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September 13, 2023

Election 2023 - Pushing back on Dr. Michael Brown's NAR, Dominionist Propaganda

By Anthony Wade

It's the NAR silly season again. Time to get into heaven by your voting record...


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For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. - James 2:10 (ESV)

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We have written extensively about how Dr. Michael Brown is a gatekeeper for everything NAR dominionism. He is clever in that he always couches his writing and throws the occasional bone in every direction to confuse the readers into thinking he is somehow not a political animal. Granted, I think he learned from his mistakes better than most, but we will not be gaslit into believing that 2015-2020 simply did not occur. Brown was a vocal Donald Trump pusher and only started backing off when he realized he actually lost in 2020. As such, his message this time around is better tempered but lurking in the shadows is the same political animal. Brown simply believes that the Republican Party is the only choice for Christians. His reasoning is flawed but it is in line with the apostate church today. Sure, he is not as extreme as Mario Murillo or Greg Locke, but he is possibly more dangerous because of how the even temperedness distracts you from what is essentially the same message. One of his latest articles is linked above where he tries painfully to teach that voting is directly linked to the church doing its work. It is not of course. Just ask China, the Middle East or any country not named America. Brown bases a great deal of his reasoning here on a Capstone Report article from 2018. That is the second link above. It is this report we will be responding to in this devotional. Brown correctly cites Paul as teaching that we should pray for kings and those in authority. What Brown does not connect is that Paul never expressed HOW people should vote for those people in authority. That is the difference of what Brown and the NAR sell and the bible. Dr. Brown and his ilk have already decided who we should vote for and in doing so they turn a blind eye to the evils their choices represent because they are so focused on the evils they perceive in the other candidates. Ironically, Brown correctly recognizes that all politicians lie but he is asking Christians to vote a certain way as if the people he chooses are not also lying! His premise here remains so fundamentally flawed. God's church can do the work it is charged with regardless of whether we like the political climate of the day. Only the bankrupt dominionist theology thinks that God cares one whit about our carnal politics. He does not. So let us reason together through the Capstone Report that Brown so prominently relied upon in his article.

'"Often the only choice open to the Christian in a particular situation will be a choice between evils; but he will realize that it is not a matter of indifference whether the greatest possible, or the least possible evil comes to pass, and that that to help to bring about the greatest evil by refusing, out of a mistaken perfectionism, to choose the least is surely to be guilty of dereliction of duty." "C.E.B. Cranfield' - Capstone Report

Yeah, no. This is SUCH a carnal argument. The notion that God wants us fooling around with ANY evil is biblically absurd. The larger problem here is our determination of the lesser evil is based upon what a lying politician says and is entirely subjective. Does anyone honestly think when we stand before Christ, we will get an "attaboy" for choosing evil? It is in the choosing of evil that we are derelict as Christians. What is worse however is when the NAR brags about their evil. They promote their evil. They confer righteousness unto their evil. The fact that this report chose to open with such a ridiculous quote reveals we are dealing with a heavy NAR dominionist viewpoint. So, buckle up.

"Was voting for Donald Trump wrong? Was it a betrayal of Christianity? That is the narrative offered by progressives. Who can forget Southern Baptist ERLC chief Russell Moore claiming Christians supporting Trump betrayed everything they believed? It was sickening and theological malpractice." - Capstone Report

Was voting for Donald Trump wrong? Not from a theological standpoint but neither was voting for Hillary Clinton. God is not impressed by our conclusions of moral right and wrong. After the Bill Clinton saga broke out in the news, the church rallied around three popular Republicans who were all decrying the immoral Clinton. The rallying cry then was "character counts." Those three House members were Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston and Speaker Newt Gingrich. Fast forward a few years and we would discover these three clarions of moral purity were more compromised than Clinton. Gingrich was having an affair at the that exact time with someone half his age. He would divorce his wife to marry that woman. Livingston had so many sordid affairs his own party made him resign and Dennis Hastert was busy molesting little boys. Evil is always evil beloved. One party does not have everything evil and the other is pure. The immorality of Donald Trump was LEGENDARY prior to the 2016 election but character no longer counted for the dominionists.

