John MacArthur: “There is no pandemic.” Those who believe otherwise have been deceived by Satan

Watch:

Warren Throckmorton sent me this video and commented on it at his blog. Here is a taste:

MacArthur cited a recent CDC report on causes of COVID-19 deaths (Here is the CDC report in question). It provides the comorbid conditions for the vast majority of deaths triggered by COVID-19. COVID-19 and something else contributed to most deaths. What MacArthur seems to be unaware of is that most of those people would be alive today if they had not contracted COVID-19.

What is embarrassing for MacArthur is that this has been known for months. The CDC has released reports before showing the underlying health conditions of deaths and hospitalized patients.  Yet, in ominous tones, MacArthur makes it appear he is revealing some previously concealed truth. While his scary announcement may serve his persecution narrative, it also makes his congregation and followers more vulnerable to the virus.

Read the rest here.

In 1918, the devil was the source of the pandemic. For MacArthur, there is no pandemic and the devil is the state of California.

UPDATE: At 11:41pm on August 30 I changed the title of this post. The second sentence in the original title of the post read, “Those who believe otherwise are Satanic.”

Several of you have told me that the original title was an unfair rendering of what MacArthur said. I disagree. I think that the original phrase captures the spirit of what MacArthur said in the video. Merriam-Webster defines “satanic” as “of, relating to, or characteristic of Satan.” A secondary definition is: “characterized by extreme cruelty or viciousness.” MacArthur is clearly saying that those who believe COVID-19 is a legitimate pandemic, and as a result are putting restriction on churches, are both “of, relating to, or characteristic of Satan” and “characterized by extreme cruelty or viciousness.”

In the end, however, I decided to change the title so that it more directly reflects MacArthur’s words.

Why an evangelical college president quit after Trump got elected

This is an amazing Warren Throckmorton interview with Greg Thornbury, former president of The Kings College. He talks about his nervous breakdown, why he quit, and when he realized he would never be an “evangelical leader.”

The stuff on Eric Metaxas, who was one of Thornbury’s best friends, is priceless: “Eric actually passed away in 2012 and was re-inhabited by tiny micro-robots which are now controlling his body like a ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ situation.”

Thornbury spent a good part of his early career in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) where he was mentored by Al Mohler. He thus has a lot to say about the SBC.

He also has a lot to say about fear.

This is worth your time:

Eric Metaxas Vs. Every Bonhoeffer Scholar in the World

Metaxas

In the last week or so we have called your attention to stories about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  First, there was Stephen Haynes’s “An Open Letter to Christians Who Love Bonhoeffer but (Still) Support Trump.” And then there was this post: “International Bonhoeffer Society Calls for Ending of the Trump Presidency.”

Eric Metaxas, a court evangelical and Christian radio host who recently made a very flawed “Christian case for Trump” at the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, has written a biography of Bonhoeffer that has been much celebrated in the conservative evangelical community.  It has also been panned by scholars who have devoted their lives to the study of Bonhoeffer, including the members of the International Bonhoeffer Society.  But that hasn’t stopped Metaxas from claiming that he, and he alone, has written the only truly accurate portrayal of the German pastor who opposed Hitler.

Here is what he tweeted in response to a Sojourners article discussing the aforementioned statement from the International Bonhoeffer Society:

The culturally marxist academics who hijacked Bonhoeffer’s legacy for fifty years — until the 2009 publication of my biography — and who unconscionably pushed a profound misreading of his thinking & theology, are at it again. Feel free to guffaw.

This sounds like the kind of tweet Trump might write.  “The Marxists have hijacked Bonhoeffer and I only I can fix it!”

Warren Throckmorton has this covered at his blog.  Read it here.

CNN on Franklin Graham’s Call to Prayer for Donald Trump

Trump Graham

Daniel Burke has it covered at CNN.  He talked to Franklin Graham, Peter Wehner, Warren Throckmorton, Michelle Margolis, and your truly.

