Monday, August 30, 2010

The problem isn't Beck, it's the "Christians" who haven't a clue

Another Christian voice chimes in on Beck. I'm not sure I grasp entirely what he's trying to say but I think I agree with most of it and it seems worth posting some of it here.

From a website called The Florida Baptist Witness
Point of View: God, the Gospel, and Glenn Beck
Article Date: Aug 29, 2010
A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they’ve heard the gospel, right there in the nation’s capital.

The news media pronounces him the new leader of America’s Christian conservative movement, and a flock of America’s Christian conservatives have no problem with that.

If you’d told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But it’s not. It’s from this week’s headlines. And it is a scandal.
Good point. This is strange indeed, this scandal, when you think of it in historical perspective. And hey, maybe he's onto something here saying it sounds like a novel about the end times, 'cause this is exactly the sort of thing that we could expect as the end approaches and the church is weakened. I put "Christians" in quotes in the title of this post because it's hard to believe that many of them are really Christians at all because of their doctrinal mush-headedness.

That it could happen at all is bizarre. Yes, a flock of America's Christian conservatives HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THAT -- the fact that they are being led by a Mormon and think they've heard the gospel.
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, of course, is that Mormon at the center of all this. Beck isn’t the problem. He’s an entrepreneur, he’s brilliant, and, hats off to him, he knows his market. Latter-day Saints have every right to speak, with full religious liberty, in the public square. I’m quite willing to work with Mormons on various issues, as citizens working for the common good.
Good point that needs emphasizing. The problem isn't Glenn Beck, who is only doing what one would expect him to do.
What concerns me here is not what this says about Beck or the “Tea Party” or any other entertainment or political figure. What concerns me is about what this says about the Christian churches in the United States.
Yes, this is the problem. The most amazing thing is that the CHRISTIANS are accepting this state of affairs. In fact I've been encountering aggressive objections FROM Christians (or people who think they are Christians anyway, as I know some of them aren't) when I've tried to say something about what's wrong with this in the last couple of days.

To be fair, I didn't immediately see what was wrong with it either, though I had an uncomfortable feeling about it. It didn't become clear until it got through to me that this wasn't just a political or patriotic rally but a religious rally, that the God talk wasn't simply incidental but the whole thing was almost a gospel show. We can stand with a Mormon politically, but on the gospel, no. He has a different gospel.
It’s taken us a long time to get here, in this plummet from Francis Schaeffer to Glenn Beck. In order to be this gullible, American Christians have had to endure years of vacuous talk about undefined “revival” and “turning America back to God” that was less about anything uniquely Christian than about, at best, a generically theistic civil religion and, at worst, some partisan political movement.
This no doubt has much to do with it (though I have to say it is NOT a very long time at all from Schaeffer to this current state of gullibility, what, a couple generations?). But there also seem to be an awful lot of Christians out there who know NOTHING about the Christianity they supposedly espouse. It makes my head spin to think about the various opinions I've encountered recently about these things, and I am definitely not up to discussing any of it yet. But it is appalling what "Christians" think Christianity is about. And besides that there is also an aggressive attitude that they shouldn't have to think about it all, that one shouldn't disturb them with information beyond their present level of ignorance -- an idea I gather comes from some garbled notion that they can only know as much as God has personally allowed them to know (I may have this wrong because it makes no sense to me no matter how I look at it). So the idea seems to be that they shouldn't have to know anything more than they already know, which is basically that whatever they believe is good and anyone who suggests maybe they have something wrong is -- a hypocrite maybe, a Pharisee perhaps, just chock full of sins galore. They will judge you harshly in the most searing personal terms for being "judgmental" if you suggest there is such a thing as an objective standard of doctrine -- yes, criticize doctrine and you get critized personally in return -- really, slammed, lambasted, excoriated. It's truly amazing. And depressing.
...Mormonism and Mammonism are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They offer another Lord Jesus than the One offered in the Scriptures and Christian tradition, and another way to approach him. An embrace of these tragic new vehicles for the old Gnostic heresy is unloving to our Mormon friends and secularist neighbors, and to the rest of the watching world. Any “revival” that is possible without the Lord Jesus Christ is a “revival” of a different kind of spirit than the Spirit of Christ (1 Jn. 4:1-3).

... The answer includes local churches that preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and disciple their congregations to know the difference between the kingdom of God and the latest political whim.

...It’s sad to see so many Christians confusing Mormon politics or American nationalism with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not pessimistic. Jesus will build his church, and he will build it on the gospel. He doesn’t need American Christianity to do it. Vibrant, loving, orthodox Christianity will flourish, perhaps among the poor of Haiti or the persecuted of Sudan or the outlawed of China, but it will flourish.

And there will be a new generation, in America and elsewhere, who will be ready for a gospel that is more than just Fox News at prayer.
I don't think I can be that optimistic myself. Especially since I think there is most likely not even going to be time for such a new generation to emerge. But even if there is, where are the influences that could possibly bring it about? The dumbing down that has produced the present state of affairs doesn't show any signs of letting up that I can see. Of course somewhere ELSE -- OK, that's possible. Haiti, Sudan, China, great, bring it on.

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