Monday, August 24, 2009

Francis A. Schaeffer The Religious Right Part II and Ron Luce's " Battlecry Ministries"

"Those in this army will have His kind of power. ... Anyone who wants to harm them must die."
Joel's Army-Evangelical Fundamentalists

Family Research Council is a Religious Right organization which is pro-aFamily Values, anti-Gay and anti-abortion. So of course it is against any sort of real health care reform by Obama. They believe that America is a Christian nation which rejects any form of "socialism" & is anti-Big Government and believe that Capitalism and the Free Market economy and rugged individualism are all part of God's Plan since America is God's Chosen Nation.

This ad is just a piece of propagandistic fear mongering to the misinformed and so FRC adds its weight to give some credence to the notion of government "Death Panels" which is part of a conspiracy theory about the Obama Health Care Reform Bills concocted by the Health Insurance Industry , Republicans, Sara Palin, Newt Gingrich and of course Fox News in which they allege the government will be encouraging people to end their own lives before their time to decrease the cost of their health care. They also allege the government wants to in the future encourage aborting children with special needs which Sara Palin has commented on even though she knows very well it is not true. But once these allegations are out there it is difficult to expose them as lies and misinformation.

Life and Death: FRC Action Ad

Continuation of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer the architect of The Religious Right in America.

He argues that Christian values and Christianity is engaged in a cultural war against Godless Humanism / Secular Humanism / Godless Liberalism . He claims the situation in America is dire and that True Evangelical Christians who adhere to a literal view of the BIble are losing that war. Schaeffer decries the fact that in his view many Liberal Christian Churchs have become appeasers or accomondationist who are willing to renounce many parts of the Bible as being a reflection of the times they were written and therefore do not apply to contemporary society.For instance the role of women in the family and in society has changed and the laws reflect that change which he believes to be going against the role of women as described in the Bible. Schaeffer believes that homosexuality, adultery, pre-marital sex, pornography, blasphemy if they are condemned in the Bible and therefore by God they should be punishable under man's laws in accordance with God's Will. Adulterers might be imprisoned or executed possibly by stoning. There is in the final analysis little to differentiate between the Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians and the Taliban or other Islamic extremists or extremists in other religions who have no tolerance for the beliefs of others. Liberal notions of tolerance and diversity and mutual understanding have no place in the belief systems of the religious extremists.

1982 Sermon by Francis Schaeffer - Part 2

How Should We then Live: Francis A. Schaeffer

L'Abri Fellowship International Francis A. Schaeffer Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership

And on the End-Times Armageddon and the relationship between Christian Evangelicals and Israel there is " this strange alliance ".

Armageddon Lobby -- trying to hurry up God --Its "Christian" Muscle at Iraq

With the collapse of communism (and Nazism before it) mankind's utopian fantasies have returned to a religious hue. The Armageddonites (and their co-believer extreme fundamentalists in the Muslim and Jewish worlds) are the new dreamers of bringing paradise to earth, just, however, with the need to eliminate much of the human race first. In America we have now this strange alliance, the Israeli Likud settler lobby gets money, guns and political cover. In exchange millions of born again "rapture" evangelicals gain fulfillment, believing that they are helping God to end the world during their lifetimes and thereby will get a quick pass to heaven "without dying" (no judgment day). Oh, and with the death of all Jews (and the rest of the human race) who do not convert to their faith. Their "Heaven" incidentally, is sort of socialist with no inequality and everyone rich. A popular Gaither Singers song describes how one won't need to cut the grass in Heaven.

The Book of Revelations in the Bible, upon which they build their scenario, is also very controversial. It was made scripture three centuries after the death of Christ. "Traditionally attributed to St. John, most Biblical scholars now recognize its literary style and its theology has little in common with John's gospel or his epistles and was likely written after his death. Martin Luther found the vindictive God of Revelations incompatible with the gospels and relegated it to the appendix of his German translation of the New Testament instead of the body of scripture. All the Protestant reformers except Calvin regarded apocalyptic millenialism to be heresy."

