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Glenn Beck - A Modern Day Josephus?

There is a book I didn’t know about until recently entitled: Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity The book, published in 2004 by Nancy Pearcey, uses a new buzzword, “The Cultural Mandate,” that has replaced “Dominionism.” It describes more accurately what “Dominionists” are talking about. Simply, the Great Commission includes culture.

So how do I view Glenn Beck? I love him. He’s by far the best commentator at Fox News. I realize that he’s a Mormon. What is wrong with that? Here’s what I wrote about that in Why Creeds and Confessions?

Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, founded by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young) — Believes the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly; they also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. They accept the divinity of Jesus, but also the divinity of all “latter day saints” (i.e. Mormons). Jesus was the first of many “sons of God” who can be recognized as “manifestations of the Divine.” The true identity of Jesus Christ is not the Father God, but the father of spirits who have taken bodies upon this earth; He is one of them. He is the Son just as all “latter day saints” are sons or daughters of Elohim.

On the atonement, Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that those who commit them will be beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these “grievous offenses” are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse men from their sins even if they repent. Therefore, their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, on their own behalf.

On the conditions for salvation, Mormonism teaches that through the Atonement of Christ and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, all mankind may be saved.

The sad truth is that Glenn Beck, a heretic on the divinity of Jesus, has the Cultural Mandate correct while most evangelical Protestants are in error. Glenn Beck’s mind is uncluttered by many of the popular yet false evangelical presuppositions.

Richard Land, a director of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, commented on the irony, “I’ve been stunned. This guy’s on secular radio and television, but his shows sound like you’re listening to the Trinity Broadcasting Network, only it’s more orthodox and there’s no appeal for money.”

In fact, Beck has returned to a more classical Puritanism in his view of culture than most modern day American Christians are able to accept. If God used Baalam’s ass to prophesy to an errant man, he can certainly use a man with a flawed Christology. Here we find a Mormon invoking the name of the Great Awakening preacher George Whitefield. Further, he correctly links the greatest revival in our history to the American War for Independence.

Beck is not the first heretic among the friends of George Whitefield. Benjamin Franklin, an avowed deist, was a great admirer of Whitefield in the 1700s. One of the richest men in America, Benjamin Franklin built Whitefield a “preaching house” in Philadelphia, which gave the evangelist a pulpit outside the Anglican churches that had his preaching. This “preaching house” later became the first building for the University of Pennsylvania. It is therefore not wrong for some of the evangelists and pastors who stood with Beck to have accepted this preaching platform.

It is possible that rather than trust the evangelical church to rightly scripture, God is using people who are already divided from the church to provoke us. This will ultimately serve to cut the dead weight from the church.

We see that pattern in scripture.

  1. God’s people get delivered out of bondage.
  2. They prosper.
  3. They get in trouble due to disobedience.
  4. God raises up His enemies to judge His people.
  5. God’s people go into bondage.
  6. The unrighteous among God’s people perish.
  7. The righteous are delivered.
  8. God judges His enemies.

Repeat.

This brings to mind the old Arab proverb: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The problem here is that evangelical Christians who reject the Cultural Mandate are their own worse enemies. Most of the evangelical church is instead wrapped up in pietistic, monastic exercises calling that “revival.” In fact, they have become enemies of true revival.

Glenn Beck is an anomaly because of his understanding of the Great Awakening. His call for a “Third Great Awakening” includes the “Black Robed Regiment,” which is the name King George gave the American clergy. He saw the Congregationalist and Presbyterian Churches as behind the revolution, just as the Scottish Presbyterians had revolted against his father. While few Christians have even heard of George Whitefield, the Mormon Glenn Beck recently devoted an hour-long program to examine why the Trans-Atlantic English evangelist was even more important to American independence than Benjamin Franklin. To most evangelicals, calls for revival and even another Great Awakening is merely a tool to fill their churches. To Glenn Beck a Third Great Awakening must first emphasize the Cultural Mandate.

A Modern Day Josephus?

Beck is similar to the false Christs who appeared in Jerusalem to warn the Jews about idolatry in the 40 years prior to the destruction of the city in 70 A.D. The Jewish historian Josephus in his book, Wars of the Jews, has compiled some fascinating accounts of these false prophets as well as the providentially ordained earthquakes, natural calamities and wars which occurred around the time of the siege of Jerusalem (67-70).

If you study Josephus’ history, the “false Christs” were also telling the Jews to repent. Not everything they said was wrong, but they didn’t recognize the true Christ who had already come and delivered this warning. If you understand Matthew 24 correctly, it is not primarily a prophecy about the “end-times,” but an explanation to first century Christians about the coming destruction of the Temple by Roman armies, which occurred in 70 A.D. Jesus includes a warning that “those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.”

