Is conservatism biblical? And what are the dangers of mixing Christianity and politics?
In this edition of The Roys Report, join Julie in addressing these issues head-on with Coleman Luck, author of The Curse of Conservatism.
Though Coleman holds conservative theological and political views, he warns against a syncretism that’s seeping into the church. He argues that we’ve equated “biblical” with “conservative.” And we’ve mixed the kingdom of God with the kingdom of man.
“Two-thousand years ago, Jesus Christ said that His Kingdom was not of this world,” Coleman writes in his book. “His followers have been trying to prove him wrong ever since.”
Coleman has a unique vantage point. In the 1980s, Coleman was a Hollywood producer and worked on the hit series The Equalizer and Gabriel’s Fire. He’s also the author of Day of the Wolf, a book about wolves in sheep’s clothing, which was featured in an earlier TRR podcast.
But prior to writing and producing, Coleman worked for a small organization in Buena Park, California, called the Christian Freedom Foundation, which later became the Moral Majority.
If you know anything about the conservative movement, you know that the Moral Majority was huge in the 1980s—and was credited for many political victories, including electing President Ronald Reagan.
Discussion in the church today has moved on from the Moral Majority to Donald Trump and perhaps the most politicized pandemic ever. But the danger of mixing politics and Christianity remain the same.
BOOK GIVEAWAY: Enter online to get a free copy of The Curse of Conservatism by Coleman Luck. No purchase necessary. Promotion ends on December 11.
JULIE ROYS, COLEMAN LUCK
JULIE ROYS 00:04
Is conservatism biblical? And what are the dangers of mixing Christianity and politics? Welcome to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And today I’m going to address these issues head on with Coleman Luck, the author of The Curse of Conservatism. He argues that we’ve equated biblical with conservative, and we’ve mixed the kingdom of God with the kingdom of man. Coleman holds conservative theological and political views. He warns against a syncretism that’s been seeping into the church. 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ said that his kingdom was not of this world, Coleman writes. His followers had been trying to prove him wrong ever since. Coleman offers this perspective from a unique vantage point. In the 1980s Coleman was a Hollywood producer and worked on the hit TV series, The Equalizer and Gabriel’s Fire. But prior to that, he was recruited to work for a small organization in Buena Park, California, called the Christian Freedom Foundation, and in very short order, the leader of that organization began meeting with evangelical and conservative political leaders to map out what eventually became the Moral Majority. And if you know anything about the conservative movement, you know that the Moral Majority was huge in the 1980s. And it was credited for many political victories, including electing President Ronald Reagan. Of course, no one is talking about the Moral Majority today. We’re talking about Donald Trump and perhaps the most politicized pandemic ever, but the danger of mixing politics and Christianity remain the same. And so, I’m so excited to speak with Coleman today. But first I’d like to thank the sponsors of this podcast, Judson University and Marquardt of Barrington. Judson University is a top ranked Christian University providing a caring community and an excellent college experience. Plus, the school offers more than 60 majors, great leadership opportunities and strong financial aid. Judson University is shaping lives that shape the world. For more information, just go to Judsonu.edu. Also, if you’re looking for a quality new or used car, I highly recommend my friends at Marquardt of Barrington. Marquardt is a Buick GMC dealership where you can expect honesty, integrity, and transparency. That’s because the owners there Dan and Kurt Marquardt, are men of character. To check them out, just go to buyacar123.com. Well again, joining me today is Coleman Luck. He’s a former Hollywood producer who worked on the TV hit series The Equalizer and Gabriel’s Fire. He’s also the author of Day of the Wolf and The Curse of Conservatism. And he’s also the son of the late Dr. G. Coleman Luck, who was a professor at the Moody Bible Institute. Interestingly, before moving to California in the 70s, my guest today, also worked for the Moody Radio Network and even did a stint at Christianity Today for a while as an advertising manager. So, he has a wide range of experiences a very interesting perspective. So, Coleman, welcome, and thanks so much for joining me today.
COLEMAN LUCK 03:09
Well, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be with you.
JULIE ROYS 03:12
And I know Coleman, there are two things that you’re never supposed to discuss. Those are politics and religion. And we’re going to be diving headlong into both of those today. So, I thank you for being willing to do that. I know that we’re going to be navigating some waters that are filled with landmines. But thank you.
COLEMAN LUCK 03:30
My pleasure, I guess.
