"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good ... instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors."
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The great shame of the church throughout the ages is that it has allowed itself to be used by the rich to control the poor.
- S.R. Shearer
There is a house just outside Washington D. C. called the Cedars; it is located across the Potomac River from Georgetown on 24th Street North in Arlington, and it is emblematic of everything that is WRONG with American Christianity. The mansion is named for the cedar trees that surround it. It is owned by a secretive organization called the International Christian Leadership Council (ICL), known today as the Fellowship Foundation. Lisa Getter of the Los Angeles Times reports that -
"... the mansion has been a private hideaway for world leaders, members of Congress, (etc.) ... Located on a quiet residential street, the $4.4-million estate called CEDARS sits at the highest point of the Potomac River, with spectacular views of Washington beyond the pool and tennis courts. It is owned by the Fellowship, a nonpartisan Christian group that sponsors the NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST."
Laura Jakes Jordan, in an article that appeared recently in the Arizona Sun, estimated from IRS records that the National Prayer Breakfast (which is held on the first Thursday in February of every year) costs almost $1 million to put on. Getter elaborates:
"The embossed invitation (to the prayer breakfast) comes from 'members of the Congress of the United States of America'. It asks guests to join the president, vice president 'and other national leaders in the executive, judicial and legislative branches of our government' for a morning of prayer. Presidential seals decorate nearly everything at the event, from the podium, to the registration desk, to the official program. It's not surprising that many think it's an official government event."
Now stop for a moment and think about this; that's big, that's really big: a "prayer breakfast" that has the "political clout" to compel the attendance of the most powerful politicos of the country (including EVERY president and vice president since the Eisenhower administration), many of whom don't have a "religious bone" in their bodies. That's "CLOUT."
"While the annual breakfast is a widely known event attended by a succession of U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries, the Fellowship's role in diplomacy and current events has remained in the shadows. That's the way the organization wants it ..."
A review of the organization's archives at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College - which, together with Fuller Seminary on the west coast, has been at the very forefront of the development of a new and very militant eschatology (doctrine of "end times") known as "Warfare Theology" - reveals an association that, according to the Times, "HAS HAD EXTRAORDINARY ACCESS AND SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOR THE LAST FIFTY YEARS." ["Warfare Theology" is a belief system that promotes the freakish notion that the church should partner with the state (meaning the United States) to seize control of the earth for "Christ and the church;" please see our article, "America verses Europe" for a discussion of "Warfare Theology;" please also see our article, "The Church and the State."]
According to the Times, the organization was a behind-the-scene player at the Camp David Middle East Accords in 1978 which brought President Jimmy Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat together for the signing of that historic agreement. It has also been involved with the CIA and various Pentagon operations overseas. In addition, it has acted as an agent of the U.S. State Department and has routinely hosted gatherings for lawmakers and ambassadors.
"... brought controversial figures to Washington, where they have met with U.S. officials either at the prayer breakfast or other venues. Among them are former Salvadoran Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, who in July (2002) was found liable by a civil jury in Florida for the torture of thousands of civilians in the 1980s. He was invited to the 1984 prayer breakfast, along with Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, then the head of the Honduran armed forces. Alvarez, later linked to the CIA and a secret death squad, became an evangelical missionary ..." [Please see our article, "The Death Squads: Bringing in the Kingdom of God through Terror, Torture, and Death."]
And that's just the tip of the iceberg; the very real fact of the matter is, this so-called "Christian" organization has a very wicked and immoral propensity for working with the very worst people; for example - in addition to Casanova and Martinez mentioned above - the brutal Brazilian dictator General Costa e Silva, who regularly oversaw a Foundation fellowship and prayer group in Brazil while running death squads throughout the country on behalf of various American multinational corporations, and General Suharto of Indonesia whose tally of several million "communists" (so-called) killed in that poor benighted country marks him as one of the most murderous dictators of the post World War II era. These connections, and many others besides, make obvious the link the Fellowship Foundation has with some of the darker, more depraved machinations and maneuverings of the American New World Order System throughout the world. [Please see our article "Inside the American New World Order System."]
The Times goes on to report that the Fellowship Foundation (known by insiders as the "Family") has an annual budget of over $10 million; but, according to the Times, that represents only a small fraction of the foundation's finances, which - when taken in toto [that is to say, when all of its many ancillary organizations (numbering close to ninety) are counted together] - may approach a figure exceeding $50 million. [For example, Young Life is one of the Christian organizations that the Foundation has links to and from which it regularly draws the "best and the brightest" and prepares them for positions of power in business and government (please see Jeffrey Sharlet, "Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover Among America's Secret Theocrats" which appeared recently in Harper's Magazine).]
Sharlet says that the Family lists some of the most powerful men in the country as members, among whom are Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), etc. all of whom are very prominent Republican Party politicos. And what's true of the Senate is equally true of the House of Representatives. Like the Fellowship Foundation's connection to the American New World Order System throughout the world, the link of the "Family" to the Republican Party (despite the occasional Democratic Party member) in the House and Senate is also obvious to anyone who wants to take note of that fact. Sharlet continues,
"Regular prayer groups (also sponsored by the "Family") have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, AND THE FAMILY HAS TRADITIONALLY FOSTERED STRONG TIES WITH BUSINESSMEN IN THE OIL, AEROSPACE (AND ARMAMENTS) INDUSTRIES." (Surprise! Surprise! - editor)
What then does all this suggest: it suggests a powerful, secretive Christian organization with strong ties to (1) the worldwide American New World Order System, (2) the Republican Party, (3) the Pentagon, and (4) the OIL and ARMAMENTS industries.
Now stop for a moment and think about all this! - the connection of the Masons to the "rich and powerful" in such a way drew howls of alarm from Christians in times past - eliciting frightening (and rather idiotic) images of a worldwide Masonic conspiracy to take over the world. But comparable connections by the Fellowship Foundation (and other similar Christian organizations) to the "rich and powerful" today draw hardly a whimper of protest from the Christian community which stupidly continues to be fixated on such passive organizations as the Freemasons. [And all of this is to say nothing about the incongruity and anomaly of a "Christian" organization linked to the ARMAMENTS industry. The thought is staggering in its ugliness!]
Maybe what Pogo said is true insofar as Christians are concerned:
"We has met the enemy, AND THEY IS US."
The Fellowship Foundation is just one of a plethora of Christian individuals and organizations that have sprung up over the years dedicated to strengthening the relationship between the American business community and the church - from Chuck Colson to Billy Graham, and from the International Christian Businessmen's Association to the Council on National Policy (CNP); [Please see our article, "The Business Right And The Christian Rightt: an Alliance Made in Hell" for a more complete listing of these many groups and individuals; please also see our short article on the CNP.]
The Fellowship is not necessarily the most prominent of these groups, and it is certainly not the most well-known. But in its connections with the rich and powerful, and in its development as an organization, it is illustrative of what's been going on between the business community and the church - and not just what's been occurring on the tactical level, but also how this relationship has distorted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The sad fact is, the Gospel (so-called) that organizations like the Foundation promote has by now been so skewered toward money because of its relationship with the "rich and powerful of this world" that it no longer bears ANY relationship with the Gospel of the Scriptures, and has very little or NOTHING to do with that poor, ragged Person who said of Himself, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Luke 9:58) [Please see our statement of faith.]
The genesis of the Fellowship Foundation can be traced back to Seattle and the "Red Scare" (and resultant "Palmer Raids") of 1919-1921; specifically, to the fear that American businessmen had at the time for what was going on in the Soviet Union: that somehow or other the United States was in grave danger of being engulfed by a socialist revolution directed by the Soviet Union and "mainlined" into the country through sympathetic American trade unions.
This fantasy was strengthened early on by the fact that the IWW (International Workers of the World) began advocating "One Big Union" in the United States - the idea that the entire labor movement should form a "grand alliance," regardless of the nature of a particular union's work, in order to confront American capital with the demand for a socialist commonwealth.
