I know, I know, yet another political article. I promise to do better, but how can I ignore things like this? Brother PJ Miller tipped me off to this fromJ. Lee Gray, editor of the influential Charisma Magazine. Now similar to Christianity Today and Roman Catholics with evangelical Christians, Charisma Magazine should have been rejected by Pentecostals and charismatics once they started accepting oneness pentecostal anti – Trinitarian heretics among their midst. Here it is in black and white from J. Lee Grady’s pen:
2. Trinitarians must embrace our Oneness brothers. I know people in the Assemblies of God who were taught all their lives that the Jesus worshiped by Oneness Pentecostals is “another Jesus.” The Lord told us to love one another, but we have avoided this by declaring that our brothers aren’t really in the family.
So what excuse is there for calling Charisma Magazine anything but what it is, which is apostate? Even better:
It all sounds like pointless doctrinal hair-splitting to us younger types. After all, who can explain the mystery of God’s triune nature? Instead of fussing about terms or reducing the gospel to a baptismal formula, why can’t we rally around our common belief that the Father sent His Son to save the world?
Excuse me, but what vital Christian doctrine CANNOT that be said about? Creationism? It is too hard to understand. Baptism? It is too hard to obey. The incarnation? Can’t believe it. The resurrection? Can’t accept it. Salvation only through the cross? Can’t put up with it. Eternal damnation in the lake of fire for sinners? Can’t conceive it. Adulterers, liars, thieves, necromancers, occultists, homosexuals, and apostates in the pulpit? Judge not, touch not mine anointed and do my prophet no harm! Look, A FALSE GOSPEL CANNOT SAVE!
But enough of that digression. J. Lee Grady claims that Sarah Palin has the Deborah anointing. Now my position is that all of these various spirits that Pentecostals and charismatics speak of do not exist, as there is one Lord who has one spirit, the Holy Spirit. Also, the word “anointing” means “choosing”, when one is “anointed by God”, it means that a person was given a calling by God to a specific calling or ministry in service to the Lord and His people. So I would discourage Christians from going around saying that someone has “a David anointing” or “a Hezekiah anointing” or “Paul’s spirit”, but I will go ahead and say that it is a crude and possibly incorrect but still understandable way of saying that someone has the same office, calling, or task as another Christian.
On J. Lee Grady’s part, this is very problematic for two reasons. First, the Bible commands us to “lay hands quickly on no man.” That is 1 Timothy 5:22. Now the best context for this verse was the practice of the church laying hands on people when they choose officers for the church. Please recall that when Stephen the martyr and Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas were appointed as deacons in Acts 6:1-6. Verse 6 states that after the church selected them, the apostles laid hands on them after praying for them. Though laying hands on people was part of the ritual or process of actually choosing and placing people in the position of service, it became a shorthanded reference for the act of choosing and installing a person into Christian service itself. But please note Acts 6:1-6 and interpret it with 1 Timothy 5:16-25. In both cases, it is obvious that a person should not be laid hands upon, or chosen, or anointed, unless the person had demonstrated their worthiness for the position by their fruits: excellent reputations, spiritual maturity, strong knowledge of and adherence to the Word of God in the eyes of the local congregation.
Now unless Grady has some extensive past history with Sarah Palin that he for some reason chooses not to reveal in his column, he has NO BASIS for claiming under New Testament church standards that God has called this woman to leadership or anything else. If he has been in longtime Christian fellowship with Palin, he should have let us know this. Otherwise, we can presume that like 99.9% of America, he was so ignorant of this woman’s existence that he could not have picked her out of a lineup until now.
So claiming that Palin was appointed by God to anything is irresponsible, reckless, and dangerous because it causes Christians to presume that she is generally acting and leading according to God’s desires and even non – Christians that respect our faith to presume that she is basically honest and moral. Such claims also damage how Christians view church doctrines and practice. Talk like this hinders people from knowing that being called by God or even elected to service by the church MEANS SOMETHING. That there are STANDARDS that these people must adhere to in order to be eligible for their appointment (in the case of a deacon) and AFTER their appointment (in the case of church appointed deacons and God – called everything else). That people keep throwing around “I have an anointing, he has an anointing, I feel a great anointing and move of the Holy Spirit in this place” with the same level of care and discernment as they would use to say “boy that was a mighty fine and tasty bowl of oatmeal” is a great reason why we allow anyone – especially if he is a Christian – do whatever they want with no accountability whatsoever.
