Focus on the Family: A Sham and a Shame
by Martin & Deidre Bobgan
In Parts One and Two of this series we reveal that Focus on the Family (FOTF), under the leadership of Jim Daly (Dr. James Dobson’s successor) remains sometimes entirely psychological and humanistic and sometimes entirely or partially Scriptural. In addition, Daly has taken FOTF on a dramatic and radical change of direction in that he is courting the favor of both LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and abortion activist groups by initiating fellowship with them. In contrast, in Part Two we quote from two messages by Dr. John MacArthur and suggest that Daly’s new approach may be what MacArthur would call "hate talk." In this Part Three we add more concerns about Daly’s position and conclude by saying that FOTF is a Last Days’ psychological and humanistic organization that reflects the psychological and humanistic church—lukewarm like Laodicea.
In his desire to convince people of his soft-sell approach, Daly presents the views of other Christians with whom he disagrees, at times referring to these others as "we" and saying such things as, "We act as if the people who oppose us are beyond God’s reach." He accuses others of a "fortress mentality" and, regarding the woman taken in adultery, says, "We too would be ready to throw the first stone."1 Daly creates a group of strawmen Christians and their so-called treatment of others as a contrast to his own views. In his book ReFocus: Living a Life that Reflects God’s Heart, Daly defends his initiating relationships with LGBT and abortion activists. He often refers to other Christians as "they" and "them" and casts aspersions on "they" and "them."
In ReFocus Daly is less charitable and more critical of other Christians than of those LGBT and abortion activist leaders with whom he has fellowshipped.2 The book is a justification for his initiating fellowship with LGBT and abortion activist leaders and at the same time it is critical of those who do not share his so-called biblical understandings. His reason for doing so is to promote his new-to-FOTF, so-called "evangelistic" approach (minus THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST) to LGBT activists, abortionists, and, by extension, to people of other unbiblical "cultural," religious, and irreligious persuasions.
Daly expresses satisfaction with his new fellowship with those activist organizations that should be regarded as God’s enemies, and his book ReFocus is a justification for it from beginning to end. One of the stellar examples of how Daly practices this new-in-the-history-of-the-church approach is how he boasts about working together with the local Independent (Indy) newspaper through its editor.3 The Indy is a radically pro LGBT and abortion rights sentinel of the news. We use this one example to demonstrate how Daly wants the entire church to follow his example of fellowshipping with those who adamantly oppose God’s Word and His doctrines of the faith.
In his book ReFocus Daly begins describing an award given by the Indy by saying:
In early 2011, Focus [FOTF] was mockingly awarded the "Claim to Shame Award" for, among other things, our continued support of traditional marriage and our ongoing advocacy to protect the sanctity of life… this award was clearly a tongue-in-check [sic], acrimonious gesture, but two of my associates decided to respond in Christian love and have some fun at the same time. I’m glad they did.4
The two employees accepted the invitation and attended the banquet. We digress to say that the editor of the local, LGBT- and abortion-friendly newspaper is John Weiss, whom Daly refers to as "my friend" and, as it turns out, a friend of many years. Daly indicates that, as a result of the two FOTF employees appearing and receiving the award, FOTF "forged a unique friendship" with Weiss, who is pro-LGBT and pro-abortion. Daly contends that "they didn’t compromise any principles." The two FOTF employees "simply treated John as a fellow traveler along this road of life."5
As a result of this friendship, the Christian ministry FOTF and the radically pro-LGBT and abortion-rights Indy have partnered together on a number of community projects. When Focus on the Family joins together with the Indy for a concert to raise funds for a good cause—to help families who had suffered loss from the Colorado Springs fire—one has to wonder why they had to yoke together for any such local event. The loud message here is that FOTF needs to join with the world and its ways in order to be heard. Warren Wiersbe rightly warned: "The attitude of too many Christians today is that the church should court and please the world in order to try to win it. Nothing could be further from the truth!"6
Daly shockingly ends this book chapter by saying:
Our neighbors may know we are Christians by our love, as the old song goes, but they will only know about the love of Jesus if we also share with them the truth about His life poured out as a sacrifice.7
We say "shockingly" because, in all the Indy and other newspaper interviews with Daly and all his personally described conversations and relationships with these LGBT and abortion activists and organizations, we have never heard him describe the details of "the love of Jesus" or any conversation where he did "share with them the truth about His life poured out as a sacrifice" for their grievous sins against God.