What made Seattle such a "hotbed" of labor unrest is the fact that it was one of the few American cities to actually back a "General Strike" in support of labor in the early Twentieth Century, a tactic whereby all workers walked off their jobs at the same time in a particular city, bringing it to a standstill. It was a powerful weapon in labor's arsenal against the rich because if the rich couldn't quickly contain it, it could ruin them due to the fact that their businesses depended on a regular and dependable flow of economic activity to sustain them. Indeed, it was through the use of a "General Strike" that Trotsky brought the "Reds" to power in the old Soviet Union.
Historian Murray Levin writes that it didn't take the business community long to come up with the idea of enlisting members of the Christian community as "foot soldiers" and "grunts" in their war against trade-unionism and socialism - an effort which involved two strategies: (1) waving the "bloody shirt" of "atheistic socialism," and (2) contributing large sums of money to their churches and ministries. Big business would bludgeon organized labor into a bloody pulp using the "poor carpenter of Nazareth" as its cudgel. Employer groups everywhere were urged to use the power of the pulpit against organized labor. Indeed, one particularly powerful business spokesman asserted confidently,
"We have ... the pulpit ... through which to sell our message. We'll beat them (i.e., the labor activists and unions) to death with the cross of Christ."
The person big business chose to carry its banner in Seattle was Abraham Vereide, the man who was the guiding light behind the establishment of the ICL (i.e., the "Fellowship Foundation"). Getter writes:
"The group (i.e., the Fellowship Foundation) was begun by Abraham Vereide, a ("god-fearing") Methodist evangelist WHO WAS FRIGHTENED THAT SOCIALISTS WERE CORRUPTING MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT IN SEATTLE IN THE MID-1930s."
Sharlet elaborates on Getter:
"One night, while lying in bed fretting about socialists, Wobblies (i.e., the IWW), and a Swedish Communist who, he was sure, PLANNED TO BRING SEATTLE UNDER THE CONTROL OF MOSCOW, Vereide received a visitation: a voice, and a light in the dark, bright and blinding. The next day he met a friend, a wealthy businessman and a former major (in the army), and the two men agreed upon a spiritual plan. They enlisted nineteen business executives in a weekly breakfast meeting and together they prayed, convinced that Jesus alone could redeem Seattle and CRUSH THE RADICAL TRADE UNIONS.
"They wanted to give Jesus a vessel, and so they asked God to raise up a leader. One of their number, a city councilman named Arthur Langlie, stood and said, 'I am ready to let God use me'. Langlie was made first mayor and later governor, backed in both campaigns by money and muscle from his prayer-breakfast friends, whose number had rapidly multiplied. Vereide and his new 'brothers' spread out across the Northwest in chauffeured vehicles [spreading the message that prayer was the answer to socialism (that is, prayer PLUS THE MONEY AND MUSCLE OF BIG BUSINESS)] .
"Prayer breakfast groups were formed in dozens of cities, from San Francisco to Philadelphia. There were already enough men ministering to the 'down-and-out', Vereide decided; HIS MISSION WOULD BE MEN WITH THE MEANS TO SEIZE THE WORLD FOR GOD. Vereide called his potential flock of the rich and powerful ... the 'up-and-out'."
Not coincidentally, the men Vereide chose to "win Seattle to Christ" - even through the barrel of a gun, if necessary - were all fervent anti-unionists who had played prominent roles in mercilessly CRUSHING labor's General Strike in the city in the early 1920s. These men - all of them - KNEW HOW TO MAKE GOVERNMENT AND THE POLICE WORK FOR THEM AND THEIR INTERESTS.
To all of Vereide's friends, "good government" was synonymous with "big business." The two were one-in-the-same thing.
These men included William St. Clair, the head of one of Seattle's most prestigious furniture companies; James Pollard, President of the Seattle Gas Company; Jess Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Lumber Company; Arthur Langlie, then of the Seattle City Council; William Devin, a prominent attorney; A.S. Eldridge of Eldridge Securities Corporation; Vern Samuelson, President of the Ford Agency of Port Angeles; Arthur Young of the Balfour-Guthrie Company; Chester Roberts, president of the Imperial Candy Company; Clyde Rose; Commander Byrholdt of the U.S. Navy; Fred Ernst, president of Ernst Hardware Co., etc.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE MEN WERE ANTI-UNION CONSERVATIVES TO THE CORE OF THEIR BEING, and fervently thought of unions as instrumentalities of the devil or of the communists (communists and the devil being one-in-the-same thing to these men).
They believed in property, and that "men of property" should rule over the affairs of men. Indeed, it seemed self-evident to each and everyone of them that a man's worth could be measured by the "things" he possessed, making a mockery out of Christ's words when He said,
"LAY NOT UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES UPON EARTH, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
"BUT LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt. 6:19-21)
And again when He said:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. IS NOT LIFE MORE THAN MEAT, AND THE BODY MORE THAN RAIMENT (in other words, is not life more than the 'things' one possesses)?" (Matt. 6:24-25)
Nevertheless, to Vereide and the men who associated themselves with him in Seattle, it seemed manifestly apparent that prosperity and the "good life" would flow naturally and effortlessly out of a life that had been given over to Christ despite the fact that such thinking turned the Bible inside out. There simply was no place in their Biblical lexicons for verses like 1 Tim. 6:9-10:
"... they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:9-10)
Because prosperity and the Christian life were inextricably linked together in Vereide's mind, he came easily and comfortably to the notion that the reason for social and economic unrest was spiritual, HAVING LITTLE OR NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SELFISHNESS AND GREED OF THE "MEN OF PROMINENCE" he so admired. Norman Grubb, Vereide's close friend and official biographer (and a man very much in tune with Vereide's sympathies), relates how Vereide came to this conclusion; how that Vereide -
"... became aware of the fact that every economic depression was preceded by a period of moral and spiritual decline and neglect by the people of the church and religious life, and that every spiritual awakening was followed by social stability, progress, and economic prosperity. The present social and economic conditions (meaning the Great Depression that the country was then suffering through) ... were largely brought about through neglect of religious life ... "
How convenient for Vereide's "Men of Prominence" who - because of their own greed and avarice - were the ones really most responsible for the Great Depression: Blame their own malfeasance on the failure of the poor to lead "holy lives" - something that can easily be accomplished if once the poor are convinced that prosperity flows out of a "right relationship with Christ." [This , of course, is exactly the same scam the rich, together with their flunkies in the Religious Right, are pulling on Christians today; it seems Christians are really suckers (chumps, pigeons, dupes) for this particular fraud.]
But, again, economic prosperity does not necessarily follow in the wake of a life that has been surrendered to Christ. Money and spirituality do not relate in this fashion. Just the opposite: money INVARIABLY leads away from God. It opens up one's soul to WORLDLINESS - a condition of things that makes one feel more at home in this life than in the next; and in doing so, it hides from people the very transient, ephemeral and fleeting nature of life in the "here and now" - and anyone who tells you differently is lying to you, and so much so that the Bible says that such people are "ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST:"
"For I have told you often before, and I say it again now with tears in my eyes, there are many who walk along the Christian road who have become THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST. Their future is ... LOSS ... (for) ALL THEY THINK ABOUT IS THIS LIFE HERE ON EARTH." [Phil. 3:18-19 (Amp.)]
An "enemy of the cross of Christ!" What's that say, then, about the "Men of Prominence" that Vereide so admired, despite their seemingly sincere, teary-eyed protests to the contrary? The very real truth is, money is a hindrance to those who want to go on with Christ; who want to surrender themselves wholly to Him.
