Archive for August, 2012

Much folklore has been fed to the American people about the person and presidency of Abraham Lincoln — notably his kindness, compassion, and concern for the southern slaves.

Challenging this notion an article by Robert Morgan recently crossed my desk.  Entitled “The ‘Great Emancipator’ and the Issue of race:  Abraham Lincoln’s Program of Black Resettlement”, the article appeared in the Institute For Historical Review.”

“Many Americans think of Abraham Lincoln, above all, as the president who freed the slaves. Immortalized as the “Great Emancipator,” he is widely regarded as a champion of black freedom who supported social equality of the races, and who fought the American Civil War (1861-1865) to free the slaves.”

Myth: Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the American slaves.

A MythBusters’ investigation was opened to explore the literature from the period in an effort to get at the truth.   It turns out that The Emancipation Proclamation declared freedom to the slaves only in territory where the Confederates were in control.

Not A Single Slave Was Freed

In the same publication, historian Allan Nevins noted, “The Proclamation, Secretary Seward wryly commented, emancipated slaves where it could not reach them, and left them in bondage where it could have set them free. Moreover, because it was issued as a war measure, the Proclamation’s long-term validity was uncertain. Apparently any future President could simply revoke it. “The popular picture of Lincoln using a stroke of the pen to lift the shackles from the limbs of four million slaves is ludicrously false.”[emphasis added]

Morgan continues With Lincoln’s explanation of the limited Emancipation Proclamation: “’Understand, I raise no objections against it [slavery] on legal or constitutional grounds … I view the matter [emancipation] as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.’”

The Emancipation Proclamation was hailed by growing pressure of the northern abolitionists, but resettlement among white people in the United States was opposed by many.  So the document contained a measure for resettlement in some foreign land suitable to sustain them.  Political pressure came from all sides for some kind of Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln‘s Real Objective

The weight of evidence uncovered in the MythBusters investigation, indicates that Lincoln had other motives in mind.   In a widely quoted letter to Horace Greely, Lincoln proclaimed, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union …”

Tangential to the issue at hand is that the Union Lincoln sought to “save” was not the original one, but the ever-evolving empire accumulating more and more central power.  Lincoln’s repeated references to “saving the union” were euphemistic references to centralized control.  In a word, Abraham Lincoln wanted to subjugate a South that desired to be free of the tyrannical burden of the “Tariff of Abominations.”

Lincoln’s career-long devotion to Henry Clay’s “American System” was an early form of crony capitalism or corporate welfare that culminated in the Credit Mobilier scandal.   It included subsidies for railroads, canals, and other internal improvements.  This necessitated high import taxes, which the South resisted, thereby provoking Lincoln’s invasion.  The federally subsidized intercontinental railroad was being laid in the middle of the Civil War.

A similar situation arose in ancient Israel.  When Rehoboam foolishly took the advice of his young advisors to raise taxes, Jeroboam split off with the 10 tribes of Israel.  Rehoboam took up arms to quell the “insurrection,” and God via the prophet told him to let them go.  Rehoboam complied.  Abraham Lincoln lacked even the good sense of Rehoboam, who at the time was an immature youth.   Rather than The Great Emancipator, Lincoln is better described as The Great Centralizer.

Lincoln’s view of race relations is exposed quite vividly in many of his personal statements.  In his inaugural address on March 4, 1861, he promised to support legislation for the capture and return of runaway slaves; thus, increasing the power of the expanding union over northern as well as southern states.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858) had earlier set the pace, exposing Lincoln’s views on race: “I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. [ibid] [emphasis added]

Case Closed:  Looking back from the vantage point of history, it was not hard for MythBusters to spot the political grandstanding in a rather toothless “Emancipation Proclamation.”  It curried favor with the European nations, especially England and France, short-circuiting their recognition of the South as an independent nation.  That was Lincoln’s real objective.

The Emancipation Proclamation also upset the stability of southern labor, but it did not free a single  slave.  On April 8, 1864, the Senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment, and on January 31, 1865, The House of representative concurred; thus, abolishing slavery, including Biblical indentured servitude, anywhere in the United States.  MythBusters Rating:   Blue Flag to Robert Morgan and the Institute for Historical Review for courage to challenge popular opinion.

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HistoryMythBusters is pleased to announce creation of our sister BLOG at ConstitutionMythBusters.WordPress.com.  Although the site is not yet officially open, it is now possible to visit and view a petition to God which we believe to be of critical importance at this moment in America’s history.

There will soon be an opportunity to add your name online at the BLOG and join with thousands of other Christian Americans in this corporate act of contrition and commitment to return to the law of God in our national life.  You may view the Confession & Petition in its entirety by clicking on the link below:

CONFESSION OF GUILT & PETITION FOR FORGIVENESS

IN THE MATTER OF OUR FOREFATHERS’

RATIFICATION OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, 1788

We the undersigned do hereby confess our culpability and acknowledge our complicity in giving assent and endorsement to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1788. We beg forgiveness of Yahweh Almighty God, the one and only King of kings and Lord of lords, for this sedition against Him and this rebellion against His kingdom in rejecting His law and replacing it with a human code devised from the framers’ own imagination.