'But those critics misunderstand the point of voting. It isn't for virtue signaling. There is a reason theologians and pastors ranging from Dr. Wayne Grudem to Dr. Norman Geisler to Dr. Robert Jeffress supported Trump. Policies. Trump's policies were the moral choice. "Voting for Clinton and her ultraliberal policies is not an option for me as an evangelical Christian," Grudem told OneNewsNow. "Therefore, I am left with two options: (1) vote for Trump, or (2) vote for a third-party candidate whose hopes of winning belong to fantasy - not reality. And if these are my only two options, then voting for a third-party candidate has the clear effect of helping to elect Clinton, because it is taking my vote away from Trump. That is why the liberal media loved it when I said I was finding it hard to decide."' - Capstone Report

Clever that the same church that once said voting was all about character is now arguing that stance is "virtue signaling." Nonsense. The scarier proposition here is that the notion of voting for a third-party candidate or writing one in is dismissed out of hand because that option cannot win the election. So, it is all about winning, not what is right. Grudem and Jeffress are two dominionists NAR pastors so of course it is no wonder they chose Trump. Jeffress adored Trump. If one looked beyond the two popular wedge issues, we could find a myriad of anti-Christian polices on both sides. You think impoverishing people is a Christian virtue?

"What is an election? An election is not the place for witnessing to the lost or of showing the world how awesomely you live your Christianity. Elections determine the direction of public policy for a state. For Christians, we should approach an election as an opportunity to help the state to do its job"its God-given job. What is the state's God-given job? Protecting life and religious liberty for starters. Christians must evaluate the candidates and party platforms in view of what God wants the state to accomplish. This must keep in mind a key truth: We live in a fallen world. Candidates are sinful. All of them." - Capstone Report

Except the bible never instructs us to help the state do anything. We are to pray for leaders for the express purpose of leading peaceful lives. Jesus' disciples all wanted Him to rail against the tyrannical state of Rome, yet He continuously said His kingdom was not of this earth. The notion here that God gives the state marching orders that include protecting life and liberty is simply made up. It does not exist in the bible at all. The report is right to point out that all candidates are sinful, but they still insist that one is somehow better than the other. By all means evaluate the entire platform of every candidate but do not confuse your carnal evaluation with a Christian imperative.

"Typically, Christians have evaluated fitness for office with a focus on personal morality. That worked when the country was mostly Christian and even nominally Christian. However, today we live in secular America. Often no candidate truly represents a Christian worldview. What should a Christian do when neither candidate reflects their morality? Focus on policy. Christians must learn: A candidates personal sinfulness matters, but it matters less than sinful public policy when voting." - Capstone Report

Clever sleight of hand here as they attempt to provide a reason why character no longer counts. They are compelled to do this because their choice is so morally bankrupt. The reality is the world is not that much more secular than it was in 2000 and then the church's choice was George W. Bush over Al Gore. The same Bush who is responsible for over a million dead people based on lies. The same Bush who said that all religions lead to heaven. So, save me your performative piety. All are evil. All have turned away. This logic is ridiculous. When we are presented with a morally deplorable candidate, we can make fair assumptions of how they will lead! Instead, the report wants us to base our vote on what lies they promised to us. As we have said however, the notion that all of Trump's policies were Christian is stupid. Now, you may have concluded that his evil was lesser to you, but that still means you are defending and promoting evil. Good luck explaining that when you stand before Christ.

"Simply, is Donald Trump's personal infidelity and rudeness more important than allowing the election of a candidate promoting mass murder and the erosion of religious liberty? Character matters, but when the choice is between a rude, adulterer and the party of abortion and reduced religious liberty"there was no choice. There is no choice in 2018 and beyond." - Capstone Report

C'mon. Stop whitewashing him like the Pharisees. It was not just infidelity. He cheated on all three of his wives! When Melania was pregnant, he was sleeping with porn stars! He is currently facing 91 federal and state criminal violations. He openly bragged about grabbing women by their genitals because he was famous. We know that he liked to go into the dressing room at teen beauty pageants to catch the girls changing. C'mon. If you want to vote for him knock yourself out but Christians should not be in the lying business. It ruins our witness for Christ. If people see you so easily lie about Trump, why in the world would they ever believe you about Christ? Rude? You think mocking the disabled and calling racists good people is just being rude? This is why the apostate church has destroyed any credibility the church once had.

'There was only one choice"Donald Trump in 2016. But, why do so many elites attack this? William Lane Craig said it best"spiritual immaturity. Craig said, "I think there is a kind of immaturity among some people about moral decision-making where they think that moral decision-making is a matter of choosing between the good alternative and the bad alternative. That is a very naïve, almost childish, view of moral decision-making. We are frequently confronted with moral choices in which we have no good alternatives"Intro courses in philosophy or ethics major on this point by presenting moral dilemmas to clarify students' values. For example, a textbook illustration is the runaway streetcar example where if you do not throw the switch the streetcar will hit and kill a man working on the tracks. But if you do throw the switch then the streetcar will kill five people who are on the tracks. So which choice do you make? You don't have a good choice in a case like that. There are two bad outcomes and you have to choose the lesser of two evils. I think the most poignant illustration of this point is Sophie's Choice where the young mother is presented by the Nazi soldiers with a choice as to which of her children will be sent to the death camp and which one she can keep alive. If she refuses to choose one of her two children then both will be sent to the death camps. In a case like this, this poor mother had no good choice. She had to choose the lesser of two evils and pick one of her two children to be exterminated. It is just horrible."' - Capstone Report