The most revealing part of this article is when Burke asked Graham to respond to Christians who think Trump hurts the church.  Burke writes: “Asked how he would answer critics who say that Trump and his evangelical allies are actually a threat to the church, Graham declined to engage the question. ‘I wouldn’t even answer a person like that. I don’t think it’s valid at all.'”

This is yet another example of the current divide in American evangelicalism.  Graham is incapable of understanding that there are people who share his faith and also believe Trump is damaging the witness of the Gospel.  And if such people do exist (and they do), he seems to suggest that he has nothing to say to them because they are wrong.

Here is a taste of Burke’s piece:

Because of his charity work and family name, Graham carries immense influence over American evangelicals, said John Fea, author of “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.”

“What he says politically is going to sway how many American evangelicals vote and pray.”

But Fea is among the evangelicals critical of Graham’s pro-Trump prayer event.

The historian notes that Graham ended his Facebook post with a dark biblical warning about the array of spiritual forces aligned against contemporary Christians.

“That’s a code verse,” Fea said. “It sends a clear message to his followers that there is something at work here beyond politics. He’s saying that America is under spiritual attack and equating the attacks on Trump with that.”

Graham said he doesn’t agree with all of Trump’s policies and that God commands Christians to pray for their secular leaders. “If he’s a good President, it benefits every American of every race and gender.” Still, Graham acknowledged that Trump has been an especially attentive patron to his evangelical base, calling him the “most pro-Christian President in my lifetime.”

But other evangelicals have noted the obvious: That Trump’s actions as President have not, and likely will not, benefit everyone.

Read the entire article here.

The Mind of Ben Wesley

wesley face

I met Ben Wesley once.  He came to one of my book talks for Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump and introduced himself as the man behind this video (which I have posted here before):

If I remember correctly, Ben is a student (or maybe a graduate) of a local state university here in central Pennsylvania. (I am sure he will correct me).  He is also a very entertaining guy who is trying to make sense of the evangelicalism in his own unique way.  Consider this chart that he recently posted to Twitter:

Here is a larger image of the chart:

wesley chart

Go Ben!  Keep up the good work and consider me a fan!

Another Patheos Blogger Wants to Know What is Going on at Patheos

Anxious-Bench-squarePatheos bloggers continue to ask questions after the website unceremoniously dumped Warren Throckmorton.

Here is a taste of historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez‘s latest post at The Anxious Bench:

Does Patheos in fact host the conversation on faith? Or is this a sign that it will be hosting a censored, invitation-only conversation? Are there topics we would do well to avoid? (To be clear, these questions are not meant to “disparage” the site, simply to inquire about its strategic objectives going forward).

As someone who writes on feminism, on Focus on the Family, on racism and Christian nationalism, on conservative Christians and sexual abuse, on #MeToo and the church, and, yes, on Donald Trump, this question is of particular interest to me. (To be clear, I’ve never received any editorial directives from Patheos leadership; Throckmorton’s removal, however, seems to have come without warning).

Beyond censorship, I suppose there’s also the question of whose pockets we’re padding. The revenue generated from the ubiquitous ads goes somewhere. I can’t imagine my blog posts contribute in any significant way to the net wealth of folks like President Trump’s personal lawyer—he has other more lucrative streams of income, I presume.

Read the entire post here.

What Patheos Bloggers are Saying About the Website’s Decision to Dump Warren Throckmorton

ThrockOver at his new blog, Warren Throckmorton has collected comments from Patheos bloggers about his unceremonious removal from the religion website.

We blogged about this here and here and here.

Here is a taste of Throckmorton’s post:

Patheos blogger Fred Clark (aka Slacktivist Fred) says I may have been “Throcked.” He offers this term to describe being fired to appease far-right donors and to warn others not to anger those donors.

Whatever the reason or reasons, some Patheos bloggers have bravely taken to their Patheos blogs to criticize the move to dismiss me from the platform.  This post serves as a summary of those posts.

Read it all here.

It is Still Not Clear Why Patheos Dropped Warren Throckmorton

ThrockWe have covered this here and here.

Over at his new blog, Warren Throckmorton is still wondering why the religion website Patheos unceremoniously dropped his blog.

