Paul's Passing Thoughts

Will The Real Toxic Christianity Please Step Forward? – By John Immel

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on September 16, 2020

John Immel – Church Historian, TANC Contributor

Someone recently asked me to give my feedback on this article written by Dan Armistead at

I gave it a quick read and mostly just rolled my eyes.

I don’t know Dan except for the few articles that I browsed. He fancies himself a thought leader in Evangelical Christianity’s quest for pure doctrine. Maybe he’s a muckity-muck in the rising tide of Neo Calvinism’s insurgence and is therefore venerated by some, but probably not.

However, his article makes a great object lesson for the real Toxic Christianity…and it isn’t what Dan thinks it is.

Like most of his ilk, Dan hides his toxicity behind some down-home folksiness mixed with leaps of logic and dogmatic proof-texts founded on an unbending, unquestioned moral superiority.

Dan is like 99% of Evangelical thought leadership, which is to say he’s a hackneyed, 4th-rate mind who thinks his moral purity equates to intellectual purity and therefore has something to offer a broader spiritual socio-political critique.

He’s not and he does not.

If Dan Armistead were even a 3rd-rate thinker he’d know that a casual review of history reveals that Christianity has been toxic LONG before Donald John Trump became President of the United States.

He would know that Christianity’s toxicity has been on display since its 2nd century’s purge of heretics. He would know that Christianity became the poster child for world tyranny after Theodosius ascended to the throne as God’s chosen emperor in 381. He would know that Augustinian doctrine (aka Christian Orthodoxy) is the formalization of societal psychosis.

What is societal psychosis?

Imagine a world where you could die if you pointed to the facts of reality.  Imagine a world where the government compels you to lie in service to their orthodoxy. Imagine a world where great minds like Galileo feared for their lives by merely pointing out that REALITY didn’t support orthodoxy.

Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine. This is today’s socio-political environment.

America’s political correctness is really just a secular “religious orthodoxy” that would make John Calvin proud of its determination to crush intellectual autonomy and usher in tyranny.

It’s MY reality, dammit!

Dan starts the article with a bold gambit to frame his reality as the defining one.

Dan writes:

“At the same time, this man is making the same mistake many good, evangelical Christians in America today are making. He is mixing the leaven of politics and nationalism with God’s kingdom.”

Point of correction: As you read through his article it is obvious that Dan thinks the sign represents a poignant display of spiritual sedition, not a “mistake.”

(More on this in a minute)

But does the sign display a “mistake?”


Strictly speaking Trump IS president, and the sign poster IS declaring his fealty to Jesus. So from 2016 to 2020, saying that Jesus is my Savior/ Trump is my President would be a correct representation of reality. To deny this existential fact is to demand people judge reality incorrectly. This would be called a lie.

And I’m pretty sure Paul told Christians to accept the governments appointed over them, so in fact, Christians who refuse to acknowledge Donald John Trump as their President are refusing to submit to his authority. These are the Christians committing spiritual sedition.


Wagging Tails and the Gambit to Borrowed Authority.

Dan writes:

“But here’s the thing — somewhere along the way (maybe from the very beginning) evangelical Christians (of which I am one) began to let their politics shape their Christian faith rather than allowing their Christian faith to shape their politics.

“As we say down south, “the tail started wagging the dog.”

“Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the support of Donald Trump by those who claim to hold the teachings of Jesus and the Bible (The Word of God) as the highest authority for our lives and world.”

Well, gosh darn, golly gee shucks. Them thar words just confound me. Cain’t argue with such logics now can I? Pure D fact that Old Yeller is just a floppin’ around because of his dag nabin tail.

Charming colloquialisms aside, you know what Dan is trying to say, right?

“My Christianity is right; therefore my understanding of government is right. Those who reject my understanding reject the bible and have abandoned true Christianity.”

This argument is Mystic Despot 101. I call it the Gambit to Borrowed Authority. It has many forms.