What dangerous and moronic comparisons but this is how the NAR dominionist mind works. The choice of voting Democratic is so untenable to them that they must be compared to a fictional story of Nazis forcing a woman to kill one of her children or an out-of-control streetcar killing five people. What these people often miss is that God is sovereign. Do you know what that means folks? That means that if God was so opposed to Joe Biden becoming president in 2020, he could have and would have made sure it did not happen. God uses everything for His glory. He raises up our leaders. This means those that voted for Trump in 2020 were on the wrong side of God - not the right side. What is childish is holding the opinion that one political party must always be chosen and then to try and shoehorn the people of God into this position by lying.

"Progressives at The Gospel Coalition and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention apply a childish moral reasoning in an attempt to exploit the biblically illiterate and show the world (or at least the folks at the Washington Post and New York Times) how authentically Christian they are. Pharisees of old prayed in public. They did alms in front of everyone. Today, Pharisees virtue signal to please the crowds on Twitter, the hordes on Facebook and the elites at the New York Times or Washington Post. However, that isn't a productive way to win elections." - Capstone Report

What absolute garbage. The fact that morality matters to God is not childish - it's biblical. These organizations do not need me to defend them. The morally pathetic position is to demonize everyone who simply has a different opinion than you. To disparage their motivations as if yours is the only piously pure stance. It is not. The report would go on to claim that religious liberty was on the line in 2016 but it was not of course. Unless you mean NAR apostate church liberty. You know, the liberty to deny baking a cake for people or signing their marriage licenses, when those things are your job. Or the consequential freedom for a high school football coach to lead his students, who may or may not believe as he does, in Christian prayer. The report continues:

'The Trump-Clinton election of 2016 highlights this key principle. Politics isn't about perfection. You'll never find the perfect candidate. However, God still wants us to be involved as good citizens. As C.E.B. Cranfield warned, allowing a greater evil because we won't accept a lesser evil is dangerous. A common critique of this view among evangelical elites focuses on how a Christian must refrain from supporting a bad person. How do we reconcile this seeming tension? Graded Absolutism. Christians believe our actions must be governed by God's absolute moral standard. The standard proceeds from his unchanging nature and His expressed commandments, according to philosopher and theologian Norman L. Geisler. Yet, we live in a fallen world where the likes of Stalin and Mao murder millions. Because evil exists there will be times that our moral duties may conflict. The textbook example comes from the life of the heroic Christian Corrie Ten Boom who lied to save the lives of Jews during Nazi occupation of her homeland.

Geisler explains, "graded absolutism holds that our responsibility is to obey the greater commandment, and we are not guilty for not following the lesser conflicting commandment."' - Capstone Report

What??? This is a poisonous theological position that could only be cooked up in the dominionist mind. I want us to properly understand the argument being presented here. Absolutism refers to the belief that moral issues are either absolutely right or absolutely wrong. There is no theological debate to be had that this is how God presents the world to us. Sin is absolutely wrong. Evil is absolutely wrong. Obedience is absolutely right. Even the law is absolutely right. The fact that we cannot adhere to it relates to our sinful nature and not to any fault of God Almighty. The Capstone Report is arguing for graded absolutism, which believes that commandments or law exist in some hierarchical order and we are to obey them sequentially. Look at the last sentence here. They are offering that if we disobey what they deem as a lesser conflicting commandment, in order to obey what they have concluded as a greater commandment then we are somehow absolved from the violation for the lesser disobedience. What a pile of steaming heresy that is! God does not order His law into greater and lesser. The key verse actually reminds us that violating just one aspect of the law makes us a transgressor of all of it! The insidious inference here is that God is somehow in conflict with Himself. Hear me very clearly. There is never an occurrence where one commandment is in conflict with another. If there was, then God would not be perfect, and His law could be easily dismissed as this report is trying to do. The fact that the world has leaders such as Mao or Stalin, Trump or Clinton is absolutely irrelevant to God and to Christians. It does not change God or His law. Remember, the NAR dominionist is not really making Christian arguments. The motivation is entirely carnal because they are supporting a particular political party. They realized however that they could not claim the higher moral ground with Donald Trump, so they changed the rules. Realize the slippery slope they are setting up here. So, the personal immorality is not relevant? What if your chosen candidate then breaks 91 laws? What if they stole nuclear secrets? What if they tried to extort other world leaders? What if they bilked billions of dollars for personal gain? None of it matters if you have pre-ordained that these are somehow "lesser." What if your candidate actually shoots someone on 5th Avenue? Are their policies, which are all promises and no reality, still more important? This is why you do not change God's word or His definitions. Vote for who you like but stop pretending one is any better than the other.

