Thoughts on Donald Trump's Speech at Liberty University on January 18

Jerry Jr. likes The Donald and thinks Trump is like Jerry Falwell. Falwell said Liberty wasn’t endorsing a candidate but the introduction certainly sounded like an endorsement.
Rev. Falwell, I think America is still great. We don’t need Donald Trump to make it great again. It is great now.
John Fea on Donald Trump’s Two Corinthians.
Trump says he is going to protect Christianity. How about protecting all religions? Instead, he wants our country to get together around Christianity. Big fun if you’re a Christian.
Trump wants to knock the hell out of ISIS. He wants a big military to scare everyone. Actually, his simplistic, off the cuff policy statements are pretty scary.
Really? “When I’m president, you’re gonna see Merry Christmas at department stores, believe me.” What, he’s going to use executive orders for holiday greetings?
Trumps big policy planks – knock the hell out of ISIS, tough negotiations with terrorists, make department stores say Merry Christmas, build a Great Wall of China on our borders, keep companies from relocating overseas, stop common core, don’t restrict guns, get rid of Super PACs, and get rid of Obamacare.
I will vote for Trump for Crazy Uncle in Chief. Oy.
Open forum…

David Barton and Wallbuilders Double Down on The Jefferson Lies Accusations

In his new edition of The Jefferson Lies, David Barton claimed that I recruited Jay Richards to find Christian historians who would engage in a campaign against him. That charge is still false.
I denied the charge in a post here and in a review on The Jefferson Lies Amazon page.
Today someone at Barton’s organization, Wallbuilders, replied to my review with an accusation that I told one story in the review and another story to some undisclosed persons. See below:
I then replied:
At one point in November 2013, Barton claimed that “secular guys” recruited Christian professors to attack Barton. At the time, I wrote:

Barton claims his Christian critics were recruited by “secular guys.” Of course, this is flatly false, at least in my case and anyone I know. No one recruited Michael Coulter and me to critique Barton’s book. Furthermore, there are dozens of Christian professors who have critiqued Barton’s work simply because it is the right and honest thing to do.

Jay Richards is a Fellow at the Discovery Institute who recruited 10 scholars to read our book and The Jefferson Lies. None of these scholars were recruited by secular people to critique Barton.

Even the Family Research Council recognized flaws in Barton’s presentations and pulled his Capitol Tour video from view. Also, Focus on the Family edited Barton’s talks to remove two major historical errors. Perhaps Barton is going to include FRC and Focus on the Family among those recruited by the unnamed “secular guys.”

I don’t know if Barton, Wallbuilders or WND will ever admit it, but it is undeniable that numerous conservative Christians have come forward with major academic critiques of the claims presented by Wallbuilders.

To support his claim that I recruited Richards, Barton wrote this footnote in the new edition of The Jefferson Lies.

The publisher of another of my works, The Founders Bible, released after The Jefferson Lies, reported to me some unexpected and unsolicited contacts he had with Warren Throckmorton, explaining: “About a month ago, I started to get hounded by Throckmorton via email and on our website. He even called my former publishing partner and ended up issuing a warning and a threat. Warren ‘warned’ that he had assembled a coalition of people, supposed conservative Christians, who were mounting a campaign against David. If we intended to publish The Founders’ Bible, anyone associated with Barton was likely to suffer financially, because they were going to come against him. Sort of hit me blindside.” I received this email from the publisher of The Founders Bible on August 16, 2012.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 4669-4675). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

On July 3, 2012, I wrote to a friend who once was involved with the publisher of The Founders Bible with a heads up about the issues relating to The Jefferson Lies. The email was not a threat but rather a concerned personal alert to a friend. As I understand it, that email was forwarded to the publisher of The Founders Bible. I also made attempts to contact the publisher directly for comment about various aspects of the Founders Bible (for instance, I wondered if The Founders Bible was really going to include a favorable reference to a defender of Southern slavery). In my contacts with my friend and with the publisher I recollect describing the emergence of critiques from Christian conservatives.

Jay Richards contacted me in May 2012. He told me he had been commissioned to contact Christian historians to explore fact claims in The Jefferson Lies. While I was happy to hear that Richards was involved, I did not recruit him. Later, I made contacts with my friend and the publisher of The Founders Bible in July 2012, months after Richards first contacted me.

I have yet to hear from Wallbuilders about their claims but will update this post if I do.

Becky Garrison: Mark Driscoll's New Church in a P.O. Box

Recently, writer Becky Garrison spent some time in Phoenix, AZ and looked for Mark Driscoll’s new project, The Trinity Church. In this report, Garrison summarizes Driscoll’s recent moves complete with photos of his church in a P.O. box.