In all the interviews, we found only one mention of the Gospel in Daly’s brief response to the Indy question, "What should the ultimate goal of Focus be?" Daly answers, "Our primary mission" is "to introduce people to who Jesus Christ is and what his claims are, and what they mean to us today." But he does not perform that "primary mission" during that very interview, where there appears to be an open door. Notice that even though Daly knows and states the "primary mission," in none of his interviews that we found does he introduce the interviewer to "who Jesus Christ is" (Messiah, Savior, Son of God) and "what His claims are," e.g., the only "name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
It is interesting to note that in effect, without realizing it, Daly justifies his position by misrepresenting those Christians who oppose him as having a half-baked Gospel (our term). To overcome what he regards as one evil, Daly has introduced another equally bad evil. In ReFocus and in many other places, Daly criticizes what we would call a half-baked Gospel of some Christians in order to justify his own half-baked Gospel, not realizing that what he criticizes others for is exactly what he himself is guilty of.
Fellowship with Works of Darkness
To follow Daly’s biased biblical justification for fellowship with activist leaders, one would have to rewrite Scripture and have Peter seeking fellowship with the Pharisees and with the money changers in the temple and saying to them, as Daly does to a homosexual activist, "I know that God loves you as much as He loves me."8 In following his half-baked Gospel, Daly shows too little respect for all of God’s Word and too much respect for LGBT and abortion activist leaders by mollycoddling them.
Daly seeks a common ground of agreement, such as with LGBT activists helping children who are without parents get taken care of and with abortion activists preventing pregnancy. Does he realize that he is thereby promoting the practice of like-sex adoptive parents and pregnancy prevention through condoms and birth control pills? His tone is, "Let’s love and respect each other"; but it is absent THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. By doing so he is inadvertently following a "cultural" mandate that has no biblical grounds. Daly’s initiating fellowship with LGBT and abortion activist leaders is light years away from how Jesus and the apostles ministered to sinners. He fails to preach THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST to these activists whose practices, politics, and activities are leading people to perdition, in contrast to the way Jesus ministered to sinners.
In explaining and justifying his fellowshipping with LGBT and abortion activist leaders, Daly says, with a bit of false modesty:
In my role at Focus on the Family, I’ve felt convicted to do what I can do to break down the barriers in my little corner of the kingdom. This is why I’ve engaged homosexual activists and even abortion providers in conversations. I want to get to know them. I want to listen to them and hear the pain in their hearts.9 (Bold added.)
In addition to fellowship with Planned Parenthood, Daly has also fellowshipped with the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL). NARAL "is an organization in the United States that engages in political action to oppose restrictions on abortion and expand access to abortion."10 To justify his flirting with Planned Parenthood and NARAL, Daly says:
While some abortion rights activists truly are unconcerned about the senseless deaths of pre-born children, my research and conversations with individuals from these opposition camps suggest many are deeply troubled and riddled with guilt. I have personally met with people inside the abortion industry, and some of them are distressed about the consequences of legalized abortion.11 (Italics his, bold added.)
Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us that:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Daly is grossly out of touch with the hearts and minds of the LGBTs and abortionists. The activists are as confidently militant and zealous for their causes and beliefs as committed activists of any religion or cult are.
Our experience with LGBT and abortion activists is that, almost to a man and woman, they differ from Daly’s description. Daly, saying that there is "pain in their hearts," would imply that there are some pangs of conscience about their beliefs and practices. We challenge Daly in his next fellowship time with LGBT and abortion activist leaders to suggest to them that they have "pain in their hearts" because of their sinful lifestyle and separation from God, something, to our knowledge, he has never done!
