Monday, August 30, 2010

Right and Left equally PC on the question of Beck's Mormonism

The Left has nothing on the Right when it comes to condemning people for pointing out that Beck's Mormonism is a heresy, as I learned over the last few days. Of course you can also find leftist remarks in the same vein referring to Christians who are "intolerant" of Beck's religion, who are "haters" because we know his religion is a heresy. It would have helped a great deal if at least the Right got it right, but I have to say they are as bad if not worse when it comes to this version of Political Correctness.

Here are some remarks I got from a rightwing political blog to essentially the same message I've been posting here: is clear that you are utterly fixated on hating people who do not share your opinions on theology.
Accusations of "hating" generally come from the left. It's part of the politically correct denunciation of any doctrine they oppose to characterize it in such terms in order to smear it. "Hate" is used to designate an opposing point of view, a view that opposes a doctrine they object to but they apply it to "people" rather than doctrine. There is no emotion of hate involved in any of it. And it's not about persons, it's about doctrine.

This particular quote, by the way, is from someone who thinks he's a Christian but denies the Deity of Christ.
...He did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to show any Mormonism in that rally...I think you know that.
And I thought I was clear that Mormons DON'T show their Mormonism under such circumstances -- it's his BEING a Mormon that precludes Christians from joining with him ON RELIGIOUS MATTERS, not what he says, and again, it matters in the context of a RELIGIOUS rally, not a political rally. But I guess that just falls on deaf ears.

[Much later: I have to note here that I finally got to hear the first part of the rally in which Beck talks about how the Indians are God's chosen people -- so he certainly did show his Mormonism in that rally. But my original point still stands. Simply KNOWING Beck is a Mormon while evangelical songs and messages are being given at his rally, requires you not to participate. Beck has gone beyond politics into religion and there we cannot follow him.]
Glenn Beck's beliefs are none of my business. They are his and God's....and no one else has the right nor the moral authority to judge him.
Nobody is judging HIM (in fact we like him and his politics), we are judging his religious beliefs alone and we DO have the right to do that, and fact we are REQUIRED to do that. But I understand that this comes from someone who isn't a believer -- though he claims to be one and has a well worked out "theology."
Who are you to preach to us? We're adults. If we can accept others who we may feel have good hearts and are sincere, why is that your concern?

You are not the one who judges who is worthy, or faithful. Or have you forgotten that.
If you disagree with me what's the problem, do as you please. Why condemn me for giving my Bible-based view of it?
I'd like to remind you that Glenn Beck is also a son of God, loved by Him. How dare you attack such a man.
Also a son of God? Not according to the Bible. Not according to mainstream Christian theology. But also nobody IS attacking Glenn Beck, I've said only positive things about him personally.

They also can't tell the difference between a personal put-down and a doctrinal statement that may happen to hurt someone's feelings. I really did think better of the Right than this, apparently mistakenly thought there were more true Christians among them. No longer.

I didn't get ONE note of agreement, not ONE Christian able to see that the Bible tells us we must avoid looking like we are in agreement with heretics on RELIGIOUS matters. I did get one person pointing out that the ripe terminology in which a few excoriated my character works both ways and I'm grateful for that much -- that is, it takes puffed up pride to accuse me of that, and it takes a judgmental spirit to accuse me of that.

On the Left, they don't know whether to hate religion or to hate Christians who they call "haters" who recognize that Mormonism is a heresy (and haven't shown one iota of anything remotely describable as "hate" in any of it). I for one have said nothing but positive things about Glenn Beck himself and so has everyone else I've read who nevertheless points out that a Christian can't join in a religious rally with a Mormon. But PC perverts everything. I believe we are now in the period of the Great Delusion and it's going to be very few who can find their way out of it.

Well, I don't want to make too big a thing out of this. It hurts to be talked to like this but I have to remember that my only reason for saying anything at all is to try to be true to God and His word, and it's only to be expected that I will get this kind of response, it goes with the territory. It's hard to learn to love one's enemies and forgive this kind of thing but with the Lord's help I'll do it.

