Brave New World or Sailing in Harms Way?

Many Believers have mixed emotions as we head into a new year and a new administration. For the most part I sense encouragement from the rank and file- folks  on the street and in the pews. But leadership in both the conservative circles and among pastors still seem a bit dazed. The feeding frenzy of grants being thrown toward churches and ministries for “Community Transformation ” and Social Justice” may be coming to an end or at least the deficit spending fueling them may cease.

How Long O Lord?

The question then is where do they /we go from here? Perhaps nothing will really change under  the new administration except the faces in DC. The push to seduce the faithful may continue unabated.Perhaps the success of further endowing our houses of worship for the brave new world will thrive on.Perhaps the church will continue it’s damaging slide toward losing it’s “Authentic Faith” ( authentic has become one of the new  most abused buzzwords ) in exchange for a mess of social justice pottage with little notice of what it has sold or how cheap the exchange.The real compelling question is “How Long Lord?” …how long will you allow the body of Christ suffer at the hands of Caesar ,wolves and  hirelings ?

And What of US? How Do WE Answer HIM  Who Sent Us?

My wife and I were attending a nice fall wedding .It was outdoors and I watched as the bride arrived and her father moved proudly toward her ,offering his arm to escort her down the isle -presenting her to her groom. In the deepest way in a while- I felt a flood of emotions regarding the task of those who would minister about the alter of God as I and a host of ministers I have reached out to in this past year over these concerns. The question that rang in my ear and heart came from the job description John the Baptist gave to explain his ministry.”He who has the Bride is the Bride Groom, but the friend of the Bridegroom which stands and hears rejoices greatly at the Bridegrooms voice” John 3 :29.  I was reminded of what Gods call and our role as ministers of the gospel and to the saints truly is. We are called to be and  “prepare a people who are made ready for the Lord” .We are the friend of the Bridegroom and HE has entrusted the care and preparation of HIS bride to us- as a TRUSTED friend.”Have her ready for her Bridegroom and to heed HIS Coming without delay.

To My Friends In Ministry Who Have Turned a Deaf Ear- Or Feared To Face Reality !

My Question for all of us – AS the friend of the Bridegroom- How can we do these things to the Body of Christ – to HIS Bride? How can we yoke ourselves and her to unbelievers and to the worlds? How can we fear man more than God or fear for our jobs more than our calling, or be so deluded that we think we are doing God service by these things? Or are we just so deluded and self centered that we have failed to consider what we have done to the Bride? How will we answer Him on that great and terrible day? Lord help us and have mercy on us-  Awaken us or judge us but do not leave us as we are and adding to our offense !Help us see our error and choose the Stone of Stumbling and Rock of Offense rather than the millstone promised those who offend your little ones. Help Lord . Judgement must begin at your house and we are poorly prepared for it.

Tinker , Preacher, Doctor ,Spy

The modern ideal community is to be achieved by simple means- Partnership For The Common Good.Or at least that is what we are being told/ sold. All comers are welcomed to a banquet to feast on funding while agreeing to goals on common ground -regardless of their diversity.What has happened of late is a confusing mass of converging agendas which has not only brought “left and right wingers” but preachers and  pretenders  and even some out right double agents (spies )to the same table to dine.

The feast is Money and lots of it. The source is your taxes- Stimulus (your children and grandchildren’s taxes) corporate dollars and the funds of world changing donors  -large elite owned foundations like Rockefeller, Ford and Soros .This is a complex social construct converging to obtain and justify their own existence and the expenditure of public and private funds to redefine – education, social institutions, family, human rights, religion  and even person hood  . It complexity , though dizzying -can best be defined and comprehended in it’s misguided impact on health care. Good luck or God Speed as we age and live in the world of sharp edged items and fast moving objects and deadly diseases, not to mention eternal realities . Once your doctor and your Preacher are overtaken and firmly locked in with this bad brood little hope remains except from the throne of heaven.

Read on

Faith Based Healthcare Clinics Prove a Slippery Slope

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on 20 October, 2016 at 08:00

Healthcare in the US remains in flux since the passing of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA). One primary area of need still unanswered and lacking in adequate infrastructure is the area of indigent care. Historically, the uninsured and those who find health insurance unaffordable have flooded and overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms by utilizing the ER as a walk-in clinic. This vacuum of unanswered delivery for this level of care has created a flurry of would be participants in the provision of services and for the funding allocated for it.

Among the hopefuls for this indigent care funding are churches and faith based non-profits who possibly view meeting this need as a ministry opportunity. Historically, denominations and religious groups have, at times, been involved unencumbered in operating hospitals and even church based clinics. However, new guidelines suck as LGBT non-discrimination are proving to faith based and church participants in healthcare that we have entered a danger zone of hidden agendas and progressive politics driving healthcare decision making and policy.

