Russell Moore has Glenn Beck’s number—or at least that of Beck’s erstwhile “evangelical” following. Moore is rightly scathing in his rebuke of evangelicals who would confuse genuine revival with Mormon-American-pie-populist politics. That’s exactly what was on display this weekend at Beck’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial. It was a mash-up of civic religion and syncretism that had some evangelicals looking to Glenn Beck as some kind of a spiritual leader. It exposed the fact that far too many evangelicals still can’t tell the difference between heresy and the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Moore writes:
“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.
“Rather than cultivating a Christian vision of justice and the common good (which would have, by necessity, been nuanced enough to put us sometimes at odds with our political allies), we’ve relied on populist God-and-country sloganeering and outrage-generating talking heads. We’ve tolerated heresy and buffoonery in our leadership as long as with it there is sufficient political ‘conservatism’ and a sufficient commercial venue to sell our books and products.
“Too often, and for too long, American ‘Christianity’ has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barrabas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah…
“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).”
As you can see, this is a must-read. Read it here.
Glenn Beck “preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that theyâ€™ve heard the gospel, right there in the nationâ€™s capital.”
I have only heard one Methodist once saying that Mormons might be Christians, essentially all evangelicals know he is not a Christian as we understand it. It was not a sermon Beck “preached” but a political rally.
I am not sure what the fuss is about.
Yes, he appealed to populist religion and used the word “God”, as most politicos do. No one I know thinks populist religion is real Christianity, it is just a part of politics.
I don’t find myself saying this very often, but Moore is right on the money, and thanks for posting this, Denny. It’s assuring to me that you’re more committed to Christianity than right-wing politics. While in the past I’ve often wondered if you equate the two, based upon this post you clearly do not. This is the kind of discussion Christians need to be having, because it is a big problem that often goes uncritically examined.
I watched maybe 10 minutes of the political rally out of curiosity, but all this distancing has me questioning… how does a Christian engage in the privilege of American politics without being worried as being seen in a certain â€˜wingâ€™, and too earthly focused? And should he/she even care if they are criticized?
I remember around 2000-2004 there was a big push that â€œChristians shouldnâ€™t be involved with politics.â€ As it turned out, that message came from mostly secularists and liberal/progressive leaning Christians. I was lectured by several (none of them knew each other that I know of), who tried to make their case, but turns out they most definitely were voting themselves, and tended to be very left-leaning. I came to see them as hypocrites and connivers.
I have a jaded view of attempts to silence political discourse by tying voting and Scripture too tightly, or saying voting and faith should have nothing to do with each other. If, as an American Christian citizen, I vote occasionally for similar social and political issues the same way as a Mormon, who cares? If I tend to vote contrary to atheistic voices, who cares? Why, the people voting the opposite way obviously, and those who donâ€™t have the fortitude to not care about being seen as belonging to a particular â€˜wing.â€™
It seems to me, anyone who wants pure theology in political discourse will be disappointed every time (past, present and future), and is asking for a Theocracy (or anarchy by no politics?) by the nature of the criticism. In that regard, the criticism doesnâ€™t make much sense to me, and seems like energy wasted.
Maybe I missed something in Moore’s diatribe, but why again is it wrong for Christians who believe in the Gospel to also join others in support of a message of honor, integrity and dependence on God?
Those who do are worshiping a golden calf?
Am I the only one who thinks Moore’s criticism borders on histrionic?
“It was not a sermon Beck â€œpreachedâ€ but a political rally.”
But it was billed as not being political. Even CNN pointed out that political elements were in the minority.
“Even CNN pointed out that political elements were in the minority.”
Wow, surprise that CNN would try and discredit a conservative politcal rally!
And this was a political rally. The problem with Dr. Moore’s commentary is that he offers no solution to the Progressive takeover of this country, only to lament that Glenn Beck is speaking about God.
There is plenty of talk, on this blog, about the dangers that this country is heading into should the progressives continue their agenda; homosexual marriage and the hate-crime charges that would come against pastors and churches speaking against it, the public school system continuing to indoctrinate our children away from the Judeo-Christian beliefs of the this country’s founding, and the removal of God from the public square.
Where was Dr. Moore’s counter-proposal? Where was his action plan? Of course I know that his desire is to see this country experience revival, but God, by His grace, has given us the freedom to run this country through its political processes. This is not Rome and we should not simply bow to the leaders of the government. It appears that Dr. Moore and others in the evangelical movement forget that believers can take charge politically as well as spiritually. And if we don’t have we forfeited what God has given us?
Just because Glenn Beck’s faith (mormonism) doesn’t equate with evangelicals doesn’t mean that we should oppose his politics. Would Moore have opposed Thomas Jefferson (who cut Scripture out of his New Testament) in like manner?
Amen, Russell Moore!
“…surprise that CNN would try and discredit a conservative politcal rally.”
They didn’t. That is why it was surprising.
And if you saw this as a political rally, then your beef is with organizers who claimed that it was not. Per the Associated Press: “Organizers say the “Restoring Honor” rally isn’t about politics.”
