This would be good advice for liberals today, especially in the internet and information age. When trying to smear a conservative Christian opponent, it is best not to make up lies that are easily exposed with the click of a mouse.
The latest episode of “What lies have liberals spun today” features University of North Florida (UNF) Associate Professor of Religion Julie Ingersoll. Armed with the typical leftist “sound-bite” strategy, she is out to prove me a liar and a hypocrite on dominion theology. She tries to demonstrate that I really believe in top-down control of society, and not in the decentralized freedom I claim.
She begins by highlighting NPR’s interview of C. Peter Wagner — a leader among part of the so-called “New Apostolic Reformation” — whom I criticized in an earlier article.
Ingersoll quotes me from that previous article: “[O]ur blueprint is about the rollback of tyranny, not the replacement of it… 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.”
She says that this statement of mine “can’t be taken at face value.”
She then tries to align me with Wagner, saying, “Wagner took the very same position on Fresh Air saying, ‘Dominion is not theocracy it’s “kingdom minded people” in government’ making the world a better place for everyone” (my emphasis).
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How in the world this demonstrates “the very same position” as mine is beyond all rational analysis. But then again, we’re dealing with liberals here. “Rational” hardly enters the discussion. “Analysis” is a foreign concept to them. So is honesty.
Perhaps Wagner does somewhere express a belief in smaller, decentralized government, but the comment Ingersoll presents hardly proves that point.
We believe in working with any — with whatever political system there is. In America, it’s democracy and working with the administrative, judicial and legislative branches of the government, the way they are, but to have as many kingdom-minded people in influence in each one of these branches of government as possible so that the blessings of the kingdom will come.
Wagner, based on these comments, does not want to decrease or change at all the size, structure, or power of the government. I do. I want it smaller, more local, less wasteful, more reflective of local values, more private, etc. Ingersoll knows this, so in order to make her case, she leaves out key facts. Thus her comparison is inaccurate.
But it’s clear to any unbiased reader that Wagner’s vision is not the same as mine — not even Ingersoll’s edited, pruned, sound-byted, “for liberal media consumption” version of things.
This is actually clear to the highly biased readers as well — they just choose not to tell the whole story.
Based on her own manufactured half-truths (lies), she concludes, “But the argument made by both McDurmon and Wagner that their ‘Kingdom’ wouldn’t be imposed on the rest of us can’t be taken at face value.”
First of all, it’s not our Kingdom we seek, it’s God’s. Second, we don’t both make the same argument, as I just showed.
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Third, let’s look at some facts:
I live in north Georgia; Ingersoll lives in Florida. Under my proposed system of government, nothing I say or do would be imposed on her part of the world (unless, of course, the vast majority of her local fellow-citizens agreed with it and wanted it — but then it wouldn’t be mine, it would be theirs). In my plan, it’s their local call. Under, however, either her view of leftist Democrat controlled government, or Wagner’s view of leaving things as they are only with Christians in seats of influence, everyone dances to the ideological, political, and tax tune played by Washington. Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, California, Hawaii — it doesn’t matter where you flee.
Which one of these things is not like the other?
Who, exactly, wishes to impose their system on the rest of us?
Even a liberal academic should be able to answer these questions.
Ingersoll then switches the subject from the size and power of government to the actual function of government: “coercion.” She brings this is in as an abstract notion by which she can lump Wagner and me together. (Apparently, she herself believes in no coercion. If you believe that, I’ve got a University in North Florida to sell you). The “guilt by association” doesn’t work. Here’s why:
I had argued that some people who think like Wagner seek top-down control of society through a large central government. This differs from my view and the view of most others in the “dominion theology” camp traditionally, as you can well see by now. But, of course, since we all believe in some government, we believe by definition in some coercion—that’s what government is. In my case, it’s limited strictly to the punishment of crime.
I wrote that Wagner’s view was evident in the literature of his movement. Ingersoll thinks she is making some great revelation to the world by announcing, “the coercive quality of the Reconstructionist vision is also evident in their literature.” This, as if we ever pretended not to believe in the basic nature of government.
(What she probably would not like to emphasize, by the way, is just how much coercion her liberal progressive view of government involves compared to my greatly limited and decentralized view. Another time, perhaps.)
The funny thing is that she can’t even come up with a good example to make her case. She writes,
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For example, in the Biblical Blueprint Series George Grant argues that no charity should be available to anyone not under the protection of the Biblical Covenant; charity is the responsibility of families and churches so any other version of it is tyrannical.
This is pure hogwash, and as you can see, undocumented, unfootnoted, unquoted hogwash. What Grant actual teaches in that book is that no individual or church should be forced to provide “charity” through government welfare schemes — thus they should not be taxed to support causes or people whose values or ethics they don’t necessarily agree with. What could be more acceptable than that? But this hardly means he (or we) wish to forbid charities from helping those not under a biblical covenant — or that we think “no charity should be available” to them. We would openly support free and privately-funded institutions providing charity to whomever they desired — or not. We want the same freedom for all of us, which includes the right to refuse service or charity. But the freedom to refuse is not the same as a government mandated refusal. To make this equation is nonsensical.
(This is a great demonstration, by the way, of how liberals cannot even imagine private charities operating without government strings attached; only government welfare equals charity in their minds.)
So Christian Reconstructionists simply desire a return to free, private charity. Ingersoll believes in socialistic central-government run welfare “charity” in which everyone is forced to pay and liberals decide who gets the money. You tell me which one of us believes in greater “coercion.”
