By Brannon S. Howse
Benchmark #1: Nationalism
The German church succumbed to nationalism in the early Hitler years and gave itself over to the Fuehrer for his satanic agenda. Erwin Lutzer explains that Christians in Germany were involved in “a struggle of the church against itself; it was the struggle of the false and the true, the swastika and the Cross. It was a struggle within a church that had voluntarily embraced the German nationalism of the day.”
Lutzer documents the lengths to which church of the day went in its nationalism:
[The] “German Christians” completed a new church constitution that was recognized by the Reichstag on July 14, 1933. Their slogan was “One State, One People, One Church.”…These Christians adorned their altars with Nazi flags and had their congregations join in the Nazi salute.
Lutzer also explains how losing the central meaning of the Gospel contributed to the devolution into nationalism: “Without a clear message of repentance and faith in Christ alone as the Son of God, the Churches substituted the proud banner of a Christianized nationalism for the meekness and humility of Christ.” This way of thinking led one pastor, Julius Leutherser, to declare of the church on August 30, 1933, that “we have but one task, be German not Christian.”
Because I was born, raised, and live in the United States, I can better explain the growth of “Christian” nationalism in America than in any other country, even though nationalism is not a problem exclusive to American Christians. In August 2010, when I spoke out against the heresy of New Age Mormon Glenn Beck and “Christians” uniting with him in spiritual enterprises to “reclaim America,” I received several e-mails which called me a communist or accused me of aiding the communists. Detractors hurled this charge at me because I would not embrace the patriotic ecumenicalism offered by Glenn Beck and the New Religious Right leaders who united with him. Just because Beck, like many of the founding fathers, uses the name of God or even Jesus Christ does not mean he follows the God of the Bible. By his own admission, he is a Mormon and, as such, follows the God and the “Jesus” of the Book of Mormon.
Embracing the flag, the name of God, liberty, freedom, and the Constitution does not make someone a Christian. My message was simply that the Church must put doctrine and defense of the Gospel ahead of patriotic ecumenicalism and nationalism. Yet I was (wrongly!) accused of hating America, liberty, and freedom. The reality is that I love Jesus Christ more than anyone or anything else, and I do not want liberty and freedom to become an opportunity for the flesh.
The false church in Germany fell into the trap of equating patriotism with faith. Again, Lutzer provides insight:
[quote] Even for those who called themselves Christians, a strong Germany was more highly valued than a strong gospel witness, unless the gospel, as was often the case, was reinterpreted to be a plea for loyalty to the German cause. [end quote]
Although Nazism hooked the German church, our situation takes on a different twist. In the western world, communism has been repackaged as communitarianism, so don’t buy the lie that communism is no longer a threat to the Church. In Hitler’s Germany, the goal was National Socialism, but today the goal is international socialism through communitarianism.
Our liberal media furthers the goals of globalists and those who hold an anti-Christian worldview, but American Christians need not fall victim to the patriotism ploy by which they mean to distract us from our first priority and calling: making disciples for Jesus Christ. The socialist worldview and agenda of President Obama and the liberal elite attempts to scare believers into aligning with politicians, political organizers, false teachers, and even theological cults if it means defeating the “opposition.” (Ironically, communists and the liberal elite were the enemy in Nazi Germany.)
In 2010, a nationally known prophecy author wrote to say that my criticisms of Christians working alongside Glenn Beck were misguided. He informed me that Christians should help Beck defend liberty for the sake of the Gospel. But I responded that if Christians call Beck a Christian and unite with him in spiritual enterprises, they are doing the opposite: compromising the Gospel for the sake of liberty. This is exactly what occurred in Germany as Christians united with Hitler and his New Age occultism.
While nationalism takes many forms and can be difficult to define, these two descriptions are helpful:
Nationalism emphasizes collective identity—a “people” must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture. [source: John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, ed. Nationalism, Oxford Readers (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 4–5.]
It can also include the belief that the state is of primary importance. [source: Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1993), 72.]
