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There is an interesting reality at play in the American church now that smacks of propaganda.
A … cabal (I don’t hesitate to use a word that is precise) exists whereby certain conservative voices are shut out of the debate – whatever the debate is at the moment.
For now, I’ll focus on a couple areas to illustrate.
I spent part of the last year corresponding with a rep from Christianity Today, the flagship periodical of the evangelical world, founded in the 1950s. I queried them about an article I propose to write that profiles Christian Zionism, a hot topic, I believe, since there are so many in the church right now mocking, defaming and marginalizing Israel’s greatest friends. Jew-haters tend to go after Jew-lovers, if I may say it that way.
The CT rep was very nice and I felt genuinely so. I was told the editorial board would consider it. I pointed out that I go to Israel regularly and know most of the pro-Israel Christian groups personally. I said in the query (a formal proposal) that readers should be interested since this is a topic in the news constantly and that, for example, Christians United for Israel is growing by leaps and bounds. CUFI and other groups are routinely mocked by what some are calling the “Christian Palestinianists.”
However, and this is the juicy part, the editorial board for CT is much more ideologically aligned with the Christian Palestinianists than they are the Zionists. Why? There are many answers.
For decades, institutions like Wheaton College (in CT’s Chicago-area backyard) and Fuller Seminary have drifted to the left. Wheaton’s Gary Burge is but one example of an anti-Israel force who advocates for “Palestine.”
So they are ideological bedfellows. In general – and this is my opinion – CT is center-left in its worldview, which comes as a surprise to your rank-and-file Christians. They think it’s a “conservative” magazine.
Notice, though, that when an article appears that discusses origins issues, CT is solidly in the “theistic evolution” camp. Or when Israel is discussed, even in brief news items or captioned photos, it almost always is negative coverage, such as a right-wing Knesset group complaining about “missionary” efforts.
What this means of course is that CT is in reality a biased rag that masquerades as a mainstream Christian news source.
And of course, some could say that this is just sour grapes on my part. That is a perspective, although I’d say that I’ll live if CT doesn’t publish my article. I write for a variety of publications and made the effort because it would give CT readers a far different perspective than they’d get from, say, Rich Stearns of World Vision (if you think World Vision is balanced in its view of the Arab-Israeli conflict, just check out the NGO monitor website and search for “World Vision”).
Enough of that; I’ll conclude with another brief examination of where other Christian media is at today, namely, Christian publishing and bookstores. I consider it an ongoing, unfolding scandal.
A friend recently told me he was in a Christian chain bookstore and was overwhelmed by the displays for “Duck Dynasty.” Now look, I don’t begrudge anyone making money the old-fashioned American way – more power to them.
But when it comes at the expense of solid Bible teaching, I have a problem with it. The alternate view is that they are giving the customers what they want, and that then goes into a discussion of what is coming from the American pulpits today, so no doubt it’s a complicated and multi-faceted issue.
Which brings me to a last, related topic: “The Circle Maker,” a book by popular pastor Mark Batterson.
Some have pointed out that the book’s premise – teaching a style of prayer that involves drawing a circle on the ground (taken from the Talmud?) – and is a new spin on the prosperity message.
Now, in fairness, I have not read the book (but will). Yet it’s valid to ask the question: Who vets material like this? I mean, at the bookstore level? A 19-year-old stockboy? Adults? Theologians?
As I’ve said many times, we must come to terms with the fact that the modern American Christian bookstore stocks titles that will sell. That is the dominant reason. There are some that are conscientious and careful in their selections, but they don’t make up the majority view, in my view.
I suppose what I’m trying to say with these divergent examples that arrive at the same place is that discernment is in short supply today within evangelicalism.
This lack of understanding is no more evident than in our dissemination of ideas.