JULIE ROYS 03:34
Well, we’ll see right? You know, I mentioned that you worked for this organization, in my intro, that eventually became what was the Moral Majority. I would like to know a little bit about that whole experience and how that’s informed your view of politics and the church and religion and how they interact.
COLEMAN LUCK 03:56
I was recruited to join the organization, Christian Freedom Foundation, by president of the organization, a man named H. Edward Rowe. I was brought on board to be involved in marketing and advertising. I was the marketing director; I was in my late 20s. I didn’t know much about this organization. It had existed for probably several decades, maybe 30 or 40 years, actually, before I got involved. In the past, it had been the whole focus of this particular organization, as I understand it, was that they were arguing for return to the gold standard. So that was the Christian Freedom Foundation freedom, I guess, economically. Well, a new president came in Mr. Rowe, and he had the idea that he was going to move this organization in a new direction. So, I was intrigued. I would be able to work, we’d start a new magazine, we would be doing things that were speaking to the issues of our day, and that was what was so important from a Christian perspective. That was what I was most interested in doing. So, I moved my family; we were living on the east coast where Christianity Today was. We moved across the United States to Southern California. For a few months, everything went along fine. I brought on board a friend of mine, a colleague at CT, he was a journalist, Barry Doyle, to help us with the magazine and be a journalist. Rowe also brought on board several other young men to be leading various divisions of this new organization. So, it started, you know, and we were working, worked away for three months, four months. And all of a sudden, things got a little strange. Rowe began to go off for meetings, and we didn’t know exactly what he was doing. But he was going off for meetings with other Christian leaders, we didn’t really know who it was. Later, we found out a couple of names, but we’d never found out everybody. I think Bill Bright was involved in it. And so was a congressman named John Conlan. At that time from Arizona. He would go off to these meetings, but he wouldn’t tell us anything about what he was doing. And he would be gone for several days. He did begin to talk about promoting John Conlan. And he wanted to do an article in the new magazine about Representative Conlan. This didn’t feel good to me. I just felt like this is not the place that we should be promoting a political party person. It was right before Christmas of that year, and I’d only been there for about six months. All of us on that staff had only been there just a short period of time. He brought each one of us in and he fired each one of us. There was no severance, there was no explanation about what was going on. Two of us had moved across the entire United States to be in this organization; didn’t give us any help. The attitude was absolutely brutal. He basically said, well, you know, you’re living in Southern California now. So, enjoy. That was it. I was in my late 20s, I had a wife and three children. We’re stuck in Southern California. And I didn’t know anybody here. My friend, Barry Doyle, he’s from Canada. He didn’t know anybody either. So, he had to move his family back to Canada at his expense. I had to move my family back to we went back to Wheaton area, at our expense. This was a new way of doing business. Because in all the situations I’d been in the past, at least there’d been some compassion within the evangelical world. There was absolutely no compassion from Mr. Rowe. It took years later for me to determine what had really gone on. And I discovered years later that what he had done was he basically cleaned out the Christian Freedom Foundation. And that legal entity that had been created, became the basis for the Moral Majority. And he was getting involved with other people of like mind. But what it communicated to me was a tremendous, brutal kind of syncretism, where Christian faith, the Christian faith, how you deal with your brother and sister in Christ, did not matter. All that mattered was our intention to goal, and that was we’re going to set up a Christian party. We’re going to do something totally new, and it was political. And that was all the way back in 1974.
JULIE ROYS 08:22
When you say this became the Moral Majority. When I think of the Moral Majority, I think of Jerry Falwell, Sr, I think of Lynchburg, Virginia. How did Rowe connect with Falwell or how did that transpire?
COLEMAN LUCK 08:37
I believe that he did, although I don’t know the details of it obviously. He didn’t share anything with me. I just discovered that the legal entity had been transferred over to them. Now the nature of how that was done, I couldn’t answer. But the fact that it was done was apparent.
