Pastor Exposes Southern Baptist Deep State; Ed Stetzer Loses It
SBC Today, of which we are not ordinarily fond of because they are on the other side of the soteriological aisle and because their nomenclature of “traditional” is hardly astute, published an article entitled, “Is This the Evangelical Deep State”? Drawing parallels to the “Deep State” – an assortment of entrenched bureaucrats without ties to democratically elected leadership – which is more fact than fiction, Thomas Littleton sought to expose Southern Baptist leadership operating as (effectively) Manchurian Candidates on various issues in ways in which typical Southern Baptist church goers would not approve.
Littleton wrote about little that hasn’t already been covered exhaustively by Pulpit & Pen or mainstream press, cited his sources and made the case that Southern Baptist leadership is out of step with Southern Baptist membership. The case was hardly overstated. What Littleton is tapping into is the angst that many of us are feeling towards an increasingly social justice-oriented leadership class driven by New Calvinism (which we at Pulpit & Pen oppose as strongly as Arminianism). We have called this the Evangelical Intelligentsia. Littleton clearly diagnosed the tangled web between the ERLC-driven agenda of SBC leadership and progressive leftists, and even pointed out the Marxism of Tim Keller (a fact that has been written about extensively by ES Williams and covered by myself in my lecture on New Calvinism at the Judge Not Conference).
Put plainly, as fire-breathing five point Calvinists, Pulpit & Pen agrees with the “traditionalist” assessment that Russell Moore is dragging the SBC into the heart of social justice and through complicit compromise and association, along with Dr. Mohler and a whole class of Young, Restless and “Reformed” leadership in the SBC.
Concerning the Evangelical Intelligentsia, few figures have been more prominently entrenched in that ill-discerning ivory tower than Ed Stetzer. He responded harshly to the SBC Today article on Twitter.
Commenting below Stetzer is SBC sycophant and blogger, Dave Miller (aka The Company Man), of SBC Voices (you can read more about Dave Miller at our many posts about him here).
A few reminders about Ed Stetzer. Stetzer is the former VP of SBC’s Lifeway, the evangelical world’s largest seller of false doctrine, outright heresy, the prosperity gospel, Word-Faith theology and self-helpism. Stetzer has never, ever criticized Lifeway for publishing and selling anti-Trinitarian TD Jakes, theoerotic Anne Voskamp, direct and divine revelation prophetess Sarah Young, or omen interpreting Jonathan Cahn. Likewise, Ed Stetzer was given advance notice via email by Justin Peters that the book, “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” was not true, and he chose to respond by dismissing the young man who wrote the book and calling Justin Peters a “vociferous critic.” Months later, Alex Malarkey’s (the boy who did not come back from heaven) Open Letter to Lifeway was the biggest story in the world as he stingingly rebuked Stetzer, Rainer and other Lifeway executives for selling obviously false revelation.
In short, Stetzer was a theological crack dealer. He helped Lifeway sell absolutely, 100% false Gospel from charlatans and heretics without a single criticism. To this day, he has not sent so much as a sympathetic note to Alex Malarkey. Stetzer should hang his head in sackcloth and ashes and repent for profiting from patently false gospel, false prophecy, and false religion. Ed Stetzer does not have answers to evangelical problems. Ed Stetzer is the theological problem.
So, if Ed Stetzer wants to shame our colleagues at SBC Today for speaking what is basically truth, we thought it would be nice to help spread the word about this post even more and distribute it further among our larger audience.
The following was originally published at SBC Today, entitled, “Is This the Evangelical Deep State?”
FROM SBC TODAY
By now most of us have heard of former President Barack Obama’s covert operation “Organizing For Action.” OFA is a shadow government leading the resistance to President Trump’s voter mandated efforts to reverse many if not most of the Obama administration policies. Such well coordinated efforts by a “Shadow Government” are referred to as “The Deep State.” Wikipedia defines this type of electorate subversive manipulation thus: “In the United States, the deep state is an alleged entity that coordinates efforts by government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership.”