Listen to me here, I have been young, and now I am old, but in all of my life I have rarely seen the possession of money by anyone as anything other than an OBSTACLE to that person's walk with Christ - even to those who dearly love Christ, and who are deeply loved by Him in return. And I am not alone in thinking this; this is what the Scriptures suggest as well. Take the matter of the "rich young ruler" in Mark 10:17-25:
"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
"And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
"Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
"And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
"Then Jesus beholding him LOVED him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: GO THY WAY, SELL WHATSOEVER THOU HAST, AND GIVE TO THE POOR, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
"And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
"And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, HOW HARDLY SHALL THEY THAT HAVE RICHES ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
"And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, HOW HARD IS IT FOR THEM THAT TRUST IN RICHES TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
"IT IS EASIER FOR A CAMEL TO GO THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE, THAN FOR A RICH MAN TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD." (Mark 10:17-25)
This actually happened! This is not some story that Christ dreamed up to make a point - and consider what the "rich young ruler" would do NOW to change things around! But he can't! He made his choice and he is stuck with it for all eternity!
Dom Helder Camara of Brazil once wrote:
"I used to think, when I was a child, that Christ might have been exaggerating when He warned about the dangers of wealth. Today I know better. I know how ... (impossible) it is to be rich and still keep the milk of human kindness. Money (or the desire for money) has a dangerous way of putting scales on one's eyes, a dangerous way of freezing people's hands, eyes, lips and hearts."
None of this, however, seemed to matter much to Vereide. Grubb writes:
"God's life plan for Abram was now taking shape. 'My call to a specific spiritual ministry was now becoming clear', he said ... Forty-six years of preparation had gone into it. He (i.e., Vereide) could now begin to say as Christ said, 'For this end was I born, for this cause came I into the world' - a specialist for a specialized ministry."
My heavens! - the rich need a different approach to Christ? A "specialized ministry" for them only? What's that mean? - an approach where they won't have to dirty themselves by contact with the poor? Is that what the rich need? Evidently, according to Vereide.
"It takes a more discerning eye to see ... the need (of the rich), and a rare combination of compassion, boldness and right approach to meet it."
A more "discerning eye to see the need of the rich?" That's balderdash! That's certainly NOT what the Apostle Paul thought. Indeed, he told the Corinthian brothers and sisters, some of whom were very rich and had, as a result, become inclined to Vereide's belief that men of their "class and caliber" needed "special attention" to their "peculiar needs:"
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
"And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
"That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Cor. 2:1-5)
But, according to Grubb - and contrary to the Apostle Paul - Vereide decided that that's PRECISELY what the rich and powerful needed: "special attention" to their "peculiar needs." Grubb continues:
"One further conviction of vital importance came to maturity in Vereide when he was asked by ... (an association of churches) in San Francisco to be in charge of their program of evangelism for a few months. He began meeting with a group of executives in the Pacific Union Club (one of the most exclusive clubs in the city) under the leadership of Judge Carruthers. These meetings brought home to him, with a certainty that was to effect his whole future ministry, THAT THE NORMAL CHURCH CHANNELS WERE NOT THE WAY TO REACH THE PEOPLE HE AIMED TO REACH (i.e., the wealthy) ... It was necessary to reach ... (the rich and powerful) and expose them to the Bible and the reality of God THROUGH MEN OF AFFAIRS IN THE LANGUAGE THEY COULD UNDERSTAND AND IN A SETTING WHERE THEY WOULDN'T BE INHIBITED (BY CONTACT WITH THE POOR) ..."
Eee gads! - what does that mean? If it means what it very obviously seems to mean - i.e., that only the rich can reach the rich - then none of these men would have been open to Christ - again, a Man who said of Himself:
"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58)
And what does that say about the apostles to whom Jesus said:
"Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
"Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." (Matt. 10:9-10)
What would the rich do if these apostles had shown up in their doorways? - throw them out because they weren't dressed properly and they smelled? Probably! Indeed, it seems that before Vereide would have let Christ meet someone like Judge Carruthers or his friends at the Pacific Union Club, he most likely would have asked Christ to change out of his soiled clothes (after all, Christ only had one change of clothes) into clothing befitting those whom He was about to meet.
Stupid? - of course it is! But if that's the case, what's that say about "tailoring a special gospel" to the so-called "special needs" of the "rich and powerful? It certainly doesn't comport very well with the Scriptures - especially insofar as Vereide's attempt to distinguish between what he called the "down-and-outs" (i.e., the poor) of society and the "up-and-outs" (i.e., the rich). The Bible says:
"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, WITH RESPECT OF PERSON (in other words, don't distinguish between the rich and the poor in your midst).
"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
"And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
"Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:1-5)
"Be not partial towards the rich" - that's what the Bible says. But, again, wasn't this EXACTLY what Vereide was doing - i.e., distinguishing between the rich and the poor? Of course it was.
But the Scriptures suggest that if there is any distinguishing to be done between the rich and the poor, it should be done in favor of the poor, not the rich. Isn't that what verse five (above) says: "Hearken, my beloved brethren, HATH NOT GOD CHOSEN THE POOR OF THIS WORLD rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him" ? Clearly, it is!
The very real fact of the matter is - AND CONTRARY TO ALL THAT PEOPLE LIKE VEREIDE WOULD TELL YOU - the New Testament doesn't have much good to say about the rich. In fact, it seems to have a built-in bias AGAINST them and in FAVOR OF THE POOR, something one would NEVER here today from the pulpit of Charles Stanley, or D. James Kennedy, or Jack Hayford, or Charles Capps, or Creflo Dollar, or Kenneth Copeland.
For example, Jesus didn't say "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a poor man to enter into the kingdom of God;" but He did say that about the rich:
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a RICH man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt. 19:24)
And He said this not once, but twice in the same passage of Scripture:
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a RICH man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:23)
Moreover, the Bible doesn't speak about the "deceitfulness of poverty;" it does say that, however, about wealth and riches (Matt. 13:22 and Mark 4:19), specifically, it suggests that riches choke the efficacy of the Word of God in our hearts -
"Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
"When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
"Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
"He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. (Matt. 13:18-22)
The Bible doesn't tell the poor "woe unto you that are poor." Nowhere does it say that! But it does say that to the rich:
"But woe unto you that are RICH! for ye have received your consolation.
"Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep." (Luke 6:24-25)
The Bible doesn't say, "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye rich: for yours is the kingdom of God." But it does say that about the poor:
"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye POOR: for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20)
The Scriptures don't say, "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the rich." But it does say that about the poor:
"Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God CHOSEN the POOR of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5)
Indeed, Paul the apostle wrote:
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, NOT MANY MIGHTY (i.e., the politicians of this world), NOT MANY NOBLE (i.e., rich), are called ..." (1 Cor. 1:26)
In other words, for the most part, the church is made up of the "down and outs" of society - the very people that Vereide spurned. Paul continues:
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
"And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
"THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE." (1 Cor. 1:27-29)
In constructing his gospel to the rich, Vereide made a mockery of 1 Cor. 1:27-29 (above). This is serious stuff! Indeed, so serious that the Bible actually warns Christians against people like Vereide:
"... they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: BUT THEY ARE NOT VALIANT FOR THE TRUTH upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD ...
"And THEY WILL DECEIVE ... AND WILL NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH: they have taught their tongue to speak lies ...
"THEIR HABITATION IS IN THE MIDST OF DECEIT; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD." (Jer. 9:3-6)
"Men who are not valiant for the truth;" men who "know not me;" men "whose habitation is in the midst of deceit!" - this is what Vereide and his ilk are all about; people who LIE about God and who deride the poor; people about whom Jesus said,
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and ABODE NOT IN THE TRUTH, because THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for HE IS A LIAR, and the father of it." (John 8:44)
What's the Bible saying here? That these men have a "god," that's for sure! - but that "god" is not the God of the Bible; he is the devil; the "GOD OF LIES;" the same "god" about whom Jesus said,
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another (i.e., the anti-Christ) shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." (John 5:43)
A "god for the rich!" - that's who the devil is, and that's precisely who the "god of the Cedars" is; and because he is the "god of the rich," the rich support him generously. For example, money to purchase the Cedars with was donated to the Fellowship Foundation by two extremely wealthy individuals: Tom Phillips, then the CEO of arms manufacturer Raytheon Corporation and Ken Olsen, the founder and president of Digital Equipment Corporation.
