Enough is enough. Stop defending the indefensible.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. -- James 1:27 (ESV)
I really could have selected any number of verses today for the key verse because the bible is quite clear on this. The kingdom of Jesus Christ is not this world beloved and as His followers neither are we. The bible says we are pilgrims and sojourners traveling through this world. It says our citizenship is in heaven, not the United States, and there is no dual citizenship allowed because that would be idolatry. As the key verses teach, pure and undefiled religion is keeping oneself unstained from this world. Now I know these are hard lessons for some to take because we have been taught so poorly by the modern NAR influenced church. The NAR believes in dominionism on some level. The extreme level is that the church has to literally take over seven mountains of culture to facilitate the second coming of Christ. To avoid being correctly associated with NAR theology, some have modified this to pretend to only want influence these cultural mountains but the means and ends remain the same. A virtual theocracy is what they seek where only Christian values are legislated. It is behavior modification and somehow they equate this to "revival" and the hopes that God might stay His coming wrath. Spoiler alert -- He will not. Now, most NAR adherents vehemently insist they are not to the point of lunacy, claiming they do not even know if the NAR exists. Pastor Shane Idleman is one such person. His latest cause celebre is Franklin Graham and a recent article by David French who exposed Graham's hypocrisy correctly as "losing his evangelical witness." Above I have linked a short article from Idleman and an accompanying video. Let us reason together through these starting with the article:
"David French wrote in the National Review, "It's hard to think of a single prominent American Christian who better illustrates the collapsing evangelical public witness than Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son. His commitment to the Christian character of American public officials seems to depend largely on their partisan political identity." He then wrongly compared Bill Clinton's affair with President Trump's affair with Stormy Daniels. At that point, I had to say something via a quick YouTube video; you can view the video at the end of this brief article. People are often left confused after elections: "How could they vote for so-and-so? I just don't understand." Many vote for candidates who don't uphold a biblical worldview because they don't know God themselves. They are choosing their own ways over God's ways--"everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judg. 17:6, 21:25, NKJV) and "a generation arose after them who did not know the Lord" (Judg. 2:10). Ignorance of God and His ways is fueling a culture devoid of wisdom." -- Shane Idleman
Let us start with the obvious. If they do not know God themselves they are not saved and thus the cited verses do not apply to them. Of course the unsaved are not going to vote with any biblical thought process in place. The other major point here to address is this concept of a "biblical worldview." This is straight up NAR code speak, whether Idleman is aware or not. To the seven mountains dominionist, a biblical world view means you only vote for candidates who promise they will address the moral failings of the country. Whether they do or not is not the issue. They just need to say they will. Now, a true biblical worldview says that this world is passing away and that Jesus Christ is coming back to judge the living and the dead. We only have so much time to bring the lost the one thing they need. It is not a moral politician. It is not moral legislation. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Any other worldview is not biblical; it is just being dressed up to appear pious.
"Much of the division in our nation centers around a biblical worldview or a lack thereof. Students of Scripture understand that God uses governmental leaders to accomplish His purposes and plans. There is always a fight; the tides of evil will continuously wash against the shores of hope and peace. Silence is not an option. We can no longer hide behind the excuse, "I don't want to get involved." As citizens, we are given the privilege, for now, to place people in positions of leadership. Whether we like it or not, we are involved. The president is not "pastor in chief"; he is "commander in chief." Many are confused because they don't understand the role of government. The institution of government was created by God to govern mankind--to protect and defend and to administer justice. We can't legislate morality, but we can restrain evil and deter wrongdoing. The real question is this: Whose morality prevails? But many say, "I'm not voting for either." This statement is often used by those who want to remain silent, but it's a flawed argument. We are actually voting for principles, not people--all candidates are sinners. "In what direction will they lead our country?" is the question we should be asking. Even more importantly, what country will we leave for our children?" -- Shane Idleman
There is so much wrong here so let us just go in order. First of all the division in this country is not centered around a biblical worldview. The division Idleman writes about is the division between the apostate church that is chasing NAR fueled dreams of global domination and a world that sees their hypocrisy and foolishness. It is a clash between an unbiblical worldview and a world that sees right through them. Secondly, true students of Scripture know that while God uses government leaders to accomplish His plans, He does not need them to belong to any political party. Idleman sets up a false narrative that has the shores of hope and peace (Republicans) against the tides of evil (Democrats). The reality is both parties are evil and neither serves the cause of Christ. This line of NAR teaching essentially is saying God needs our help to elect the right politicians to achieve His purposes. That is borderline blasphemy as God needs our help for nothing. He worked through Clinton, Bush Obama and now Trump. Thirdly, the privilege we have to vote is true but it is entirely carnal. God requires no such activity from us and despite the NAR's dreams of judgment based on voting records; Jesus will not be reviewing such when we stand before Him. Fourth, it is beyond disingenuous to say that we cannot legislate morality when that is exactly what you espouse. It is Idleman's deepest dream to see Roe overturned and gay marriage outlawed. Both of those are legislating morality no matter how you parse it. Lastly here the notion of voting for neither candidate is actually the bravest course of action. It says "I refuse to vote for the lesser evil because I do not support evil." It is not a matter of wanting to remain silent. That is a cop out. It is far larger statement to vote for neither than to hold your nose and vote for someone you know could care less about God. Shane, forget about what country you are leaving for your children. What Gospel are you leaving them? Now let's move on to the video, where I will try and paraphrase.
