Tag: Fundamentalism

What is the “Old Guard” really Guarding?

By Jonathan David Faulkner,

I will be honest; it was hard to get on the internet last week, especially after Tuesday Morning when over 500 Evangelical Leaders met with Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. I read some of the more legitimate articles on the subject, Jerry Falwell Jr. and James Dobson’s comments on the meeting, notes from those outside of the group of “Evangelical Leaders.” I took it all in, saw the article about Trump’s Constantinian style Conversion to Christianity (wasn’t he already a Christian, something about a speech at Liberty?) It was hard to read all of it, it really was, I mean, both sides were just aghast and fighting with one another. It was, for lack of a better term, pathetic.

All of it leading to a deeper disillusionment with American Christianity. One that would have grown this week had I not read any of those articles and simply heard the promises Trump made to Evangelicals. Promises like allowing Religious leaders to endorse presidential candidates and creating a “Christian Advisory Panel” that includes Michele Bachman, Falwell, Dobson and others, members of that Old Guard Fundamentalism that at one point was a very good thing for the church in America (I mean, it gave us Jim Elliot, so it wasn’t always bad). Now claiming that Trump has “Accepted Jesus into his heart;” An ideology many Christians in the coming generation have abandoned because it is simply not biblical (See the book of Romans).

Of course, I am not questioning Trump’s conversion (though I am personally skeptical of it) the fruit of his life will determine if it is true or not. But I am wondering, what are Dobson and Falwell and others, the “Old Guard” actually “Guarding?”

I mean, if you are a guard you must be guarding something, either as a leader or a knight or a soldier or whatever, you are guarding something. My question is, what are they guarding, because it does not seem to be the Gospel.

What do I mean? The Gospel is by its very nature unifying to those who believe in Christ. In its truest, unadulterated form, will bring the believers together and through that unity and love draw in outsiders. This point is not in dispute, that’s why we do not only verbally speak the Gospel message we actually live it out. The idea is a two-fold evangelistic approach of living out and speaking, you must let your actions back up your words. It would not be enough for me to talk about encouraging my girlfriends walk with the Lord daily, I actually have to do it by 1.) making sure I am walking with the Lord daily so I can lead her by God’s grace and 2.) by asking her what the Lord has been teaching her and actively showing her what God has been showing me. If I talked about those things and my actions did not back them up I would simply be doing lip service to what I want to do. But if people see her grow closer to God and be encouraged in Christ then they will know that I am not merely talking about doing such a thing but actually doing it.

It is the same with the Gospel, we must live it out and proclaim it. But here’s the thing, part of proclaiming the Gospel is living it out. It also means that instead of throwing in our lot with a man or woman whose rhetoric and life have been openly lived in sin for the sake of having some government influence we should be focused on the building up of the Church and the Kingdom of God where our true and genuine future hope and citizenship lie. Since the church gained power under Constantine it has misused and abused that power in many ways. If the Gospel is in ruins because non-believers see Christians seeking worldly power and caused greater division instead of relying on the God who is all-powerful and Sovereign then the Gospel has not been guarded, it has been left in ruin.

They are not guarding the church, the simple act of doing something so divisive (there was another group of Evangelicals that support Hilary) that it would deepen the already surgically deep wounds in the American Church then you have not guarded the church. The church is meant to be one body, one people (read Galatians) and to not follow any other Gospel but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If your actions cause division in a body that is mean to be one and it becomes two factions (or in our case many factions) then you have not guarded the church by promoting unity and grace among all believers. The catholic (universal) church can be the most influential and greatest influence in the world, in fact, it actually is, but when it is divided, when the American Church looks more like Ephesus or Corinth, you have failed to defend it against Heresy and Division. If all people see of the church is a group of people divided and bitter because of your actions then you have denied them access to the true and pure gospel.

They are not guarding the individual people: A short study of history tells us that Christians who gain and use power often leave the commoner open to more persecution and hatred based on actions. Just look at those who act as though all Christians are like Westboro, the regular, bible-believing Christian becomes the target of outrage and hatred because to some the name “Christian” means hatred because of what one group in Topeka Kansas has done. The people always suffer, whether it was the oppressive authoritarianism of the Medieval Church in the High Middle Ages or Christians in Germany who persecuted the Confessing Church for not backing Hitler or whatever example you want to use. The Common people, those outside of the clergy or those outside of those 500 evangelicals who met with Trump in New York, the everyday Christian suffers. Granted, so do the Clergy who oppose such a group.