"The Cedars has a heart for the poor," people connected to the Cedars like to say. But as Sharlet reports, by "poor" they don't mean the literal poor, but - taking Matthew 5:3 TOTALLY out of context - they mean the "poor in spirit" - a witless affectation (or pretension) fabricated by the egotistical senators, the arrogant generals, and the despotic Third World heads of state who, making a mockery even of their twisted rendition of Matthew 5:3, coast to the end of twenty-fourth Street North in Arlington, Virginia in their black limousines, town cars and hulking SUVs to meet one another and pray at the altar to wealth they have constructed there.
And it really is wealth (i.e., Mammon) that all these people worship; and what a twisted and perverted gospel they have constructed there in support of their "god" - a gospel that became abundantly apparent to Sharlet in a conversation that he was privy to at Ivanwald (another Foundation mansion near the Cedars) with David Coe, the son and presumptive heir to Douglas Coe, the current leader of the Family (Douglas Coe took over the leadership of the "Family" shortly after the death of Vereide in the early 1960s). The conversation concerns King David and the supposed "similarity" between David and Genghis Khan; Coe's thinking here reveals a mindset that is both TERRIBLE and FRIGHTENING. Sharlet writes:
"Two weeks into my stay (at Ivanwald), David Coe ... dropped by the house. My brothers and I assembled in the living room, where David had draped his tall frame over a burgundy leather recliner like a frat boy, one leg hanging over a padded arm. 'You guys', David said, 'ARE HERE TO LEARN HOW TO RULE THE WORLD'. He was in his late forties, gray-flecked hair, an olive complexion, and teeth like a slab of white marble. We sat around him in a rough circle, on couches and chairs, as the afternoon light slanted through the wooden blinds onto a wall adorned with foxhunting lithographs and a giant tapestry of the Last Supper. Rafael, a wealthy Ecuadorian who'd been a college soccer star before coming to Ivanwald, had a hard time with English, and he didn't understand what David had said. So he stared, lips parted in puzzlement. David seemed to like that. He stared back, holding Raf's gaze like it was a pretty thing he'd found on the ground. 'You have very intense eyes', David said.
"'Thank you', Raf mumbled. 'Hey', David said, 'let's talk about the Old Testament. Who would you say are its good guys'? 'David', Beau volunteered. 'King David', Coe said. 'That's a good one. David. Hey. What would you say made King David a good guy'? He was giggling not from nervousness but from barely containable delight. 'Faith'? Beau said. 'His faith was so strong'?"
"'Yeah', David nodded as if he hadn't heard that before. 'Hey, you know what's interesting about King David'? From the blank stares of the others I could see that they did not. Many didn't even carry a Hebrew Bible, preferring a slim volume of just the New Testament Gospels and Epistles and, from the Old, Psalms. Others had the whole book, but the gold gilt on the pages of the first two thirds remained undisturbed. 'King David', David Coe went on, 'liked to do really, really bad things'.
"He chuckled. 'Here's this guy who slept with another man's wife - Bathsheba, right? - and then basically murders her husband. And this guy is one of our heroes'. David shook his head. 'I mean, jiminy Christmas, God likes this guy! What', he said, 'is that all about'?
"The answer, we discovered, was that King David had been 'chosen.' To illustrate this point David Coe turned to Beau. 'Beau, let's say I hear you raped three little girls. And now here you are at Ivanwald. What would I think of you, Beau'. Beau shrank into the cushions. 'Probably that I'm pretty bad'? 'No, Beau. I wouldn't. Because I'm not here to judge you. That's not my job. I'm here for only one thing'. 'Jesus'? Beau said. David smiled and winked.
"He walked to the National Geographic map of the world mounted on the wall. 'You guys know about Genghis Khan'? he asked. 'Genghis was a man with a vision. He conquered' - David stood on the couch under the map, tracing, with his hand, half the northern hemisphere - 'nearly everything. He devastated nearly everything. His enemies? He beheaded them'. David swiped a finger across his throat ...
"David explained that when Genghis entered a defeated city he would call in the local headman and have him stuffed into a crate. Over the crate would be spread a tablecloth, and on the tablecloth would be spread a wonderful meal. 'And then, while the man suffocated, Genghis ate, and he didn't even hear the man's screams'. David still stood on the couch, a finger in the air. 'Do you know what that means'? He was thinking of Christ's parable of the wineskins. 'You can't pour new into old', David said, returning to his chair. 'We elect our leaders. Jesus elects his'.
"He reached over and squeezed the arm of a brother. 'Isn't that great'? David said. 'That's the way everything in life happens. If you're a person known to be around Jesus, YOU CAN GO AND DO ANYTHING' ...
"Obey Him. If I obey Him myself, I help others do the same. You know why? Because I become a warning. We become a warning. We warn everybody that the future king is coming. Not just of this country or that, but of the world'. Then he pointed at the map, toward the Khan's vast, reclaimable empire."
Now, stop for a moment and take this conversation in. Try to understand what's really going on here. It's horrifying! It's outrageous! - and more than that, it's truly GROTESQUE! What's Coe saying? - that if you are chosen by God, you can do anything? - even rape little girls? Is this what Coe is saying? - and if you rape little girls, this won't affect your relationship with God? Is this what Coe is saying? Very plainly, THAT is precisely what he is saying! - MEN WHO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD TO RULE THE WORLD CANNOT BE HELD TO THE SAME STANDARDS OF ORDINARY MORTALS.
Come on now, isn't that plainly what Coe is saying here? Yes! - it surely is! And people like Senators Nickles of Oklahoma, Grassley of Iowa, Domenici of New Mexico, Ensign of Nevada, etc. call Coe a friend and associate themselves with the Fellowship Foundation? What's that say about these men? What's that say about their brand of Christianity?
Members of the Right had it right during the McCarthy era, the protestations of leftists notwithstanding, when they used to describe those who associated themselves with Communists as "fellow travelers" - people who "traveled" in the same circles as Communists and Communist sympathizers.
Their contention was a simple one - association, more often than most people care to admit, implies endorsement, or at the very least, passive acceptance. But if it was true for the Left then, it is also true for the Right now. So, once again I ask, What's that say about Senators Nickles, Grassley, Domenici, etc.? It says that they basically agree with Coe. And what's that say about how these men intend to rule if they ever "conquer the world for Christ and the church?" - put their enemies into crates, seal them up, and then spread a tablecloth over them and have dinner while they suffocate? Coe says, "Isn't that great?"
"SEIZE THE WORLD FOR GOD."
"Seize the world for God!" - where have we heard that before? Isn't that EXACTLY what today's Apostles and Prophets Movement is all about! And if military power has to be used, so what! Isn't that what the late R.J. Rushdooney meant when he said,
"In winning a nation to the gospel, the SWORD as well as the pen must be used" ?
This kind of perverted thinking is everywhere in today's Christianity; it has seeped into everything, staining it all with its hideous, blood-red tinge. [Please see our report on Rushdooney in our article, "Richard Mellon Scaife: the Evil that Money Can Do;" we also recommend reading our articles, "The Right Wing Panics," "The Rutherford Institute," and "The Olson Salon" for an insight into the thinking that undergirds organizations like the Fellowship Foundation. You will be UTTERLY shocked by these articles!]
Mark Twain once wrote a story about this kind of Christian - the kind that Rushdooney, the Coes, as well as Senators Nickles, Grassley, Domenici, Ensign, Inhofe, and Pastors Stanley, Hagee, Kennedy, Falwell, Wagner, et. al. so admire. He entitled it, "The War Prayer." In the story an "aged stranger" enters a church where the congregation had been listening to an heroic sermon about the glory to be won on the battlefield by young patriots "armed with the love of God." Motioning the startled minister to stand aside, the aged stranger improvises an oration that made clear the true meaning of the prayer they had just prayed:
"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire.