Ron Luce & Battlecry using teen culture music a means of militantly proselytizing Christian Evangelical Fundamentalism . Uses savvy propagandistic techniques to break down the individuals resistance by undermining their ability to reason. Luce like other Evangelicals pounds away at the idea that our society is evil and pernicious and that there are only two choices to follow : the sinful path of hedonistic materialism or to abide by the literal inerrant Word of God as presented in the Bible. All other religions are false religions which are on the side of the anti-Christ and Satan and are by definition anti-Christian and anti-the True God. One must therefore be for God or against God.
About Teen Mania and What I Do-Ron Luce Battlecry! (Ministries)

The message of Teen Mania and Battlecry is that this generation is alive at a pivotal time in which everone must take a side since the End-Times are near. But on a more realistic level Ron Luce encourages these teenagers to not merely become Good Christians but rather that they be God's Warriors who will use their abilities to bring America back to God. This means that these teenager should aim for the education and abilities needed so they can take up positions of power and authority in public institutions in order to influence policy making and ultimately the legislation and lwas of the land to reflect America's Evangelical Fundamentalist beliefs.
As we see in the video these teens are sent to other countries to do Good Works but their works are tinged or tainted by an aggressive and militant proselytizing. These groups and many other have mad big in roads in Latin America, Africa and Asia . In a number of countries Christian Evangelicalism is on the rise as the traditional Christian Churches and other Non-Christian religions are losing members. In a number of countries there have been numerous complaints about the heavy-handed proselytizing by Evangelical Fundamentalist in which these Christian Missionaries show little or no cultural sensitivity or real respect for Non-Christian religions or even non-Evangelical Fundameentalist Christian sects.

The worrying concern is that these teens are already strident in their beliefs and hold to a belief system which is rigid in which there is little room for doubt or a real and sincere tolerance of other beliefs. They believe that one can only live a decent and worthwhile life by dedicating oneself wholly and totally to Jesus. They are taught at a very vulnerable and precarious stage in their lives that all other beliefs are not just wrong but are in fact evil.

Ron Luce's beliefs are in the end more in line with Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer than one at first glance would think. When we strip away the Teen Mania/Battle Cry glitter and stagecraft and loud rock music it is easier to see that Ron Luce's theology and philosophy and his emphasis on activism and engagement of believers with society and politics is very much an adaptation of the beliefs and program and agenda which Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer outlined in the 1970s and 1980s.
One of the other things to note as we see in this video and others the great deal of uncritical media attention that is lavished on Teen Mania and Battlecry ministries and other such organizations. Far too many people in the American media treat this Evangelical movement as purely benign and ignore the negative effect of this heavy handed proselytizing of vulnerable teenagers. If this were some non-Christian cult the media would be screaming from the roof-tops about child abuse etc. so there is I believe a bit of hypocrisy or a blind spot on the part of the media.

These Battlecry concerts are like raves which last not just a couple of hours but can go on for twelve hours or even over the course of several days with the mornings stated at 7am with prayers and religious lectures etc and continue on well into the night. During this period individuals are physically and mentally exhausted and open as it were to messages which ordinarily they might reject out of hand or if given time they would give the message thoughtful consideration and then come to some sort of decision or decide they needed more time and information to come to a reasonable conclusion. But that's the point of all of this elaborate theater to by-pass the individuals rational self and appeal to them as part of a crowd in which the shared experience is the most important thing. Peer pressure also plays a big role in these kinds of revivals because who wants to be singled out as different especially as a teenager.

Isn't this then a form of propagandizing or brain-washing which leads to group-think similar to that of "Cults" or extremist political movements which use a variety of propaganda techniques as a way to short-circuit the rational part of the brain . Hitler , Stalin, Lenin, Mao have all used these techniques of attempting to communicate on a purely emotional and visceral level.

Next we take a look at the Evangelical Fundamentalist group Joel's Army whose target audience is also teenager and young adults in which the whole revival aspect is revved up a few more notches from Battlecry and its effects are even more pronounced and easier to detect.

Theocratic Sect Prays for Real Armageddon By Casey Sanchez, Southern Poverty Law Center. August 30, 2008. Members of Joel's Army are fighting to bring about the millennial reign of Christ.

Joel's Army followers, many of them teenagers and young adults who believe they're members of the final generation to come of age before the end of the world, are breaking away in droves from mainline Pentecostal churches. Numbering in the tens of thousands, they base their beliefs on an esoteric reading of the second chapter of the Old Testament Book of Joel, in which an avenging swarm of locusts attacks Israel. In their view, the locusts are a metaphor for Joel's Army.
Despite their overt militancy, there's no evidence Joel's Army followers have committed any acts of violence.

