Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beck's Restoring Honor Roundup

Here's a sort of Round-up of reading for the whole Glenn Beck, 'Restoring Honor' rally. I certainly haven't read all that it is out there. And I'm not really posting for the politics. This is the stuff I think one should read mostly to contemplate these events on a theological level.

If you haven't read it: you should read Russell Moore's essay.

Trueman links to the essay and adds this great line worth quoting: " If liberalism is the accommodation of the gospel to culture, then they don't come any more liberal than Beck and his merry band of evangelical followers." A nice witty dig for those who distain "liberalism" but get sucked in by Beck.

Over at Honey and Locust is a good essay that in my mind shouldn't get missed in all the internet chatter.

Here's an excerpt:

The problem? A great majority of his followers are professing Christians, who, if united with Beck, cannot “turn back to god” together. Glenn Beck’s “god” is not the God of Christianity, no matter what he may say on his television show. His repeated attempts to get evangelical Christians to overlook the differences between Christianity and Mormonism appear to be working, as more and more professing believers are willing to pray together with him and call his message of Christ’s atonement “the gospel”.
My rebuke is not for Glenn Beck, but for those Christians who are so willing to accept a different gospel. (Incidentally, I believe this was also the purpose behind Russell Moore’s article, not political motivations as some have suggested.) I feel like channeling Paul’s letters to the Galatian and Corinthian churches:
Oh foolish Galatians Americans! Who has bewitched you? I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel — not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed! (cf. Galatians 3:1; Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Corinthians 11:4)

I weighed in on the theology of the even in a facebook post:
(1) I don't follow Beck very much on TV and on his show. He strikes me as a sensationalist who panders to the crowd when I do see him... but I'd say similar things about Keith Olbermann and some of the other pundits. 
(2) I tend to be somewhat libertarian and Austrian in my view of economics. That said I think citizens should stand up and care for the poor, seek better schools, show concerned for the 'outcasts' of society (concerns of the 'left') --I just think the government does a poor job of that when they don't treat all their citizens equally. I find both Republicans and Democrats pander to their special interest groups.
(3) I agree that people like Beck can put Christians to shame in terms of their religious fervor and passion for their beliefs.
(4) The one pagan that I can think of God using is Balaam in the OT, where he can't do anything but bless God's people. Equally Scripture warns of deception of false belief--so Paul tells us in Galatians that even if we hear another message from an angel and it's not the gospel, don't believe it. Paul also tells us Satan masquerades as an angel of light. I don't think Beck is the devil incarnate (although the left likes to think that). The point is just because someone calls us to return to 'god' doesn't mean it is good thing.
(5) The problem I have with this is "God" is defined almost by the least common denominator type approach. So before a common prayer Beck said " “We can disagree on politics. We can disagree on so much. These men and women don’t agree on fundamentals. They don’t agree on everything that every church teaches. What they do agree on is that God is the answer.”"
But this begs the question: which God? 'God' is not a name, its a description. The true God's name is 'YHWH' the 'I AM'. This God is one God in three persons. The true God is triune. He is eternal and unchanging. (I know you know all this)
But for the mormon, they consider that there was a time when God was as we are now. There will be a time when we will be like God. You can ascend on the scale of being, just a 'god' did before us. They also deny the historic and Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
So rallies like this sound nice. I mean, who doesn't want the nation to return to God. Not me. But then you have to realize that we aren't all calling to the same God. This is why this stuff gets called 'civil religion' and at the end of the day 'civil religion' is not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are a lot of good, well meaning, gospel believing Christians who get sucked into this. A whole lot of people hear a person say like Beck say "God" and they automatically filter that through their grid of who they believe God to be. But we are not all coming to the same God because we don't all believe the same things about who the true God is. Even the way I believe we should come to God is different. So "God is the answer"--not only do we not agree on who God is but we don't even agree on what the question/answer is. When we don't even agree on what the real theological question/answer is, all we have then is vague sentimentalism. This sort of religiousism is no friend to Biblical Christianity. In fact it goes deeper and becomes a stealthful enemy, a wolf in sheeps clothing.
I get excited about the God of the Bible who is so awesome that He has planned things, including my redemption, from the foundations of the world. That the unfolding of my redemption reveals the person and character of this God--that He is one God but He is three persons co-eternal and co-equal in glory and majesty.
I would love to see America return to that God and believe His gospel. But generic calls to repent are just religious, and a 'civil religion' at that. It will keep us in darkness while we pat ourselves on the back for returning to the god of our own making.
Here's some remarks about the whole 'Civil Religion.'

I have not 'fact' checked this but it is an interesting perspective on Glenn Beck. This is part 1 and part 2 of an essay that I'm hoping to get to later. It is a Mormon perspective on Glenn Beck.

Caffeinated Thoughts has this great line:
The risk for Christians in going to the “revival” in DC is not that they will be converted to Beck’s Mormon faith.  It is that they will believe his pluralistic message: it doesn’t really matter which God you serve as long as he is politically not a progressive.  Jerry Falwell, Jr. was recently a guest on Glenn’s TV show.  He said this: “We can argue about theology later after we save the country.”   But Falwell is wrong.  We cannot save the country if our theology is wrong.  Revival comes when we who were dead in our sins are made alive.  When people like Glenn Beck and I believe the gospel Whitefield preached.  Beck has asked Christians to pray for him.  We do pray that this will be the loving message Falwell and historian David Barton give to Glenn Beck when they are on his program, rather than sit silently by while he mocks our God.

“The Native Americans were descended from an ancient civilization that existed on this continent in pre-historic and Biblical times. This civilization, had large cities and a very advanced culture, including a writing system and higher religious thought”
Beck went so far as to say, “The ancient Indians actually had religious writings which were a proto-Hebrew Bible”. He also offered the “fact” that the Native Americans were descended from the Jews.

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