Is there a third stronghold we are dealing with in America? In the UK and in Canada as well? A phenomenon we can well call reactionary conservatism?
Discernment from Frank Drake – A few months ago you, Brad, mentioned two major strongholds that are threatening the Church and the advancement of the Gospel in the West, and the USA in particular–radical Islam and liberal progressivism.
I think the Lord has been showing me a third stronghold, which I believe we need to confront along with the other two. Perhaps the best name I can think of for it is reactionary conservatism.
I see its talons in a number of places–the continued re-emergence of racism in the wake of Obama’s reelection; the rise of secessionist sentiment in almost every state and especially in Texas; the vast proliferation of hate groups that espouse and perpetrate violence; the gridlock in Congress; the historically huge and increasing gap between rich and poor; and the massive and unreasonable effort on the part of the NRA and others to allow the most lethal weapons to find a place in every household, to name a few.
Where this stronghold may negatively impact evangelical ministries, in general, and PRMI, in particular, could be traced to the view held by some in this reactionary conservative bloc, though unsupported by solid evidence, that the US economy is in shambles and will soon collapse, and that the best way to preserve one’s future is to get out of the economy as much as possible and as soon as possible, i.e. buy property and send money overseas.
I sense, though without any hard facts to back up this view, that some of the funds which otherwise would be funneled to the ministry of PRMI is not coming to PRMI because of the dominance of this economic fear in certain circles, with the result that normal Christian stewardship practices are not being followed.
Some of this sense I have is based in fact, but the part that has to do with PRMI’s finances is pure speculation on my part. I do believe, though, that this third stronghold is real, dangerous, and contrary to the advance of God’s Kingdom. I’d be interested in your take on this.
Discernment from Brad – Yes, I would appreciate others of you giving discernment about what Frank says.
Here is my response.
• Yes I do believe this is real, dangerous and contrary to the advance of the Kingdom of God.
• It seems to me that we, the Church, find ourselves in a constant balancing act. Either the Church falls into liberalism that ends up denying the biblical foundations of our faith. Or we become so legalistically, emphatically correct in our protection of biblical doctrine that we move to an unhealthy, life quenching conservatism.
• Either extreme suits the Devil just fine. Both work in perfect accord with his purposes to destroy vital, Holy Spirit empowered, biblical Christianity. The stronghold of reactionary conservatism is certainly one reaction against liberal progressivism. It may very well be a movement the Holy Spirit is using to counter the collectivism and authoritarianism that is being expressed wherever liberal progressivism has gained political ascendancy. In many ways this is not a reactionary movement but a resistance movement to growing tyranny of the left.
• I believe that Frank is right in asserting this is a very real danger and a tangible threat to the Church advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But we must discern clearly how this is so, that we may pray clearly. I would contend that an ever growing racism, secessionists sentiment, and the irrational building of personal arsenals are all dangers and are in themselves powerful blocks to the Gospel.
• However, I would contend that the deeper threat to the wave of the Holy Spirit that is moving in America and Canada and Britain right now, is that reactionary conservatism may be used by Satan to take Holy Spirit-empowered Christians out of engagement with the fallen culture we are called to transform to the glory of God. For me this movement represents a false spirituality that removes the Christian witness from the market place, the home, culture and the government.
• For instance, I believe that in democratic nations like the UK, Canada and the USA, Christians take seriously our responsibility to vote as an expression of commitment to Jesus Christ as the Lord over our lives and over our culture and nation as well. This is the Reformed vision of the Kingdom of God that included not just John Calvin’s concern for the proclamation of the Word of God in church, but also the sewage system of Geneva and public health issues. How has our adversary used reactionary conservatism to remove Christians as light and salt change agents in the world?
• One example: it was reported in Charisma News that during our last presidential election in the USA, a pastor in Florida had advocated for and obtained the commitment of over a million people to write in the name Jesus Christ as their vote for President of the Unite States. That is a complete abdication of the right to shape the political process and the epitome of reactionary conservatism. Posing as Christian witness, that action withdrew from the political process the major means that we have of shaping reality according to a vision of the Kingdom of God. In Florida, a “swing state,” those million votes may have made a real difference in the outcome of the whole election! But as it was, they went to Jesus, the Lord of all creation, but clearly not a candidate for President.
• What better example of how Satan has used reactionary conservatism to deceive Christians into withdrawing into their own utopian ideal Christian society in which Jesus is President, while making no difference in the real world where we are called to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. What is the practical difference between voting for Jesus Christ in an election where the number of votes received may determine the destiny of a nation and those who move into a survival mentality of utopian detachment from the rest of the world through isolated and well-armed self-sufficiency?
• It is my firm conviction that one of the Devil’s plans is to remove Christians from shaping reality by leading them into what Frank has dubbed reactionary conservatism.
