Name Brand Religion

What are the populist notions of Religion?  For something that was intended to reflect transformation and personal relationships, it is safe to say that in society it has drifted far afield of this original intent.  Dr. Wes Howard-Brook of Seattle University briefly explores some of the facets of Religion and how it might apply to our discovery and subsequent story of In Bearing Witness.

God had absolutely no intention of saving the world

God had absolutely no intention of saving the world before the second coming of Christ. His chief purpose in this dispensation was to "visit the Gentiles," to take out of them a "people for his name" (Acts 15:14), not to convert the world. Christians, therefore, must be content with their minority status and with apparent failure of their cause. Pg 9 (Weber p. 70)

Quote by conservative Christian writer Timothy Weber.  from: Unveiling Empire, Wes Howard-Brook & Anthony Gwyther, Orbis Books, 1999

Does realty finally dispense with the notion of Christ's eminent return as a concern??

For the most part, however, fundamentalist did not acknowledge how much they had erred. Because they had carefully avoided setting specific dates for Christ's return, and because they routinely acknowledged that their speculations was just that, they left themselves an out. They could keep expectations of an immanent rapture high high without pinned down as false prophets. If the return of Christ was not around the next corner, it was always behind the corner after that. This was the genius of premillennialism. Like the faithful virgins in Jesus's time parable in Mathew 25 who had properly prepared for the return of the bridegroom, fundamentalists were always ready.

American Apocalypse, Mathew A. Sutton, The Belknap Press, 2014, pgs. 282-3

What is the full discussion around Pro-Life?

I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you Pro-Life. In fact, in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want tax money to go there. That's not Pro-Life. That's Pro-Birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of Pro-Life is.

Sister Joan Chittster

Specific to the interwar era, what arguments of the LGBT community still hold in the present? What if we took out Armageddon as a tangible factor?

A handful of fundamentalists spoke out against same-sex relationships. Barnhouse [Donald Grey] criticized what he interpreted as the celebration of same-sex relations in popular culture and lamented the rise and spread of "unnatural vice." He interpreted both as signs of the imminence of Armageddon. Journalist and evangelist Dan Gilbert called homosexuality "one of the ugliest blotches upon American civilization" and identified it as "one of the surest signs that the days of Noah are closing in upon us." Fretting that "well-financed and highly-organized cults of homosexuals sponsor all sorts of propaganda to woo and win new addicts to their horrible vice," he called on the public to "stamp out this plague in our midst." Moody professor Wilbur Smith called same-sex relations "another dreadful tendency of our times." It is the curse," he preached, "of all large penal institutions, of all concentration camps, internment areas, and great bodies of soldiers kept within military areas for long periods of time... Our Lord Himself said that Sodomic conditions would again be manifest before the coming of the Son of Man." Some fundamentalists even believed that the Antichrist would be gay, on the basis of Daniel 11:37, "neither shall shall he regard ... the desire of women." Although in the interwar era most fundamentalists did not acknowledge the existence of same-sex relations, the few who did viewed them as a menacing sign that confirmed the imminence of the Armageddon.

American Apocalypse, Mathew A. Sutton, Belknap Press, 2014, pg. 138-9

 

How is the "transformation" Hime's refers to available or evident in Evangelicals today?

In it simplest and most elemental form, the energy that drove the development of fundamentalism was at the heart of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. A scribe asked Jesus the fundamental question: "What commandment is the foremost of all?' His response was: "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these."

Jesus's words, read carefully and in context, make it clear that the test of whether I am following these two commandments is not whether I am experiencing the proper emotions, not whether I feel good about my neighbor, or even know my neighbor. The true test is whether I allow the spirit of God to transform me and to transform how I act toward my neighbor.

The Sword of The Lord, Andrew Himes, Chiara Press, 2011, pg. 298

Regarding anti-communism reaching its zenith in the 1950s. What remenants remain to today amongst evangelicals?

Fears of the Soviet Union and anger over Korea inspired evangelicals to enlist in the growing anticommunist movement. The NAE [National Association of Evangelicals] instructed laypeople to watch for signs of subversion, boycott leftist entertainers join anticommunist groups, and vote for conservative candidates. Many evangelicals supported leading anticommunist rabble-rousers such as Australian evangelical Fred C. Schwartz. His wildly popular Christian Anti-Communist Crusade attracted hundreds of thousands of followers who praised its blend of faith and politics. He told all who would listen, "I believe in God and His love, Christ and His redemption, and the great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. These two facts have motivated me to do everything within my power to stay the advance of communism." Others still praised the House Un-American Activities Committee and men like Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon for their efforts to root out subversives. 'While nobody likes a watchdog," Graham [Billy] acknowledged, "I thank God for men who, in the face of public denouncement and ridicule, go loyally on in their work of exposing the pinks, the lavenders, and the reds who have sought refuge beneath the wings of the American eagle." Like his predecessors, Graham worried as much about subversive within as enemies without, which encouraged evangelicals' besiegement mentality. The faithful hoped that as the United States executed an aggressive, Cold War foreign policy, some of their own would play leading roles. Ockenga [Harold John], called on fellow believers to get involved "in world leadership, Evangelicals" he emphasized "should be thrust into political, diplomatic military posts of responsibility and leadership." For the next few generations, evangelicals would make this call a reality by assuming important posts in Washington and around the globe.

American Apocalypse, Mathew A. Sutton, Belknap Press, 1014, pg. 313-4

How much of MLK's mention of "soul" is in reality a reference to anti-intellectualism in the Church?

"I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely otherworldly religion which makes a strange, unbiblical distinction between between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular. We are moving toward the close of the 20th Century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo- a taillight behind other community agencies rather then a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice."

Martin Luther King, Jr.