The Hand That Rocks the Evangelical Cradle
It shocks no one that the administration which has done more to undermine Constitutional Freedoms in the U.S. would wage a covert war to protect the radical policies it fought to put in place. What is shocking to many Christians are the radical renovations in and by evangelical leadership touted as a conservative response to Obama era challenges. In most cases the evangelical responses have proven to aid Obama’s dangerous polices rather than bolster defenses against them. The talking points in America have suddenly changed. Clarity over marriage and sexuality has been lost and language obscured in the face of Obergefell and nationwide attempts to open public school bathrooms to the sexually deviant at our children’s expense.
These Obama era policies have also impacted the doctrine of the Christian Church. The mission of the Church to preach the gospel of eternal salvation has given way to social justice /liberation theology and the Church itself is all but renamed as a “Faith Based Organization.” But who made these decisions for the Church? Who has written this new language and why? Whose unseen hand has orchestrated this overhaul of Christianity?
The Brazenly Contradicted Souls
As a Southern Baptist I will try to fairly assess a few of the players who, in fact, may be more “missional marionettes” than guiding hands. We will look later at the money and the actual hands in the proverbial Evangelical “Shadow Government.” The following paragraph may seem absurd at first but should prove to be quite accurate and disturbing.
Among Southern Baptist and conservative Reformed believers there is no name more trusted than Dr. Albert Mohler. Dr. Mohler is the long-time head of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. Due to his high office and reputation in the Southern Baptist Convention, Christians may find it hard to believe that Dr. Mohler would promote the pro homosexual ideology of the Obama era. However, in his promotion of urban ministry, Dr. Mohler also promotes a key player in the radical Human Rights Campaign’s LGBTQ “Equality and Inclusion” movement. “Absurd!” you may say. Yet facts do not lie; they are stubborn and inconvenient truths which often show the accepted wisdom to be false.
In 2008 Dr. Mohler (echoing a host of evangelical underlings) began to promote a key Urban Planning strategist, Richard Florida. Author of Rise of the Creative Class and Who is Your City, Florida is among the Human Rights Campaign’s favorite players in the pro homosexual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). Dr. Mohler offered this hearty endorsement of Richard Florida’s openly pro homosexual /inclusion of the LGBTQ “Creative Class” as necessary for success in Urban Planning and Community Development:
“Florida’s work is not without its critics, but the basic argument he presents is difficult to refute. For the intelligent Christian reader, the book raises several issues. The clustering of creative populations seems to correlate with areas evangelical churches have found difficult to reach. The creatives are clustered in more secular regions of the nation. All this should underline one major aspect of our Great Commission challenge in America and around the world.”
Now place this passionate endorsement of Richard Florida by Dr. Mohler alongside the assertions of Richard Florida himself in the 2017 HRC Municipal Equality Index.
“In short, LGBTQ equality is a moral imperative that pays—one that’s even more important than ever given the recent unprecedented rollback of hard won LGBTQ federal protections. The Municipal Equality Index highlights laws and policies that cities can use to make their community more LGBTQ-inclusive. It assesses cities on their non-discrimination laws, LGBTQ-inclusive employee practices, inclusiveness in city services and law enforcement; and their leadership’s outspoken commitment to equality. Taking these steps can help cities not only do the right thing, but create fairer economic opportunity for all.”
Either Dr. Mohler has failed to read the books he is reviewing here or he is endorsing Richard Florida’s pro homosexual assertions. Mohler’s admission that Florida’s pro LGBTQ concepts are “not without critics” would indicate he is aware of enough of them to know they are controversial and yet he concludes “the basic argument is hard to refute.” I have mentioned Richard Florida in a previous writing but other evangelical leaders have failed to match the Mohler infatuation with Florida’s LGBTQ Equality and Inclusion CULT.
