- Donald Wildmon is an ordained minister in the
apostate United Methodist denomination (serving as a pastor for 12 years),
and the founder (1977) and president of the American Family Association (AFA), a
activism" organization headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi. (The AFA
was originally founded as the National Federation for Decency; the name was
changed in 1988.) Wildmon has also
authored 22 books with more than a million copies in print. Wildmon says
that, "AFA is for people who are tired of cursing the darkness and who are
ready to light a bonfire. ... [a Christian organization promoting the biblical
ethic of decency and] represents and stands for traditional family values,
focusing primarily on the influence of television and other media -- including
pornography -- on our society." Wildmon's United Methodist foundation
clearly shows through when he claims to love all people, "from gays to
murderers, but not necessarily their acts. 'We're all God's children,' he's fond
of saying" (11/6/81, Christianity Today, and AFA's Internet
web site, 7/22/96 & 1/21/04 -- the bracketed verbiage was removed from the
2004 website blurb and the words "represents
and stands for" were added).
- Not long after the AFA was formed, Wildmon claims to have seen "the need for local activist groups." While the AFA national office serves as the conduit for educational and legal resources, the movement depends on the independent Local Affiliates to fight AFA's front line battles. Dubbed the "decency brigade," approximately 400 local AFA affiliates form a nationwide network of groups working for decency at the local level. Nineteen states also have state directors to help coordinate statewide efforts. Other AFA "ministries" include: (All of the information below has been excerpted and/or adapted from AFA's Internet web site, 7/22/96 & 1/21/04.)
(a) The AFA Center for Law & Policy (CLP) is a non-profit legal organization which intends to defend the civil rights of Christians. Founded in 1990, it has numerous attorneys on staff who defend Christians who think their Constitutionally protected rights have been attacked. In addition, more than 500 attorneys have registered a commitment to assist the CLP with cases in their respective areas throughout the country. The CLP also engages in constitutional litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country, and advises state and federal legislators on constitutional, political, and legal issues; it also drafts legislation for governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal level.
(b) American Family Radio is AFA's network of more than 215 radio stations nation wide, offering 24-hour-a-day programming of "light contemporary Christian music" and/or the teaching of popular psychologically-oriented radio ministries.
(c) Through Aletheia Clubs, AFA provides resources for students to organize student-led Christian clubs on junior high and high school campuses. Aletheia focuses on "restoring America to her three founding pillars: faith, family and freedom." (It is unclear whether these clubs still exist.)
(d) Through AFA Resources, AFA offers the AFA Journal, which carries "action-oriented information on moral issues; ideas for individual and community involvement; features by noted Christian authors; scholarly research on the effects of TV sex, violence, and profanity; studies on relationships between pornography and crimes of sexual aggression; information on the creators of TV entertainment, their backgrounds, beliefs, etc." It is published eleven times a year, monthly, except for a November/December issue, and is circulated throughout the United States.
(e) The OutReach division of AFA claims "to offer help for pornography addicts, their families, sexual trauma victims, and for counselors who work with them." OutReach plans and leads workshops for so-called "sexual addicts, and offers other educational materials dealing with pornography and sexual addiction." (As of 2004, this Division is no longer active; see last item in this report.)
- Rather than the Biblical method of calling sinners "out of the
world" to Christ (i.e., regeneration), Wildmon's/AFA's strategy is to
transform society or to attempt to "Christianize" its institutions,
thereby pressuring the ungodly to live like saints. Wildmon appears to be so
caught up in the social aspect of good causes that he tends to forget that the
soul must be placed before the body; i.e., he has ended up promoting a social,
psychological, middle-class American moralistic gospel that cannot save! --
it can't save the home, the family, or the nation, but can, and does, stand in
the way of the true Gospel.
- Wildmon organizes protests/marches/boycotts/etc. that are thoroughly ecumenical in their appeal. Wildmon openly enlists and receives support from almost any organization or religion, just as long as the social gospel is furthered. For example, in 1993 he advertised that the AFA is endorsed by more than 200 top Christian leaders -- his list included 81 Roman Catholics, 11 Episcopalians, 19 Southern Baptists, 16 United Methodists, four Greek (Eastern) Orthodox, three American Baptists, and a hodge-podge of other representatives of professing Christian groups. Individuals endorsements of AFA have included those by Catholic John Cardinal O'Connor, Catholic-sympathizer Chuck Colson, pop psychologist Dr. James Dobson, and D. James Kennedy.