Mark Driscoll’s Ministry Resurfaces in Phoenix

By Becky Garrison

After Mark Driscoll resigned as founder and leader of the multi-campus Seattle based Mars Hill Church, he registered the name Learning for Living before relocating the Driscoll family to Phoenix.

As reported by Warren Throckmorton on the Patheos blog, Mark Driscoll registered Mark Driscoll Ministries and the Trinity Church. Both are located at 21001 North Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85050. Marks Driscoll’s Ministries is listed as Ste. 1630-527 while the Trinity Church’s address is recorded as Ste. 1630-434.

As noted by the photographs below, these ministries are housed inside a UPS Store situated inside Desert Ridge Marketplace, a sprawling mall locate in Phoenix billed as an interactive shopping, dining and entertainment experience in a vibrant, high-energy outdoor setting. According to Lindsay Struck, Business Partnerships & Partnerships, for the charity watchdog organization Guidestar, “It is not uncommon for charities to have a P.O. box (or UPS mailbox) designated specifically for donations. This set-up is often because the charity’s donation processing is managed off-premise.”

However, one does have to wonder why a minister needs an online ministry established to disseminating his podcasts, sermons and other media, as well as a church especially as according to the articles of incorporation, Trinity Church won’t have any members. Mark Driscoll, Randall Taylor and Jimmy Evans are listed as directors of this church with Steven Goosdspeed, a lawyer with the Church Law Group, who handled the incorporation of these two Phoenix ministries. (Note: Goodspeed also handled the registration of Driscoll’s Learning for Living and the sale of Mars Hill Church’s Resurgence LLC assets to Driscoll. Church. Emails to Mark Driscoll Ministries and Evan’s church, Trinity Fellowship in Texas, inquiring about attending this “church” have yet to be returned. However, Driscoll preached preached on January 3, 2016 at North Valley Community Church which is located in the same vicinity as Driscoll’s “church.”

Also, Driscoll was of the keynote preachers at Trinity Fellowship’s Zion 2016 event held from January 3-6, 2016. When Jimmy Witcher, pastor with Trinity Fellowship, introduced Driscoll, he spun the downfall of Mars Hill as the result of “some internal things that were going on there” which were misreported by the media who only “get about the third of the information right.”  Then he elevated Driscoll as “an amazing man of God” citing his appearance at the Texas based Gateway Conference in October 2014 as a sign this New Calvinist preacher could be finding a new audience among the followers within the more Pentecostal and charismatic influenced New Apostolic Reformation.

Moving north to Driscoll’s former stomping ground, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s website, two of Driscoll’s personal LLCs OMCRU Investments and On Mission LLC expired on December 31, 2015 but Driscoll’s MGD Legacy incorporated in Colorado remains in good standing. Even though Mars Hill Church formally dissolved on January 1, 2015, the documents for this church didn’t expired until December 31, 2015. However, the documents for Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches remain active until October 31, 2016 with Driscoll and Mars Hill Church executive elder Dave Bruskas listed as officers.

So what is the future for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church’s assets? God only knows.

Regarding Mars Hill’s assets, the only people who know aren’t talking. Kerry Dodd is the most recent president but has not answered emails or other requests for information. Dave Bruskas is listed as an officer but he tells me he has had no communication with anyone on Mars Hill matters since he left. Apparently, the documents online haven’t been updated.

As promised, here is Driscoll’s new church in a box.

The UPS store at 21001 North Tatum Blvd:

Used by permission of Becky Garrison

The P.O. box:

The Trinity Church. Used by permission of Becky Garrison
The Trinity Church.
Used by permission of Becky Garrison

Ted Cruz's Liabilities in the General Election

What plays well in IA might not work nationally. This concern is the subject of a Houston Chronicle article out over the weekend. Cruz’s endorsers, including Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, have appeal to the far right side of the GOP but have taken controversial positions which will likely alienate independents and moderates. Recently, stridently anti-gay voices Matt Barber and Linda Harvey have endorsed Cruz. Phil Robertson has had his own problems with controversial statements about gays and blacks under Jim Crow laws.
Along with David Barton (quoted in this article), Cruz seems to be persuaded by a notion that there are millions of far right, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, socially conservative dominionist voters who will lift him to victory, if only they can be mobilized to vote. Such a wish might be true in Iowa and perhaps South Carolina. However, I can’t help but believe there is a ceiling for this appeal much lower than needed for a Cruz win against anybody in the general election.
With all of these endorsements, including people on his campaign staff (see the Houston Chronicle for more on that), Cruz will likely be on the defensive. Given his South Carolina staff, he may have to answer about his views on the Confederate flag. He will either agree with his staff’s support for the flag or be forced to explain why he didn’t fire them over their support for the flag. He will have to address questions of criminalizing homosexuals, the Bible’s status versus the Constitution and whether or not America should favor Christianity in legislation and public policy.
If he backs away from his controversial endorsers or waffles on the positions they care about, he risks losing them. If he sticks to those guns, he risks a big loss in November.
Will the GOP back away from Cruz (and equally as problematic option Trump)? I still think it is likely, although I think we may have to go longer into the primary season to see which of those now in the back of the pack catch on.

