(EXCLUSIVE TO CHALCEDON)
At first glance, you'd hardly think Doug Giles was a preacher with a national pulpit, let alone a voice for faithful, Biblical orthodoxy.
Wild metaphors, quirky sound effects (zap! blaaap! boing!), and hard rock background music put Giles' Clash Radio in a class by itself in Christian radio. You can hear it anytime on the Internet at clashradio.com.
In an exclusive interview with Chalcedon, Giles discussed his message and his medium.
Up from Nowhere
Giles, now 42, is pastor at Clash Christian Church in Miami, Florida. In addition to his Internet radio program, he writes a weekly column for TownHall.com, America's premier conservative website, writes books, homeschools two teenage daughters, and labors in a ministry aimed at "getting the slack out of the slackers."
But his life didn't always look like this. As a student at Texas Tech University, "I was deep into lots of different drugs, with a bad, bad background." He flunked out of college, drifted for a bit—and wound up coming back to earn his degree and evangelize his fellow students. He has since earned a master's degree from Knox Theological Seminary.
"I had a blast declaring God's eternal truth," he said, urging students—and some of his professors—to witness and redeem the campus.
What changed him?
"God did it," Giles said. "I got involved with a charismatic church and cleaned up my act.
"But the church wasn't enough. I didn't want to sit around waiting for the rapture. They were in a defeatist mindset, inside their four stained-glass walls.
"Restless guy that I am, I started reading the old Puritan writers, and they led me to modern Christian writers like Gary North, David Chilton, and Ken Gentry [who writes regularly for Chalcedon, ed.], and finally R. J. Rushdoony [Chalcedon's founder]. I still keep Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law on my desk where I work.
"The thing I like about Rushdoony and the others—they know we're gonna win this thing. They know this world isn't a sinking ship: that Christ intended for souls to be saved and culture to be leavened. They know our labors are not in vain."
America as Amsterdam?
In his columns, Giles has repeatedly called for "injecting some testosterone into the church" and taking God's law seriously—a position that has caused him to be savaged on left-wing websites like Salon.com.
"Obviously we can't legislate Biblical ceremonial law in America today," he said. "That's what liberals always accuse of us wanting to do. It's just a knee-jerk criticism on their part. They're afraid of morality and afraid of prosperity."
Does Biblical morality make a nation prosperous? "I believe it, as it's taught in the Bible," Giles said (see Deut. 11:26–28, "I set before you this day a blessing and a curse"; Ps. 1, "[H]e shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water"; Ps. 144, "[H]appy is that people … whose God is the LORD").
But "America really needs to get on the stick—especially the church," he said. "The church has to get up off its wrinkly glutes and preach the truth about God's Word. If we don't, it'll only be another ten years before America is Amsterdam."
On a recent preaching tour of Europe, Giles had occasion to visit a grocery store in Amsterdam.
"They had real hard porn, XXX-rated stuff, right by the cash register," he said. "And there in front of me stood a little three-year-old blonde Dutch girl staring right at the stuff.
"Any culture that expunges the Law of God from public life, that embraces secularism and confines the Christian faith to Christian ghettos, is not going to make it. If America keeps up at the rate it's going, someday it's going to be nothing but a tourist spot where people come to wonder what happened to the world's most prosperous country."
Giles admits his style "causes some Christians to pop a blood vessel. But like Luther said, we've got to be able to live outside the temple. We are in this world, and I want to see some victory!"
His style—and his choice of guests, which include Os Guinness, Ann Coulter, and Ted Nugent—has a lot to do with his being on Internet radio rather than the airwaves. "Getting kicked off four Christian radio stations forced us onto the Internet," he said. "They didn't want us talking about pedophiles in the church or the Episcopal Church appointing a gay bishop. They didn't want us to offend people.
"But I say to Christians everywhere, 'Toughen up!' Look at our history. We've had martyrs crucified upside down, hung up by their arms and getting their shins broken with a crowbar. Surely we can take mockery and criticism. What've we got to be afraid of?"
Giles credits God with finding his ministry a niche on the Internet. "We just stumbled into this thing," he said. "Really, God did it for us." The TownHall.com column, he added, is one of the site's consistently best-read columns. Between Clash Radio and TownHall, the exposure he's received has allowed him to make plans for expanding his ministry to cable TV and syndicated broadcast radio. His Clash Radio show has won seven Silver Microphone and two Communicator Awards.
"I've been learning to think, like Rushdoony, in terms of hundreds of years," Giles said. "Rushdoony knew you can't bring the world under Christ overnight.
"But that shouldn't stop us from working hard to win victories here and now. I think the last presidential election was one of those victories—and a big one. Let's get out there and win some more."
Giles' full biography may be viewed at the bottom of his TownHall column at TownHall.com. His latest book, Political Twerps, Cultural Jerks, Church Quirks, is available on amazon.com.