The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said (John 18:19-21).
A war is in progress. It is a war between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, ethics and power. It is also a war between two conflicting strategies: visible proclamation rs. secret organization, public representation rs. secret initiation. This war has been going on from the beginning (or at least one week after the beginning). It has been going on in human history since the serpent tempted Eve.
The public is blissfully unaware of the nature of this war. It is likely that most people will remain unaware of it in our lifetimes. But an increasing minority of people are becoming at least vaguely aware of what is going on. Nobody has all the answers nobody on earth, anyway but millions of people have heard at least part of the story. This book is an attempt to put the major issues in front of serious readers, especially Christian readers. I think there is finally a market for a little introductory book like this.
Open vs. Secret Ministries
Jesus' answer to the Pharisees proclaimed a fundamental principle of biblical organization: the open ministry . Jesus presented His whole message publicly. He spoke in parables, of course, but these only illustrated general principles. The parables did not establish some sort of secret conspiracy. He gave His disciples no program of secret initiation, no recruiting system based on something other than profession of faith in Christ and service to others. His told His opponents that they would be wasting their time to go hunting for secret messages or hidden codes in His public proclamations. Every principle in His message came from the Old Testament, which was a public document in Israel.
This organizational principle places the church in opposition to numerous secret societies. Jesus admonished His listeners:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).
This principle of "open covenants openly arrived at" is basic to the history of Western Civilization. It is basic to all constitutionalism. The idea that the way to gain influence is by secret manipulation and hidden agendas is foreign to the Bible. What men are to do is to bring other men openly and publicly under God's four covenants: personal, church, family, state. Not by secret initiation but by public baptism; not by hidden sacrifices but by Christ's public sacrifice on the cross and by our public communion (the Lord's Supper) are we to exercise dominion.
But if this is God's way, then what of the enemies of God? What is their way? This book serves as an introductory answer to this fundamental organizational and historical question. But until we can agree on what, exactly, is the Bible's approach to a proper understanding of history, we remain be confused. People are not agreed about the nature of God, man, law, sanctions, and time.1 Therefore, people are not agreed about the nature of history.
We need to be clear about this: the war I spoke of is also a war over the proper interpretation of historical facts. The facts don't just "speak for themselves." Men speak in the name of the facts they have chosen to speak about. We are creatures. We are not omniscient. Therefore, we all pick and choose the facts that we believe are most relevant. Relevant to whose purposes and relevant to what goals? Therein lies the problem of historical interpretation.
The Public's Skepticism
Over the last 30 years, and especially since 1971, there has been an increasing interest in the United States concerning the existence, influence, and relevance of hidden, clandestine conspiracies. All ideological groups have participated. We have been presented with numerous "conspiracy theories" from the conservative right,2 the libertarian right,3 the old left (which generally prefers "power groupings" or "class influence" to more highly personalized conspiracy theories),4 and the new left.5 If any single event was most responsible for this growing interest, it was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. A wave of books on the Kennedy assassination has appeared, from Mark Lane's Rush to Judgment (1966) to David Lifton's Best Evidence (1980). One scholarly bibliography, published in 1980, listed over 5,000 sources on the subject.6 By now there are probably thousands more.
The conclusion of the Warren Commission's report on the assassination Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone killer without any institutional connections was predictable. He was just a mixed-up fellow. He was a "nut." This has been the official coin of the realm in every post-assassination investigation, from Garfield and McKinley to the Kennedys, from Martin Luther King to George Wallace (who at least survived the ordeal). "The Lone Assassin, mentally disturbed, strikes again." And anyone who doesn't believe this explanation, it is implied by establishment commentators, scholars, and official spokesmen, is himself mentally disturbed. But one thing is sure: when it comes to this form of "mental disturbance," the mentally disturbed person is hardly alone. Things have changed since November 22, 1963 to a great extent, because of November 22, 1963.
The generally skeptical or at least unenthusiastic response of American readers (a minority of Americans) to the Warren Commission's report was not predictable back in 1964, when the Committee began its work. This skepticism startled the Establishment. So has its aftermath. Skepticism by the American public concerning anything the government announces officially has increased exponentially over the last three decades. It has affected every realm of life. It has affected every academic discipline.7
This skepticism has unquestionably had effects in the area of historical explanation. Americans have developed a real taste for odd-ball explanations of any and every historic event. Books have appeared that seek to prove that: Butch Cassidy wasn't killed in South America; some of the Czar's family were rescued in 1918; John Dillinger wasn't killed by the FBI; Amelia Earhart didn't crash, and the plane she was supposed to be flying turned up decades later in at an auction; Sacco and Vanzetti didn't kill anyone (or maybe Sacco did but Vanzetti didn't); Bruno Hauptman didn't kidnap the Lindbergh baby; Roosevelt knew the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor; Hitler didn't liquidate the Jews; Dwight D. Eisenhower was a conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy, implying therefore, even more improbably (in the opinion of many), that Dwight D. Eisenhower was conscious; the United States is controlled by a secret conspiracy of: 1) .Jewish bankers; 2) Freemasons; 3)the Illuminati; 4) the Council on Foreign Relations; 5) the Trilateral Commission; 6) monopoly capitalists; 7) Communist agents; 8)the Vatican; 9) Theosophists; 10) British bankers who are behind the world's drug smugglers and who are in fact agents of the Queen; 11) a cult of mystic Masters who were trained in Tibet; 12) visitors from outer space who have taken on human characteristics; 13) four of the above; 14) all of the above. And we dare not forget that perennial favorite: "The Rosenbergs were framed!"
About the only thesis that has not been offered so far is that Nixon really didn't know anything about the Watergate break-in until he read about it in the Washington Post.
Then comes the inevitable question: Who is covering up? And why? Why the conspiracy of silence?
Is all of this crazy? Or is some of it correct? What should the serious Christian think about conspiracies? This little book is designed to help you come to Bible-based conclusions concerning these questions.
1 Ray R. Sutton, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant (2nd ed.; Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992).
2 The classic example is the book by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham,Nolte Dare Call It Conspiracy (1972) and the sequel by Abraham, Call It Conspiracy (1985).
3 The works of Antony Sutton are the best examples: see the Bibliography. Murray Rothbard's book, America's Great Depression (Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1963), is a conspiracy theory of the origins of the great depression in the pro-British inflationary monetary policies of the Coolidge era and the statist responses of Herbert Hoover. See also Rothbard, Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy (Burlingame, California: RRR, 1995); The Case Against the Fed (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1994).
4 A best-seller of the late 1960's was Ferdinand Lundberg, The Rich and the Super-Rich: A Study in the Power of Money (New York: Lyle Stuart, 1968). For a more scholarly sociological analysis, see G. William Donhoff, Who Rules America Now? A View for the '80s (New York: Prentice Hall, 1983). It is not a blatantly ideological book. The most detailed study ever written on this topic is Philip H. Burch's Elites in American History, 3 vols. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1980).
5 Holly Sklar (ed.), Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management (P O. Box 68, Astor Station, Boston, Massachusetts: South End Press, 1980); Kees van der Pijl, The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class (London: Verso, 1984). Both publishers are quite obscure.
6 Lloyd J. Guth and David R. Wrone, The Assassination of John E Kennedy: A Comprehensive Historical and Legal Bibliography, 1963-1979 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1980).
7 Gary North, "The Crisis of American Universities," in North (ed.), Foundations of Christian Scholarship (Vallecito, California: Ross House Books, 1976).