Friday, February 26, 2010

Letter to Blanchard Alliance Church: Re: Obama, Evil, and the Church's Role

On Sunday, February 20, Pastor Ron Mangin, of Blanchard Alliance Church, where we currently attend, gave a message on Isaiah 45. He presented the concept that God used King Cyrus, an unsaved and evil king, to accomplish his purposes. This is true - God is sovereign, and many times in the Old Testament used unrighteous regimes to bring judgment upon Israel.

But during his message, Pastor Ron mentioned Chinese Christian missionaries to Israel who advise other Christians not to pray against China’s communist dictatorship because persecution causes the Church to flourish. Immediately my mind went to the verse, “Shall I do evil that good may result? May it never be!” I (Jeanette Ward) thought of the prayer that delivered Peter from the jailer’s cell. I thought of God’s anger at his people when He wanted to set them free, but instead they wished to return to slavery in Egypt; apparently longing for the “community” that they shared making bricks for the Egyptian Pharaoh.

While I was still pondering these things, Pastor Ron continued, “I tire of Christians railing against the Obama administration. This attitude is not compatible with the character of Jesus Christ.”

I began thinking about the things that Jesus did and said that perhaps Pastor Ron would say “aren’t compatible with” Jesus’ character: Overturning the money changers tables in the temple? “Railing” against the Pharisees as “white-washed tombs full of dead men‘s bones“, “sons of hell“, “hypocrites“, “blind guides“, “like their father, the devil”, “blind fools”, “snakes”, and “brood of vipers”? Saying “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” and “let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one“? Calling Herod a “fox”? Isn’t our Jesus the one whose eyes are a burning fire—who will clear His threshing floor and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire?

I thought of John the Baptist, who publicly “railed against” Herod (a political leader) for having his brother’s wife, and was beheaded for it. Ought not we to oppose publicly someone who advocates murdering millions of unborn babies in the name of “healthcare”, and forces Christians to pay for it? Who encourages “what is vile to be celebrated among men” - with his support of open homosexuality in the military and otherwise? Who tramples on the rule of law as laid out so painstakingly by our CHRISTIAN forebears?

I thought of Elijah with Ahab and Jezebel. Was it incompatible with the character of God, and by extension of Christ, to publicly oppose them? Elijah apparently did not believe so. And would it be wrong for the people of Israel, filled with righteous fervor for the law of God, to rise up and speak out against King Manassah when he caused his children to pass through fire?

I thought about all the times David (who was called “a man after God’s own heart”) prayed against evil men and had some “railing” things to say about them, like:

- “My prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers”
- “Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety”
- “Oh that you would slay the wicked, Oh God”
- “Do I not hate those who hate You, Oh Lord?”
- “I have nothing but hatred from them, I count them my enemies.”
- “I hate those who cling to worthless idols”
- “I hate double-minded men, but I love your law”
- “When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him.”

Furthermore, to compare King Cyrus, a foreign dictator king, (whom God used to judge Israel) with Obama, a democratically elected official of our own nation, is absurd. An evil king of Israel or Judah would be a better comparison -though still not fully appropriate because we’ve rejected the notion of kings in this country. In this way, America surmounted Israel because the very desire to have a king was a rejection of God and His law. So would it have been wrong for those who opposed this idea of a king in Israel to speak out? Furthermore, did God then use the evil kings of Israel to render judgment upon His people? Or, in fact, were not the evil kings the reason for God’s judgment? The entire comparison is nonsensical in every way.

It is true that God is ultimately sovereign and is capable of using evil for good. (Though it should be noted that the vast majority of evil in the world is not used for good, and it is unhindered by God). God values liberty very highly. It is this liberty that both allows sin and also requires responsibility to oppose it. The Bible is clear that He hates what is evil, that we are to hate it too, and that we are to oppose it through prayer, word, and deed.