Health Care the Golden Opportunity for Progressives

Progressive organizations have not been snoozing through the opportunity to infuse their goals into the guideline for providers in faith based partnerships as shown in this celebratory Todd article: According to the CAP article implementation of the AHA would “not be possible without Faith Based partners.” The additional mention of FBP involvement in Health and Human Services (HHS) and School Based Health Clinics (SBHC) is even more disturbing due to the close partnerships between HHS and Planned Parenthood and affiliated organizations who aspire to provide “School Based Primary Care” for both students and families in poor communities.

The Obama administration overhauled the Faith Based Partnerships in 2009/2010 and poured billions of tax dollars into them. The Whitehouse Toolkit for grant hopefuls outlines the establishment of a faith based office within EVERY federal agency in order to oversee the partners receiving federal funding. Oversight is the key principle to understanding the dangers for conservative Christian providers.  A quick look at the advisory board assembled is a major red flag since LGBT groups, Human Rights Campaign, and ARCUS Foundation were included . In health care a plethora of non-discrimination policies are firmly in place and include the pro LGBT activist HHS interpretations of best practices for both physical and mental health and well-being.

A Bloody Discrimination?

A disturbing insight into the outcome of such activism would be a recent push for “Blood Equality.” Since the Orlando gay nightclub attack the Huffington Post and others have been mainstreaming a cry to “stop the ban on queer blood.” AIDS was first identified in 1981 and by 1985 testing was firmly in place to prevent tainted blood from entering the general public’s blood supply. The concept of restricting those who engage in “at risk behavior “ has not been one of discrimination but of best practice for the public welfare and fully supported by the CDC and the CID. The Red Cross and blood banks across the country have supported this policy in the face of some inadequate responses of the FDA in whose oversight these concerns remained.

The main concern today in our activist’s health care is if such policies seen as discriminatory and offensive to some. The future may look grim for those who require blood transfusions or emergency surgery as we pave the way for an international repeat of the UK Tainted Blood Scandal.

Strategic Error

Churches, ministries and denominational organizations are rushing into the indigent health care windfall with little consideration of the long term outcomes. Indigent focus and funding then broadens to become the underserved community, then encompasses the working poor who abandon the care of private practice for “Cheaper Care”. Once the private practices disappear then the cycle of underserved community begins all over again and the Walmart Effect has moved from small town America into healthcare until no other options are left but government run public clinics with private partners like faith based organizations. Young graduates leaving medical universities are caught in the trap of diminishing private options, profit driven corporate models and the faith based non-profits. Often the newly graduated professionals work for low pay with more grant funded reductions in student loans as enticement for long hours and low wages.

Large churches are now openly using our offerings and pledges to obtain matching funds or seed money for more government and private grants. Curriculum is admittedly designed as training for our families and children to be mobilized to man the “ministries.” It’s as if to say, “Give me your money to use as seed funds for your taxes and then volunteer in my clinic where your church is competing with you.” And who else is in the room? Every progressive activist on the dream list of the current administration and possibly the next.

Is There an Exit Strategy?

The greater concerns beyond co-mingling missions with the Obama administration are the dangers to religious freedom, church autonomy, and silencing the conservative voice in the cultural debate ,thus causing political correctness to rule ending in Doctors being fired for giving honest health advice. No doubt the church could do a better job than government in providing care but the guidelines restricting “religious activities” within grant funded programs takes the faith out of faith based on this slippery slope. If ministry is not allowed then the church is left being nothing more than a conduit for social programs and one more government Health and Human Services contractor.

Ask your local pastor and denominational leader if they are involved and if they know the dangers posed by FBP to health care. Look up the 990 reports of your favorite parachurch ministry and see whose funding is on the annual reports. You may be shocked. Search the CDCs LGBT health pages and understand why honesty in treating real life medical issues is important even to the LGBT community. What will the future “look like” if healthcare is politically and profit driven with evangelicals as well funded enablers of a failing system? Let’s consider if the church becomes one more hated layer in the frustrating chain of socialized medicine. If the money is the only incentive left then buyer beware. The government (tax) money goes away and the churches resources are exploited. It was in the fine print.

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Hating Jesus: The American Left’s War on Christianity

Matt Barber with Paul Hair

The secular left doesn’t merely have a disagreement with Christianity. These are not people with whom one may reason, compromise or even disagree. They are dedicated to evil. They demand nothing less than the abolition of the biblical worldview, and the destruction of Christ’s followers right along with it.