The root logic is:

  • The bible is the final authority.
  • Authority compels intellectual compliance.
  • Mystic despots, those who fancy themselves THE spiritual authority, are unique in their grasp of the bible.
  • A Mystic despot’s judgment and biblical mandates are synonymous.
  • Ergo Mystic Despots are the rightful heirs of biblical authority.

Or said another way: It’s biblical, therefore I believe it. I believe it, therefore it’s biblical.

Or said another way: My thinking equals pure Christian doctrine.

Do Mystic Despots utter these words?

No, they are never so brazen. But this root presumption surfaces the moment you reject their ideas.

Notice how fast they conflate rejecting them with rejecting God. (Turn up the reverb)

The Gambit to Borrowed Authority gives Mystic Despots enormous argumentative power, because in one fell swoop they are immune to any challenge. They can make any assertion, offer any logic, and take any action; and if you disagree, how dare you challenge God?

“The leaven of politics and nationalism?”

Dan writes:

“At the same time, [the sign poster] is making the same mistake many good, evangelical Christians in America today are making. He is mixing the leaven of politics and nationalism with God’s kingdom.”

What is leaven? Dan never defines.

What is the leaven of politics? He never explains?

What is the leaven of nationalism? He never clarifies.

So riddle me this: Why can Dan leave such glaring intellectual gaps?

Answer: Because his borrowed authority defies anyone to reject his conclusions. And as far as Dan is concerned, HIS assertions are the same as God’s assertion.

Are you going to demand God justify himself to your questions?

Yeah hu?

. . .
. . .
. . .

Anyway, Dan left a gap, and I need to address the insidious nature of what’s implied.

In 2020, because of our current politically correct climate, “nationalism” has been conflated with racism. Therefore, if you support Trump’s policies you by default are participating in nationalism which is the same as advancing white people which is being racist.

This is nonsense on every level, but if we really want to identify Toxic Christianity then let’s take a brief look at Christianity’s track record on “nationalism” . . . oops . . . racism.

The early church didn’t think gentiles could participate in the covenants of promise without embracing the whole of Judaic observances. In other words, gentiles had to become Jews to be considered authentic.

Paul becomes the “apostle to the gentiles,” but after Mars Hill he spends very little time with actual Greeks and Roman’s and centered his missionary trips in the Jewish Diaspora. Or said another way, he focused his time with those of Jewish ancestry scattered throughout the Roman world to start his churches. The influx of gentiles was secondary.

The Church, from the first century forward, persecuted Jews through the whole of the dark and middle ages and beyond. European history until almost the 19th century featured the church fomenting and sanctifying wars between the Franks and the Britons and the Huns and Celtics and Saxons, et. al. in the name of “God’s kingdom.”

Martin Luther wrote his last theological treatise called On the Jews and Their Lies, which is a profoundly racist rant. This rant was subsequently used as the moral framework for the Lutheran church’s complicit support of the Nazi party in 1930’s Germany. That framework made the Lutheran church complicit in carrying out the Final Solution.

John Calvin’s determinist doctrine coupled with his biblical defense of slavery was the foundation of the Puritan’s use of slaves.

Yes, I know, the Puritans are everyone’s Thanksgiving heroes who came to a new world for religious freedom; however this is a total sanitation of history. The Puritans were in fact a denomination of theocratic despots and political fanatics. They got run out of Europe because they were so politically dangerous. Their flight for “religious freedom” really meant they brought their theocratic despotism and political fanaticism across the Atlantic. The rippling effect of that influence is still seen in American politics. It was the Puritan intellectual leadership that set the doctrinal foundation used by all southern churches in the slave-holding-south to morally justify the original white privilege to own slaves. After the civil war the Calvin/Puritan axis of evil was the moral justification for Jim Crow laws.

THIS is Toxic Christianity.

Now in some circles, Trump’s immigration policies are not “biblical” because passages in Torah prescribe specific treatment of aliens and strangers. Therefore 21st century immigration policy should allow South Americans to cross the US border with impunity. Making immigration a crime, using the police to enforce laws, and building a wall to keep foreigners out is evil “nationalism.”

