Category: Featured Articles

August 11th, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

In the wake of a rising tide of pro-life sentiments and sensibilities in America, the utter bankruptcy of thepro-abortion position is being revealed, especially in its more militant forms.

The pro-abortion side is now faced with:

  • The beautiful reality of 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds, making clear that the fetus in the womb is really a carefully formed, developing baby. It is now impossible to deny that the little one seen with such clarity on the screen is a human life that is about to be snuffed out.
  • The brutal reality of the “houses of horror” run by men like Dr. Kermit Gosnell (and others), with the unavoidable conclusions that: 1) The same doctors who killed babies in the womb had no problem killing babies outside the womb; and 2) There is virtually no moral difference between killing a 20-week-old baby in the safety of its mother’s womb and killing it seconds after it emerges from the womb.
  • Moving stories from abortion survivors like Gianna Jessen. They even have their own network called TheAbortionSurvivors.com.
  • A younger generation that values fairness, equality and the rights of the victim. Although this is often more gut-level rather than rational (leading to many young people getting on the wrong side of the homosexuality debate), it also explains why so many are becoming pro-life.
  • Court rulings siding against Obamacare’s pro-abortion mandates.
  • Undercover videos by Lila Rose and others, revealing the greed and heartlessness of abortion providers.

What has the pro-abortion side offered in response?

  • Planned Parenthood dropping its “pro-choice” moniker, once considered an impregnable (no pun intended) winning concept, in favor of the hopelessly self-defeating “Your Baby Will Thank You” (but only, of course, if the baby manages to escape the Planned Parenthood clinic alive).
  • Completely inane statements by the media, like this one from MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who said: “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling—but not science. The problem is that many of our policymakers want to base sweeping laws on those feelings.” (Aside from the ludicrous nature of saying the parents determine when life begins—where does this kind of thinking lead?—the question remains: Which lawmakers are trying to “base sweeping laws” on feelings alone?) Yes, this was the same TV host who recently wore tampon earrings to protest the Texas abortion laws.
  • Absolutely murderous statements by so-called medical ethicists, leading to outlandish headlines like this, in Britain’s Telegraph: “Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say.” (Yes, the headline really says “experts say.”) The article continues, “Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are ‘morally irrelevant’ and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.”
  • Pathetic ads, like the one celebrating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and featuring black actor Mechad Brooks. The ad was so dreadful that Eric Metaxas commented, “When I first watched this ad, I thought, this HAS to be a spoof. It employs the ugly racial stereotype of a smooth-talking [black] predator celebrating his freedom to use women at zero cost to himself: Hey, baby, hook up with me—and then go have an abortion. Are they kidding? No; this was no spoof.”
  • Despicable protests in Austin, Texas, against legislators who were simply voting for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks as well as for heightened health regulations at abortion facilities. As Katie Pavlich reported, “Apparently chanting ‘hail Satan,’ ‘f*ck the church,’ ‘bro-choice’ and holding signs that say ‘hoes before embryos’ just wasn’t enough for pro-abortion protestors in Texas. According to reports on the ground, police have confiscated bricks, tampons, pads and condoms protestors planned to throw at pro-life lawmakers.” The police “also confiscated jars of urine and feces.”
  • Students on campus videotaped as they signed a petition to legalize “aborting” fourth-trimesterbabies (meaning already born, full-term babies—but who said college students were good at math these days?).
  • The rise of the “bro-choice” movement, as young men, surely moved by altruism alone (forgive the sarcasm), are now taking a stand. As expressed by Ben Sherman, “For those of us guys who like girls—you know, like them like them—and want to have relationships with them, that may last anywhere from a few minutes to many years, we need to think about how this bill (Texas HB 2), by curtailing the bodily autonomy and sexual freedom of women, hurts us, too. We need to stand with women in their fight to control their own bodies.”

It is little wonder, then, that the pro-life tide continues to rise.

Yet a recent Pew Research poll indicates that far less Americans think abortion is an important issue today as compared to just seven years ago, with most Americans still opposed to the complete overturn of Roe v. Wade—all of which means we have our work cut out for us. And so, rather than congratulating ourselves prematurely, we need to increase our efforts to expose the bankruptcy of the pro-abortion position along with continuing to emphasize the precious sanctity of life.

Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Posted in Culture, Featured Articles, Revolution & Justice

July 31st, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

The recent comments of Pope Francis have created a media feeding frenzy.

What exactly did he mean when he said he would not judge gay priests? Is he now condoning homosexuality?

And is he softening the stance of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who wrote that men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not serve in the priesthood? (Wait a second. Does anyone really think it’s wise for a man with deep-seated homosexual tendencies to make a lifetime vow of celibacy and serve side by side with other men of like inclination? We’ll come back to that question in a moment.)

During a media interview while returning from Rio to Rome, the pope was asked about the gay lobby in the Vatican. He responded, “There’s a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I’ve never seen it on the Vatican ID card!”

He continued, “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem. … They’re our brothers.”

What exactly did Pope Francis mean? According to John-Henry Westin, writing on LifeSiteNews.com, we must interpret the Pope’s comments in the context of the historic, foundational teaching of the Catholic Church.