The first description of nationalism—the desire of nationalists to see “a single national culture”—is likely not even possible. A culture is made up of the values, philosophies, worldview, and the associated behavior and lifestyle of its people. This means Christians and non-Christians cannot truly embrace “a single national culture.” So the goal of “Christianizing” a society through boycotts and political activism is impossible at best and a misrepresentation of Christianity and the biblical Gospel at worst. As I discuss in more detail later, there is great danger in moralizing.
The culture war is merely a symptom of the spiritual war in our nation. The acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, hedonism, divorce, pagan spirituality, and euthanasia is the fruit (or consequence) of the unbiblical worldview to which the majority of the population is enslaved. Boycotting companies, signing petitions, and putting a different politician into office are not going to change the worldview of anyone. The only way to change a nation is to change its people, and the only way people can be set free from their sinful lifestyles and aberrant worldviews is to respond to the biblical Gospel through faith and repentance.
This second description above seems particularly fitting when examining the New Religious Right and its obsession with the culture war, winning political elections, and Christian activism at the expense—and often the detriment—of the Gospel. The New Religious Right has entered into many spiritual enterprises with ecumenists and false teachers, apparently because their commitment to reclaiming America for Christ is greater than their commitment to protecting and proclaiming a biblical Gospel. Of course, the question must be asked: what Christ are they reclaiming America for? Is it the Christ of the Mormon Church, the New Age Movement, the Church of Rome, or the Christ of the New Apostolic Reformation? After all, the New Religious Right and its leaders can be found working in various ways and at various levels with all of these groups. So which Christ are we talking about? Certainly not the New Testament Jesus.
I believe “Christian” nationalism in America has been propagated largely through revisionist history. For many years, I bought the wishful, distorted history of America’s Religious Right until I studied the real history of America’s founding fathers. So let me take this opportunity to apologize—as I have done on my radio and television programs—for helping promote this revisionist history. I understand that I was wrong, and it’s time to face the reality of what our founders actually believed.
The Christian nationalism of today’s New Religious Right adds to the Gospel by promoting the idea that Christians are called to “reclaim America” or to “get America back to the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.” As Dr. Lutzer reminds us, this type of nationalism occurred in pre-World War II Germany: “It should come as no surprise that Protestant leaders called for a synthesis of Volkstum (German national identity) and Christianity.”
Does America have a religious heritage? Yes. If you study the nearly 150-year history of America’s original colonies, you’ll see that. However, to claim that America’s founding fathers where all godly men with the desire to create a “Christian” government is not a view that can be documented with facts but one that is promoted by taking the quotes and writings of the founders out of context. Let’s look at a few.
In some cases, the activities and writings of the founders have been manufactured. One such example is the prayer journal of George Washington. This journal was “discovered” about one hundred years after Washington’s death and is not in his own handwriting. Even the Scripture verse on Washington’s tomb was added more than thirty years after he died and was not engraved because of any request by Washington.