The argument will be made that Dr. Mohler was not endorsing Florida’s pro-homosexual ideology but rather is exhorting the Church to fulfill the Great Commission via ‘city reaching.’ However, why then did Mohler outright abandon Reparative Therapy or so called “ex gay therapy” at the ERLC 2014 conference on “Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage” at the very time municipalities are working hard to pass local laws prohibiting and criminalizing such counseling with the broadest definition, including any NON AFFIRMING counsel on the part of PASTORS, Church counselors , Christian school counselors and EVEN PARENTS? These city and county efforts to please, appease, and make the grade for the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index are an LGBTQ shakedown.
Personal commentary: Dr. Mohler, in your sweeping rejection of conversion therapy and withdrawal of support for ministers and ministries working with those who wish to find help from the church to leave homosexual desires behind them, you have given GREAT occasion to the enemies of the Gospel to deny those “strugglers” the help THEY need and often seek as these laws would turn a pastor or a parent into a criminal in the eyes of local courts for offering Biblical Counseling to a /their child. A classic case of throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater by an evangelical leader who spends more time doing book reviews and cultural posturing than in the life trenches under live fire from fallout. Can you admit the LGBTQ agenda is taking you and us farther than you anticipated and that you have failed to offer the conservative leadership Christians look to YOU for? By endorsing Richard Florida, abandoning Reparative Therapy and offering the rhetoric of appeasement have you played into the hands of the Gay Lobby, sir?
Strange, Dare I Say It …”BEDFELLOWS”
Mohler protégé Dr Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist ERLC has been on the hot seat for some time among evangelicals who are paying attention to ERLC doublespeak and guilt projection on all issues related to Christian ethics and cultural engagement. The recent Nashville Statement offered great face saving opportunity on the LGBTQ issue for Moore, but his recent speech at the Acton Institute’s Acton University sheds unsettling light on the SBC leaders’ hidden ties and may point to the powers behind the Moore / Mohler enigma.
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty has long been at the forefront of cultural concern in the realm of religion. Its mission statement boasts “The Acton Institute is a think tank whose mission is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.”
Admittedly, Religious Principles is a broad term so it is only fair to ask which religion and whose principles are referred to. The best clue would be to look at Acton’s leadership. Its President is Catholic priest, Robert Sirico, and here is where some shocking revelations come into view. Rev. Sirico being a Catholic is reason enough for concern by some about the Acton/ Moore association but this ecumenical partnership pales in comparison to Rev. Sirico’s seldom mentioned past career.
Russell Moore and The Acton Institute’s “Gay Activist” Leader
According to Wikipedia and the gay pride historic book “Gay Seattle Stories of Exile and Belonging” by Gary L. Atkins, (page 161 and over a dozen mentions of Sirico in the second half of the book), in the 1970s, Robert Sirico was at the forefront of the gay activist movement in several cities on the West Coast. According to Atkins, Sirico was a major force in the “Pulpits of Healing” (chapter 9) movement to bring the homosexual community into acceptance in the Christian Community and in the churches. Sirico was raised on Coney Island but found his home among the radical West Coast homosexual rights movement on the cutting edge of its push for acceptance in the faith community. Only after Sirico left the area and a new Bishop came into power did this effort begin to payoff in the Catholic Diocese. By this time, Sirico was planting gay churches as part of the first homosexual denomination, Metropolitan Community Church. Sirico went from Pentecostal faith healer to homosexual activist pastor after admitting his homosexual desires since 13 years of age. In today’s culture he would be considered an LGBTQ Faith Activist which is a well paid career for thousands given the hundreds of millions annually funding the LGBTQ Equality organizations.
“Sirico was ordained a Pentecostal minister and established a healing ministry in Seattle around 1970/71. He became very popular and gained the support of several charismatic churches in the area. A foundation was established for the financial support of his ministry. During this time, according to Sirico, he believed that homosexuality was condemned by the Bible as a perversion. However, he soon found it ‘impossible’ to heal a person from being gay. He eventually made a public announcement that he was gay himself and intended to form a church for gays. This led to him losing the support of his healing ministry’s backers.
“In 1972, Sirico founded Seattle’s Metropolitan Community Church, which primarily ministered to gays. The church became a member of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). MCC had been founded in 1968 as ‘the world’s first church group with a primary, positive ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender persons.’
