[I have been in prayerful thought about the events taking place this weekend under Glenn Beck’s auspices. He portrays them as the beginning of a Great Revival of faith in America. People I know and think well of are involved. Yet I find I cannot ignore the check in my spirit that prevents me from accepting that the events or their sponsor are what he professes them to be. This posting is an effort to lay out the elements that contribute to my misgivings, insofar as they are susceptible to articulation. Herein I attempt to share a train of thought and the destination it points to. Is it the right one? With God’s help, time may tell.]
“I mean, the one part of culture that I am doing a lot of is faith. But general faith. We have got to get back to our churches, our synagogues, our mosques, whatever it is, as long as it’s not telling to you blow things up. Get back to God and get back to the Founding Fathers.” (Interview with Bill O’Reilly)
“We must give voice to what God says we must do…My message to you tonight is stand where He wants you to stand and trust in the Lord. If He tells you to do it, do it. If you can’t figure it out, He will. Just do it.” (Beck sounds religious rallying call ahead of Restoring Honor event)
From the Scriptures:
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. “ (Matthew 24:11)
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24)
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter: 1-2)
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (John: 1-3)
Glenn Beck disingenuously says “There are many things that I believe that I shall never say but I shall never say the things that I do not believe. There are not things that I am not telling you, there are not things that I believe that I am not saying. ” Which is it? This self-contradictory jumble inevitably begs the question “What is it that he’s not telling us?” This question has significance for Christians because the Apostle (2 Peter 2:1) warned against those who ”privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them.” The question forces us to think about what argument from silence Glenn Beck makes as he chooses which of his beliefs to reveal, and which to conceal. From his words, though, one thing is certain. Like Barack Obama, he’s hiding something.
Maybe that’s why he’s been so hard on people who demand that Obama stop his costly efforts to cover up the facts about his birth and background.
Of course none of us have the right to demand that any other individual share with us all their private thoughts and beliefs. God help us if the day has come when the inner sanctum of our thoughts can be violated by anyone but God Himself, (science fiction notwithstanding.)
But what if some of Glenn Beck’s actions, and the statements he makes to explain them, appear to contradict what he tells us he believes? Like the anomalies that lead observant astronomers to posit the existence of an unseen planet orbiting a star, do such anomalous statements force us to question the nature of the unspoken beliefs Beck conceals, as well as his reasons for concealing them?
Beck says that he believes in the Constitution, and in the principles of the Founding Fathers. Yet regarding the eligibility issue, he acts as if plainly stated requirements of the Constitution can be contemptuously brushed aside without damage to its authority.
He says that he believes that we must return to God. Yet he casually blows off the issues that most explicitly involve imposing on our nation laws and practices that deny the natural law derived from God’s authority, which is also the authority by which we claim our own unalienable rights.
What am I to make of someone who feelingly declares that we must return America to God and its principled foundations, then acts and speaks in ways that effectively deny both?
Beck says that his present preoccupation is with “general faith”, and getting back to the founding Fathers. But the faith of the Founding Fathers was not a general faith.Their faith was “in the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Their faith assumed as self-evident truth God’s authority as the Creator. Their faith trusted its appeal to God’s righteousness as the Supreme Judge of the world, and firmly relied upon the protection of His Providence.
The faith of the Founding Fathers was not
some abstraction, common to every religion, cult or superstition “as long as it’s not telling to you to blow things up.” Not did it leave us free to do, without discernment or disciplined deliberation, whatever we fancy God tells us to do. Like Abraham, the Founders faith addressed the question, to God and man alike, “Shall not the God of all the earth do right?”, and trusted in God’s true and certainly just response.
All this being so, a true call to get back to God and the Founding cannot be a call to “general faith”, that answers to the whim of every religious seeming movement of humanity. It has a substance that challenges us to do right, and a basis that requires decent respect to the transcendent authority for right, which is the law of God, revealed in the way He made us, the free people he intended us to be.
This is no “general faith”, but it is the American creed. The appeal of that creed can be issued to all humanity, but can only be issued by such hearts and minds as acknowledge the power and attributes of the God who made us free. But would such a heart ignore and belittle the issues that most involve that acknowledgement. I cannot think so. So though I will pray earnestly that God may use for good the events that transpire this weekend under Glenn Beck’s auspices, I am not convinced that they are intended for good, except perhaps by those hearts who hear the name of God with childlike sincerity, but who are therefore also prone to look upon those who speak it with childlike understanding. For sometimes better than hearing is to let Christ hear for you. Better than seeing is to let Christ see for you. Better than thinking to stand on your own before God is to walk in the way of Christ, and let him stand for us all.