Glenn Beck v. Donald Trump – Evidence for the Multiverse Hypothesis

Late yesterday on his Facebook page, Glenn Beck went off on Donald Trump somewhat in defense of his pal David Barton’s candidate Ted Cruz.
I can’t make much sense of the whole thing except that Beck hopes to defuse the win Trump had in answering Ted Cruz’s ill-advised attack on “New York values” during Thursday’s GOP debate. Beck brings the non sequitur like no one else.
On thing is sure, Beck is sure it is all about him:

He tried to cozy up to me. The blaze reporter that covered him as part of their beat can recall several conversations where he claimed I was “a genius” etc.

We laughed between ourselves at the time because I know that I am no genius and we suspected he was saying those things because we knew he was going to run.

But I must ask: Donald, Were you Lying then or now?

Just like you admitted with Cruz last week during the debate to justify your flip flop: “He is doing well in the polls now”, were you saying kind things about me then in hopes to ‘befriend and ‘purchase’ my silence?’

Or are you only trying to destroy me now because I will not be bullied away from the facts of who you are politically?

Make no mistake, I do not dislike you as an entertainer, or even a politician. To me you are irrelevant but I believe progressivism is a cancer to the constitution and you sir are the definition of a big government progressive.

You are more Phillip Drew or Father Couglin than a simple builder of Golf Courses.

To all those who truly claim to be constitutional conservatives who have also said “without question Cruz is the conservative in the race” and my personal favorite “Donald Trump is by no means or measurement a conservative”, what is it you are you getting out of remaining silent on the corruption of your principles? What is it you hope to gain? Access? A seat at the table? A round of golf with the president?

We know what Hillary, Anthony wiener, Charley Rangle and Harry Reid got: money.

Billionaires who use their money, connections and microphone don’t frighten me.

George Soros tried to silence me with smears, lies and intimidation.

It didn’t stop me then.

Donald Trump won’t stop me or the truth now.

His policies of progressivism and the tactics of Saul Alinsky are the same.

But, Mr Trump I know ‘spooky dude’ and you sir, are no spooky dude.

These guys are playing in some other universe. Spooky.

Happy Religious Freedom Day 2016; Happy Freedom to the Five Americans Released by Iran Today

Today, we remember Thomas Jefferson’s work in writing Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom (full text here) which was adopted by the Virginia legislature on January 16, 1786. From Obama’s presidential proclamation:

When the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was adopted on January 16, 1786, it formed a blueprint for what would become the basis for the protection of religious liberty enshrined in our Constitution.  Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the statute proclaims that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

You can read a Congressional resolution celebrating the day here.
Unrelated, but it is very good news that Iran has released 5 American prisoners today as well.

Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis Justify Their Planes and Impersonate Ministers

If this wasn’t real, it would make for a great parody of prosperity preachers.
Apparently this was first brought to wide attention by Pulpit and Pen blog.
Laugh lines: Copeland – “And the guy sitting over there saying, ‘What the hell’s he think he’s doing?”  “This dope filled world. You get in a long tube with a bunch of demons.”

David Barton Removes Claim About Chaplains at the University of Virginia in New Edition of The Jefferson Lies

In the 2012 edition of The Jefferson Lies, David Barton claimed to debunk the notion that the University of Virginia (founded by Jefferson) had no chaplains. He took up this as one of his major points as evidence that Jefferson established UVA as a “transdenominational” college. See below from the first edition of The Jefferson Lies:

4. Did the University of Virginia Have Chaplains?
The modern claim that the University of Virginia had no chaplains is also easily disproved by original documents, including early newspaper ads that the university ran to recruit students from surround-ing areas. In the Washington newspaper the Globe, the Reverend Septimus Tuston (identified in the ad as the chaplain of the university and who later became the chaplain of the US House of Representatives and then the US Senate) discussed religious life at the school, reporting:
Barton, David (2013-02-15). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 1330-1335). WallBuilder Press. Kindle Edition.

