Author of Christian Dominionist Textbook Plays Role of Thomas Jefferson on Fox News
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Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:14:04 AM EST
Hat tip to Ulyankee for the recent Talk2action post.

Photobucket Fox News recently featured  Steve Doocy interviewing Stephen McDowell in the role of Thomas Jefferson. McDowell is the co-author of the popular homeschooling textbook America's Providential History. This textbook includes quotes claiming that there is no shortage of natural resources - all the people on earth could live in Texas in single family homes and live on food produced in the U.S. alone, for example. Authors McDowell and Mark Beliles provide a list of "Christ Guidelines for Resistance to Tyranny" and warn, "There may come a time when we must resist lawful tyranny." (1991 edition, p. 31) It would be hard to find a better example than this textbook, first published in 1989, of the Christian Dominionist worldview behind much of today's paranoid, anti-government politics. Quotes from the text follow after the fold.

Beliles and McDowell also co-founded and lead the Providence Foundation, a nonprofit with the stated goal to "disciple the seven areas of culture."  The Providence Foundation is an example of the intersection of two brands of Dominionism - Christian Reconstructionism and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) - combining the detailed and legalistic biblical worldview of the former with the missionary zeal, "shepherding" techniques, and international organizing of the latter.  A look through McDowell and Beliles textbook also provides a view of what a reconstructed (according to Reconstructionists) or transformed (in NAR lingo) would look like.

The Providence Foundation's "National Transformation Network" offers courses by Paul Jehle and David Barton, who also straddle both the Reconstructionist and NAR camps. The goal of the foundation's National Transformation Network is found on its webpage.

Prayer, evangelism and revival are not enough. The Apostle Paul tells us that the "good" needed to overcome evil includes good government. In fact, he says that God uses "rulers" to do "good" by "punishing evildoers." Those who do so are called His "ministers" (Rom 13:4). To overcome evil, then, we have to get outside of the church and into the culture! We need Christians to become His ministers who bring reformation in all seven "mountains" of culture. This is our mission.

The website includes a map of their transformation activities in the U.S. and around the world followed by a summary of their international outreach, including in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.  Beliles and McDowell have conducted training in their biblical worldview since the 1980s, including courses on "biblical economics," also described "biblical capitalism."  As noted in previous Talk2action articles, this is an economic philosophy similar to that of Ayn Rand's, but supposedly based on Old and New Testament scriptures.  Rousas J. Rushdoony, father of Christian Reconstructionism, laid the intellectual foundations for today's use of the Bible as the justification for radical "free market" economics.

Beliles and McDowell have traveled to numerous countries around the world, as seen on the lower portion of the webpage, promoting the application of their biblical worldview to government and economics.  Their international textbook, first published in 1993, is titled Liberating the Nations.

McDowell and several of those quoted in America's Providential History came out of Maranatha Campus Ministries, a Charismatic "federation of churches" on or near colleges and university campuses through the 1970s and 80s.  Maranatha used "shepherding" techniques on students and aimed to take campuses from what founder Bob Weiner described in his 1988 book Take Dominion as the "controlling homosexuals and Marxists."  Maranatha was disbanded in 1989 after numerous reports of authoritarian and abusive leadership, but many of the Maranatha leaders, including Weiner and J. Lee Grady, became part of C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles or leaders in other NAR-style apostolic and prophetic networks.  

America's Providential History closes with a "Checklist for Reforming America" and a list of resource organizations that includes David Barton's Wallbuilders, Dennis Peacocke's Strategic Christian Services (Peacocke is also an ICA apostle), Gary DeMar's American Vision, Coalition on Revival, and other organizations teaching that Christians must take dominion over society and government.

Some of the following is repeated from my 2011 Talk2action article on the role of biblical economics in Tea Party politics.

Quotes from America's Providential History

"A secular society will lack faith in God's providence and consequently men will find fewer natural resources...The secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie (there is only so much) that needs to be cut up so that everyone can get a piece.  In contrast, the Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's earth.  The resource are waiting to be tapped." (p. 197)

"While many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large, with plenty of resources to accommodate all the people He knew would come into existence.  There is plenty of room and food for the entire world population today.  All the five billion people on the earth could live in the state of Texas in single family homes with front and back yards and be fed by production in the rest of the United States.  Present world agriculture areas, if developed by present technology, could feed 31 billion people.  Our earth has plenty of room and plenty of natural resources. (p. 197)

Those with a secular world-view will lack a God-inspired strength and work ethic..."(p. 197)

