Evan Hurst: An Eyewitness Account of Lou Engle’s “Stealth Bomber Meeting”

Jim Burroway

June 30th, 2010

As we reported earlier, Lou Engle is holding a series of talks every night in St. Louis between June 19 and July 12. These nightly sessions are taking place at the Gateway House of Prayer on S. Lindbergh Blvd. in the western St. Louis suburb of Rock Hill. Evan Hurst of Truth Wins Out traveled to St. Louis to attend one of Engle’s talks, and he lived to tell about it. It turns out that Engle has a rather high opinion of himself:

He asserts at the beginning that he is a prophet, and not a teacher, which is telling, for several reasons. It shows that we’re dealing with a person who is not only delusional, but also not really a scholar of his chosen subject, the Bible. Engle introduces the story of Jezebel and Ahab, found in 1 Kings, to draw a parallel to modern times where, Engle believes, other Christians who he views as unorthodox are the root of most problems. On one side are Lou, his followers and like-minded people. He will later refer to them as the “Yahweh Separatists.” On the other is basically everyone else in the world, including most Christians, who he refers to as a “Jezebel” generation. He intones the call of the Calvinist reformers, “Sola Scriptura!“, which I think would probably amuse those old Calvinists, considering.

And it apparently doesn’t take long to get to Engle’s thoughts on homosexuality:

If we’re struggling with a homosexual, same-sex desire, LET THE BIBLE KILL YOU, rather than make it easier for you, and say well, there must be a better scriptural answer to this … Brothers and sisters, let the Bible kill you rather than you twist the scriptures! And in that killing, it will break you so that you can find a redeemer and a savior! Oh, I believe there are those struggling with same-sex desires who will stand, having done everything to stand, and maybe they won’t find the deliverance they’ve been looking for, but they refuse to let the world dictate their theology; they’re gonna stand on the Bible. And they may go for thirty years in an agonizing struggle, but they go into heaven because they stood with God rather than standing with the ideologies of this world.

There is so, so much more, including audio clips. The clips show Engle’s vision for a theocratic America and his paranoia that demonic powers are currently roaming the halls of government. Particularly interesting is Evan Hurst’s observation that Engle occasionally teeters on the edge of “Things He’s Not Supposed To Say,” as Evan puts it. And at one point, Engle falls beyond that edge:

Our president two days ago came out and said ‘We bless the fathers of families that have two fathers’! This is a decree, a blessing, called this month, LGBT pride month. When decrees come from high places, it actually opens doors! It is a key! It unlocks the spiritual realm for the fueling of the demonization of culture! Is this being taped?” [voice from bouncer/heavy off to the side interjects “We can erase it.”]

Again, Evan has audio of all of this — including Engle’s “prophetic dreams,” which you just have to read for yourself.

Engle isn’t the only person who thinks God talks to him in his dreams. He comes from a movement that was started by the controversial Kansas City Prophets. When I wrote that piece, I was accused of being paranoid and delusional, and that the piece itself was pure fantasy. But with Evan’s eyewitness account and audio recordings, I have to ask: Who’s delusional now?

Ray

June 30th, 2010

“Brothers and sisters, let the Bible kill you rather than you twist the scriptures!”
==============
Frank Schaeffer spoke to this particular kind of thinking in his recent column at HuffPo.

He said: ” At some point in their lives most fundamentalists do ask questions. At some point they also grow weary of fighting their own bodies. At some point they have a choice: to listen to their reasonable doubts and follow their questions, and therefore grow and change their minds by admitting the fact of paradox, or deny the reasonable voice of doubt and redouble their efforts to “keep faith.”

[snip]

“If on top of wrestling with doubts religious believers are earning both their living and deriving their meaning from a religious leadership role — and the power it gives them over other people — then they have all the more motivation to deny their doubts (and their bodies and/or their sexual orientation) and dig in their heels.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/understanding-the-reason_b_628079.html
==============

Kill yourself and don’t twist the scriptures sure looks like digging in your heals.

Timothy Kincaid

June 30th, 2010

And they may go for thirty years in an agonizing struggle, but they go into heaven because they stood with God rather than standing with the ideologies of this world.

Speaking as a Christian, as a believer, it is this sort of nonsense that brings our faith into question.

I cannot for a moment fathom a God even remotely similar to that which Engle worships. But even if he were right about the nature of God, he’s wrong about how to respond.

Assume with me for a moment that Engle’s god is the creator and master of the universe. And assume that this deity has decided that a random selection of his followers must go for thirty years in an agonizing struggle.

And this is not a struggle to avoid hurting others, to make the world a better place, to live ethically and morally. It isn’t even a struggle to deal with health issues or poverty or any other circumstantial happenstance. No, this is a thirty year agonizing struggle to obey an arbitrary rule set up by a capricious deity solely for the purpose of proving your loyalty to that deity.

What decent, ethical human would choose to worship and praise such a monster?

Oh sure, I can understand the logic of going along and pretending so as to trick your way into the pleasure dome (where you can spend eternity praising the Monster) as opposed to burning for eternity as punishment for not obeying the arbitrary rules. But what kind of f**ked up theology is that?