JULIE ROYS 08:52
So, I think what’s so interesting in our current political landscape, I mean, we’ve had Christians involved in politics for a very long time and, and forever Christians had fallen in different places on the political spectrum. So, there’s always been differences of opinion. But what I’m seeing is that within conservativism, so among conservative Christians, there seems to be a great deal of polarization. And I saw this kind of come to a head and it’s not over the issues, like, it’s not like we’re disagreeing on abortion, for example, or disagreeing on, you know, what’s the best economic fiscal policy? Those things we seem to agree on. It seems to be the way of engagement, the place that politics should have. And so, I saw this just recently, and I’m sure you’ve been following this as well. But at World Magazine, which World and I have had a great relationship for a very long time. In fact, Marvin Aleksey, who was Editor in Chief, I guess he technically still is for a few more months, but he has resigned. He was the one that stuck by me when I was reporting on James McDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel, and I’m very grateful to him for that. But he’s leaving, a number of editors are leaving. And it seems like a lot of it has to do with this World Opinion page. For example, Sophia Lee, who’s one of the editors who resigned, she wrote in her resignation letter, Today, my biblical convictions remain strong, but my understanding and comprehension of the world we live in, has become less black and white. It is with that acknowledgement of my still growing process and with overflowing gratitude that I announce my resignation from World. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I feel uncomfortable about world opinions, which has declared itself unquestionably conservative. Even as a theologically Orthodox Christian, I’ve never felt entirely comfortable in the politically conservative evangelical world, and its tendency to mark certain political and cultural instincts as biblical. So, what do you make of that? Are we going a little bit too far, when we begin to say, this is how all Christians need to believe politically or begin marrying conservative theology with conservative politics?
COLEMAN LUCK 11:11
Well, I think the key word is syncretism. And that’s what has gone on for a long time. People don’t understand what syncretism is. I’d like to define it this way, syncretism is attempting to mesh or marry two really irreconcilable philosophies or opinions or approaches. It’s sort of like saying, you know, I want to make something out of the combination of fire and water. You know, we’re gonna have something that’s new. This approach that as I’ve observed it now for decades, beginning in 1974, and strangely enough, when I was in Hollywood, I saw it there to back in 1988, in a strange way. You know, this syncretism, combine that with the desperate desire of so many Christians to follow wolves. That’s what the real heart of so much of this is. Wolves at every sort of level. And, you know, I think when you put those two things together, you’re dealing with a terrible situation. I view it right now in this country, for the nation, and for the church as just a time of unbelievable tragedy. And the darkness is increasing.
JULIE ROYS 12:18
Well, and when you bring up wolves and compromises Christians have made obviously, Donald Trump has been perhaps the most controversial figure, not just in American culture, but I would say, within the church, because here’s a man who was married three times, had admitted to doing some things. I mean, I remember when the Inside Edition tapes came out, and he talked about grabbing women and his license to do that, how he liked to walk through the Miss America Pageant, because he was the owner of it, you know, and walk through their dressing rooms, when they were not dressed. And I heard that and immediately I was appalled. But yet the argument has been, we’re not electing a pastor, we’re electing a president. It’s about the policies, it’s about all these things that began to feel very uncomfortable for me, because, and I’ve always felt like we need to be active in our culture in society. I mean, that’s part of the working out of our faith, but we’re doing it because it’s the working out of our faith. Right? So, to me to compromise the things that I hold so dear, that was difficult for me. In fact, it was a bridge too far for me. But I know for a lot of Christians, it wasn’t. And even now we’re having the same arguments, these same kind of discussions. How is it that we should be looking at compromises because you know, we do live in a democracy, we do have to compromise on certain things. When is it compromise that we can’t do? What kind of perspective do we need to have? What lens do we need to filter these things through so that we can discern how we engage?
COLEMAN LUCK 14:01
Well, to me, the key to this is simply this, when compromise becomes worship, then you have gone way too far. And by worship, I don’t just mean worshipping some deity, but I’m talking about the worship of following a wolf, because you decide that the end justifies the means. And what has been so appalling to me over these last 10 years or less, has been the unbelievable willingness of Christians to absolutely be like blind sheep. Now, Donald Trump is a product of Hollywood. He would not exist without Hollywood. You know, and when you think about it, in those terms, here are Christians across the United States who would say we can’t stand Hollywood we hate what they do. They take someone who has absolutely had all of his major success from that industry, my industry. You know, I know that industry very, very well. I know wealthy people very, very well, powerful people. I’ve never met him. I’ve met men just like him. In fact, I worked for one. So, you know, when I say that I understand that these people are absolutely narcissists. But they are psychopaths in their own way. You know, when you think about that, that means they’ll do whatever they want to do. They don’t care about anything except getting from you what they want. They stop getting that, then they turn on you, and it becomes a wolf attack. So, you know, I think about it right now. And I say, you know, there are Christians today, who have come to worship what they consider to be America. This idea that America is somehow the city on a hill, that this nation is absolutely should be a Christian nation. You know, Michael Flynn made that statement not too long ago. He thinks everything is thought to be just a totally Christian nation. There is the total marriage of politics and Christianity, which means the end of Christianity as we know it. This kind of syncretism has taken place over many centuries. You can see the history of it going back all the way to Constantine, you can see it among the Puritans of New England, you can see all of these attempts that have been made to make this into something that it will not be because the message of Jesus is love, His sacrifice on the cross, the commission that he gave to his church, to go into all the world and preach the gospel does not fit with establishing a Christian nation in this world, ever. It doesn’t work.