Besides, it only makes sense in the context of the last days that Christians would be getting more and more marginalized, alienated from everything worldly, even the best of political and cultural thought. It has to be that way. And this line from scripture keeps coming to mind: I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Zechariah 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
If He was wounded by His friends nobody who claims to follow Him should object to the same treatment.

Anyway, I collected a few links on the media's take on Beck's Mormonism to mull over and perhaps comment on at my leisure.


Later: What IS the problem here anyway? I'm thinking now of my commenter who has also followed me to this post after multiplying comments on previous posts. He says he has an evangelical Lutheran background so he OUGHT to understand why this issue is an issue, but no, he finds fault with me for making it an issue, as if it's something mostly peculiar to me rather than the testimony of the entire church for 2000 years. What IS the problem? Do they not teach the Bible any more? Do they not exhort believers to put God's word above all things in this world? What IS the problem? What have our churches lost?

I thought I'd also add another quote from the blog where I've been so criticized for this same "offense" I've committed of warning Christians that we must not appear to endorse a heresy. It's the usual but he goes on:
And might I ask, where were all the "Christian" leaders in this country? Are they holding events to restore honor to America? Are they giving up their time, their money, and placing themselves in danger in order to rescue this country from the true enemies thereof
I said something along these lines myself I think, and it's a reasonable objection. Where ARE the Christians? Some showed up on the stage at Glenn Beck's rally (but I got the impression that he asked many more who declined because of his Mormonism -- I hope to hear more about that eventually).

Beck really did do something this country needs, that's a really sad thing about all this. We NEED rallies for patriotism like this, and rallies for God too, and I wish wish wish there were Christians who could do it.

I'm beginning to realize that the church is in such bad shape these days -- and of course now I have to add these strange antibiblical responses to a straightforward call to avoid aligning with a heretic -- that all we'll ever get is a Mormon doing it and we can't stand with him on a religious program. Sorry, no, not ever. Titus 3:10, 2 John 1:7-11 (King James only, though, or you'll be misled).

The churches are letting down the country. Judgment begins at the house of God too. (Doesn't that mean we should support Beck? Painfully, no. Of course not. Not when he pushes an explicitly religious program, absolutely not. We've already failed so we're going to disobey more? Great idea there.)

So I agree with this person to this extent. He goes on:
This is exactly the kind of fighting and extremism the left likes conservatives to have --espeically within the religious world. You see, they have the religious right pegged: They always, always, always, get tunnel vision and argue about minute points/qualities, rather than being able to focus on the big picture: What is right for America.
There is NOTHING tunnel-visioned about obeying God. It's Number One Priority.

One thing I think, I hope, I'm gaining from all this, is a more determined separation from the world. I care a LOT less what the left thinks of conservatives at this point -- and what the right thinks as well. I've been learning painfully that what people think these days USUALLY has little to do with the reality. It's hard to take so I argue and argue and argue but I'm coming to face the fact that arguing accomplishes nothing. People still think what they think. It's hard to take but it's a fact and I'm trying to learn to live with it.

But when all worldly avenues fail, God IS there, and I actually feel a kind of excitement at the idea of giving up more of my worldly pursuits to spend more time with Him. I suspect the Glenn Beck situation is just the latest and biggest way He's putting some of His own in a corner for this purpose, to show us the futility of our own methods, to seek Him more. I hope others also get the message.


Some more links I want to add, undigested but provocative, all discussing Beck's Mormonism.

Here's a blogger quoting Russell Moore, whom I also quoted a post or two below:

(Sad to find out in that one that David Barton almost treats Beck as a Christian)


One more rather odd comment from the Beck argument (To be more accurate this is in answer to a previous similar objection that it's "unloving" and "judgmental" to call a heresy a heresy):
I think some feel moved to inform and guide the unbeliever and it takes the form of judgment sometimes.
There seems to be some confusion here. We aren't talking about unbelievers, we are talking only about believers, people who CLAIM to be believers anyway, and if they give opinions about Christian theology that are false that makes them heretics, not unbelievers, and we ARE obliged to identify heretics and false doctrine. AND we do it not for the sake of the heretic, but for people who might be swayed by the heretic. People who are simply unbelievers are something else entirely.

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.