A United States government intelligence analyst and counter-terrorism expert has issued a warning about Pulpit & Pen and what he calls the so-called “Evangelical Dark Web.” The analyst has evaluated the influence of our “insurgency” and then issued bullet-points for how to best resist our influence.
Brian Auten is a counter-terrorism expert, a “supervisory intelligence analyst with the United States government” and also serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Government at Patrick Henry College. Putting his intelligence experience to use, Auten gave a briefing to the Social Justice Warriors and evangelical leftists about increasing growth and influence of the “Evangelical Dark Web” (as he calls it).
Auten, who has been analyzing the “exploding interest in more communitarian aspects of church life and the integration of the gospel with what might be labeled “progressive” social justice concerns” since at least 2009, also teaches Counterterrorism at PHC’s Special Intelligence Program. He writes for the Roman Catholic and ecumenical First Things, and serves the Center for Public Justice, a leftist think-tank with political Dark Money funding. The Center for Public Justice regularly partners with the progressive National Association of Evangelicals and the liberal Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The article from the intelligence analyst, entitled Notes on the Evangelical Dark Web, says…
The “evangelical dark web” is a designation adopted by a group of evangelical social media personalities and bloggers centered around a few various web sites such as For the Christian Intellectual, Pulpit and Pen, Sovereign Nations, and Enemies Within the Church. The movement is a self-proclaimed insurgency meant to combat perceived liberalism in other evangelical organizations and denominations. While it’s own positions are broadly in keeping with the political beliefs of the old guard Religious Right, it’s rhetorical positioning is more in keeping with a neo-fundamentalist stream of evangelicalism.
Defining the so-called Evangelical Dark Web…
One could assert that the self-proclaimed “evangelical dark web” is insurgent in character. Its overall aim is institutional takeover. Its intermediate aim is intellectual capture of the “target population” (e.g. 18-30 year old conservative evangelicals, particularly males).
Its strategy is multi-form and typical for insurgencies:
*embarrass the regime in power
*make it [the regime] appear weak and corrupt
*create (online) zones of counter-control
*tempt the regime in power to over-respond in a heavy-handed and/or inept manner
*through expansion of its captured target population over time, overwhelm the regime.
Its primary tactic: the rhetorical hammer.
To be honest, that’s pretty accurate. Auten is probably a good intelligence analyst.
Really…stone-cold accurate. Well done.
However, then the counterterrorism expert informed his Evangelical Intelligentsia reading base how to run counter-insurgency attacks and defenses against the Evangelical Dark Web:
Granting that characterization, an obvious question for those orthodox Protestant Christians who reject the evangelical dark web is how to run an effective counterinsurgency against the “evangelical dark web?” These are some embryonic thoughts:
Counterinsurgency has three traditional components: isolate and degrade insurgent activity, build target audience resiliency (e.g. strengthen, defend, and counter-radicalize), and lastly, if and where needed, reform the at-risk regime.
Well, this advice is nothing new. As I wrote back in 2014, citing Nicolaus Klein (although the quotation is often attributed to Gandhi), “First they ignore you. Then, they ridicule you. Then, they attack you and burn you. And then, they build monuments to you.”
Ridiculing or mocking is what Auten means by, “isolate and degrade insurgent activity.”
Then, also as I explained back in 2014 in the hyperlink above, they then attack. This is what Auten means by “counter-radicalize.”
By “counter-radicalize,” Auten does not mean that the Intelligentsia should themselves attack, but that they should radicalize their minions to do it for them (like the ERLC uses its Research Fellows). In fact, Auten clarifies that the worst thing our enemies could do is to address us directly.
Auten writes, “A critique of the evangelical dark web by the Gospel Coalition, ERLC, the New York Times, Washington Post, or the Southern Poverty Law Center, or a byline by Emma Green, Peter Wehner, John Fea, Warren Throckmorton, et. al. will backfire and easily become ammunition for the next round of attacks.”
Spot on advice.
I’m not trying to help the enemy, but eventually, their ego gets the best of them and when they directly respond, they lose…every time. Their only option, should they want to survive, is to ignore or retreat.
However, it’s the third stage of resistance that Auten begrudgingly suggests that I’m most interested in. Auten writes, “and lastly, if and where needed, reform the at-risk regime.”
If the “regime” would just reform to begin with, we wouldn’t have to be out doing ideological guerrilla warfare in the first place.
According to Auten, the Evangelical Dark Web includes For the New Christian Intellectual, Pulpit & Pen, Sovereign Nations, The Capstone Report, and Enemies Within the Church.
I don’t speak for any of the other organizations, but I will go on record as saying there is a resistance.
There are many of us, thousands upon thousands, who are the Social Justice Contras. We cannot be eradicated. We cannot be silenced. Our cause is righteous. Our weapon is truth.
We live in the “regime’s” head, rent-free. We keep them up at night. We are, for them, the boogeyman and the Jabberwocky. And in the end, we are the monster under their bed. Behind every bush and under every rock, you’ll find part of the resistance, and we are ready.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (Romans 10:3-5).
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