Westin notes, “The Catholic faith teaches that all homosexual acts are presented in Sacred Scriptures as ‘acts of grave depravity’; that they are ‘intrinsically disordered’ and that ‘under no circumstances can they be approved.’ (Catechism 2357)”

The Catechism also teaches that “even the homosexual inclination is ‘objectively disordered’ and is a ‘trial’ for most who experience it. (Catechism 2358)”

At the same time, “They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. (Catechism 2358)”

So, is it possible that Francis was simply restating standard Catholic doctrine—namely, that one shouldn’t be judged for having same-sex attractions, as long as those attractions are not acted upon, in obedience to God? Was that his point, but stated with an emphasis on compassion, in keeping with his character?

That is certainly possible, especially in light of the clear statement on marriage made jointly by Francis and Benedict less than one month ago. As reported in the gay press, “Popes Francis, Benedict Jointly Condemn Same-Sex Marriage.”

In fact, according to a Spanish language publication, when the Pope was asked by another journalist why he didn’t speak out against abortion and same-sex marriage on his trip to Brazil, he responded, “The Church has clearly spoken about that; it is not necessary to go over it again, as it’s not necessary to talk about fraud, lying or other things about which the Church has a clear doctrine. It is not necessary to talk about that, but about positive things that open the road for the young ones. Besides, young people know perfectly well what is the Church’s position about this.”

How interesting that the media has failed to pick up on this quote!

What about the issue of gay priests?

According to Westin, “Especially after the horrors of the sex abuse crisis, which many have seen to be related to past tolerance of an active gay sub-culture within the Church, the Catholic Church has forbidden even those men with fixed homosexual inclinations from entering the seminary. In November 2005, the Congregation for Catholic Education released the ‘Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.’

“The Instruction forbade admission to seminary to ‘those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.’”

Obviously, men like this are not suitable candidates for the priesthood, and it’s hard to believe Pope Francis would now be reversing this policy.

This is not a matter of bigotry toward gays. It’s a matter of common sense.

Responding to the pope’s comments, Cardinal Timothy Dolan stated that a priest’s homosexuality “wouldn’t matter to me as long as one is leading a virtuous and chaste life.” But he also noted there was a potential problem in speaking of gay priests or the like, explaining, “My worry is that we’re buying into the vocabulary that one’s person is one’s sexual identity, and I don’t buy that, and neither does the church.”

To be sure, there are plenty of Christian men who have not experienced change in their same-sex attractions but who have chosen to be celibate, and they are living satisfied, full lives, identifying as Christians who are same-sex attracted rather than as “gay Christians.” (I think of Christopher Yuan, co-author with his mother, Angela, of the moving book Out of a Far Country.)

But that is very different than ordaining into the priesthood men who are struggling with same-sex attraction, thereby putting them all together in the same environment. This would be like heterosexual priests sharing living quarters with heterosexual nuns. How long do you think their vows of celibacy would last?

In the same way, do we really think that a bunch of young gay men living together in a seminary setting will all be saintly enough to keep themselves pure? And is it realistic to think that, later in their ministries, they will not struggle as they work alone with their teenage altar boys? (These are the very environments that celibate, same-sex attracted Christians would avoid.)

And if it was right to condemn the sex scandals that have taken place in the Catholic Church, how can the Church be criticized for refusing to ordain priests with deep-seated homosexual tendencies? (On a side note, in one of the most blatant examples of sticking one’s head in the sand, many gay activists have denied that these sexual abuse scandals had anything to do with homosexuality.)

The simple fact is that those who are dominated by same-sex attraction have no place in the priesthood, and compassion would not put someone in a place of so much temptation, nor would wisdom allow them to be placed in a position of authority where they could hurt others along with themselves.

Any change in this position is a recipe for disaster.

Michael Brown is author of The Real Kosher Jesus and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Posted in Featured Articles, News

July 31st, 2013 by Bryan Anthony

“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…” -Rom. 1.1

We are inclined to read right over the richness of language that Paul uses in the introductions to his epistles. Modern man is unfortunately accustomed to casual greetings; formalities required to structure a letter rightly- verbiage given to make way for fleeting conversations. But Paul did nothing casually. Every thought and prayer was calculated through the wisdom of the cross and centered upon the eternal purpose of God. He was led by the Spirit for the penning out of the choicest statements, “like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Not a syllable was haphazardly given. Every thought was articulated with great care, “seasoned by grace.”

It is to our detriment that we glide indifferently over the surface of any Biblical text, rather than pausing before it with reverent expectation. The Word is “living and active,” and we need to wait upon it prayerfully, lest we miss out on the sustenance it provides.

In this opening verse of Romans Paul is giving to the saints a description of his position and office. It is not something to be relegated to either “title” or “function.” This is cosmic language. He is coming out of the gate as only apostles can, giving description of his consciousness as a “sent one.”

Paul had been fastened to a “heavenly vision”; bound to living message; chained to the Lion of Judah, and he had no desire to be freed from that glorious imprisonment. This is precisely the reason why apostolic servants are foundational to the faith of the Church. They have been formed at the hand of the Potter and thrust into the nations as ambassadors of His own character and wisdom. But we need to be cognizant of the fact that the apostolic call was not given to make Paul into an aloof figure in an ivory tower. His foundational role was meant to bring all who are “saints by calling” into the same kind of communion and inward abandonment that was his own portion.