She continues with education: “In another example, Ray Sutton writes about ending public education (also considered tyranny) in his book in the same Biblical Blueprint Series:”
[I]f you run for the public school board, do it with one intention only: to create an orderly transition to exclusively private education. If you can’t be elected on this platform (as seems likely), then become the candidate who wants to reduce waste. (The Biblical definition of wasteful public schools: “public schools.”)
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Again, where is the coercion here? Sutton, like me, speaks of freeing people from being taxed for the support of a cause we don’t believe in, which contradicts our social values, through a system we believe is unbiblical to begin with. We want at least the option to be free, and we counsel people who want “to get involved with public schools” against doing so unless they’re doing so to help make us free in this regard.
Ingersoll calls this “coercion” and even “deception” on our part. But how is it coercion when we want greater options for freedom? When we want people out from under an unjust tax burden? And how is it deception when Sutton says people should put their intentions in the platform on which they run for the office?
Even if any of our writers ever did advocate running for public office with a stealth agenda, I would personally denounce it (as would North or DeMar). That’s something only unscrupulous liberals would do. Either be honest or stay out.
But compare, again, the Reconstructionist view of education with, for example, Ingersoll’s liberal views: Reconstructionists want people to be free from top-down centralized taxation for a system with which we don’t agree, free to choose their own method of education, keeping their money to use as they determine. She wants everyone taxed and forced to pay for the central system whether they use it, or share its values or not. Again, you tell me who believes in coercion in this area?
And again, since Wagner wants to leave things as they are (he can write and say otherwise in this area of education if he disagrees), then the leftist Ingersoll fits in his political camp better than me.
The great joke here is that Ingersoll has been studying the Christian Reconstruction movement for decades now, and she knows there are hundreds of books, journals, and articles expressing our views openly. Yet, the best she can come with are these two measly and obviously ill-chosen examples. Neither comes from either of the main writers in the movement, and she does not even quote George Grant to back her portrayal of him (Of course, liberals always prefer to let themselves speak for you!). And in the end, her examples prove nothing close to what she intends.
Finally, she takes aim at my statement that in an Christian Reconstructionist society, “we would properly re-criminalize sodomy, adultery, and abortion, but in a decentralized world like we want, you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.” Not that you need to, but read that again: it says very simply, very clearly, “sodomy, adultery, and abortion,” and “you could leave easily if you didn’t like that.” Here’s how Ingersoll interprets what I wrote:
Rebranding as criminals people who have sex outside the parameters of “biblical law” (this includes divorced people who remarry or have sex outside of marriage) to make them leave their homes is hardly voluntary.
Ingersoll should walk out of her little university office, down the hall, and to the Psych department. She should find a colleague there who can prescribe something for these dissociated thought patterns, if they have medication for such a thing.
Did you read me anywhere in that quotation write that all sex outside the parameters of biblical law is criminal? That all remarriage and fornication is in fact criminal? Of course, not. Neither did Ingersoll. She made it up. It is a lie.
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The truth is that biblical law describes only a few cases of sex-outside of marriage as criminal, mainly when one party is a victim — i.e. rape. Bestiality would be included as criminal as well. I’m not sure whether Ingersoll endorses legally-protected sex with animals or not. In other cases, sex outside of marriage is definitely sin, but not a crime calling for civil punishment. The same is true in cases of legitimate divorce and remarriage. Ingersoll seems to know the Biblical Blueprints Series so well, yet neglects to inform her readers that the same Ray Sutton from above also wrote Second Chance: Biblical Principles for Divorce and Remarriage in that same series. He answers her misperceptions and misrepresentations thoroughly for anyone interested in the facts. Ingersoll apparently is not.
My point about “leaving” is illustrative as well. Ingersoll construes this to mean that I would forcibly remove people from their homes. A pitiful lie. My very easily understood point is that in a decentralized world, if you don’t like the laws, and your best efforts fail at changing them (should you care to try), and you can’t stand living in such a society, then you are absolutely free to move. But you certainly don’t have to.
In Ingersoll’s centralized world (and, I assume, Wagner’s), everyone is forced to live largely under the same top-down system of values imposed on us by Washington, the Supreme Court, etc. You don’t like your tax dollars funding pro-homosexual sex-ed in kindergartens? Don’t like your welfare taxes supporting a hundred types of profligate lifestyles, deadbeats, and bureaucrats’ pensions? Too bad. Ingersoll says you will pay, and you will pay. And guess what? You don’t have the option of moving away from it, not in this country. It’s one-size-fits all.
You tell me who believes in coercion, who believes in control.
When she’s done with her pitiful attempt to paint Christian Reconstructionism as a centralized tyranny, she sums up her point:
There are differences between these two movements that embrace dominion theology . . . but those differences is [sic] not over whether their view of dominion amounts to a decentralized, voluntary vision for governing a society of free people.
As you have seen, the differences do indeed center on this issue, and nothing Ingersoll has presented has altered that fact — not even in her tailored version of the facts.
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So on these issues, it is Ingersoll who has more in common with C. Peter Wagner’s view of government than do I. I would encourage them both to move more in the direction of freedom and liberty under God’s law.
In fact, I’ll make Ingersoll a deal: I’ll agree with her that we should end undue coercion. So let’s pull the plug on the coercive schemes of welfare and tax-funded schools completely. Government shall not be allowed to use its coercive strength to redistribute wealth and tax the unwilling for its indoctrinations. If she is truly opposed to coercion, as she seems to imply, she should agree with me on all these topics. The truth is, however, she is like all liberals and statists: she wants control. She wants to be God and determine who gets what, how much, where, and when. She wants to determine the law by which everyone, everywhere should be forced to live.
And I say, America has had about enough of that scheme of government. There is a path to freedom, it is through godliness and godly law; and they don’t teach it in the religion department at UNF.