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Praise Christ! Go America! Damn the Rest of You!

Hopefully none of my two or three readers will have ever heard of the group American Vision, which is a group which self-confessedly wants conservative evangelical Christianity to take over the United States.  The group is made up of pseudo-scholars, Baptist homemakers (doubtless trained at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), and a general pool of morons whose ignorance of history and theology is matched only by the loudness of their whining. 

Their vision statement is as follows.  I have underlined some of the particularly ridiculous, insane, and generally stupid claims it makes.

I. America’s foundation was once built upon the Bible

Gary DeMar, our president, has written several best selling books on the Christian history of our nation. From America’s Christian Heritage to America’s Christian History, Gary produces pages of evidence that our founding fathers believed that our rights and laws came from the God of the Bible. Our best selling book this year, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States of America, was republished after 140 years. It contains more than 1,000 pages of source material that is sending the enemies of Christianity into shock. There is no serious debate on this subject. America was built on the Bible. America was founded as a Christian nation.

After America won her independence, she gradually became the most prosperous and powerful nation in world history. As the psalmist writes, “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord:” (Psalm 33:12). There’s no question that America’s success was the result of her obedience to God.

II. America is losing this Biblical foundation

Things began to change, however, when Christians allowed enlightenment thinking and higher criticism to infiltrate our universities and seminaries. Once thoroughly Christian colleges like Yale and Harvard gradually slid far away from their noble Christian purpose of educating men to advance the Kingdom of Christ. By 1925, the Theory of Evolution effectively replaced Biblical Creation in government schools. Christians retreated from the public sphere. Meanwhile, the Scofield Bible was propagating a new view on Bible prophecy called dispensationalism. This view took the emphasis away from the work of Christ and His Kingdom and focused on the nation of Israel. It also taught that the world would grow darker and darker before Christ returned and rescued a few remaining Christians from utter defeat.

As a result of these evil influences, Christians have lost their vision for the future. Christianity has become a sub-culture in Western nations. And while the liberals are playing political games with our freedom to secure power, Islam and Militant Atheism are destroying Christian civilization brick by brick.

III. The Bible must be believed and applied from Genesis to Revelation

As discouraging as all of this sounds, we are quite hopeful. Why? God is sovereign and Christ is on the throne of David (Acts 2:30). He shall continue to reign until all of His enemies are under his feet ( 1 Cor. 15:25-26). God has allowed these events in American history to happen to purify His Church. Jesus told us that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. So, what can American Vision do?

America’s foundation can be restored when we teach Americans to believe the whole Bible from cover to cover and apply it to ALL areas of life. We must start with the foundational doctrines of Creation and understand the ultimate plan of God, which is to fill the earth with His Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7). The Bible speaks to every subject between Creation and Revelation, including business, economics, education, government, politics, science, art, and more.

American Vision’s mandate is to produce and distribute training resources, which will give a truly Biblical worldview to the people of our nation. In the last three years, the Lord has enabled American Vision to quadruple the production and distribution of resources around the world.

VISION: An America that recognizes the sovereignty of God over all of life and where Christians apply a Biblical worldview to every facet of society. This future America will be a “city on a hill” drawing all nations to the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching them to subdue the earth for the advancement of His Kingdom.

Now, of course it would be easy to claim that these people represent a small fringe group of wackos out somewhere in east Texas.  But, I would contend that what we have here is simply a large segment of the evangelical political ethos made explicit where it usually remains implicit. 

There is one or two good instincts in Christians such as those of this group.  The first is that they recognize that dispensationalism and quietism is the wrong posture of Christians in the world.  Second is that they recognize that the kingdom of God should order every aspect of living.  Where they go wrong is in confusing America with the church and our moral effort with the gracious action of the Triune God.  This kind of “theology” rests on a heretical ekklesialization of America as God’s people and a Pelagian confusing of the Christian’s work with God’s eschatological action.  It’s sad that obscene views such as this still exist in Christian circles, and I pray for the day when these heresies are put to rest.

19 Comments

  1. Jordan wrote:

    Why the arrogance – again? The way you word this points not only makes me immediately stop reading, but it also discounts a lot of what you’re trying to argue. Please, my friend, show some grace to those you disagree with (even to the “morons” out there).

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    Look, I’m sorry if my writing turns you off, but I am going to call things as I see them. If you hadn’t stopped reading you would have noted my last paragraph where I talk explicitly about their insincts which I affirm.

