Let me begin by saying, I’ve been an evangelical Christian since I was a child. I’ve been in the Gospel ministry all of my adult life. I attended two evangelical Christian colleges, received honorary degrees from two others, and taught and preached in several others. I’ve attended many of the largest evangelical pastors’ gatherings and have been privileged to speak at Christian gatherings–large and small–all over America. I have been part of the inner workings of evangelical ministry for nearly 40 years. I think I learned a thing or two about evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity in America. With that said, I’m here to tell you: I don’t like what I see happening these days.
Historically, Christians have always attempted to be–and have always publicly taught the importance of being–peacemakers. Have not Christians preached–and tried to practice–love and brotherhood? The early church was born in a baptism of love and unity. Oh sure, there were always individual misunderstandings and differences, but, on the whole, the church was a loving, caring, compassionate ecclesia.
Mind you, Christians historically were not afraid or ashamed to defend themselves, their families, and their country. The Lord Jesus, Himself (the Prince of Peace), allowed His disciples to carry personal defense weapons (see Luke 22:36, 38). While some Christian sects were conscientious pacifists, these were the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of Christian believers understood the Biblical, Natural Law principle of self-defense. But believing in the right of lawful, God-ordained self-defense was never to be confused with warmongering.
So, what has happened to turn the most peace-loving institution the world has ever known (the New Testament church) into the biggest cheerleaders for war? I’m talking about unprovoked, illegal, unconstitutional, unbiblical–even secret–wars of aggression. The biggest cheerleaders for the unprovoked, unconstitutional, pre-emptive attack and invasion of Iraq were evangelical Christians. Ditto for the war in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, the attacks in Yemen, drone attacks in Pakistan, etc. Who is calling for the bombing of Iran? Evangelical Christians. Who cheers for sending more and more troops all over the world to maim and kill more and more people (including innocents)? Evangelical Christians. Most evangelical Christians didn’t even bat an eye when the federal government sent military and police personnel to murder American citizens, including elderly men, women, and children–Christian elderly men, women, and children, no less–outside Waco, Texas. Neither have the vast majority of them piped a peep of protest against the federal government’s murder of Vicki and Sammy Weaver.
And where are today’s evangelical Christians giving a second thought regarding their fellow Christian brothers and sisters in many of these Middle Eastern countries that are being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the puppet regimes being put in power by the US government–at US taxpayer (including Christian taxpayer) expense? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but more Christians have been persecuted under the US-imposed regime in Iraq than were ever persecuted when Saddam Hussein was in power. Oh! And don’t forget that it was the US government that was responsible for putting Saddam Hussein in power to begin with. The US government set up Osama bin Laden, too. But I digress.
In addition to the “white” wars (the ones everyone knows about), the US government authorizes some 70 black ops commando raids in some 120 countries EVERY DAY. In fact, the secret, black ops military of the US is so large today it now totals more personnel than the ENTIRE MILITARY OF CANADA!
A recent report noted, “In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once ‘special’ for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.”
To see the complete report of America’s secret wars, go here.
Yet, how much of this knowledge would even faze the average evangelical Christian today? All we seem to hear from today’s “churches” is “bomb,” “attack,” “wipe them out,” etc. Then, at the same time, they get all emotional about sending missionaries to the same countries that they had just cheered-on the US military in raining down missiles of death and destruction upon (to bring salvation to the lucky ones that weren’t killed, I suppose).
And who were the ones that belittled and impugned Ron Paul? Evangelical Christians. Why? Because he dared to tell the truth about America’s foreign policy being responsible for much of the hatred and bitterness erupting in foreign countries against us.
The disciples of our Lord were called “Christians” first by the Gentiles of Antioch, because of the manner in which the disciples reminded them of Christ’s nature and teachings. I never thought I would hear myself say what I’m about to say, but the truth is, the term “Christian” today signifies anything but Christ-like. To many people today, “Christian” refers to some warmongering, mean-spirited, throw-anyone-to-the-wolves-who-crosses-them person, who then has the audacity to look down their nose in contempt against anyone who disagrees with them for even the smallest reason. And the word “church” has the stigma of being simply an enclave of warmongers to many people today. And that, my friends, is one reason so many people are turned off with today’s Christianity. And I can’t say that I blame them. I’m turned off too!
Am I a pacifist? Absolutely not! Do I believe an individual, a family, a community, or a nation has the right to lawful self-defense? I absolutely do! But this blind support for illegal, immoral, unconstitutional war is anything but Christian. Not only is it turning people against our country among people abroad, it is turning our own countrymen against the Christ we Christians claim to love right here at home.