There is plenty wrong with this logic, but I’ll limit my critique to this: while Torah does afford aliens and strangers basic safety, protections, and Israel’s good will while in its geographical borders, Torah does not allow those aliens and strangers access to the Commonwealth of Israel, meaning they are not considered citizens with all expected rights and privileges.

Torah never presumed that aliens and strangers had all privileges of citizenship just because they wandered across a border. The aliens and strangers couldn’t set up counter cultures, temples, and gods in Jerusalem in the name of racial harmony and national unity. Homosexuals were still stoned no matter their nationality.

And even a casual reading of Torah shows that Israel often waged war to preserve its socio-political structure and to prevent the corruption of their bloodlines.

In other words, Torah presumed that Israel had the right to define for itself how to best protect and advance the citizens of its kingdom.

So while it sounds churchy to proof-text a verse and to say that “biblical government” would allow open borders, a small amount of intellectual rigor applied to bible reading reveals a very different reality.

And if you still can’t grasp the crucial distinction between guests and citizens consider Paul’s appeal to Caesar.

How does the story go?

Paul was arrested for allegedly starting a riot, imprisoned, and mistreated by the local Roman official because he thought Paul was a Jew. Paul then demanded the rights of a Roman citizen to have his case tried before Caesar. The Roman official realizes he’s screwed up, and Paul’s trip to Rome begins.

So, in modern parlance, Paul made an appeal to nationalism . . . aka he demanded the rights afforded all citizens of Rome because he was born into the protections of that political system.

This is nationalism in the purest, most righteous sense because the only the appropriate role of government is the defense of the individual in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

And this is what Donald Trump is fighting for: America’s right to define the criteria of citizenship. America has the moral right to its existence for the sake of existence.  America, and more importantly American’s, have the right to exist for their own sake. The first mortgage of their existence is NOT paid to any random soul wondering across the US border. It is right for America to define the qualifications and requirements for citizenship; failure to abide by that standard is lawlessness.

It is wrong to conflate Nationalism with Racism.

It is an intellectually bankrupt to equate the protection of citizens’ life, liberty, and property with racism.

Why do Christians support Donald Trump?

Dan says:

“‘Look at all the things President Trump has done for us,’ I hear fellow followers of Jesus saying. And I wonder if they understand what Trump is actually doing.”

In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Baily, played by James Stewart, is pleading with the townspeople of Bedford Falls not to cash out their savings with the wicked Mr. Potter. ‘Don’t you see,’ he cries out, ‘Potter’s not selling, Potter’s buying.’

That is exactly what Trump is doing with the church in America (sic)

Trump has used his wealth to seduce many women over the years, but his greatest conquest is seen in the gushing words of praise and adulation, bordering on idolatry, by the bride of Christ.”

Pause now and consider what Dan wrote.

Are you confused by his penetrating political analysis?

These paragraphs made me roll my eyes. Evidently, Dan can’t grasp the difference between a fictional character and the President of the United States.

Yea that eeevill Mr. Potter is buying! Donald Trump is . . . uh . . . buying??

Buying? What specifically? Dan doesn’t say. But it has something to do with seduction . . . I think.

But I’m not sure how seduction fits into the buying part, or how these women who have been seduced are reflective of Americans who embrace Donald Trump’s presidential leadership.

Is Donald Trump giving away money for votes and I don’t know about it?

Hey, I want some of that “seduction” money.

Oh wait, it’s Democrats that promise to give everyone money after they have stolen it from the rich.


Anyway, I think Dan mixed his metaphors or misapplied a simile or maybe just had a brain aneurysm. As a 4th-rate thinker I doubt he understands the massive leaps of logic detailed here. But he doesn’t care about logic. Mystic despots never care about logic because their arguments are born of force. They presume to compel you to agree with them because they have authority.

Remember from above?

Dan wrote:

“Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the support of Donald Trump by those who claim to hold the teachings of Jesus and the Bible (The Word of God) as the highest authority for our lives and world.” (Emphasis mine)

Now read this:
Dan writes:

“I personally can’t understand how anyone could vote for a politician whose open displays of godlessness are so evident, but for crying out loud, why would any follower of Jesus so openly and publicly support him.” (Emphasis his)

Just like all mystic despots Dan can’t imagine a world where his judgment isn’t the defining judgment.

