I watched — over the weekend — a movie called Agenda: Grinding America Down. While this would be one of the better documentaries I have seen (for instance, The Red Line: The Elites New World Order Agenda, is one of those documentaries that is horrible as well as anything from Alex Jones and Prison Planet). While there may be some connecting merit in all these documentaries unveiling a supposed secret plan of one-worldism (OW) by quoting people who are against nation states, these documentaries also sully up any credibility by including people who think most major wars and milestones have been engineered by a secret cabal. Agenda is one of these films, sullied by extremists.
Often times the response to this “Agenda” is rooted in a false idea of what government is and isn’t. One person that deals with the view that I wish to ferret out here is theologian Wayne Grudem. He makes an excellent point that I think we — as Christians — should inculcate into our lives rather than merely placate as a term uttered once in a while. Considering our dictate “the Bible interprets the Bible,” let us read Doc Grudem’s input on a verse where he explains it by the rest of the Bible. Obviously the persons this may be directed to do not hold the viewpoint Gregory Boyd does, but the point being made fits well:
1. Support from Luke 4:6
This viewpoint has been strongly promoted by Minnesota pastor Greg Boyd in his influential book The Myth of a Christian Nation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005). Boyd’s views in this book have had a large impact in the United States, especially on younger evangelical voters.
Boyd says that all civil government is “demonic” (p. 21). Boyd’s primary evidence is Satan’s statement to Jesus in Luke 4:
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4:5-7).
Boyd emphasizes Satan’s claim that all the authority of all the kingdoms of the world “has been delivered to me” and then says that Jesus “doesn’t dispute the Devil’s claim to own them. Apparently, the authority of all the kingdoms of the world has been given to Satan.”
Boyd goes on to say, “Functionally, Satan is the acting CEO of all earthly governments.” This is indeed a thoroughgoing claim!
2. The mistake of depending on Luke 4:6
Greg Boyd is clearly wrong at this point. Jesus tells us how to evaluate Satan’s claims, for he says that Satan “has nothing to do with the truth” because
“there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Jesus didn’t need to respond to every false word Satan said, for his purpose was to resist the temptation itself, and this he did with the decisive words, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve”‘ (Luke 4:8).
In evaluating Boyd’s claim that “the authority of all the kingdoms of the world has been given to Satan,” we have a choice: Do we believe Satan’s words that he has the authority of all earthly kingdoms, or do we believe Jesus’ words that Satan is a liar and the father of lies? The answer is easy: Satan wanted Jesus to believe a lie, and he wants us to believe that same lie, that he is the ruler of earthly governments.
By contrast, there are some very specific verses in the Bible that tell us how we should think of civil governments. These verses do not agree with Satan’s claim in Luke 4:6 or with Boyd’s claim about Satan’s authority over all earthly governments. Rather, these verses where God (not Satan) is speaking portray civil government as a gift from God, something that is subject to God’s rule (not Satan) and used by God for his purposes. Here are some of those passages:
“The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Dan. 4:17).
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are the ministers of God, attending to this very thing (Rom. 13:1-6).
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good (1 Peter 2:13-14).
At this point it is interesting that both Paul (in Romans) and Peter see civil government as doing the opposite of what Satan does: civil governments are established by God “to punish those who do evil,” but Satan encourages those who do evil! Civil governments are established by God “to praise those who do good,” but Satan discourages and attacks those who do good. In addition, it would not make sense for Peter to say, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every institution in which Satan is the CEO.” Peter would not want Christian citizens to be subject to Satan’s control and direction.
The point is that Satan wants us to believe that all civil government is under his control, but that is not taught anywhere in the Bible. (Of course, Satan can influence some individuals in government, but he is not in control.) The only verse in the whole Bible that says Satan has authority over all governments is spoken by the father of lies, and we should not believe it. Greg Boyd is simply wrong in his defense of the view that “all government is demonic.”
Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 36-38.
So, what is my point here? That all governments and plots to overthrow them, in the end, are under God’s control. This is something that is missed from documentaries like this. That is: God is Sovereign over everything.
An interesting aspect that I have noticed when I was attending the local John Birch Society meetings and was an avid visitor of the American Opinion Book Store in North Hollywood, the joining idea of most of the Christians that I met in this movement were those of amillennialism. (Please read my “Learning Curves” section ~ pages 7-10 ~ of a chapter from my book for some more info on this subject.) They saw it (at least what I could surmise during the ending prayers) that they were bringing God’s Kingdom fully into the world by opposing Satan’s. What does this have to do, if anything, with the conservative documentary Agenda? One joining aspect in this unhealthy view is based around the book, The Naked Communist. The author (who also penned The Naked Capitalist) was written by W. Cleon Skousen, who’s career is often over-sold, in the end is a Mormon. This may not be important to many but his view of the universe, man, and “god’s” place in it are ultimately driven by a polytheistic worldview. This conspiratorial/polytheistic view has deeply infected Glenn Beck (see also) and Mitt Romney. There is an understanding by Skousen — unstated in the Agenda documentary, that god is in fact finite in many ways. So knowing Skousen’s worldview goes a long way in explaining the immediacy that others may not see regarding this problem. A problem, I might add, that has existed for some time.
