The content of this article is taken from notes of a lecture given by the undersigned at the Spring Meeting of the Eastern Men’s and Ladies’ League held in April, 1981. The title of the lecture was “The Moral Majority Movement: Should We Support It?” I include this subject in this department, for the youth of our churches also need strength with regard to the various movements in our country which seem so appealing and worthy of support. Thus, one must try the spirits to see whether this is the spirit of God or the spirit of the Antichrist. Youth in their exuberance are inclined to join movements quickly and with fervor without first searching to see what is the foundation and purpose of such movements. It will be the attempt of the undersigned to shed some light on the Moral Majority in order that we may assess this movement properly from the viewpoint of Holy Writ.
The Moral Majority was very active in 1980, the year of the election of the President of the United States. This year, 1982, is another election year. Even though it is not a presidential election year we can expect to hear from this movement again.
What is the Moral Majority? It is a political organization. This they say of themselves in their paper “The Moral Majority Report” (3/16/81): “Moral Majority Inc. is a political organization providing a platform for religious and non-religious Americans, who share moral values, to address their concerns in these areas. Members of Moral Majority Inc. have no common theological premise. We are Americans who are proud to be conservative in our approach to moral, social, and political concerns.”
The founder of this organization is the Dr. Rev. Jerry Falwell, pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, which has a membership of about 17,000. In addition, he also has a television program entitled “The Old-Time Gospel Hour,” which has an audience of about 21,000,000 which in turn contributes about $l,000,000 a week. Since its founding in 1979 Moral Majority Inc. has signed up 72,000 ministers, 4,000,000 lay members, and is establishing chapters in all fifty states.
Their reason for organizing is that in their eyes the United States is in a terrifying moral decline and they believe that as Christians we have the duty to reverse that by voting only for those who agree with our moral principles. Falwell in the October 13, 1980 issue ofPEOPLE magazine says that the purpose is “to give a voice to the millions of decent, law-abiding, God-fearing Americans who want to do something about the moral decline of our country.”
After the organization of the Moral Majority Inc. similar organizations were born. These work closely with the Moral Majority. Two such organizations are The Religious Roundtable, founded by Ed McAteer, and The Christian Voice, founded by Gary Jarmin. All of these organizations are similar in that most of their members are considered evangelicals or fundamentalists. Characteristics of such are that one must be born again, one must believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God, and one must encourage others to believe in Christ.
This kind of person ordinarily shuns politics, but is prompted into action by three things: the legalization of abortion, the spread of pornography and of gay-rights, and the attempt in 1978 of the Internal Revenue Service to tax private schools suspected of practicing racial discrimination (In reality these schools were established to separate the children from the ungodly education of the public school system).
Being a political organization they take a definite political stand. They are against such things as abortion, Equal Rights Amendment, gay-rights, Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT), pornography, filth on television, sex education in school, and drugs. On the positive side they are for the Kemp-Roth proposal to cut taxes by thirty per cent, free enterprise, a balanced budget, voluntary prayer in public schools, and a secure Israel.
In order to secure these objectives they became especially active prior to the election in 1980 for the purpose of electing those who shared their ideals. First, they conducted a great campaign to register many citizens who ordinarily did not vote but were conservative in their views. At the same time they developed a political report card giving Congressmen grades according to their voting record on various moral issues. Those that received low marks were targeted for defeat.
As a result of this vigorous campaign many liberals, such as John Culver of Iowa and George McGovern of South Dakota, were defeated. They also claim credit for ousting Jimmy Carter and electing Ronald Reagan. They also succeeded in blocking the passage of the ERA in fifteen states. In addition, they shaped a large section of the GOP platform.
What must we say about this movement of the Moral Majority Inc. and of similar organizations? Objectively seen, many of their causes are laudable. We have been chafing under the legislation and government of a liberal left for a long time. Now we have an organization and movement which is trying to accomplish many things to which we can say “Amen.” Certainly, we are against abortion, ERA, gay-rights, drugs, pornography, TV filth, and sex education in school. And again, we can see merit in a balanced budget, since that is good stewardship of governmental monies. We also would desire a cut in taxes if that means cutting out the fat and the frills of a wasteful government, including its welfare programs.
On the other hand, there are some proposals with which we cannot agree. Voluntary prayer in public schools has no place in that ungodly and anti-Christian institution. Neither do we agree with their reason for a secure Israel, for their reason is based on their dispensationalism. With other issues we are perhaps indifferent, such as free enterprise and SALT.
We see what the spirit of this movement is as we look at them from the viewpoint of their own writings and sayings. Falwell says, “The moralists in America have had enough. We are joining hands together for the changing, the rejuvenating of a nation.” And again, “The 80’s is the decade in which this country is going to have a moral rebirth.” A fellow advocate, James Robison says, “It’s time for God’s people to come out of the closet and the churches,—and change America.” President Ronald Reagan is quoted as he calls for “a return to the building of Eden in America—’the shining city’.” Others are saying that “a born-again president will solve all the nation’s problems” and “top priority is to win the world for Jesus Christ.” Then, in the eyes of one of the critics of the Moral Majority movement as quoted in the October 29, 1980 issue of Christianity Today, “Falwell believes that America’s fate hinges on adoption by government of these latter day prohibitions. If we can just quash sufficient numbers of deviants and dissenters America’s problems will disappear and its former greatness will be regained.”