Yet these facts have not stopped numerous members of the Religious Right from attributing the journal prayers to George Washington simply to make the case that our first president was a Bible-believing Christian. Washington’s own pastor for more than twenty years, Bishop William White, was not sure where Washington stood spiritually. The best he could say concerning Washington’s faith was:
[quote] I do not believe that any degree of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in the Christian revelation further than as may be hoped from his constant attendance upon Christian worship, in connection with the general reserve of his character. [end quote]
Rev. James Abercrombie, Bishop White’s assistant, was also asked by Dr. Bird Wilson about Washington’s faith. White recounts Abercrombie’s response:
[quote] Long after Washington’s death, in reply to Dr. Wilson, who had interrogated him as to his illustrious auditor’s religious views, Dr. Abercrombie’s brief but emphatic answer was: “Sir, Washington was a Deist.” [end quote]
Yet “Christian patriots” continue to try and convince us that men like Washington were Christians. Research journalist, documentary producer, author, and national talk show host Chris Pinto explains:
[quote] In recent years, author Peter A. Lillback made an attempt to prove that Washington was a Christian in his popular book, George Washington’s Sacred Fire,” a book that was promoted by Glenn Beck as part of his “take back America” movement. Lillback penned a thousand pages of seemingly endless speculation and suggestive possibilities, but the only confession he could produce was a single quote from Washington on “the Religion of Jesus Christ.” Moreover, the author of Sacred Fire destroys his entire hypothesis by revealing the following universalist/ecumenical quote from Washington to his fellow Freemason, the Marquis de Lafayette, “Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church, that road to Heaven, which to them shall seem the most direct plainest easiest and least liable to exception.” (George Washington’s Sacred Fire, p. 453)
Notice how he refers to Christianity as “that road to Heaven” as if it were just one of many. Washington’s words are entirely Masonic, and the quote appears as if he is letting his hair down to a fellow Mason. Furthermore, the quote clearly shows that Washington viewed himself as an outsider to biblical Christianity and suggests that he merely “indulges” the Christians by going to church, etc.
All who knew him would agree that in terms of moral conduct and his code of honor, the world viewed him (and he probably saw himself) as a man of Christian character. This did not, however, require that he believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, or that He died for our sins, and that by faith in Him alone do we have eternal life. [end quote]
Despite the claim by many of the New Religious Right that America’s founding fathers were devout Christians who built the American government on a godly heritage, the facts do not bear this out. One historical document that leaves the New Religious Right working overtime to ignore the facts is the Treaty of Tripoli. Written during the administration of George Washington and confirmed by our second president, John Adams, this treaty was written in an attempt to make peace with Muslims. It includes this phraseology:
[quote] As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of Mussulmen (Muslims)…. [end quote] (Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, Annals of Congress, 5th Congress, written by Joel Barlow in 1796, approved by the U.S. Senate, July 7, 1797, then signed by President John Adams)
Chris Pinto explains that the “mystery” of Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli is not especially mysterious if examined in the light of the unadulterated facts rather than the shadows of revisionism:
[quote] Some have argued that Article 11 was written into the treaty to appease the Muslim government of Tripoli, and yet a curious detail emerges in spite of this. Upon examining the original Arabic version of the treaty, it has been discovered that Article 11 is nowhere found within it! In other words, the phrase “not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion” was never presented to the Muslims. These words only show up in the English version, which was later drafted and confirmed in America. Historians who have commented on this, admit it is a bit of a puzzle. But further light seems to be shed by 19th century historian, Moncure D. Conway, who tells us that it was George Washington himself who drafted the controversial article. The treaty was engineered during Washington’s administration and then ratified once John Adams became president. Of this, Conway wrote:
And President Washington, the first time that he ever came in treaty with a non-Christian people (Tripoli), sent to the Senate…a treaty which opened with the following: ‘As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…. There is the statement…from the great Washington. (Moncure D. Conway, addresses and reprints,1850-1907, p. 347)