"Help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it.
"For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."
Pretty awful! But make no mistake about it; this is EXACTLY the kind of "Christian" mindset (so-called) that is behind what we as Americans have been doing in Afghanistan and Iraq - and what is impelling us on our path toward world conquest. But then, what else should one expect from a Christianity (again, so-called) that was born out of the human wreckage that was visited on the nation as a result of the Red Scare and the hideous labor-bashing of the early Twentieth Century; that blames economic disaster on the failure of the poor to pray and lead "holy" lives, rather than on what really causes economic catastrophes: the greed and avarice of the rich; that says the rich and powerful should not be held to the same standards as ordinary people; and that has been justifying the American New World Order System as it plunders and pillages its way across the earth like a beast that is "... DREADFUL and TERRIBLE, and STRONG EXCEEDINGLY with great iron teeth: that DEVOURS and BRAKES IN PIECES ..." (Daniel 7:7), bringing ruin and poverty to the peoples and nations of the world. [For a detailed Scriptural identification of this great "Latter Day" nation, please see our article, "In Search of Babylon" What Does the Bible Say? please also see our article, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order."]
War comes easily to this brand of Christianity; it's etched out in its history - the history of the Christianity that Vereide and others like him embrace (e.g., leaders like Jack Hayford, Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson, C. Peter Wagner). AND WAR IS WHAT THEY PLAN TO GIVE THE WORLD. Indeed, in an article that appeared in the Washington Monthly Magazine entitled "Chaos in the Middle East Is Not the Bush-Hawks' Nightmare Scenario - IT'S THEIR PLAN" (April, 2003), Joshua Micah Marshall wrote:
"Imagine it's -- months from now. The Iraq war is over. After an initial burst of joy and gratitude at being liberated from Saddam's rule, the people of Iraq are ... beginning to chafe under American occupation. Across the border, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, our conquering presence has brought street protests and escalating violence. The United Nations and NATO are in disarray, so America is pretty much on its own ...
"Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence has discovered fresh evidence that prior to the war, Saddam moved quantities of biological and chemical weapons to Syria. When Syria denies having such weapons, the administration starts massing troops on the Syrian border. But as they begin to move, there is an explosion: Hezbollah terrorists from southern Lebanon blow themselves up in a Baghdad restaurant, killing dozens of Western aid workers and journalists. Knowing that Hezbollah has cells in America, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge puts the nation back on Orange Alert. FBI agents start sweeping through the mosques with a new round of arrests of Saudis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, and Yemenis.
"To most Americans this would sound like a frightening state of affairs, the kind that would lead them to wonder how and why we had got ourselves into this mess in the first place. TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAWKS WHO ARE GUIDING AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY, HOWEVER, THIS ISN'T AT ALL A NIGHTMARE SCENARIO. IT'S EVERYTHING GOING AS ANTICIPATED. In their view, the invasion of Iraq was not merely, or even primarily, about getting rid of Saddam Hussein ... RATHER, THE ADMINISTRATION SEES THE INVASION AS ONLY THE FIRST MOVE IN A WIDER EFFORT TO REORDER THE POWER STRUCTURE OF THE ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST."
Now one must understand something here: specifically, what Marshall means by the "HAWKS" of the Bush Administration. THESE ARE THE VERY PEOPLE THAT ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE FELLOWSHIP FOUNDATION AND PEOPLE LIKE ABRAHAM VEREIDE AND DAVID COE HAVE BEEN SO ASSIDUOUSLY DEVELOPING FOR LEADERSHIP OVER THE PAST FIFTY YEARS. These are the "up and outs" that Vereide so admired and with whom he wanted to make "common cause." These men are exactly those kind of men that Vereide formed his "prayer breakfast groups" to reach - people that Vereide believed had the "MEANS (and power) TO SEIZE THE WORLD FOR GOD."
All of these hawks claim to be "religious," and all are "prayer breakfast" participants - and this is as true for the Jewish hawks as it is for Christian ones: people like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield, Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz Richard Perle, Frank Gaffney, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Michael Ledeen, Marc Reuel Gerecht, etc. and evangelicals like Charles Stanley, John Hagee, D. James Kennedy, C. Peter Wagner, etc. [Please see our article, "Making Merchandise out of the People of God: Selling the Upcoming War in Iraq" for a more detailed discussion of this phenomenon and the evangelical connection to such groups as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.]
They all believe in a Christianity (or in some cases a weird form of Judaism) where (1) a man's worth (including his "spiritual worth") can be measured by the "things" he possesses, and that the "highest calling" on a man's life is the pursuit of wealth; (2) that poverty is a product of personal failure, and - as a result - the poor have only themselves to blame for their own poverty; (3) that men of wealth should rule the nation; (4) that the ruthless use of "police power" should be used to maintain such "men of worth" in power; (5) that capitalism and the "American free enterprise system" is "God-ordained," and that socialism or any other form of "wealth re-distribution" is anti-God and anti-Christian; and, finally, (6) that military force is a legitimate means to establish God's rule (i.e., the "American free enterprise system") over all the other nations of the earth: hence, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. THIS IS THE TERRIBLE AND HORRIFYING CHRISTIANITY OF THE MEN (i.e., THE "WAR HAWKS" AND THE "UP AND OUTS") THAT VEREIDE HOPED COULD SEIZE THE EARTH FOR "CHRIST AND THE CHURCH."
Brothers and sisters, please listen to me here: Theology has an outcome. Good theology has a good outcome, and warped theology has a warped outcome, and the "war hawks" of the Bush administration are the warped outcome of Vereide's warped theology. People make a big mistake when they say that "so and so" preaches Christ, and that's all that matters; that he leads people to the Lord, that's all that counts. But that's not true at all, especially if the Christ these men preach is a false Christ; then all that's happened is that they have made disciples for the devil - which is what Vereide has done, because that is EXACTLY what these people are: CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL!
The temptation here, of course, is to say that we are being too harsh in our criticism of these men. But come on now! - isn't that pretty much what Christ said of the "religious establishment" of His day? Of course it is, or what is someone to make of Matthew 23:27-33:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
"Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous,
"And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
"Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
"Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:27-33) ?
This "den of poisonous snakes," these "whited sepulchers filled with dead men's bones" - THESE ARE THE MEN WHO TODAY WANT TO MAKE WAR ON THE POOR IN THE NAME OF THE GOD THAT ABRAHAM VEREIDE SERVED. But again, one must ask himself, What exactly is the name of the "god" that Vereide actually served and for whom he wanted to seize the earth? It couldn't possible be Christ who said,
"My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight ... but ... my kingdom (is) not from hence." (John 18:36)
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ..." (Matt. 5:43-44)
So, then, I ask again, In whose name are these modern-day "Knight Templars" seizing the earth for? Come on now! - as we said previously, can there be any doubt that Jesus answered that question when - speaking concerning the "end of the age" and the mindset that would prevail then - he said:
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if ANOTHER (i.e., the anti-Christ) shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5:43) ?
Marshall continues, describing in detail what he believes the "hawks" of the Bush administration are really aiming at: a war between the United States and Islamic Fundamentalism, the opening round of which was the just completed War in Iraq. Marshall cites a report that appeared in the Weekly Standard by Jeffrey Bell:
"Late last month, The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Bell reported that THE ADMINISTRATION HAS IN MIND A 'WORLD WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ... ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM - a war of such reach and magnitude (that) the invasion of Iraq, or the capture of top al Qaeda commanders, should be seen as tactical events in a series of moves and countermoves stretching well into the future'. In short, the administration is trying to roll the table - to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually EVERY regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt ..." [Please see our article on this phenomenon (i.e., "radical Islam") and the part the United States played in its creation; the article is entitled just that: "Radical Islam;" please also see our articles, "The War in Afghanistan, It's Not What You Think," and "The Coming War in Iraq; What It's Really All About."]