Is this discernment on track?
What is the structure of this demonic stronghold of reactionary conservatism?
How do we pray to overcome this stronghold?
How ought we teach to help free well-meaning Christians from this demonic stronghold?
And on a personal note what may we be dealing with in ourselves that Satan would use to remove us from the hard, sometimes dangerous work of praying “Thy Kingdom Come…”?
Thanks everyone for giving me feed back on this …discernment is very much a cooperative process. I take your comments very seriously and really need them to stay on track with the Holy Spirit. Thanks! In Christ
I appreciated and mostly agreed with the things Frank and you shared.
One caution. The diagnosis reactionary conservatism gives of the U.S. economy my be pretty accurate. The cures they advocate are the big problem.
Two, how to fight this? Well seeing the problem is a great first step. As a Canadian & U.S. citizen….but living in the Can. atmosphere. I have long had a discomfort with what appeared to be an alinement of evangelical Christianity in the States ( and to a lesser degree in Canada) with this reactionary type conservatism. I have even been concerned that it has been very influential in PRMI. So a good starting place is to repent of it in our midst first and then speak the truth into the broader cultural context.
Three, get back to the monarchy! We do not need to elect Jesus. He is already the King! We just each as individuals and as corporately as collective bodies need to hear from him and follow him.
I did receive a warning about the reactionary right about four years ago. It is very wise to watch what is being said, and pray accordingly. We are in a time that the enemy can use either side to achieve his goal. We need to be the wiser here. The liberalism in the church would like nothing more than a Nazi type structure to be created. Then the new world order will step in to the whole to save what appears to be chaos. I also received that this structure would begin the attack on the true followers of Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit. It would come at us from both sides. It needs much, prayer and wisdom. I am waiting for prayer strategies.
I greatly appreciate Frank Drake’s discernment, and believe it is right on. For those directly engaged in PRMI, it is the most likely of the three to pull individuals into deception.
Thanks for this conversation, and the group discernment. We will join you in prayer.
One of the blessings of my region is the existence of a strong and warm community of pastors and churches that have developed a deep commitment to unity and prayer. I meet weekly with a group of these pastors, numbering sometimes 15 or 20 for prayer and fellowship. The group includes Wesleyans and Pentecostals, Baptists, Free Methodists, and non-denominational folks, even a Roman Catholic pastor…oh, yes, and one Presbyterian. We enjoy rich and genuine affection for each other and fervent prayer together. We laugh a lot. We have shared some deep grief. We have even helped restore grievously fallen brethren.
We have very significant differences in what we believe about how churches ought to be governed, about who should be baptized and how, about the details of the doctrines of grace, and about what the Lord’s Supper is and is not. But we are committed to maintain unity and to give grace on those matters of doctrinal difference. The fact that I am a charismatic Calvinist who baptizes babies has never produced a flicker of a problem for the unity of the group.
Yet, during the 2008 election, I am genuinely unsure that I would have been tolerated in the room, if I had let slip the fact that I intended to vote for Barack Obama. Satan has more trouble in recent years breaking Christian unity over theology. But what does he care for that, since he can so easily use political commitments to break the unity of the people of God.
A couple of years ago, one of the long-time leaders of our unity group, a much loved and respected pastor, petitioned God during our prayer time together, to “take out” Barack Obama and Andrew Cuomo (we’re located in New York). Is that what Paul had in mind when he instructed the Roman Christians to pray for the emperor (probably Nero) in Rom. 13?
Does it come as a surprise to anyone that this denominationally diverse pastor’s prayer group has not had an African-American pastor join us more than a handful of times in the ten years I’ve been part of it?
Yes, I too sense that Satan is creating a stronghold in the form of idolatrous rightward political reaction among Christians. By it he has been embarrassingly successful in fracturing the unity and affections of God’s people. With it he has falsely convinced us to adopt secularly defined political ideologies. We have allowed ourselves to be bullied and seduced by secular political parties into believing that opposition to abortion MUST be bundled with radical free market ideology. Why can I not oppose abortion on biblical grounds and also favor on biblical grounds regulations to restrain the ability of the wealthy and powerful to create abusive and unsafe workplaces and to poison and exploit our common environment?
The danger of ONLY recognizing the stronghold of liberal progressivism is that we will allow Satan to leverage our reaction to that into the creation of a reactionary rightward stronghold. We will sell our heritage of biblical faithfulness for a bowl of secular political pottage. We must reject this false secular dichotomy of political left and political right and embrace the freedom of biblical faithfulness that enables us to pursue creative and different configurations of views, unfettered by the artificial, polarizing ideologies of our times.
I’m sorry that I’ve gone on at such length, but obviously the question strikes a nerve with me.