MythBusters Case#8 explained our discovery that prayer and fasting is futile apart from such a corporate, oath-bound commitment to return to the law of God.  Such an act of corporate repentance is modeled for us at Nehemiah 10: 28,29:

“…all those who had knowledge and understanding, are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given through Moses, God’s servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of God our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes.”

A summary of the critical flaws in the United States Constitution may be found at MythBusters Case#12.   There it was demonstrated that the United States Constitution is a secular social contract between men that excludes God and any obligation to His law.

Coming soon is a detailed table, comparing over 75 points at which the United States Constitution contradicts the Bible.  Pastor Ted Weiland has published a new book entitled “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution” that documents these fatal flaws in great detail.

ConstitutionMythBusters will be devoted to exploring these fatal weaknesses.  There is also considerable information along this line at our mother website, which may be accessed by any of the tabs above, in particular the “American Covenant” Tab.

We are grateful that Kirk Cameron has apparently abandoned the fictional pre-millennialism of his early “Left Behind” productions.   In one recent lecture, he did a masterful job of comparing the plot of his “Fire Proof” film to the grand redemptive story that God is telling in history.

Kirk Cameron made it clear that he was talking about “redemptive” not only in the individual sense, but in the sense of God renewing the entire created order under the kingly reign of Christ.  The lecture pointed to the victory of the church in history prior to the second coming, which the Bible clearly foretells in Psalm Two and many other passages.

For example, Is. 2:2 predicts that “…in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief … and all the nations will stream to it.”  Hebrews 1:2 informs us that the “last days” referred to began with the first advent of Christ.

More recently Kirk Cameron has turned his considerable talents to production of a documentary on American history.   MythBusters’ initial impression was that this project is perpetuating the historical “bait & switch” technique which is so common among the contemporary Christian defenders of 18th Century Federalism.

Further investigation confirmed our initial impression.  This new documentary, “Monumental,” unfortunately is another disappointing addition to the same shop-worn genre of Christian Constitutionalism.  This includes Gary DeMar, David Barton, Peter Marshall, Marshall Foster and a host of others.

MYTH:  The Constitutional framers of 1788 perpetuated the form of Biblical government established by the Puritan forefathers in the 1600s.

This sophisticated bait & switch technique is based on a monumental non-sequitor (pun intended).   First establish the Christian character and Biblical form of government of the early American colonists, which is true and accurate.   This is not difficult to do and is very emotionally and intellectually appealing to a Christian audience.

Most of the colonial constitutions were written covenant documents with the Triune God and required a religious test oath of public officials.  They did not just swear symbolically on the Bible, they swore to the Bible and God an oath to govern by it’s laws.  In some cases – like the Massachusetts Body of Liberties – Mosaic case law is actually written into the document word-for-word.

But then you throw in the non-sequitor.  Draw the illogical conclusion that the drafters of the United States Constitution shared the same faith and vision for Biblical government as the Puritan fathers.  Follow that up with the problematic claim that the United States Constitution is a faithful representation of Biblical principles of Civil Government.

Historical “Bait”

The “Monumental” kick-off cruise of the Northeast coastline is apparently designed to accomplish phase I described above.  According to this promotional piece, the focus of the voyage is to be on Pilgrim America.

Now you can experience Monumental as you join Kirk Cameron, Marshall Foster, and Gary DeMar as they retrace the steps of the forefathers and visit the historical sites, monuments, and locations of the Pilgrims. Every step of the journey will be filled with in-depth teaching, soul-stirring narratives, and unforgettable experiences.

There’s also an unanswered question about the lasting influence of the Puritans.  For a variety of reasons a Declension occurred among the Massachusetts Puritans that left a secularized skeleton of the original colony.   By 1700 the devout Puritan had been transformed into the self-sufficient, and secularized Yankee. Christian Federalists such as Kirk Cameron apparently overlook the unfortunate influence of the Puritan Declension.  The tract goes on to say….

….there’s no question the tiny band of religious outcasts who founded this country hit upon a formula for success that went way beyond what they could have imagined. How else can you explain the fact that they established a nation that has become the best example of civil, economic and religious liberty the world has ever known?  

Even the Great Awakening of the 1740s did not revive Puritanism after the Declension.  The Puritan vision of Christendom as A City Set On A Hill, was not rekindled in the pietistic, individualism that characterized the preaching of the Great Awakening.  Thus, it could not have been passed to the framers of the American Constitution.

Historical “Switch”

The monumental non-sequitor comes at that point in the film itself where the producer  travels to Texas to meet up with David Barton, “the leading expert” on the subject of the founding fathers.  Kirk wants to know if the Framers shared the same faith and vision of the Puritans, apparently unaware of the fact that David Barton is a master of the historical bait and switch.

After an interesting show & tell in David Barton’s library, he leaves with the conclusion that “the founding fathers did not ditch the faith.”  This conclusion is not based on any Biblical analysis of the Constitution itself.  Rather, Kirk Cameron appears to have been overwhelmed by the deluge of secondary source material in the Barton library.