“‘Slave of Christ Jesus’ is patterned on the familiar OT phrase ‘slave,’ or ‘servant,’ of Yahweh. The phrase connotes total devotion, suggesting that the servant is completely at the disposal of his or her Lord.” -Douglas Moo (NICOT, Eerdmans)

Seeing through an apostolic lens, Paul envisaged himself as being in chains for the Gospel (Eph. 6.20), for the “hope of Israel” (28.20), for Jesus Christ Himself (2 Tim. 2.8-9).

To be so “enslaved” was to be “free indeed,” and this produced in Paul a life of communion and intercession which fitted him to serve as one “set apart for the gospel of God.” If we would cling to a lesser kind of abandonment, we may find ourselves engaged in a plethora of ministerial activity, but we will not share in the glory that belongs to the bond-servants of Jesus Christ. We may be taken up with many labors, but we will not enjoy the light of the apostolic faith. There is a “ministry of the interior” that binds us to the altar of God, welds our hearts to a radical jealousy for His glory, and conjoins our souls with His own. We are not bond-servants merely because we suffer externally. We are bond-servants in the Pauline sense when our interior life is like unto Jesus’ own experience as the pattern Son. “I only do what I see My Father doing…”

Secret communion becomes for us a “joy unspeakable,” and intercessory engagement becomes our most cherished labor when we are inwardly abandoned to Jesus Christ. Paul was intimately acquainted with this reality, and if a display of the “manifold wisdom of God” would come through the Church in these last days, so also must we be.

“Am I fulfilling this ministry of the interior? There is no snare, or any danger of infatuation or pride in intercession, it is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit whereby the Father is glorified. Am I allowing my spiritual life to be frittered away, or am I bringing it all to one centre- the Atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest in my life? If the one central point, the great exerting influence in my life, is the Atonement of the Lord, then every phase of my life will bear fruit for Him.

….What is the greatest factor of power in my life? Is it work, service, sacrifice for others, or trying to work for God? The thing that ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the Atonement of the Lord….Am I abiding? Am I taking time to abide?” -Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, June 7th)

We are not to gauge our spirituality through endless cycles of human assessment. The examination of our faith which Paul encourages has only to do with discerning whether or not we are “living, moving, and having our being” on the ground of the Atonement. That is to ask, “What is the character of my interior life?” Am I abiding in His life? Am I weighed down with the cares of this world, or am I living inwardly as a “bond-servant” of Jesus Christ? Am I itching to find approval from men, or is the Lord Himself the one “before Whom I stand”? Am I frivolous and distracted by the synthetic lights of this age, or am I walking tenderly as one pierced by the life which is “the Light of men”?

Until my earthbound perspectives are leveled by the Cross, I cannot live as His bond-servant. But if I abide in the One Who bears the scars of that great Atoning work, I share in the very life of the age which is to come. If I am “crucified with Christ,” it is His own resurrection life that works “in me.” Am I conscious of that reality, or is my interior life congested and blurred by the “form of this world”? We need to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”

The nations do not need a greater volume of sentimental religionists. The world is not perishing for want of novel methodologies. A million warm bodies with missiological opinions may fail entirely to set forth a true witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But a company of weak souls, gripped with a vision of the worth of Christ, living cruciformly, abiding in His Life- these will be His bond-servants,“set apart for the Gospel of God.” They shall fulfill “the ministry of the interior,” and by His “great grace,” a witness will be given, “even to the remotest part of the earth.”

“…God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son…” (v. 9)

Posted in Featured Articles, Scripture

July 22nd, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

Pastor John MacArthur has announced a “strange fire” conference to be held this October, claiming that part of the charismatic movement “offers to God unacceptable worship, distorted worship. It blasphemes the Holy Spirit. It attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.”

If these charges are true, this means that many leaders in the charismatic movement have committed the unpardonable sin and are therefore hell-bound. If these charges are not true, Pastor MacArthur has seriously overstepped his bounds and misused the Word of God.

And it is only fair to ask whether Pastor MacArthur, in his rightful zeal to correct excesses or errors in the charismatic movement – what he calls “strange fire” – is also guilty of rejecting the true fire. Does he embrace the glorious things the Holy Spirit is doing worldwide, resulting in the salvation of tens of millions of souls, or does he write them off to emotionalism and deception?

Before addressing these very weighty questions, let me express my deep appreciation for Pastor MacArthur. He has been in high profile ministry for decades without a hint of a sexual or monetary scandal. He has been an unashamed witness for Jesus before the world, he has preached the cross and the blood, he has renounced cheap grace and emphasized the importance of the lordship of the Son of God, and he has been a devoted student of the Scriptures.

In all these ways, if we had more leaders like John MacArthur, the Church and the world would be in much better shape.

At the same time, he has made sweeping, critical statements, often throwing out the baby with the bathwater, not only rejecting the dangerous excesses and extremes in the charismatic movement but also labeling some genuine works of the Spirit as “charismatic chaos.”

The fact is that there has never been a true outpouring of the Spirit that has not been controversial, be it in the ministry of Jesus, at Pentecost in Acts 2, or throughout Church history, right up to our day. Yet all too often, sincere leaders like Pastor MacArthur have failed to discern what God was doing in the midst of the human emotion and response.

One Church historian pointed out that during the Great Awakening in 18th century America, the biggest difference between Jonathan Edwards, the preeminent leader of the awakening, and Charles Chauncey, the foremost critic of the awakening, was that Edwards focused on the wheat while Chauncey focused on the chaff. Has Pastor MacArthur been guilty of doing the same thing when it comes to the charismatic movement?