What's the Bush administration pushing for here? - the GOG / MAGOG WAR? It certainly seems so. [Please see our article, "Israel and the Renewed Struggle for the Holy Land;" please also see Chapter VI, "The Gog / Magog War" in the Antipas Papers.]
But even that won't be the end of it! The "GOD OF THE CEDARS" (i.e., the "god" of Abraham Vereide and the "men of prominence" he so admired) is lusting after much more than the Middle East - and that's apparent to everyone except those Christians who have not yet "bought off" on the "Warfare Theology" that seminaries like Wheaton and Fuller are "pushing," and who don't want to believe that most of the church has already done so.
They are like those German Christians who refused to join Hitler's "Reich Church," but who didn't have the courage to join Bonhoffer's "Confessing Church" and oppose Hitler directly and openly. They wanted to straddle the fence and hope everything would work out okay. It didn't - and just as it didn't work our for them, it won't work out for those "lukewarm" Christians today who - while they may refuse to get caught up in the "super-patriotism" of John Hagee, Charles Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, C. Peter Wagner et. al. - do not want to risk themselves and their families by openly opposing what is happening today. Sadly, they are destined for the same disgrace and infamy as their German counterparts sixty years ago.
But except for these few, most everyone else recognizes what is happening: most evangelical Christians see what's happening and applaud it; secularists and the Left see what's happening and abhor it. But they do recognize what's occurring. Take, for example, Henry C.K. Liu, chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group and a secularist. He clearly recognizes what is happening: like Joshua Marshall and Jeffrey Bell, he believes that what the Bush "war hawks" are really after is TOTAL war aimed at TOTAL WORLD domination, not just domination in the Middle East. Liu writes,
"The U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, billed as part of a 'war on terrorism', were essentially the remote unleashing of overwhelming military power on ... (the rest of the world). (This so-called 'war on terrorism') is about eliminating the will of ANY state (ANYWHERE in the world) to defy U.S. global intentions ..."
Moreover, Liu recognizes what is driving America's lust for war: FASCISM; but not the kind of "blood and soil" fascism of Nazi Germany, but a NEW kind of fascism: a fascism based on RELIGION: a CHRISTIAN FASCISM. This, of course, is exactly the kind of Christianity (so-called) that Vereide and his ilk have worked so long and hard to produce; the kind that can be fashioned into a tool to conquer the earth with; the kind of Christianity that Charles Kimball, a Baptist minister and director of religious studies at Wake Forest University, says that Christian luminaries like Hagee and Stanley, who wrap God in the American flag, are whipping up; a chauvinist Christianity that says, "America is right," "God is on our side," and "Islam is evil."
Liu uses the kinder term, nationalism. The term fascism is too "loaded;" but he means fascism. Liu elaborates on his notion; he cites an article by William Kristol and David Brooks that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on September 15, 1997:
"American nationalism ... has never been the European blood-and-soil nationalism ... Our nationalism is that of an exceptional nation (i.e., a CHOSEN nation) founded on a universal principle (by which they mean the kind of Christianity that Vereide and the Fellowship Foundation promote) ... Our pride in settling the frontier, welcoming immigrants and advancing the cause of freedom around the world is related to our dedication to ... (this principle) ... That's why American nationalism isn't narrow or parochial. It doesn't believe in closing our borders or fearing the global economy. It does believe in resisting group rights and multiculturalism and other tendencies that weaken our attachment to our common principles (by which, once again, both Kristol and Brooks mean Vereide's kind of Christianity - a kind of Christianity they claim is the foundation of modern capitalism).
"This American understanding of greatness is friendly to private property, PROSPERITY and progress. And it isn't unfriendly to government, properly understood (by which Kristol and Brooks mean a government that is conducive to the unfettered accumulation of wealth)."
But, again, this is nuts! - i.e., this effort to link the Gospel of Jesus Christ to material prosperity. [Please see our three articles on this subject, "Capitalism and Christianity," "The Deceitfulness of Riches and the Marxist Paradigm," and "Making Men Cogs in a Machine."]
"THEY THAT WILL BE RICH FALL INTO A TEMPTATION AND A SNARE, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
"But thou, O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS (i.e., money); and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (1 Tim. 6:9-11) [Again, we URGE you to read our article, "Capitalism and Christianity."]
Nonetheless, it is PRECISELY this kind of "wacko" thinking - i.e., the kind that "MORPHS" CHRIST INTO MAMMON - that undergirds America's drive for world domination. Liu writes:
"Barely a decade after the end of the Cold War between the two superpowers, the world has entered decidedly into an age of HOLY WAR between the sole remaining superpower and ... (the rest of the world)."
A HOLY WAR in the name of MAMMON; a total, no-holds-bared war in the name of the "GOD OF MONEY" - that's how Richard Perle, a devotee of this kind of crooked, bent thinking, described what's going on now in the Middle East to John Pilger of the New Statesman:
"This is TOTAL war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there ... If we just LET OUR VISION OF THE WORLD GO FORTH, and we embrace it entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy but just wage a TOTAL war, our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
But, again, we ask, What vision is Perle talking about when he says, "Let our vision go forth?" Our vision of what? Obviously he means Vereide's twisted amalgam of Christianity and capitalism - this nightmare that Saul Landau says,
"... coincides with a society whose main spiritual value is shopping and whose cathedral is an air-conditioned shopping mall."
This is what so disgusted Mark Twain; why he hated Christianity to the degree that he did. Paul was right when he said:
"... the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (i.e., the unbelievers) ... (because) of you (i.e., you who call yourselves "God's people") ..." (Rom. 2:24)
This is UTTER insanity! But it is PRECISELY this very contrived and artificial kind of Christianity - the kind that links Christianity to Capitalism, and the kind that C. Peter Wagner and others like him trumpet from their pulpits - that serves as the magnet to draw (1) the American evangelical Christian community, (2) the American business community, and (3) the politicos of the Republican Party together TO MAKE HOLY WAR ON THE WORLD. This is serious business! - i.e., the deliberate (but, nonetheless, CRAZED) effort here to link capitalism (and the unbridled greed connected to it) to the "poor carpenter of Nazareth," again, a Person who said of Himself, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Luke 9:58).
"One unique characteristic about this new HOLY WAR is that it seems to be open ended, that while major combats have ended, or never even took place, victory remains not at hand in the near future. In fact, the U.S. itself refers to these one-sided military operations as 'battles in an on-going war on terrorism'. THAT, OF COURSE, IS THE NATURE OF RELIGIOUS WARS."
The tragedy of all this, of course, is that it is the very sons and daughters of those Christians who support this twisted form of Christianity that are destined to die on its altar, and the altars of the "gods" that the "worthies" of Bechtel Corporation, Halliburton, Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, etc. serve.
Nonetheless, this kind of warped Christianity is catching on everywhere in the Christian community today; indeed, more and more Christians from every walk of life are adopting its rhetoric and dismissing those Christians who oppose what's happening as not worthy of the name of "Christian." SUCH IS THE POWER OF RELIGION WHEN IT IS WRAPPED IN THE FLAG.
"Thus the foundation of a new AGE OF HOLY WAR has been laid ... This HOLY WAR is based on U.S. exceptionalism, unilateralism and the spread of American values (which is, again, "code-speak" for the freakish alliance that Christianity has made with capitalism).
What's Liu saying here? Obviously, what he is saying is that the Bush administration has initiated an effort to create a worldwide CHRISTIAN EMPIRE based on a perverted notion that weds material success in this world to the teachings of Jesus Christ, a kind of Christianity that turns the New Testament on its head.
Nonetheless, as we just indicated, there can be little doubt as to where the main portion of the evangelical Christian community is in all this. For example, John Hagee, pastor of the giant Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, writes in an article entitled, "Iraq, the Final War:"
"The central problem of the 21st century is international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction ... The question before America is very large and very simple. Can and will the CIVILIZED part of humanity (i.e., the Christians) disarm the BARBARIANS (i.e., the Muslims and other non-Christians) who would use nuclear weapons to attack America ...? President Bush is heroically taking the lead (to do just that in his war against Iraq), AND HE DESERVES OUR PRAYERS AND TOTAL SUPPORT."