The introduction of a novel term like “liberal fascism” obviously requires an explanation. Many critics will undoubtedly regard it as a crass oxymoron. Actually, however, I am not the first to use the term. That honor falls to H. G. Wells, one of the greatest influences on the progressive mind in the twentieth century (and, it turns out, the inspiration for Huxley’s Brave New World). Nor did Wells coin the phrase as an indictment, but as a badge of honor. Progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis,” he told the Young Liberals at Oxford in a speech in July 1932. Wells was a leading voice in what I have called the fascist moment, when many Western elites were eager to replace Church and Crown with slide rules and industrial armies.
From the feminist movement in the 20’s to the support by American progressives of the Nazi regime and then the Communist dictatorships afterward. Nothing is new. Useful Idiots abound, from Eden to Kentucky. In fact, the church in the early 1900s dealt with this liberal intrusion extensively. One of the greatest books written on dealing with this liberalism that has infected the church since its founding is a book by Professor Machen. This was in fact the birth of modern conservative Christianity, which was born out of a systematic refutation of this liberal view of God, man, doctrine, and the like. One church historian makes the point that “heresy can claim greater antiquity than orthodoxy can” (Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, p. 70). In other words, orthodoxy was a response to what was obviously heresy.
Skousen also twists facts to make a conspiracy seem plausible when in reality these goals are plain as day. As an example, one theme pushed in all my reading of Skousen and by authors like him is the danger of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and their goals for a one-world government. A myriad of quotes taken from many of these anti-nation states members, some well-known, are displayed across the pages of these books. What you never-ever hear about is that the CFR has many lovers of nation states in its ranks. These members write and debate and influence the CFR as well. It is similar to when the major prime-time and morning news shows have 157 segments exclusively wanting stricter gun control laws and only 10 with a pro-2nd amendment segments. Something is lost in translation.
Another aspect of this documentary that is puzzling is in regards to liberals not liking the term “liberal” and wishing to be called “progressives” instead is just not true. In fact, they wanted to get away from the term progressive and self-applied “liberal” as part of the idea that they are classical liberals. Which of course is false, but they tried to hijack an understanding of being connected to the Founders in this way. So I prefer calling them “progressives” when I am making a deeper point, “liberal” if I am feeling nice. (Lawrence O’Donnell simply prefers socialist, and Rachel Maddow prefers to be thought of as “to the left of Moa.” [scary])
I can see why many may like this movie. Maybe this is the first time they are seeing some of this information and assume if one part is sound then all of this presentation is sound. A site that has made these connections for years is Discover the Networks, with whom David Horowitz is intimately involved.
Let me say that I agree that this radical arm of the Democratic Party has substantial control now of the public’s trust. And one of the richest OW’ers is George Soros. Money talks, and Soros gives a lot of it to anti-nation state organizations. Marvin Olasky, senior editor at World Magazine, was key in showing Soros’ influence on a major liberal Christian organization, the Sojourners. However, taking this important information and connecting it to people that believe in massive secret conspiracies and societies in starting WWI, WWII, and the like; pushing authors who believe that all political parties are controlled by this One World cabal makes me stand vehemently against this “documentary.”
I must point out from a post a long-time back that these conspiracy theories that some of the authors and speakers highlighted in Agenda believe in ultimately explains nothing:
I was once the biggest New World Order (NWO) guy there was. Ralph Epperson was a god of conspiracy theories in my view of history. But when I started to draw these conclusions out to their logical ends and started tracking down references used by these writers, I found that this belief is just that, a belief.
Listen, I will give a parallel to one (of the many) reasons I reject Darwinism as a reason that includes the rejection of the conspiratorial view of history.
“The underlying problem is that a key Darwinian term is not defined. Darwinism supposedly explains how organisms become more ‘fit,’ or better adapted to their environment. But fitness is not and cannot be defined except in terms of existence. If an animal exists, it is ‘fit’ (otherwise it wouldn’t exist). It is not possible to specify all the useful parts of that animal in order to give an exhaustive causal account of fitness. [I will add here that there is no way to quantify those unknowable animal parts in regards to the many aspects that nature could or would impose on all those parts.] If an organism possesses features that appears on the surface to be an inconvenient – such as the peacock’s tail or the top-heavy antlers of a stag – the existence of stags and peacocks proves that these animals are in fact fit. So the Darwinian theory is not falsifiable by any observation. It ‘explains’ everything, and therefore nothing. It barely qualifies as a scientific theory for that reason…. The truth is that Darwinism is so shapeless that it can be enlisted is support of any cause whatsoever…. Darwinism has over the years been championed by eugenicists, social Darwinists, racialists, free-market economists, liberals galore, Wilsonian progressives, and National Socialists, to give only a partial list. Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer, Communists and libertarians, and almost anyone in between, have at times found Darwinism to their liking.”