“In April 1973, Sirico and the MCC picketed the Seattle Police Department, claiming there was a ‘vendetta’ by the Seattle Police Department against homosexuals. In October 1973, Sirico was arrested in Seattle for ‘walking in the roadway’ after crossing the street to come to the aid of a gay man he saw was being arrested. In jail, Sirico was reportedly singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ until he was bailed out by a parishioner. The citation was later struck down at trial and Sirico was let off with a warning by the judge.
“In July 1973, Sirico went to lead the newly founded Metropolitan Church of Cincinnati.
“Sirico was a proponent of gay marriage and performed same-sex marriages as a Protestant minister. In 1975, Sirico performed the first gay marriage in the history of Colorado at the First Unitarian Church in Denver.
“Sirico left Seattle for Los Angeles, where he became the director of the Los Angeles Gay Community Center. In 1976, police conducted a raid at one of the center’s events, a ‘male slave auction.’ Sirico stated the event was merely a fundraiser for the center and that the police raided it in order to ‘discredit the image of gay people in this community for legislative gains.’”
Most important to note that after a time Robert Sirico made a return to the Catholic Church of his youth. He speaks in many places of a political and ideological conversion but makes NO MENTION of a change in his bold self-identifying as a homosexual or his radical faith activist role in the embryonic days of the gay rights movement. In a 2010 interview, Father Sirico was asked by a conservative Catholic writer about his homosexual /activist/ gay clergy history. His response was suspiciously evasive:
“An agreement with a professional journalist to whom I have been giving a series of interviews about the details of this journey prevents me from cooperating in any kind of profile of my life with you. I can,
however, respond to a number of your questions for the article you are writing which do not compromise this agreement.”
Sirico’s move across the ideological and political landscape is significant because, as we will see, he moved from ultra-liberal to Libertarian, whose policies mostly ignore moral and social issues like homosexuality and abortion, instead focusing on economic policy and smaller government. There’s no need to even speak to the issue of his radical past in the Libertarian camp. It is a non-issue. What IS an ISSUE is the role which we will soon see that Sirico’s organization plays in the CONSERVATIVE camp of the Southern Baptist and Presbyterians and among Reformed evangelicals.
It may seem unfair from an evangelical perspective to “judge” Rev. Sirico by his youthful past but the present mood among Catholic researchers considers this activist’s past serious enough to look longer and harder at his organization, Action Institute, and his ordination as a Catholic Priest in 1987. There have been numerous and persistent voices of concern over Sirico’s ordination to the Priesthood given his admitted homosexuality and radical past. His defiant statements like “two men in bed together is a holy experience… to hold one another close and confess together, Isn’t God Wonderful?” (Gay Seattle, page 162) The author goes on to say “Sirico refused to beg for understanding.”
Given that the ERLC Russell Moore is a speaker at Acton Institutes and his has even deeper (as we shall see) associations with Father Sirico, it would appear to be more than fair to ask if this has ANY INFLUENCE on Moore’s message for the ERLC on homosexuality? What is the ERLC/ Moore’s position on the radical history of Rev Sirico? He does not answer? Will our Southern Baptist spokesperson ANSWER?
Sirico’s past causes great concern among conservative Catholics. Here are several examples of their research.
Catholics Concerned About Father Robert Sirico
Randy Engels has written extensively on concerns over the Catholic Church welcoming and ordination of homosexuals to the priesthood. Her 5 volume series on this subject is titled The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church.
Further research specific to Father Robert Sirico can be found here and here and another writer Thomas Herron here. In “Robert Sirico and the Sins that Cry to Heaven for Vengeance” are found more recent activities including efforts to alter / protect the history of Russell Moore’s ally, Rev Sirico.
There are several “accounts of Rev Sirico’s conversion” according to Engel but most speak to his political conversion, such as, “In the early part of the decade, Sirico held Left-leaning political and economic views, even becoming involved with Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden and their campaign for economic democracy. However, after reading Friedrich von Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom, he became a libertarian.”