In fact, a wrong interpretation of Matthew 24, is one of the reasons why the evangelical church has neglected the cultural mandate. For example, a church might neglect the opportunity to help close a local abortion clinic if they are too busy with seminars teaching their members “How to Survive in the End-Times.”

But to return to my analogy, I include Josephus among the false Christs that Jesus warned about in Matthew 24. Josephus was essentially correct, although almost certainly unconverted. He understood that John the Baptist, Jesus and James were true prophets sent to warn the Jews about their own corruption. However, the Jews couldn’t accept Josephus’ heresy that the Roman conquerer Vespasian was the Messiah sent to deliver them. So they barricaded the city walls and resisted. If they had heard the words of Jesus, they would have fled to the mountains. So in part, Josephus was right. Vespasian was sent by God. But he was not the Messiah. He was sent to judge Jerusalem.

Many Christians won’t take Glenn Beck’s call for a Third Great Awakening seriously because he is a Mormon. Over the last 50 years we had Francis Schaeffer, R.J. Rushdoony, D. James Kennedy and many other brilliant evangelical minds tell us that we are in rough shape because the church has neglected the Cultural Mandate. We wouldn’t listen. Now Beck might be our Josephus. He is right because he understands history is “His story.” But that is as far as it goes. Like Josephus, the first century commentator on current events, Glenn Beck is going to have many of the details correct, but he is wrong about some central theological issues.

When Beck invokes the name George Whitefield, the Great Awakening and the Black Robed Regiment, he is correct. But we’d do better to listen to Whitefield himself. If we follow some of the civil and religious leaders that Beck sees as the anointed ones (think: Mitt Romney in 2012) we are in as much trouble as those who accept Jeremiah Wright’s and Louis Farrakhan’s message about Obama being sent by God.

Soon we may even hear the “uber-liberals” (as Beck calls them) invoking the First Great Awakening evangelists, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley (as Hillary Rodham Clinton already does) in their prayer meetings. Clinton said earlier this year:

I grew up in the Methodist Church. On both sides of my father’s family, the Rodhams and the Joneses, they came from mining towns. And they claimed, going back many years, to have actually been converted by John and Charles Wesley … And of course, John Wesley had this simple rule which I carry around with me as I travel: Do all the good you can by all the means you can in all the ways you can in all the places you can at all the times you can to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.

Unlike Clinton and Beck, George Whitefield and John Wesley preached that one of the signs of judgment on a nation is that He would begin to give us “unconverted ministers.”

An unconverted minister, though he could speak with the tongues of men and angels, will be but as a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal to those whose senses are exercised to discern spiritual things. Ministers that are unconverted, may talk and declaim of Christ, and prove from books that he is the Son of God; but they cannot preach with the demonstration of the Spirit and with power, unless they preach from experience, and have had a proof of his divinity, by a work of grace wrought upon their own souls. God forgive those, who lay hands on an unconverted man, knowing that he is such: I would not do it for a thousand worlds, Lord Jesus, keep thy own faithful servants pure, and let them not be partakers of other men’s sins! (The Selected Sermons of George Whitefield).

Hillary Clinton apparently believes that the way to salvation is to “do good” (whatever “good” means to her) and Glenn Beck recently said on his TV show, “I believe with all my heart that people are good deep down inside themselves. All they need is a push in the right direction.”

We would do much better if we didn’t listen to what Clinton and Beck say about the message of Great Awakening, but we would read Wesley and Whitefield themselves! In fact, I offer the following “recovery” plan for those who would really seek a Third Great Awakening.

First, avoid the trash that is churned out by the modern evangelical pulp mills! Once this faulty paradigm is demolished, you should begin to build a new foundation for your faith by studying the creeds of the early Church. Then graduate to the more exhaustive and theologically comprehensive confessions of the Reformation period. (I have included a list of these confessions at the end of chapter six for further study.)

You should then read some select writings of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and the Puritans. With an understanding of confessional orthodoxy, you will see more clearly that these giants of the faith were theologically grounded in the creeds and confessions. Then read some of the sermons and writings of great modern Christian leaders such as George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and Charles Hodge.

I hope that by the study of these timeless, immutable truths, you will strengthen your resolve to press into God in prayer and study of Scripture in order to know Jesus Christ in a fuller, more intimate way.

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

Awesome Jay, I hope you are right!

Posted by Rosebud Grain Company on 10/05/2010 07:18 AM #

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

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