"David French wrote an article called, "Franklin Graham and the high Cost of the Lost Evangelical Witness which is basically a rebuke of Graham because in 1998 he took Bill Clinton to task in an op-ed for saying his affair was a private matter. French said Graham was not consistent because now he says the affairs of Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels is their business. French wondered if politics is entirely transactional now for evangelicals. Now, Clinton had the affair in the Oval Office and it is a quantum leap to compare that to Trump's past. As far as I know, Trump has seen the errors of his way. I am not condoning his past. I am a proponent of marriage." -- Shane Idleman
Well as a proponent of marriage how do you reconcile that this is Trump's third marriage or the fact that he lost the first two due to infidelity? How about the accusations of rape by his first wife who he then bought off with a non-disclosure agreement as part of the divorce? Graham's lost witness started way before this Shane. Perhaps when he accepted donations to both his charities from Trump and then started backing him bothered some people. Maybe when he changed the classification of his charities to "churches" so he would no longer have to divulge his salaries he lost many followers. Perhaps it was the unseemliness of earning $800,000 per year in those two salaries that turned some folks off. Or maybe it was the rank hypocrisy that you summarized. It was not just the op-ed in 1998 Shane. The entire evangelical leadership was apoplectic about Clinton screaming "morality matters!" Fast forward 20 years and apparently morality only matters if there is a "D" next to your name. Here is some deep theology for you today Shane. Your opinion means nothing in these matters. The world sees this for the hypocrisy that it is and thus Graham loses his witness. That was French's point.
"Twelve years later President Trump is surrounded by a strong evangelical board of counselors. He's doing a lot for the advancement of free speech. We heard that he has repented. That he wants to know what God's will is. Do we throw someone under the bus 12 years later and compare that to what Bill Clinton did in the Oval Office? Now, if someone does that in the Oval Office it is right to impeach." -- Shane Idleman
Really? You do know that was NOT why he was impeached, right? Clinton was impeached because he lied about the affair under oath in a civil deposition. The more troubling point here is this constant desire to pretend the criticism of Trump is buried somewhere in his sinful past and now he is just living for Jesus. Remember Shane that it was only two years ago, during the campaign, that Trump tried to pay off Stormy Daniels to cover up the affair before the people voted. So the world sees 130,000 reasons why Trump's behavior has still not changed to this day. The reference to free speech here must be in relation to the easing of enforcement on the Johnson Amendment. Any true preacher knows this was not a positive development for the Gospel. The Johnson Amendment basically forbids pastors from endorsing a particular political party or candidate. Now, I understand why the NAR seven mountains dominionist would want this eased but a true preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Not in a million years would I want to give the pastors in this country yet another thing they can use the pulpit for other than preaching the Gospel. He has repented? When? Says who? Last time he weighed in on that he said he had no reason to ask God for forgiveness. This is what losing your witness looks like and the world sees it very clearly. When we bend over backwards to excuse one man while vilifying another based solely on party. It is political, not Christian.
"I'm not for Republican or Democrat. I am for what God's Word says. God's Word says we need godly legislation. I'm concerned where the next president is going to take my kids and your kids. What are we leaving for the next generation?" -- Shane Idleman
It sure sounds like you are for Republican. That aside, where exactly in God's Word does it say we need godly legislation? Let me help you Shane -- nowhere. That is again, straight up NAR teaching. If you are concerned about where your kids are going to end up just follow the bible. Raise them up in the admonition of the Lord and when they are older they shall not depart from it. Do not show them rank hypocrisy that even they will be able to see through.
