Friday, September 03, 2010

On Glenn Beck & the Rally

Over the past week I've heard or read a number of opinions on the rally last Saturday in Washington DC. And they've been varied, from the one lady I spoke to who was so hopeful after watching it (even though he's a Mormon), to very angry editorials that are all over the internet. So when I read this piece by Russell Moore, I was very encouraged. Here are the opening paragraphs:

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.

And then Moore writes,

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 Barabbas, 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.


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.

Any thoughts?


Courtney said...


To me, there are two issues presented in your post and repost of the Moore column.

First. Glenn Beck is Mormon, however, he does not speak for members of our church. I've been extremely angry about the number of posts, tweets, facebook posts that reference Mr. Beck's religion. If you know a bit about the organization of our church, it should be clear that does not "lead" our church in any capacity. And to me, his denomination is irrelevant.

Our church as a whole does not mix politics and religion. You won't come to our service and hear any one particular party or candidate endorsed. So to say "mormon politics" is a gross misstatement.

As to the second point, which to me has no relation to whether Beck is Mormon or not--this idea that Moore puts forth about mammon worship falling either to the right or to the left of the politicla spectrum, well that's not new. The best way to gain control over people is to divide them, and forcing us into specific, narrowly defined categories that are based on one or two political idea (i.e. i'm pro-life, i'm big government, i'm against taxes) has always marginalized and separated people from having real political discussions. So I get Moore's point, I tend to agree with it.

And then I'm not sure what you are saying at the end. I love what you are doing with Neighborhood Church, I respect your ideas and your values, but what is this idea of orthodox Christianity, American Christianity? What does it matter so long as we worship Christ as our savior and try to live our lives on this earth following his model?

Or who cares what denomination Beck is. It is more important to talk about how politicians and celebrities hijack the language of the Bible, and the words of Christ for their own purposes?

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

Robert - I also liked Moore's column... thanks for linking to it.

I think the major question for those of us who are evangelicals is whether Beck (and many other folks) are calling us to repentance & revival empowered & instigated by Christ or if they are simply attempting to create a groundswell of civic religion that mixes Judeo-Christian values, Biblical language & American patriotism. Sadly, I think the second option is more likely.

Robert said...


Thanks for your comments, and sorry I'm just now reading them. First, I should have put quotes around "even though he's a Mormon." That's simply what the lady said to me.

Second, I have no problems with Glenn Beck being a Mormon. My issue is just with the fact that for many people, politics gets infused with the gospel and becomes the solution (and often salvation) to all of life's many problems. It seems that we agree on that issue. This happens no matter the denomination or religion, and I think it makes much of the problems worse. I think that's what Moore is saying in that last paragraph I quoted.