Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Mormon on the Glenn Beck rally

I did not watch the Glen Beck rally but have read the analysis of others, including Russell Moore.  He notes how far we (evangelicals) have fallen in the last thirty years:  "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."  That's one side of the coin. 

Gene Veith shows us the other side of that coin - a Mormon's view of the rally.  In short what the Mormons got out of the rally was legitmacy.  They now believe that the they have been embraced by evangelicals as Bible-believing Christians. 

I'm astonished that evangelicals now rally around a Mormon as their leader.  What happened to Schaeffer's distinction of "co-belligerency"?  Where is the basic understanding of Mormonism that it has a defective view of Jesus Christ (i.e. not in keeping with the Nicene or Athanasian Creeds)?  I believe that this is the fruit of thirty years of church growth, topical sermons, and "practical", consumer-oriented Christianity.  I shudder to think where we will be thirty years from now. 

Veith also has a link to David Barton's explanation as to why he supports Glenn Beck.  I've never had much use for his work and this statement is the final nail in that coffin.


Jeannette said...

I did watch the rally, and I think you have to evaluate it for what it was. Beck had a couple purposes in holding the rally: to raise educational support for children of fallen soldiers and to call Americans to pray to God for our country. Many of our country's sins were mentioned in prayers for repentance. I understand the concern about being "co-belligerents," but much of the rally was honoring to the Lord Jesus through the music and testimonies. I was wondering if this call is any different, in a sense, to the Israelites' call to repent and turn to God. Certainly, not all were of the elect, but the call was still made across the board.

I might also point out that many who are up in arms about being co-belligerents with Mormons are perfectly comfortable calling Catholics our brothers and sisters in Christ, even though they are just as lost and misguided. That "unity" is of much more disconcerting to me.

Anonymous said...

I thought this ones interesting also.


Dave Sarafolean said...


Well, they were lots of mixed messages going on in the rally, and I guess that is the problem.

When Schaeffer advocated co-belligerency it was without regard to theology. In other words he worked with Catholics and others as a confessional Protestant to address certain civil issues of interest to these groups, namely abortion and euthenasia. These relationships recognized theological differences and steered clear from debating or even giving the appearance of agreeing. They were simply saying that there was common ground amongst the various traditions on these issues. Put differently, they knew that they were at odds theologically but they chose to be allies on matters concerning life.

There's a lot of good that Beck is doing when it concerns the constitution and public policy. But I get very uneasy when he starts to introduce religion.

I agree that we should be careful about the use of the terms brother and sister. After all, being a Protestant means something doesn't it?

Dave Sarafolean said...


Good post with which I largely agree. It is true that you cannot find much Scriptural support for capitalism just as you cannot find much evidence for the opposite. Those discussions fall into the realm of common grace. There we can openly discuss ecomonic theory and its advantages with Scripture informing that discussion, particularly as it brings to light the nature of man. That said, I think a stronger case can be made for limited governmnent with less interference as a better option for humanity. Evangelicals can make an idol out of capitalism but just because one may advocate that position doesn't make them an idolater.

Jeannette said...

I certainly don't look to Beck as a religious leader, just as a public personality who used his influence to call this country back to Judeo-Christian values. I have to wonder if there would have been such a reaction if Sean Hannity (as a Catholic) would have held the same rally. I think not.

Dave Sarafolean said...


Hannity mixes it up too. He has his own tour complete with Christian artists like Michael W. Smith (and others). Though he's officially a Catholic he has picked up a lot of evangelical terminonology. To his credit he doesn't go as far as Beck with the religion. If he would, he might get the same criticism, though perhaps, not as loud. I for one, would definitely be turned off.