"We are not voting for people and their moral character. We are voting for principles. We need principle centered leadership. We need men who are for God. If you look at who this President is surrounding himself with. Who is he looking for godly counsel from?" -- Shane Idleman
This is the hypocrisy French was speaking about. When it was Bill Clinton it was all about character and now character seemingly is irrelevant? That don't fly. More importantly, this NAR thinking is flawed from the start. Voting for principles means you are voting based upon what a politician promises you instead of their character, which shows you who they are. The evangelical world is adamant that the GOP is God ordained and the Democrats are from the pits of hell but who gave us Roe to begin with? A GOP Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision. Who affirmed it decades later? Another GOP Supreme Court. The evangelical church is like Charlie Brown having unrealistic hope that Lucy will not pull the football away this time. In the early 2000's they swore John Roberts was the judicial savior we needed yet he affirmed Obamacare much to the disdain of the far right. If you think Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are the answers just wait and see Charlie. Someone once said when someone shows you who they are; believe them. Character is the only way to measure what we will get in an elected official.
Then we come to the question of who the president is surrounding himself with. The "Godly counsel" as Shane Idleman believes. I am glad he has asked this question because the answer should make any bible believing Christian run as far away as fast as possible. On the president's Evangelical Advisory Board are the following wolves: Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Jentzen Franklin, James McDonald, Paula White, Robert Morris, Mark Burns, James Dobson, Jerry Fallwell Jr. and Ronnie Floyd. That is just naming a few. What was Joel Osteen busy? This is a virtual smorgasbord of heretics beloved. Paula White has fleeced five million dollars from the people of God. The Copelands are estimated at over 600 million. Burns and Franklin are prosperity heretics. McDonald was just removed from his post after plunging his church millions of dollars into debt while drawing a million dollar salary and was recorded saying he wanted to plant child pornography on the computer of leader of Christianity Today, a vocal critic. Floyd and Morris are sheep beating tithe junkies. Morris actually teaches his flock that God will curse all their money if you do not FIRST pay him 10 percent. Dobson and Falwell are NAR political operatives disguised as Christian leaders. This is who you are bragging about as godly counsel? Seriously Shane? All a discerning Christian needs is to see this list to determine that only the desires of the apostate NAR church will be addressed by this president.
"Not only is French's rebuke uncalled for but it does more to hurt the Gospel. He says in his article that this is the high cost of the lost evangelical witness. That is not a lost evangelical witness. An evangelical witness is that a person is forgiven and we don't judge them on what they did 12 years ago. We offer God's grace and where are they taking us now? If there is a continual pattern of adultery, cheating, and lying that is different. But there is a pattern of the president surrounding himself with solid bible based counselors. He's not a racist. You need to stop listening to the lies of the media. Times change but the truth never does." -- Shane Idleman
An evangelical witness is what? The effort to provide cover for the president is so transparent at this point. The actual point French was making was that when an alleged Christian leader such as Franklin Graham acts like a blatant hypocrite regarding a politician, after receiving money from them, that they eviscerate their ability to be a witness for Christ. French is 100% correct. If you think so little of the truth that you compromise it over politics why would I believe anything you have to say about God? Is there a continual pattern of adultery and cheating? He has cheated on every wife he ever had! The tape where he was bragging about grabbing women by their genitals was one month into his current marriage! Listen, this is not a defense of any other politician. Clinton behaved reprehensibly but stop pretending Trump is the second coming of Cyrus with an Elijah anointing! It is embarrassing to the cause of Jesus Christ and definitely destroys your witness for the Gospel. Continual pattern of lying? The Washington Post has documented over 10,000 lies in the first 20 months of his presidency! Are you serious? Do all politicians lie? Absolutely but stop pretending this one walks on water! It is embarrassing to the cause of Jesus Christ and definitely destroys your witness for the Gospel. Bible based counselors? Paula White once said that God told her that 1Chronicles 22:9 means that you need to send her 229 dollars! Stop it! As for the charge of racism, I leave it to Pastor AR Bernard, who quit the Evangelical Board because of the insensitive remarks the president made regarding white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville and murdered a young woman. I do not know his heart but to emphatically state he is not racist and then demonize the free press is textbook NAR garbage and needs to be rebuked openly.
Beloved, this is not a tacit endorsement of any political party or figure. None care about the cause of Christ. There is a poison running through the church today called the NAR and it seeks dominion over the political mountain in this country. Our duty is to the eternal kingdom and the Gospel that can save people out of this world. All Mr. French was saying was that we need to protect our witness for that Gospel desperately and that rank hypocrisy destroys it. All Shane Idleman did this week was prove Mr. French was absolutely correct.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- May 8, 2019
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.