Now is the time to fight back. If you are someone, Christian or not, who refuses to see Christianity wiped out (like it ever could be) and your children indoctrinated into pure evil, then sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option.

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Can the Church Recover It’s Mission?

 

Personally I can see no greater threat to the purity , passion, and real purpose of the true church in our culture today than the stealthy influence of Marxist ideology called Communitarianism  wed with the profitable windfall of tax money flooding into Churches; Christian ministries  and Christian schools through grant programs and the Faith Based Neighborhood Partnerships  of the current Whitehouse administration. Here at minute 25 is an interview on Janet Mefferd’s radio program .Thanks to Janet and to Barbwire for taking on this important issue -many wold prefer not to talk about.

Barbwire Article

Good News – Bad News

I have begun publishing some reports on the last 5 years investigations into the today’s conservative Christian leadership’s virtual silence as marriage , sexuality , and even gender are redefined . A few faithful voices have been raised but are generally drowned out by those advocating a new kinder/ gentler tone while focusing on “being the church” and “loving people well” ( both popular new catchphrases mostly advocating social justice community work ). I would liken this approach to rallying volunteers, good Christian volunteers to , to roof a Habitat home while ignoring that the house is on fire. It is also akin to raking leaves for your neighbor during a category 5 hurricane . Perhaps the most appropriate example would be that our surface evangelical community service is like giving a pedicure to a terminally ill patient as they receive a lethal injection from some young Kevorkian disciple as we affirm this act as a ministry or mercy.

Fear and Loathing

We are not “loving people well” when we adopt the deceitful song and dance of the times and fail in bringing the eternal Gospel to bear upon them. We do them disservice to comfort them while the shadow of death looms.Partnering with the Romans gave rise to the FEAR ( of losing their place) that led the Sanhedrin to reject their won Messiah and, in the end, to LOATH Him to the point of death.We are not loving people by failing to speak the eternal truth. We are hating them . We are not serving God by affirming the idolatry and self loathing of the desperate culture around us. Today’s new gender and sexual freedom will fill tomorrows  mental wards and hospitals and graveyards with it’s victims . The Christian need not look fear being faithful to loving God and loving his neighbor -as they have for thousands of years – by preaching the Gospel  and the transforming power of Jesus faithfully to those in need ,even in the face of nations , politicians, policy, and perversions . It has worked for thousands of years. It still does. That is the GOOD NEWS .

Here is the latest  article if you have not read it .

jerry_falwell_1984

Image: Deborah Thomas

Where Is the Conservative Evangelical Voice in Today’s Cultural Tsunami?

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on 22 September, 2016 at 06:50

By Rev Thomas Littleton

You may not self-identify as an evangelical or even be a fan of the Reagan Revolution revivalists, but if you are a conservative in America you are a stakeholder with those who stand against the progressive tidal wave sweeping our nation.

In the past, evangelicals have been at least a predictable part of the base. This is no longer the case. Now greatly divided and hosting a variety of scripted talking points, the former powerhouse of the “Moral Majority” style conservatism is sending forth an uncertain sound to its constituents.

Once highly visible and vocal representatives carried the torch into the mainstream media and cultural debate like warriors in the arena of Rome. These gladiators of the Faith may not have all been void of egos and self-interest, but they were outspoken with clarity. We would have a very difficult time today pointing out even one such champion as D James Kennedy of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) or Jerry Falwell of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Perhaps many even on the conservative side will say “Good riddance” but let me sound a word caution before any celebration on the right.

First, let us consider what has replaced the once clarion call rallying the faithful to be heard in the forum and at the polls. Those voices have been replaced by echoes.

Change You Will Find Disturbing

The conservative Christian denominations are re-branding and their political rhetoric is softening in the name of Christian love and social justice. Today the mantra most often heard is, “We want to be known for what we are FOR, NOT what we are AGAINST.” Born out of the “compassionate conservatism” of the Bush era is a new evangelical tune. It may market nicely and keep the proverbial heat off the backs of evangelical leaders, but this presents a problem however given the timing of this new détente and the business with which the conservative evangelical community is now occupying itself.

Having adopted the new mantra amid the hot bed of progressive activism means that evangelicals have allowed themselves to be emotionally blackmailed into not openly opposing anything. No issue is more telling than the redefinition of marriage and the broader conservative Christian community’s virtual nonresponse or to the sweeping LGBT agenda being forced upon us all. So, if the Evangelicals are NOT engaging the war being waged against them, and they have instead crafted a unified policy of non-engagement, then the question begs: who gave the non-marching orders? What is being done instead? And, of course, the big one….WHY?

