Large Turnout At American Vision Conference Means, I Hope, More Christians Want Biblical Worldview
By John Lofton, Editor
The folks at American Vision expected perhaps 300 people to attend their “Worldview Super Conference” in Toccoa, Georgia, which I attended. The actual number who came was slightly over 600. I hope with all my heart that this means there are a growing number of Christians who desire to have a Christian/Biblical worldview which governs all areas of life.
The most interesting, moving remarks at this gathering were unscheduled remarks and they were made by Dr. Herb Titus. Filling in for a speaker who was late in arriving, Herb gave his personal testimony regarding his salvation and his wife’s. What he had to say was powerful, from-the-heart, humorous and God-glorifying.
Herb also spoke three times on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. His presentations were excellent — which is to say Biblical. You should buy any materials by Herb that you can get your hands on.
The most disappointing performance at the Conference — to put it charitably — was by William Federer, President of Amerisearch, Inc. who was, ostensibly, defending the view that American history is Christian not secular. He “debated” an atheist Dr. Ed Buckner.
But, Federer did not defend the Christian faith. He did not respond at all to Buckner’s four points about which he said if he was wrong would mean he lost this debate. His points were:
- Not all Americans agree on religion.
- Human judgment is imperfect.
- Religious truth cannot be determined by vote or force.
- Religious liberty is worth having and protecting.
Buckner said that if all four of his points are true then church and state must be kept separate. He said our Founders didn’t want government and religion to be “entangled.” He said all the key aspects of American government are not in the Bible.
But, as I say, Federer did not defend the Christian faith. He did not, for example, point out that our idea of church and state being separate comes from the Bible where, in the Old Testament, in the Hebrew Republic, God separated church and state!
Federer, more than once, referred to our form of government as “a democracy” — which it is not. At one point, complaining that one percent of the American people (atheists) should not allowed to thwart the will of 85 percent of Americans (Christians), Federer said: “The laws should reflect the views of the people.”
Buckner, correctly, challenged Federer’s un-American majoritarianism asking Federer if 85 percent of Americans were Muslims, would this make Islam right? To which Federer replied: “Don’t you trust our democracy?”
Seeking to appease Buckner, Federer, in effect, unwittingly to be sure — on the subject of tolerance — spoke approvingly of the de-Christianization of America! Giving Christianity the credit, he traced the history of America from a time when only Christians could hold public office to now when, well, anybody of any religion can hold public office, when all Christian qualifications for public office have been abolished.
Amazingly, Federer spoke of this Godless “tolerance” in America as if it is something good when, as I say, what he was actually approving was the de-Christianization of our country!
Federer also quoted various Supreme Court rulings supporting his view as if they were holy writ. Ditto, what some of our Founders said. But, he made no arguments regarding God and government on the basis of what God says in the Bible.
The only thing good about Federer’s performance was that he talked so fast, and recited from memory so many quotes from our history, that not one person in a hundred could understand what he was saying.
Joel Belz, Founder of “World” magazine, also spoke. His topic was, according to the program: “Christians And The Media — Are We Making An Impact?” But, he said nothing of any substance on this topic.
Belz told some jokes. He said that what they were doing at “World” was “grappling with Godlessness.” Discussing how they were training Christians to go into the secular media, he mentioned one young woman who had done this and she “lost her faith.”
Belz attacked some of the “in-your-face-Godlessness” in our country an example being interviewer Terry Gross of “National Public Radio.” He also noted that we face “polite Godlessness.” And he complained that when he and his wife went to see “Flight 93” they had to sit through several ugly, Godless previews of other movies.
Belz also told a long story about how a “Wall Street Journal” reporter James Taranto had written a story which unfairly criticized him. After several email exchanges, Taranto recanted and wrote something saying he had misunderstood Belz who praised Taranto for his honest reply.
This story by Belz reminded me of when “World” ran a bogus story by Lynn Vincent saying that President Bush had renominated several “pro-life” judges to be confirmed. There was, of course, no evidence that any of these judges were “pro-life.”
After an exchange of several emails between myself, Belz and Vincent in which I asked that “World” either give evidence these judges were “pro-life,” or run a correction, Belz told me, in so many words, to drop dead. He told me they owed me no explanation and he told me to stop writing to them.
Finally, Belz lamented the fact that there is no one on our side, to defend our side, like the in-your-face, Godless Terry Gross of “National Public Radio.” But, of course, there are such people and I am one of them. But, years ago, Belz barred me from ever writing for “World” because I had criticized something said by the theologian Carl Henry.
Another debate was between Dr. Carl Wieland, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of “Creation Magazine” and Dr. Mark Farmer from the University of Georgia. The topic was “Origins: Creation or Evolution?” And I must admit that to hear this debate was humbling because, in all honesty, I understood very little of what was said. It was a very technical, scientific discussion that was way over my head. In a brief conversation, Dr. Wieland agreed with me that the Intelligent Design movement is a diversion but he believes it acts as a lightning rod taking the heat off the Creationists.
Dr. Gary North spoke twice, once on “The Scopes Trial And The Great Turning Point: 1925-1975” and once on “Out Of The Shadows: 1976 To 2006.” As to be expected, what he said was interesting but it left an erroneous impression.
Gary told how the famous Scopes “monkey trial” was construed as a disastrous defeat for Christianity. But, in reality, it was a success in that it led to the growth of evangelical and Pentecostal churches. He then told how conservative Christians learned to use the media — specifically direct-mail — and this led to the election of Ronald Reagan as President.
But, in my judgment, from a Christian/Biblical worldview perspective, the election of Reagan and the two Bushes (which he did not mention) was not a success. Neither Reagan nor the two Bushes gave us anything remotely resembling Christian/Biblical government.
Interestingly, Gary told how the fiery preacher, James Robison, in 1980, at a huge pro-Reagan rally, warned against Christians becoming beholden to any political party. He quoted Robison as saying: “The dangerous thing about being in the hip-pocket of a political party is that you might get sat on.”
Well, amen! And that is exactly what has happened. Virtually every Christian/conservative leader and organization are cheerleaders for the Republican Party. Thus, they have been in the hip-pocket of the GOP and they have been sat on, ignored.
Denouncing so-called public education, Gary quoted the late Dr. R.J. Rushdoony, my theological mentor, as noting: “Christians complain about the level of taxation but they tithe their children to the State” by sending them to the government-run schools. And suggesting that those in attendance start their own blog, he said this is easy: “If you can fog a mirror, you can start a blog.”
Other superb presentations at this gathering included talks by: E. Ray Moore, Jr., Director, ExodusMandate.org, speaking on “The Biblical Mandate For Christian Education;” and Christian screen writer and film critic Brian Godawa who spoke about storytelling, worldviews and persuasion.
In his remarks concluding this meeting, Gary DeMar, President of American Vision, made some very important points. He said that eschatologies matter because “what you think about the future will determine how you act in the present.” And, he said, correctly, that Christians are the ones who gave away our once Christian nation because they bought in to the erroneous notion that religion is a private matter limited to home and church not all areas of life as the Bible mandates.