So what are they guarding? If it is not the Gospel, if it is not the Church, if it is not the individual people, then what are they guarding? It would seem the answer to that would be simple and sad…”Earthly Power.”

See, since the 1950’s the church has had a perceived Earthly power, I say perceived because while the church did have great influence and it did help define policy and while Christians still made up the majority of the population of the United States (they still do by the way). “Christian Power” was still a bit of a misnomer and the power Christians did have was often misused or not used at all (which was the case during the Civil Rights movement). But that’s what Dobson and Falwell Jr. and so many others are clinging too so viciously, they want that power, as if Christians can’t effect change without a role in government (because Jesus was an ally of the state, you know…that killed him). They want it so bad they will even meet with a presidential candidate who has made a living by living a life that is in almost all ways contrary to the Gospel. As if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are dependent on Christians holding influence in the government. Or the Gospel needs a lobby to be spread effectively.

It has become for Dobson and Falwell and others an idol of clay and wood. It cannot see them, it cannot hear them and it cannot do anything for them. Earthly Power will not save the American Church from itself or from the direction our society is taking. In the end it will only make things worse for those who are genuinely trying to live out the Gospel. It will lead ot the ultimate destruction of the American Church and not its rise. Just like the Authoritarianism of the Catholic Church in the 14 and 1500’s the desire for power will become our downfall and only further divide and destroy us. These men are watching the church they helped build slide into perceived irrelevancy and they are quite literally grasping at any tidbit that can be dropped to them by almost anyone. Like the Prophets of Baal they want fire to fall down from heaven but they are relying on man-made means to get it.

Here’s the thing I wish I could say to these Evangelicals (who I do believe are sincere believers): We do not need some Earthly power for the Gospel message to spread like fire throughout the land. We do not need to have our voice heard in the government to have the most relevant message of all-time. We have that solely in one place and one place alone. The Gospel of Jesus Christ which has been passed down throughout the ages by men and women who knew, like I do, it to be true because it was confirmed over and over again by God the father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit which dwells within us. The Godhead three-in-one, that is where our power lies, that is where our relevancy lies, that is where our hope lies, that is where our joy lies and that is where our love lies. That is truth and it has been the same since it was first given to us when God created. Because man changes, God and His truth do not.

Does that seem harsh to say to men who have gone before us? It is meant to be an exhortation, men who did a pretty good job at one point building the church in America. In the hopes of seeing them restored to seeking after the Kingdom of God by God’s means and not by mans. The only hope for the American Church is a total reliance in the sovereign God of the Universe. To rediscover the greatness of what God has given us and to turn from the idols of earthly power and trust wholly on God.

It’s time to stop waffling, either we follow God, or we follow Baal.


12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oJonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry



Beware the Modern Pharisee;


By Jonathan David Faulkner

The notification pops up if you follow their page; “EMERGENCY ALERT; TUNE IN NOW to Facebook Church.” You click on it, church sounds good right? It brings up a live video stream where you listen to the man paint your sin as a disgrace before God, but he never makes a distinction between sin and you. He rails on about Abortion and about the evils of drinking and doing drugs and all kinds of other things, some of which are not even sins. If you are not a Christian you have just been told God hates you but wants you to repent, if you are a believer you have just been told that God hates you every time you sin, “But don’t worry, there is forgiveness.” If you follow the pages of this man and his wife you see plenty of posts that seem harmless at first, but upon further inspection can be extremely dangerous to the reader if exposed for long periods of time.

If you have attended “Facebook Church” and have liked this man’s page you have found Joshua Feurstein and his wife Jessica. A nationally known evangelist and former pastor who has recently taken social media by storm posting about everything from abortion to why your family needs to all shoot guns. In a video recently last year Feurstein called for Christians to “Get back at abortionist” because it was time to “Make them feel the pain that they were causing those babies.” The video that may have been behind the Planned Parenthood Shooting late last year. He is best known for the “Merry Christmas Starbucks” controversy where he posted a video claiming that Starbucks was trying to take Christ out of Christmas by taking the word Christmas off their cups. His open verbal attacks on Starbucks and on President Obama have earned him fame and popularity.

