The Cure for Michael Weinstein and the MRFF
by Sonny Hernandez
Michael Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are continuing their vitriolic onslaughts against Bible-believing Christians in the Armed Forces. The self-described defender of religious freedom exuberantly impedes on Christians who do not embrace the cultural pendulum that spurns God. How can the MRFF be advocates for religious freedom when they flagrantly demand the omission of God and besiege Christians who will not compromise the tenets of their faith? In my opinion, the MRFF masquerades as defenders of religious freedom, but their actions corroborate their enmity against anyone who affirms the Bible as the sole source of authority. In my opinion, the MRFF’s habitual actions of antagonizing Christians make even their name misleading.
There are innumerable Christians in the Armed Forces who do not embrace the standards of morality that are congruent with the MRFF. This does not mean that Christian beliefs are inferior to the MRFF suppression. Should members of the Armed Forces worry about being adversely impacted by the MRFF acrimony towards Christians? Absolutely, based upon the habitual actions of the MRFF toward Christians, to include their incursion even on a sermon I preached at my civilian church which will be concisely explained in this article. As a Christian, I have forgiven the MRFF for their attempt to stigmatize my sermon and I welcome the opportunity to respectfully dialogue with Mr. Weinstein. This article will discuss some of the disconcerting practices of Mr. Weinstein and how the Gospel can cure his loathing of Christians. According to John Calvin, “Without the Gospel everything is useless and in vain.”
Disconcerting & Questionable Practices
Mr. Weinstein from the MRFF would disagree with my aforementioned statement concerning the Gospel. The MRFF has produced voluminous articles that conspicuously target Bible-believing Christians in the Armed Forces. Recently, the MRFF demanded the court-martial of Major General Craig Olson who credited God for his success at a National Day of Prayer event, and the MRFF is now demanding the ousting of all “homophobic” chaplains. Please note: the MRFF is labeling military Chaplains who do not agree with gay marriage “homophobic.” In my opinion, the MRFF name is misleading because they do not represent religious freedom. Their actions are often manifested by their advocacy for ostracizing anyone in the Armed Forces who references God or affirms the inerrancy of Scripture.
The MRFF is not only disconcerting, they are unscrupulous. I was astonished to read an article from the MRFF titled, “Air Force Base Names Homophobic, Anti Semitic Chaplain Officer of the Year.” In this article, the MRFF grossly mischaracterized a sermon I preached at my civilian church which had nothing to do with the award I received from the Air Force. Instead of denouncing my sermon with historical, grammatical and literary facts, the MRFF relied on categorical statements and imposed their misconceptions into the meaning of the text. The MRFF article is a classic model of the straw-man argument that is saturated with caricatures, disparaging rhetoric, and even “race baiting” to incite the media to give his foundation attention. Is the MRFF capable of producing collegial articles to make an argument? If they cannot, their categorical statements are not worth dignifying.
The MRFF is far from being pedantic, but rather frivolous. Almost every article they disseminate lacks credibility in an argument. Instead of stating a premise and providing substantial evidence with a warrant, the MRFF employs a barrage of haphazard tantrums, blanket statements, and even obscenities. Does Mr. Weinstein’s scornful discourse excite his followers to donate money into his “non-profit” which makes him a fortune? The Air Force Times has produced a well-researched article titled, “Exclusive: Non Profit CEO cashes in on religious freedom campaign.” A careful review of this article may leave readers concerned:
His compensation for running MRFF is also exceptionally large compared with top salaries at most nonprofits, military-related and otherwise — especially those the size of MRFF, an Air Force Times examination of the organization’s tax filings shows. In 2012, Weinstein received total compensation worth $273,355 — about 47 percent of all money MRFF raised through contributions and grants that year, according to IRS filings accessed on the nonprofit transparency website GuideStar.
The petulant attacks by the MRFF are inevitable for Christians who serve in the Armed Forces. Their unyielding and ceaseless history of reviling Christians should cause concern. What do attacks by the MRFF mean for Christians serving in the Armed Forces? The MRFF will anathematize anyone that will not yield to their ominous threats. The MRFF will hold Christians in derision that are not subservient to their conceits. The MRFF will act irrationally because they are infused with hostility towards Christians. The MRFF practices will cause Christians in the Armed Forces to be hazed by an impetuous bully. This is why action must be taken to thwart the fallacious practices of the MRFF toward Christians.