When government is reduced and the regulatory system is replaced by Christian (according to their definition) control of the economy, the authors promise a utopia.
"In a Christian economy people will earn more with less work which means:
-People will have more free time for worship of God, instruction, recreation, and service to others.
-People will have more money to give to Churches, charities, and foreign missionary efforts.
-People can acquire more luxuries."(pp. 198-199)
"...the following will result:
-Men will respect each other's property...
-They will not steal or cheat on another...
-They will abide by contracts...
-When citizens are elected ...they will not use their power to secretly erode the value of people's money through inflation, nor will they gradually restrict the people's economic freedom through excessive regulation." (p. 203)

The chapter on the Civil War and Reconstruction is useful to understanding the current states' rights rhetoric and romanticization of the Confederacy by today's "Constitutional conservatives."

"It has taken over a hundred years for the scars, devastations, and biases to be healed.  While these negative effects have in many ways been overcome, the increase in power of the National Government, which followed the war, has not been abated but continues to grow and reach far beyond its Constitutional authority." (p. 243)

Several pages are dedicated to details of a religious revival that the authors describe as sweeping the Confederate Army.

While the Confederate Army was enjoying revival (up to 150,000 Southern troops were saved during the war), it also enjoyed phenomenal success in almost every major battle.  The induced Abraham Lincoln to seek God for the reasons why."
(p. 236)

"Saved" in this context refers to becoming born again Christians.  A section titled "Christian Character of the Generals" is accompanied by a full-page graphic of Stonewall Jackson "pleading with God to baptize the whole army with His Holy Spirit." Robert E. Lee is described as follows,

"Lee did much to promote revival in his army and saw every soldier as a soul to be saved.  So concerned was he for the spiritual welfare of his soldiers that one biographer says, `One almost feels as if he cared more for winning souls than battles, and for supplying his army with Bibles than with bullet and powder.'"
(p. 233)
[Note: The biography referenced was written in 1913 by Gamaliel Bradford.]

The Civil War is described as a massive revival, but Reconstruction following the Civil War is presented as unholy and as an attack on Calvinism.
"After the war an ungodly radical Republican element gained control of the Congress. They wanted to centralize power and shape the nation according to their philosophy.  In order to do this, they had to remove the force of Calvinism in America, which was centered in the South, which was opposed to centralization, of its political power.  They used their post-war control of Congress to reconstruct the South, pass the Fourteenth Amendment, and in many ways accomplish their goals." (p. 243)

The authors criticize the 14th, 16th, and 17th Amendments as taking away states' rights. Note that during the 2010 election several Tea Party candidates called for the repeal of the 14th, 16th, and 17th Amendments.  

The text also appears to imply that separation of church and state was a byproduct of the defeat of the more godly South.

"After the Civil War 'liberal' churchmen of the North continued emphasizing social reform but without the Bible as the basis.  This is sometimes called the 'Social Gospel' today.  The more 'Fundamental' or Bible-based churchmen of the South, after the military defeat of the South, became fatalistic.  They retreated to emphasizing only religious or church concerns and viewed social movements with suspicion.  Two new 'Christian' positions developed among these 'fundamentalist': (1) an eschatology of defeat and escape, and (2) a 'separation of church and state' concept that sanctioned their non-involvement in society."(p. 253)

The "eschatology of defeat and escape" is clearly a reference to Dispensational theology, or the belief that born again Christians will be taken to heaven (Raptured) before the one-world government of the Antichrist during the end times. Those embracing Dominionism or the belief that Christians must take control over society and government, usually reject Dispensational theology as an impediment to activism and political involvement.  

For more about the romanticization of the Confederacy see Rushdoony and Theocratic Libertarians on Slavery.  As I pointed out in that article, David Barton's Wallbuilders website features a convoluted explanation of the biblical view of slavery by Stephen McDowell, who describes slavery as "America's  original sin" but  also states,

"In light of the Scriptures we cannot say that slavery, in a broad and general sense, is sin." (Wallbuilders website)

In a  chapter titled "The American Apostasy and Decline," the decline is claimed to be due to the abdication of authority by Christians to the "conspiracies of men," a list which includes:
" the humanists, the ACLU, the big bankers, the Trilateral Commission, the New Age Movement, the World Council of Churches, the Homosexuals, the Feminists, the Communists, the Democrats, the Pope, etc." (p. 254)

This is followed by an exhortation for Christians to fear God more than they fear these groups, and warning that it is actually Christians who bear the responsibility for the decline of the United States because they have abdicated their responsibility to lead.  Note that "Christians" in this context would appear to exclude members of the World Council of Churches or any of the other groups listed among the "conspiracies of men."