Daly’s comment that abortion rights activists have "pain in their hearts" and that "many are deeply troubled and riddled with guilt" is contrary to our own experiences. We have never heard any abortion activists confess that they have "pain in their hearts" or that they "are deeply troubled and riddled with guilt" because of their involvement in murdering innocent preborns. If they were, they would certainly abandon their involvement in the wholesale slaughter of the innocent. It is doubtful that Daly would even dare to suggest this in conversations with them! It is also doubly doubtful that Daly has ever picked up on the "many" that, according to him, "are deeply troubled and riddled with guilt" to give them the Remedy for their guilt.
In making the case for his new approach, Daly refers to the apostle Paul’s defense to King Agrippa and to Jesus’ response to the woman taken in adultery.12 Daly repeatedly uses these two examples to support his position on how one should approach activist groups. In describing how Paul and Jesus dealt with these situations, Daly overlooks the fact that the apostle Paul, as a prisoner needing to appear before Agrippa, was directly defending the faith while he respectfully addressed King Agrippa and gave a compelling testimony to such an extent that Agrippa said to him, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26:27). This could never happen in Daly’s initiated contacts with activists, because he never, to our knowledge, shares THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST with them.
Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more" (John 8:11). Notice that Jesus said, "Go and sin no more," which is missing in Daly’s contacts with activist leaders and groups. We have read a number of Daly’s interviews and read much advice given by him, but in no case did we see him either giving a compelling testimony to LGBT and abortion activists, as did the apostle Paul to Agrippa, or speaking as Jesus did to the woman taken in adultery, "Go and sin no more"!
After quoting Titus 3:9, Daly says, "If there are two neon signs in the New Testament: Salvation is through Christ and Christ alone and don’t become a Pharisee."13 There are, of course, many "neon signs" throughout the New Testament, but we know of no biblically knowledgeable Christian who would highlight "Don’t be a Pharisee" as one of only two. Two serious omissions from Daly’s two "neon signs in the New Testament" are the Great Commandment and the Great Commission! Daly has a habit of inferring that his approach is irenic and the other approach is Pharisaic so he uses Titus 3:9 and 2 Timothy 2:23 to prove his case. However he has quoted Titus 3:9 out of context and utilized 2 Timothy out of the context of the whole counsel of God.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" (Matt:7:12). Therefore those of us who are Christians should give others what we ourselves would desire if we were in their shoes, that is, the biblical truth about God’s love and His provision for salvation from a sinful life of homosexuality, abortion, atheism, cults, the occult, and those personal sins associated with the flesh.
A Sham & a Shame
We repeat from the FOTF Form 990 Federal IRS return: "Briefly describe the organization’s mission or most significant activities"; and the FOTF answer: "FOCUS ON THE FAMILY SHARES THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST WHILE PROMOTING BIBLICAL FAMILY VALUES" (upper case in original).
We say bluntly that the FOTF is a sham. The dictionary defines sham as "something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation…a cover or the like for giving a thing a different outward appearance."2 FOTF is "not what it purports to be" and it is a "spurious imitation." FOTF has a Christian façade with a sound biblical mission statement that serves as "a cover…for giving a thing [psychological, humanistic integrationism] a different outward appearance." At first glance the "SHARES THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST" mission statement sounds like the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3), but the faith that is really often being celebrated by Daly and promoted at FOTF is faith in psychological and humanistic ideas and their therapeutic mindset. The FOTF sham attracts and deceives naïve Christians, including those who are the promoters, as well as the ones who buy into the Bible plus psychological and humanistic ideas.