We must remember that the Treaty of Tripoli was drafted at a point in history without the Internet, or telephones, or any such form of swift communication. Thus the treaty was first drafted in Tripoli by Joel Barlow, and then sent back to America for approval. It was only then that Washington seems to have added Article 11. But why? Is it possible that this declaration was never really intended for Muslims; but rather, to stand as a barrier against the idea of Christian government in the United States? In other words (as much of the evidence clearly demonstrates) was the “original intent” of the Revolutionary Founders to limit the powers of Christianity in the new American government? Was that the real purpose of the Treaty of Tripoli? [end quote]
One of the great influencers of the founding fathers was Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and The Crisis. Of him, President John Adams often said, “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” The worldview of Thomas Paine, though, is revealed in The Age of Reason where he writes:
[quote] Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would seem more consistent that we called it the word of a Demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it… [end quote]
Paine also declared:
[quote] I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Green church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. [end quote]
Chris Pinto details how some of America’s leading founders brought Paine to America and gave him a platform and credibility by which to proclaim his worldview in America:
[quote] Paine was specifically brought to America by Freemason, Benjamin Franklin. It was Franklin who, (with the support of Freemason, George Washington) made Paine’s “great swelling words” an acceptable sensation in the American colonies. He published Common Sense after having been in America less than a year. It is almost as if his entrance into the country and subsequent popularization were planned with a specific intent. [end quote]
Jefferson, like Washington, is not a founding father we can call a Christian. Consider, for instance, our third president’s view of the book of Revelation:
[quote] It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it and I then considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams. [end quote]
In regard to Jesus, Jefferson wrote:
[quote] The greatest of all the Reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its luster from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dung hill. [end quote]
Then there is the famous Jefferson Bible that “Christian patriots” point to in their attempt to tell you Jefferson was a Christian seeking to evangelize the Indians. Chris Pinto details what Jefferson omitted in his version of the Bible:
[quote] When one reads The Jefferson Bible, it becomes clear what Jefferson was referring to when he mentioned “dunghills.” He specifically removed the virgin birth, the miracles of Christ, the Lord’s resurrection and His ascension into heaven. Needless to say, the entire Book of Revelation was omitted. [end quote]
Jefferson himself described how he cherry-picked the pearls of the Bible and left out what he called the “dung”:
[quote] Among the sayings and discourses imputed to Him by His biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture…. I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross…and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of His disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the … first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus. [end quote]
In 1830, Dr. Ashbel Green wrote a book titled The Christian Advocate. Of Green and his book, Chris Pinto notes that “Green knew the Founders better than most since his position was the Congressional Chaplain. In his book, he openly dispels any evidence of Jefferson being a Christian.”
Like many of America’s founding fathers, Franklin doubted the deity of Jesus Christ. The book of 1 John tells us that anyone who rejects that God came in the flesh is an antichrist, and the truth is not in him, so Franklin’s denial of Christ’s deity is all you need to know to understand that, like Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, Franklin does not leave America a “godly heritage” but a New Age, pagan-spirituality heritage. To look back to America’s genuinely Christian roots or godly heritage, you must look to the colonies and separate the godly Christians of the colonies from the blasphemers found within the company of the founding fathers.
Benjamin Franklin made clear his view of Christ when he wrote:
[quote] As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity… [end quote]
Chris Pinto explains that our second president also rejected the Jesus of the Bible:
[quote] While it does not appear that Adams was a member of any secret group, he was a Unitarian and shared views of Christianity not unlike those of Paine, Jefferson and Franklin. Adams was an intellectual whose belief in “God” was, at best, a collection of pagan ideas amalgamated together by his own imagination. This comes as a shock to many Christians, who often think that Adams, of all the founders, must surely have been a true believer. But quite the contrary is true…. The truth seems to be that Adams considered Christian belief “blasphemy” because his ideas about God came, not from the Bible, but from an ancient Eastern mystical book known as The Shasta, which is the first book of Brahmin theology. [end quote]
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams asks rhetorically, “Where is to be found theology more orthodox, or philosophy more profound, than in the introduction to the Shasta?”