Qualifications of candidates for elected office are described as follows,

"The qualifications of a candidate should not be issue-oriented as much as character-oriented." (p. 265)

Simply espousing Christianity is not adequate qualification.

"This means they should be Christians with a Biblical worldview -- men who reason from absolute truth, not human wisdom.  Many candidates may claim to be `Christians,' but do not hold to a Biblical worldview.  Former President Jimmy Carter  was an example of a Christian whose mind was unrenewed by Scripture and thus reasoned and governed from a `humanistic' worldview."(p. 265)

The text describes "how the United States as a Christian nation should relate to other nations" in quotes from Marshall Foster, founder of the Mayflower Institute.

"As we repair our nation and put it in order, we shall then be in a position to do what we were meant to do originally -- to 'colonize ideas,' specifically the the Christian idea of man and government so that it does not stop on these shores but goes on to cover the globe." (p. 222)

In another intersection of Reconstructionism and the NAR, both Gary North, son-in-law of Rushdoony and a leading Reconstructionist, and J. Lee Grady, one of the modern-day apostles of the NAR, are quoted in the text as stating that there can be no peace on earth until the entire world submits to Christ. Grady, another former Maranatha leader, is the author of Defending Christian Economics and was editor of Charisma Magazine for 11 years.  He was one of the member apostles of the International Coalition of Apostles through 2008 and has left his role of editor at Charisma to spend more time leading his personal ministry organization. (A bit of NAR trivia for regular Talk2action readers:  Pop star Katy Perry's parents are Apostles Keith and Mary Hudson.  Mary attributes her Arise Ministry  to a "a specific prophetic word given by Lee Grady.")

The text quotes Grady's article "Can We Make A Deal for Peace,"

"To the humanist, peace is really pacificism." (p. 223)

Discussing qualifications for leaders in foreign policy, the book quotes Gary North's Healer of the Nation, in which North states,

"Practically, foreign policy in this Christian world order will be conducted by missionaries and members of the Christian business and trade community who know how to represent the cause of Christ abroad." (p. 224)

Despite the Neoconfederate undertones and their disdain for the social gospel, Beliles, McDowell, and other Dominionists have adopted some of the language of social gospel and liberation theology in order to advance their biblical worldview and claim to be champions in support of poor, minorities, and women. This has become particularly common among Charismatic Dominionists in "Transformation" organizations and targeted urban outreach.  Unsuspecting progressives are being taken in by this language, assuming that the use of this terminology implies shared values and goals.  For an example of this, see the 2011 article Samuel Rodriguez and the Oak Initiative: Marketing Religious Supremacism as Social Justice.

For more quotes from this and other similar textbooks, see the Talk2action article titled "Two Decades of Christian Nationalist Education Paved Way for Today's War on Labor" and The Public Eye article "From Schoolhouse to Statehouse: Curriculum From a Christian Nationalist Worldview."

of taking a small truth and turning it into a big lie - their comment about enough resources.

Enough food is produced in this world right now so that no one need go hungry.  The problem is the profit motive - that's why people are starving or doing without.  There isn't enough profit in it (something I've heard people say) to feed the poor in many areas.  That's one of the things I learned when I was researching and studying extreme poverty (in the US as well as world-wide).

If someone were to say that we were exceeding the earth's capacity to support humankind, I'd also say that is absolutely correct.  Right now this world has about four times the population that could be supported without artificial fertilizers (the big breakthrough was the discovery of the way to produce ammonia, which can be easily turned into nitrates) and if there was ever a big collapse of the "system", well over 3/4 of the world's population would die.  Thanks to that artificial means of growing more crops, we have a surplus (and a good portion of that is being used to un-economically fuel our vehicles, so that their profits remain obscene).

Otherwise, this all is disgusting and a pack of lies.  It shows the power of their brainwashing, because anyone not caught up in their web of lies sees the racism, the abuse, the greed, and all of the evil (including violence against the innocent and the Other) that their churches do and support.

by ArchaeoBob on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:24:19 PM EST

A main crossover for the Reconstructionists and the Tea Party is through Gary North's involvement with Lew Rockwell [ ] and the neo-confederate Ludwig von Mises Institute [ ] in Auburn, AL. Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, among others, have cited von Mises political and economic analysis. The 'slaves should be thankful' meme has their 'scent' all over it.

by DennisFinMS on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 09:42:53 PM EST

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