Case Closed:   MythBusters concludes that the  “Monumental” film project is another victim (and now perpetrator) of the historical “bait & switch,” related to the drafters of the United States Constitution.   MythBuster Rating:  Given the proven inaccuracy of his research (cf. August, 2012 Archives), any documentary that relies so heavily on a David Barton interview is automatically awarded the MythBusters’ Red Flag.  Viewers should approach this film with great caution because of  its failure to evaluate the historical data from a Biblical standpoint.

 We admire Judge Roy Moore – his courage, his tenacity, and his commitment to God — and wish him well in his campaign for Supreme Court Justice in the state of Alabama.

However, MythBusters would be remiss if we did not investigate the apparently faulty premises on which Judge Roy Moore bases his campaign as well as his judicial theory.

MYTH:   Promoting the form of government found in the United States Constitution is synonymous with promoting the form of government laid out in the Bible.

Our initial impression was that nothing can be further from the truth.  This myth has left Christians mired in confusion and political impotence for over 200 years.

We found a number of statements in a recent fundraising letter for the Roy Moore campaign put out by World Net Daily that illustrate the problem.   First is the assertion that….

We need a God-fearing Chief Justice who will uphold the Constitution of The United States and who will stand for what made our Christian Nation great!  We are watching judges ignore and dismantle the greatest constitution in world history.

Herein lies the great contradiction.  We noted the logical conflict between being both a “God-fearing Chief Justice” and at the same time trying to “uphold the Constitution of the United States.”  That is because the Constitution of the United States contradicts the Bible on virtually every major point.

A  recent book by Pastor Ted Weiland proves that accusation beyond a shadow of a doubt:  Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution.  Pastor Weiland has identified at least 75 points on which the U S Constitution directly contradicts the Bible.

Included among the primary contradictions are the following.  The United States Constitution is opposed to a Biblical form of government because:

1)      its governing authority is derived from “we the people” rather than from God, per Rom. 13:1.  This complies with the definition of humanism:  Man in and of himself defining what is good and what is evil, with no reliance on God.

2)      It makes itself and all the man made laws that flow from it, “the supreme law of the land” instead of the Bible (Art VI, sec 1).  This alone would be enough to condemn the document.

3)      Exclusion of the religious test oath outlaws the Biblical requirement that government officials swear to make their judicial decisions based on the law of God. (Art. VI, sec. 3)

Turning to the Bible we observed that American government was constituted under the same circumstances and with the same outcome as the Israelite rebellion from God recorded in I Samuel Chapter 8.  Israel was a confederacy of loosely united tribes or states, as were the American colonies.  Israel wanted to be united under a grand king, who would ride in and out to make war, “like the nations.”  The American colonies wanted a similar centralized military coalition like the other great empires of the day.

In both cases they rejected God from being king over them.  In both cases the  results have been disastrous.

The letter goes on to make a further rather problematic claim.

“This great nation was founded on a belief in God and founded on Christian Principles.  I pledge to fight for the rights and freedoms given to us by God and guaranteed under the greatest constitution of government ever devised by man.

What Christian principles we asked?  The conflict is largely symbolic.  Shall Judge Moore’s monument be allowed on display in the state Supreme Court Building.  As a “lower magistrate” Judge Roy Moore is commended  for  opposing the tyranny of a corrupt king or “higher magistrate.” Symbols are important, but the real issue is whether or not the law of God shall form the basis of the legal system in the state and nation.

That goes beyond even the Ten Commandments.  God requires that not only the commandments, but His statutes and ordinances be enforced in the courts of law (Neh 10:29).  These are the specifics of the law and its penalties.

“And the statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment, which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do forever; and you shall not fear other gods.”

The Ten Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20.  The statutes and ordinances follow immediately in Exodus 21-23.  These are treated as a unit (Ex. 24:7) and aside from ceremonial changes, there is no basis for keeping one and rejecting the other.  God’s standard of justice does not change from age to age.  It boils down to whether we will fear God and His law or the law of some other god.

Is Judge Moore as committed to the statutes and ordinances as he is to the Ten Commandments?  This is uncertain and calls for further investigation.

Case Closed:  Where is all this taking us?  Judge Moore cannot cling to the United States Constitution and at the same time claim allegiance to the law of God.  In an interview earlier this year, Judge Roy Moore said that the trend toward secular government will lead to Sharia law in the United States.

The article notes that “The man who is likely to be Alabama’s next chief justice is warning that secular government will lead to Islamic law in the United States.  In an interview with conservative talk show host Steve Deace last week, Roy Moore opined that “a government that is denying God was also allowing Sharia law to take hold.”

It is a supreme irony that the man who issues this warning can in the same breath defend the document that is the heart and soul of American  secular government.

It was the esteemed George Washington who cautioned against entangling alliances in his Farewell Address to the nation in 1796.

It is therefore ironic to see 21st Century conservatives, those who claim greatest kinship with Washington, typically voicing the strongest approval of America’s unending overseas military exploits.  The father of our country is often quoted, but seldom emulated when it comes to a position of neutrality in foreign affairs.

This issue surfaced recently in Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate on the Republican ticket.  This was presumably to energize his campaign by appealing to TeaParty conservatives.  What exactly was it in Paul Ryan’s record that would presumably appeal to Christian conservatives?

Joel McDurmon laid it out clearly in a recent article about Paul Ryan on the American Vision News site.  Ryan is all for preserving and expanding the American empire and will make the office of Vice President once again “a nest of neocons.”