Tab A in Slot B, C, D, and E = Orange Man Bad

What Godlessness is Trump guilty of exactly?

Oh yes, Donald Trump has had more than one wife. O . . . M . . . G!

And he only got all those women because he’s rich. O . . . M . . . G!

Uh . . . wait. Donald Trump has lots of money and lots of women?

You mean like David?

You mean like Solomon?

My memory is a bit fuzzy but I think God said something about David being a man after his own heart.

And hey, sign me up for that kind of Christianity. I’ve always said I’m in the writing biz for the chicks and money.


Come on, Christians. Let’s elevate our political theory past the 5th grade standards of Orange Man Bad.

Yes, Donald Trump has had sex with more than one woman. And so have LOTS of preachers. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS. And how many of them are still in the pulpit and heads of church polity?

Ever notice when a preacher does the nasty we MUST forgive sinners?

But Donald Trump . . . not so much.

Dan writes:

“Let me share a few examples from scripture of how evangelicals with their passionate support of Donald Trump are rejecting the very scriptures they claim govern their lives and faith.”

“Smells like hypocrisy to me.”

Did you know that YOU are rejecting scripture by supporting Donald Trump who had sex with more than one woman?

So riddle me this: where is Dan’s moral outrage over Christian support for Joe Biden who married his best friend’s wife (#adultry), has been accused of sexual assault (#metoo) and can’t seem to keep his hands off of young girls (#LOTSofpics)?

If Evangelical support for Trump is spiritual sedition, how is supporting Biden any different?

You will have to decide if where a man puts his penis disqualifies him from political office, but if it does, you can’t vote for Joe Biden (or for that matter Kamala Harris).

2 + 2 ≠ 1 million

Spoiler alert: I’m going to stir the Christian doctrinal pot with an appeal to reality.

Here is REALITY: There is ZERO correlation between executive skill, governing ability, and sexual practice.

Here is REALITY: Jimmy Carter was by all accounts the embodiment of Evangelical sexual propriety and arguably the weakest and worst president in modern history.

Here is REALITY: Woodrow Wilson was equally qualified by the Evangelical Super Christian Dan Armistead standard, but Wilson’s racism was unabashed, and his Marxist politics left an indelible, detrimental imprint on American culture.

Here is REALITY: Barack Obama, who also by all accounts has only had one wife, set out to fundamentally transform America, which is code for tearing down America as it was founded. And this is exactly what Barack Hussein Obama did: He proceeded to usher in policies that undermined individual liberties, exacerbated racism in America, weaponized the Federal branch of government against political opponents, and give billions of dollars on pallets, by plane, in the dead of night to Iran; a country that has declared America as their mortal enemy. Obama was the kingpin of divisiveness during his time as POTUS.

Here is REALITY: Conversely JFK, a known womanizer, faced down Soviet president Nikita Khrushchev’s gambit to start a war between the US and USSR. His economic policies helped pull the US out of the 1960s recession. His executive orders required federal employees to be treated equally regardless of race, creed, color or national origin; banned segregation in federally funded housing; advocated racial equality, equal access to public schools, and voting rights, all of which were signed into law in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Here is REALITY: Commitment to Marriage vows does NOT equate to always keep one’s word. There are plenty of men and women in congress who have never broken their marriage vows but lie lie, lie, lie to the American people every election cycle.

Here is REALITY: There is zero correlation between sexual practice and executive skill and governing ability.

The Proof-text Fallacy

Dan writes:

“What about Trump’s incessant bragging and narcissism? These things are the exact opposite of the kind of people Christ calls us to be.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3–4, NIV)

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12, NIV)

“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.” (Proverbs 26:12, NIV)

And conspiracy theories. The Bible warns us about falling for those who weave outlandish conspiracies. Isaiah says, “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” (Isaiah 8:12, NIV)

I am going to pass a law that forbids the use of high-capacity proof-texts. If you can’t make your intellectual argument with just ONE proof-text then you are a terrible arguer…See what I did there. High-capacity proof-texts? High-capacity magazines?