JULIE ROYS 16:45
Well, and it does seem like we’ve forgotten that we’re of a different kingdom. We are not of this world, there is the kingdom of heaven. And then there’s the kingdom of this world. And so when I hear people saying that we’re out to save America, and we’re using political means to say that, and I’m not saying that we can’t engage politically but when I hear these statements, or when I hear this dichotomy, that if you’re not for us, you’re against us, I’ve been struggling with trying to understand how my brothers and sisters, who we supposedly believe the same things, and yet have adopted such different methods. It has been stunning to me to see that. And for me, I come from an Anabaptist background, which a lot of people don’t know what that means. But basically, we were the first ones in Switzerland who started doing believers baptism, because we thought that confession of faith and baptism should go together. But we also objected to the government being run, even though now it wasn’t the Catholic government. It was a Protestant government, but it was run the same way. And it was no, we should have freedom of convictions. And we don’t want the government impacting our religion, our church. And I’ve heard Christians and it’s interesting, because to me, it’s the same group who have said, yes, the church should be impacting politics, but politics and the government shouldn’t be impacting the church. Coleman, you’ve been watching this for the past 40 years. What have you seen? Is the church impacting politics and government? Or is politics and government impacting the church?
COLEMAN LUCK 18:27
Oh, I think the latter, absolutely. You know, and I think that I’ve always believed that there is a place for believers in Jesus who are truly following Him, to serve Him in government. Yes, and Hollywood too, and every place that’s legitimate for a Christian to be, but not to try to turn everything and take control of everything. It is this issue of control and saying, you know, we’re gonna make it our own. You know, I look at it. I’ve been doing a lot of study about the Puritans in the 1600s. What happened to them and what led them to the Salem witch trials. In 1660, there was a wonderful woman who lived outside of Boston. She had been a Puritan, but she had decided that she wasn’t going to be a Puritan anymore. She became a Quaker. But she felt that there was a call of God upon her life to go back into Boston and teach the Puritans what she believed God was telling her to teach them. This is a woman who had unbelievable courage. She went back in over and over, and every time she would go in, they would warn her, you don’t come back here again. You’re breaking our laws and all the rest. She just kept doing it. Finally, on June 1 of 1660 they had tried her, they convicted her, and they hanged her on Boston Commons along with three Quakers who were all martyrs. Her name was Mary Barrett Dyer. She is my ninth great grandmother. I’m very proud to be a direct descendant of Mary’s. But that’s what these things, they don’t stop, there’s a progression that is going on here. It’s not enough simply to say, we’re going to take control, then we’re going to take control of everybody inside, we’re gonna make them believe exactly what we want them to believe. And if they don’t, they will be desperately punished. This spectrum, this continuum that goes on is in the entire history of the church, when it is taken control of government, I don’t care where it was done. There is a disaster. And you know, we’re at a certain stage now, God forbid that we get back with Donald Trump and the people who are following him to get back into power again. Then we got a real problem on our hands.
JULIE ROYS 20:50
And it’s so interesting that you bring that up, because again, our tradition as evangelicals is against those sorts of things. My ancestors came here because we were getting burned at the stake because we didn’t baptize infants, right? I mean, Protestants were doing the same things Catholics were doing, right? Even though we supposedly were so different. If we look at history, like you’re saying, our movement as evangelicals has come out of being true to our convictions above all else, and not forcing our convictions. We want their hearts to be converted, not their behavior. The behavior comes after their heart is what my mother used to say, you can’t clean a fish before you catch it. Right? But that’s what we’re doing. And I knew you were getting at that story about your grandmother, because I’ve read your book.
