The term New Religious Right is used to distinguish from the Religious Right of the 1970s. I do not believe that some of the original leaders of the Religious Right, who are now deceased, would unite with false teachers and abandon theology for a political or cultural agenda. As I document in great detail in my Religious Trojan Horse, today’s New Religious Right leaders have no problem working with some of the most notorious false teachers that are preaching another Jesus and another Gospel.
In Matthew 23, Jesus calls the religious leaders of His day “white-washed tombs.” They looked good on the outside. They thought they were promoting morality, but they were dead spiritually. Jesus warned that they would strain out a gnat but swallow a whole camel. And, indeed, the New Religious Right is notorious for such activity. The Southern Baptist Convention called for a boycott of the Disney Company, for instance, but in 1993 refused to pass a resolution at their national convention condemning the occultism of Free Masonry. Instead, the denomination passed a resolution stating that there are aspects of Free Masonry consistent with Christianity. (Compare this stance with Ezekiel 5:11-16; 8:5-18 to see the Old Testament attitude toward aberrant systems such as Freemasonry.)
The New Religious Right will boycott a company whose unsaved executives promote the homosexual agenda but will themselves promote and give credibility to false teachers who preach another Jesus and another gospel. Both the executives and false teachers are wrong, but purchasing a hammer from a hardware chain that supports immorality is not going to result in someone going to hell. Promoting and giving credibility to false teachers and their false gospel can certainly result in people spending eternity in hell.
In Matthew 23:13-29, Jesus uses the word “woe” eight times when speaking to the scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees. “Woe” means “judgment upon you,” and Jesus pronounced judgment on them because they were more interested in moralizing and legislating morality than in understanding, accepting, and preaching the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In similar whitewashed-looking causes, the New Religious Right has chosen:
1. Family values over biblical doctrine.
The NRR united in spiritual enterprises with false teachers, despite their attacks on the Word of God, simply because members of the New Apostolic Reformation and Word of Faith claim to be pro-life and opposed to same-sex marriage.
2. Moralizing over evangelizing.
Instead of making their primary focus the proclamation of the Gospel to the unsaved world by which to change hearts and minds, the New Religious Right focuses on moralizing, which has proven to be a failure since the 1980s.
On June 20, 2012, I asked Dr. MacArthur about the failure of moralizing and he gave the radio audience a very important Biblical and historical analysis.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees had created in the land of Israel a moral culture; the Pharisees in particular. They had created a moral culture. In other words, they had created a fastidious culture in which all of the normal categorical sins were excluded from society. They had a kind of form of godliness the Apostle Paul called it. I would say that based upon you know, sort of Old Testament moral standards, that the culture of Israel when our Lord came was the most moral culture in the history of Israel and therefore, more moral than any other culture, because they at least had the Bible to base it on, the Old Testament to base it on. They’d gotten rid of idolatry after the Babylonian captivity. There were no idols in the land. They were living fastidiously by the law. The Pharisees were in control, and they were the rigid legalists. They had disseminated this religion throughout the land of Israel.
And Jesus came into that situation and basically condemned the entire thing, and basically said this is what is going to send you to hell. And Paul picks up on that and says that they’re going about to establish their own righteousness. They don’t know how holy God is. They don’t know how unholy they are (Romans 10). The only way to be saved is to call on the name of the Lord.
So what do you get when you’re done reclaiming the culture? What have you got? You’ve got 1st Century Judaism, and Jesus came and said your house has left you desolate. You’re going to be destroyed.
And in 70 AD the Romans were God’s divine weapon that came in and massacred and Josephus says that, we don’t know if the number’s exactly accurate, a million Jews were killed, 985 towns in Israel were sacked and people were slaughtered. The divine judgment fell on the most moral society maybe that the world has ever known based on the Old Testament morality and superficiality. So what do you get when you get a moral society? You get a society of people insulated against the true understanding of their own retched hearts.
3. Prosperity over sacrifice.
The New Religious Right has united with the New Apostolic Reformation and Word of Faith movements, giving credibility to the prosperity gospel where the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls for sacrifice. The NRR is obsessed with the need for America to maintain economic prosperity by electing the right people to political office. While I am all for liberty and economic freedom, financial prosperity is not going to solve America’s spiritual problem of rebellion against God. Many pro-family groups raise millions of dollars each year, and yet with that prosperity, few in the NRR have proclaimed a biblical Gospel but rather have compromised the Gospel. The NRR deliberately avoids proclaiming biblical truth so as not to offend Mormon and Roman Catholic donors. This is how many within the NRR have chosen prosperity over the sacrifice that Christians must make when they lovingly speak truth.
4. Christian activism over biblical discipleship.
Most of the New Religious Right has focused on creating Christian activists rather than biblical disciples according to the mandate of the Great Commission in Matthew 28.
5. Compromise over commitment.
The New Religious Right is identified by its willingness to compromise biblical truth for political and financial pragmatism.
6. The flag over the cross.
Patriotism (the love of country) is one thing, but nationalism (the love of government) is a sin. The New Religious Right has moved from patriotism to nationalism and raised the flag over the cross. The NRR focuses on cultural activism, returning to the founding fathers’ “original intent,” and “reclaiming America” instead of preaching the cross. Nationalism is defined in part by a belief that the state is of primary importance.In brief, nationalism is a theory of political legitimacy, which requires that ethnic boundaries should not cut across political ones. To NRR members the state is of primary importance because they believe they must implement the Kingdom of God on earth before Jesus Christ comes to rule His kingdom. Nationalism emphasizes collective identity-a “people” must be autonomous, united, and express a single national culture. This definition certainly applies to NRR members committed to implementing “kingdom values” so they can transform the culture and establish dominion through a theocratic or “Christian” government.
7. The White House over the Church House.
The New Religious Right is more committed to reclaiming or maintaining the office of U. S. president than in reclaiming Church offices from false teaching. Instead of defending the Church from false teachers, the NRR unites with them. The result is that many of NRR members become false teachers themselves.
8. The wolves over the sheep.
I have personally witnessed members of the New Religious Right criticize and shun Christians who warn of false teachers. I’ve experienced the “soft persecution” of criticism from members of the NRR that choose to unite with the very wolves about which I warned. Members of the NRR often partner with the wolves at the expense of the sheep.
9. An earthly kingdom over the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 9:16).
Many members of the New Religious Right are hostile to the biblical Gospel of the Kingdom of God and instead are committed to building an earthly kingdom. Some are not openly hostile to the message of Christ, but they have no commitment to defending or proclaiming the Gospel because their primary goals revolve around the culture war and dominion theology.
The New Religious Right uses the biblical theme of salt and light to argue that we are called to focus time, energy, and money on Christian activism. Yet the overarching message of Matthew 5:13-16 is not about Christian activism but about proclaiming the Gospel. In Mathew 5 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world….Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Christians should be involved in good works such as defending the lives of the unborn, caring for widows and orphans, and running crisis pregnancy centers. The reason, though, is that people will see the transforming power of the Gospel in our lives. Good works when used as a platform for the Gospel offers unbelievers the chance to see the light of Christ within our lives and to give glory to our heavenly Father.
Christian activism apart from the Gospel has no eternal value and is, in fact, a sin because we are not obeying God and fulfilling the Great Commission.