I dare say that the modern Warfare State would grind to a screeching halt tomorrow if evangelical Christians would simply stop supporting it! And the thing that most evangelical Christians fail to realize is that the Warfare State is one of the primary tools being used to usher in a devilish New World Order that even babes in Christ know to be of Satan. Hence, Christians are helping to promote the very thing that Satan, himself, is using to enslave them.
And I realize that right now the vast majority of evangelicals eat, breathe, and sleep only one mantra: “Get rid of Obama!” They would vote for anybody to beat Obama. Well, anybody except Ron Paul, that is. Evangelicals might hate Ron Paul more than they do Barack Obama. And after Mitt Romney is elected on November 6, these same “Christians” will go into a state of extended hibernation, ignoring every unconstitutional big-government decision that Romney makes. Not only that, buckle your seat belts boys and girls, because Romney is going to expand America’s foreign wars (and the emerging police state at home) like nobody’s business. And when he does, guess what? Evangelicals will be the ones who clap and cheer the most.
Let me ask my Christian brethren some questions: does God give governmental leaders a pass on obeying His moral laws? If God will hold you and me accountable to His command to not murder, for example, will He not hold our civil magistrates accountable to His command to not murder? Or do you really believe that murder is justified on the word of a king? If so, had you been alive in Hitler’s Germany, you would have supported his atrocities, too, right? And is that whom you think occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: a king? Is murder justified simply because a magistrate orders it? And if that’s true, is it then justified that government forces pillage, plunder, and rape? If not, why not? After all, if it’s lawful for men to murder on the command of a magistrate, why can they not pillage, plunder, and rape? What’s the difference?
Accordingly, I personally believe that evangelicals owe Bill Clinton an apology. They excoriated him when it came to light that he had committed adultery. They then turned around and supported G.W. Bush’s unconstitutional, unprovoked, preemptive wars of aggression, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. Pray tell, if a President is exempt from the moral law against shedding innocent blood (Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 6:17) why should he not be exempt from the moral law against adultery?
Believe it or not, a local pastor here in the Flathead Valley of Montana recently preached a message to his congregation on Romans 13 with the typical erroneous “obey-the-government-no-matter-what” claptrap. When a member of his congregation later asked him personally to explain himself, he told the parishioner, “If government agents or troops came to my house and laid my wife on the kitchen table and raped her, Romans 13 tells me I cannot resist.” That’s what he said, folks. I’m not making it up.
Well, if you believe that Presidents are above the moral law of God regarding shedding innocent blood, why should they be held to any other moral law of God? And if Presidents are exempt, what about governors, mayors, sheriffs, etc.? I truly wonder how many evangelical Christians deep in their heart share the opinion of the above-mentioned pastor. Scary thought, isn’t it?
And, by the way, that President Obama continues to escalate America’s wars in the Middle East is the one thing that evangelicals LIKE about him. In fact, it was Ron Paul’s opposition to the wars of aggression in the Middle East that was the chief reason why evangelicals rejected him. Yes, between a war-mongering socialist such as Barack Obama, and a peace-loving freedomist such as Ron Paul, the average evangelical would choose the warmonger.
Have evangelicals forgotten I John 3:14, 15? It says, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (KJV)
And folks, need I remind you that there are hundreds of thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters scattered throughout the Muslim world? In fact, Christianity is growing fastest within the Muslim world today. I have been to the Middle East. I have met hundreds of Palestinian and Arab Christians. And I can tell you unequivocally that they do NOT hate America; they are NOT our enemies; and they love the Lord and try to live for Him as much as any of us here in the United States do. And every day many of these innocent brothers and sisters of ours are being maimed and killed by the relentless missile attacks and countless wars being perpetrated by the US government. So, pray tell, how can we claim to be Christians on the one hand and be so callused to the suffering and death of our Christian brothers and sisters on the other hand? (And that is not to minimize the deaths of the tens of thousands of non-Christian innocents who are killed in these attacks, but to simply appeal to my fellow Christians with the Biblical “love the brethren” message.) How can we justify this carnage? Oh, it’s just “collateral damage,” right?
No man is exempt from the moral laws of God. No man! Not even the President of the United States. And how much guilt do those of us in America who laud and support the Warfare State share when atrocities are committed by our leaders in our name and with our approval? And if none, then what were those trials in Nuremberg all about?
Yes, I’ve been an evangelical Christian for most of my life and an evangelical pastor for most of my adult life. And if we Christians do not quickly repent of this bloodlust that seems to dominate evangelical Christianity today (spiritually and militarily), the word that was first used by un-churched Gentiles to describe Christ’s followers will be used as a curse-word to describe those who facilitated the ruination of our country, because “whatsoever a [nation] soweth, that shall [it] also reap.”
*If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link.
© 2012 Chuck Baldwin