Matt Chandler’s Village Church and the American Left: Giving Leftist-Islamic Groups a Foothold in the Church
The conservative movement, and more importantly the conservative evangelical church, is being undermined and compromised by well-known evangelical leaders. Men, such as Matt Chandler, are accommodating and participating in interfaith dialogues with groups who share ties to radical Islam. It is no longer leftists in this country finding friends only within organizations of the religious left. Today the agenda of the American left has also found a home within the mainstream leadership of the conservative, evangelical church.
Pastoring one of the largest churches in Dallas, The Village Church, Matt Chandler currently serves as president of the ACTS 29 network, and he is also on the leadership council of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. (The current president of Ethics & Religious Liberty is Russell Moore, who has recently been embroiled in a battle over his organization’s decision to file an amicus brief on behalf of a Muslim group attempting to build a mosque in New Jersey.)
In addition, Chandler is a popular speaker at Christian conferences across the country. Therefore, his far-reaching influence amongst conservative Christians cannot be underestimated.
In response to the growing interfaith movement between Muslims and Christians, Shahram Hadian, an Iranian Muslim convert to Christianity says Christians are being played like a fiddle. They are either naïve or deceived. He is now a Christian pastor who recognizes the dangers of blending Islam and Christianity.
Taking a close look at the activities and the alliances being formed, it is clear that this is not about Christian evangelism. To the contrary, it is about the conservative Christian church being seduced by those who practice Islam, a false religion. While the followers of Allah join with Christians in interfaith campaigns, Christian participants continue to ignore Scriptural warning against it. Consequently, those who in the past may have been considered conservative Christian leaders are being robbed of spiritual alertness and discernment.
Furthermore, it is too serious to ignore the dangerous mixed messages Chandler’s church is currently sending, and, as we have learned from Mark Driscoll, former president of ACTS 29, there can be two sides to a ministry: one side that speaks the truth while the other side undermines and perverts it.
Therefore, as we will see in the case of Matt Chandler and the ministries he supports, two radical Islamic groups have been involved with ACTS 29 leaders, and even most recently within Chandler’s own church. Collaborating behind the scene are CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations and ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America–two groups very involved in Christian/Muslim bridge-building projects.
It is well documented that both CAIR and ISNA were founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Their objectives in America have been declared; destroy our society from within.
Per Jamie Glazov, the managing editor of FrontPage magazine, they “manipulate and exploit dialogue with us as a weapon to weaken and destroy us…a tactic found in Muslim Brotherhood documents.” Furthermore, Glazov warns, “ISNA,…was an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal prosecution of the Hamas-funding Holy Land Foundation. It was listed in a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum as one of ‘our organizations and the organizations of our friends.’ Based on its long record of advancing the Islamist worldviews, ISNA has been described as ‘one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States.”
Therefore, it is alarming that on November 2, 2016, two pastors on staff at The Village Church, including the director of The Village Church’s SEEK THE PEACE spoke and showed their support at an event co-sponsored by ISNA, the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign and FFEU, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. (Russel Simmons is the chairman of http://www.ffeu.org/ ) The meeting was held at the Islamic Center of Frisco and as stated by FFEU, participants publicly signed the Religious Freedom Pledge, which was launched in 2016 at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
The pledge commits leaders to “uphold and defend the freedom of conscience of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out, without reservation, against bigotry discrimination, harassment, and violence based on religion or belief.”
Furthermore, per FFEU, the endorsers of the pledge will “call on public officials to uphold these same values, particularly in this season of heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes.” Additionally, an Imam said that by coming together at the Fresco mosque just days before the election, the participants were making the case that we “will not allow the poisonous political discourse penetrate our communities. WHEN WE JOIN TOGETHER LIKE THIS, IT IS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE.”
Village staff pastors participating were Pastor Richard Brindley and Pastor Kyle Worley, and a Village Church layman, Jason Clarke, who is the director of SEEK THE PEACE, a group financially, supported by The Village Church. (source) Clarke shows his partnership with The Village Church.