Without a doubt, there are horrific things being done in the name of Jesus and the Spirit, often on Christian TV for the whole world to see, and this stuff is downright shameful, bringing reproach to the reputation of the Lord. Along with other charismatic leaders, I have renounced these things for decades. But is it the responsibility of every charismatic-Pentecostal pastor and leader to renounce these things all the time?

Pastor MacArthur has called on his Pentecostal brothers and sisters to stand up and speak out against these abuses, joining him at his upcoming conference, but if a pastor is shepherding his flock and feeding them God’s Word, and his people are not guilty of these abuses or watching these TV preachers, why is it his responsibility to address these errors? Does Pastor MacArthur feel the responsibility to monitor the preaching of tens of thousands of non-charismatic pastors across the country and publicly renounce their errors? Why, then, must Pentecostal and charismatic pastors renounce extremes in their movement to somehow prove their orthodoxy?

And which is worse? To preach a carnal prosperity message or to give people false assurance that, once they are saved, no matter how they live, no matter what they do, even if they renounce Jesus, they are still saved? Which message will result in more people being misled and finding themselves in hell?

Pastor MacArthur rightly renounces the carnal prosperity message, yet many non-charismatics who follow him embrace an extremely dangerous version of the once saved, always saved doctrine. Why the double standard here?

Again, I am not for a moment excusing doctrinal errors, emotional manipulation, financial greed, and other spiritual abuses often perpetuated in the name of the Spirit, but it is absolutely outrageous that Pastor MacArthur claims that, “The charismatic movement is largely the reason the Church is in the mess it is today. In virtually every area where Church life is unbiblical you can attribute it to the charismatic movement. In virtually every area, bad theology, superficial worship, ego, prosperity gospel, personality elevation. All of that comes out of the charismatic movement.”

And he is quite wrong when he states that, “Its theology is bad, it is unbiblical, it is bad it is aberrant, it is destructive to people because it promises what it can’t deliver and then God gets blamed when it doesn’t come, it is a very destructive movement.”

In reality, more people have been saved –wonderfully saved – as a result of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement worldwide than through any other movement in Church history (to the tune of perhaps a half-billion souls), as documented recently in Allan Heaton Anderson’s To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity, published by Oxford University Press. And Prof. Craig Keener has provided overwhelming testimony to the reality of God’s miraculous power worldwide today (see his brilliant two-volume study Miracles).

Tragically, rather than recognizing the outpouring of the Spirit worldwide – God’s true fire, falling in abundance in many nations – and focusing on the spiritual deadness that exists in many Spirit-denying churches, Pastor MacArthur has chosen to focus on aberrations and extremes in the charismatic movement, even making the extremely dangerous claims that charismatics are blaspheming the Spirit and attributing “to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan.”

To be perfectly clear, I am not for a second claiming that Pastor MacArthur is blaspheming the Spirit – God forbid! – but in the New Testament, blasphemy of the Spirit is to knowingly attribute the works of the Spirit to Satan (Mark 3:23-30), and I am far more concerned about denying the true fire than I am about putting out every aberrant charismatic brush fire.

Let God’s holy fire fall!

Posted in Featured Articles, Revival & Prayer

January 20th, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

It was bad enough for the White House to disinvite a pastor from praying at President Obama’s inauguration because he expressed orthodox Christian views in a sermon delivered almost 20 years ago. But to disinvite him in order to reflect “this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans” is enough to make George Orwell proud. Talk about a classic example of doublespeak!

To be sure, Orwell never used the term “doublespeak,” but in his classic volume “1984,” he referred to “doublethink” and “newspeak.” Others have combined these terms into “doublespeak,” meaning to say one thing and mean the opposite. As noted on a contemporary Orwell website, “In 1984, when BIG BROTHER and the Party say PEACE they mean WAR, when they say LOVE they mean HATE, and when they say FREEDOM they mean SLAVERY.”

Today, in 2013, when this administration says “inclusion and acceptance of all Americans” it means “exclusion and rejection of multiplied tens of millions of Americans.” And when this administration uses the “diversity,” word, it means “narrow conformity,” in strict accordance with the Gay Activist Doublespeak Lexicon, as reflected in the comments of Addie Whisenant, spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Whisenant explained that President Obama had asked Pastor Louie Giglio to pray at the inaugural ceremonies before learning that this evangelical pastor had preached an evangelical sermon in the mid-1990’s entitled, “In Search of a Standard – Christian Response to Homosexuality.” Using the “diversity” word, she noted that the inaugural committee was “not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural.”

So there you have it: A popular evangelical pastor (well known, I might add, for his work against sex trafficking) was excluded from participating at the inauguration of President Obama in order to “celebrate the . . . diversity” of America and to reflect the “administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans” (both quotes from Whisenant).

As I noted on October 13, 2012, “In the upside down, gay activist lexicon, tolerance means intolerance, inclusivity means exclusivity, and diversity means my way or the highway.”

The whole inaugural event becomes even more Orwellian when you realize that: 1) President Obama will be using two Bibles when he is sworn in (the Lincoln Bible and the Martin Luther King Bible), yet he will be doing so while explicitly disavowing the contents of those Bibles on a number of critically important points (the divine mandate to protect innocent life and the divine disapproval of homosexual practice being two of the most glaring).

