its incorrect use online. Not all evangelicals are quite as gullible as they imagine.

Not So Astute

IC: I’m afraid that perhaps the greater masses of evangelicals are not so astute as you might hope, Tom. I think we’ve let go of much of our theology and all of the teaching of hermeneutics a couple of decades ago, and left our children to the wolves. The strategy will work if there is no concerted effort from evangelicals to reverse the creeping scriptural ignorance that characterizes many in our churches.

Tom: Well, it will certainly work in places where the last couple of generations of evangelicals are not rock-solid on the inspiration of scripture, I’ll give you that. Millennial evangelicals in many denominations seem to spend more time online creatively explaining away the bits of the Bible they don’t like than going to the word of God to find out what it says, and I think in many cases it’s because they are not fully convinced the Bible is authoritative. If you think scripture is something along the lines of an antiquated and gentle suggestion, you’ll certainly fall for anything that sounds loving and tolerant.

To date I have not observed that level of scriptural ignorance you’re talking about in the churches I frequent. Here and there, sure, but it’s not epidemic. Still, I recognize you’ve got experience with a much wider range of evangelicals than Bernie or I do. And we certainly don’t want to be overconfident about our knowledge of scripture.

Pushing Back the Infiltrators

Bernie: We should summarize those infiltration strategies again for this week’s readers:
  1. Find the weakest link that is high enough in the chain to do maximal damage
  2. Tug at the heartstrings
  3. Distort — don’t confront — accepted principles 
  4. Mask your intent until such time as you have a solid alliance in place.
Tom: Yes, that’s good. Now, we’ve talked about the ecumenicalists’ intention of targeting youth pastors, and I argued that the best strategy is not to take religious titles or confer them on others in the first place, as the Lord Jesus taught. Makes it harder for the infiltrators to find a target. And of course the antidote to ignorance is the promotion of individual study of scripture. IC, what about the “tug at the heartstrings” strategy? Do Christians have any natural defenses against emotionally-moving rhetoric?

IC: Absolutely. We need to see the inextricable scriptural link between love and truth. We need to realize that to deprive people of the truth, or to allow them to be deluded by something less than the truth, is not loving.

Unfortunately, ours is the great age of “Let’s not disagree” above all. That means that we are conditioned to think that if people are taken aback or upset with us we must have done something wrong or unchristian. But to be genuinely unchristian is actually to abandon the truth in order to get along. And that’s the spirit of our age.

Tom: Indeed. But you’re right: we need to remind each other to insist on the truth and to cultivate a spirit of discernment. And we certainly need to be very careful about giving positions of responsibility to anyone who doesn’t prioritize faithfulness to Christ and his gospel.

Looking for Tells

The final point in Bernie’s summary of ecumenicalist infiltration tactics is “Mask your intent until such time as you have a solid alliance in place.” If that tactic is in their playbook, how can we effectively fight back? What sort of “tells” might we look for in enthusiastic new church members?

IC: One thing is talk of “social justice”, and of causes related to it.

Tom: Good point. I also think of terms like “problematic”, “inclusivity”, “equality”, “intersectional”, “the patriarchy”, “cultural appropriation”, “ethnocentric”, “microaggression”, “trigger”, “self-identify”, “oppression”, “victim”, “abuse”, “hate” used as an adjective, and absolutely anything that begins with “cis‑” or ends in either “‑splaining” or “‑phobia”. When all a person’s thinking is framed in terminology coined or repurposed to manipulate others, some of it is guaranteed to slip out of his mouth once in a while. The occasional use of the more common ones may not mean much, but anything more than that could well be an indication of a very questionable worldview. And if this kind of language starts being used unironically by people already in your church, you need to figure out where it’s coming from.

IC: Another thing would be to watch your youth leaders and your young people, especially for partnerships and participation in shared events with groups whose agenda is not clearly biblical. The wolves will be coming in as new “allies” for causes that sound good but don’t bear up well under close scriptural scrutiny.

Be On Your Guard

Tom: I suppose it’s worth mentioning that while guarding the sheep is technically an elder’s job, that doesn’t mean younger men and women ought to shrug their shoulders and leave the wolves to the wolf-experts. The churches can only benefit if more believers are alert to the current dangers.

IC: Right. That’s the big takeaway. Invasion by false doctrine is only a danger when people have lost touch with sound doctrine, or when they’ve become too timid to stand up for it. Let’s make sure that’s not us.

2 comments :

  1. This motivates me to bring up once more a reminder of something I have mentioned previously. This is, what I consider to be a fact with regard to the human person and situation, that every societal downside, in the (sometimes very) long run, has its solution built in by way of a natural control circuit mechanism. I.e , if it gets too hot the control circuit will eventually kick in and change the temperature to something acceptable (take the Reformation, e.g. ;). This means that any unjust situation will eventually right itself in the long run if it is found to simply not work and be beneficial. There is of course little consolation of this in the short run but it is inevitable in the long run (in my opinion). Naturally, the aware and motivated person can attempt to expedite correction continually and as early as feasible. But the nature of the problem is that it is inevitable that the wrong side will eventually loose.

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  2. "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." -- Herbert Stein

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