COLEMAN LUCK 21:37
I love that story.
JULIE ROYS 21:38
Oh, it’s a great story. And there’s so many people listening now who might be saying, well, we’re against women preachers, you know? and so, but are you for that kind of force? But that’s what happens. And you talk about something in your book called The Politics of Panic. And that’s the first time I’ve heard that put in that way. But it really rang true that yeah, we’re living in this sort of panicked state, where the talk radio is whipping us into a frenzy, where oh, my goodness, if we don’t do something to save America, to stop the liberals, this is what’s going to happen. So, flush that out a little bit more. You’ve been in Hollywood; I’ve been in media. So, like, I can see this too. I mean, it’s like, I know what the red meat is that you can put out there online, and people will just go after, but talk about this politics of panic and how we’re being manipulated as Christians.
COLEMAN LUCK 22:31
Absolutely. You know, the politics of panic has to do with the creation of a delusion. Years ago, I ran into a story. And this is really, to me, it speaks to the whole issue of the church today in this country. The way in the Mideast many years ago, rustlers would steal huge herds of sheep. The way they did it, they’d find a huge herd out in the middle of nowhere with no shepherd. They were on horseback. So, what they would do is that they would fire their guns, they were a distance away from the flock, the flock would clump together. And then what they would do is they would run straight into the middle of the flock and stop. And then they would start shooting their guns over and over and absolutely create total panic. And then they would run straight from, you know, the middle of that flock. And every time the entire flock would follow. They could keep on doing this with a flock of sheep, carrying them away across for miles. All they had to do was frighten them enough. And that’s exactly what is going on in the country today. Those leaders who have so much to gain because they want to maintain control of evangelical Christians, know that all they have to do is frighten them enough, and they’ll follow the wolves anywhere. I saw it happen in the most unbelievable way. While I was there in Hollywood, working at Universal Studios, working at Universal Television all the way back in 1988. Universal decided to release a miserable little film called The Last Temptation of Christ by Martin Scorsese. This thing was a piece of junk. Was it blasphemous? Absolutely. It was so poorly done; it would probably have had a 15-minute life in the theaters. Well, the Christians on talk radio and everywhere else got hold of this. And it suddenly became the ultimate test of whether we can control Hollywood. We’re going to take control of this. We’re not going to let them release that film. I was there at Universal, and I was watching all of this take place. I mean, it was amazing. Bill Bright got involved. He offered to buy the negative for $10 million, which communicated to everybody at Universal and all the people that made the film, he thinks we’re just whores. All we care about is giving us money and that’s what he thinks of us. You know, James Dobson got involved in in his organization, which, dear Lord, it should have stayed with counseling children. You know, the nature of what he got involved with was pressuring, this giant pressure, all these religious leaders, evangelical leaders. I didn’t understand fully what was happening until one noon when I was driving out from Universal to go to lunch with a senior writer producer who worked for me, still a dear friend. I had shared my faith with him many times as I had with everybody I worked with. And you know, when we’re driving out of the front gate of Universal, and all of a sudden, they’re surrounding us. Thousands of evangelical Christians, with placards, sticking them in front of my windshield, with John 3;16 on them, you know, and all of these statements that come from the Bible that they had mis applied. Their whole purpose there was to show Universal that they were really serious. They wanted that film to be stopped. And I’m seeing these people, you know, and I’m looking at their signs and thinking, you know, young man, I knew John 3;16 long before you were born. My friend turns to me, and he says to me, and I will never forget it. He said, you know, Coleman, if I didn’t know you, I would hate these people. And you know, that to me, it just broke my heart. You know, here, it was this opportunity that I was having to talk with people, and the church as a whole. And all of these religious leaders just stood up and said, we don’t care about a single one. We don’t care about that. All we care about is getting what we want. During that whole fiasco, I called up James Dobson’s organization. I was just I was cognizant that these people don’t understand, they don’t understand the way Hollywood works. They don’t understand the impact this is having, and it’s not what they want. I called up and talked to a senior vice president there. It was unbelievable. I was on the phone with him for about 30 minutes. That whole time, he believed with all of his heart that I was calling because I represented Universal, and I wanted to negotiate with him about. When I finally communicated clearly, look, I’m just a Christian brother. But I’m a Christian brother, who knows two things better than you will ever know them. The first is that I know Hollywood. And the second is, I know how all of that relates to Hollywood as an evangelical Christian. I know the evangelical world. You won’t find anybody who knows both of those areas the way I do. And of course, it didn’t stop them from releasing the film. They released it, and it got much more coverage than it ever would have been. Many people came to see it just to see what it was like. It’s a piece of trash. After it was over, you know, I, I tried to have a meeting of Christian leaders in my home in Los Angeles. Now there were different people that came George Barna was there and several others, to try to tell some people who had been involved. Barna wasn’t involved in any of this, but he was there, you know, to observe, you know, to try to tell them that, look, we can’t do it this way. This is not the way to reach people for Jesus. And I care about the people of Hollywood, this is my mission field. I love all these people. So, to me, the issue of syncretism ultimately comes down to this. We don’t give a damn whether somebody goes to hell or not as long as we get what we want politically. When you get to that place, and that’s where we are., darkness is upon the land. And that’s where we are going.