Now that we have seen this movement from the outside it is time that we examine it on the inside, that is, we must see whether this is the spirit of God or the spirit of Antichrist. Generally speaking, one can readily see that this is nothing less than the preaching of the “social gospel.” This is the old belief that if we put a Band-Aid on the sore, the sore will be healed and the cause of it taken away. A social gospel looks at all the fruits of sin instead of sin itself which is the cause of all the crime, filth, and corruption in society. Legislation and new faces in office will not solve our problems. From the beginning of time, changing the heart of man has been the only answer.
Moreover, with the Moral Majority speaking to the government and advocating policy we have a violation of the relationship between church and state. Admittedly, according to their legal status they keep the separation. Yet, by their own admission they toe the line so close that although the letter of the law is not violated, yet the spirit of the law certainly is violated. Let me explain. No church as such, as far as the Moral Majority is concerned, supports any particular candidate. However, the minister does and makes his position known to his congregation. What we must not forget in this connection is that any policy with moral or religious overtones is viewed as the voice coming from the church. Hence, in the Moral Majority movement we see really the church becoming the spokesman unto and for the state. All we have to do is look at the 1980 GOP platform, which was very much formulated by the Moral Majority. Notice how the President is now in a certain sense the servant of the Moral Majority in his carrying out of these programs. It will also be noticed that the President does not say that he has the backing of these various ministers. Rather, he now claims to have the backing of thechurch.
Finally, still generally speaking, this is really a postmillennial view of this dispensation. The goal is an ever-increasing Christian world through legislation and the removal of evil by law. This is the view that there is the possibility of a heaven here on earth.
Let us now look more specifically and examine this movement from the viewpoint of Holy Writ, in particular as seen from Revelation 17. In this chapter we have a picture of the anti-Christian world power as it develops and finally realizes its full power in the end. We see a beast, and a woman carried by this beast. The beast represents the world power from its political aspect while the woman represents the world power from its social and religious aspect. The beast, being the state power, and the woman, being the church, are united together to form the anti-Christian world power. As far as the institute of the state and the institute of the church are concerned there is nothing wrong with them as such, for both have been ordained of God. What is wrong is their unholy alliance.
Taking a closer look we see that the state is ordained of God to bear the sword power with the purpose of protecting the good and punishing the bad. It is a temporal institution which must maintain law and order in the midst of a corrupt society. The means by which the state accomplishes this purpose is a material one, the sword power. The spiritual means does not belong to the state.
On the other hand, the church as institute has also been ordained by God. She is the manifestation of the body of Christ on earth and her task is to build up the saints so that they grow in grace, truth, and knowledge. Thus, she must preach the gospel in every land. In fulfilling this task the state does not tell her what to do or what to preach. The church acknowledges no other authority than. Christ. To accomplish her task she uses no other means than the spiritual means which is the preaching of the Word. She is eternal rather than temporal, with the sole task to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The state exists for the purpose of making that possible for her.
The relationship between the church and the state, the woman and the beast, in Revelation 17 is an adulterous relationship. The state takes upon itself the task of developing the kingdom of Christ. It conceives of the possibility of rooting out evil and establishing peace by the power of the law and sword power. The result of this labor will be the claim that this is the kingdom of Christ. At the same time the church becomes one mind with the beast. She will abandon the name of Christ and will no longer preach on sin and total depravity, but on all sorts of other topics: war and peace, health, labor, business, crime, corruption, and the betterment of humanity through means of legislation. She will teach her members that through these means the glorious kingdom of God will come on earth.
We now apply this Word of God to the Moral Majority movement. First of all, we look at the government, both state and federal, to see how deeply they are involved in religious matters. I will name just ten issues: 1) prayer in public schools, 2) aid to parochial and private schools, 3) abortion, 4) federal aid for abortions for the poor, 5) the teaching of both evolution and creation in schools, 6) taxing various religious organizations and making them file a financial report, 7) protection of the rights of religious minorities (Moonies), 8) maintenance of the religious character of church-related institutions which rely on public funds (colleges), 9) aid to religious agencies (remedial reading, etc.), 10) religious symbols on public property (nativity scene).
In the second place, we look at the Moral Majority itself. It is the harlot, since she has abandoned the name of Christ for that of Moral Majority as she speaks not on sin, but on all the social evils of the day. She teaches that through these means the kingdom of God may come on earth. If you question that, simply go back to those quotations given earlier in this article. It becomes unmistakably clear just where the Moral Majority stands.
The question of whether or not we should join such a movement is now much easier to answer. By no means may we join. The implied warning to all of us is, “Stay away from the Moral Majority movement and all other like organizations.” In appearance it looks like the true church with its gospel, the Bible, the sacraments, ministers, etc. But in reality it is the whore as she is forsaking her rightful husband Jesus Christ for marriage with the beast. It is the embodiment of the false Christ and the false prophet.
Thus, the admonition to our youth and to all of us is that which is given in Holy Writ by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”