MYTH:  America has a long record of going to war only when necessary to preserve freedom for herself or an ally.

Curiously it is Christians who are  particularly vulnerable to this myth.  The tide of patriotism runs high in many Christian homes.  Christian families have no qualms about their sons serving in the U. S. Marine Corp in particular, indeed are usually bursting with pride to tell of it.

Occasionally the term “just war” is thrown out as a standard, against which to evaluate a military operation.  What is a just war?  If we knew the answer to that question, we would be in better position to evaluate America’s foreign policy.   Such a war is fought according to Biblical principles of warfare.

1)      First and foremost a just war is defensive in nature.  Multiplying horses (offensive weapons) was among the three things that God forbade the Israelite kings to do (Dt. 17:16).  A MythBuster’s investigation concluded that America’s track record is less than exemplary.  For example…..

  • Civil War:  Lincoln refused to meet with a southern peace delegation and goaded the south into firing the first shot at  Fort Sumter which gave him a pretext to invade the South.  Lincoln was frustrated by the South constantly complaining about import taxes, ironically collected at Ft. Sumter.
  • Spanish American War:  A mysterious bomb explosion in the battleship Maine was all the pretext Teddy Roosevelt needed to liberate the Cubans from the barbaric Spaniards.  Barbaric at least by Hearst yellow-journalism standards.  Meantime, Admiral Dewey “liberated” Philippines from the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay.  U.S. ground forces subsequently made them an American protectorate, in spite of Filipino preference for not being  protected.
  • WWI:  In spite of German warnings, American shipping plies waters in sub-infested war zone.  Sinking of Luisitania gives Wilson all the pretext he needs to enter the war and lead the drive for one-world government during peace negotiations afterward
  • WWII:  FDR goads Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor giving him all the pretext he needs to enter the war and lead the drive for one-world government during the peace negotiations afterward.
  • 9-11:  Twin Towers of World Trade Center in NYC are brought down allegedly by two jetliners.  The government’s official version of events has so many holes it would sink in a bathtub.  Subsequent security measures prep American population for police state tactics at airports, etc.

2)      A just war is non-interventionist.  Josiah was one of Israel’s best kings, but his life was sadly cut short by an act of foreign military adventurism.  Josiah intervened in a quarrel that was not his own and paid with his life (II Chr 35:20-25).   Thus, the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive Force does not pass Biblical muster.

3)      A just war could involve temporary alliances even with non-Christian nations to counter an act of aggression.  Abraham teamed up temporarily with pagan kings to rescue his people, but refused a permanent alliance (Gen. 14).

4)      A just war is not waged against civilian non-combatants (Dt. 20:14).  Sherman’s march of pillage from Atlanta to the sea under the direction of Abraham Lincoln was an easily avoided atrocity.  His objective was to destroy southern culture.

5)      A just war does not involve wanton destruction of life and property.  Allied bombing of civilians at Dresden and Hiroshima/Nagasaki during WWII were barbaric and unnecessary.  God commanded his people not to cut down the  fruit  trees when they laid siege to a city (Dt. 20:19,20).

6)      A just war is prefaced by an offer of peace (Dt. 20-10-15).  When Judah laid siege to a city they were to offer terms of peace.  Lincoln spurned such an offer and baited the South to fire the first shot at Ft Sumter.

7)      A just war is not fought to control by force a geographical/cultural entity that desires independence.  Lincoln’s waging war against the South, who had peacefully seceded was unbiblical.  When Israel seceded from Judah, God told Rehoboam to let them go (I Kg. 12:24).

8)      A just war against a tyrant must be led by a duly ordained lesser magistrate, not a revolutionary mob.  We see many examples of this in the book of Judges.

Case Closed:   MythBusters concludes that the majority of America’s foreign wars – past and present — are in violation of most of these principles.  A large offensive  force of almost 1,000 military bases is currently maintained overseas and U.S. forces are frequently employed to enforce globalist objectives on subject nations.  “American leadership” is a euphemism for domination.

Christians should refrain from voluntary participation lest they be found guilty of partaking in the sins of the nation.  They should appeal to local magistrates for relief as outlined in the Apolitical Pastor series in the July Archives.

The church of the Puritans was a dynamic force in society.  Men and the rulers of men looked to the church of our forefathers for guidance in the conduct of public affairs, indeed in every arena of life.

In those days the Kingdom of God was a culture-wide phenomenon known as Christendom.  The Puritans held that Church and state were independent institutions, but both were subject to God.  The church taught the magistrate the requirements of God’s holy law, but did not dominate.

But something happened in the Great Awakening of the 1740’s that changed all of that.  Unlike the Puritans the itinerant preachers typically set up their pulpit outside town in the open countryside, symbolically declaring that the Kingdom was beyond the concerns of organized society.  Little effort was made to team up with the established church in the community.

Moreover, the message was limited to a personal call for individual conversion with no challenge to the convert’s devotion to the idols in the culture.  Thus, it was possible for a person to have a personal salvation experience without embracing the implications of Christ’s kingly reign in the wider social context.  People could be born into the kingdom without growing up to become productive citizens within the kingdom (Christendom) like the Puritans.