Here is a taste:

I feel this is important for me to say since Patheos Director of Content Phil Fox Rose sent an email to some bloggers yesterday implying that I knew their expectations “many months ago.” This email was sent to me by several Patheos bloggers:

As some of you know, Patheos decided to end its partnership with Warren Throckmorton. This was done after long and thoughtful consideration. The decision was not made based on a triggering event or post, and Mr. Throckmorton was advised of our expectations many months ago. This is not reflective of some change in policy. It was a specific case. This decision should not give any blogger reason to think their status is in question. We’re sorry the lack of details allows for speculation, but our commitment remains as always to be the place where conversation about faith is happening in the most robust and dynamic way. Nothing will change that. If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to Ben, and I’m happy to talk too.

What were the expectations and how did I fail to meet them? Since I was not aware of any expectation relating to my blog (beyond the same agreement all other bloggers sign), I don’t know what Mr. Rose is talking about.

Read the entire post here.  Sounds like a raw deal to me.

Warren Throckmorton Says More About His Ousting at Patheos

ThrockThe powers-that-be at the religion website Patheos have ended their relationship with evangelical blogger Warren Throckmorton.  We did a post on this yesterday.

Today Throckmorton wondered which one of his posts crossed the line:

Much of the interest on social media has focused on the fact that Mark Driscoll and Gospel for Asia CEO K.P. Yohannan are blogging at Patheos now while I am not. Apparently, the strategic objectives of Patheos include those fellows.

Ponder that.

Read the entire post here.

Warren Throckmorton is Out at Patheos

ThrockYesterday the religion website Patheos pulled the plug on Warren Throckmorton.

Some of you know Throckmorton’s work as an evangelical watchdog, especially as it related to his coverage of GOP activist David Barton, Mark Driscoll and his now-defunct Mars Hill Church in Seattle, and lawsuits related to Gospel for Asia.

Patheos told the Grove City College psychology professor that his blog no longer fit its “strategic objectives.”  Throckmorton has moved his content to a new site.  Here is his first post:

I hope to have more to say about it soon but for now, I can report that I am blogging here now at wthrockmorton.com.  Patheos leadership informed me yesterday that my blog no longer fit their “strategic objectives.” Since I don’t know what those are, I can’t say how I didn’t fit them.

In any case, thanks to friend J.D. Smith, the blog was quickly migrated with the content to this ad free site. The downside is that I have been unable as yet to find out from Patheos how to get my comments moved along with the posts.

What a strange turn of events. Patheos was at the center of the Mars Hill Church and Gospel for Asia stories and now they host Mark Driscoll and K.P. Yohannan. All of the those Patheos links about Mars Hill and GFA are now erased. The content is here and archived elsewhere but admittedly, it will be harder to find.

This is indeed a really strange development.  I am awaiting some kind of official word from Patheos about why it released Throckmorton.

Quick Thoughts on Paige Patterson’s “Apology”

PaigePatterson(2)

If you don’t know why Paige Patterson is apologizing, get up to speed here.

Here is the apology:

Pastoral ministry that occurred 54 years ago, repeated as an illustration in sermons on more than one occasion, as well as another sermon illustration used to try to explain a Hebrew word (Heb. banah “build or construct,” Gen. 2:22) have obviously been hurtful to women in several possible ways. I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow, and the last thing that I need to do is add to anyone’s heartache. Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been.

I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts. There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person. The Spirit of Christ is one of comfort, kindness, encouragement, truth, and grace; and that is what I desire my voice always to be. 

To all people I offer my apology, but especially to women, to the family of Southern Baptists, my friends and the churches. I sincerely pray that somehow this apology will show my heart and may strengthen you in the love and graciousness of Christ. 

Two quick thoughts:

  1.  Nowhere in this “apology” does Patterson admit to doing anything wrong.  Warren Throckmorton is on it.
  2.  Alan Noble had a great comment on his Facebook page:  “Since I am not in the SBC and I am not directly affected by his actions and statements, I will defer to those closer to the situation to evaluate this apology. However, I do feel obligated to point out that the first few lines of this apology are almost incoherent. I had to reread them four times and then guess at his point.”