1. A Mormon who marches to Washington with a message to Americans to turn to God and pray and restore honor. In other words, a man challenges and inspires Americans to practice their freedom of worship.
2. Many people, including Christians rally around this message. Some even attend the march.
3. Dr. Moore and others produce a scathing critique of Beck and others who participated in this rally and celebration of religious liberty.
I am not a regular watcher or listener of Glenn Beck. I’ve caught his show a few times. I disagree with him on a number of levels. I didn’t even know this was going on. But Moore’s rhetoric seems over-the-top and quite partisan.
Should we also write a scathing article about Russell Moore’s political involvement? Just as it would be unfair to rebuke and rant against Dr. Moore for involving himself with heathens who also happen to agree with his brand of politics, it seems unfair to imply that there is some kind of scandal in celebrating and challenging Americans to celebrate their freedom of worship… with a Mormon.
Read this immediately.. here is the reason why the American Church should be careful of listening to Glenn Beck when he talks about God.
Jack B. Erhart
Amen, Russell Moore!
Beck proclaims a moral god with integrity and honer.
Born again believers proclaim a God who is Holy.
There is a huge difference.
I love it when someone more eloquent than myself can put pen to paper and put clear words to my scattered thoughts and feelings. Moore has done this.
What I lament is that many Christians I speak with know more about what the president is doing and what Pelosi thinks about issues than they do thier lost nieghbors.
Polotics has become a substitute for the hard work of being Christ to those around us.
We can get in a huff about health care and rage about about how close a mosque is to the former WTC. This way we can feel we are being faithful believers eventhough we spend little time in prayer, little time in Scripture and even less time shareing Christ.
I am perhaps hyper sensetive to this b/c I did what I am lamenting for years.
Some more random observations from one who listend everyday to Glen Beck from 2000 to 2008…
I apologize for my bad spelling.
The problem with Beck is that what underlies what he speaks about is a belief that man is inherently good and that what is wrong with the the world is the lack of adherence to the founders principles. His cure for the world is libertarianism, man just needs to be more free.
He uses Christian words and phrases to promote a works based view of salvation(as is inherent in Mormonism). This lures many belivers to shift thier own beliefs and become more accepting of Mormons as genuine believers.
He often speaks of America and its founding with a quasi-religious tone that subtlely (sometimes not so subtley) links America with God’s work of salvation in the world. As America goes, so goes the faith. I think many Christians readily adopt this into thier world view and it is very unhealthy.
my two cents…or more like $1.17
“His cure for the world is libertarianism…”
Christianity Today has an article that just happens to touch upon that topic.
Libertarians don’t believe in “cure-alls for the world”. This is precisely where so many people misunderstand libertarianism. Libertarians don’t believe in a utopia on earth (at least not until the millennial reign).
Many people adopt libertarianism because they have seen the abject failure of both liberals and big-government Republicans who whip up enthusiasm every 2 years with a never ending litany of empty promises and government sponsored solutions. Many libertarians have arrived at their belief system only AFTER enduring years and years of “cures for the world”.
Matthew John at Boundless just wrote a blurb that touched on the politics-as-the-christian-walk. Interesting.
Your post confuses me. You seem to want a leader who will promote “Judeo-Christian beliefs” (however you define that oxymoron), but then imply that you would have voted for Thomas Jefferson even though he “cut scripture out of his New Testament.” You would support a Deist for president?
Brian and Rick:
Thanks, I’ll check those out.
What I mean by Beck seeing libertarianism as the cure for the world is this:
b/c he sees man as fundamentally good, the main problem in America (world?) is that govt. gets in the way of decent and good Americans, hampering their freedom/ entrepreneurial instincts/ etc.
If govt. were not in the way, most things would work themselves out b/c in the end man will do what is right.
I don’t believe that from a biblical perspective. I understand that libertarianism is complex and cannot be summed up in a comment post, pro or con.
David, what I said was that the founders weren’t all believers and I gave the example of Jefferson. My point was that if Moore is going to castigate on Beck for poor theology and for believers for supporting his politics, would he have said the same thing about Jefferson 240 years ago. And if you don’t believe that this country was founded upon principles (not all, but many) of the bible you simply haven’t read history.
And I have voted for Presidents that I don’t really know if they are believers or not. I can’t judge their salvation. I am not so naive to think that all the Presidents I have voted for who claim God’s name are true believers.
You’re just wrong on the facts, friend. Libertarians as a general rule distrust the good intentions of mankind and are even more distrustful of utopian ideas that are based in the concept that “mankind is basically good”. They hold to the adage “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
I’m not trying to be difficult, but I still don’t understand. Are you saying that you would knowingly vote for a Deist like Jefferson for president? Incidentally, his religious beliefs (or lack thereof) were an issue when he ran for president.
Jefferson, whether you agree with him politically, religiously, philosophically, etc, was brilliant. He recognized the enormous importance of allowing for free expression of ideas within a democracy.