The New Talking Points

I am a very conservative SBC minister and have not been the most politically engaged, yet I could not help but notice the sudden change in our own in-house talking points in 2013. The SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission announced a leadership change and with it came sweeping new disengagement. Many understood it to be the sounding of retreat, if not full surrender to a “lost culture war.” Russell Moore – long time seminary professor at the flagship SBC institution Southern Seminary – took the reins of the ERLC and declared an end to hostilities between the LGBT community and the SBC. Given the coming tsunami of gay marriage and transgender access rights, the timing of this retreat was something between a tactical error and outright sabotage of the conservative evangelical base.

Perhaps this just what you get when you send an academic into the gladiators arena? Of note should be Moore’s replacement for engagement in the political arena. Moore began to sound the Social Justice mantra of leftist Christianity known as Communitarianism. Instead of being culture warriors we are now to be bleeding hearts for helping the poor and downtrodden of society and – guess who our partners are to be in fulfilling this not so great commission? Answer – the LGBT powerhouses of the Human Rights Campaign and the ARCUS Foundation to name a couple. And whose money will these new “partners” be spending? Yours and mine. Absurd? Impossible? Never? Take a deep breath and read on.

New Partners and Their Talking Points

The Faith Based Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP) under the Obama administration has created a host of odd bedfellows pursuing federal, local and private grant money for “the common good”. These programs began under the Bush administration, but were reformed under Obama and (unequally) yoked together in the President’s Inaugural Advisory Board was the SBC Executive Committee’s Frank Page and activist organization heads of the HRC and ARCUS (Islamist) along with the usual suspects of the left. The result is a misfit strategy for the conservative evangelical camp who are actually undergoing a revival of conservative theology while at the same time becoming more socially progressive. The end product is a sort of spiritual bipolar disorder which defies common sense. Interestingly, the FBNP reforms went beyond assembling the eclectic group of partners to actually establishing a Faith Based Department within every federal agency. Here are just a few of the things which prove problematic for conservative evangelicals in these partnerships:

  • The reforms call for OVERSIGHT by the funding agency and the recipient is viewed as a government contractor.
  • The sweeping LGBT non-discrimination order of President Obama did not include the needed Religious Exemption clause sought by Rick Warren and other SBC pastors signed on to the programs. HRC and ARCUS spend millions fighting such exemptions.
  • The Reforms actually forbid any faith based religious activity, such as Bible studies, prayer, or passing out religious materials/instruction while administering the programs. The evangelicals market these programs as ministry but “ministry” is forbidden.
  • The end game for the administration is control. The flood of tax money poured into the programs actually goes away in time leaving only the private funding from foundations and corporations, and of course the church’s resources are exploited and its mission redefined under federal government control. Also the clever coordination of dance “partners” with the evangelicals have given unprecedented leverage for the LGBT activists to force their agenda on and into the heart of the evangelical camp. This effort is complete with tool kits, like communist training manuals scripted to enlighten the poor conservative believers into changing their minds on homosexuality and helping “conflict them” if they do not. Here is the ARCUS Foundation funded tool kit. Human Rights Campaign has its own version called a Christian Conversation Guide. The unwitting target of this persuasive effort would never suspect he or she is being manipulated by the well trained LGBT activists.

The New Mission

By this time it is fair to ask where this well planned takeover came from ? The ideology is nothing new for those working toward Socialist Democracy. It is easier to co-opt the church than to try and destroy it. The compassionate conservatism mantra comes from Austrian Friedrich Julius Stahl. It was first successfully marketed to the conservative evangelical community in the mid 1800’s, destroying its influence as salt and light in the culture by reducing its public stance with Stahl’s “living conservatism.)

The modern blueprint for the new evangelical paradigm comes from another Austrian-management expert Peter Drucker. After decades of focus in the board rooms of America’s fortune 500 companies, Drucker turned his attention to non-profits and churches. His partner for this endeavor was a former corporate client and Texas cable TV millionaire Bob Buford. Buford founded Leadership Network to seek out “innovative” and (I might add) ambitious young pastors and evangelical leaders to train in the Drucker management style.

Under the banner of Welfare Reforms in 1996-97, the Clinton administration helped launch the torpedo which is all but sinking the evangelical’s “good ole Gospel ship” in a sea of social justice activism while loading it with stowaway partners like HRC, ARCUS, Muslims and Leftists. All of them busy with efforts of their own to diminish the evangelical voice. The Welfare Reforms crafted the emerging future of religious organization in the US.  This banquet table was spread at the Rockefeller Brothers Conference Center and sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The blueprint lays the groundwork for the government to dump all social and human services and welfare on the unsuspecting churches and faith based non-profits while gaining oversight of them, thus muting any opposition to the advance of the progressive agendas sweeping our nation. Healthcare is moving toward FBNP providing the core of community care inside church walls. This is in addition to the School Based Health Clinics that the Department of Education has planned for years.

