Glenn Beck’s “Gospel”

I had been going to write something about the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally that took place yesterday, and the way so many evangelical Christians have fallen lock-step behind his rhetoric (even going so far as to call it “gospel”), but Russell Moore has saved me the trouble. The article he wrote today (God, the Gospel, and Glenn Beck) says it much better than I ever could, and it’s something every American Christian needs to read, whether you’re a Glenn Beck acolyte or not. Here are a few select quotes:

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.

And the solution:

The answer to this scandal isn’t a retreat, as some would have it, to an allegedly apolitical isolation. Such attempts lead us right back here, in spades, to a hyper-political wasteland. If the churches are not forming consciences, consciences will be formed by the status quo, including whatever demagogues can yell the loudest or cry the hardest. The answer isn’t a narrowing sectarianism, retreating further and further into our enclaves. 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.

Read the rest here.

10 comments on “Glenn Beck’s “Gospel”

  1. Spencer says:

    Dr Moore is a progressive leaning evangelical who is using Beck’s Religion to attack his politics and Fox News. It seems a convenient target when it would be inappropriate to overtly attack Beck’s political points of view. Dr. Moore’s attack on Fox News and Glenn Beck is highly questionable since he uses his position as a spiritual leader and educator to bolster his position. It seems to be a disingenuous abuse of position rather than a reasonable discussion of the event.

    • John Gardner says:

      Not sure what you mean by “progressive leaning”. Russell Moore is pretty staunchly conservative, both theologically and politically. Unless anything different from the Beck/Fox flavor of “conservatism” qualifies as progressive, in which case I guess you can toss me in that boat, too.

      • Spencer says:

        Have you read Moore’s articles or listened any of his speeches/talks/panels on social justice, environmental justice, etc. etc? Dr. Moore is decidedly progressive in matters of public policy. Additionally, his former position as an aid to Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor gives away his political leanings.

        While I agree that Moore adheres to conservative view with regard to abortion, homosexuality, etc he does not qualify as anything close to a conservative with regard to the larger social and political spectrum. From his application of history to his chosen targets, it is clear where Dr. Moore lies politically.

        • John Gardner says:

          For now, suffice it to say that I agree with Dr. Moore’s positions on social justice, environmental policy, etc, and find his interpretation of Scripture with regard to these and other issues to be consistently excellent. I’ll write more on this later in a separate post.

          Whether or not those positions qualify as “conservative” doesn’t really matter, as far as I’m concerned. I think of myself as fairly conservative politically, but many of my uber-conservative friends frequently beg to differ, and I’m okay with that.

  2. Spencer says:

    Understood, and I can respect that. Dr. Moore is also entitled to his political opinions, but they are not conservative opinions. Neither are all of my opinions conservative ones, since I lean heavily to the libertarian side. But Dr. Moore consistently represents himself as a conservative, although his positions are in direct opposition to conservative policy.

    His political leanings are the underlying motivation for his attack on Beck. If they were not, he would not have extended his attack to Fox News as a whole. It is because he has skewed the boundary between personal social opinion and Biblical perspective that I regard his entire commentary on the subject, in this article and beyond, as dubious and tainted.

    • John Gardner says:

      Fair enough. I’m curious, though. Are there any particular arguments that Dr. Moore made in his article on Glenn Beck which you would refute, or do you just reject the idea that he can make political commentary that is tinted by his religious leanings?

      Personally, I do not believe that Dr. Moore has skewed any boundaries. In fact, I don’t believe it’s possible to have boundaries between personal social opinion and Biblical perspective. One’s understanding of who God is and how he reveals himself will necessarily affect one’s views of everything from religion, to history, to the arts, to politics, etc. Because of this, I see Dr. Moore’s article from yesterday (as well as his previous writings on topics like environmentalism and social justice) as being consistent with his worldview. It is precisely because of his Biblical perspective that he has his personal social opinions, and I believe this is his motivation for the article (which I would not classify as an “attack”), rather than motives that are merely political.

      In any event, I appreciate your thoughts and respectful comments. I’ll be fleshing out this concept of a Biblical worldview impacting one’s view of Glenn Beck and others at Fox News, hopefully in a blog that will get posted today (if not, look for it tomorrow). I hope you’ll drop back in for that. As far as Russell Moore’s motivations are concerned, that’s something that can’t really be addressed any further here, as I can only speak for myself and not him.

  3. Spencer says:

    I do not reject the idea that he can make political commentary that is tinted by his religious leanings, I reject the idea that he can make religious commentary that is tinted by his political leanings…at least fairly.
    I concede your point that our Christian worldview informs our social and political beliefs only to the extent that the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith are consistent across the vast majority of Christian bodies. The general concept that we are to care for the needy transcends the doctrines of Protestantism, Catholicism, Mormonism etc. We agree that this is a fundamental responsibility of all Christians. However, the method by which we fulfill that responsibility becomes steeped in social and political philosophies rather than Biblical ones. Some of us believe that the fulfillment of the command to feed the hungry, care for the widow, take in the orphan, etc is left to the movement of the holy spirit within the individual and to the choice and discernment of each person; that any system that oversteps by compelling the individual to act in ways not personally directed by the spirit or impeding the individual’s ability to fulfill his responsibilities as he is moved does so in direct contradiction to the call of God on each of our lives and the personal freedom authored by God for each human being. There are others who believe that a system that takes resources from each individual and then decides for them how best to care for their communities is best. Neither social worldview can claim the spiritual high ground here. The spiritual call is only to serve the needy and care for those who need it. Each side seeks to meet that responsibility.
    It is best, then, for a spiritual leader to leave the call to meet needs as it is found in the Bible rather than advocating a system for its achievement that is not Biblically prescribed. This is where I have criticism for Dr. Moore. He uses his religion to advocate a personal social agenda rather than simply advocate the principle upon which his own personal leanings are build, with a recognition that others who lean in another direction are no less motivated to meet their obligations and with no less purity. In his capacity as a citizen, I have no problem with Dr. Moore supporting the system he thinks best. In his capacity as a minister, I have no problem with his concerns about Glenn Becks Mormonism. However, I am concerned with his decision to use Glenn Beck’s faith against those with whom Dr. Moore disagrees politically in spite of the fact that their own hearts are focused on doing the work they have been called to do.

    • John Turner says:

      Thank you Spencer for articulating what I cannot. I think many in SBC are just jealous. Glenn calls for unity in truth, not doctrine, which so many of us Baptists seem to be focused on, blinded to the fact that we can impact this country if we are united on issues that are common ground for most faiths, as you so beautifully said. Rather than critizise Glen for his differences, let’s unite on things we agree on and change this country for the better.

  4. ron says:

    In a nutshell Dr. Moore is lamenting the lack of a true gospel message in the American Evangelical church as a whole, a lack of true leadership. It is functioning as a PAC, and that’s the sad truth. Being a political conservative does not a Christian make (and I say that as a political conservative).

  5. […] about him… he’s certainly a polarizing figure. Judging by the number of hits on my recent post about Glenn Beck, in which I linked to a controversial article by Russell Moore, many others are less tired of […]

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