Sirico wrote about his journey from leftist politics to free-market economics: “I suppose the fact that I spent time on the left of the political spectrum isn’t the surprising thing. I mean, I’m a New Yorker; I’m a child of the ’60s; I went to seminary in the early 1980s, when a baptized form of Marxism was next to godliness. When you take all of that into account, my sojourn on the left has about it almost the inevitability of Marxist dialectic.”
Do Roman Catholics Speak for The ERLC and The Gospel Coalition When Communication is KEY?
You may say that Catholics and Evangelicals have long and helpful history partnering on social issues like abortion and marriage but these are conservative – not Libertarian – shared values. The common ground would then appear to be the issue of “social Justice” and NOT theological partnerships. However, Father Sirico is not a conservative socially or politically and, according to his 2002 booklet “Catholicism’s Developing Social Teaching” (page 19), Sirico boasted that Catholic social policy IS THEOLOGY, not political policy” So is Russell Moore’s partnering the ERLC with Acton Institute also an adoption of or endorsement for Catholic Theology on Social Policy? Fair Question? According to Father Sirico, Moore IS doing so.
To look closer and better understand the ties between the SBC’s Russell Moore, Al Mohler and other Evangelicals with Father Sirico and his Acton Institute, one need look no further than Joe Carter. A former military guy, Joe is a prolific writer and Senior Editor for the Acton Institute and Rev Sirico. Where it becomes strange and unsettling is that Carter is also an editor for The Gospel Coalition, according to the Acton bio, as well as Editor and Communications Specialist “go to guy” for the Russell Moore-led Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission.
THINKING THIS THROUGH together for a moment… Joe Carter came to the ERLC soon after Russell Moore’s ascent and radical altering of the standard conservative Southern Baptist messaging on key topics, especially LGBTQ issues. Carter serves as ERLC “Communications Specialist” while he still holds his Senior Editor job with Rev. Robert Sirico – the once radical left wing, Marxist gay activist Pentecostal (later) gay church pastor and founder of Metropolitan Community Churches (the world’s first gay denomination), who conducted some of the nations first gay marriages and boasted he would perform exorcisms to rebuke the heterosexual spirits from his opposition – who is now a Catholic Libertarian priest. If that is not disturbing we are simply NOT paying attention! Carter has also worked in high level editing positions with at least two other Catholic publications according to his biography.
The Gospel Coalition – Is This an Evangelical Progressive Movement Cloaked in Conservative Theology?
Currently there is immeasurable fallout over what appears to be a theological divide among Southern Baptists. Joe Carter is an Editor for The Gospel Coalition as mentioned above. This movement encompasses the Reformed camp of the SBC which has grown in number at least among young pastors under the leadership of Dr. Mohler and includes much of the heretofore conservative Presbyterian breakaway group – the PCA. The TGC movement also includes smaller reformed denominations and groups along with independents like John Macarthur and his vast network of affiliated churches. Formed around 2005, TGC is headed by then PCA rising star Tim Keller and D.A. Carson.
While The Gospel Coalition’s opening statement of its founding documents sounds great, a sobering consideration of its connections with Acton Institute and often progressive stance on conservative issues makes it reasonable to question why TGC is promoting a Liberation Theology of social justice and a biblically baseless “Theology of Place.” Add to this Joe Carter’s prolific messaging (TGC blog currently has 336 entries by Carter and at one point earlier this year was over 650 items by Carter) and it is a very honest assessment to say that Acton Institute and the radical Father Sirico have a huge reach into the Reformed camp of evangelicals, including the SBC and PCA.
Can we Biblically Judge the Tree by its Fruit?
Plainly put, a Libertarian, Catholic, political Institute founded by a controversial priest who helped birth the modern extreme radical West Coast homosexual rights movement and its invasion of the Christian faith community while working as a Pentecostal “Faith Healer” with Marxist leanings, a record of arrest and an “in your face” homosexual, founding gay churches and conducting some of the nation’s first gay marriages, is helping if not outright scripting the message of Reformed SBC (ERLC) /PCA / TGC Evangelicalism. If this is not a problem in our thinking then we do not understand that the battle for the soul of our culture is not waged with the liberal social justice mantra that TGC and these intoxicated talking heads like Russell Moore are regurgitating while espousing its loss. Rather, that battle for the “collective soul” of the church and our culture is a battle of words and ideas, to be waged with the eternal Word of God and the inspired message rooted firmly in God’s WORD.
