Chuck Baldwin is the poster boy for what happens when a fundamentalist pastor starts believing his own end-times-driven, conspiracy-theory-laden, political posturing. It’s a wonderment to behold.
For the last 35 years Pensacola, Florida resident Chuck Baldwin’s titles have included fundamentalist pastor, Presidential Candidate, and political commentator. As of a week ago, you can now add to that list “Mountain Man Freedom Fighter Extraordinaire.”
First a little history…
In June of 1975, Charles Obadiah “Chuck” Baldwin started Crossroad Baptist Church with a handful of people. According to the church website, by 1985 “the church was recognized by the late President Ronald Reagan for its unusual growth and influence.” Unusual is certainly one word for it. For example, part of Chuck’s influence was being the chaplain of the Escambia County Militia during the 90’s.
By 2000, Baldwin was deeply enmeshed in politics, using his pulpit and his writing to denounce the run of candidate George Bush. He ultimately decided that the Constitution Party was the place for him to thrive. While remaining the pastor of Crossroads, he launched his own political career as as Vice-Presidential candidate in 2004 and as Presidential candidate in 2008 . Needless to say, he lost. (I, for one, was shocked!)
Although Chuck was vocal during the Bush years, his rhetoric under President Obama reached fever pitch. “We are all doomed. Doomed, I say! Tin foil hats will be available on the back table for the price of a small donation to my ammunition stockpile fund.”
Which brings us to the present…
One fine day not long ago (I tweeted about it at the time) Chuck decided that God was calling him to leave his Florida church and move to Montana taking his adult children and their spouses with him. The reason? Persecution’s a comin’! Flee as a bird to your mountain state! “Montana,” writes Chuck, “is going to be the tip of the spear in the freedom fight; and we believe God wants us to be part of that fight.”
Ponder this with me for a moment. A fundy pastor believes that persecution and hard times are coming for the country. He looks around at his flock and then somehow comes to the conclusion that the best move on his part is to yell “every man for himself!” and leave town post-haste, abandoning his church to fend for itself in this perilous age. Classy move, Chuck!
It’s worth noting that according to sources at Chuck’s church, his children’s in-laws (who attend the church) weren’t informed of the decision their children had made to move until Baldwin made his public announcement. I can only imagine those conversation. “Hey mom and dad? I’m going to Montana with Pastor Chuck. Sorry you have to stay behind and be persecuted and whatnot. See ya!”
Chuck also gave the current Crossroads church staff 30 days notice the day after his resignation. All of them. I guess that’s one way to make sure your predictions of economic hardship come true. One only hopes that the new pastor (who was hand-picked by Chuck himself) has the decency to re-hire them.
Now some of you may think I’m being a little hard on Chuck so I’ll go ahead and provide you with the man in his own words. He’s written much about his decision to move and the controversy that it has sparked. These essays have culminated in a piece called “Why We Are Moving” in which he explicitly states his reasons for leaving Florida to head to Montana.
[I]t is our studied opinion that America is headed for an almost certain cataclysm. As Christians, we suspect that this cataclysm could include the judgment of God. As students of history, we believe that this cataclysm will most certainly include a fight between Big-Government globalists and freedom-loving, independent-minded patriots. I would even argue that this fight has already started. And as this battle escalates (and it will most assuredly escalate), only those states that are willing to stand and fight for their independence and freedom will survive–at least in a state of freedom.
In many ways, the Mountain States just might become The Alamo of the twenty-first century, with, hopefully, much better results. But if not, I would rather die fighting for freedom with liberty-loving patriots by my side than be shuttled off to some FEMA camp after having been rejected and betrayed by soft-living, comfort-seeking, materialistic statists who simply “don’t get it” and have no desire to “get it,” which seems to be pretty much standard practice for a sizeable majority of people today–Christian and non-Christian–around most of the country.
I expect a fight. And I know I speak for the men of my family when I say, Bring it on! Freedom and liberty, along with the Natural Law principles of federalism and independence, are worth fighting for. In fact, they are worth dying for. So, living or dying, we intend to circle the wagons around the State of Montana and fight to our dying breath for the right of that State to live free! And while we are at it, we believe God will let us help many good, freedom-loving people of Montana find true inner freedom that comes from Christ alone. After all, any true student of American history knows that revival and revolution go hand in hand.
Yup. You read that right. They’re headed to Montana to start a new revolution.
End-time Theology + Hyper Political Activism + Fundamentalist Rhetoric = Disaster. Every. Single. Time.