Throughout history men have committed atrocities. And when asked why the individuals took these horrific actions, they say, “oh, the dictator or king or czar or fuhrer made me do it.” But that has never been an acceptable excuse to the victims of their cruelty.

These preachers who preach evil and then try and hide behind religion (“the angry vengeful god made me do it”) are no better than they are. Were Aztec priests any more moral because the children they murdered were a sacrifice to Tlaloc to bring rain? Was the Grand Inquisitor any less vile because his persecution of Jews was in the name of Christianity?

You have a choice. You can refuse to rape the women or beat the children. You can refuse to perform the lobotomy or beat the prisoner to death. And you can refuse to preach harm, death, and evil to your fellow man.

And if you burn for doing so, at least you burn with the knowledge that you have a clean conscience and a right heart and stood up to the bully and the Monster and protected the innocent.

Evan Hurst

June 30th, 2010

It was very strange for me, as a nonbeliever who was formerly an Evangelical, to sit through this. I really had to try to summon a sort of combination of my 16 year old self and my current self in order to really interpret it. As I said when The Edge interviewed me last week, you don’t have to be a person of ill will to fall into this sort of thinking, because the echo chamber mentality is SO strong. There was a guy sitting next to me, who was actually pretty cute (there were a lot of cute guys there, but that wasn’t the point, I don’t think?), who seriously looked like a guy I might call to play guitar for me when I go into the studio. He even spoke to me, very briefly, during the service, mostly to explain why he had just cheered out so wildly at something Lou had just said, and it was this weird moment, where I’m going “HOW did this person end up thinking the things he thinks?!” But then 16 year-old me spoke up and said “You used to think those things too.”

But as I said in my piece, those who still hold those beliefs aren’t blameless. They have every tool at their fingertips to know better.

Regan DuCasse

June 30th, 2010

I swear these people are all starting to look alike to me.
I wonder why that is?

Rick James

June 30th, 2010

Timothy, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I tried to communicate some of the very same things – with regard to the nature of God – to my mom after I came out. In a rather lengthy document I composed (entitled “A Peek Inside the Closet”) designed to help her better understand what it was like growing up gay, homophobic, and deeply closeted from the perspective of our ultra conservative religious environment, I wrote:

“Do you really believe that God wants His gay children to live as I have described above? God has given to every person the fundamental need for human intimacy. Science tells us that sexual orientation is fixed early in life and is immutable. Straight people are supposedly given God’s blessing to express and experience this fundamental, God-given need, while gay people are told that we must change (what cannot be changed), or remain celibate – never being able to express and experience what straight people take for granted.

“Is this really a ‘God of love?’ Or is this a picture of a cruel and sadistic God?

“I don’t believe in that God anymore.”

Jason D

June 30th, 2010

This occurred to me while watching the leaders of the “Fellowship of the Sun” on a season 2 episode of True Blood (for those not follow, “Fellowship of the Sun” is to Vampires as FRC, AFA, Exodus is to gays)

God is the name you give to your desires so that you do not have to take responsibility for your actions.

Jason D

June 30th, 2010

to be clear, that quote refers to “engle” types, not Timothy Kincaid types.

Timothy Kincaid

June 30th, 2010

Jason

Thanks for the clarification. :)

Another one of my favorite quotes by someone who I think really gets the God thing (which she would completely deny) is this from Anne Lamott

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

Evan Hurst

June 30th, 2010

God, I love Anne Lamott.

I’m not even a Christian, and I freaking love Anne Lamott.

justsearching

June 30th, 2010

“I cannot for a moment fathom a God even remotely similar to that which Engle worships.”

I think more reading of the Old Testament and less reading of the New will bring you closer to an understanding of the sort of God that Lou envisions. God has all sorts of laws in the Old that are arbitrary and don’t make sense. Why can’t “thou shalt not do gay things” be one of them? Why can’t God demand that everyone follow that arbitrary rule? In the context of theocratic Israel it seems reasonable enough. To me, Lou’s understanding of God is the one I grew up with, and I’m guessing, Tim, that it’s not that difficult for you to see, from a Biblical perspective, where he’s coming from.

Shannon Spencer Fox

July 1st, 2010

To me, Lou’s understanding of God is the one I grew up with, and I’m guessing, Tim, that it’s not that difficult for you to see, from a Biblical perspective, where he’s coming from.

Sorry, justsearching, but the phrase ‘nice try’ is what comes to my mind to that.

Simply put, if you want to look at it from more of a purely ‘Old Testament’ angle, then you have to ask yourself if Engle is advocating all of the edicts laid down in Leviticus, and not just the ones he agrees with. Stuff like not eating shellfish and other ‘unclean’ animals, not wearing anything but natural fibers, shunning his wife for however many days after her period, and so on. Given we’ve yet to see him protest outside a Red Lobster, it’s almost assuredly not the case.

The problem is, of course, if you believe in the supposed ‘old-school’ version of Jehovah, in theory you can’t just pick and choose which particular laws you want to follow. (Even though it’s been tried, and rather hilariously at that… though for the life of me I can’t remember the person’s name who tried that.)

cd

July 1st, 2010

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

–Susan B. Anthony

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