But critics warn that actual bloodletting may only be a matter of time for a movement that casts itself as God's avenging army.

Those sounding the alarm about Joel's Army are not secular foes of the Christian Right, few of whom are even aware of the movement or how widespread it's become in the past decade. Instead, Joel's Army critics are mostly conservative Christians, either neo-Pentecostals who left the movement in disgust or evangelical Christians who fear that Joel's Army preachers are stealing their flocks, even sending spies to infiltrate their own congregations and sway their young people to heresy. And they say the movement is becoming frightening.

...Rick Joyner, a pastor whose books, The Harvest and The Call, helped popularize Joel's Army theology by selling more than a million copies each, goes the furthest on Elijah's List in pushing the hardliner approach. In 2006, he posted a sermon called "The Warrior Nation -- The New Sound of the Church," in which he claimed that a last-day army is now gathering and called believers "freedom fighters."

"As the church begins to take on this resolve, they [Joel's Army churches] will start to be thought of more as military bases, and they will begin to take on the characteristics of military bases for training, equipping, and deploying effective spiritual forces," Joyner wrote. "In time, the church will actually be organized more as a military force with an army, navy, air force, etc."

...In the Book of Joel, the locust invasion is described as an omen that an Assyrian army to the north may attack Israel if it fails to repent as a nation. But nowhere is the invasion described as an army of God. According to an Assemblies of God position paper: "It is a complete misinterpretation of Scripture to find in Joel's army of locusts a militant, victorious force attacking society and a non-cooperating Church to prepare the earth for Christ's millennial reign."

...The story of how an ancient insect invasion came to be a rallying flag for 21st-century dominonists begins just after World War II in Canada. Out of a small town in Saskatchewan, a Pentecostal preacher named William Branham spearheaded a 1948 revival in which he claimed that his followers lived in a new biblical time of "Latter Rain."

The most sinless and ardent of his flock would be called "Manifest Sons of God." By the next year, the movement was so strong -- and seemed so subversive to some -- that the Assemblies of God banned it as a heretic cult. But Branham remained a controversial figure with a loyal following; many of his followers believed him to be the end-times prophet Elijah.

Michael Barkun, a leading scholar of radical religion, notes that in 1958, Branham began teaching "Serpent Seed" doctrine, the belief that Satan had sex with Eve, resulting in Cain and his descendants. "Through Cain came all the smart, educated people down to the antediluvian flood -- the intellectuals, bible colleges," Branham wrote in the kind of anti-mainstream religion, anti-intellectual spirit that pervades the Joel's Army movement to this day. "They know all their creeds but know nothing about God."

...The atmosphere is less charged with violence at "The Call," a 12-hour revival of up to 20,000 youths led by Joel's Army pastor Lou Engle and held every summer in a major American city (this year's event was scheduled for Washington, D.C. in August).
Attendees are called upon to fast and pray for 40 days and take up culture-war pledges to lead abstinent lives, reject pornography and fight abortion. They're further asked to perform "identificational repentance," lugging along family trees and genealogies to see where one of their ancestors may have enslaved or oppressed another so that they can make amends. (Many in the Joel's Army movement believe in generational curses that must be broken by the current generation).

..."Today, you can type 'Joel's Army' into a search engine and a thousand heresy hunter websites pop up, decrying the very mention of it," writes John Crowder in The New Mystics. Crowder doesn't exactly allay critic's fears. "This is truly warfare," he writes. "This battle is not a game. They [Joel's Army warriors] will not be on the defense; they will be on the offense -- and the gates of hell will not be able to hold up against them."

So far, few members of the secular media have taken notice of Joel's Army, even as they report on Protestant dominionists like Pat Robertson or the more outrageous calls for the stoning of gays and lesbians emanating from Reconstructionist circles. There are exceptions, however. On the DailyKos, a well-read, politically liberal blog, a diarist has been blogging for two years about her experiences as a walkaway from a Joel's Army church. She writes under a pseudonym out of fear of physical reprisals.

She may have real cause for concern. As Wimber, the late founder of The Vineyard, put it in one of his most famous and fiery sermons, one that is still frequently cited by Joel's Army followers: "Those in this army will have His kind of power. ... Anyone who wants to harm them must die."

and so it goes,

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