"Bush deserves our prayers and support" if the BARBARIANS (as Hagee puts it) are to be disarmed? - which, ipso facto, means the U.S. MUST take control of the world. That's what Hagee thinks. That's what Charles Stanley, pastor of Atlanta's mammoth First Baptist Church and founder of In Touch Ministries, thinks too. Stanley writes:
"This government (by which Stanley means the U.S. government) is ordained by God with the RIGHT to promote and restrain evil ... This includes wickedness that exists within the nation, as well as any wicked persons or countries that threaten foreign nations."
"Ordained by God!" - now that's strong language. That means that God has not only commanded the U.S. to "restrain" evil domestically, but in foreign countries as well. He has endowed it with the authority to do so (that's what "ordain" means) - and the proof of that is the overwhelming nature of American military power. Naturally enough, this kind of circular logic (i.e., the U.S. has the power, so it has the authority; and it has the authority because it has the power) gives sanction to those who see in America's very power vis a vis the rest of the world authorization for America to conquer the earth for "Christ and the church."
AND GOD HELP THOSE WHO DARE OPPOSE AMERICA IN THIS ENDEAVOR. Stanley continues ominously:
"Those who oppose America (in its God-ordained mission of establishing U.S. world-hegemony) will receive condemnation upon themselves."
In other words, by opposing America, one is opposing God. That sounds a lot like Bush when he announced to the United Nations,
"If you are not with us (and, ipso facto, our effort to gain mastery over the world), you are against us."
In this battle, a Christian is called upon to OBEY; to see himself as nothing more than a "stone in a giant pyramid" where hierarchy counts for everything, and one's place in the hierarchy determines one's importance in the scheme of things. His duty is a simple one: to OBEY! Simply OBEY! That's it!
Sharlet says that that's what the Fellowship Foundation is all about - to teach men to OBEY! He writes:
"(At Ivanwald) we would be told time and time again, 'CHRIST'S KINGDOM IS NOT A DEMOCRACY' ... They would often say, 'Everything you need to know about government is right there in the cross - it's vertical not horizontal'."
It's in this anti-democratic context that Sharlet says:
"We prayed to be NOTHING. We were there (at Ivanwald) to 'SOFTEN OUR HEARTS TO AUTHORITY'."
And, according to David Coe, in learning this kind of unquestioning obedience to those who have the rule over us,
"We become a warning. We warn everybody that the FUTURE KING is coming. Not just of this country, or that, but of the world."
A warning? An "or else"-kind of warning? "Or else" what? - that we'll get the same kind of treatment that Genghis Khan gave his enemies if we don't render to those who have the rule over us the respect and obedience that is due them as supposed "servants of Christ?" Is this what Coe is talking about here?
But Christ didn't call us to be cogs in this kind of Orwellian machine. He said just the opposite:
"... Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
"BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister (i.e., your servant);
"And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant (i.e., your slave):
"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:25-28)
Then who is this "future king" that Coe says is coming to rule "... not just this country, but the world." Come on! It's not that hard to answer this question! We repeat, isn't this the "Christ" (so-called) about whom Jesus said,
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another (i.e., the anti-Christ) shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5:43) ?
And isn't this the "Christ" that Coe was talking about when he pointed to the map at Ivanwald to delineate "Khan's vast empire?" It certainly wasn't the Christ who said,
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
"And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
"Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." (Matt. 5:38-42)
Jesus surely wasn't kidding around when He said,
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24:24)
Come on now! Be honest! - what does Genghis Khan have to do with the Kingdom of Christ? And what does the kind of obedience that Coe is talking about here have to do with Jesus? - NOTHING! absolutely NOTHING!
The obedience (so-called) that Christ desires is the kind that flows willingly out of one's spirit, not the kind that is forced upon one by an outside force. [Please see our article, "Trichotomy and the Spirit of Man" in the Antipas Papers for a detailed discussion of this type of authority, the kind that flows generously and amicably out of one's spirit rather than the kind that is forced upon one at the point of a sword.]
There is no place in Christ's kingdom for "outside force" - which is EXACTLY the kind of force that holds together the kingdoms of man - the kind of force that held together the empire of Genghis Khan; the kind of force that evangelist Sam Fife was talking about when he said: "... Jesus is setting up His kingdom here on earth ... . We are the rulers of this planet - it's time we take over;" the kind of force that George Hawtin was talking about when he said, "But the saints of the most High shall take (seize) the kingdom (meaning the earth), and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever;" the kind of force that Rick Joyner was talking about when he said, "Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist this tide of unity (that demands unquestioning obedience to Vereide's brand of Christianity) will be REMOVED from their place;" and again when he said, "... there will be many 'stumbling blocks' circulating in the church ... Those serving in leadership must trust their discernment and REMOVE the 'stumbling blocks';" the kind of force that George Hawtin was talking about when he said, "... 2/3 will have to die in the last days so that 1/3 might emerge pure."
And make no mistake about it! - Hawtin means Christians here; the kind of Christians who refuse to submit themselves to Vereide's and Coe's "Men of Prominence."
This kind of Christianity is MADNESS. Nonetheless, if anyone dares to label it as such, he is in danger of being viciously persecuted by the people who are pushing this concept, fulfilling the words of Christ when He said:
"But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the ... (churches) ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them." (Mark 13:9)
But this kind of lunacy is what happens when one wraps Christianity in the flag. It becomes an army imbued with the same military-like discipline and control that all armies are infused with - but it's not God's army, but the devil's.
Christianity wrapped in the flag! Liu calls it fascism. Christian fascism! That's appalling! But what's more appalling is that those millions and millions of Christians who embrace this warped kind of Christianity believe that in George Bush they have found "GOD'S MAN" in these "Last Days" to establish their long-dreamed-for worldwide Christian empire - a fascist state to bring God's kingdom to earth at the point of a sword.
That's what Jack Van Impe thinks. Van Impe, is one of the most popular "woofers" and "soapbox orators" on "prophetic matters" in the Christian community today. In answer to a question he received concerning Bush's "Christian credentials" and whether or not Bush the Younger knows that he "is involved in prophetic events concerning the Middle East and the final battle between good and evil," Van Impe gushingly wrote of Bush:
"First of all, Billy Graham led George W. Busy Jr. to the Lord Jesus Christ when he visited the White House (while his father was still president). Bush (the Younger) has attended many of Billy Graham's crusades and during those crusades, Billy Graham always preaches once or twice on Christ's return and all the prophetical signs.
"Secondly, Rexella (Van Impe's wife) and I were in the home of President Bush Senior. What a great time we had with his wife Barbara, in fact she's even written us four personal letters and we have them hanging up in our memorabilia room. We gave her the message on video, The Coming War [meaning the coming war in the Middle East] and many of our books to share with her husband, George Bush Sr. Of course, I have now sent the video, Jerusalem: War or Peace [which promotes the same kind of twisted 'Warfare Theology' that the International Christian Embassy promotes - editor] to all the leaders of our nation. [Please see our article, 'The Superman Theology of the International Christian Embassy's Feast of Tabernacles'.]
"A teacher from Texas who lives down the street from the Bush's and is a personal friend to them, asked me to come to Texas (while Bush was still governor of Texas) so I could personally hand him (i.e., Bush the Younger) a copy. I said I couldn't because I'm just swamped with work to do, so she said she'd personally see that he gets a copy.
"I know that he has seen this video, Jerusalem: War or Peace. His brother in Florida, Jeb Bush, has seen it because he wrote me the most heartfelt letter. SO, YES, I THINK GEORGE W. KNOWS THAT HE'S DESTINED FOR THIS FINAL HOUR IN PROPHETIC HISTORY."