2) In 2009, at the ceremonies held one day before President Obama’s first inauguration, Bishop Eugene Robinson was asked to bring the opening invocation, yet Robinson has been one of the most divisive figures in American (and even world) religion since making history as the first openly gay bishop ordained by the Episcopal Church. So, a respected Protestant pastor like Louie Giglio is considered divisive whereas an openly homosexual bishop who has caused a fissure in the Episcopalian Church of America and the Anglican Church worldwide is considered an ideal choice. (Chad Griffin, president of the gay activist Human Rights Campaign, agreed that it would be right to exclude Giglio from this year’s event, since “Participants in the Inaugural festivities should unite rather than divide,” presumably just as Robinson “united” Americans in 2009.)

3) Although Pastor Giglio was branded as “vehemently anti-gay” by Think Progress, preaching one major sermon on the subject of homosexuality over a 20 year period hardly qualifies as being “vehemently anti-gay.” And when Giglio stated almost 20 years ago that acting on homosexual desires is a choice, that homosexual practice is “a sin,” that “homosexuality is less than God’s best for his creation,” and that the “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is through the healing power of Jesus,” he was hardly expressing viewpoints that were “vehemently anti-gay.”

4) Just four years ago, despite protests from gay activists and their allies, Pastor Rick Warren offered the benediction at Obama’s inauguration, even though he had publicly opposed same-sex “marriage” in California in 2008. Now, based on a mild sermon preached almost 20 years ago, Pastor Giglio has been excluded from offering the benediction. How dramatically things have changed in just four years.

In a very important article, Rev. Al Mohler was quick to label this “The Giglio Imbroglio — The Public Inauguration of a New Moral McCarthyism,” noting that, “The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the White House have now declared historic, biblical Christianity to be out of bounds, casting it off the inaugural program as an embarrassment” – along with the orthodox expressions of Judaism and Islam, among other world faiths.

Yes, the administration has decided to scorn the views of perhaps 150 million Americans (if not many more) in order to celebrate our country’s “diversity” and to reflect “this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”

Somewhere, Big Brother is smiling, and in America, it’s 1984 in 2013. In fact, it’s been 1984 for a quite a few years already. The problem is that most Americans don’t have a clue. Doublespeak has been doing a masterful job.

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

Posted in Featured Articles, Law & Politics

January 10th, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

As I prepare to spend a week teaching the book of Jeremiah to Chinese pastors in Hong Kong, I’ve been reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the Church in America. Regrettably, the list of negatives is longer than the list of positives.

To be clear, though, I’m speaking of the circles in which I travel, meaning evangelical Christian circles, so my observations might not apply to other Christian groups in America.

What are some of the strengths of the American Evangelical Church?

1) We are at the forefront of feeding the poor and providing disaster relief worldwide. From the earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in Japan, and from orphanages in Latin America to feeding programs in Africa, organizations like World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse are there, making a difference.

2) We are a generous people when it comes to funding gospel work in America and abroad. While we can sometimes be self-indulgent as we build our latest mega-edifice, we are a giving people overall.

3) We have produced an abundance of Christian resources. If you’re looking for the latest translation of the Bible or a book on any aspect of Christian living, and if you’d like to download it to your phone, look no further.

4) We have a positive, can-do mentality. This is part of the American psyche, but it comports well with the biblical message of “All things are possible with God.”

5) Our churches offer many practical programs to help everyone from recovering drug addicts to couples needing marital counseling. To this day, ministries like Teen Challenge, which help people with drug and alcohol addictions, put government organizations to shame in terms of consistent rates of success.

6) We are strongly pro-life and pro-morality. This is especially true compared to Christians in many other nations, who seem oblivious to the evil of abortion and who fail to take moral stands on other issues.

7) We are strongly pro-Israel. Even the Israeli Knesset recognizes that American evangelicals are its best friends in the world, although in recent years, some evangelicals have challenged this consistent support for Israel.

8) We have sent many missionaries to the nations, also providing them with financial support. Beginning in 1812, this has been a great part of our spiritual history, and it has not primarily been for the purpose colonizing foreign peoples or making them into Westerners.

What are some of the weaknesses of the American Evangelical Church?

1) Our Christian expression is often shallow and superficial. It has often been said that American Christianity is 3,000 miles wide and one mile deep.

2)  We have been plagued with scandals among our leaders. Hardly a month (or week?) goes by without news of the moral failure of another one of our leaders.

3) We preach a carnal prosperity message. This is not the Protestant work ethic of old; it is the message of, “Jesus died on the cross to make me financially rich.”

4) We export our false teaching around the world. The latest teaching coming from professing evangelicals is that you can practice homosexuality and follow Jesus at the same time, and from our shores, this message is going to the nations.

5) We have created a worldly, cultural Christianity. Rather than preaching a Jesus who radically changes us, we preach a Jesus who radically empowers us. That’s why we have “Christian” lingerie models and “Christian” rappers who frequent strip clubs.

6) We have perfected the gospel enterprise. We have learned how to make everything “Christian” and then market it. Someone once said, “What began as a movement in Jerusalem became a philosophy in Greece, a monument in Rome, a culture in Europe, and an enterprise in America.”

7) We run our churches like businesses. It is one thing to implement good business principles where applicable, but our “corporate Christianity,” especially in our bigger churches, is another thing, and the pastor has become the CEO.

