“I am tired of wasting my time with cowards,” retired United States Army lieutenant general and Delta Force founder William G. Boykin stated at the Family Research Council’s (FRC) May 21-23, 2014, Washington, DC, Watchmen on the Wall conference. Special Forces veteran Boykin closed a pre-Memorial Day pastors’ conference notable for repeatedly calling for bold Christian witness in the political realm to moral principles of a righteous God.
Christians in modern America “got to act more like an army than a church,” Boykin concluded while referencing Ephesians 6:10-17’s famed description of spiritual warfare. America’s modern pastors require a “militant concept” of their self-understanding in an “army of shepherds,” a combat fatigue-clothed Bishop Henry Jackson had concurred the previous day. “Battle is your calling” for a time of moral conflict, Representative Tim Wahlberg likewise quoted Dutch theologian, journalist, and politician Abraham Kuyper.
While discussing combat wounds and narrow escapes such as a double parachute malfunction during his first skydive, Boykin distinguished physical and moral courage, qualities not always present in the same person. America’s culture war “battle is getting nasty,” Boykin commented upon the August 15, 2012, attempted mass shooting of FRC staff like Boykin by the homosexual Floyd Corkins II. Corkins had made all too literal the metaphor of FRC president and former Marine Tony Perkins that “when you stand up, expect to take shots.” No longer able to serve with commandos, the retired Boykin “knew where I am supposed to be in this phase of my life” because of Corkins, namely with the morally courageous FRC. Other Christians should similarly “shake off the dust” and prefer smaller to larger churches if the latter merely presents the Bible as a matter of private piety and not public morality on issues such as marriage.
“God hates cowards,” people “at the top of His list” of sinners in Revelation 21:8, evangelist Franklin Graham bluntly stated during his dinner address the night before Boykin. Cowards “know the truth but refuse to speak it” because “speaking out for truth will be controversial; it will get you in trouble.” “Looking like the culture, smelling like the culture” describes some pastors today seeking to avoid public scorn.
Yet the “Lord Jesus Christ was a target” while, before ordering Jesus’ crucifixion, Roman governor Pontius Pilate infamously washed his hands. “You talk about a coward,” Graham sneered. Indeed, Christianity’s “greatest controversy” is not any sexual stricture but Jesus’ claim of spiritual uniqueness in John 14:6, something “that slaps” other religions “in the face.” “So what, chop it off,” Franklin declared in considering personal liability to various historic persecutions for Jesus’ followers like beheading. “You are not going to shut me up.”
Christians have a “responsibility to speak the truth” in an America where faith and freedom are “under assault,” Senator Ted Cruz had stated earlier in the day. A well-funded and -organized “radical homosexual agenda…is trying to take over the nation,” Jackson warned.
“Demonic power” behind groups like the American Civil Liberties Union that are trying to push Christianity out of the public sphere and “fundamentally transform this country” even appeared to former Virginia lieutenant governor candidate E. W. Jackson.
“The world into which many of us were born is gone,” messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn observed. Modern America, like ancient Israel, is a “nation that once knew God, but turned away from God,” falsely viewed as a “cosmic personal trainer,” towards materialism and sensuality. Indeed, the “culture we knew growing up was the exception,” as Israel’s repeated Old Testament failings show.
Thus “these are the times of Elijah” in which the “people of God will be persecuted,” Cahn warned. The homosexual agenda, for example, “was never about tolerance, it was about the exchange of one morality for another.” “If you don’t deal with this in the public square, you will deal with this within the doors of your church, the doors of your house.”
Fox News journalist Todd Starnes, a “Duck Dynasty guy in a Miley Cyrus world” where the “government is twerking all over us,” examined Christian persecution’s dimensions moderating the Faith under Fire Panel. Liberty Institute lawyer Michael Berry described how United States Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk’s non-affirmation of his commanding officer’s lesbianism almost ruined his career one year short of retirement. San Antonio pastor Steve Branson later elaborated during his presentation on the “havoc” official military approval of homosexuality has created. Some men in his congregation serving with Monk at nearby Lackland Air Force Base have received Miranda warnings nine times.
Proponents of homosexuality inappropriately demand that Christians “leave Jesus out of their business,” FRC Center for Religious Liberty Director Travis Weber discussed with Starnes. Duck Dynasty family member Alan Robertson later explained how his father Phil Robertson, a “culture changer” with the “heart and the mindset of a prophet,” was willing to suffer like John the Baptist in the private sector for opposing homosexuality. Craig James likewise recounted losing a sportscaster position for an earlier expression of “not my definition,” but “God’s definition” of man-woman marriage during a Texas senate campaign debate with Cruz.
To affect this persecution, Christians cannot wash off politics as a “dirty business” like Pilate, Cruz’s pastor father, Rafael, stated during lunch. Dismissal by Christians of matters like abortion and marriage as a “political issue” has only allowed secular humanism to advance with its precepts of “if it feels good do it” and “you are your own God.” Yet Thomas Jefferson’s famous 1802 “separation between church and state” letter to the Danbury Baptists envisioned only a “one-way wall” shielding religion from rulers, not politics from the pious.
By contrast 29 of 56 Declaration of Independence signers were seminary graduates. Even supposed Deists such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin respectively later attended Capitol church services while president and called for prayers during the 1787 Constitutional Convention. In contrast to “hiding behind the pulpit today,” Revolutionary era pastors had preached all of the Declaration’s charges against King George III. The British, meanwhile, referred to influential colonial clergy as the Black Robe Regiment, including Pastor Jonas Clark, whose congregation fought the war’s first battle at Lexington.
Voting is “one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which” a citizen “is accountable to God and his country,” FRC’s Kenyn Curaton quoted Founding Father Samuel Adams. Thus “there is no such thing as an off-year election,” Curaton noted with respect to varying Christian electoral turnout. The “duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers,” emphasized by Federalist Papers author and first Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, likewise informed Representative Vicky Hartzler’s breakout session. Yet often today “there is nobody on the ballot who shares our views and values,” Hartzler criticized, in contrast to the 52 Declaration signers who were Christian.
“Politics has invaded the realm of the church” following Christian political abstinence, Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Erik Stanley remarked. Stanley noted Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 1954 amendment to the tax code prohibiting election commentary by houses of worship, even if such elections involve disputes over Biblical morality. Yet “prophetic ministry,” not politics, concerned Biblical figures like Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus, E.W. Jackson noted.
“Somebody is trying to set up government as God,” Jackson concurred. “It is not for you, government, it is not for you,” Perkins admonished with analogy to the Jewish priests in II Chronicles 26:16-21 who condemned Judah’s King Uzziah for seeking to offer incense temple sacrifice. “What gives the world the right to dictate the parameters of battle?” Branson asked while citing David’s asymmetric warfare against a larger, well-armored, but slower Goliath impaired in sight by a helmet.
“There is no other place to go” if American freedom fails, warned Senator Cruz, son of the Cuban refugee Rafael. Yet a “great shaking is coming to this land,” foresaw Cahn, in which “revival can come through judgment,” but this required that Christians emulate Elijah who “lived on the offense.” “These can be the greatest of days if we rise to it.”
“We need to do what is right because it is right” while relying upon God, Christian author Joyce Meyer declared. Would-be FRC shooter Corkins “failed because God is our defender,” Perkins proclaimed. In Christ “we are permanently on the winning side,” Jackson reminded the faithful.