Instead of using the law to convict the sinner of his wretched standing before God, more often than not the message was along the lines of “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”  A psychology of persuasion was employed, which drowned out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in the soul.

These problems were especially acute in the Second Great Awakening just after the turn of the Century.  Unfortunately, they have persisted to the present day and have been perfected in the methods of the great crusade evangelists.

MYTH:  A renewed crusade in personal evangelism and proclamation of the “simple” gospel is the only thing that will save America at this desperate hour.

That is the message being promoted online by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) at the present time.  Here is the message in its entirety:

“IN [JESUS’S] NAME THE NATIONS

WILL PUT THEIR HOPE” (Mt 12:21NIV)

            If you live in the typical American community–with 100 average neighbors–here’s   the reality: 7 of your neighbors struggle with depression, even contemplating        suicide; 7 abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol; 8 are struggling with      unemployment; and 60 don’t profess to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

            The picture is bleak, but there is hope. Jesus Christ can transform lives that are       burdened with fear, insecurity, uncertainty, and pain and offer joy and peace, now          and for all eternity. By signing this declaration, you stand with Billy Graham in          proclaiming that our nation needs this Good News.

            In November 2013, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and Christians across the U.S. and Canada will host My Hope with Billy Graham, a            massive media and friendship outreach, to proclaim the Gospel. Submit the form          on the right, and we’ll send you updates on this outreach and other ways we are             sharing the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ.  I will join you in declaring, “I          have hope for America because of Jesus Christ.”

We’ve been here before.  In the 1970s a nationwide “I found It!” crusade was launched with similar goals.  Results were anemic.  With all due respect, we would point out that the above is an appeal to personal peace and prosperity.  As such, it is a man-centered appeal.  It says nothing of the broken law, the offended Deity, the neglect of Biblical justice that has provoked the judgment of God on America.  These themes were characteristic of the Puritans and the prophets (Micah 3:1,5,9,11).

The verse Dr. Graham quotes is addressed to the nations, but his appeal is the same exclusively personal, pietistic approach that we have heard for years.  It completely neglects the Kingship of Christ over the nation and the broader realm of Christendom.  Moreover it does not address the sins of the nation or its leaders, as did the Puritans.  Our MythBusters’ investigation found that the Bible presents a more comprehensive message in both Old and New Testaments.

The Old Testament Gospel Was Not Strictly Personal

The preaching of the Old Testament prophets was not strictly personal.  Men of God throughout the Bible addressed their message to the sins of the nation and its leaders, not just the individual.  For example, the Prophet Micah called the rulers in Israel to repentance with these words, “Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel!  Is it not for you to know justice?  You who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people….” (Mic. 3:1,2).

The Melchizedekan ministry of Christ is pictured in both Old and New Testaments as priestly and kingly.  In Genesis 14:18 we are told that Melchizedek was both “priest of God Most High” and “king of Salem.”  In Hebrews 7:2 we learn that the name Melchizedek translated means both “king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace.”

Christ is both Priest and King.  Thus, any presentation of the gospel that fails to set forth the cultural peace flowing from the kingly ministry of Christ is a truncated gospel.  Unlike the so-called “social gospel,” the work of Christ on the cross is central to the comprehensive gospel preached by the Puritans.

The New Testament Gospel Is Not Strictly Personal

Mary’s magnificat announcing the birth of the Messiah in the New Testament was not strictly personal.   Mary began with a declaration of the “good news” that “His mercy is upon generation after generation.”  (Lk 1:50), but the thrust of her message was the social-political impact of the kingly reign of her Son.  Already with His advent, He has “scattered the proud,” “brought down rulers,” and “sent away the rich empty-handed.”

A gospel message that does not include the kingly ministry of Christ over men and nations is incomplete.  A strictly personal gospel message is a truncated gospel message.  A truncated gospel message is an inaccurate gospel message.  An inaccurate gospel message is but one variety of “another gospel” that Paul denounced in Galatians.  Men will respond to a comprehensive gospel, whereas crusade evangelism has contributed to the feminization of the church.

Martin Luther, a forerunner of the Puritans, left us these words, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.  Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle field besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

Case Closed:  The ineffectiveness of crusade evangelism is remarkable, although not generally known.  Studies have shown that only a tiny percentage continue on with the Lord (cf. Ray Comfort).  Dr. Graham has no qualms about sending those who do respond back into the liberal churches from whence they come to be devoured by spiritual wolves among the leadership.  MythBuster Rating:  For this reason the BGEA is assigned the MythBusters’ red flag warning.

More of the same is not what America needs at this critical hour of national judgment.  Needed is a comprehensive gospel like that of the Puritans that sets forth the claims of Christ in all of life and culture, not just the life of the individual soul.

The crusade evangelism model focused exclusively on the individual cannot be found in Scripture.  It is a huge diversion of time and resources.  Our resources would be better expended on the “Adopt A Politician” program described in the “Apolitical Pastor” series elsewhere on this BLOG.

If every evangelical pastor were to adopt one politician in their town or city and share the whole counsel of God, the battle would be won.  That is the Biblical model pioneered by John the Baptist in the New Testament.