The FOTF web site offers both current and past radio programs. We listened to a number of them and conclude that they vary from humanistic advice to questionable information, said with confidence by those who are on the program, and to advice that is psychologically oriented and/or tainted. Yes, in some radio programs FOTF "SHARES THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST" and BIBLICAL FAMILY VALUES," but in those we heard there was no Gospel message about Jesus Christ dying in the place of sinners and being the only way to salvation by grace through faith. However, the web site has such a plethora of broadcasts that we may have missed some with a truly "GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST" message, but why should one have to go fossicking about to find one?
FOTF is an integrationist organization, which varies at times from the sole use of psychology and humanistic opinion to integration or amalgamation with Scripture in varying proportions, depending on the personal judgment of the individual. Such integration combines theories, techniques, and ideas and ideologies from psychotherapy, clinical psychology, counseling psychology and their underlying theories with the Bible.
Christian integrationists use psychological and humanistic opinions about the nature of man, why he does what he does, and how he can change in ways that seem to them to be compatible with their Christian faith or their view of the Bible. But, by their unnecessary integration, they demonstrate a lack of confidence in the sufficiency of the Word of God for all matters of life and conduct (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). Instead of searching Scripture and relying on what God has provided through His Word, they use the humanistic and psychological theories and techniques as the base, often absent THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, even though people’s problems beg for its inclusion.
One of FOTF’s greatest errors is that they too often preach psychological and humanistic messages without one iota of their sole mission to "PRESENT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST." FOTF’s nationally syndicated Q&A columns in newspapers across America are good examples of the disconnect between FOTF’s sole mission and their literal practice. Every Question has potential for sharing "THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST WHILE PROMOTING FAMILY VALUES," but not one Answer includes even a hint of their mission statement. And much of the other material on their web site follows the same error.
The editor of our local newspaper who is in charge of the page with FOTF articles, as well as another nationally syndicated column, "Chicken Soup for the Soul" by Jack Canfield and Victor Hanson, was surprised when we told him that FOTF is a Christian ministry. He commented that "Chicken Soup for the Soul" articles seemed more religious to him than the FOTF articles. From reading both, we agree.
Part of our expose of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) is that they are a psychological integrationist organization. The AACC believes in the Bible plus psychology and therefore does not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the nonorganic issues of life. Dr. H. B. London, Jr., a vice President of FOTF, recommends the AACC by saying:
In our ministry at Focus on the Family, we are finding that a high percentage of pastors we meet feel ill-prepared to deal with the complex pastoral counseling issues that come their way. AACC is on the cutting-edge as they seek to equip the "called out" minister for the 21st century.14
As one listens to the FOTF broadcasts, a plethora of names of numerous AACC psychological and humanistic teachers and speakers appear and are interviewed as authorities. The few instances in which Daly deals biblically with a topic are overwhelmed by the many psychological and humanistic presentations, which include a whole raft of these AACC types. While integrationists may use the Bible at times, their ongoing reliance is too often on psychological and humanistic ideas. Utilizing unverified psychological and humanistic theories and techniques instead of biblical truth reveals an insufficient confidence in Scripture. FOTF broadcasts a constant signal that the Word of God and the work of the Holy Spirit are not enough for life and godliness. Such integration implies that God gave commands without providing all the necessary means of obedience until the recent psychological and humanistic age.
We repeat, Daly regards himself as "more of an evangelist than a prophet." Oh, really? An evangelist, to quote the FOTF "mission," is one who "SHARES THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST." According to the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, "Evangelism" is:
The proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ with a view to bringing about the reconciliation of the sinner to God the Father through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.
Each and every evangelist, including Daly, knows the Great Commission, in which Jesus says:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt. 28:19-20.)
Each and every outreach of FOTF, including the Q&As, newspaper and online articles, radio broadcasts, help offered to individuals, etc. should be put to the Great Commission evangelism test. Grievously, FOTF too often gives psychological and humanistic answers to questions that have obvious spiritual implications, which leads us to conclude that those at FOTF do not believe in the full sufficiency of the Bible for the issues of the soul or else there would not be the extensive use of psychological and humanistic answers often absent the Bible.