Isn’t wrapping your progressive transformational strategies in conservative theological positions while promoting the message of a Libertarian, Catholic, former (?) radical homosexual activist akin to being a confidence man or a street hustler for TGC and ERLC? How is it NOT? These organizations have captivated a generation of young preachers and, with the advent of social media and a hearty web presence, the contorted message of the new evangelicalism has spread like wildfire. Who has vetted this message or its source or the strange affiliations in this transformational dance club? What toxic stew comes from brewing these ideologies together for a bowl of which the evangelical leaders in the reformed camp appear to willing to sell not only their birthright but also that of our denominations and our children’s future church? How is this considered kosher to a Holy God with a long history of rejecting mingled offerings?
Given that 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the tangible irony here is almost suffocating. If Catholic conservatives are concerned about Father Sirico and his corrupt influence in the Catholic Church then Evangelicals ought to take note of the DEEP STATE inroads made by a VATICAN policy, US-based Think Tank among SBC and PCA leaders!
What Other Bonds Abound?
The key to understanding the tie that binds these bedfellows is the work of Acton Institute in the area Social Justice. According to the November 29th 2017 Acton Institute Conference in Rome, Globalization and Social Justice are movements the Jesuits to which have long contributed and inspired the church toward addressing. Today’s Social Justice mantra, whether chanted by liberal humanist “Christians,“ conservative Reformed, Catholic or interfaith participants, is INSEPARABLY LINKED with “the City Reaching movement,” cultural narrative realignments (a kinder/ gentler Christian “civility”), urban growth , “church planting,” and White House Faith-Based Partnerships. In short, Social Justice is the new gospel and, if your leadership complies, it is becoming Big Business for the church.
Olasky’s Rules for Compassion
Marvin Olasky is a powerful influence on evangelicals as editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Acton Institute. Olasky’s history intersects with virtually all of the major ideologies corrupting the evangelical church. The biography of Olasky at NNDB states that he was born of a Jewish family, was an avowed atheist (at 14), a Marxist in High School and a “card carrying communist” as they used to say, in college. Like Sirico, Olasky’s political views changed mid life but in the case of Olasky, a spiritual conversion is professed. However, his Marxist ideologies may not have changed on his spiritual journey, given his role with Sirico and the Faith-Based ideology. It is said that Olasky’s book on “The Tragedy of American Compassion” inspired George W Bush’s compassionate conservatism branding and the Faith Based Partnerships first in Texas under then Gov Bush.
“In January 2001, [Olasky] saw the policies outlined in this book put into law with the creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. George W. Bush has called him ‘compassionate conservatism’s leading thinker’; in 1999, Olasky had chaired an advisory subcommittee on religion and public policy for the then-governor.’”
Acton and Sirico have played a major role as well in the hard sell of Faith-Based Partnerships, especially during the formation of the Obama administration under whose directives the LGBTQ compromises were hard wired into the programs and these directives have not changed under the Trump administration.
Although Olasky is credited with having inspired Compassionate Conservatism, the concept goes back to the mid 19thcentury with Fredrick Stahl‘s “Living Conservatism.” Stahl successfully persuaded Austrian and European Protestants to abandon their conservative convictions on the basis of a proposed softer approach to social issues while European Socialism took root. History appears to be repeating itself aided by the familiar talking points. Stahl, like Olasky was another person born into a Jewish family who converted to Christianity and, in Stahl’s case, history now bears out that he used his influence to weaken Christians in the evangelical churches in Prussia. The jury is out for now regarding Olasky’s influence, however, his work with Sirico/ Acton and Faith Based Partnerships does not bode well for the Evangelicals over whom he exerts tremendous influence. One of those under the influence is Tim Keller. A closer look will help you decide for yourself.