On occasion cars get recalled because of a threat to the physical health of their owners, but it is rare that a book gets recalled because of a threat to the spiritual health of its readers.

Yet that’s exactly what happened to self-proclaimed “Christian history expert” David Barton of Wallbuilders when he recently tried to whitewash the image of Thomas Jefferson for Christian readers. His book, The Jefferson Lies, reputed to expose alleged myths about American founder Thomas Jefferson, was recalled by the publisher August 10.

Nashville based publisher Thomas Nelson cited “historical errors” and stated that “it was in the best interest of our readers to cease its publication and distribution.” The recall was prompted by complaints from a group of conservative scholars and from a group of Cincinnati ministers.

MYTH: Even the most heretic of America’s founders may be enlisted to prove a Biblical worldview in America’s founding documents because they were constrained by the prevailing Christianity in the culture.

For years Wallbuilders’ spin of American history has been an embarrassment to the evangelical church, but David Barton consistently got away with it. Wallbuilders preys on an historically ill-informed Christian public. MythBusters was gratified with the news that they were finally called on the carpet.

As one lay reader admitted before the recall, “…from what I’ve read from the “academic” detractors, I find Barton’s positions to be more compelling. That may be because I want to believe in the goodness of the Founders.”

Wanting to believe the best, most Christians will give groups like Wallbuilders the benefit of the doubt and are consistently misled. Christian apologists for the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution like David Barton typically rely on the supposed Christian convictions of the founders to prove that these are Christian documents.

They seem willing to go to almost any length to create this impression, including attempts to “baptize” the image of even the most heretical of the founders like Jefferson and Franklin. It’s like washing a pig and expecting him to stay clean.

Volumes could be written to demonstrate that Jefferson was no friend of the evangelical church, but MythBusters will summarize just a few points here from our investigation.

  • Jefferson was a self-professed Unitarian and Epicurean. These are hardly philosophies compatible with the Christian religion.
  •  It is not Jefferson that the Left has sought to denigrate as David Barton contends, but rather the Christian conservative caricature of Jefferson, of which Barton is typical. It was after all the New Deal Democrats who adorned the currency and coinage with Jefferson’s profile. They also carved his image in stone at Mt. Rushmore and erected a shrine in his honor at the nation’s capitol.
  • No matter how David Barton tries to sugar-coat it, the fact remains that Thomas Jefferson did excise the miracles of Jesus from the New Testament in his notorious Jefferson Bible. In so doing he stands condemned by the New Testament itself which warns, “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book” (Rev. 22;19).
  • Christian leaders of Jefferson’s era were not buying Wallbuilders’ version of Thomas Jefferson.  Pastor Timothy Dwight, president of Yale University, was a prime example of those detractors. During the campaign [of 1800] Dwight took advantage of his pulpit to rain fire and brimstone on Jefferson. He said, “Can serious and reflecting men look about them and doubt that, if Jefferson is elected, those morals which protect our lives from the knife of the assassin, which guard the chastity of our wives and daughters from seduction and violence, defend our property from plunder and devastation and shield our religion from contempt and profanation, will not be trampled upon? For what end? That our churches may become temples of reason, the Bible cast into a bonfire, and that we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution?”  (Gregory W. Hamilton, The Revolution of 1800)
  • Most freemasonic organizations claim Jefferson as a leading member of the craft and he was in full sympathy with their revolutionary aims. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Jacobin-inspired French Revolution and endorsed its lawless, bloody purge, which claimed 14,000 victims. He welcomed Citizen Genet to America with the words, “All the old spirit of 1776 is rekindling.” In other words, he saw the same spirit in the American Revolution as that which animated the French.  Citizen Genet is  said to be the guiding force behind the Whiskey Rebellion.
  • The bottom line is that the best assessment of an individual founding father is a careful analysis of what they gave us. For one thing Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence draws its inspiration and authority from the autonomous mind of man (self-evident truth) rather than the Bible. For another, the Bible knows nothing of “inalienable rights,” but rather declares man to be “dead in sin” from conception and responsible to God’s law, with blessing dependent on obedience. The reader is referred to another article on this site for a more in-depth treatment of problems in the Declaration of Independence.

Case Closed: It does nothing for the Kingdom of God to pretend that infidels like Thomas Jefferson were in any way a friend of the church. The very words that Wallbuilders employs in praise of Jefferson – “classical Renaissance man” – are the words that condemn him from a Biblical perspective. The philosophy of the Renaissance was anti-Biblical to the core.

MythBuster Rating:  Blue Flag to Thomas Nelson for integrity in publishing and Wallbuilders gets our Red Flag.  David Barton’s writing should be approached with extreme caution by evangelical readers.

“If My People….” Is a newly released booklet on prayer and fasting described as “A 40-Day Prayer Guide for the Nation:  The Only Thing That Will Save Us!”

The booklet is further described as a guide for “believers on a 40-day prayer journey in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14.”   It is assumed that God will be moved to action on behalf of the nation by an outpouring of prayer and fasting from the church.

There’s only one catch.  It’s recorded in Proverbs 28:9 – “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law even his prayer shall be an abomination.”

MYTH:  If only we will fast and pray hard enough and long enough, God will heal America and save her from certain destruction.