Seek the Peace is also actively involved in the liberal politics of the resettling of Syrian refugees into the country. On January 20, 2016, a posting from “We Welcome Refugees” was on Seek the Peace’s Facebook page calling on followers to stop a bill in the Senate, which they said would “grind to a halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.” Their stated position was to increase in the coming year the number of refugees to 200,000 (including 100,000 to be Syrians refugees) to be admitted to the U.S.
Then to fit the liberal narrative, The Village Church has also bought into the social justice language of the old social gospel describing Jesus as a Refugee. (source) In addition, they further this agenda by linking from their church site to the International Rescue Committee. The President and Chief Executive Officer is David Miliband. Miliband is currently running for a top United Nation’s development job and he has also been an outspoken critic of the Brexit movement, and conservative/Trump efforts to protect American borders. The following article reflects his political support of global and “international order.” It has been reported he had been tipped for a senior job in a Hillary Clinton administration if she had won the US presidential election.
The politics of International Rescue Committee is clearly fighting against conservative Republicans and the Trump administration’s temporary ban of immigrants entering the country. Consequently, one would be negligent in not asking why Matt Chandler and his church ministries are validating and accommodating groups working against the efforts of conservative Christians? (Listed overseers of the International Rescue Committee include: Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Rhonda Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers.) (source, source)
Another internally very connected group to The Village Church is Peace Catalyst International. This group has is not only linked to online from Village Church sites but also the profile of Peace Catalyst staff member, Sarah Long, shows she is also on staff at Chandler’s Village Church. Long’s active involvement in setting the tone of a liberal, politically correct agenda within the church is evident in her article titled Engaging Muslims.
Per her article following her mosque-speaking experience where she presented her stand against so-called discrimination, hate crimes, and oppression, Ms. Long provided clear instructions on how Christians must stand against the rise of “Islamophobia.” Usage of this liberal term by Sarah Long is telling because it is a term created by the left to silence and intimidate anyone that disagrees or interferes with their political position.
Ms. Long’s rules of engagement included “visit your local mosque,…Be sensitive to where the Christian West has failed to look like Jesus, …Talk about Jesus but carry no agenda, … Don’t criticize Muhammad, the Qur’an, or anything about the Islamic faith, …We must be more committed to our relationships than to be right. We must push back against the hateful rhetoric being spoken about all Muslims.” Then, listed under her “Recommended resources” are “Seek the Peace,” and “Peace Catalyst International.”
Matt Chandler’s alliance with Peace Catalyst presents another question regarding with whom he is willing to accommodate and associate. As we will see further on in this paper, from all outward appearances, Peace Catalyst has a track record of partnering with left leaning or any Mbeenuslim group regardless of their track record. Furthermore, the sentiment and heart of this group can be seen in the words of their organization’s president Rick Love.
Responding to concerns raised due to Love’s support of A Common Word Between Us and You, a letter from Islamic leaders to Christian leaders, he defended his position and said, “ I do not hesitate to refer to the God of the Bible as Allah, since Arab Christians before and after the birth of Islam use the term Allah to describe the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Moreover, he also said, “I believe that Muslims worship the true God.”
Rick Love’s faulty doctrine sums up why Muslim leaders and “Christians” were quick to join arms in fellowship. The “Christians” were not discerning and too eager to find common ground. They didn’t even get to first base before they had already weakened the Christian faith. Consequently, we now have CAIR and ISNA within the church.
This careless willingness to ignore the truth and overlook the background and character of those in our fellowship is putting us also in the path of others who are even more reckless. For example, while Rick Love sports his Christian credentials, he is also courting and validating those who do not share what he says he claims to believe.
As the president of Peace Catalyst, Rick Love is also on the advisory board of the organization Charity and Security Network, a group funding by groups such as George Soros’ Open Society, the United Muslim Relief and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Others on this advisory board include the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the ACLU. The Charity and Security Network states that since U.S. law makes it a crime to conduct almost any transaction with a terrorist group, it is restricting “peacebuilding groups to train terrorist groups on how to use nonviolent means to address their grievances.” What are they saying? Are we to trust them to bring peace to the Middle East?