Evangelicals Respond to the President’s Racist Remarks

Metaxas

I was going to do some posts on this today, but Warren Throckmorton has things covered pretty well.  Read his post here.

I will make a few comments based on Throckmorton’s post:

Eric Metaxas appears to have lost his way.  Even his fellow New York City evangelical and The King’s College chancellor Greg Thornbury has called him out.  I think it is so ironic that Metaxas is saying evangelicals who oppose Trump’s remarks vile are “People… in love w/feeling morally superior.”  Let’s remember: this is the guy who once told his fellow evangelical Christians that “God will not hold us guiltless” if we did not vote for Trump.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s piece at The Washington Post is the gold standard on this controversy.  She quotes A.R. Bernard, the New York City megachurch pastor who resigned from Trump’s evangelical council after Trump blamed “both sides” for the racial conflict in Charlottesville last August.  Here is a taste:

A.R. Bernard, a black pastor of a 40,000-member church in New York City, resigned from the evangelical council in August after Trump blamed “both sides” for deadly violence in Charlottesville.

While back then Bernard said he didn’t think Trump was a racist, that changed Thursday.

“His own comments expose him,” Bernard said. “They were elitist and blatantly racist.”

Bernard said Trump’s comments Friday honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. “added insult to injury.”

The silence of the mostly white men who remain on the informal council, he said, “is getting louder.” While members say they’re there because they’re influencing the White House on topics from Israel to religious freedom, Bernard said he doesn’t believe the council has any real influence.

“I think they’re politically convenient to the president,” he said.

Bernard is a former court evangelical. He has left the court and now has a story to tell.  I also find it a bit strange (to put it mildly) that Metaxas is saying via Twitter that Bernard fails to understand the true meaning of racism.

Again, read Throckmorton’s round-up.

Liberty Counsel and Conservatives on the Texas School Board Continue to Base Public Policy on False Historical Claims

Christian NAtionFact-checker extraordinaire Warren Throckmorton calls our attention to yet another example of politicians and cultural warriors using fake history to justify public policy proposals that have the potential of affecting millions of people. In this case, the perpetrators are the Liberty Counsel (Mat Staver) and the conservatives on the Texas School Board (defenders of prayer in schools).

This is an easy one.

I am sorry Mat Staver, but you are wrong.  Members of the Constitutional Convention meeting in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 did not hold a prayer meeting that lasted “several hours.”  Benjamin Franklin called for prayer, but his call was rejected.

Here is what actually happened on Thursday, June 28, 1787:

Franklin’s proposal:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.–Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move–that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service–

And the response:

Mr. Hamilton & several others expressed their apprehensions that however proper such a resolution might have been at the beginning of the convention, it might at this late day, 1. bring on it some disagreeable animadversions. & 2. lead the public to believe that the embarrassments and dissentions within the convention, had suggested this measure. It was answered by Docr. F. Mr. Sherman & others, that the past omission of a duty could not justify a further omission–that the rejection of such a proposition would expose the Convention to more unpleasant animadversions than the adoption of it: and that the alarm out of doors that might be excited for the state of things within. would at least be as likely to do good as ill.

Mr. Williamson, observed that the true cause of the omission could not be mistaken. The Convention had no funds.

Mr. Randolph proposed in order to give a favorable aspect to ye. measure, that a sermon be preached at the request of the convention on 4th of July, the anniversary of Independence,–& thenceforward prayers be used in ye Convention every morning. Dr. Frankn. 2ded. this motion After several unsuccessful attempts for silently postponing the matter by adjourng. the adjournment was at length carried, without any vote on the motion.

Again–no multi-hour prayer meeting took place.  The motion was tabled. I discuss this incident on p.152 of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.

Some Nice Words About What We Do Here

Thanks

In the last twenty-four hours we have received some nice thoughts from our friends around the web.

