Doug Coe’s 1989 sermon to the Navigators

Doug Coe is one of the responsible leaders of the Fellowship Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps implement the National Prayer Breakfast. There are very few recordings of him speaking and he tends to eschew the limelight. With Mr. Coe’s permission, I have uploaded this almost 31 minute sermon to YouTube in four parts. The very beginning and end is clipped off unfortunately. This speech has been controversial because of Coe’s references to Hitler and Mao. In my view, he is not commending these tyrants or recommending their ideas, but using them as an illustration of complete devotion to a cause. By contrast, American Christianity expects very little from followers of Jesus.

Here I am providing the first part with the rest on another page. Watch the whole thing and make your own opinion.

Part One

Watch the rest…

I met Doug Coe at the February, 2010 National Prayer Breakfast and have an interview with him in preparation. Other articles regarding the National Prayer Breakfast and the Fellowship Foundation are also in the works. Just one note now. It became very clear to me that David Bahati’s involvement with the Fellowship Foundation did not influence him to write the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In fact, he had to ignore the core principles regarding finding common ground and the common humanity of all people in order to write a bill which so badly stigmatizes and attacks homosexuals.

6 thoughts on “Doug Coe’s 1989 sermon to the Navigators”

  1. Well Warren, because I trust you, and you always seem to be in the right corner, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I hope you do keep writing and evaluating about the Fellowship. You were such an integral part of getting the word out through the American media about the horrendous Ugandan bill — and it is my believe that the American people would be just as well served to know more about the Family. I think we should know about the organizations our elected officials are involved with — especially if those organizations take an active role in forming foreign policy and have a spotty history of aligning themselves with bloodthirsty dictators. We deserve to know what’s being done in our name — and you are in a unique position, as a trusted Christian voice yourself — to bring these issues to the forefront.

  2. Here is what I said about Bahati:

    It became very clear to me that David Bahati’s involvement with the Fellowship Foundation did not influence him to write the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

    Jeff – What is incorrect about this statement? What I mean by this is that I believe Bahati would have written that bill even if he was never involved with the Fellowship. It is arguable whether he would be an MP without them and perhaps that is what you mean but I don’t know enough to say. If you mean my statement about the “core principles,” I acknowledge that I am only going on what I heard during the week of the National Prayer Breakfast.

    Garrett – I am not done writing about the Fellowship, I reacted to this sermon. The sayings of Jesus are hard to interpret (You must love me more than father mother, etc.). Coe’s sermon seems like an effort to interpret those words. I am still evaluating what I think it all means in context.

  3. Warren, I have to say when I read that paragraph you put under the video of Coe preaching, I was shocked. You’re absolutely convinced that Bahati’s relationship to The Family didn’t influence him? I’m wondering how they might have gone about convincing you of that. I know you’ve read Jeff’s research. I know you know that Coe’s constant referencing of Hitler, Stalin and Mao might not be “commending these tyrants” — but it’s certainly idolizing the iron-fisted ways they wielded power. Don’t you remember the chilling quote about King David in Sharlett’s book? About how, because God singled David out to be a ruler, he wasn’t bound to the same concepts of right and wrong as us mere mortals? I’m really interested to find out where you stand on Coe’s Fellowship and their chilling embrace of strong-man dictators.

  4. David – Yep, aware of it. Think of it this way, I get to feel the same love that is directed at glbt folk. I think I am really starting to understand.

    Take my silence as effort directed in a more fruitful way.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled topic…

  5. Dr. Throckmorton:

    Sorry to be OT, but I thought you might like to know that your brother in Christ, Peter LaBarbera, has launched a vicious attack on you . . . um sorry, I meant displayed Christian love for you, on his website. Apparently, you are a heretic and your college cannot be considered Christian if it “abides” by you. By my count, this makes 4 recent love bombs from him to you. But I have yet to see any rebuttal from you on this blog. Shall we take your silence as acquiescence? He probably does.

  6. I’ve never said he commended them. In fact, I almost always point out that Doug says these are evil men — but…

    It’s that but that’s the problem. The devotion they demanded was totalitarian. It can’t be framed neutrally; it is not a model for Christian devotion. Christ does not ask of us that we abandon our minds. You know I’m not a Christian, but I do love the great Christian tradition of using our minds.

    Your statement about Bahati is incorrect. One determines the core principles of an organization not based on what it’s leader declares in an interview with a journalist, but on what the organization has done. Since 1942, ICL, and then the Fellowship/Family, have sought and built relationships with men who take the Hitler model a little too bluntly, starting with the former Nazis and Nazi sympathizers whom ICL recruited following the war, and proceeding through a veritable who’s who of the century’s worst killers (from the left and the right, though mostly from the right).

    With respect, Warren — and you know I’m among your biggest fans — I’ve done archival research. When the Family wants to account for its history — and I’ve asked the goodhearted among them to do as much — claims such as yours, above, might be feasible. Until then, this sounds like a white wash. History matters. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting.

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