I have made it pretty clear through my posts here that I believe the American political system has compromised much of the Gospel in the American church. It has become difficult to discern the Gospel from the right wing political alignment of the Religious Right. There is certainly a wealth of disagreement when it comes to the nature of the Gospel and politics. Whenever I have some time, I’ll be taking some time to study and work through some of the more critical matters involved here – I’ve recently just touched the surface. I foresee a discourse on Romans 13 coming soon.
For now, I want to take a moment and post a thought or two about Glenn Beck. I used to tune into his show occassionally just to stay abreast of what his very influential show is teaching. I would get so frustrated in watching it I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t very beneficial for me to participate. However, I went to the gym last week and, his show on one of the televisions, I caught wind of his recent attacks on the “social justice” movement. As someone who has read a good bit in this area, I was intrigued as to what this great conspiracy was holding.
I actually dvr-ed the Glenn Beck show (never thought I would do that!) and, when I later watched what ensued, to say that I was outraged, disappointed, saddened, and appalled all at the same time wouldn’t do justice to the range of negative emotions I felt. What Beck says doesn’t bother me much – he is what he is; an entertainer, a personality, larger than life – all that. What I found so appalling was to see two prominent figures in the American church standing behind his shadow and mimic his agenda. All you conservative friends, keep in mind, I have no political allegiance – what appalled me wasn’t so much the Republicanism (I’m used to that) it’s their compromise and public debunking of fellow Christians . . . right next to Mr. Latter Day Saint, Glenn Beck. Beck’s LDS is another topic for another day . . . what I find so amazing is that, by their actions, the president of the leading Reformed seminary (Westerminster) and wellknown evangelical (from Liberty University) more closely align their ideology and perspectives from someone from a false teaching – the LDS than from a liberal-voting evangelical Christian (though they didn’t come right out and say it).
I have been looking for some perspective in addressing this sensitive matter. No doubt any posting in this regard will stir quite a flurry of comments and downright arguing. Is it possible to avoid that? Perhaps not. I found this blog posting over at Vanguard Church that I think has helped me focus this on the pertinent matter.
Glenn Beck is a false prophet. That’s the title of his post . . . and I think Bob, the blog’s author, is getting at the issue. I keep hearing people – Christians – crying out that we can’t get involved in politics, that we must remain neutral. I know what they are saying. I’m not in complete disagreement. However, Glenn Beck’s false teaching and compromise of the Gospel must be addressed. It is perhaps here more than anywhere else where the church’s Constantinian compromise most vividly comes alive. I just read a book by Alan Hirsch entitled The Fogotten Ways. The point is about how the methodology of the church has been compromised by culture to the point that we can no longer envision another kind of church. At one point he makes the point, “the template of this highly institutional version of Christianity is so deeply embedded in our collective psyche that we have inadvertently put it beyond the pale of prophetic critique.” (p. 51). The point of the book is more about the form and life blood of church but I make the same accusation of the church’s involvement with politics. We have become so compromised by political power and might that we have lost our way – we can have put ourselves beyond the pale of prophetic critique.
I don’t expect most people who read this to agree with me. I know my audience much too well. My hope is that you can take a moment and look inside yourself. What factors have led you to these political ties and perspectives that you hold so dearly? Why do you get so energized in the midst of these conversations? Could you be wrong?
I will share this on Facebook . . . not sure that’s the best idea . . . but I hope you can engage in constructive dialogue . . . no matter what your perspective.