Critics claim that I'm just your "typical Christian" who aligns himself with every single Republican and party cause -- no matter what -- and that I'm someone who only attacks the Left.
No, the Left just makes it easier to attack them because they don't do a good job hiding what it is they truly believe and what it is they want to do to this nation and its people. The Right just hides their agenda and indiscretions better. Plus, while I'm a true blue conservative I would hardly call myself a Republican these days.
Today, I want to spend some time shining the light on a growing media firestorm involving some Republicans otherwise known as The Family at C Street. I know, it sounds like some new summer TV sitcom or Reality TV show, or even the name of a new band, but it's nowhere close to being that benign.
The Family is a secretive network founded in 1935 and since known by several names, including The Fellowship, The Fellowship Foundation, National Fellowship Council, Fellowship House, The International Foundation, National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, and the National Leadership Council. It is an international movement centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as the common ground across all religious and political divisions. Most people are familiar with The Fellowship, led by Doug Coe, who is best known for organizing the annual National Prayer Breakfast typically attended by U.S. President each year.
Sounds good so far, right? Not so fast.
The group is associated with many influential leaders, including several members of the United States Congress, former military officers such as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the heads of humanitarian aid organizations, as well as dictators of third world regimes.
According to David Kuo, former Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, "The Fellowship's reach into governments around the world is almost impossible to overstate or even grasp."
Obviously, that's a problem. How many times have we seen a man-made institution (especially political ones) start out with good intentions before absolute power corrupts absolutely? Sure enough, the group, which is linked to many of the America's leading politicians, has been the subject of controversy for its secrecy, involvement in sex scandals, ties to third-world dictators, and oppressive regimes, and even approving references to Adolf Hitler and the Mafia. The Fellowship has even been criticized for associating with dictators and human rights abusers such as Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova of El Salvador, Artur da Costa e Silva of Brazil, Gustavo Alvarez Martinez of Honduras, and President Suharto of Indonesia. Hmmm, doesn't sound too "Christian" does it?
As with all things, I didn't want to take what I had stumbled across at face value without doing my own independent research to verify some of these "facts" first. You know what? I couldn't dispute a vast majority of what I originally found! How disturbing is that?
For instance, did you know that two of this summer's biggest political scandals involve members of The Family? Yes! Both John Ensign, (R-Nev) and Mark Sanford, (R-S.C.) are members of this group! It seems that the two most common criticisms with this organization is the level of secrecy they employ and the abundance of extra-marital affairs of Fellowship associates and close friends.
In fact, I found that a large number of United States Senators and Members of Congress, primarily Republican, as well as high-ranking military leaders, are known as either "associates" or "close friends" of the Fellowship. Many have resided at properties owned by the Fellowship (like C Street) or an affiliated entity such as Youth With A Mission (YWAM) where they pay below-market rents.
The low level of rent, tax-free status of the Fellowship, and secrecy of its members which includes not disclosing the scandals of its politician members, among others, has raised concerns as it should. No one is above the law! Not even those who proclaim Jesus Christ as being central in their lives both personal and professional, and certainly not so-called "Christian" politicians in this Age of Deception.
Here's where things take a theocratic turn for the worse. Loren Cunningham, Founder of Youth With A Mission, which owns the Fellowship's house at C Street, has described a vision of achieving world domination by taking over key sectors of society which include government. I kid you not!
Don't believe me? In a 2008 promotional video, "Reclaiming 7 Mountains of Culture", YWAM Founder Loren Cunningham describes a vision he shared along with the late Campus Crusade For Christ Founder Bill Bright and late Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer, in which Christian fundamentalists could achieve world domination by taking over key sectors of society such as government, along with business, media, and education. Take a look:
In other words, forget about the New World Order and the prophesied One World Government System because there are so-called "Christians" in political positions of power today who want to establish a Theocracy in this nation, which is just as bad! How else to you explain the group's mandate: "How to advance the Kingdom of God in this generation"? It's so subtle in that it sounds completely fine on the surface, but when you begin to peel the layers off of this stinky onion and really look at some of the things they believe (and what to accomplish) it definitely reeks as being more of a vehicle to advance a purely political agenda than a religious one.
I thought Christians were tasked with spreading the Gospel of Salvation, not with "advancing" or establishing the Kingdom of God. Isn't Jesus the only One who can and will do that? "They Kingdom come...." anyone? No, I'm not saying that Christians can't and shouldn't be a force to be reckoned with in this world, but I think they've twisted the meaning of "advancing the Kingdom of God" to one that is purely political, rather than attempting to change hearts and minds through cultural and social pursuits with the Holy Word as the catalyst of that change -- not some Congressional or Senate legislation.
Besides, isn't the Kingdom of God already here in a sense? I mean, God is the Ruler of both Heaven and Earth, right? We know that Jesus is in Heaven at the right hand of the Heavenly Father(Hebrews 1:3 and 12:2). Jesus is not physically among us, and if Jesus is no longer physically among us, how can we say that the Kingdom of God is present on Earth? The answer to this question is that the Kingdom of God is present on the Earth through us. The Church is meant to be Christ's visible presence on the Earth. We see this in so many places in the New Testament. We see this in the teaching of Jesus when He says, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say 'Look, here it is!', or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21)
Aren't politicians who are believers also part of the Church? Ok, so why is there this desire to cross that fine line and do the types of things that are more in line with a theocracy than they are with simply standing for truth in this fallen world? The Church can, and should, make a difference in this world. We have the authority of Christ behind us, and what a shame it would be to waste it. Still, we have to be careful when we mix religion with politics because it's a fine line between what's right and what's wrong when it comes to spreading the Gospel and standing for truth in this world.