- Wildmon is a member of COR (Coalition on Revival), a Reconstructionist/Dominionist organization dedicated to a social gospel/activism agenda that proposes to impose Biblical standards (e.g., Old Testament law) on unbelieving peoples and institutions. (Yet, in a response to a letter sent him on 8/30/92, Wildmon claimed that not only does COR no longer exist, but that he did not belong to the organization!) Though Wildmon is no longer a Steering Committee member of COR, he did sign its 1986 Manifesto. As an indication of what the people affiliated with COR believe, the following is from a brochure announcing the 12th Annual Northwest Conference for Christian Reconstruction. Does this not sound like a different gospel? (All emphases added):
"The Christian Reconstruction movement believes that the Bible contains not only a message of personal salvation through the blood of Christ shed on the cross, but also a comprehensive law structure which is alone able to provide a just basis for society. It is committed to the view that sovereignty and thus government belong to God, and that all delegated government, whether to family, church or state (civil government), is to be exercised in obedience to the law of God's covenant. Furthermore, salvation involves every aspect of man's life and thus also the relationship she sustains to the world around him. The exercise of dominion in accordance with the terms of God's covenant is therefore basic and vital to the Christian faith. To neglect this is to deprecate the extent of Christ's victory at Calvary."
That Wildmon has no problem identifying with this movement is a bit
disconcerting to say the least. (For details of COR's unbiblical
strategy for "taking the world for Christ," see COR' documents titled A
Manifesto for the Christian Church, Forty-two
Articles of the Essentials of a Christian World View, and Twenty-five
Articles of Affirmation and Denial on the Kingdom of God. These three
documents, along with COR's 17
Sphere/World View Documents, make up what COR calls its "20 COR World
- Wildmon supports and encourages participation in Operation Rescue and other avenues of civil disobedience. (Although there are numerous cases of civil disobedience in the Scriptures, it was never engaged for the purpose of forcing an ungodly society to obey Biblical principles.) Since Operation Rescue's stated purpose is to create social upheaval, and thereby pressure governments into changing the abortion laws, Wildmon's philosophy seems to be one of 'the end justifies the means.'
- Another example of the extent to which men like Wildmon will go in the pursuit of furthering the social gospel -- Wildmon held a position with Sun Myung Moon's now defunct Coalition for Religious Freedom (CRF). (Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, and the self-proclaimed Messiah to the world.) Other so-called evangelicals that served with Wildmon at CRF as executive committee and/or advisory board members were Tim LaHaye (CRF's paid chairman!), Paul Crouch (TBN Network's infamous founder), Hal Lindsey, Marlin Maddoux (Point Of View nationwide radio talk show host), James Robison, Jimmy Swaggart, and D. James Kennedy (author and pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) -- an agenda of social activism certainly makes for strange ecumenical bedfellows. (Reported in the November 1990, Omega-Letter.)
- Wildmon and his AFA clearly believe in the "medical model" (versus individual responsibility for sin) as evidenced by articles in the February 1990 AFA Journal that state that "pornography causes violence," and "a man who is addicted to pornography." Moreover, Wildmon does not appear to believe in the sufficiency of the Scriptures either. In the same February 1990, AFA Journal, he says, "to simply tell the one hurting, 'Pray that God would keep the filth out of your head' simply won't fly. They need real, in-depth help, counseling, and suggestions."