So what is Grady’s basis for alleging that Palin has a call on her life? Her politics. Her values. Her culture. Her family. Her actions as mayor and governor. And keep in mind: he knows NONE of these first hand! He only knows them by their reports from people who have a motive to portray Palin in the best possible light for worldly reasons, and of course Grady is ignoring all of the people with opposing views of this woman’s performance and character. They’re just liberals who reject the Bible, right? Now if they were “Jesus Christ was born again in hell” Word of Faith teachers, “Jesus Christ was rich” prosperity doctrine teachers, or “God the Father suffered and died on the cross” United (oneness) Pentecostals, they’d be good credible people, right?
This is replacing true Christianity, which is of the spirit, with a works – based religion of the flesh. Of the circumcision. And you know what? It is a very shallow one at that. Islam, Judaism, Hinduism … do you know what those religions require before a person is declared worthy, a lifetime process of rigorous spiritual, religious, and personal demands? Muslims according in particular to their belief system have no assurance of their salvation when they die (unless they perish in a holy war) no matter their dedication to Islam during their lives. But Grady – and those like him – are willing to say that just because we like what we KNOW of her church (its denomination is similar to mine), her culture (small town self – reliant Alaska outdoorsmen are more holy and sanctified than those inner city welfare mothers?), her lifestyle (a married mother of five is more holy than, you know, a married mother of two or a single mother of any amount?) and her political beliefs?
The last one is key. Because she shares my values, her daughter being pregnant out of wedlock is fine. It is covered by, you know, grace. But since Jamie Lynn Spears and her family does not share my values, it is horrible. No grace for you! And as for Obama, we can dismiss him by saying that if it was his daughter he would have forced her to have an abortion, convicting him in advance for something that he hasn’t even done yet and we have no idea whether he would! The opposite of grace for you! Never mind the fact that pro – abortion people who have unwanted pregnancies choose to have the baby all the time. Never mind the fact that pro – life people who have unwanted pregnancies have abortions all the time. (Studies assert that evangelicals have the same abortion rate as the national average, some claim that it is even higher.)
Now, THIS is where the 30 years of James Dobson Focus on the Family religious right mindset of conferring righteousness on people based on their lifestyles, cultures, affiliations, and political beliefs has gotten us. And we really are entering a sort of danger zone here. Where J. Lee Grady has generally not been one given to trying to influence politics, he goes and calls this woman God’s prophet. And Albert Mohler, usually a no – nonsense figure who also avoids religious right politics and is no supporter of Pentecostalism, has basically endorsed Palin, something that I can find no evidence whatsoever that he did for Mike Huckabee, a leader of his own denomination. If this is not Phariseeism as expressed in the political and cultural context, what is?
As I said of Grady, if Mohler has some pre – existing relationship with this woman that causes him to regard her as being worthy of his endorsement based largely on her being a Christian (or should I again say a Christian with the “right” cultural markers … where in the Bible does it say that shooting bears, eating mooseburgers, living in the frontier, and having 5 kids places you closer to the kingdom of heaven or is evidence of the inner workings of the fruits of the Holy Spirit?), then he should let us know. Otherwise, it is AT BEST reckless and irresponsible. At worst, it is showing much more respect than he ever would to even another professed Christian that came in different packaging. Would Grady and Mohler be as effusive over a Methodist from Chicago or Episcopal from Baltimore, especially if they were Democrats, even if they were right on the doctrinal issues and the political ones directly related to them (i.e. abortion and homosexuality)?You know the answer to that question and so do they.
And that is just the first part. The second concern is not nearly as lengthy but even more important. Go back to the book of Judges, chapter 4 in particular for this “Deborah anointing” issue. What was the situation? The children of Israel were at war with an enemy that, oh well, could be compared to the Muslims of today without being too far off. What did God choose Deborah to be? His prophetess through whom He spoke His Word. Again, why did God raise up prophets and judges in those days? TO USE THEM TO LEAD ISRAEL IN BATTLE AGAINST THE ENEMY. And what happened? Though Barak was the judge and the leader of the army, THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF, he would not go into battle against the ancestors of today’s MUSLIMS, in particular THE PALESTINIANS, without God’s prophetess Deborah on the battlefield leading him. Why? Because though Barak had been called by God to lead the army, because of his weak character and faith he was unwilling to do so without a woman of stronger character and faith at his side.
