The ERLC just released its “Civility Report” called the “Faith and Healthy Democracy” on Sept 26th, 2019. The White Paper is by ERLC Fellow Paul Miller a professor of the Practice of International Affairs Georgetown University and a long time Intelligence Analyst working in international affairs, political theory, culture, and theology. Before coming to Georgetown Miller worked for Rand Corporation.
The Civility Report is based on polls and research conducted by Lifeway and its “interviewees” reads like a who’s who from The Gospel Coalition and the usual suspects of Russell Moore “cultural and political engagement” ideologist. Guys like Michael Wear, Jonathan Leeman, Jemar Tisby, Bruce Ashford, Colon Hansen and others from TGC grace every page with the standard TGC political rhetoric.
You can find more information on the Civility Report of the ERLC and its Georgetown author here.
THE MISSION OF THE CIVILITY REPORT
“This report explores how American evangelical Christians might contribute to healing political and cultural divides in America. It also aims to identify gaps in Americans’ civic education and civic practice and to suggest ways to fill that gap. We hope to engage Christians on what healthy democratic participation looks like: how do we love our neighbors politically, and how might our faith lead us to advocate for human flourishing in the public square?”
IN LAYMEN’S TERMS MINUS THE HUMAN FLOURISHING
The Civility Report is to encourage civility in and to rethink how Christians engage political discussion. It also shows great concern over where Christians source their news and discourages reading internet and social media or commenting on politics on social media or worst of all, listening to talk radio or TV interviews. Well given these are the main source of exposure and enlightening the public on the state of the ERLC and TGC progressive politics – it is not hard to understand the reports discouragement of their use.
LIFEWAY'S ROLE IN ASSESSING THE BAD POLITICS OF AMERICAN
“LIFEWAY’S CIVILITY INDEX”
“American political life has seen marked deterioration in recent decades, what has changed? One way of answering that question is through our proprietary poll commissioned through LifeWay Research. LifeWay polled over 1,300 evangelicals nationwide to gauge our views on politics and religion (see Appendix A on methodology and definitions). We share those results throughout this report. (We acknowledge polls are declining in accuracy because of falling response rates and changing technology, but they still provide a useful, if rough, gauge of public opinion). In addition, analysts at LifeWay created a civility index drawn from several questions on the poll and ran multivariate regressions to determine what other observable factors might be associated with higher and lower civility scores”
The Civility Index is similar to the Human Rights Campaign’s “Corporate, Health and Municipal Indexes” and provides a sort of “litmus test ” for compliance to the goals asserted.
LIFEWAY WAS NOT THE ONLY PARTNER... ENTER FETZER INSTITUTE
“This report was supported by the Fetzer Institute to contribute to a healthy democracy in America. The Fetzer Institute is devoted to “helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world.” It is not a Christian organization, but it shares with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) a concern for a healthy public square, which we both believe is informed by the unique resources of faith communities. The ERLC is devoted to, “engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and speaking to issues in the public square for the protection of religious liberty and human flourishing.” The Fetzer Institute sought to learn more about how American evangelical Christians might contribute to healing political and cultural divides in America. Secondly, and relatedly, this initiative also aims to identify gaps in Americans’ civic education and civic practice and to suggest ways to fill that gap. We hope to engage Christians on what healthy democratic participation looks like: how do we love our neighbors politically, and how might our faith lead us to advocate for human flourishing in the public square?
The ERLC commissioned a public opinion poll (see Appendix B). A team of researchers conducted several dozen interviews with evangelical thought leaders (see Appendix C) and consulted academic and historical work on evangelicals and American politics (see Appendix D). This team talked and debated amongst one another. And we prayed for wisdom.”
THE REPRESENTATIVE FROM FETZER INSTITUTE IN ERLC EFFORTS
“As the Lead Program Officer for the Fetzer Institute, Sharif Azami manages a portfolio of projects in the areas of democracy, faith, and spirituality. Additionally, he provides general support to develop the strategies of Fetzer and build the networks of the organization. Prior to joining Fetzer, Sharif served with CIDA, Oxfam GB, and the United Nations World Food Programme. Sharif earned a master’s in International Development Policy and he holds a graduate certificate in Peace and Conflict Resolution.”
WHO IS FETZER INSTITUTE
“Our work to realize a more loving world is guided by the development of a new conceptual frame—our Theory of Change—that articulates the need for a global movement. We continue to examine and evolve this theoretical approach, even as we make common cause with all who are working toward a shared and transformative sacred story for humanity in the 21st century.”
“Our work today is in collaboration with inspiring partners as we all work to reveal, inspire, and serve this movement. Learn more about our priority initiatives below and engage with the work through stories, events, resources, and other opportunities to add your voice.”
Since our core goal is spiritual
transformation, at the core of
our Theory of Change must be
our understanding of how this
The opening words of our
Guiding Purpose—To awaken
into and serve Spirit for the
transformation of self and
society—capture the heart of our
theory of transformation. We are
transformed by awakening into
and serving Spirit.
NOTE FITZER INSTITUTE IS NOT SPEAKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
By “Spirit” we mean that
“something more” within and
beyond physical reality that
binds us together with each
other and with all things in
a deeply interconnected,
meaningful, and sacred reality,
and that calls us to a life of love.
Some traditions conceptualize
this “something more” as God;
other traditions conceptualize it
in nontheistic terms.
The shared experience of Spirit
is the spiritual common ground
for our Fetzer community,
and we believe it can be the
spiritual common ground for
the global community.
