I woke this morning to an unusual site. I turned on the television and there were thousands of people lining the Capital Mall in Washington D.C. I thought to myself, "Well, I guess Martin Luther King Jr's Speech was being re-enacted on the 47th anniversary." But alas, I found something much different. Interesting. Potentially, much dangerous.
Glenn Beck is throwing his 8/28 rally today. I didn't know much about it, so I decided to Google 'Glenn Beck,' and I got plenty of information about what's going on.
It seems as though Mr. Beck has taken his radio, television personality and decided to use it as a Bully Pulpit to call the nation back to Godly Principles. "Finally!" I thought. There's someone willing to stand up and unite the church in America. Someone is willing to risk his very life for the concept of prayer, scripture, and God given values. Can you imagine standing up on the steps of the Lincoln memorial calling America back to prayer in an era where we can't even pray in the public schools without being attacked? You gotta admit, this is a valiant effort to draw people to God. But as the Google Search engine gave me more than enough to read, I found some really interesting conversations Mr. Beck has been having.
I read an article that claimed Mr. Beck called President Obama a racist with a "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." (CBS article click here) And I began to wonder who this guy really is?
In another article I saw a debate on whether President Obama is a Muslim or not. Mr. Beck chimes in to say, "Obama is not a Muslim, but some kind of weirdo outsider Christian, or maybe not a Christian at all." (Digital Media Center article, click here) Interesting.
I'm certainly not a writer of political events, but this rally seems to have mixed politics and religion in a way that draws my eye. I'm wondering what kind of Christianity Beck claims to be calling on. He talked about God, Divine Principles, and even a call from God to do this rally. So if he's so willing to talk about the God of the President, I started wondering what God Mr. Beck claims to be talking about. Google certainly didn't let me down. WOW, was I surprised!
Mr. Beck evidently converted to the Mormon faith in 1999 (Click here to see conversion story). Evidently the "God" Mr. Beck is claiming to call on may not be the God many Americans are used to knowing and understanding. Much like the controversy surrounding the faith claims by President Obama, It's time Christians start asking who the God is Mr. Beck claims to follow.
The "God" Mr. Beck is claiming to serve is…
- On a planet called Kolar
- Gave birth to 2 sons, Jesus and Lucifer
- Has Celestial sex with several wives to have spiritual babies that populate the planet
- Came to earth to have sex with Mary so there could be a virgin birth
- Historically believes that Black people were a segment of spiritual population unable to side with 'God' when the problem of sin was being introduced to earth.
- The Same Jesus that was revealed to American Indians after the Resurrection
- Left golden tablets in Upstate New York discovered by a "Prophet" Joseph Smith
- Clearly revealed Himself in the Book of Mormon, a book claimed to be 'more true' than the Bible
- Started a new "Awakening" of the Christian faith called the Church of Jesus Christ of LATER DAY SAINTS. (In other words, all the saints before smith were early saints.)
Controversy? I think so!
The modern American society's ability to latch on to buzzwords of "God" "values" "principles" "faith" needs to be tempered by what those words really mean. It's the same in our discussion with modern day Islam.
I've been privy to some incredible conversations recently on the "God" of Islam, and the values Muslims are supposed to hold to. Put in a different cultural context, it's almost as if the same values someone like Bin Laden wants to implement for his culture and his countrymen, are similar to the one's Mr. Beck is advocating, only in our Culture.
Sure, there are Christians who like to side with Mr. Beck because he has 2 million followers on his daily radio show, and they see his voice as something of power. He's a savvy businessman who reportedly made over $20 million last year alone. But does Mr Beck merely use the same buzzwords to entice those who are too lazy to do a little research and see what the words he says really mean?
David Barton, an outspoken Christian Historian went on record with CNN to say, ""For Christians concerned about Glenn's faith, I would ask the following
questions: What fruit do you see produced by Glenn," David Barton, an
influential evangelical activist who is joining Beck's rally, wrote on
his Facebook page recently. "Good or bad? If you judged Glenn only by
the fruits he has produced, would you still hold concerns over his
faith?" (CNN article Click Here)
So now our faith is limited to the good that we do? I have many Mormon friends, and I'm ok with them choosing what they want to believe but, Mr. Barton, please!!!
Those are the same lines Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, Buddhists, and a litany of other religions have been using for years. And every time they stand up to say "We can be good members of society, Mr Barton and the apologetic conservative rise up and say collectively "NO! I guess all those things don't matter if your have a chance to ride the coat tails of one of the most powerful media personalities today. Or…you might be able to earn a lot more money when you have exposure to 2 million people who have a chance to hear your teachings. (Glenn Beck, David Barton together Click Here)
I believe in some of the messages Mr. Beck talks of. Prayer, reliance on scripture, needing to hear God as a core source of our decisions, I understand it all. I love Mr. Barton's approach to historical Christianity in America. I've studied Mr. Barton for years. But should we be careful who we follow? What God are we praying to? How do we see following Jesus today in our culture?