Here is Lisa Dioguardi at “Thoughts That Won’d Fit in a Tweet

When someone follows me on twitter, I do them the courtesy of looking at their page to see if I might be interested in following back. Sometimes, I’m truly grateful. Not long ago, historian John Fea followed me, and I followed him because of something in his profile: “trying to bring good historical content to twitter.” There is plenty of historical BS available, because many people decide on what to accept as truth based on which claim supports what they want to believe…

Here is Warren Throckmorton’s post “Will the GOP Support Original Intent?

Lately, I have enjoyed John Fea’s blog more than ever. He has been crushing it when it comes to his posts on the GOP presidential race.

Thanks Lisa and Warren!

Some Further Context for My Piece on Ted Cruz’s Dominionism

Cruz IowaWarren Throckmorton is more conversant in the language of Seven Mountain Dominionism than I am.  He adds some thoughts to my piece distributed today through Religion News Service.  (The piece is also running at The Washington Post).

Read the rest of Fea’s op-ed here.

Anyone who has studied seven mountains dominionism knows that Fea is on target. I would add to Fea’s analysis that Christian Reconstructionists see themselves as different than apostolic dominionists. Joel McDurmon writing on behalf of American Vision denies that Christian Reconstructionists want to rule in a top-down government. After agreeing that reconstructionists believe all of life should be governed by the Bible, he describes how seven mountain dominionism is at odds with his brand:

With these things—generally stated—I wholeheartedly agree. But there is much to be concerned with in the 7MD version of Dominion Theology. For this reason, we must announce clearly and maintain a stark distinction between 7MD and the traditional Christian Reconstruction movement, or traditional Dominion Theology.

The First and most concerning point is that the 7MD version does what critics of traditional dominion theology have falsely accused us of doing the whole time: planning to grab the reins of influence through whatever means necessary, usurp the seats of political power, and impose some tyrannical “theocracy” upon society from the top down with a “whether you like it or not, it’s for your own good” mentality.

We have responded, consistently, that our blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it—the removal of unjust taxation, welfare, warfare, government programs, etc. We favor privatization, local control of civil and criminal law, hard and sound money, and private charity for cases of poverty, all led by families, businesses, and churches—not large, centralized, top-down solutions. Yes, we would properly recriminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.

We have also said, consistently, that such a world will never exist without successful evangelism ahead of it. If there is no personal revival and recourse to God’s Word, there will be no free society, no Christian Reconstruction, no godly dominion in the land.

We have said all of this, mostly to no avail in the ears of even our closest kin-critics—Reformed Christians like the boys at the White Horse Inn, and prominent evangelicals like Chuck Colson, and others—who continue to imply and sometimes openly state that we theonomists and donimionists desire to grab power and execute everyone who disagrees with us. This is utterly false and slanderous.

There is no doubt, however, that the 7MDs do have a goal of top-down control of society. This is explicit in their literature in many places. The exception to this is when they are in PR mode: then they downplay and even completely deny that they believe in dominion. But otherwise they give our old critics the ammunition they need to continue their slander.

I think Fea is correct that Ted Cruz is appealing to the seven mountain dominionists.

With this in mind, I think Cruz should be asked if he agrees with his father that he has been anointed to be a king apostle to rule in the political sphere. Does Cruz believe that adultery, unruly children, and homosexuality should be recriminalized? Does Cruz believe that civil law should reflect and restate his interpretation of biblical morality? Does he believe in an “end time transfer of wealth?”

David Barton’s _Jefferson Lies_ is Back and Warren Throckmorton is Ready

ThrockWarren Throckmorton, blogger and fact-checker extraordinaire, is the harshest critic of GOP activist David Barton.  With the recent release of a new edition of Barton’s debunked The Jefferson Lies, Throckmorton has decided to take out a press release of his own:

GROVE CITY, Penn., Jan. 13, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Yesterday was the official release date of the second edition of “The Jefferson Lies” by Ted Cruz’s Super PAC coordinator David Barton. Published by World Net Daily, the second edition promises to answer Barton’s critics and restore Jefferson’s reputation.