I don’t agree with all of his thinking but I deeply respect his willingness to look closely at all strongly espoused dogmas. Nothing is worth believing in if it hasn’t been tested and thought through and questioned intensely. Jefferson’s entire mind-set was directed toward this.
Did he live according to all of his beliefs? Certainly not. He failed the country by not putting into practice what he believed about slavery, for example. Would I vote for him? In reality, Jefferson was a better theorist than he was a practician. I’m not sure I’d vote for him for that reason. My not voting for him would have nothing to do with his religious beliefs (or perceived lack thereof).
First, I am a pretty fundamentalist Christian who has long had discussions with brothers about our Christian pastors, who have lost their man parts and have turned into a bunch of sissified counselors, who, at best, try to sell a bunch of self-help books with a slightly Christian focus. You are an eyelash distance from apostasy while you worry that if you get too tough on the flock most of them will leave with their money. (By the way I have read the works of Francis Shaeffer – a true hero of the faith.) It is about time someone trusted God (and the faithful) enough to rally the faithful to my Lordâ€™s glory and ask for His protection.
Now, someone who is an alcoholic Mormon, has had to be called to do what you would not. No one forced you to be â€œa man of Godâ€, but do it right or get out. One who seeks to be a teacher is held to a higher standard of accountability. None of you â€œbig name Christian leadersâ€ had the courage to do what Beck did.
I do not know what Glenn Beck THINKS, but I have never heard him publicly SAY anything contrary to my fundamentalist beliefs – and neither have you.
I know my Lord, and He said that He could make sons of Abraham out of stones, so I am quite certain that He is capable of making a son of Abraham out of an alcoholic Mormon – after all Abraham was saved by simple faith, not by a PhD or orthodoxy.
The Lord is shaming you. It appears by your attack on Glenn Beck that, hopefully, you are feeling His sting. You have long had a chance to â€œpreach it rightâ€, but were too timid.
â€œDoctorâ€ Moore – well isnâ€™t that special! Your whiny, timid, and jealous brand of â€œcozyâ€ faith is enough to spit out of oneâ€™s mouth (I might have read that somewhere).
Our Father and His Son, my Savior, have shamed you. You, and the timid leaders like you, should be ashamed. You would think you would have the humility to swallow hard and get into the battle instead of disrespecting someone who is doing the job you have defaulted on.
Notwithstanding your PhD, preach it right, or go do something useful with your life – like plumbing!!
I’m sure you are right about the way many people view and practice libertarianism.
What I was talking about however, what Beck speaks about (the impression he gives) on his radio show.
I’m not sure why you are asking this because I don’t think it is relevant to the post, but yes I would, if the other choice was a guy who favored abortion, was for homosexual marriage, etc. I have already said that I have no way of knowing if every President I have voted for are believers, even though every President (including Obama) claims to be one.
My point again: Dr. Moore’s rant against believers participating in political rally’s (and yes it was a political rally no matter what it was billed as) is uncalled for and my reference to Jefferson is related to that. Would Moore have not participated in the Revolution (had he been alive) because there were non-believers, Deist’s, and others who participated in it as well. Would he have ranted back then.
JOhn @ 23- Have you read the book by Francis Schaeffer’s son, Frank, called Crazy for God? Just wondering…
As one who knows Dr. Moore, I can tell that John (23) definately does not know him.
As a preacher of the Gospel I am not called to preach what the founders believed really do not care as far as what it means when I preach. If the Bible coincides with what they believe fine if not then tough I must proclaim the Word of God. The bulk of those who are rallying behind Beck are crying over taxes not the fact that we are killing babies. They are saying that the American dream is what is great. God is what is great. Man left alone ruins themesleves they do not make things better. Do I want big goverment and more taxes no but the Bible says render to Ceasar what is his and render to God what is His. When a nation says that they voted a certain way because of the economy and not because of what is right and wrong you get what we have gotten. When a nation is willing to sacrifice some things not for the economy not for the american dream but for what God has said then things improve.
Thank you so much. GB has spiritual guts. We need men like him out there in radio and tvland. I was so happy to hear him on the radio the other day saying what this country needs is God and Him alone! On your knees, people. Forget 2012 and talk to Him everyday.
Kevin, There is so much here that misses the point. “The bulk of those rallying behind Beck are crying over taxes not the fact that we are killing babies” You interviewed all those there? You know where they stand on abortion? “They are saying the American dream is what is great. God is what is great” Again, you interviewed these people? Do you believe that those who desire a great America automatically don’t desire God? “the bible says render to Ceasar” Do you vote? This is not Rome. This is a representative democracy and citizens have the right to change the laws. In fact, it can be argued that we are abandoning the gift that God gave us if Chrstians don’t get involved in government.
You better watch it Kevin, your post sounds far more political than pastoral.
I constantly hear that we need to take back America and restore America and return America to it’s past glories. I’d just like to know which American decade these folks would like to return to. I’ve not heard specifics on that.
What should be remembered first and foremost is that Beck is a consummate and clever businessman. It matters not one whit whether the intelligentsia on the left hold him up for ridicule, or whether right-wing rubes out here in Christendumb dote on his every word, he will get richer.