Don't fool yourself though. They are still very much active proponents in the push to establish Global Governance. I mean, after all, their National Prayer Breakfast in the past few years has featured such keynote speakers as King Abdullah II of Jordan and Tony Blair of Britain.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that everyone who's associated with this group is a "bad person" or anything. It's clear that there are many people associated with this organization who have done some real good in this world (and who continue to do so). My criticism isn't directed at them or the noble causes involved with starting this movement so many decades ago. My criticism is with the misguided few who have tarnished its reputation, and who mistakenly think that Jesus Christ would be a Republican or a Democrat. He would be neither! Yes, helping people who are less fortunate is important, but Christians from all walks of life should be more concerned with the Salvation Gospel, not the Social Gospel, because that's what's most important. Feed others with the Word of Truth, not just with Welfare Programs.
Jeff Sharlet lived with The Family for a month, and wrote a book and articles regarding its secretive nature, connection to disreputable regimes, and dedication to power for Harper's Magazine back in 2003. You can read his stunning expose HERE. In addition, Rachel Maddow has run a multi-story expose on the organization's influence on American politics. Chip Pickering, John Ensign, and Mark Sanford are some of the known offenders, but on July 18, 2009, Maddow also identified Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) as a member and interviewed Jeff Sharlet about a "spiritual counseling" session he witnessed between Tiahrt and Coe, in which Tiahrt expressed concerns that abortion should be banned in order to better compete with the Muslim birthrate, and Coe told Tiahrt that he was thinking on too small a scale. Coe told Tiahrt to work for "Jesus Plus Nothing... the totalitarianism of Christ." According to Sharlet, Coe then gave Tiahrt his usual roster of examples of totalitarians who had great power -- Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden, etc.
Now, before anyone jumps all over me and attacks me for attacking them let's also keep in mind the following quote by the group's leader Doug Coe:
"We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't."
This is why I simply cannot refrain from applying criticism here when I go out of my way to point out the things that I believe are wrong that the Democrats say, do, and plan on doing. Look, I'm not saying that having a Christian worldview as a politician is a bad thing. Quite the contrary! But there's a delicate balancing act that once must play when they bring that with them to Washington D.C. and the halls of power in the political arena.
Furthermore, the spotlight that shines on Christian politicians is a heck of a lot brighter than it is on others because the unsaved are just waiting to catch them doing something wrong so that they can attack and discredit Christianity any chance they get in order to make themselves feel better about continuing ignore the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I get that. I also get that all of us will stumble from time to time despite our best intentions. Still, with great power comes greater responsibility and if you're going to carry the banner for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in such a public fashion politically then you better be damn sure that your own spiritual house is in order. That's just my two cents on the matter.
It's a shame because the organization definitely appears to have begun with noble intentions. The movement was founded in Seattle in 1935 by Abraham Vereide, a Norwegian immigrant and traveling preacher who had been working with the city's poor. He opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and was worried that socialist politicians were about to take over Seattle's municipal government. Wow! Sound familiar?
Prominent members of Seattle's business community recognized his success with those who were "down and out" and asked him to give spiritual direction to their group who were "up and out." He organized prayer breakfasts for politicians and businessmen that included anti-communism and anti-union discussions. Vereide was subsequently invited to set up similar meetings among political and business leaders in San Francisco and Chicago.
By 1942, the organization had moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C., where it helped create prayer group "cells" in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. In 1944, the organization's name was changed to International Christian Leadership, then in 1972, to the Fellowship Foundation, Inc. It was at this time that the group's leaders decided to decentralize its leadership. Personally, I feel that was the beginning of the end once the hijacking of Jesus by politicians took place.
The bottom line is that the sin nature of fallen man will eventually corrupt anything that he touches especially if Jesus Christ doesn't truly reign at the center of each and every life and each and every pursuit. You can't politicize Christianity to the point where you become self-righteous "soldiers for Christ" when there are several skeletons in your own closet that you've never repented of.
Democrats and Republicans. Two sides of the same coin I'm afraid. Why should we care about this growing controversy? What's the greater threat in all of this, which makes it a real problem for you and me? I can see a situation where this story continues to evolve to become and even bigger media firestorm to the point where Christianity is demonized further. That would certainly take us one step closer to the coming persecution of the saints as foretold in the Scriptures.
We already have the Hate Crimes Bill approved just last week by the Senate that demonizes Christians for what we believe. Is it really a stretch to think that this type of political scandal will contribute to the anti-Christian meme and ultimately lead to an increase in persecution here in the United States? Our entertainment industry and the news media already sneer at anyone who defends Jesus Christ in public, and they've been leading a propaganda war of stereotyping Christians into a subordinate class. Their distortions reflect a genuine misunderstanding of who Christians are and what they believe. This kind of despicable behavior by a secretive, scandalous "Christian" organization just adds more fuel to that fire I'm afraid.
I'll wrap things up by reiterating what I wrote earlier. We have the authority of Christ behind us in this world, and what a shame it would be to waste it (Luke 17:20-21; 1 John 4:4). Still, we have to be careful when we mix religion with politics because it's a fine line between what's right and what's wrong when it comes to spreading the Gospel and standing for truth.
In the end, I think Sinclair Lewis had it right when he wrote way back in 1935: "When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."
Come quickly Lord!
Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover Among America's Secret Theocrats
GOP Sex Scandal Exposes Secretive Conservative Religious Group -- 'The Family'
Ensign's "C Street House" Owned By Group Touting Plans For Christian World Control
Sex And Power Inside "The C Street House"
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