Anyway . . .

For those who don’t know what proof-texting is . . . here is a brief definition. The practice of cutting and pasting bible passages together as if they are meant to be read in any context by anyone to form a “biblical” doctrine.

Your preacher stands up behind the podium and reads a verse from Romans and a verse from Daniel and then a verse from Leviticus and then a verse from the Revelation and so on until it becomes clear that his sermon prep was a rabbit trail through a Strong’s Concordance. This is Proof-texting.

The errors implicit to the proof-texting are many, but unfortunately 21st century Christians are fed a steady diet of proof-texted homilies. So they don’t know how terrible their Evangelical pastor really is at teaching Protestant canon.

And speaking of terrible, this is pretty much the rest of Dan Armistead’s article: A drive-by spraying of bible passages interspersed with anti-Trump slander.

Here is why I never get into proof-text debates. It is impossible to out-authority the person who proof-texts because they presume to borrow the authority of the bible.

But here is REALITY: Authority is force. Authority is the government-sanctioned monopoly on force. A cop has authority because the force of the state stands behind the badge. A cop’s authority is his privilege to use force to compel state outcomes.

The bible does not have authority because words don’t have force.

Yes, yes. I know the “authority of scripture” is a Christian sacred cow. Christians believe that when they are quoting a bible verse their words have the force to compel a change of mind. And failure get the mind right is tantamount to defying God. And defying God brings God’s force.

Well, at least that is what Christians always hope happens . . . somehow . . . someway . . . sometime . . . God will GET you . . . but in the mean time “I’ll pray for you.”

But here is REALITY: words don’t have authority because they don’t have force. You don’t have authority when you blast away with proof-texts. You are not borrowing God’s force.

And this will really rattle some cages: Men have no moral obligation to subordinate their minds to threats of force. So, as a rationally independent man, I reject all threats of force for intellectual subjugation.

I’m a delicate flower!

Dan Writes:

“Romans 16:17 says, “I urge you brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (NIV)

Can any honest follower of Jesus deny that Trump is not an openly divisive man who promotes hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and so many of those things the Bible warns us against? (See Galatians 5:20)”

Of course to call BS on Dan’s assertion is to call into question whether you are an “honest follower of Jesus.”

But as I said, I reject all threats of force for intellectual subjugation. So, I call BS.

Dan’s article was published on September 6th 2020, so there is no excuse in failing to understand the broader context of reality.

Riots and looting and burning have been going on in Democrat-run cities since May 26th. That’s Four months!

There are so many riots in so many Democrat-run cities that I defy you to name them all.

In Seattle we saw city blocks sectioned off and declared a new nation state: CHAD or CHOP or whatever.

Governor Inslee of Washington and Governor Brown of Oregon have allowed BLM and Antifa nearly unrestrained “freedom” to riot and loot and burn. BLM and Antifa are Marxist movements with the single goal of ending western style democracies in general and America in particular. If you don’t believe me, just check their international websites.

Under the Democrat leadership of California, California is BURNING with forest fires that have been attributed to Antifa arson.

Under the Democrat Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, cops are ambushed, and BLM chants “We hope they Fu$#%^G die!”

Democrat Mayor, Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago is overrun with violence and lawlessness.

More broadly, the Democrat party is the party of slavery, the party of the KKK, the party of Bull Connor, the party of Jim Crow and segregation.

And it is Donald Trump who promotes hatred and discord and jealousy and division?

Are you serious?

Portland Mayor Jenny Durkan calls the annexation of a few city blocks by groups seeking to destroy America, “A summer of love,” and because she used kind words Christians must swoon over her “righteousness?”

Trump tweets that she’s incompetent, and that sends Christians cowering behind their bibles for fear they are being seduced by the anti Christ?

Again, are you serious?