    Maybe you just don’t like confrontational langauge, which is fine, I guess, but frankly the assertions made by this group are moronic and inane. I don’t think it’s arrogant to call them such.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 5:41 pm | Permalink
  3. Clara Eve wrote:

    May I add some more shocks? Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” and “Thomas Ice (Bloopers)” – all by the same writer who gave us the best and most compleat history of pretrib rapturism ever when he penned “The Rapture Plot” (300 pgs.) which can be ordered now from Armageddon Books. Google or Yahoo his “An Exciting Day at Rapture Bible College” and “You May Be a Rapture Redneck” in case you think he doesn’t have a sense of humor! Clara

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Permalink
  4. Derrick wrote:

    Geez! I hadn’t heard of American Vision before, but those are some interesting claims they make. I found a couple things which stood out in my mind:

    1.) Even if America was founded as a ‘Christian Nation,’ (which is itself, of course, debatable) one has to wonder what, if anything, this argument has done except to show that, at least phenomenologically speaking, the founding Fathers saw little to no basic tension between a Christian Nation and slavery, no women’s rights, little to no effort of reconciliation with the devastated ‘American’ Indian etc… I think, ironically, the argument itself is counterintuitive to its own goals if it is “successful.”

    2.) It is also interesting that they note by 1925, evolution had “effectively replaced Biblical Creation in government schools. Christians retreated from the public sphere.” Now I’m not totally sure how related these two sentences are, but it seems that they are representing Creationism and Evolution as two ‘discrete’ options (‘pure’ i.e. each untouched by the other) and inherently antithetical paradigms. Where they see the loss of Creationism against Evolutionism (as if either could really represent monolithic practices anymore anyway) as a retreat of Christianity from the public sphere, Pannenberg, I think, would argue that the hard antithesis of the two is already Christianity shirking its basically universal task to see the world-the whole world- as related to God. Even the questionability of God, or theories that at first glance contradict “theistic” (I’m learning to hate that word) explanations of the universe, have to have their own actuality within the reality of God, lest the Christian God not comprehend them and so not actually be the ultimate Be-ing. Evolution as a theory, in other words, cannot occur as purely blind ‘caprice’ amongst scientists volitionally refusing to acknowledge God as an answer; rather, if God actually exists, everything, even the theory of evolution (and even if it is refused or unacknowledged by scientists), is somehow related to God. Their formulation simply reveals some antiquated notions of the science-theology debate.

    3.) I remember a while back you posted regarding the ‘Theopolitical Imagination,” and how America postures itself with a substitute messianism, and that much of its political rhetoric is post-Christian soteriology. Well I couldn’t really imagine a better immediate example than this goal (though in this case it has taken the form of a somewhat ‘grassroots’ movement, rather than from ‘on high’). This may even be a more dangerous and subversive form than the rhetoric posed for the war by the government (with America as the liberator and hope, e.g.) because it almost seems that a post-Christian soteriology has been absorbed back into the church and so the line between a messianically pretentious government and the Church constituted by Christ, become amorphous to the uninitiated.

    4.) Is the bible really an answer book? Does it really speak “to every subject between Creation and Revelation, including business, economics, education, government, politics, science, art, and more”? Obviously the scope of interpreting the Bible is based upon its relation to the One God, but I think that this statement might betray a fairly nieve concept (which, I’m afraid, often finds support in the very real intuition that the Bible is relevant for today) that Biblical stories and concepts can (sometimes even without a mutatis mutandis alteration) be applied to the field of economics or mathmatics, or what have you. Heck, I remember a little while ago I went to a popular College Group (which will go unmentioned) in which the Song of Solomon was used as a dating guide (I had to get my jaw rewired after it hit the floor ;) This finds support again in the basic antithesis posited between creationism and evolutionism; ‘the great storehouse of facts,’ that is the Bible as it were, cannot stand for antithetical ‘facts’ and so can only either trump them or give way.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
  5. Cathy wrote:

    I am your fourth reader. I have never heard of American Vision but this kind of “Christianity” is enough to incite nightmares.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 7:48 pm | Permalink
  6. Jordan wrote:

    Ok Halden, I’ll give you a break. I’ll cut you some slack. Perhaps I have run into too many people who sound like you but really are jerks. I obviously don’t know you, but will give you the benefit of the doubt and try and read your posts with a little more humor. ;)

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
  7. d. w. horstkoetter wrote:

    Ah yes, this reminds me of my wall of shame, where I had “The Light and the Glory” as a near centerpiece. These sorts of things just make you wonder, if there is much redemptive to popular Christianity? I suppose so, or I hope so, but its really hard to find.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 11:04 pm | Permalink
  8. Thom Stark wrote:

    Hey, Halden. Thanks for this great post, and for changing your email address on me! (Only the second thanks was sarcastic.) Would you mind emailing me again so I can send you the piece. Peace.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at 11:57 pm | Permalink
  9. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Sure, I’ve heard of “American Vision” and Gary Demar. They’re postmil reconstructionists (i.e. “Dominion Theology”–Bahnsen is one of their intellectual articulates), and actually are consistent covenantalists, in my view. I.e. they don’t make distinctions between moral, civil, and ceremonial aspects of the “Law” . . . they emphasize heavy continuity between the “old” and “new” covenants, and see the latter as informed and an extension of the former.