However, there is much World Net Daily and Barton are not telling the public about the circumstances surrounding the new book.

In August 2012, Thomas Nelson confirmed that the first edition of “The Jefferson Lies” had been pulled from publication because the publisher “learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported.” Thomas Nelson stated that it was in “the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”

Many of those historical details are addressed factually in “Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President,” a 2012 book by Christian college professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter. With the release of the second edition of “The Jefferson Lies,” the fact checking in “Getting Jefferson Right” is more important than ever.

The new version of “The Jefferson Lies” contains an entire section in critical response to “Getting Jefferson Right.”

In his response, the first error Barton makes is to assert that “The Jefferson Lies” was pulled from publication due to attacks from liberals. However, critics Jay Richards. Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and Gregg Frazer, professor of history at The Master’s College are not liberals. “Getting Jefferson Right’s” authors are not liberals. Many other conservative historians have also expressed negatives reviews of “The Jefferson Lies.”

Members of the media may contact Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter regarding the facts surrounding the removal of “The Jefferson Lies” from publication in 2012, the allegations of liberal bias now and the historical claims made in “The Jefferson Lies” about Jefferson’s life and work.

Contact Warren Throckmorton at warrenthrockmorton@gmail.comor 724-967-5644.

For more information, see Getting Jefferson Right.

“Anyone who reads  ‘Getting Jefferson Right’ must come to grips with the untruths and suspect historical interpretations that [David] Barton regularly peddles in his books, speaking engagements, and on his radio program.” — John Fea, Chair, History Department, Messiah College

Warren Throckmorton, PhD is Professor of Psychology and Michael Coulter, PhD is Professor of Political Science, both at Grove City College (PA).

Slacktivist: I Appreciate Your Concern (I Really Do), But I Think I Will Be OK

Cruz speakingFred Clark is a very popular blogger. (The picture on the left is not him).  His Patheos blog Slacktivist, which I would describe as a progressive Christian blog, has a huge following. It gets a lot of comments as well.  Whenever Slacktivist links to one of my posts, the stats at The Way of Improvement Leads Home go through the roof.  (Fred,  please link to more of my posts!!).

Clark’s most recent post is entitled “A Ted Cruz Win Could Further ‘Bartonize’ Mainstream White Evangelicalism.”  Here is a taste:

John Fea and Warren Throckmorton are two bloggers I enjoy reading. They both also happen to be white evangelical college professors at mainstream white evangelical institutions here in Pennsylvania. Dr. Fea, who blogs at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, is a history professor at Messiah College, while Dr. Throckmorton, whose blog is now on Patheos’ evangelical channel, teaches psychology at Grove City College.

They’re both terrific bloggers. Fea is an insightful, insatiably curious historian, and his blog is a steady supply of fascinating perspectives on early American history. His author’s corner interviews are an invaluable shortcut for keeping abreast of all sorts of important and interesting books and ideas. (He’s also a fan of the Mets and of Bruce Springsteen, indicators of wisdom and virtue.) Throckmorton can be a tenacious pitbull when he sniffs out a story. Check out his ongoing series examining financial irregularities at the mission agency Gospel for Asia — it’s an impressive, dogged pursuit of answers to important questions. In another life, Throckmorton would have made a fearsome investigative journalist.

But I’m worried for both of them. Specifically, I’m worried because this is an election year and that means that the ever-shifting goalposts of the white evangelical tribal gatekeepers may well shift between now and November. Depending on the outcome of the upcoming Republican presidential primary races, the bounds of theological acceptability could shift in such a way that both of these fine professors may end up on the outside looking in.

On the one hand, that seems unlikely. Messiah and Grove City are solid schools committed to quality academics. Science majors there study actual science — not young-Earth creationism. And their biblical and religious studies classes are taught by real scholars in those fields. They seem far-removed from the purity purges of the religious-right culture warriors.

But I might have said the same thing about Wheaton College ten years ago. Or about Southern Seminary 30 years ago.