Barton then cited a 1837 article from the Washington Globe. Jefferson died in 1826; he had nothing to do with chaplains at UVA. Perhaps anticipating this counterpoint to his argument, Barton crafted a narrative to try to explain why chaplains were not appointed in the early days of the school. However, what Barton does to James Madison (who took over when Jefferson died) demonstrates his bias. From the first edition of The Jefferson Lies, Barton selectively quoted Madison:

The University of Virginia did indeed have chaplains, albeit not in its first three years (the university opened for students in 1825). At the beginning, when the university was establishing its reputation as a transdenominational university, the school had no appointed chaplain for the same reason that there had been no clergyman as president and no single professor of divinity: an ordained clergyman in any of those three positions might send an incorrect signal that the university was aligned with a specific denomination. But by 1829, when the nondenominational reputation of the university had been fully established, President Madison (who became rector of the university after Jefferson’s death in 1826) announced “that [permanent] provision for religious instruction and observance among the students would be made by . . . services of clergymen.”
Barton, David (2013-02-15). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 1362-1369). WallBuilder Press. Kindle Edition.

This treatment of Madison completely changes Madison’s meaning. Actually these words from Madison comes from a letter he wrote to a fellow university trustee. Here is what Barton cited Madison as saying:

“that [permanent] provision for religious instruction and observance among the students would be made by…services of clergymen.”

However, Madison made no public announcement about UVA policy. Instead, Madison wrote those words in a May 1, 1828 letter to Chapman Johnson, one of the members of the university Board of Visitors. The actual quote depicts a completely different meaning than Barton implies. Here is the entire section of the letter, from which Barton lifts his quote. Barton leaves out the words from Madison which are required to understand the meaning. Another unwarranted change Barton makes is to add the word “permanent.” What Barton omitted is in bold print below:

I have indulged more particularly the hope, that provision for religious instruction and observances among the Students, would be made by themselves or their Parents & Guardians, each contributing to a fund to be applied, in remunerating the services of Clergymen, of denominations, corresponding with the preference of the contributors. Small contributions would suffice, and the arrangement would become more & more efficient & adequate, as the Students become more numerous; whilst being altogether voluntary, it would interfere neither with the characteristic peculiarity of the University, the consecrated principle of the law, nor the spirit of the Country.

Instead of securing chaplains, Madison hoped that the students and parents would handle the religious matters themselves voluntarily.
In the new edition of The Jefferson Lies, Barton continues to assert that Jefferson wanted to establish a “transdenominational” school but he leaves out the chaplains story. From the new edition:

As already noted, in 1818 Jefferson and the university Visitors publicly released their plan for the new school announcing that it would be transdenominational and making clear that religious instruction would be provided to all students. But Jefferson insisted on additional steps to ensure that religious training would occur at the university.
Barton, David (2015-12-22). The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson (Kindle Locations 1997-2000). WND Books. Kindle Edition.

I am surprised that Barton left this story out because in February 2015, Barton told the same story to Jack Hibbs, pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. He told this story as evidence that he is positively revising errors of academic historians. Watch:

There is no actual academic debate over the eventual presence of chaplains at UVA. Barton’s narrative seems designed to make him look like he is revising history in the direction of accuracy. However, when you know the rest of the story, it is easy to see who engaged in revision.

Cover of Getting Jefferson Right, used by permission
Cover of Getting Jefferson Right, used by permission

Barton has taken the position that Michael Coulter and I are mostly wrong in our critique of The Jefferson Lies. However, in this case, our accurate telling of the story apparently resulted in a significant alteration in his book. Instead of acknowledging this, Barton and World Net Daily are doubling down on the false narrative that the first edition was killed due to liberal attacks.

Canadian Church Pulls Support for Gospel for Asia

Faith Mennonite Church yesterday alerted the congregation that Gospel for Asia will be removed from their offering schedule for at least two years.

As a leadership team, we have been watching the situation with GFA (Gospel for Asia) as significant concerns unfold about their financial management over the past number of months.  Given the most recent updates that we have seen, along with a lack of response to our query to GFA Canada for clarity on the situation, we have decided that it is appropriate to remove GFA from our offering schedule for the two years remaining in this offering cycle. While this situation is unfortunate, we feel that this is the path of most diligence at this time, given the information that we have been provided.

For an outline of the situation, please read this article from Christianity Today :

For some background reading, please review:

For GFA USA’s initial response, please read here:

For a response from a Canadian pastor, please read here:

On Tuesday, I disclosed that K.P. Yohannan fired two board members without due process and possibly in violation of Canadian law. Last year, I reported that Canadian contributions to GFA India were not reported in India.