8) We are self-dependent. Who needs God’s help and we can make it happen on our own? If you want a performance, just visit our church on Sunday morning.

9) We are heavily politicized. Rather than being a prophetic witness to the society, calling on political leaders to do the right thing, we have sold our souls to the political system.

10) We have produced super-star preachers. Didn’t Jesus teach that leaders were supposed to be the servants of all?

11) We are exceptionally gullible. Only in America can a TV minister be convicted of various kinds of scams, only to be back on TV racking in the big bucks and selling all kinds of cheap gospel gimmicks. We have confused simple faith with gullibility.

12) Our “pep talk gospel” is hardly the gospel at all. Being positive and encouraging is great, but not when it comes at the expense of leaving out the rest of the message. Put another way, Jesus was not a motivational preacher.

The bad news is that the list of negatives can go on. The good news is that American history has been marked by great awakenings and revivals, and if ever we needed one, it is now.

My suspicion is that the next great awakening will also be quite a rude awakening.

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

Posted in Featured Articles, Lead Article, Revival & Prayer

November 6th, 2012 by Michael L. Brown

If Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Michael Barone and others are right and Mitt Romney is our next president, we moral conservatives cannot take our foot off the gas. We cannot let up in our advocacy for life and family. We cannot relax or shift into neutral as if some great victory has already been won. To do so would be to make a fatal mistake, and four years from now we will be kicking ourselves again, vowing once more not to sell our souls to the Republican Party, claiming that this time we have learned our lesson, only to repeat the cycle four years hence.

But being forewarned is being fore-equipped, and that negative scenario does not have to unfold. Instead, if we do our job and urge the president to do his, calling him to account at every point and offering positive support, whether he fails or succeeds, our mission will continue unabated. In fact, the more he fails, the more will we realize that the responsibility for moral and social change falls on us, not on him.

Now, my hope is that President Romney will follow through on his promise to defund Planned Parenthood, that he will be a champion for the rights of the unborn, that he will appoint excellent justices to the Supreme Court, that he will offer compassionate and practical solutions to help and empower the poor, that he will push for a federal amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and that he will defend DOMA in the courts in accordance with the pledge he signed for the National Organization of Marriage. (In stark contrast, one shudders to think what Mr. Obama would do if elected to a second term, barring a miraculous change of heart.)

That is my hope for President Romney, but it is not my expectation. Rather, I expect that his overriding emphasis will be on fixing the economy, that he will work hard for a bipartisan base, that he will seek to govern as a statesman who unites the country, and that he will avoid “divisive” issues. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if some of his first appointees were anything but moral conservatives.

Of course, this is not to downplay the importance of the economy, which itself has all kinds of moral implications. As stated in the recent New York Daily News endorsement of Romney, “Nine million jobs evaporated. The typical American family saw $50,000 vanish from its net worth, and its median household income dropped by more than $87 a week.” This is nothing to snivel at.

And if President Romney can help breach some of the deep divisions in our country, assuring the nation that he is the president of all Americans, that too would be a positive moral and social accomplishment.

But I am not putting my trust in a political savior, especially one with a mixed track record like Mitt Romney when it comes to abortion and gay activism, and I am determined to learn the lessons from the past. No more looking to the White House to transform America!

Really now, how many times will we aggressively get out the vote for the latest conservative savior – or at the least, the conservative antidote to the latest evil emperor – only to say, “We’ve been used! You let us down!” How many times we will live out Einstein’s famous definition of insanity, namely, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”?

So, my vote is for Mitt Romney, with some hope, with a lot of reservation, and without a lot of expectation, although I would be absolutely delighted to have my reservations proved wrong.

And what if Barack Obama is reelected? Then we would do well to avoid the trap of putting most of our energies into rebuking the president’s latest transgressions. Instead, we will have to focus our efforts like never before on on fomenting a moral, cultural, and spiritual revolution. Come to think of it, that would be a sound course of action if Mitt Romney is our next president too. Can I count you in?

The time for this kind of revolution – not a violent one but an ideological, cultural one – is long overdue, and I for one am not waiting for the White House to make it happen. How about you?

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

Posted in Featured Articles, Law & Politics

October 18th, 2012 by Michael L. Brown

In comments made before the presidential debate this past Tuesday, Chris Matthews claimed that Gov. Romney’s position on abortion was “almost like Sharia,” stating, “You’re saying to the country, we’re going to operate under a religious theory, under a religious belief.” In doing so, Matthews repeated the common leftwing libel that conservative moral principles with a basis in religious beliefs are equivalent to radical Islam.

In May, Rev. Billy Graham took out full page ads in North Carolina newspapers stating in part, “The Bible is clear — God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote FOR the marriage amendment.”

Gay activist Wayne Besen responded by asking, “Do we now make our civil laws based upon Christian Sharia?” (Note to the reader: This was meant to be taken seriously.) “Do we all have to follow his version of the Bible or be punished by government? And if this is the case, are we really a free country? Are we really much different than Iran, or is it only by a matter of degrees or a matter of time until these so-called ‘Christian Supremacists’ get their paws on all of our laws?”