"Applying this to an election is useful. Christians should rank their priorities based on the Bible's teachings. (Pro Tip: Any consistently Christian worldview will rank protecting babies and religious liberty at the top.) Ordinarily, as Christians we shouldn't promote someone with character flaws; however, in the context of an election, Trump's character flaws were far less dangerous than the policies offered by Democrats and the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

This is why Christian voters instinctively focus on abortion and religious liberty. These are key issues. Protecting innocent life and worshiping God freely are at the heart of God's purpose for government. Any vote destructive of those ends defies God's created order. As Christians, we should vote for candidates who best further these policy goals." - Capstone Report

Pro tip? Are you serious? First if all, there is no threat to religious liberty in this country. It is the freest in the world. What the dominionist wants however is a borderline theocracy where people who do not share our faith are forced to adhere to what we feel we need to adhere to for Christianity. Life is not just babies. The pursuit of ending abortion, which will never happen in this fallen world, has become an idol to the church because of reports like this. Because everything else that matters to God is automatically deemed lesser. God however, does not deem them as such. There are no "destructive" votes. The concept eternally is absurd. This report is basically saying we must vote for anyone who is Republican because they are the "prolife" party. Never mind that they are the party of impoverishing and punishing the poor. God speaks far more about protecting the least in society, but today's church does not seem to care. An additional point ignored is the vast majority of candidates that we vote for based on these promises never deliver on them. Why would we vote solely based on empty promises and think that is a God thing. Mao and Stalin may have killed millions, but George W. Bush presided over the deaths of over a million people in the Middle East and only our arrogance convinces us that they did not matter to God. It took five pages to get here but this paragraph was the entire point of this report. They want to consolidate the power of this country into the Republican Party, but they need evangelicals to vote for their candidates regardless of how morally vacuous they might be. So, they reduce all of their guys evil down to character flaws and trump up the other side as un-votable by insisting their hierarchy of greater immorality is the only thing that matters.

"But what about other issues? Aren't they important too? Of course, but is any issue more fundamental to the purpose of government than the protection of innocent life? Isn't that the cornerstone of justice? Evangelical Christians in 2018 must continue their efforts from 2016 to defeat the attacks on life and liberty. Christians with a consistent Christian worldview must prioritize protecting innocent life and religious liberty. At a minimum, that means opposing the party of abortion and religious oppression (the Democratic Party) at every opportunity. Politics requires discipline. To achieve results, Christians must be consistent voters and able to ignore the distractions from political opponents (even when they are or claim to be fellow Christians.) Christians must remember that heading into the 2018 election and beyond." - Capstone Report

The NAR false teacher worships this life. They worship this world. That is why "prolife" has become the mantra for them. All life matters to God of course. Jesus came to save the world, not just the people in mega-churches. Here we see the naked politicization of this report's position. Remember that the Democratic Party is the defender of religious freedom but ALL religions. We are not charged as the church with creating a theocracy. Forcing Muslim children to recite prayers in school is not a Christian endeavor. Forcing Hindu high school football players to kneel and be led in a Christian prayer is not a matter of "freedom." God cannot be "thrown out of schools." It is beyond arrogant and insulting to keep saying so. As if God is leaning up against the school gates wishing He would be allowed in. Stop selling your impotent god! Note that the inference here is that anyone disagreeing politically are just "claiming" to be fellow Christians. We have seen rabid dominionists such as Greg Locke and Mario Murillo take this even further to claim anyone voting Democratic are demons and witches and should be expelled from their churches. The Capstone Report pays lip service to "other issues" but they are not relegated as lesser by God. Dr. Michael Brown remains nothing more than a political operative furthering the goals of the Republican Party at the expense of the gospel. In closing, I want to be clear. Neither party cares about the cause of Jesus Christ. Voting is a civil responsibility, not a Christian imperative. Vote for who you want but stop short of telling your neighbor that they are somehow a lesser brother or sister for their vote. Your decision of defending the lesser evil is not righteous. Your gradation of greater and lesser is fundamentally wrong as well. Political henchmen disguised as Christian leaders who only care about your vote should not be followed by Christians. You have every right to allow yourself to be used by them but you have no right or footing to claim your obedience to them is somehow a greater commandment than those pesky "lesser" ones found in the bible. None.

Reverend Anthony Wade - September 13, 2023

Authors Bio:
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.