Eee gads! - the fawning and bootlicking here by Van Impe is nothing if it's not nauseating; but then this kind of cringing, sniveling adulation by the leaders of the evangelical Christian community towards the honchos of this country's Political and Economic Right is common today. You would think that Bush was Christ Himself, and the CEOs of Exxon-Mobil, General Electric, Halliburton, Bechtel, etc. were his archangels. It is disgusting - all this "brown-nosing" and "fanny-kissing" by the leaders of the evangelical Christian community of these evil, self-centered, greedy little swindlers and cheats who are plundering and pillaging the poor of the world on behalf of the American New World Order System.
I suppose Christians in this country think that because these "worthies" are dressed up in expensive, three-piece Armani suits and carry gold cards from American Express and Visa rather than "Saturday-night specials" and sawed-off shotguns that makes them better than someone who holds up a Seven-Eleven. But not in God's eyes it doesn't. The Bible says:
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
"Your gold and silver is cankered; AND THE RUST OF THEM SHALL BE A WITNESS AGAINST YOU, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the LAST DAYS." (James 5:1-3) [Please see our articles, "The American Empire and the New Global Elite," and "The Elite and the End of Days."]
What's that say, then, about all these people - the kind of people who seek to unite the teachings of Jesus Christ with the teachings of Adam Smith - as if Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus were Biblical figures on a par with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, and so forth; and that the system (i.e., capitalism) they (i.e., Smith, Ricardo, and Malthus) devised finds its origins in the Bible and should be adhered to with as much ardor and ebullience as one would adhere to the injunctions of Holy Writ. NINCOMPOOPS! DIMWITS! MORONS! DOLTS! JERKS! - ALL OF THEM, these people who dress up in their three-piece suits and preach their INSANITY from behind flower-bedecked pulpits each Sunday throughout America.
And those Christians who are STUPID enough to listen to them deserve the judgment that will eventually overtake them:
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the GREAT WHORE that sitteth upon many waters ..." (Rev. 17:1)
I ask again, who do these pew-sitting devotees of Charles Stanley, John Hagee, C. Peter Wagner, et. al. think the "great whore" is? - i.e., this church that sells herself for money to George Bush's American New World Order System. And do they somehow think that they will escape her judgment when it finally falls if they remain attached to her? If they support her each Sunday with their presence and their money? If they attend her functions. If they send their children to her schools, etc.? Do they really think they will escape?
What UTTER NONSENSE! People who entertain such thinking are like those employees of the I.G. Farben Company in Nazi Germany who "merely" "pushed paper" at the company's headquarters in Frankfurt while the company ran Hitler's death camp at Auschwitz-Birkanau.
I tell you the truth, you may make a distinction between those SS officers who ran the death camp at Auschwitz and the "paper pushers" back in Frankfurt, but I doubt that God will on THAT day. So also with all the "innocents" (so-called) in today's churches who give money to institutions that justify the rape and pillage of the world by America's multinational corporations. [We URGE you to read our articles, "The American Empire: the Corporate, Pentagon, CIA, Missionary Archipelago" and "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order."]
What a marvelous religion these ersatz Christians have devised. It's "ready-made" for people bent on the conquest of the world for the sake of human avarice and corporate greed! Think about it! - a religion that justifies the rich in their wealth, and excuses them in the miserable way they work the poor in their hideous "Third World" sweatshops for wages calculated to just barely keep body and soul together. NOW THAT'S THE KIND OF RELIGION THAT WILL MAKE THE MOGULS OF WALL STREET SIT UP AND NOTICE. [Please see our article, "The Rich Have Seized Control of the Church."]
But it's all so much unadulterated RUBBISH! Again I ask, where in the Bible can one find even the smallest suggestion that the "Dismal Science" of Adam Smith, or the dreary and gloomy economic system that Malthus and Ricardo contrived are biblically based. This evil and pernicious world of Oliver Twist that Smith, Ricardo and Malthus conceived is entirely a man-made system; it has NOTHING to do with God or the Bible! NOTHING! [Again, we URGE you to please see our three articles on this subject, "Capitalism and Christianity," "The Deceitfulness of Riches and the Marxist Paradigm," and "Making Men Cogs in a Machine."]
I tell you the truth; I SOMBERLY warn you: Christians who participate in such a religion, who misuse the Scriptures for their own selfish ambitions and purposes, or - for one reason or another - turn a "blind eye" to what's happening will someday pay a heavy price. Life doesn't go on forever. There comes an end to it; and after that, the JUDGMENT. It's not without reason, therefore, that the Bible warns:
"WHO TREAD UPON THE POOR, and take from him burdens of wheat (i.e., his just wages) ...
"I know your manifold transgressions, and your mighty sins ... YOU TURN ASIDE THE POOR IN THE GATE FROM THEIR RIGHT (again, their wages). Amos 5:7, 11-12)
"... I WILL COME TO YOU IN JUDGMENT, and I will be a swift witness AGAINST YOU WHO OPPRESS THE HIRELING (i.e., the laborer) IN HIS WAGES." (Mal. 3:5)
Once again, I caution you: whether you want to believe it or not, these verses apply every bit as much to those Christians who - while professing ignorance of the bargain their leaders (i.e., people like Vereide, Coe, Stanley, Hagee, Robertson, Falwell, Wagner, etc.) have made with the rich of this world - attend these churches Sunday after Sunday and support them with their "tithes and offerings." If they don't know what's happening, it's because they have PURPOSEFULLY chosen not to know, and that PURPOSEFUL choice makes them as guilty as their leaders and the "captains of industry" that they have been "PIMPED" out to as WHORES.
The Bible says that "GOD WILL COME AGAINST YOU." Wow! - that's nothing to trifle with: again, life doesn't go on forever, and after that, the Judgment! (Heb. 9:27)
Christians who are inclined to make light of all this - who treat cavalierly God's INTENSE, BURNING ANGER at that form of Christianity - i.e., Vereide's form of Christianity - that seeks to "make merchandise" of the poor and destitute of this world would do well to take careful note of the proximity of Amos 5:7 and 11-12 to the warning in Scripture in Amos 5:21-23 - specifically, that GOD WILL GIVE THEM UP!
Concerning such people and their form of Christianity which is based not on SUBSTANCE, but on APPEARANCE, the Lord says:
"I HATE, I DESPISE your feast days, and ... your solemn assemblies.
"Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
"Take thou away from me the ... (music) of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. (Amos 5:21-23)
What's that say about the "worship services" and all the pious singing and accompanying "hand waving" (i.e., "lifting up of 'holy' hands") at John Hagee's church in San Antonio or Charles Stanley's church in Atlanta, Georgia? - or do you perhaps think that God is just fooling around here when He says that He hates this kind of hypocrisy? Or, more specifically, when He said:
"Ye HYPOCRITES, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." (Matt. 15:7-8) ?
Is that the condition of those Christians who surround you? Of the church to which you belong? - if so, then get away from them as fast as you can. Do NOT think - even for a moment - that you can help them. This is a condition of the heart. You cannot reason with people who have given themselves over to this condition of things. It's NOT the result of a momentary indiscretion. So deep is their corruption, and the corruption of the church to which they adhere, that the Bible offers you only one way out! It says,
"... COME OUT of her (i.e., this corrupted, compromised church) my people ... that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)
Again, I somberly admonish you - no, not I, but the Lord (Revelation 18:4) - that if you refuse to take His advice here, if you think to stay to change the minds of the people you are connected to and the Christian institutions you are associated with, YOU WILL BE THE PERSON THAT IS ULTIMATELY CHANGED, NOT THEM. And ANYONE who tells you differently is LYING to you. Their lies may be honey-soaked, but they are still lies.
God bless all of you!
S. R. Shearer,
Finally, please take the time, if you haven't already, to read our article, "Coaxing Christians out of their Hiding Places." Also, please see our article, "The Jesus Revolution and the Search for Community and the Church-Life."