The excitement that conservatives felt over newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown comes from his pledge to oppose President Obama’s government health care, federal deficit spending, runaway economic stimulus expenditures, and backroom earmark deals to Democrats supporting the health care bill.
However, Brown’s state record on some of the same issues is not as stellar as conservatives have trumpeted. He supported Mitt Romney’s health care bill that requires all workers to carry insurance. He also supported a bill for a regional cap and trade, but has since said he regrets that vote.
Brown opposes “same-sex marriage,” but supports civil unions. He says he believes that marriage is “between a man and a woman,” the same position taken by President Obama, as he pointed out in the campaign.
On the abortion issue, he supports the various restrictions, such as parental notification and the ban on partial birth abortion, but has said that Roe v. Wade is “settled.” In the uncompromising sense of being “pro-life,” there is not much to get excited over here. Brown will probably support the Republican platform, while downplaying any support for pro-life measures that would upset the status quo.
Brown’s real position on these issues remains to be seen. I am willing to concede that Republican candidates from Massachusetts must often take a “stealth” approach to some conservative issues if they hope to be elected. The leftist supporters of Martha Coakley believe that is the case and have tried to paint Brown as “anti-abortion” and “anti-gay.” In fact, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called Scott Brown, “an irresponsible, sexist, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”
You can know a man by his enemies. Since Olbermann hates Brown so much, I wanted to know whether he might secretly be an evangelical Christian.
Is Scott Brown an evangelical Christian?
I was surprised by this.
Brown and his family are active members of the New England Chapel, which is part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The denomination is Calvinist and evangelical, although NEC has a flavor that reminds me of a “seeker-friendly” Bill Hybels style congregation. In other words, they are soft on preaching the Gospel and instead concentrate on “meeting needs” — tending toward a warm, pietistic experience of “spiritual formation,” rather than boldly calling sinners to salvation and repentance.
On the other hand, NEC is networked with a regional Christian organization called Mission E4 that works solely with evangelical churches. The senior pastor, Chris Mitchell is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which teaches biblical inerrancy and has a Reformed bent. You can hear several of the pastors’ sermons on the NEC website if you want to investigate further.
The Brown’s also financially support a local Catholic mission called Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham.
Obviously, Scott Brown doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve, but it’s also apparent that the family has a commitment to a flavor of Christianity that includes evangelical missions and works of social compassion. Regarding the nude centerfold spread, Cosmopolitan’s “sexiest man in America” will get the benefit of the doubt from those of us who also did some stupid things in college.
Brown’s family of four have each achieved great personal success. Scott is a real estate lawyer and a champion long-distance runner, bicyclist, and swimmer. He is married to WCVB-TV reporter Gail Huff. They have two daughters, Ayla Brown, an American Idol semi-finalist and star basketball player at Boston College, and Arianna Brown, a competitive equestrian and pre-med student at Syracuse University. The family owns a 3,000-square-foot home in Wrentham, a 2,000-square foot summer home in Rye, New Hampshire, three condos in Boston, and a timeshare in Aruba.
In short, as far as left-wing Massachusetts goes, Scott Brown a political miracle. He’s right of center on fiscal issues and a moderate on the so-called social issues. He’s far better than anything we could have expected when the deceased Ted Kennedy’s seat opened up last August. In this case, we ought to take what we got thankfully.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
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