This new book by Brannon Howse, president and founder of Worldview Weekend conferences (www.worldviewweekend.com), is a fine example of knowing what the problem is but not knowing how to solve it.
It may be argued that we don’t need yet another “conservative” book listing the defects of modern liberalism, analyzing its nature, and revealing the threat it poses to Judeo-Christian civilization in America. After all, this is one message that’s really getting out — not only via books, but through the Internet, talk radio, political speeches, and the public relations efforts of large pro-family organizations (including Worldview Weekend). Liberals never had it so bad.
But One Nation Under Man? is a new book, and it will serve to point out what’s missing from the conservative enterprise, and why, for all the body blows we’re landing, our opponent shows no signs of going down.
A Rival Religion
Howse thoroughly unmasks liberalism for what it is: another name for secular humanism, a rival religion whose adherents want to replace Christianity as the foundation of Western civilization. Chalcedon’s readers already know this; R.J. Rushdoony demonstrated it 40 years ago.
Howse makes a convincing argument — again, one already familiar to most readers — that the Bible is the basis of the American way of life and humanism a fundamentally anti-American ideology. He covers no new ground, but if his book falls into the hands of a reader who needs to learn about this, it will educate him.
Many American churches, Howse says, have failed to carry out their prophetic and teaching functions, leading to a flabby, muddle-headed Christianity among much of the public at large. Nothing new here.
It sounds like Howse is preaching to the choir, but we’ve all done that. On the positive side, he does teach that God’s Law is a reflection of God’s nature and character and must be seen as such: holy, just, and good. And it seems clear that Howse loves Jesus and has written this book to serve Him.
No matter how many quotes from conservative luminaries — and Howse has the support of most of the big names, from James Dobson and Tim Wildmon to David Limbaugh and Ann Coulter — there are still some major gaps in this book.
Howse claims to be presuppositional, having God as the highest truth and the starting point of all knowledge — but then he goes on to try to “prove” God, Christ, and the Bible by appeals to human reason, archaeology, manuscript evidence, etc. As if one could confirm the greater by appealing to the authority of the lesser!
There is a place for Christian apologetics, but not the highest place. Faith, not reason, is the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). What happens when the apologist meets a more skillful debater from the other side? If your faith is based on intellect, it needs deeper roots in deeper soil.
Howse’s book shows an incomplete appreciation for the sovereignty of God. We choose to repent and change our ways — rather than repentance and sanctification being the gift of God’s grace to us. We convince and convert others — rather than simply being used by God. Apollos plants the seed and Paul waters it, but the seed grows by the power of God (1 Corin. 3:6). We can reclaim our country for Christ, succeeding where monarchs like Hezekiah and Josiah failed.
If any of these things are done, it’s God who does them, not men.
Another fault here is that Howse wades boldly into politics and declares “true conservative Republicans” the Christian party and Democrats the anti-God party. True, one party’s leaders stand for some pretty bad things, from abortion to same-sex “marriage,” but is this how we are to reach out to millions of decent people who happen to be Democrats? It’s the same thing Howard Dean does when he mocks the “white fundamentalist Christians” in the GOP. Aside from being unjust and unchristian, this approach is hardly likely to lead to any meeting of the minds.
Besides, it gives Republicans a free pass: tack the “R” after your name, and rack up Christian votes. Howse tries to remedy this by ruling out Republicans who are not “true conservatives,” but what shyster in Washington doesn’t know how to masquerade as a conservative?
Where Do We Go from Here?
The real difficulty with this book is that Howse identifies problems but offers no effective solutions. He urges readers to memorize the details of the Christian versus the humanist worldviews. But this method of “acquiring a Biblical worldview” bears too close a resemblance to memorizing and repeating a political party’s talking points. He denounces the public schools, yet never mentions the obvious alternatives of homeschooling or sending the children to solid Christian schools.
Howse realizes that there are too many “bad men” in public office and too many seemingly “good men” who go bad as soon as they’re elected.
He doesn’t seem to understand that reconstruction can’t be done from the top down. It’s too easy for those at the top, once they get there, to devote all their energies to staying there. Incumbents rarely rock the boat.
Regeneration must proceed from the bottom up. First the individual, then his family; from the family to the church; and then on to the local community — and every step of the process depends on God’s grace.
How far, for example, would the Left’s assault on marriage go if most people had godly marriages, gave their children a godly education (at home or at a Christian school and not in the public schools), raised godly families, and put God first in every aspect of their daily lives? It goes without saying that politicians who promoted evil policies wouldn’t get these people’s votes, and churches that promoted heresies wouldn’t see these people’s dollars in their collection plates.
Unless such bottom-to-top reconstruction of society occurs, all we can do is go on slugging it out with the liberals without ever knocking them out.
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.