So here we are in America in a war against terror against a Muslim ideology. And – if their electoral hopes and dreams are fulfilled as I think they will be – the commander in chief will be another Barak, a man who professes Christian faith (raised Episcopal but now Southern Baptist evangelical) but does not wear it on his sleeve in the appropriate manner or keep company with the right and proper powerbrokers in the evangelical world (as a matter of fact Palin is his third try at short circuit people like Dobson and also the more Baptist – oriented evangelicals for lesser known Pentecostal figures like John Hagee and Rod Parsley) and is not sufficiently socially conservative in his beliefs.
So where Barak fell short in his true faith, McCain similarly falls short in this new universalist pluralist ecumenical dual covenant (or truthfully many covenant!) works based religion that serves the aims of the religious right. Again, never forget that the preferred candidate of most of this crowd was Mormon Mitt Romney, who fit their “culture and views” requirements precisely and the fellow’s actual religious doctrines (as well as his basic honesty and integrity or more accurately his complete lack thereof) was of no consequence. (Extending this a bit, this also explains J. Lee Grady’s embrace of oneness pentecostal heretics, whose beliefs are totally wrong, but who nonetheless have been a part of the Pentecostal religious scene since 1916, are growing in prominence and influence especially in music and with famous preachers/televangelists and their many theologians in Pentecostal seminaries and Bible colleges, so they must be accepted.)
So the morally flawed less than faithful Barak – McCain needs the pure and faithful prophetess Deborah – Palin at his side to fight the Lord’s battle and win against the Philistines – Muslims. (Please note: correlating Philistines and Muslims is not so coincidental when you consider that the term Palestine, or PALESTINIAN, is what the Roman Empire came up with to denote the Philistines, and they named Israel Palestine after their ancient enemies to spite and mock the Jews.)
I suppose that in this imagination, their first Muslim conquest will be on election day against Barack HUSSEIN “McCain has not made in issue of my Muslim faith/I still remember the Muslim call to prayer at my madrassa, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world” Obama. That is fine. What then? Will the prophetess Deborah – Palin tell Barak – McCain to put every Muslim in Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Somalia, Chechnya, Turkey, Kosovo, Kenya, PALESTINE, etc. to death with the sword? Or more accurately WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS? I don’t know Mr. Grady, that sounds more like McCain anti – Christ Palin false prophet to me! (So you folks thinking that Obama is the anti – Christ may have the right time but the wrong candidate!) Maybe your interpretation of scripture is different. Then again, it would have to be for you to claim that we are brothers with people who blatantly deny scripture by rejecting Trinity, not to mention those who preach the false prosperity and Word of Faith doctrines.
You might say that Grady did not have a militaristic – eschatological intent in calling Palin “Deborah”, that he was only looking for a woman in a leadership position. First of all, even if that were the case, the guy is still wrong. Do you know why? Because words mean things. Especially words from the Bible. We can’t just go around throwing Bible terms and references around because they sound nice, make us feel good, and help us advance or win arguments (or elections). God raised up Deborah to a specific office to perform a specific task. Claiming that a woman that is being appointed to run a college or a bank or even a church ministry is bad enough because of the context. But saying the same of a woman who actually would be the advisor to a commander in chief to a nation that is at war is making a direct parallel between McCain and Palin and the actual Barak and Deborah of the Bible that cannot be ignored!
Also, this paragraph by J. Lee Grady proves that he is not merely applying a Biblical female leadership analogy, even in poor context:
When McCain announced that he had chosen Palin as his running mate, I was reminded of the biblical story of Deborah, the Old Testament prophet who rallied God’s people to victory at a time when ancient Israel was being terrorized by foreign invaders. Deborah’s gender didn’t stop her from amassing an army; she inspired the people in a way no man could. She and her defense minister, Barak, headed to the front lines and watched God do a miracle on the battlefield. In her song in Judges 5:7, Deborah declares: “The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel” (NASB). Sometimes it takes a true mother to rally the troops.
Seriously, what else am I supposed to think when I read something like that? So in less than 30 years Christians have gone from cheering when Ronald Reagan largely endorsed the claims of Mormon founder Joseph Smith in declaring America to be New Jerusalem in his “we are the shining city on a hill” speech (which basically gave salvation to all who earned it by agreeing with Reagan culturally and politically, and condemned all dissenters to the lake of fire … hey didn’t Palin’s pastor do largely the same in alluding that Bush critics and Kerry voters are going to the lake of fire?) to claiming that God will use Palin to raise up his army?
This is where the religious right and the false doctrines surrounding it is taking Christanity, people. (The religious left is no better, so don’t even try it.) If you wish to make your calling and election in Jesus Christ sure, you had best repent yourself of it and love the next world and not this one.