Despite all of the contention and propaganda surrounding Mr. Weinstein, Christians must convey propositional revelation to him. There is a disparity between true Christianity and the self-professing Christianity that would support a foundation like the MRFF. Bible-believing Christians affirm the Scripture (both Old and New Testaments) as the all-sufficient, inerrant, and infallible rule of faith that binds the conscience. If a person does not affirm the Bible as inerrant, they have nothing to measure their Christianity upon. The Bible profoundly articulates the Gospel that can cure even the vilest person of their wretchedness. This is why I submit to Mr. Weinstein that the Gospel is the cure for his transgression toward God, and denying the Gospel will be the malady in his life.
It is incumbent upon Mr. Weinstein to inculcate an understanding of the Law of God. The moral law in Scripture is perpetually binding upon everyone. The moral law elevates the supremacy of God as absolutely sovereign and warns every person of their unrighteousness. The moral law also admonishes people to measure their conduct with the Scriptures to be holy, because without holiness a person cannot see the kingdom of God. Why does Mr. Weinstein not fear the dire threats of the moral law? I believe it is because he does not know the God of Scripture. I am not saying Mr. Weinstein can be saved by keeping the law, but I believe the Gospel can save Mr. Weinstein from the law so that he will become obedient to it.
The Gospel is the supernatural work of Christ that can save sinners. Here is a question for Mr. Weinstein: “If you died tomorrow and you stood before God, would you be guilty or innocent?” If Mr. Weinstein says “innocent,” he must also explain the standard he is basing this belief upon. If he says “guilty,” he must prostrate himself in fear. The judgment of God is unparalleled in any court room. In a court of law people have rights. In a divine court there are no rights. There will no defense attorneys, no plea deal, no bail and no community service. Hell is a real place where people who abhor God will become objects of His wrath. Hell is eternal judgment where unrepentant sinners will spend an eternity surrounded by a conflagration of misery that can never be eradicated.
God is righteous. A righteous judge must discipline transgressors of the law. The Bible says that “everyone has sinned” and the “wages of sin is death.” Therefore, the penalty of death must be adjudicated. Here is another question for Mr. Weinstein: “If God is righteous, how can God acquit you or anyone else on the Day of Judgment without violating His own standards of justice?” The answer to this question is Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is the good news. Salvation is not based upon human contrivance or because God saw how exemplary human beings are by looking through the corridor of time. The message of salvation is about the accomplishments of Christ, in His perfect obedience to the law and His substitutionary death. As stated earlier, everyone is a transgressor of the law and deserving of death. But Jesus came into the world and was perfectly obedient to the law by subjugating Himself to the Father. Christ also felt the feeling of human infirmities while being sinless. This is called the sinless perfection of Christ which I believe is unprecedented.
Salvation is not possible without Christ. What was the cost of sin? Jesus was slapped and scoffed at by men with malevolent hearts. Jesus had flesh and fragments torn from His bloodied body and was stapled to a tree which caused the weight of His body to rest upon a peg with His feet nailed into it. The sinless Christ was trampled by the inexpressible weight of the Father’s wrath to satisfy the demands of divine justice. God the Father would have been perfectly just to castigate sinners who have transgressed the law. Instead, God smothered His Son with hell in the place of sinners. There is no greater act of love than what Christ accomplished for undeserving sinners.
Mr. Weinstein must repent and believe in the Gospel. This commandment from Scripture is not arbitrary; it is an indispensable command. Mr. Weinstein can disregard this message, but he cannot disregard God. Mr. Weinstein’s diatribe can remove Bible verses from the Air Force Academy, but he cannot remove verses from the Bible. Mr. Weinstein can threaten military leaders, but he cannot threaten God. In my opinion, Mr. Weinstein can boast about his beliefs, but the boasting now will melt into weeping later. It is not the men and women of the Armed Forces who affirm the inerrancy of Scripture who Mr. Weinstein is contending with, it is God. I pray that Mr. Weinstein will poignantly turn to Christ who can change the disposition of his heart so he can praise God and esteem Him with joyful lips.
I welcome the opportunity to respectfully debate Mr. Weinstein about theology and religious freedom. Is Mr. Weinstein capable of debating with dignity and unbending principle without ecstatically making threats of lawsuits and denigrating? I am not convinced. However, I will be readily available if he accepts. In a debate, I will expose the standard he uses to measure morality and prove that any argument outside of Scripture will be reduced to absurdity. As Martin Luther once said, “Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”
Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez is a US Air Force Reserve Chaplain assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In April 2015, he was selected as the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Individual Mobilization Augmentee Company Grade Officer of the Year. Hernandez earned a Doctorate from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The opinions expressed here are solely his and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization. Sonny Hernandez wrote this article as a civilian on his own time on an issue of public interest.