Dan writes:

“While many warn against lawlessness and moral decline with the inevitable rise of a world leader whose seduction is so great that even the “elect of God” risk being deceived, they lend their support to a man who clearly is the antithesis of everything Christ stands for.”

This is your threshold of gullibility? Are you really saying Trump is the antichrist?

Trump’s tweets mean things, and it is a sign that he’s from hell. Jenny Durkan utters pure societal psychosis with a tongue dripping with honey, care bears, and rainbows, and because they were nice words she’s the moral one?

If this is the threshold of Evangelical Christian rational judgment then the Anti Christ will run over you in a blink, and you will thank him for it.

Evangelicals, (of which Dan insists he is one) are you really this mentally vacant?

Are rationally independent people supposed to take this brand of Evangelical Christianity seriously?

The 2020 Democrat platform IS the moral justification of jealousy and envy. Their methods ARE dissensions and factions between the Rich and the Poor; between the black and white.

And because Donald Trump is blunt, and gregarious, and likes to talk about his success, doesn’t take any nonsense from his critics and demands justice for wrong doing, this is what makes his leadership equal to satanic manipulation?

OMG the absurdity!

Evangelicals, you are a bunch of children bewitched by ghosts and goblins floating in your own heads.

As Paul Harvey once said . . .

Let’s talk about the rest of the story. Since Donald Trump’s divisiveness is on trial, why don’t we talk briefly about the rest of reality?

Here are just a few of Donald Trump’s “Peace” achievements.

  • He ended the ISIS threat by galvanizing the coalition against ISIS and limiting American risk.
  • Ended North Korea’s WMD missile programs.
  • He is denying Iran’s quest for Nuclear weapons.
  • And his most profound success has been to broker a Middle East Peace.

These are historic achievements that presidents have been trying to accomplish since Jimmy Carter.

Donald Trump is bringing peace and defending American liberty, and Trump is the one judged as “openly divisive, a man who promotes hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions?”

In my head, I run out of invective to properly denounce the obscenity that is Dan Armistead’s moral criticism of Donald Trump.

Super Evangelical Christian Dan Armistead’s level of self righteousness myopia is breathtaking. His disconnect from reality is astounding.

And since Dan Armistead insists he is one of you . . .

It takes a special kind of psychosis for an entire denomination to delude itself that being anti Trump is being the defender of all that is true Christianity. It takes a special kind of collective narcissism for Evangelicals to believe they are the only ones who really understand God’s Kingdom.

Evangelicals, you are insane.

You are a Pig!

Dan writes:

“Jesus referred to His kingdom as a “pearl of great price.” (Matthew 13:46)

We (and I cannot and will not deny who I am) evangelicals have given the pearl of God’s kingdom to a pig.” (Emphasis mine)

Do you honestly think that Dan Armistead would dare call Nicolás Maduro, Fidel Castro, Xi Jinping, or Kim Jong-Un a pig in a similar article in their country of origin?

Cracker, Please!

Pause and reflect on the scope of Evangelical Super Christian Dan’s temerity.

He uses the freedoms granted by the American oCnstitution to call the POTUS a pig and rebukes Evangelical Christianity for allowing the rot to overtake its pure doctrinal ranks . . . and this coward thinks HE is the poster child for the defense of all this is pure Evangelical Christianity?

I won’t call Dan Armistead a pig because that would be an insult to pigs.

But I will say that Evangelical Super Christian Dan Armistead is an intellectually bankrupt mystic despot whose moral narcissism has separated his mind from reality.

Dan Armistead is the poster child for real Toxic Christianity.

Evangelical Christians, if you want to follow Dan Armistead’s “thought leadership” . . . .

Because you’re deluded in your Evangelical Super Christian superiority . . .

And fail to understand where we are in American history . . .

And fail to grasp the tyranny to come if Democrats win this election . . .

You will have cast the pearls of American liberty before the swine of Marxist tyranny.

Evangelical Super Christians, you WILL get the government your bankrupt, morally superior, narcissistic, indulgent, impotent, self-righteousness deserves, because you are the original Toxic Christianity.

~ John Immel

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