The church in America has rejected the law of God as delivered by Moses and no amount of prayer and fasting, in and of itself, will overcome that corporate act of rebellion.  As a general rule the church considers itself “not under the law” as the rule of life and standard of practice.  To be sure, a degree of homage is paid in most evangelical churches to the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20.

But that’s usually as far as it goes.  The Mosaic judicials, that follow immediately in Exodus 21-23 are treated with hushed embarrassment by the church.  This section of scripture is virtually never expounded and seldom referenced in sermons on other topics.  These are the specific statutes (laws) and ordinances (penalties) that give definition to the Ten Commandments, but the church has rejected them as “fulfilled in Christ.”

This is nothing new.  God’s complaint against Israel was that His law was treated as a strange thing.  “Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law,: wrote the prophet Hosea, “They are regarded as a strange thing” (Hos 8:12).

When the church fails to honor and teach the law of God, the broader culture is quick to follow suit.  In the legal realm the vacuum is quickly filled by manmade laws that are of necessity tyrannical.  This is because any departure from God’s perfect law of liberty is a move in the direction of less freedom and more repression.

Rarely in the Old Testament prophets do we see God calling His people to prayer and fasting.  Almost always we find Him calling them to return to His law.  On those rare occasions when he does call for prayer, it is in the context of a return to His law.  In any other context, God regards prayer as futile at best and disgusting at worst.

Consider this passage from Hosea in which the people of God have been crying to God on the basis of their special relationship as His people.  God rejects their prayer and fasting and consigns them to judgment.

“…Because they have transgressed My covenant, and rebelled against My law.  They cry out to Me, ‘My God, we of Israel know Thee!’ Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him” (Hos 8:1-3).

 God Rejects Prayer

Likewise, the opening chapters of the book of Amos consign Judah and Israel to judgment for rejecting His law.  The indictment against Judah is a general rejection of the law, including the “statutes” – the specific laws that are spelled out in Exodus 21-23.  The indictment against Israel is more specific, detailing particular violations such as incest, kidnapping, and usury (Amos 2: 6-8).

For three transgressions of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the law of the Lord And Have not kept His statutes….” Amos 2:4).

 A little later in the book Yahweh declares His hatred for the prayers of their solemn assemblies.  He rejects the pleasant sound of their music as “noise.”  Why?  In one of the most poetic passages of the Bible God declares His preference for practical justice in the public arena over and above religious observance divorced from real life.

 “I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies  Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.  But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowng stream.” (Amos 5:21,23,24)

God Rejects Loud Prayer

Micah likewise reveals God’s attitude toward loud prayers, when the counsel of His law in the realm of the king has been neglected.  This complaint sets the stage for the famous passage in which God declares His preference for public justice as a true demonstration of kindness to our fellow man and humble devotion to Him

Now, why do you cry out loudly?  Is there no king among you, Or has your counselor perished….” (Mic 4:9).  “With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high?  …He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your god?”

Instead, God is bringing judgment upon them (v. 14,15,16) because they have substituted the laws of Omri (5th king of Israel) and the grandeur of Ahab’s government monuments for the justice of God’s law (v. 16).   Even as America has exalted her Constitution “and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof as the “supreme law of the land” (Article VI, Par, 2) over and above the law of God.   Christians in general are blind to this great offense against true justice defined by the law of God; in fact they usually applaud it.

There are no end of examples.   The prophet Habakkuk was perplexed as to why God would not answer his prayer.  Once again God’s response was that “the law is slacked and justice is never upheld”

How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear?  I cry out to Thee violence! Yet Thou dost not save….the law is ignored and justice is never upheld.  For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted” (Hab 1:2,4,7).

Esoterics, the compromised, backsliders, and the irreligious in Jerusalem are all alike commanded to be silent before the Lord by the prophet Zephaniah (Zeph. 1: 5-7).  Prayer is ineffectual for all who reject the law of God.

And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven (esoterics), and those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom (compromised), And those who have turned back from following the Lord (backsliders), And those who have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him (irreligious).  Be silent before the Lord God!

Religious syncretism is a great danger.   There are many in America today who appear to be following the Lord, but have not forsaken idolatry.  They swear by both the Lord and Milcom, who was the national god of the Ammonites.  Milcom represented state power.  Milcom worship is rampant in America today in government schooling, in government “welfare”, in unbiblical patriotism that endorses a military empire abroad.

There is also a form of “fundamentalism” that endorses these things by its pietistic indifference. A preacher can preach through the entire book of Nehemiah and never once make the obvious national applications to rebuilding the wall of public justice.  Everything is personal and pietistic and Milcom is enthroned by default.

By contrast are those who “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances….” (Zeph.2:3)

Case Closed:  When the time comes for action, God is not moved by prayer when His law is being ignored.  MythBuster Rating:   Upon investigation “If My People….”  is awarded the HistoryMythBusters Yellow Flag for perpetuating this myth.

The time for action on the part of the American church is long overdue.  When Moses came to the Red Sea he prayed for a miracle.  “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me?  Tell the sons of Israel to go forward’.”

Our backs also are to the wall.  It is time for Christian Pastors and laymen alike to “go forward” to their local magistrate and lead them in a return to the law of God and its just requirements in the legal system of the state.