And here is the problem: Both John Fea and Warren Throckmorton are well known and well-respected (for now) for debunking the falsehoods and fabrications of right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton and his theocratic Christian nationalism. (Here’s a link to Fea’s posts on Barton, and here are Throckmorton’s.) Right now, their work critiquing Barton and Bartonism is widely admired as a sign of integrity and a badge of honor for the evangelical institutions that employ them. But that could change, very rapidly, in the months ahead.

To summarize the rest of the post, Clark is worried that if Cruz gets the GOP nomination, big money evangelical Republican voters who want to stop Hillary Clinton at all costs will rally around the Texas Senator.

He continues:

And if the Republican Party winds up rallying behind Ted Cruz, then the gatekeepers of white evangelicalism will fall in line. They’ll do so partly out of reflexive partisan loyalty, but partly out of financial necessity, because many of the same big donors who have contributed more than $38 million to David Barton’s pro-Cruz super-PAC are the same rich white guys who write big checks supporting mainstream evangelical institutions.

If it comes to that — if partisan identity and financial security both compel evangelical institutions to get in line in support of Ted Cruz — then it will also follow that outspoken critics of Cruz’s buddy, David Barton, will no longer be allowed to be either outspoken or critical. The boundary lines of white evangelical acceptability will shift. Barton and Bartonism will have to be included. And therefore critics of Barton and Bartonism will have to be excluded.

34dfa-david-barton

David Barton

 

If Ted Cruz gets the nomination, Barton’s critics will abruptly be officially designated as “controversial” — the first step in an inexorable process of marginalization that can only be mitigated by a ritual of groveling apology that no one with integrity could ever comply with. Throckmorton’s scholarly rejection of “reparative therapy” for LGBT people may be dragged out to pressure Grove City to distance itself from this “controversial” professor. Fea may be criticized for his fondness for The Ghost of Tom Joad (Steinbeck and Guthrie are practically Marx and Lenin, after all). And I suppose having the support of the likes of me will only be a liability at that point.

I want to thank Clark for calling attention to my blog, but I think my criticism of David Barton is pretty mainstream among historians at evangelical Christian colleges.  In fact, I don’t know of any American historian at a Christian colleges who agree with Barton’s politically-charged interpretations of the past.

I  don’t know if there is any overlap between Cruz donors and Messiah College donors.  I imagine that some overlap exists, but that is a question for my friends in the Development Office.  (I do know that there is some overlap between Messiah College donors and Glenn Beck fans).

I love Messiah College and hope I can stay at this institution as long as possible.  I cannot fathom a scenario in which the administration would not have my back on this issue–Cruz or no Cruz.

Be Careful: You Are Reading an "Exteme Far Left Liberal" Blog

The hits just keep on coming.  

It looks like I have been dragged into the latest blogophere debate on David Barton.  Apparently Barton recently won a defamation lawsuit against a group that claimed he was a white supremacist. Warren Throckmorton has reported on the case here.

In the comments section of his post, a defender of Barton claims that Throckmorton cannot be trusted because he “aligns himself” with “extreme, far-left liberals, like John Fea.”

Another commentator writes: “Let us say, for argument’s sake, that he did in fact align with Fea at some level. Is that enough to ostracize him? Was Jesus not condemned for eating with publicans, tax collectors and sinners (reference Mark 2:16)?”

So now it looks like I am the equivalent of a “publican,” “tax collector,” and “sinner.”  (Just to be clear, I have never worked as a publican or tax collector, but this commentator is correct when he calls me a “sinner.”  I would probably nuance this a bit by calling myself a sinner saved by God’s grace).

The first commentator also notes that Throckmorton, by aligning himself with me, is guilty of “collusion and association with the enemy.”  If this is indeed the case, I pray that both this commentator and Throckmorton are willing to apply Matthew 5:44 to my case.  And I will try to do the same.

Read the rest here.

I should also add that I do not think I have every identified myself on this blog or elsewhere as a member of the Democratic Party or any other political party.  

Finally, most of the comments about me in Throckmorton’s post would elicit a hearty laugh from my friends or colleagues at Messiah College.