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the radically left-leaning DailyKos.com, published an entire book on these themes in 2010, entitled American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin, and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right. In the Introduction he wrote, “the Republican Party, and the entire modern conservative movement is, in fact, very much like the Taliban. In their tactics and on the issues, our homegrown American Taliban are almost indistinguishable from the Afghan Taliban. . . . the Republican Party, and the entire modern conservative movement is, in fact, very much like the Taliban. In their tactics and on the issues, our homegrown American Taliban are almost indistinguishable from the Afghan Taliban.” (Additional note to the reader: This book is not intended to be a spoof on the left, a la the old Mad Magazine parodies. It too is meant to be taken seriously, even if it does make for some unintended comedic reading.)

Already in May, 2005, John McCandlish Phillips, formerly a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter, penned a telling article in the Washington Post: “I have been looking at myself, and millions of my brethren, fellow evangelicals along with traditional Catholics, in a ghastly arcade mirror lately — courtesy of this newspaper and the New York Times. Readers have been assured, among other dreadful things, that we are living in ‘a theocracy’ and that this theocratic federal state has reached the dire level of — hold your breath — a ‘jihad.’”

He observed that, just days earlier, “Frank Rich, an often acute, broadly knowledgeable and witty cultural observer, sweepingly informed us that, under the effects of ‘the God racket’ as now pursued in Washington, ‘government, culture, science, medicine and the rule of law are all under threat from an emboldened religious minority out to remake America according to its dogma.’ He went on to tell Times readers that GOP zealots in Congress and the White House have edged our country over into ‘a full-scale jihad.’”

Bringing us back to reality, Phillips noted that, “If any ‘emboldened minority’ is aiming to ‘remake America according to its dogma,’ it seems to many evangelicals and Catholics that it is the vanguard wanting, say, the compact of marriage to be stretched in its historic definition to include men cohabiting with men and women with women. That is, in terms of the history of this nation, a most pronounced and revolutionary novelty.”

But that is the voice of clearheaded, rational thinking. In the world of Chris Matthews, if you argue that a baby in the womb, upon conception, is entitled to personhood status, you are espousing a position “almost like Sharia,” which Matthews sums up by exclaiming, “This is extremism!” Indeed, for Matthews, in the early stages of pregnancy, we are certainly not dealing with a baby in the womb, let alone “a fetus,” but “rather an egg that had just been fertilized, right after sex, if you will.”

So, the high regard for life and the protection of the innocent that fuels the Republican platform on abortion is nothing more than Sharia-like extremism. (To repeat once more, this is meant to be taken seriously.)

The good news is that the more these leftwing commentators play their “Jihadist, Sharia, Taliban” card, the more the absurdity of their positions will be revealed. The bad news is that a considerable number of listeners and readers will continue to believe them.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile if some wealthy benefactor could pay for Matthews, Besen, Moulitsas, Rich and their ilk to spend six months, all expenses paid, living in a country like Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, where the hanging of gays and the beheading of adulterers is commonly practiced (and fully sanctioned) under Sharia Law, and where conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death.

Perhaps they could even write their columns or do their broadcasts from there (that is, if the prisons would allow them to after their arrests).

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

Posted in Culture, Featured Articles

October 4th, 2012 by Michael L. Brown

The new documentary Hellbound? has reignited discussion about the perennial topic of hell as well as revealed some very bizarre perspectives.

Kevin Miller, the film’s director, who identifies as a Christian, stated in an interview that, regarding the traditional view of hell as a place of fiery torment, “I don’t see anything in the Bible that would lead me to believe that such a place exists.” Instead, according to Miller, when Jesus talked about hell, he was talking about the here and now.

Really? Jesus didn’t warn about a place of judgment to come? And Director Miller gets his denial of hell from the Bible? Perhaps he is reading into the Scriptures what he would like them to say? Warnings like this from Jesus, spoken with rhetorical urgency, are hard to dismiss: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)

Frank Schaeffer, son of the late and revered evangelical leader, philosopher Francis Schaeffer, appeared in the movie and is more aggressive in his dismissal of hell. He writes in his column in the Huffington Post, “People ‘defending’ God have completely screwed up America and our politics. And their version of ‘God’ f—-d up the first half of my life too.”

He claims that, “Hell is irrelevant because of course there isn’t one. The movie is important though because it exposes a real question: how can we survive the God-nuts who take this stuff seriously? Hellbound? is our chance to get to know the enemies of what’s left of our crumbling ‘civilization.’”

So, those who believe in a place of future judgment are “the enemies of what’s left of our crumbling ‘civilization,’” by which he explicitly means America.

Schaeffer continues, “Talking about hell in and of itself is a waste of time because if there is a ‘God’ no one knows anything about him/her or it and they never will, let alone about what he/she or it will ‘do’ about the ‘lost.’ But there are people, lots of them, who think hell is real because it fits their kill-your-neighbor-if-he-looks-at-you-funny vision of ‘life.’”

Well, I just learned something new: If I believe that God will bring about justice in the world to come and settle wrongs at the time of resurrection, I believe this because it fits my “kill-my-neighbor-if-he-looks-at-my-funny vision of ‘life.’” Seriously?

But there’s more. For Schaeffer, America’s hawkish tendencies and aggressive foreign policy directly relate to our fundamentalist reading of the Bible: “Thank you St. John (or whomever) loon was the author of the ‘book’/acid-trip of Revelation, for giving us a deluded roadmap so that the Americans who can’t find France on a map can get their foreign ‘policy’ marching orders direct from a ‘prophet’ huddling in a cave alone with his odd brain 2000 years ago.”