Modern Christians like to point with pride to their First Century counterparts, but do they really comprehend what they were standing  – and suffering for, in light of Christian theology?

“Get it right, folks,” says Doug Giles in a recent article at ClashDaily.com, “It wasn’t the church’s belief that Jesus is God, or their love of covered dish dinners, or their Christian rock music that got them the ax; it was their holy defiance to the demonic edicts that  Caesar attempted to slap them with.”

Well said.  Rome could care less if the church of Christ had simply assumed it’s place in the pantheon of gods representing all of the empire’s conquered peoples.  Normally, Rome considered religion, even Christian  theology, a kind of social cement to pacify the populace and provide cultural stability.

MYTH:  The 1st Century Christians were sent to the lions because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

If that is a myth, why then was Rome so upset with the Christians?  Why were they upset enough, like Herodias,  to want their heads on a silver platter?

Why The Early Christians Were Sent To The Lions

 1) In reality the early Christians were sent to the lions for political reasons, not Christian theology, per se, because of their insistence that Rome was subject to the Kingship of Jesus Christ.

The die was cast with the ministry of John the Baptist, who boldly approached Herod’s throne and confronted the local representative of Rome with the claims of God’s law.  “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife” was the sum and substance of John’s message to Herod (Mk. 6:18).

The message was crystal clear.  There was no aspect of Herod’s life that was immune from the authority of King Jesus.  Not even Herod’s personal life was exempt as so many would have it today.

In addition to the “simple gospel,” the church insisted on proclaiming the crown rights of King Jesus.  That is, Rome must model her judicial system on the Mosaic law.  Rome was not excited about this challenge to the Imperial authority.

2) Another reason the Christians ended up in the coliseum was their refusal to submit to the licensing requirements of Caesar.  Instead of submitting to Christ, Rome was intent on licensing the Church of Christ.  A licensed church is a kept church.

According to Peter Crenshaw incorporation of all “spontaneous collectivities of persons” became mandatory throughout the Roman Empire by 6 A.D.  The leaders of the church refused to incorporate and that refusal resulted in their persecution.

The churches saw incorporation under the empire as a denial of the Lordship of Christ.  Because a corporation is by definition “a creature of the state,”  to incorporate was to make Caesar their creator rather than Yahweh.

This issue that the early Christians thought worth dying for, has become a matter of mere administrative convenience for most of the churches in America.  Rather than a free church in a free state, modern churchmen would rather have the alleged benefits of submission to the state, with little thoughT of the impact on Christian theology.  And so the church is muzzled, irrelevant and in the words of Christ, not good for much “except to  be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Mt. 5:13).

3) In addition, the early church challenged the Roman emperor’s claims to deity.  Not only did the Roman emperor refuse to submit to the law of God, in many cases he proclaimed himself to be god or demanded worship of the Roman gods.

For example, Nero in the latter part of his reign “practiced incessantly as an artist-performer. Seeing himself as a shining divinity, likened to the sun, to be applauded and adored by the plebeian masses (indeed it seems his music and theatrical compositions were not without success).”

Later emperors demanded that the Christians worship the gods of Rome, which they of course were unwilling to do in light of Christian theology.  In 303 a series of edicts was issued by Diocletian “rescinding the legal rights of Christians and demanding that they comply with traditional Roman religious practices.  Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. Christians were compelled to sacrifice to Roman gods or face imprisonment and execution” (Wikipedia).

Modern State Claims to Deity

Mythbusters notes the following parallels between 1st Century Rome and modern America.  Now as then we have a state pretending to the throne of God and – while not overtly religious — making even more intrusive godlike claims to omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.

1) Omnipotence.  Christian theology limits the role of civil government to the trial of alleged violations of the law of God that have been committed within its jurisdiction.   The Word of God teaches that the state is to be reactive, not proactive in its police powers.   Christian theology does not permit the civil magistrate to impose reams of regulations on its citizens, which it enforces proactively with an army of bureaucrats and oppressive fines.

Instead, the locus of enforcement shifts to the individual, who is motivated by total liability for any violations of Biblical law.  For example, if an individual starts a fire and it spreads to a neighbor’s property, he is liable for damages (Ex. 22:6).  However, he is not subject to fines for starting the fire as long as he keeps it contained.

2) Omnipresence.  It’s a completely different story in modern America.  These regulations extend like tentacles into every nook and cranny of American life, thus strangling legitimate Biblical freedom.

3) Omniscience.  The IRS demands to know every aspect of the individual’s personal affairs, contrary to the law of the land.   More recently surveillance cameras and TSA style searches have violated the person of air travelers and are now being extended to land transportation.

Case Closed:   The state is at peace with a church that voluntarily places herself under state authority and meekly acquiesces to its every demand.  The early Christians were not sent to the lions simply because they believed in Jesus.

They resisted the pressures to accept state licensing and worship the emperor, insisting instead that Rome was subject to the law of Christ (not to the church).  For this cause they were willing to die in the Coliseum.  It remains to be seen if the modern American church will follow in the glorious footsteps of her forefathers.

The church should be taking the lead in resisting all of the above-mentioned, godlike claims to total sovereignty by the civil magistrate.  To date she has not.