JULIE ROYS 28:40
Well, as you’re saying that I can’t help but think of what’s going on right now in our country, over a pandemic. Before COVID hit on the list of disasters that could happen, pandemic was not even on my list anywhere or my radar. Maybe it should have been, I mean, if I’d been studying what happened with the Spanish flu, I maybe would have, but I wasn’t and we kind of had this, this feeling that we were invincible with modern medicine. And so, this has been a humbling, humbling experience, I think, for our entire world to realize how vulnerable we are. But what saddened me so much, is we’re coming off of what I would call a public relations nightmare, which was the Trump administration. Did we have some political gains? Absolutely. There are some policies where I would agree with what Donald Trump did and, and I can see the gains. But those gains were bought with, I would say evangelicals had bad PR issue in 2016. We have an absolute disaster now. We are associated with elements that I’m shocked that we’re associated with. I used to argue, and I am a conservative, at least I always considered myself that and I don’t know if I take that label anymore. It’s almost like Evangelical, I guess, you know what I mean? Both those things are like, well, what do you mean by that? But in the sense that, that I believe I have a very conservative political philosophy. I have conservative theological convictions. I used to be involved in Republican politics. I’m not anymore. I can’t stomach what’s going on. But I used to argue that people just didn’t understand, liberals didn’t understand. Conservatives are compassionate. We do care about the weak, we do love other people. That’s why we’re doing this. That’s why we have the economic policies we have, because we don’t, we don’t want people to be dependent on the government. We want them to have agency and respect and dignity. And that’s why we support these policies. And I thought that’s what all my brothers and sisters thought too. And what’s happened with COVID? And again, religious freedom issues. Is it important? Absolutely. Religious freedom is important. That’s why my ancestors came here. But I think what’s happened with the pandemic with COVID, has been a similar kind of a grasping for power, grasping for control, and doing it under the guise of religious freedom. As I’m speaking right now, I had somebody say to me on Facebook recently, just because I published a story, and I happen to mention all the facts of the story that we published, was that Marcus Lamb who was the head of Daystar TV, was very openly against the COVID vaccine, and he did die of COVID. Those things are relevant, you have to put them in the story. But they said, you are definitely for vaccine mandates. And no, I’m not for vaccine mandates. I do think that’s an overreach of government. But how we engage on these things we disagree, that’s where I think there’s a difference. So let me just throw that to you. You encountered religious freedom issues, when you were in Hollywood, and you paid a price. Talk about that, and why you chose to go the route you went, rather than, you know, contacting, which I’m not saying that this is necessarily wrong in certain circumstances. But why didn’t you contact the Alliance Defending Freedom or one of these organizations and say, I’m being discriminated against because I’m a Christian? Again, not saying that’s wrong, but you chose not to do that. Explain why?
