I like the guy, even if he can't sit still for one minute.
A few things trouble me. Perhaps they shouldn't.
Engle has espoused a thesis or prophetic insight regarding the War Between the States(1) . In this thesis he states, with the implied endorsement of God, that "The Civil War was the day for reckoning for America for the bloodshed of slavery – 600,000 men died in the God’s day of reckoning in America for slavery." In other words, he states that 600,000 were killed for a "blood atonement."
He goes on to make an analogy between the issue of slavery and the issue of abortion. Ironic in that the gays want to claim this analogy as their own. It's a very popular analogy, don't you know?
Lou seems to be stuck on this thesis. He mentioned the war again at his address given at a recent GBW meeting in Charlotte (2). And in his "current" blog article at LouEngle.com(3). If it is a thesis it needs to be challenged. If it is prophetic revelation it needs to be tested. Has anyone questioned it?
In essence, he suggests that today, as then, there is now a national blood-guilt that must be atoned for.
The issue is this: can there be any further atonement - or was the sacrificial death of our Lord on the cross all-sufficient for all-time? Engle implies that is was NOT, and I'm having a hard time with this. Quoting Engle "It is not enough that Jesus died. Someone must apply the blood of Jesus to the national sin of (the) USA." To accomplish this, Engle calls for a priestly ministry "to bring forth the blood of the Lamb on behalf of shed blood."
In practice and in teaching, Engle suggests some sort of new priestly order that devotes itself full-time to prayer and intercession. While I believe it is true that the burden to intercede falls very strongly on certain individuals, I can find no suggestion in the scriptures that a new priestly order is prescribed, and I can more likely make a stronger case for the "priesthood of all believers."
While some might accept the suggestion that some sort of priestly ministry could somehow function in an atoning manner, Engle goes on to suggest the slaughter of multitudes to appease a blood-thirsty God if we do not repent. And again, he uses the example of the War Between the States as proof.
Skirting the issue of cause of the war, as Dr. J. William Jones wisely did in his seminal work on revival in the Confederate camps (4) , and the fact that slavery was not peculiar to the USA (a point aptly made by the not-so-pro-south book, "The Hemingses of Monticello" by Annette Gordon-Reed) , Engle could be accused of crossing a theological line when he states "People must die (as an atonement) if innocent blood is shed." And he speaks of this not in the sense of Armageddon, which we all understand, but as a soon-coming pre-eschatological event (5).
As a response to an article by gay activist Matt Comer (6) , Dr. Michael Brown has suggested that militant Christain terminology is speaking of spiritual things, not of actual violent warfare (7) . In general, I ageee. But a plain and simple reading of Engle's widely circulated teaching "Shedding Innocent Blood" does NOT refer to spiritual things. Clearly the vision of youth in military uniforms that Engle refers to is not speaking of the "Salvation Army."
God’s justice may be slow in the way it is meted out. However, suddenly in one generation the sins are required for the sins of past generations. Lincoln cried out that God’s judgments would come to USA because of slavery. Lincoln understood the civil war was God’s judgment on USA.
The Civil War was the day for reckoning for America for the bloodshed of slavery – 600,000 men died in the God’s day of reckoning in America for slavery. If we do not deal with this blood in the courts of man, then it will be dealt with in the court of God.
What will it mean for God to deal with us for the shed blood of 50 million babies? Allen Hood had a dream of his sons in military fatigues. IHOP’s youth will not be at IHOP, but will be in military uniforms in foreign nations. We must stop abortion in America to stop this.
Engle uses an interesting literary device in stating "Lincoln understood the civil war was God’s judgment on USA." This implies that if you don't understand, then you are somehow deficient in discernment. Lincoln’s thesis, which Engle has adapted as his own, is not universally accepted as truth. Do we trust now that Engle is speaking for God, or do we hold his pronouncements to biblical scrutiny in the Berean manner?
When some speak of God’s bloody wrath and suggest, in classic Joel’s Army terminology, that we are God’s instruments of righteousness, it is any wonder that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (8) and the “Interstate Queers” are alarmed? Or at least are feigning alarm to further their cause?
The point that they may be missing with Engle is that he states: “If we do not find a ‘before the Lord intercessors’ our children will be hung ‘before the Lord’ in death.” Here he suggests that the blood atonement (if that has any theological basis today) will not be directed at the abortionists or homosexuals but rather at “our children.” Again he states with certainty that this has happened before, stating: “This is what happened in the Civil War retribution.”
It is worth noting that in the same teaching, given before the last presidential election, Engle states with the same certainty that “God will drive abortion like a wedge into the coming elections.” I’m not sure that history would affirm that; sadly abortion was not a pivotal issue in the presidential elections of 2008.
I join Engle in his concern for the global epidemics of abortion and homosexuality. And I admire his passion for prayer, fasting, and his willingness to step into the fray. Engle, repeatedly in his IHOP teaching on the Shedding of Innocent Blood states: “We need a clear doctrine on the issue of shedding innocent blood.” I agree. I just don’t think he has it.
1 Engle, Lou.”The Doctrine of the Shedding of Innocent Blood.” The Call Kansas City, December 3, 2007.http://www.thecall.com/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=1000005763
2 Engle, Lou. “A Call to Prayer and Fasting.” God Has a Better Way meeting, Concord, N.C. July 5, 2009.http://www.fire-church.org/sermonplayer.aspx?id=209
3 Engle, Lou. "Sebelius, Tiller, The Senate on Trial." Blogsite, March 11, 2009.
4 Dr. J. William Jones “Christ in the Camp” 1887, The Martin and Hoyt. Co, 1904.
5 Engle in “The Doctrine of the Shedding of Innocent Blood” states: “There are times when God comes to deal with nations. He waits to judge some individuals but nations are not eternal so they are judge(d) now.”
6 Matt Comer, “On the edge: Religious militancy in the Queen City” internet article July 17, 2009
7 Dr. Michael L. Brown, Why Do You Sometimes Use “Violent” Language In Your Writing and Speaking? Internet article July 19, 2009
8 Casey Sanchez “Arming for Armageddon” SPLC “Intelligence Report” Fall 2008
This author was interviewed by Sanchez when he was researching this story. Sanchez did not get it right and the shoddy article has been embraced by the gay community.