So why would we, at God’s Heart, which is generally a Conservative Evangelical organization come out against someone who seems to represent the conservative argument? The reason; we at God’s Heart do not see these as truly biblical values, nor as a biblical method for the advance of the Gospel in today’s Society. We do not believe that hate speech towards unbelievers or being intentional abusive to those who think differently than us is going to do anything to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that Feurstein’s videos and tirades fall into the category of “Abusive.”

See, what Feurstein and his wife Jessica teach a radical form of Fundamentalism, dangerous considering fundamentalism is already radical, but unlike than the isolationist thinking of the general Fundamentalist teachings like John MacCarther and James Dobson, who have both called for boycotts of companies for the same reason Joshua started #MerryChristmasStarbucks. Feurstein has actually called for acts of violence against abortionist and even released a tirade at Obama on CNN that caused CNN to pull to the plug on his audio. This is the Westboro Baptist type of Fundamentalism that says that if someone disagrees with you, you should strike them down.

God’s Heart decided to participate in one of the discussions carried out under one of Jessica’s post. The immediate reaction from their followers and Jessica herself was to “Move along if you don’t agree.” Indicating that dissent to their strongly held beliefs is not an acceptable practice. Wellspring Resource and Retreat Center recognizes this as a mind control Technique related to what to what Steve Martin Calls “The Sacred Science” in his book The Heresy of Mind Control.Where questioning the teacher is frowned upon. When the teacher strips your ability to question a teacher, the teacher has exhorted too much authority over you. We were not the only ones told to move along for offering dissenting viewpoints, there were at least two others not related to GHFT.

If you really begin to listen to Joshua and analyze what he is saying you become aware of other issues. While they stick to salvation by grace alone, a new believer gets the impression that he needs to make sure he does not sin at all. The believer who does sin must confess that sin out loud and ask Jesus to take that sin away. While confession of sin is a good and accepted practice, we are not called to publically shame ourselves and then go on as though we are perfect because of our forgiveness. All sin is shameful and separates us from Christ and all sin and are separated from Christ. The beauty of the Gospel is that we have direct access to the throne of GOD and are free from shame and guilt. Confession, between us and God, is healthy, but sitting in shame and crying out over our sins day and night and not allowing ourselves grace for a time is unhealthy and contrary to scripture. Are there times when confession of sin between man and man is a good thing? Yes, there are times it is a very good thing, but in moderation and with the understanding that the confessed sin is forgiven and you have been restored to God and continue to be Justified despite your sin. Confession does not mean you are made perfect and no longer sin, as the Feurstein’s would seem to believe, but that you have acknowledged breaking the covenant with God and know that you have been restored to Him.

Feurstein’s theology, that often links Christianity and being a Republican, is nothing new, Fundamentalism and its legalistic assertions made by its subscribers are the modern day Pharisee’s. Finding its roots in the Appalachian states and then later becoming highly influential in the Midwest and the bible belt where forms of it are still found today. Adding to the Word of God by demanding an unattainable style of living, demanding of you; purity and denying you grace when you fail. Scriptures are pulled out of context and twisted to fit a radicalized viewpoint and any dissenter is immediately cut off and damned to Hell, including Christians like us who chose a more peaceful and relational form of evangelism. Giving Calvinists and Conservative Evangelicals a bad name and reformed theologians a headache since it reared its ugly head.

So while we warn you to stay away from Feurstein and his wife’s teachings, we would like to encourage you to pray for them for they are still your siblings in Christ. For a radical softening of the heart that can only come from Jesus Christ so that the passion they put into tearing others down might be put into building up the body of Christ. This is not a call for Joshua’s demise, instead it is a call to pray for him and treat him as a brother in Christ. Because whether we agree with someone or not, we still have a responsibility to love and pray for them so that they may know the great and many blessings that come with having a deep and healthy relationship with God.





Jonathan Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a  pastor and musician.