Last Friday, Huffington Post featured an article under its "Green" section--Climate Study: Religious Belief in the Second Coming of Christ Could Slow Global Warming Action. According to the article, 56% of Americans believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ, and this belief reduces the possibility of strongly believing that the government should take action on climate change by more than 12%.
Over the past twenty-one years, since the UN Earth Summit introduced Agenda 21 and first began a massive global push to rebuild our society into a new "green" utopia, the US has been enduring growing indoctrination that our way of life is bad, that we are using up the world's resources and that we need to consume less and live less well because by doing so, we will preserve the planet in better condition for future generations.
The Obama Administration has accelerated this push as much as possible. I say as much as possible because although they have pushed the goals of Agenda 21 forward in every way that they were able to do so, the federal initiatives they hoped to pass, such as the Cap and Trade bill and Chris Dodd's Livable Communities Act, came under so much opposition that they could not be passed. Instead, Agenda 21 is being implemented locally, one city at a time, as city after city greedily grabs federal funds to build roundabouts and invest in public transportation and build low income "Smart" housing in the downtown areas and to restore and renovate downtown at the expense of the suburbs. On April 5th, I wrote about how the Obama Administration is cutting off funding for transportation projects that benefit the suburbs in favor of federal funding for environmentally-friendly sustainable housing projects. Without a federal law mandating sustainable housing or "Smart Growth" the government has to resort to a carrot and stick approach. While that has worked well in a lot of communities, such as El Paso, Texas, where we are currently investing $13 million in federal funds along with $14 million of state and local money to turn one of our main thoroughfares (North Mesa Street) into a Transportation Corridor for our notoriously inefficient city bus system, in other areas the country is experiencing a growing backlash against Agenda 21, Smart Growth, sustainable living, and the inherent threats to private property, individual freedom and Constitutional rights that these represent. Last June Alabama became the first state in the U.S. to pass a law outlawing implementation of Agenda 21 within its borders and banning membership of any of its cities or townships in ICLEI--the UN affiliated NGO charged with bringing Agenda 21 to local communities. The state of Oklahoma is now in the process of passing its own legislation to outlaw participation in Agenda 21 and yesterday I saw that the legislature of Missouri is reviewing similar legislation.
We who believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are not planet haters who want "dirty air and dirty water" as Sean Hannity so frequently says. We don't litter garbage about with the attitude that our actions don't matter because the Lord is coming back soon and the earth will be burned up anyway. Christians believe in stewardship and that includes stewardship of God's creation. But most of us who believe in the Second Coming do so because we have read the entire book of Revelations which also foretells a world government led by the Antichrist. Whether we individually believe that the AntiChrist is an individual person or a world system or both, we know that it will bring genocide and destruction on a level never before experienced. To believe in the Second Coming is to keep a watchful eye on world events at all times for signs that this world system may be coming to fruition.
During the Russian Revolution of 1917, while the students and intellectuals were celebrating Marxism and collectivism, the Russian peasants, the only religious block of people in the nation, were alarmed. When the Communists ordered that the farms be collectivized, many of the peasants refused to do so because they believed that collectivism was a signal of the coming of the AntiChrist. Because of their lack of cooperation, whole communities of them were imprisoned in their own houses and starved to death by the Communist government as a means of silencing the opposition. Belief in the Second Coming and opposition to world systems that are at odds with the teachings of the Bible can and some times do have lethal consequences.
I was both interested and alarmed yesterday to read Erick Erickson's insightful Idols of Awesome and Shibboleths of Community in which he addresses "a crazy movement going on right now within young evangelical circles to shun the suburbs and engage in a 'new legalism' of radical faith." Erickson's article makes some great points about unrealistic life expectations in the church, and I agree with a lot of them. But I wonder at whether the "radical faith" movement is really about trying to be "awesome" as Erickson supposes, or whether it is about evangelical leaders trying to protect their position in a world moving toward globalism by preaching a vision that is pretty much in lock step with what Big Brother wants.
Christianity Today published an article in March of this year written by Matthew Lee Anderson entitled, Here Come the Radicals detailing how David Platt, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne and Kyle Idleman are teaching "radical faith" and dominating the Christian bestseller lists by encouraging young believers to reject American materialism and middle class comforts in exchange for communal life and life in the inner city. Platt's book, Radical, released in May of 2010, was on the New York Times best-seller list for two years. At his encouragement, his church in Brook Hills, Alabama raised more than $525,000 for Compassion International's child survival programs. His book, according to the CT article, takes the American church to task for the culture of "self-advancement, self-esteem and self-sufficiency," and upbraids us for our "individualism, materialism and universalism." His book, and Shane Claiborne' s The Irresistible Revolution, also strike out against American nationalism.
Look, as a life-long Christian--I asked Jesus to come into my life when I was five--I understand the conflict between balancing the demands of modern life and the call of Jesus to "come follow me." And I also acknowledge that God, on occasion, calls individual people to leave their lives and go do something extraordinary for Him. Our church supports a young woman who felt called by the Lord to go to the Philippines and start a mid-wifery clinic when she was about twenty years old. Now, ten years later, she is still there and is living out her faith in practical ways to help poor women with no access to medical care.
The danger of the radical faith movement is that it basically preaches the same dogma being currently trumpeted by the mainstream media and by the current leftist government and the progressive globalist movement worldwide. 1. The American way of life is bad. 2. American Nationalism is bad. 3. The middle class is bad. 4. Suburbs are bad, and people who choose to live in suburbs are selfish. The "radical faith" movement just files the goals and teachings of "radical environmentalism" under the heading "Gospel" and adds the hashtag #WWJD. And if I don't accept those ideas, I am not just an unworthy citizen of the planet who is greedily consuming the world's resources; I am probably not a "real" Christian at all. If we are not willing to embrace radical faith, perhaps we don't have any faith and our whole Christian life is a lie.
This brand of Christianity conveniently ignores some very important truths:
1. American nationalism and specifically the U.S. Constitution protect the freedoms of every citizen, particularly in the areas of religious liberty and speech, and therefore allow the uninhibited growth of Christianity. In countries where there are no constitutional protections, life for Christians is dangerous. For examples of life without these protections, think North Korea where 70,000 Christians are estimated to be imprisoned because of their faith, or Iran where Pastor Saeed is serving an eight year prison sentence in Evan prison for his work with evangelism. Yet, Iranian president Ahmadinejad was one of the speakers last year at the Rio 20 conference which was the 20th anniversary follow up to the 1992 Earth Summit which birthed Agenda 21 and he is active in the UN's efforts to remake America.
2. The American way of life and prosperity which the "radical faith" theologians decry makes it possible for one congregation in Alabama to raise over half a million dollars for Compassion International. Because of freedom and prosperity, America has been able to export Christian ideals and missionaries and aid throughout the world--a feat which would not be possible in their austere utopia.
3. The globalist movement currently underway to destroy the American middle class, rid our society of private property and single family housing in the suburbs,and force Americans into miserable crowded conditions in the inner cities, will not produce the levels of prosperity needed to maintain the lifestyles of evangelical leaders who are making themselves rich on books peddling poverty as a virtue.
What the Church, and this country needs, is something really radical--pastors and people who stand up for Freedom and the Constitution and property rights as gifts from God rather than liabilities to be discarded so that we can have greater personal growth. Real stewardship is protecting and preserving those rights and passing them on to the next generation along with our faith so that those who follow us can live and work and worship in freedom just as we have and so that they can have the opportunities that freedom affords to live their lives as they believe that God is calling them to do as individuals.. 2 Corinthians 3:17, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." The pastors in this country who are willing to teach this message are the true revolutionaries.
Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.