Civil City Utopian Prophets and The Funding Machine
The following collaborations outlined as bullet points show the depths of Faith-Based involvement of Tim Keller and other evangelicals and institutions. Several have been mentioned in previous articles without mention of the role Acton played in them.
- Leading up to the 2009 infusion of untold billions of tax dollars by the Obama administration into the Faith Based Partnership overhaul – Tim Keller (page 80) and Friends, including the Acton Institute, worked with a Faith Based Partnership model in Orlando called “Seeking the Welfare of the City” (STWOTC) which resulted in the Polis Institute. Richard Florida’s pro homosexual ideology was promoted by the Human Rights Campaign and Albert Mohler played a key role (page 76) as has the Acton Institute. Acton still heavily promotes the “Welfare of the City” concept which centers around Faith Based Partnerships. If participants like churches and ministries want to find funding to “save their cities” through Community Development grants, they must be inclusive and welcoming of one of the more destructive influences within the communities they are asserting they wish to help. The erosion of the family and sexual liberation are two of the most compelling issues urban centers face.
Even more broad reason for concern is that the Presbyterian Church of America’s (Tim Keller’s denomination) Reformed Theological Seminary was at the forefront of this STWOTC program development while both students and graduates helped in the implementation and the operation of Polis Institute. It now serves as an Urban laboratory of sorts for training future generation church leaders.
- As discussed in previous articles, the new mantra for evangelicals is “Civility.” Tim Keller, Rick Warren, three Christian universities, and a host of Faith Based Partnership players have convened and covenanted to “change the tone in the church toward homosexuals” and other minority groups. Given the inclusion of pro-gay urban planning in the new wave missional strategies and the agreement to change the conversation among church folk as they are “mobilized” for faith based partnerships, it is little wonder that The Gospel Coalition and denominational groups like the ERLC want someone like Father Sirico and Acton Institute to provide the talking points for the flock. Whether current or simply historical, Sirico would have great insight into how to make inroads into faith communities having done so in the 1970s. Inclusive inroads are requisite if the hopes of obtaining Faith-Based Partnership grants are to be realized.
Are Money Changers Funding Acton and an Evangelical Deep State?
- Another major player in what appears as an Evangelical Deep State is the National Christian Foundation of Alpharetta GA. According to its history with Conservative Transparency and a 2016 990 forms /report, the NCF has brought about $6 Billion into its Christian philanthropy circles since 2011 (page 15 of the 990 shows $1,396,381,203 in 2016 alone.) On requesting NCF to provide its donor and recipient list and history, the organization refused to supply any information whatsoever. Various philanthropic sites do track some of the money and its sources, but given that NCF is a “Donor ADVISED fund,” the agreement upon giving is the intention of the donor is to be recognized but not required in the distribution. What the Conservative Transparency tracking shows is that NCF giving in large part goes to political organizations like Acton Institute, Heritage Foundation, and a variety of organizations, many being Libertarian like Acton instead of conservative Christian organizations or ministries. NCF helps coordinate giving for the Frankfurt School / Marxist-inspired Civilitas Group in which Tim Keller and Rick Warren serve as Board Members.
Several left-wing exposés have been done of NCF, one by Mother Jones and another, ironically, by an LGBT activist group Two Care Center Against Religious Extremism. These researched articles show NFC again funding more politically focused organizations than ministries. (Acton is not on the LGBT investigation list perhaps by design.) AGAIN many of these organizations share the Libertarian views of Acton and are NOT Biblical, conservative groups. According to these reports, a great deal of the funding moves back and forth from NCF State Chapters and the national offices of NCF and lands back in the hands of local State Policy Institutes which are sister organizations of Acton.