In affirming the existence of
Spirit, we are making a profound
ontological affirmation about our
understanding of fundamental
reality—namely, that meaning,
purpose, and love are part of the
very fabric of reality.
This ontological affirmation
informs all aspects of our Theory
of Change and all elements of
GOALS OF FETZER'S “THEORY OF SOCIAL CHANGE”
• Spiritual transformation. As
noted above, awakening into
and serving Spirit is at the
heart of our understanding of
• New Narrative. The
affirmation of Spirit is central
to the ontological foundation
of the New Narrative and
infuses it with deep
• Global movement. Spirit is
both the guide and the “wind
beneath the wings” of the
• Spiritual communities. The
shared experience of Spirit
provides the foundation for
our Community of Freedom, as
it does for many life-affirming
spiritual communities within
the faith traditions, and for
many new forms of spiritual
communities emerging outside
*Engagement with science.
We hope to support the
emergence of a scientific
paradigm that opens
space within the scientific
understanding of reality for
Spirit, free will, purpose, and
“Conceptual Framework For The New Narrative’s Overarching Meta-Narrative”
BUILDING BLOCKS OF
THE NEW NARRATIVE”
FETZER'S “NEW NARRATIVE FOR A GLOBAL MOVEMENT “
“The Emerging New Narrative
A far better and more complete
account of the nature of existence
and the human condition is
beginning to emerge, brought
forth by a stronger epistemology.
Recent advances in science and
the philosophy of science are
pointing toward an emerging
scientific paradigm that opens
up space within the scientific
understanding of reality for the
possibility of the independent
existence of consciousness, free
will, and Spirit.
“The Role of the New
Narrative in Awakening
and Empowering the
As noted above, myriad
spiritually grounded change
movements are emerging around
the world but are not yet aware
of being part of a comprehensive
global movement for spiritually
grounded personal and social
transformation. Because the
New Narrative provides a
comprehensive vision for
this global spiritual
transformation, it has the
potential, if clearly articulated
and broadly disseminated,
to awaken this global
The Role of the New
Narrative in Aligning
As discussed below, the global
movement will necessarily be
a decentralized web of highly
autonomous individual and
organizational actors. The
New Narrative can provide the
movement with the worldview
that organically aligns the
independent initiatives of these
autonomous actors so that they
add up to a comprehensive and
coherent movement strategy.
The Role of the New
Narrative in Growing
Finally, by providing a rationally
and emotionally compelling
personal and global vision, the
New Narrative will become a
powerful force drawing new
members into the global
FETZER INSTITUTES FOUNDER
John E. Fetzer
John E. Fetzer spent a lifetime inquiring into the interconnectedness between science and spirituality for the transformation of self and society. His search integrated his inner practice (meditation and other mystically oriented practices) to “wake up”, with his outer work in the world. Although one of the most successful persons of his time, He chose not to be constrained by convention, or status, which led him into some of the most controversial fields of his time. Had he lived until now, he would have pushed even further into new frontiers. The reader then is encouraged to re-imagine for themselves where the frontiers lay in current times.
John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age
“John E. Fetzer. Wilson’s biography reveals the journey underneath Fetzer’s worldly achievements. Very few people knew that he attributed his personal and professional success to his spiritual practices and awareness of a higher consciousness. Driven by the belief that personal happiness, positive morality, and peace on earth could be achieved by adherence to a pathway and connection to a greater intelligence, he funded top-flight research to validate mankind’s ability to access that infinite intelligence for personal and global good which continues through his endowments today.”
FROM FETZER INSTITUTE BIOGRAPHY
“In his private life, John Fetzer had an intense intellectual curiosity about the “unseen elements” of life. He studied various forms of meditation, prayer, philosophy, and positive thinking, and explored other ways of healing. Throughout his life he was also passionately interested in baseball, an enthusiasm that led him to purchase the Detroit Tigers baseball club. In his later years, the sale of the team and his media holdings resulted in the endowment of the Fetzer Institute.
The interests that shaped John Fetzer’s life can be seen as the seedbed for the questions that define the work of the Fetzer Institute: How can the secular and sacred elements of life be better integrated? How can the insights of science and the powers of technological innovation be utilized to explore the capacities of the mind and spirit? How can the wisdom and insight gained through inner exploration be used to better our individual and collective health? And how can the entrepreneurial spirit and financial resources gained from the American business sector be used in the service of creating a better world?”
ERLC PROMOTING BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FROM NEW AGE SCIENCE?
How is the Southern Baptist Convention to survive the politics and the partnerships of Russell Moore and his ERLC regime?
Not many Baptist are paying close attention to what the influences like TGC and other outside partnerships and funding are doing to their denomination and its associated churches. That needs to change if the denomination is the regain its true Gospel focus. If not then the SBC is bound for the same fate as the mainline denominations and will be little more than a blip on the history of the church in America.
Why is Russell Moore, the ERLC and the TGC so concerned about the politics of Baptist ? Because they are agents of change and are using “Theories of Social Change ” on the church every day. In some ways they appear desperate – desperate enough to engage partners like FETZER INSTITUTE . For now the mission of this Civility Report and the daily shame fest of evangelical believers for their ”conservative voting” habits is to prevent President Donald Trump from a second term in office at any cost, by whatever means possible.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” -2 Corinthians 6:14-18
This article was originally posted at thirtypiecesofsilver.org and is reposted with permission from the author, Thomas Littleton. For more information on Tom and his extensive research documenting the many problems surrounding Social Justice & the SBC, please visit his website.