Doug Coe and The Family
At this writing Netflix put on a documentary called "The Family"
referring to Doug Coe's Christian Organization, at outgrowth of the
International Christian Leadership (ICL). Doug Coe is most known for his
starting the National Prayer Breakfast which US Presidents have
attended since the Eisenhower administration and have start such prayer
breakfasts in other countries. In fact as the Netflix special shows his
organization has had a tremendous influence in world politics over
decades, though largely keeping his organization under the radar.
My only point here is just to comment on a few aspects of his ministry
philosophy. A few times in the documentary he's preaching at a
conference in 1989, and a number of things he said kind of struck me as
the kind of things I've heard from the Navigators. Turns out the 1989
conference he was preaching was at the Navigator headquarters in
Colorado. I've been there. I myself came to Christ through the
Navigators in 77. And upon further research I found Doug Coe had worked
with the Navigators almost since its inception in the 50's.
Much as Coe and the Navigators have been involved in developing
tremendous Christian leaders, I was also disturbed by a sense of elitism
in their ministry philosophy. With Navs it was kind of you have to be
worthy of being discipled. And their focus was simply to create new
Navigator leadership. I and a number of people felt that we were pushed
aside, marginalized, by the leadership as not being worthy. When I first
came to Boston in 81 the Navigators rejected me from being involved
But Doug Coe takes it to a new level, claiming that Jesus' ministry
philosophy was about influencing secular political leadership. Yet we
read something quite different in the Bible. Not only did Jesus not seek
to befriend secular nor religious leaders, in fact he so criticized
them as to lead to his crucifixion.
Lk 13:31,32 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you." He replied, "Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’
Mt 23:29-33 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!
You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the
righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our
forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the
blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are
the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the
measure of the sin of your forefathers! "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Yor did he choose apostles among secular leaders.
Yet, as the documentary shows, Coe's organization doesn't speak of or
deal with the sinfulness of political leaders they want to win over.
In fact other than Paul Jesus chooses simply ordinary men as his
apostles. And even in Paul's case, Paul relinquished his former
credentials to serve Christ.
Php 3:4-8 If anyone else thinks
he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised
on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a
Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal,
persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But
whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing
greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost
all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Nor was it common for secular leadership or even the rich to come to Christ.
1Cor 1:26-29 Brothers, think of what you
were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human
standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose
the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly
things of this world and the despised things— and the things that are
not— to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before
Much as Coe tries to keep his name out of it and keep his organization
secretive, it's not due to humility, but rather as he explains in the
documentary its in order to have greater influence, likening his group
to the origins of Naziism and the small group and secretive techniques
they used to gain influence.
This as opposed to Jesus who said, "I have
spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in
synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said
nothing in secret." John 18:20
Furthermore to keep his theology as vague and non-specific as possible
so as to cater to all denominational viewpoints and offend no one, he
doesn't use the Bible, but rather uses a book he developed containing
only the gospel and the book of Acts. And while he claims "Jesus and nothing else",
in fact as you can above he doesn't even hold to the things Jesus said.
Furthermore in many places in the documentary people claim that
everyone is a child of God, which is unBiblical. Even in the gospel it
says, "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12 and to unbelievers Jesus said, "If
God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am
here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not
clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to
your father, the devil" John 8:42-44
In a utube video
of his 1989 speech, Coe discards the writings of Peter, Paul and John
and says he doesn't quote them nor follow them. He follows Jesus alone.
Yet Jesus spoke the scriptures through Peter, Paul and John. Paul says, "Paul, an apostle— sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead" and "I
want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something
that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught
it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." and Paul says, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.": 1Cor 11:1 John says, "We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us" 1John 4:6 But apparently Coe doesn't listen to them and even discards them from the Bible. What does that tell you?
In that same video Coe equates the Catholic's obsession with Mary to the
non-Catholics "obsession" with Paul. Fact is the two are not the same.
Mary was not an apostle and in fact Jesus criticized her a great deal
and even when she came to take him away from ministry, Jesus dist her
saying, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here
my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and
and mother." Mark 3:31-35 But Paul was chosen as an
apostle of Jesus Christ and what he wrote was scripture, of which
apparently Coe encourages people to disregard.
The Berean Christian Bible Study