These Two Remind Us: No On-the-Cheap Rescue for America

Written by Steve Pauwels on June 10, 2014

It didn’t get major media play, but in some sectors of the American church-world Dutch Sheets’ recent resignation from directorship of Christ For the Nations Institute (CFNI) garnered a bit of quizzical attention. 

Sheets’ announcement came rather suddenly for most. The Dallas–based, interdenominational Bible school boasts a hefty enrollment,  sparkling campus and enjoys a storied, charismatic heritage. There’s no evident scandal involved. So those dialed into these kinds of happenings couldn’t help but ask, “What gives?” 

Well, what gives, says the popular Bible teacher/author about his admittedly “difficult decision” is: 

I have begun to sense a new and important assignment coming upon me for America …We are in a major crisis! I believe there is a 2 to 3 year window for us as a nation to see certain breakthroughs occur, and I feel a great responsibility … to be a part of leading in this … In light of this new season and assignment, I realized that I could not continue to give myself fully to leading CFNI.

There’s no denying, in Charismatic-Christian academia the CFNI gig was a plum post — but Sheets apparently has determined his God-appointed obligation to these United States and her future generations trumps any personal financial/career prospects. In a nutshell, his twenty-year, “number one passion” for “seeing America experience a third great awakening”, (returning to her biblically-rooted foundations), takes precedence over his convenience, comfort, preferences. 

Meantime, contemporaneously snagging more news-outlet visibility was Billy Baer’s predicament. For a few days in May, video footage rolled everywhere of the former New Jersey/current New Hampshire resident’s arrest at a local school board meeting. His beef with the assembled educrats? His freshman daughter’s reading assignment – minus parental notification – of a graphically sexual Jodi Picoult novel. After some brief but heated back-and-forth, the panel ruled Baer’s eructations of outrage unruly. Out came the handcuffs, off went the concerned dad to the Gilford, NH hoosegow. 

Baer openly admits he swapped his previous Garden State status for Granite State residency because he’d reluctantly concluded New Jersey’s incorrigible liberalism “a lost cause. Too far gone, little hope of reversal”. Furthermore, he wanted to settle his family someplace safer, where they’d have a chance of making a difference. Being hauled off in shackles? Plainly not the Live-Free-Or-Die welcome he’d anticipated.

Thomas Paine warned, in the thick of our War for Independence, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

Many of us thrill at tales from American history popularized by the likes of David Barton and Glen Beck, chronicles of the hairy-chested heroes of yore: the nation’s settling, revolution, etc. Relishing the red-white-and-blue “thrill up our leg” they confer, however, we too often can forget these bracing exploits weren’t recorded merely for our emotional entertainment or as fodder for Hollywood. No, they’re supposed to pave the way for contemporary emulation. Whenever the newest batch of  threats to our land’s well-being summons God-and-Country-loving folks to defiantly stand for what is necessary and right, we’re to respond gallantly, birthing our own fresh examples of nation-rescuing intrepidity.

It can become ruthlessly practical, disquietingly hands-on. Sheets and Baer further remind us it can be personally costly today, just as in those olden times we enjoy reading, hearing and talking about. 

The 18th-century lions who layed the groundwork for our one-of-a-kind, Constitutional Republic memorably pledged “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” to that  project. Not a few had their brazen oath put to the intimately excruciating test. 

RedState‘s Erick Ericson notes, the fifty-six souls who ratified the Declaration of Independence, 

declared their independence, and signed their names so both King and Parliament would know who the traitors were. The act was treason punishable by death. Some of them did die. Some were bankrupted. Many lost their homes and property. Some saw their wives and children taken and abused. But none recanted. All held firm … What we find today to be so abstract … were not abstract notions to our founders …they were worth fighting for and, if need be, dying for.

dutch baerI’m thus heartened by today’s gutsy culture-warriors like Dutch Sheets and Billy Baer who put it all out there. I’m simultaneously sickened by the bloviating blowhards, highly-stationed yammerers who verbalize sacred principles but, when the battle-call finally sounds to step up, white-facedly step out of the room. 

Whether GOP governors who, before like-minded crowds, blusteringly rail against overweening, obese government, then buy into Obamacare for their individual states  (Kasich, Scott, Brewer);  or pols like Indiana Chief Exec (and prospective Republican Presidential candidate?) Mike Pence, denouncing the Feds’  Common Core educational strait-jacket, only to end-up pushing essentially the same protocol — albeit in gussied-up packaging —  for Hoosier schools: it’s stomach-churning to brandish conservative, Constitutional. bona fides right up until things get gritty and risky. At which juncture? Collapse.

America will never be turned back to those bedrock convictions that made us great as long as our putatively conservative, but office-grasping, leaders so effortlessly can be bullied or bought off by the DC culture, by the hell-on-wheels activists, the frothing pro-aborts, the lavender lobby, the race-mongers. Too regularly, the jut-jawed resolution of these speechifiers dissolves abjectly before every Potomac dollar riffled under their snouts. Or flinches under every accusatory peep — Lefties decreasingly even need shout any longer — of “racist” or “woman hater” or “homphobe” or “fat cat”. Or crumbles before every mawkish appeal to “the children”. 

Clinging to their popularity, their voter-bestowed berth and its attendant, tax-payer-guaranteed perqs? Clearly their priority. The country will have to wait. 

Man-pleasing hacks of that caliber? Citizens who put up with them? Beyond useless in this dire era. 

19th-century Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper charged: “When principles that run against your faith begin to win the day then battle is your call and peace has become sin. You must at the price of dearest peace lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy alike with all the fire of your faith.”

More recently, Admiral William McRaven: ““[I]f you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up … the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.” 

Only resolve of that timbre, in both “public servants” and lesser-known, regular folks, kindles hope for America. Comfy redemption on the cheap? Not an option. 

Apparently, Dutch Sheets and Billy Baer got that memo.

Image: Courtesy of: +So+Hard

Lower Image: Dutch Sheets/Christ For the Nations Inst.: Modified from Screen Shot:; Wm. Baer arrest; Modified from Screen Shot/WMUR TV:


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Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.