COLEMAN LUCK 32:33
Well, first of all, you know, when I first came to Hollywood, I didn’t go there to serve myself. I felt very strongly that I was being guided there by the Lord, my family felt the same way. We were going there to be servants. And that meant that you know, what Jesus said, you know, the same thing that they did to me, they’re going to do to you. If you’re one of my servants, you know, you can experience and what I remember having a meeting with a group of Christian friends early in my career, and I began to make deals, and it was moving up in in success. And, you know, and I remember saying to them, I think I know the trajectory of my career. My career is going to go like this, I will have a period of great success. And then you know, it’ll be amazing, then tremendous opposition. And eventually, I’ll be taken outside the city wall and crucified. It was certainly metaphorical. But, you know, the experiences I had were quite amazing. Over a course of just a few years, in Hollywood, I sold three television series. All of those series were the only ones that were picked up dramatic series by a particular network for that fall, you know, and that for a writer in Hollywood is amazing. It was one of those situations where you look at this, and you just think this is a miracle. Every one of those, this was after The Equalizer. Every one of those was spiritual war. And there is no other way to put it. And sometimes it was just frighteningly clear what I was up against. But you know, you don’t turn around and start saying, you know, go to somebody, and say, I’m going to whine about the fact that they’re persecuting me. No, you know, what you do is you’re in the middle of that you, you continue to do everything you can to show the love of Jesus within that situation. You know, and hope that it has some impact over a long period of time. The things I saw and experienced were amazing in some ways. I was doing the pilot for Gabriel’s Fire. We’re working on putting the pilot together and we went to an organization outside to get them to put together a title sequence for our series. They were specialists in doing advertising. We gave them all of our material. Well, a few weeks later, it came back to me, the rough cut. And I sat down in my office and started watching. And it was great. But something deeply disturbed me about it. And I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. You know, finally, what I did was, I started watching it frame by frame. I came to the face of our star, and they had turned it into the face of a deal. Now you never would have seen it, it was completely subliminal. But it was there. I call them on the phone. And I said, you know, I saw what you put inside my title sequence. Why did you do this? Get it out! They were shocked that I found the thing. But it made me really wonder, you know, what is being communicated across that this was in 1990. When Paul said that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, he was just joking. He didn’t really know what he was talking about. I’ll tell you something in Hollywood, you’re not wrestling against people. You know when you wrestle against something that is in control of the story creation of the world. Am I going to go to some organization and say, they’re discriminating against me? Yes, I’m being discriminated against by Satan. And that’s the way it ought to be for every one of us who wants to be in this world as a representative of Jesus. If we’re there to do the work that He’s given us to do, expect to find all kinds of difficulties. That’s what we’re called to do, or we’re called to live.
JULIE ROYS 36:36
Hmm. Wow, that’s powerful. And, you know, one of the pushbacks that I often get is, why aren’t you going after the liberals, Julie? Gosh, why aren’t you aren’t you? I mean, here you are bringing up the corruption and abuse in the church and, and our hypocrisy. Why aren’t you going after the liberals? And I’ve always said, that’s not my call to go after the liberals. In fact, there’s entire packs out there going after the liberals. We’ve been really good at going after the liberals. What we hadn’t been really good at doing is taking the plank out of our own eye and doing that first. And that’s one of the things that you bring up in your book that I thought was so good, because we talk about the family. And is that a biblical value? Yes, that’s a biblical value. God cares about the family. God cares about marriage. But is it the way to engage in it the way we’ve done politically? Is that the way to save the family? And when we look at what’s happening within our church, I think if we took the plank out of our own eye, we have marriages. I mean, divorce rate is very high. We have and this has been new to me. And maybe one little piece that I might take a little bit of exception with you. It’s not really but I mean, I think one thing that you didn’t talk about in the book was abuse. And, and there is a need for there to be divorce in certain circumstances, because women are being abused horribly, but talk about this hypocrisy, where we’re constantly pointing out what’s wrong with the liberals. But are we taken that plank out of our eye or not? What do we need to do as a church if we really want to save the family?
COLEMAN LUCK 38:26
Well, you know, that’s a hard question. The words that come from the New Testament so clearly, judgment begins with the house of God. What do those words mean? That means that God is concerned about what’s going on within the church, his body, that’s what Jesus is concerned about. You know, when we are sitting here, and you have such a huge addiction to pornography, that is in the church among church leaders, you are the one who talks so much about, you know, you have a story that comes out so often about abuse, you know, if people are, you know, the leaders who are doing horrible things to men and women, boys and girls. And here we are, what kind of a value are we saying we want to implant on these liberals? You know, divorce the divorce rate, I haven’t seen the latest statistics, but it’s not that much different in the church then it is in the rest of the country. You know, what do we mean by this? So, are we concerned about actually having marriages that last? that are truly built on love the love of Jesus within you know, the husband-and-wife relationship? I’ve been married over 55 years to an absolutely wonderful woman. She is my partner in every kind of crime. So, I’ve got three great children, I’ve got children in law. We’ve got a wonderful family, you know, and I have great grandchildren now. I have an idea of what a family is supposed to look like not because of me, but because of the way Jesus works inside of all of us in this family. You know, and I think that what it comes down to, is simply saying, who do you serve? You know, the idea of are we there to serve Jesus? If we’re there to serve Jesus, are we committed to serving the one that we are married to? The man or the woman? You know, whoever we’re married to? Are we really concerned about serving that person in law when we are willing to simply throw off marriages as though the way that they they’re thrown off now? There’s no question I agree, 100%, there’s abuse going on. And so much of the time there is, that’s it. That should be the end of the marriage, that should be over. But you know, a lot of times, it just comes down to selfishness and narcissism and people doing things that they shouldn’t do. Lack of forgiveness, and all the rest of it.