These FOTF answers to the newspaper article Q&As and many of the Q&As elsewhere, as well as online articles, along with many of their broadcasts, are too often a shameful dodging of biblical responsibilities TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST to a world-wide audience, for which they are generously supported. The good news is that after Daly took over in 2005, the total support for FOTF declined, from a total support of $144,770,424 in 2006 to a total support of $95,797,047 in 2010, which was a decline of $58,983,377! The bad news is that FOTF is still one of the largest parachurch ministries in the world, often avoiding their biblical responsibilities TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST and propagating psychological and humanistic ideas world-wide with Daly receiving an annual income over $250,000.
Each of the numerous world-wide FOTF outreaches that leave out THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST would be ideal places to name the name of Jesus, to proclaim the Gospel, and to give biblical answers to the questions posed rather than the psychological and humanistic opinions of men. Often instead of "BIBLICAL FAMILY VALUES" FOTF is promoting PSYCHOLOGICAL AND HUMANISTIC FAMILY VALUES. The Q&As on homosexuality are ideal places to confront this heinous sin of Romans 1 and Leviticus 22 with biblical love talk that could save souls. Furthermore, dialog with LGBT and abortion activist leaders and groups, as Daly does, should be filled with biblical love talk that would present them with the biblical truths that would save their souls if they would receive and believe, but not a word from Daly about that to them.
For much of what we examined, we conclude that, shockingly and shamefully, "THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST" and "BIBLICAL FAMILY VALUES," which constitute the FOTF sole mission (i.e., commitment, aim, goal, purpose, objective) and should be obvious in all the FOTF material, are too often absent or down-played.
FOTF is a Last Days’ psychological and humanistic organization that reflects the psychological and humanistic church—lukewarm like Laodicea. Those at FOTF, led by Daly, have become so psychologically and humanistically minded that their newspaper and online articles, many of their Q&As, and their radio broadcasts often neglect even the slightest practice of their mission statement or else they have compromised it.
Many people who call themselves Christians have become so blinded by a psychological and humanistic mindset that they have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to FOTF since its inception. This is truly a shame, which adds to the sham of their failed mission, which is "FOCUS ON THE FAMILY SHARES THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST WHILE PROMOTING BIBLICAL FAMILY VALUES," and which they have failed to do in too many instances, particularly in their initiated contacts with LGBT and abortion activists.
Daly and those at FOTF have truly bollixed up the Bible in their rush to embrace the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (some of whom are biologically destructive), and the abortionist individuals and organizations who, unless they repent, will not be in the Kingdom of God and who are politically and personally active in leading others into these biblical abominations before God!! In closing, we ask: Where are the voices of those in the faith who are against the Daly/FOTF embrace of the biblically loathsome corrupters of God-given sexuality and murderers of those whose lives have been given by God and are the most vulnerable? Why are those Christians who are gifted and known nationally and internationally not crying aloud about the FOTF fellowship with the LGBT and abortion activists and organizations and their biblical reprehensible activities that are a serious offense against God and His Word?!!!
1 Jim Daily, "Refocusing Our Lives," Focus on the Family, 10/16/12, http://www.focusonthefamily.com.
2 Jim Daly. ReFocus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
3 Ibid., p. 106.
5 Ibid., p. 107.
6 Warren W. Wiersbe. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992, p. 492.
7 Daly, ReFocus, op. cit., p. 108.
8 Jim Daily, "Refocusing Our Lives," Focus on the Family, 10/15/12, hppt://www.focusonthefamily.com.
9 Ibid., p. 103.
11 Daly, ReFocus, op. cit., p. 43.
12 Jim Daily, "Refocusing Our Lives," Focus on the Family, 10/16/12, op. cit.
13 Jim Daily, "Refocusing Our Lives," Focus on the Family, 10/15/12, op. cit.
14 http://www.aacc.net/about-us/. [Note: Christians feel "ill-prepared" because of the intimidation of organizations like AACC and FOTF!]
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, May-June 2013, Vol. 21, No. 3)
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