(Note: Rick Love is also a member of the Peacebuilding Global Advisory Council: http://www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org/our-work/about-our-work/peacebuilding-evaluation/effective-inter-religious-action-in-peacebuilding/ )
The groundwork for much of this had been laid many years before. For example, Matt Chandler announced in an interview with John Piper on the topic of “Social Justice” that a layman in his church had started an organization called Free City International. Chandler stated the goal of this group was to serve as a HUB for the Middle Eastern culture in Dallas. (As stated on its current website, the group was founded in 2008 but the name was changed to SEEK THE PEACE.)
(In above video, hear Chandler’s remarks around minute 5:06-5:28.)
In addition to the forming of Free City International, ACTS 29 leaders already had their fingers involved in the interfaith movement. In 2010, ACTS 29 showed their willingness to dialogue with CAIR when an ACTS 29 church invited members of CAIR to a church in Renton, Washington. Reports included the participating Muslims were even allowed the call to prayer within the walls of this “Christian” church. WorldnetDaily was on top of this story with one of their headlines stating: “Christian question: ‘Interfaith dialogue’ or ‘useful idiots’? Growing trend to meet with Muslims rings bells of alarm for some.”
(Hear the audio from the Muslim/Christian dialog here)
The response from CAIR to this March 27, 2010, event can be summed up by Imam Mohamad Joban. Commenting on their success, he stated, “What happened this past Saturday night at Harambee Church was a bounty of our Lord. …It was a combination of thoughtful preparation, generous efforts by the organizers, and our trust in Allah.” (source)
The Pastor of Harambee Church at the time was Mike Gunn, co-founder of Mark Driscoll’s Seattle Mars Hill Church. Gunn has also served as the acting director of ACTS 29 International. In his lengthy rebuttal to the concerns raised regarding his accommodation of CAIR, he stated whether or not CAIR has ties to Hamas “is irrelevant.” Gunn also accused those who disagreed as showing a “…kind of legalistic nonsense.”
However, it appears the major organizer of the Harambee interfaith event was Michael Ly, co-pastor of Harambee Church. A CAIR news release also described him as “Vice president of Peace Catalyst International.” Ly’s name is also given by CAIR as a contact person for other interfaith endeavors.
Accord to a Seattle Times article 9/7/2010, Ly’s next big project was to work with CAIR to organize a dinner inviting 20 imams and other Muslim leaders, and 20 pastors and other Christian leaders “mainly from conservative evangelical churches.”
Ly may have left the Seattle area but his activities and influence have indeed expanded as he is now listed as not only the co-founder of Peace Catalyst International, but he also serves on staff.
Matt Chandler and other Evangelical leaders going down this road are not protecting the Church or the country. Their hospitality is being taken advantage of to advance a liberal, leftist cause. In the process, they are neutralizing and watering down the clarity of the gospel message and undermining efforts to keep our nation safe.
This is not the time for a lack of courage or compromising men. Yet, now, they appear to be the ones given the strongest voice and platform. We are fighting against an evangelical establishment that in many ways may be just as strong as the entrenched Republican Party establishment. Both battles will not be for the weak at heart.
As believers, it is one thing to show the love of God and share the gospel with Muslim neighbors. But, it is an entirely different business to work with and corroborate with false teachers or with those who are hell bent on the destruction of Western civilization.
Contrary to comments made by the leader of Peace Catalyst suggesting Christians and Muslims pray to the same God, he is wrong. Scripture states, “Whoever…does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house…” 2 John 9-11. In other words, hospitality and love must be discerning. Otherwise, Christians may aid those who are attempting to destroy basic truths of the faith.
I am reminded of the wisdom of a godly man who warned the church: “Follow discerning leaders.” However, it is obvious that today far too many of our “Christian leaders” are ignoring the warning.
Regardless of the motives of Matt Chandler and other like-minded men, the consequences of their leadership are the same. They have been careless in not protecting the Church and thus, the conservative evangelical church is being attacked from within.
George Soros understands the importance of using the church to implement his aggressive refugee resettlement program throughout Europe and the west. He wrote in the World Economic Forum September 28, 2015, where I found linked to from SEEK THE PEACE blog:
“Finally, to absorb and integrate more than a million asylum seekers and migrants a year, the EU needs to mobilize the private sector – NGOs, church groups, and businesses – to act as sponsors.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/09/6-ways-europe-must-respond-to-the-refugee-crisis/