JULIE ROYS 40:51
Well, our time is coming to a close. But the one thing I want to just sort of land this on is this idea of whether we’re going to see the world as a cultural battlefield or a mission field. And you write and I thought this was so good, the age of the great disillusionment is upon us when finally, we realize that America is never going to be reshaped in our image that our dreams of the past will never be fulfilled, we will face a choice, how will we live in an increasingly hostile, pagan world?
COLEMAN LUCK 41:25
And that’s exactly what we are trying to do. I know that we’re starting a new YouTube series, that is going to be up very shortly, we’ve only got a little promo for it right now. It’s called Patterns of Supernatural Phenomena. There are things happening that are happening to people all over this country and around the world that are terrifying. And the church is entirely unprepared to deal with evil on these levels. And so, what we’re trying to do is exactly this. We’re looking outward. We’re saying to the church, we want to communicate something to you about what’s really going on that you don’t know anything about it. We want to communicate; we want to also talk about the people who are experiencing these things. How do we see them delivered from that kind of bondage? So, it’s putting it out through Thorn Crown Studios, that’s the thorn crown is one word. And the title of it is Patterns of Supernatural Phenomena. The first episodes will be out there in January. So, we’re trying to do something that I don’t believe any other Christian group is trying to do, to speak to the issues that we’re going to be addressing, telling a lot of stories about things that are really happening. Everything from Moth man in Chicago, to Black Eyed kids that are doing unbelievable things and have done. All sorts of things that are going on, we’re going to deal with all of it.
JULIE ROYS 42:46
And you’re channeling your creative energy into saving lost people and opening eyes into the spiritual battle. And I just so appreciate that. I’ve never been one who says we shouldn’t be involved at all in politics. I’m not saying that. But I am saying, when we do it, we need to do it Christianly. We need to do it in a way that’s consistent with our biblical convictions, not just in what we’re trying to achieve, but in the way that we achieve it. And I hope people are hearing that and Coleman, I so appreciate you and I appreciate your book, The Curse of Conservatism. Again, you’re not saying in this book, that conservatism is wrong. You’re conservative, you know, in the sense that you hold to these things, but you’re showing what the temptations are and how we can get tricked into making compromises that we shouldn’t. And we have copies of that book that we’re going to make available to people as well, thanks to your generosity, so we’re doing a giveaway. So, if you want a copy of this book, we have a limited number of copies, but we will send them to you just go to Julieroys.com/giveaway and request this book and again, I think we have what about 20 copies we’re going to be giving away, so they’ll be first come first serve. But Coleman Thank you, thank you for your gracious engagement on this topic and being willing to help us really think Christianly about it. So, I love you and appreciate you as a brother in Christ and just best of luck to you as you start that new project.
COLEMAN LUCK 44:13
Thank you and blessings on your ministry. We are keeping track of it and watching all the time.
JULIE ROYS 44:18
Thank you. And thanks so much for listening to The Roys Report, a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. If you’d like to connect with me online, just go to Julieroys.com. Again, if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Coleman’s book, The Curse of Conservatism just go to Julieroys.com/giveaway. Also, just a quick reminder to subscribe to The Roys Report on Apple podcast, Google podcast or Spotify. That way you’ll never miss an episode. And while you’re at it, we’d really appreciate it if you’d help us spread the word about this podcast by leaving a review. And then please share the podcast on social media so more people can hear about this great content. Again, thanks so much for joining me today. Hope you have a great day and God bless.
Correction: Sophia Lee is a senior reporter with WORLD Magazine, not an editor as stated in the audio.