In a later correspondence with Jefferson, Adams, who denied the Holy Spirit, declared that even if he and Jefferson were on Mt. Sinai with Moses when he received the Ten Commandments, the two men would still deny the existence of the Trinity:
[quote] The human understanding is a revelation…. This revelation has made it certain that two and one make three, and that one is not three nor can three be one …. Had you and I been forty days with Moses on Mount Sinai, and admitted to behold the divine Shechinah, and there told that one was three and three one, we might not have had courage to deny it, but we could not have believed it. The thunders and lightnings and earthquakes, and the transcendent splendors and glories, might have overwhelmed us with terror and amazement, but we could not have believed the doctrine. We should be more likely to say in our hearts—whatever we might say with our lips—This is chance. There is no God, no truth. This is all delusion, fiction, and a lie, or it is all chance. [end quote]
In writing to Benjamin Rush, Adams actually mocks the existence of the Holy Spirit:
[quote] The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this Earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a Sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost…. There is no authority civil or religious: There can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation. [end quote]
This quote has been used out of context by some members of the New Religious Right to suggest that Adams was a believer in the Holy Spirit, but the revisionists conveniently terminate the quote at this point in the letter. Read the same quotation in context, and you’ll see that John Adams is mocking the notion of the Holy Ghost and the “dupes” who accept such doctrine:
[quote] The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this Earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a Sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost…. There is no authority civil or religious: There can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation. Although this is all artifice and cunning in the secret original in the heart, yet they all believe it so sincerely that they would lay down their lives under the ax or the fiery fagots for it. Alas, the poor weak ignorant dupe human nature. [end quote]
Why have some of the most popular leaders of the New Religious Right taken quotes of the founding fathers out of context? I believe the answer is that they desire to convince Christians to follow the example of the “Christian” founding fathers and be involved in Christian activism and the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. Self-serving leaders of the New Religious Right want to use the Church to turn out voters for their candidates, which in turn allows them to harvest more political access, power, and prestige. Some of the New Religious Right leaders have also secured consulting and speaking fees from political candidates and their campaigns or from their chosen political party. In other words: follow the money.
As I will explain later, many New Religious Right leaders want Christians to believe that those who mock the Holy Spirit are actually Christians, whether they be founding fathers or leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, Word of Faith, Church of Rome, or LDS Church.
Before you get too discouraged about the history of America’s founding fathers, let me tell you about Patrick Henry. Henry would not take part in the first Constitutional Convention because he felt convicted that the document would create a strong central government which would eventually suppress the liberty and freedom of the states and the people in them. We now see, of course, that Henry was correct. At the June 5, 1788, Virginia Ratifying Convention, Patrick Henry declared:
[quote] The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing, the expression, We, the people, instead of the states, of America. I need not take much pains to show that the principles of this system are extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous…. [end quote]
Here is a resolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain. It is radical in this transition; our rights and privileges are endangered, and the sovereignty of the states will be relinquished.
Chris Pinto explains that Henry’s concerns were valid, and the fact that his concerns were ignored is another reason many question the goals and motives of some of America’s founding fathers:
[quote] [M]any Christians today look upon the Constitution as practically an extension of the Bible. Yet Henry recognized that the focus on the People collectively would ultimately put all citizens beneath the power of a single Federal Government, which is exactly what happened after the Civil War with the drafting of the 14th Amendment. This amendment changed the citizenship of all Americans to federal citizens first, and state citizens second. Prior to this amendment, it had been the other way around. It would be not unlike changing our national citizenship, making us citizens of the United Nations first, and then American citizens second. While our purpose here is not to investigate this fully, one can see what the dangerous implications of such an amendment would be. [end quote]
I believe the revisionist history of the New Religious Right is aimed at convincing Christians to embrace ecumenicalism and “Christian” nationalism by raising the flag above the cross. Many of America’s founding fathers simply were not committed to biblical truth. Instead, like much of the New Religious Right, many founders embraced ecumenicalism, universalism, New Age teachings, and dominion theology.
Satan’s chief enemy on earth is the Church of Jesus Christ, but Christian activism and Christian nationalism are part of Satan’s religious Trojan Horse. He uses nationalism to convince Christians they are building God’s kingdom on earth (this is embraced by those that promote dominion theology or reconstructionism) when in reality they are building Satan’s kingdom, one that will have a form of godliness but deny God. Jesus told us in John 18:36 that His kingdom is not from here and is not of this earth. We must build God’s kingdom in the spiritual realm by preaching a biblical Gospel and pledging our allegiance to Him, not to earthly kingdoms. One of the consequences of a distorted American history is that Christians end up pledging allegiance first and foremost to the “Christian” state as the institution of primary importance—to the detriment of the Church and the Gospel.
Copyright 2015 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.