Aside from the fact that it is sad to see someone like Frank Schaffer, who once held to evangelical Christian beliefs, then Greek Orthodox beliefs, turn into such a Bible mocker, it is more than a stretch – shall we call it a leap of incredulity? – to claim that America fought (or is fighting) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places, because of a literal belief in hell and the Scriptures.

Interestingly, a study “appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people’s religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent. A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal. The finding surfaced from a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.”

According to Azim F. Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Morality Lab at the University of Oregon, “The key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects. . . . The finding is consistent with controlled research we’ve done in the lab, but here shows a powerful ‘real world’ effect on something that really affects people — crime.”

Here in America, belief in hell remains prevalent, and a 2003 poll by George Barna indicated that 71% of the population “said that there is such a thing as Hell.” At the same time, “just one-half of 1% expect to go to Hell upon their death.” So, hell is real, but none of us are going there!

Putting aside our religious differences, perhaps the questions we need to ask ourselves are these: 1) Are there lasting consequences to our actions? 2) Will there be an ultimate judgment and final justice? 3) If so, how should we live today?

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

 

 

Posted in Culture, Featured Articles

September 19th, 2012 by Michael L. Brown

The Democratic Party Platform contains just one reference to “God,” and the inclusion of that single reference was famously booed by many delegates at the Democratic convention. In contrast, the Republican Party Platform contains 12 references to “God,” and candidate Romney has emphatically stated, “I will not take God out of the name of our platform. I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.” Does this make the GOP the party of God?

The Democratic Platform certainly stands in stark contrast with the Republican Platform. The former is radically pro-abortion, endorses same-sex “marriage,” and is decidedly weak on Israel. The latter is strongly pro-life, in favor of natural, organic marriage, and unashamedly pro-Israel.

All this is readily seen in Liberty Counsel’s Voter’s Guide, which contrasts 10 categories in both platforms: Abortion and Human Life; Family Values; First Amendment, Liberty, and Responsibility; ObamaCare; Gun Rights; Fiscal Reform; Israel as an Ally; Government Oversight; Judiciary; Word Use Comparisons.

Starting with the last category, as already noted, the Democratic Platform (from here on DP) used the word “God” once; the Republican Platform (from here on RP) spoke of “God” 12 times. But is this more semantics than substance? Apparently not.

The DP did not mention the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. The RP condemned them.

The DP did not mention the protection of individual conscience in healthcare; the RP explicitly supported it.

The DP did not mention the right to publicly display the Ten Commandments; the RP explicitly endorsed it.

The DP favored the so-called Fairness Doctrine; the RP opposed it.

The DP did not encourage abstinence-only education for teens; the RP encouraged it.

The DP did not mention the enforcement of laws against pornography and obscenity; the RP did.

The DP did not support a constitutional amendment that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, nor did it support the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); the RP supported both.

The DP did not mention euthanasia and assisted suicide; the RP opposed both.

The DP supported taxpayer-funded/subsidized abortion; the RP opposed this.

The DP did not mention the Human Life Amendment in defense of the unborn; the RP supported it.

And Romney continues to ratchet up the God talk, stating, “I will not take God out of the public square,” and “we are [a] nation under God.” But that does not mean that the Republican party is the party of God. Not by a long shot.

Both parties have more than their share of cronyism, compromise (if not outright corruption), ungodly alliances, hypocrisy, blind spots, and poor role models. It would be a terrible mistake to invoke some kind of divine sanctity on the Republicans. (For the record, it would also be a terrible mistake to think that there are no godly Democrats out there.)

To be perfectly clear, as a religious conservative, I strongly support the GOP Platform when it comes to family, life, and Israel. And I find it interesting that individuals, religious organizations, and political parties which invoke God and the Bible as authorities tend to be pro-life, pro-traditional family, and pro-Israel (which does not necessarily mean anti-Palestinian). In contrast, individuals, religious organizations, and political parties which either marginalize God and the Bible or reject the plain sense of the Scriptures tend to be pro-abortion, in favor of same-sex “marriage,” and anti-Israel (or, at least, not strongly pro-Israel).

And I do understand why conservative pundits have referred to the “godless Democrats” and why conservative politicians have runs ads highlighting the Democratic “booing of God.” But even if many (or most) Democrats are “godless,” that does not mean that the Republicans, for the most part, are godly, nor should we look at them as the Party of God. (For the conservative Christians reading this, do you think God would appoint a Mormon to head up his party?)

Let’s not forget how many Republican candidates have used “God language” to win the votes of conservative Christians (especially evangelicals) only to disappoint those very voters once in office.

Let’s not forget that marriage was redefined in New York State because four Republican senators caved in. (It’s true that the bill was driven and supported by Democrats, but the Republicans certainly failed to hold the line.)

Let’s not forget that the Republican Party of Massachusetts has not embraced the national platform as its own.

And let’s not forget the fundamental error we make when we exaggerate the goodness and godliness of a large and diverse political party.

Without a doubt, the Republican Platform is far closer to conservative Judeo-Christian values than is the Democratic Platform, but let’s not get carried away. The only true, political “party of God” is sitting in heaven right now. Here on earth, the political scene is mixed, and the ones calling themselves the “party of God” are groups like Hezbollah. (In case you didn’t know, that’s what Hezbollah means in Arabic.)

Dr. Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network.

 

Posted in Culture, Featured Articles, Law & Politics