More recently (the mid-1990s), Wildmon's AFA instituted a host of programs promoting psychospiritual "treatment" for so-called "sexual addictions," a medical model term used in place of the Biblical term, sexual sin. And rather than Biblical solutions for man's sexual immorality and/or perversions, Wildmon mimics the codependency/recovery solutions offered by today's pop psychologists. [Must reading for anyone desiring a fuller understanding of the "codependent"/12-step recovery heresy sweeping the church today would be 12 Steps to Destruction: Codependency/ Recovery Heresies, by Martin and Deidre Bobgan, EastGate Publishers, 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110, 1991, 247 pages.] The following is a listing of some of the AFA's past "addiction" programs. (The AFA still promotes the sexual addiction concept, but it no longer has the programs described below.):
(a) The 6/96 AFA Journal had an advertisement that read: "If you or someone you love is hiding the secret sin of sexual addiction, we have good news! There is help and hope when you call this number ... Through workshops, resources, confidential phone referrals, and now a special ministry to the wives of sex addicts, AFA's OutReach Division is giving hope to men and their families trapped in sexual addiction." The ad offers two codependency books (Faithful & True and 12 Steps to Sexual Addiction Recovery: A Christ-Centered Bible Study) and a six-part audio tape series that "covers a complete range of sexual addiction issues."
(b) AFA's OutReach has also offered Sexual Addiction Workshops to "help men overcome inappropriate sexual behavior. Using Christ-centered tools OutReach workshops direct sex addicts to an intimate relationship with the Lord -- a relationship that will hopefully lead to recovery." (Emphasis added.) One of the workshop leaders was Mark R. Laaser, Ph.D., "a behavioral medicine and sexual addiction consultant with various hospitals, clinical programs, and church groups." He has lectured around the world and is the author of several books including The Secret Sin: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addictions and Couples in Recovery: Using the 12 Steps to Heal your Relationships. Neal J. Clement, the then Director of AFA's OutReach Services "has been involved with the addiction field for over six years," and has authored 12 Steps to Sexual Addiction Recovery: A Christ Centered Bible Study and God's Quiet Voice, "a pornography prevention comic book used to educate children about the negative effects of pornography in their lives." Workshop topics included "sources of sexual addiction, identifying triggers toward acting out, addressing rituals of addiction, recovery tools, family systems, appropriately bonding with other men, and working with recovery tools once you are back home." Inner healing techniques were also used in these once-a-month, four-day workshops. The cost was $1,100! (Excerpted and/or adapted from AFA's Internet web site, 7/22/96.)
(c) AFA's OutReach also operated a Sexual Addiction Intervention program designed to "confront inappropriate behavior. Interrupting that specific behavior while offering support for the individual. ... This tactic is to help sexually addicted individuals accept treatment or counseling for their problem." AFA provided dozens of psychological techniques to use in conducting a group intervention, with the caution: "Always contact a professional counselor or intervention specialist before trying to plan an intervention on your own." (Excerpted and/or adapted from AFA's Internet web site, 7/22/96.)
(d) The Encourager was the newsletter of AFA OutReach, and the book Wounded Warriors: Healing for the Wife of a Sex Addict explored emotional and spiritual issues of the wife of a so-called sex addict. First Steps was another AFA 12-step approach, along with AFA's Wounded Warriors Retreat to "offer spiritual renewal, support, encouragement, and instruction for wives of sex addicts." AFA listed for wives 17 "signs that may indicate a sexual addiction" plus four psychological coping techniques for wives of sexual addicts, including, "Invent ways to raise your self-esteem." (Excerpted and/or adapted from AFA's Internet web site, 7/22/96.)
(e) AFA's OutReach also had a program called LifeLink: "Why do I need a LifeLink sponsor? Addicts fight a perpetual battle to stop their inappropriate behavior [not sin?]. Most often they fail. ... The addict needs a LifeLink sponsor to show him, step-by-step, what recovery looks like and how to deal with anger, loneliness, confusion, failure and frustration. The addict needs direction from someone who has fought with addiction and won. ... An addict is only as sick as the secrets he carries. A LifeLink sponsor acts as a deterrent to hiding secrets. ... LifeLink sponsors are men and women in recovery that care enough about other struggling people to help guide them through the decision making processes of their own recovery." (Emphasis added.) AFA also listed potential LifeLink sponsors among those "successfully engaged in recovery," including pastors! AFA also recommended "recovery groups such as Overcomers Outreach, Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, and the National Association for Christian Recovery. (Excerpted and/or adapted from AFA's Internet web site, 7/22/96.)