And who is the unseen “partner” in this plan? Planned Parenthood. The Center for American Progress is loving the participation of the evangelical community in Healthcare Reforms. This is an indication of the vulnerability evangelicals have incurred while unwittingly chasing grants among questionable partners. FEMA and HUD have also made huge inroads with similar programs.

The Christians Must Be Persuaded to Embrace a New Paradigm

So, how must the evangelical leadership go about “harnessing the untapped energy” of the conservative church? Enter again the work of Buford’s Leadership Network (LN) and the Drucker ideology. Social justice is the new mantra. Saving Society is the new mission of the evangelicals. In April 2014, Buford published his tell all (or perhaps boast all) book about LN’s founding in 1984. LN’s by invitation only Drucker discipleship program began a comprehensive renovation of evangelicalism, now 30 plus years in the running. The depth of impact for this clandestine “movement” cannot be measured or overstated on the evangelical community.

The ultimate end was to bring these leaders into the Drucker model and to yoke the church in Peter Drucker’s “Three Legged Stool” of Government – Corporate- Church/Non-profit partnerships. Among the most successful of these LN disciples is the SBCs Rick Warren and another up and coming SBC influencer, Ed Stetzer. Warren’s international PEACE Plan is now global and the next stage in its development is PEACE Local which brings a host of human and social services into the church with outside funding and the all-important government oversight.

LN trainee Ed Stetzer has become a key figure in his work with the overhaul of the Southern Baptist vision by providing “research” corresponding with the goals of Drucker for non-profits and developing curriculum like Lifeway’s (Stetzer’s most recent employer) The Gospel Project. Leadership Network, through in house talking heads, is able to promote Urbanization, Healthcare Reform, and Saving Society (the original name proposed for Buford’s LN biographical boast). As a result, the evangelical community has, for over 30 years, has fallen victim to this unseen force from within. It should come as no surprise that Stetzer and others use their platforms and blogs to promote the future of evangelicalism.

Including more compassion on how homosexuality and the LGBT agenda is viewed. The Stetzer facilitated “conversation” asserts the evangelical view of LGBT (and even abortion) is like “unbaked cookies needing to be placed back in the oven for 3 -5 years and taken out to see where we are.”

This is a prime example of how the ARCUS funded tool kit “My Mind Was Changed” is engaged in the places conservative evangelicals get their news. Stetzer and other LN disciples also promote Urban church planting as the key missions strategy of both domestic and foreign missions while promoting pro-LGBT, pro-Marxist “Urbanologist” Richard Florida to the planters. Eager postmodern pastoral trainees and seminary graduates embrace Florida’s pro-LGBT , bohemian and gay indexes to ensure the success of the evangelical endeavors when promoted and facilitated by trusted SBC leadership.

Once such unthinkable discussion for conservative evangelicals have now become all too common place. The conservative Presbyterians (PCA ) are equally as submerged in the LN / Drucker philosophy of ministry, with talking heads from the LN stable like Atlanta’s Randy Pope and the ever popular Tim Keller of New York City. Keller is a huge and outspoken advocate of Richard Florida. Randy Pope and Warren are both leaders among conservative denominational pastors, pushing their churches toward full implementation of in house church based social services and welfare with faith based partnerships.

Hitting Close to Home

Independent mega churches like Willow Creek (pastored by Bill Hybels) are also LN innovation products. It is much easier for those evangelicals outside the doctrinal and mission accountability to implement the new paradigm. Our own home church fellowship of Shades Mountain Independent Church in Hoover, Alabama was once one of the most reliably conservative churches in the greater Birmingham area. To our shock and amazement the trusted congregational leadership had been taking the congregation down the avenue of Drucker partnerships since at least 2011.

SMI was endangering its conservative voice by hosting and supporting ministries which have and continue to take Government tax/ grants from HUD, and seeking passionately through staff led ministries to enter the indigent health care funding fray. In tandem with this new vision has been a willingness to soften the church’s stance on LGBT issues, as such partnerships provide both the incentive and necessity.

Is there a remedy for this sad state of affairs among conservatives? Can our once trusted evangelical partners recover themselves from these money laced traps? Time will tell – it helps knowing the evangelicals are spending your tax money while MIA.

Rev Thomas Littleton is an evangelist with four decades experience in missions and outreach globally. He and his wife have a six year old son for whose future they engage the issues of our time. He blogs at thirtypiecesofsilver.

 

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