A major common thread is the political Libertarian ideology and shared goals of encouraging Faith Based Partnership participation and engagement in the “Gospel of Generosity” and “philanthropic giving movement” touted by Tim Keller and other TGC partners as one of the arenas needing cultural redemption. A similar organization with shared influence from NCF founders admit to their inspiration from Charles Sheldon’s novel “In His Steps “ and it’s Social Justice mantra. Admission that the concept needed a Theology to maintain it begs the classic question which came first… the theology or the ideology that it supports? As with Acton and Rev. Sirico the answer is clear. To sell the ideology, the two must be presented as one. Is this an honest approach for objective Biblical teaching for fundraising?
A local NCF chapter in the Midwest has as its head a pastor who (according to his ordaining denomination, The Assemblies of God) has an “unusual ministry” as he pastors a church with five different addresses, one of which is an empty lot and no congregation or regular weekly service. This pastor was brought to our region to speak at a pastoral conference last year about Faith-Based Partnerships AND Philanthropy / NFC giving. Again he has no certain address/ often no weekly service / and from social media indicators – little or no congregation. Who is vetting these people?
Who Cares? You Should!
Should the church be concerned that conservative denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention and the PCA have shared Public Relations/Editing and message coordination (Joe Carter) with Acton Institute? Should conservative Christians not be made aware that our public policy spokesmen like Russell Moore of the ERLC and influential movements like The Gospel Coalition have these strong ties to Acton? Is this influence of a Libertarian /Catholic political policy organization founded by a priest, Father Robert Sirico, who has a long undisclosed history of LGBTQ radical activism, a concern for evangelicals? It still causes concern among informed conservative Catholics!
Since 2012 a marked departure from classic Evangelical conservative stance has taken place and Russell Moore, Tim Keller and others have been peddling the new, more civil, culturally relevant tone on social issues. Given that their partners, like Acton and Sirico, all share the goals of harnessing Christian giving while promoting a Social Gospel and Faith Based Partnerships (FBP) it is fair to ask, “WHY?”
Marvin Olasky, crowned the father of the Bush FBP agenda, later heavily funded and loaded with LGBTQ activism in the Obama years, provides conservative Christians with unquestioned news “from a Christian world view” in World Magazine. Perhaps he should answer for his Fellowship with Acton Institute and Father Sirico knowing the LGBTQ infiltration of these circles and the programs he (Olasky) promotes.
Would Albert Mohler, the highly regarded head of Southern Seminary and SBC/ TGC/ evangelical leader clarify exactly what part of Richard Florida and HRC’s pro gay urban planning he believes is so vital for the church that he endorses it along with other strategies of the homosexual agenda. There is little else in the Florida rhetoric except a heavy dose of Cultural Marxism. So what is the Appeal and what part of the ideology are we as the church to follow if NOT its push for LGBTQ “inclusion”?
Tim Keller, please tell us what is Biblical about the Marxist Frankfurt School or the socialist Vienna Circle under whose influence you have fallen? How far does “human flourishing, redeeming culture, and thriving cities” go in the churches before the Gospel is lost in the process of promoting human wisdom and compromise for the common good?
If possible it would help all conservative believers if any or all of you would step up and explain to those struggling to raise families, be faithful (even if not “relevant”) in their faith in and to the culture and the workplace in the MOST CHALLENGING TIMES Christians have ever faced in our nation. The doublespeak which would appear scripted by Acton Institute IS NOT HELPING!
Why Action, Sirico, Carter? Why Faith Based Tax Funds? Why would you knowingly or ignorantly partner to offer this pagan brew and strange fire on Evangelical altars? Is this an Evangelical Deep State – operating behind the scenes? Please simply respond to the “Christian on the street” whose churches and families and futures your influence directly impacts! Those who mislead the Church ought to heed the warning of James while there is yet time to repent. ”My brethren, be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the severer judgement” James 3:1. Voices asking for accountability may seem faint and obscure while drowned out by the massive load of finely tuned and edited Rhetoric of Acton evangelical affiliates like ERLC/TGC …. BUT given time and the fact that God’s flock have a better handle on Biblical truth than some suppose, those voices may not seem so faint for very long.
[Editor’s Note: SBC Today Article by Thomas Littleton, Commentary by JD Hall]