Lines of Defense
When we talk about support for Israel in the American Church, the Southern Baptists and the Calvary Chapel Association spring to mind, in terms of denominations (although CC doesn’t call itself a “denomination” it functions much as one does).
In recent years that support has been challenged at the leadership level, as we’ve reported many times here at Israel Watch. A few years ago, pro Palestinian activists attempted to breach Calvary Chapel, but then-leader Chuck Smith slapped that back. CC remains in large measure an association of staunchly pro Israel pastors. Brian Brodersen, Smith’s son-in-law, ensured his own succession, but that’s a conversation for another day. What we will discuss is how that might impact support for Israel.
Also, the ascension of Russell Moore as the head of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission does not bode well for Israel.
Sadly, these “leaders” are not the only ones within their respective communities to drift leftward. Moore has recently weathered (as some of us knew he would) a political storm, in which his blistering attacks on Donald Trump got him in hot water with many. It is worth mentioning that his animus for Trump is not really the reason he should be removed from his position; his left-leaning views on a host of issues are the real reason, but in true leftist fashion, he and his cronies have been able to hold up the Trump issue as the only issue of contention.
But I digress.
There is another Moore in the SBC that is just as corrosive for the future health of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
Beth Moore, the cash channel for the SBC’s publishing arm, LifeWay, has been a Christian celebrity for two decades. Her initial Bible studies have morphed into contemplative talks and experiential spirituality. Like many or most Christian celebrities today, she has moved to the left while maintaining her marketing base among evangelicals, even those who would identify as conservative.
Most seem unaware she has moved very far away from traditional Southern Baptist views. A key clue here is her network.
Beth Moore recently tweeted a shout-out to her buddies, Jonathan Merritt and Margaret Feinberg. The latter two are writers and progressives who also cleverly maintain their evangelical network. They recently announced a joint writing workshop, and Beth Moore helped them with their marketing:
“@mafeinberg I can’t express how grateful I am you & @JonathanMerritt are cheering for us, investing faith/words in our young communicators.”
Merritt tweeted back a winsome reply.
Merritt of course tweeted a few weeks ago his approval that the Trump administration might be interested in reviving talks between Israel and the Palestinians based on the two-state solution.
All these people also are in the network of Russell Moore, whose columns show clearly he is a Replacement Theology guy. Moore’s ERLC recently issued a short statement via Twitter:
“Anti-Semitism is a threat to all human beings, of any faith or no faith, in every corner of the globe.”
You realize of course that anti-Semitism is a threat only to Jews. That’s what anti-Semitism is. Further, Russell Moore has described Jesus Christ as “a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking ‘foreigner.’”
Moore is another celebrity evangelical who is loath to describe Jesus as a Jew.
Young Mr. Merritt loves Moore’s ERLC, which is really a socially progressive change agent, transforming the old, stodgy SBC into a globalist entity. Merritt recently tweeted:
“The @ERLC has become a beacon of non-partisan engagement, but many #SBC churches are still handmaidens for the GOP.”
You have to understand, because the Republican Party still officially supports traditional marriage, Israel, and a host of other conservative causes, Merritt doesn’t like the GOP.
Now to Brian Brodersen. During the CC Northwest Pastor’s Conference last fall, Brodersen suggested that pastors “tone it down” when it comes to teaching from the Old Testament, especially when discussing Bible prophecy.
Part of his reasoning is that he observed youth tuning-out of Chuck Smith’s prophecy-laced sermons.
In reality, Brodersen wants to remake CC into the image of a man he admires: Rick Warren. Brodersen feels the new marketing techniques that typify a modern mega-church are more effective than the model that built Calvary Chapel: teaching the Bible verse-by-verse.
Because that’s, you know, dull. Brodersen evidently buys into the view that people reject Christ because the Church doesn’t make itself relevant. He doesn’t believe Scripture, evidently, because the Bible tells us many times that the human heart is in rebellion against its Creator. People reject Christ because they want to. Not because the seats aren’t padded enough, or there isn’t a dunk-tank in the baptistery.
The good news is, among Calvary Chapel pastors, most are still wonderful Bible teachers and pro Israel.
The point being in all of this: The evangelical world in America is being transformed. The leftward drift of its leadership is a parallel with the political world. A civil war for the soul of America is raging. The religious world is part of it, even an integral part of it. Marxist change agents are using religious leaders to change people’s thinking, in order to shed traditional beliefs.
The long-time last lines of defense for conservative thought, including pro Israel activism, are under attack.
Just as Donald Trump is waging war against the political Establishment in Washington, so too are conservatives watching progressives continue their relentless march.
Israel is in the crosshairs.