From an article by Tom Bethell in The American Spectator (magazine), July/August 2007, pp. 44-46.
So to is the conspiratorial view of history (Bilderbergers, Council of Foreign Relations, Banking Institutions, Rosicrucians, The Knights Templars, on-and-on). It is used by Marxists to libertarians and anarchists, liberal and conservatives. If someone or something disproves an aspect of this theory that person is a “shill” or the fact has been planted. It explains everything and therefore nothing.
Many a conspiracy folk have inane explanations of the symbols found on the dollar bill. I know because I did it. However, after reading David Barton’s book, The Question of Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers. I highly recommend this book. There are people who dedicate their writings to Lucifer, such as was truthfully pointed out in the first pages of Saul Alinsky’s book which heavily influenced our president and people around him. In the dedication portion of Saul’s book we find this:
Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer
Many in the media love Saul Alinsky. Chris Matthews for one (see video to the right), the founder of The Daily Kos (a well-known liberal website) wrote the following dedication in his book, Taking on the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era: “For…. Saul Alinsky.” Then Markos Zuniga continues in his dedication to this radical a quote from the same, “The tactics may change, but the soul of the radical endures.” The Agenda doesn’t respond to answering these tactics because it corrupts any response it tries with crazy conspiracy nuts (like Skousen) who have said George Bush invaded Iraq because of world bankers wanting him to do so. For instance this from one of Skousen’s classes as recalled by a Mormon student:
There is no denying that the Secret Combination spoken of in Ether Chapter 8 of the Book of Mormon exists today. Dr. Skousen spoke about the “War in Iraq,” informing us that it is unconstitutional and a war the Founding Fathers would have never gotten involved in. He said President Bush is taking orders from a higher power. One lady in the room asked, “who, Heavenly Father?” At that moment I began laughing in my mind, because I knew the truth was completely opposite. Dr. Skousen responded by saying it is the World Banks, the Rothchild’s, Rockefeller’s – the money powers, etc. They are the ones who are really in power. They are the ones who ordered the war.
Skousen believes that we have already lost:
“… the New World Order which is in control right now…. You don’t know it, but you’ve lost your country.”
While I disagree with this last statement (see audio to the right), so what? I don’t say this in a way that means I will not fight for one of the greatest nations to grace this earth. I say this only because America is not the Church. There was a promise made and it included the Body of Christ, not a particular nation:
And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:17-18)
As Reformational Protestants, we know that the Rock is Jesus. We also know that the Church is not America. Some say that there are 150-million Christians in China. I wonder if they pray for their government to be more like America, or if they pray like the prayee in the ending verses of the Bible, “He who testifies about these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” I live in America and I often find myself praying for this!
So what can we do to subvert this inevitable slide? God, family, community. You see it isn’t only communists that want the family to disintegrate and thus rely on government more. It is anarchists, liberals, progressives, Republicans, even anti-communists. It is the negation of one of the first edicts of God to man to leave your mother and father and become one with your wife. You see, there are Christians — people who have become new creatures through the miraculous work of Christ. Then there are pagans. Both are working towards God’s goal. He is sovereign and His will will be done. Whether America is weakened in order for this to be done, or for America to be made more Godly. I will fight for truth and justice as much as I can, and as helpful as some of the information was in Agenda and the excellence of some of those interviewed for the documentary (M. Stanton Evans for instance).
Many of these documentaries make us feel like we are in an irreversible state, morally & spiritually. While I do not necessarily agree with everything in the chapter, I recommend Michael Medved’s last chapter of his book, The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation. This chapter is entitled “America is in the Middle of an Irreversible Moral Decline.” In an interview about this book, Medved mentioned this after the initial question:
There are a lot of conservatives out there, probably most of them even, who believe that “America is in the midst of an irreversible moral decline.” Would you disagree with that?
I do. In my book, The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation, that’s the 10th big lie and in many ways, it’s the most pernicious — because if our moral decline is irreversible, then America’s weakening and decline is irreversible. That goes against our national ethos. Part of what it means to be an American is that nothing is irreversible for this country. No challenge is too great.
Now, I would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind — particularly dumb — to suggest that everything about American culture is healthy, vital, vibrant, and wholesome. It isn’t. There are a lot of cultural problems in this country and I have written about them very extensively in the past in books like Hollywood vs. America.
The problem with the premise that our moral decline is irreversible is that people have been saying this since the 1640s (laughs)…it simply cannot be true that every single generation of Americans is the worst generation in American history.
In history, remember, there was a time when almost every Democrat wanted to secede, and those who didn’t were segregationists. Yet we overcame slavery against such odds. The 2010 elections were a great leap forwards in regards to correcting what many see having gone wrong in this greatest nation on God’s green earth. Not only this big gain, but since November second we have had 17 Democratic state legislators change their party affiliation to that of Republican. In order to keep this momentum, we need to stay away from complicated themes and zero in on the basics. Do you want big government or small. Its as simple as that. The larger the government, the smaller the individual. Not only is a smaller government a preferable economic position we are in need of desperately, but smaller government is a moral position.