Mr. Beck has had a long battle with another religious political figure, Jim Wallis. Mr. Wallis has spent the last 20 years trying to help Christians understand the need to look out for the least of these. His magazine, SOJOURNERS, is a good look at the plight of the poor, the need for equality, and a pretty good journal giving people encouragement to reach out to others different from them. (Sojourners click Here)
Mr. Beck Disagrees, "I beg you, look for the words “social justice” or “economic justice” on
your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social
justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising
people to leave their church? Yes! If I’m going to Jeremiah’s Wright’s
church? Yes! Leave your church. Social justice and economic justice.
They are code words. If you have a priest that is pushing social
justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop and tell them,
“Excuse me are you down with this whole social justice thing?” I don’t
care what the church is. If it’s my church, I’m alerting the church
authorities: “Excuse me, what’s this social justice thing?” And if they
say, “Yeah, we’re all in that social justice thing,” I’m in the wrong
place. ~ Glenn Beck"
I humbly insert Matthew 25 Click here.
Of course there are issues with the theology of Mr. Wallis, but who's closer to the heart of God, A man that is serving the least of these, or someone capitalizing on the use of the word God to conservative republicans? So, here is where we need to be clear to look at issues like Beck and Wallis through the lens of scripture, not political traditions.
With all the "anti-Christ" messages I've heard from conservatives over the faith of President Obama, where are the cries for theological orthodoxy over this man Glenn Beck? Are we really ready to extend grace because he looks like us, reads like us, talks like us, and uses religious phrases that entice us to day where we can return back to the foundations of the American Founders?
Why don't we extend the same grace to Former President Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Clinton, and all the others who claim to be godly people? Is it because we don't share the same political views?
ARE WE REALLY REDUCING OUR FAITH DOWN TO THE PARTY WE SERVE DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS??
I believe Christians might be on a course of extreme pluralism here that might cause the focus of what we know to believe is right and true presented in the context of the Bible, to be distorted. Or, even more dangerous, we've started a litmus test for those we'll accept into the fold of faith because of their political party!! What a sad day when the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE is belittled to a political faction made by man.
And what of this day? 47 years ago Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most historically recognized speech, the "I have a Dream" discourse. Today, that celebration is being iconically replaced by Mr. Beck and the 8/28 folks? How does that line up with our recent concern over a Mosque at Ground Zero?
Sure we have the right, but is it really a smart thing to do? Should we build a church on a historical site just because they have the right to? I've heard Mr. Beck vehemently declare that the right is there in the confines of American law, but the concern for the historical 'hallowed' ground should be taken into context as well.
How can he say those things about Islam, and then turn around the very next month to a call back to America on the very day one of our most influential American figures gave the speech propelling America from a dark time of civil unrest into the place we are today concerning race and rights in America? I find this grossly hypocritical, and to be honest; at the very least a bit strange. We're ready to say, "No Mosque" but in the same breath we can move down the coast a bit to do the same thing to another population center of America.
I'm not a political writer.
I have no interest in picking a fight.
All I'm asking is, as we try to define the heart of God.
Are we willing to sacrifice the very nature of God by following someone who doesn't believe like we do? Or better yet, are we willing to compromise our faith beliefs to line ourselves up with someone who publicly doesn't believe in the same God?
If you're not a Christian that believes in the sacredness of the Bible, I see you wouldn't have a problem with Mr. Beck. But I guess, in the context of helping teenagers and college students to understand the truth, I must have the courage to ask, Who is it that we follow?
Will we follow the Christian Jesus? The Muslim Jesus? The Mormon Jesus? The Jewish Jesus? Or no Jesus at all? Is there a way we can know the Real Jesus, or will we try to mix and match the 'best of' from every tradition.
For us, here at the Journey, we choose to follow the Jesus that was revealed to us through the sacred texts of the Bible. We find Him, "…the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For
by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible
and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all
things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And
he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the
firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the
supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and
through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth
or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the
cross." (Colossians 1:15-20)
He's not a brother of Lucifer.
God on a different planet.
Native American Manifestation.
No, the Jesus I know and serve is one who came to unite people under the banner of their creator. He came so death and disease would cease to exists, and we might enjoy the creation as it was in the beginning. He gave us a 'best' way to live life on earth, and in following Him, I might also become a part of His family. And I believe He will return to establish a Kingdom where He will reign for eternity.
Be careful when you follow men like Mr. Beck. Even though they might sound good, with good ideas, the Bible is clear, ""Beware of the
false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly are ravenous wolves" (Matt. 7:15)
I'm going to keep my eye on Mr. Beck and I will be honest. For the good I will call good, but for the part that seems a bit wolfish, I'll be sure to keep asking questions.