The liberal crew at Rod 2.0, one of the most successful blogs online catering to various cultures and sub-cultures that deal with issues including fashion, politics, media and even homosexuality, may need to watch out. There's another Rod out there that's just as convincing and just as serious. Rod Parsley, the senior pastor of the World Harvest Church, a 5,200 seater housed in Columbus, OH whom is a favorite on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), is taking his confident and intense message of revival to the masses along with his politically charged faith in the Republican party. While many critics have praised him for his boldness, he has also become one of the unpopular mega-church pastors in 2005 because of his shift towards "republicanized" ideas and concepts, which includes the war in Iraq in which he thoroughly supports. His sermons have also featured charges against abortion, gay marriage and even greater threats towards stem cell research and other Christian churches and institutions. A typical Sunday at World Harvest Church, to most observers, feature a charging display of praise and worship, excited congregants leaping in the spirit and radical moves of emotionalism and acts of God through healing and deliverance. Call it a Benny Hinn campmeeting on speed. But you must top it off with Parsley's radical preaching, or his special guests like John Ashcroft (R) whom share his views from a Republican perspective, in order to get the full effect of a World Harvest worship service. As of lately, trends have shifted from the regular to more, uncomfortability and private matters. What was once taboos in church are now being analyzed by Parsley: but the emphasis is on politics. He addresses those taboos with a political point-of-view. And he's not ashamed to say that.
In his latest book, Silent No More, Parsley declares that gays live unhappy and unhealthy lives, and he chides society for its acceptance of gay lifestyles. Gays are God's children, he says, but they have chosen a lifestyle that is harmful to themselves and society. "No one wants to talk about that because we hide behind this thin veil of political correctness," Parsley said during an interview. "I love homosexuals and lesbians, and I love them enough to tell them the truth." In his book, he also condemns Islam as being responsible for "more pain, more bloodshed and more devastation than nearly any other force on Earth." Yet Parsley said that he loves Muslims, too, and that it is his duty to try to convert them to Christianity.
He added that many Muslims want to destroy the United States, an objective he said is driven by some leaders within their faith. He also mentions, "There are clerics who will espouse love and teach their people that that's what the Quran teaches, but unless Islam is confronted from without and reformed from within, we are going to continue to have the kinds of difficulties we're seeing played out around the world today."
Kirk Franklin may have shouted out "GP, are you with me?". But when it comes to Rod Parsley, it's "GOP, are you with me?" Gabrielle Williamson, spokeswoman of the Ohio Democratic Party, believes differently stating "he needs to remember that God is not a Republican or a Democrat."
Parsley, whom is also a favorite in African-American circles for his preaching style and charisma, has also special interests in minority groups using his latest creation; the Center of Moral Clarity. Through his Center for Moral Clarity, one of the church's ministries, Parsley has embarked on a three-year campaign that he calls Reformation Ohio. Its goals are to register 400,000 new voters, organize black Ohioans who share conservative views on issues such as gays and abortion, and conduct getout-the vote rallies, all while leading 100,000 Ohioans to Jesus.
Surely the path Rod Parsley is engaging on is no different from Pat Robertson or Rev. Falwell. But with Parsley being the most popular in the evangelical community today and being as prolific as our modern political figures, it's pretty scary to see our pastors engaging in political issues but also knowing what happens behind the scenes regarding these issues. Imagine financial contributions being secretly poured into the Republican Party or future private endorsements from church contributions into political parties. Of course, the emphasis in the puplit should be on Christ and His Kingdom, but to hear sermons shifting towards opinionated beliefs that are still strongly split within the Christian community rather than the Great Commission, we should wonder are we really doing the Lord's Work or setting ourselves on a path that we personally desire and we hunger for.
A very powerful article written in the Columbus Dispatch has been posted online and reveals very important points and issues that may create a new vision upon Parsley's strongest supporters. It also goes in-depth on the issue of Parsley's assets and financial data being held confidential. While Parsley's telecast sites the opportunities of raising funds to help heal wounds in Sudan and with orphans, there is no public data revealing just how much of the proceeds from his supporters goes to these efforts. Instead we have seen high-profiled advertisements and campaigns regarding the Center of Moral Clarity and his latest book, Silent No More. You may want to catch up on this interesting article and learn something fresh on Parsley's political fight.
[MORE ON THE ROD AND THE RED SEA]
Higher Aspirations (Columbus Dispatch)
Center of Moral Clarity (Official Website)
The Raging Prophet (Personal Freedom Outreeach)