    As far as their claims on a “Christian America” I think Noll/Hatch/Marsden do a good job dispelling this myth in their book: The Search For Christian America.

    If one is not a dispy, of some sort, nor a postmiller of some sort, then what is one left with as an viable eschatological alternative, amillenialism? Or maybe N.T. Wright has something to say on this.

    As far as strengths with DeMar’s approach, I struggle finding any.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 2:58 am | Permalink
  10. brad wrote:

    I guess I am your fifth reader. There are still many who are not able to accept the fact that Christendom is no longer the dominant seat of culture and no matter what we do we are not going back as a country. I agree with your assessment of the group, but as a SWBT graduate – ouch! :)

    Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  11. Arni wrote:

    As a European I am immediately turned off by the americo-centrism of much of the religious right over there. Whenever I see it I automatically assume that whatever they have to say is BS. And I am right most of the time.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 7:16 am | Permalink
  12. Thom Stark wrote:

    Hey, Bobby Grow.

    I’m mostly amillennial (the thousand years is figurative not literal) with a bit of preterism thrown in. Wright is also a cross between amill and preterist, but he transcends both in some ways. Many say he has an overrealized eschatology. His actual eschatological position is somewhat elusive. He’s never written in a sustained way about his view. I know that he doesn’t believe this earth will be destroyed and re-created, but that the fire in Peter’s epistle refers to a purging/cleansing fire which is a metaphor for regime change. There are times though when Wright can sound a bit like a postmill because of his latent Constantinianism and his position in the house of commons, etc.

    Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  13. Aaron G wrote:

    I can’t remember what movie this is from, but…

    “God bless America, and no place else.”

    Friday, August 17, 2007 at 6:36 am | Permalink
  14. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Thanks Thom.

    I knew Wright was amil . . . but someone had recently told me that he wasn’t your typical amil relative to his New Paul thinking; I’ll have to read up some more on Wright (thus far I’ve only read his work on Paul).

    I’m mostly premil, of the “historic” flavor . . . I’m reconsidering my eschato. at this moment (I’ve always recognized myself as a thorougoing Progressive Dispy, but I think I’m going to shed that position).

    Anyway, I think Demar and crew are misguided, and Halden was right for highlighting this movement . . . although “moron” probably goes a bit far ;~) .

    Friday, August 17, 2007 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  15. Jon wrote:

    If parody of Christian religion were a religion unto itself, this would be its credo.

    “Lord Jesus Christ, save me from Your followers.”

    -Jon

    Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 12:55 am | Permalink
  16. Michael Westmoreland-White wrote:

    This is just another recycling of “Christian nationalism.” It may or may not be related to the Dominionist theocratic heresy.

    As with most such efforts, it tells half-truths and turns them into lies.
    1)Some of the original settlers were Christians and some of their visions for the new nation were motivated by faith. Others came just to get rich in the “New World” or came fleeing persecution–sometimes to escape “Christian” nations. The Framers of the U.S. Constitution included some evangelical Christians, but included more Deists. The intent of the Framers was to create a secular government (not necessarily a secular society) with no religious tests for public office, complete religious liberty for all, and church-state separation. In the Treaty of Tripoli, George Washington assured the Muslims of what is today Libya that the U.S. was NOT a Christian nation. When that was read into the record of the Senate, it was so uncontroversial that no one made comment. The Treaty was ratified.

    2) There is no question that many major universities in the U.S. (Yale, Harvard, Brown, Chicago, Princeton, etc.) were founded by Christians to be Christian in orientation and focus most on educating ministers. There is also no question that most of these have become secularized. Whether that tracks with a loss of divine blessing or whether the U.S. was EVER a “special,” “chosen” nation is another matter.

    Theories like this take ordinary national pride, common among all nations, and raise it the height of idolatrous arrogance by means of a few half-truths and some very dubious biblical “exegesis.”

    Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm | Permalink
  17. Michael Westmoreland-White wrote:

    Derrick wrote:
    “Heck, I remember a little while ago I went to a popular College Group (which will go unmentioned) in which the Song of Solomon was used as a dating guide. . .”

    Wow. That could lead to far more interesting dates than most church groups want to encourage!!

    Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  18. Bobby Grow wrote:

    Westmoreland-White said:

    . . . It may or may not be related to the Dominionist theocratic heresy.

    Just to clarify, this is explicitly driven by “Dominionist” theocraticism. Demar and crew make no secrets about that. Go to Demar’s site and that will become self-evident immediately. Just wanted to make sure I was clear, if we really want to critically engage this issue then we need to understand the forces that drive and shape this construct definitionally, and not generalize to the point of relativity.

    peace.

    Sunday, August 19, 2007 at 7:28 pm | Permalink
  19. Tony Myles wrote:

    Sometimes I wonder if America’s foundation was once built upon the Bible or if America’s foundation was once built upon people who built their lives on the Bible.

    There’s a difference.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

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