We (Bill and Jeanette Ward) are not suggesting that the Church should stir up a spirit of mindless hatred against the government. What we are suggesting that it is our divine duty to hate and expose evil. It disturbs us greatly to hear a Church leader suggest that the calling out of lies or ungodly actions of our democratically elected government leaders isn’t compatible with Christ’s character. Or, God forbid, that we ought not to pray against the coming persecution of the church, lest we somehow prevent it from flourishing!?! This is a twisted self-righteousness. It’s a utopian delusion that comes from living so long in an un-oppressed state (though we’re steadily moving toward oppression in this country) and does not reflect the righteous heart of God—a God of perfect justice and liberty.

In Pastor Ron’s own words-

-We tire of Christian leaders who refuse to acknowledge evil when it is right in front of them; who live with their heads either so far under the ground, or so high in the clouds that they pretend that nothing in the news or in the political arena can ever affect them.

-We tire of Christian leaders who consider it their duty to publicly criticize fellow Christians who would expose evil rather than to support and join them in the struggle.

-We tire of Christian leaders who twist or cherry pick Scripture in order to support a popular religious caricature of Christ that is perceived to be more socially acceptable.

-We tire of Christian leaders who do not recognize that they live in one of the most God blessed nations in all human history; a nation founded on liberty - perhaps the most foundational of all values to God.

-We tire of Christian leaders that do not wake each day thankful that God placed them in this free and prosperous nation where they can preach the gospel freely and send missionaries all around the world however they choose. No other nation in history has ever come close to the generosity of America. But instead of celebrating the blessings of God, and recognizing the sacrifice of all those who secured those blessings; the leaders seem to pretend that they somehow live outside this country- in some mythical, heavenly country. They then rush to point out all the perceived failures of their country that don’t measure up to their utopian ideal. This frees them to wash their hands from any responsibility for this filthy country, lest they become defiled by it. “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” and “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil”.

If Blanchard Alliance Church ever closes its doors, America will not notice; but if America descends into despotism (Obama’s utopia), Blanchard will go down with it. But just like the Chinese missionaries, perhaps they wanted to go back to Egypt anyway.

We’ve discussed this particular sermon and similar issues with both pastors at Blanchard, and have been told that we need to “agree to disagree”, as if these are trivial issues and not foundational differences. Being able to recognize good from evil is foundational.

"Are you a teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?"

The character of Christ was one that was 100% concerned with what the Father was doing. "the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." And "I and the Father are one". The Father (the author of the Law) was very concerned with good and evil and never tip toed around these politically incorrect issues; neither did His prophets or His Son.

The reason that many Christians in your congregation "rail" against the Obama administration is that they actually read their Bible and can discern good from evil. They see evil and they expose it, so that others may not be ignorant of it and vote for it. It’s not that they don’t believe God is sovereign, but they don’t use that as an excuse abdicate their Christian responsibility to shine a light and to be salt to the world. I suppose it would be wrong, according to your teaching, to speak out against the Antichrist, since he is a political leader. Will you have no problem taking the mark of the beast so as not to offend the other Christians in line? -Besides, since God is sovereign, he’ll surely miraculously deliver you from having to make that difficult choice, right?

Hosea 4:6
“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.”

Our hearts break looking out at the lost sheep in your congregation as they listen Sunday after Sunday to sermons that confuse and mislead about what the Bible really says concerning the true nature of God the Father and the character of His Son Jesus Christ. An increasing number of “evangelicals” don't know what the Bible says, don't read their Bible, and are not encouraged to do so. There is an increasing fear and/or frustration among church leaders with those Christians that actually read the whole Bible and interpret it for themselves. These “unruly Christians” cannot be as easily blown about by every false doctrinal wind.

Regarding whether Christians are to talk about politics or not, consider that over 80% of the Old Testament deals with nations, kings, and peoples; and judges them all as either good or evil. In essence, all it does is speak about politics. In the New Testament, consider that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were as much political parties as religious sects. The fascist Pharisees and the socialist Sadducees not to mention the puppet King Herod brought forth Jesus’ harshest words (completely “incompatible with His character“). His answer to all of them was freedom: liberty. This is not freedom from responsibility, but freedom to be responsible.

In conclusion, consider:

Ezekiel 13:10-15,22: “Because they lead my people astray, saying, Peace, when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, Where is the whitewash you covered it with?

'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign LORD. '

…“Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life.”

Bill ( and Jeanette Ward (