Perspectives on Glenn Beck

August 31, 2010 — Leave a comment

It’s not really my goal to be overtly political on this blog, but after reading Calvin and Commerce earlier this summer, and eventually planning on reading Calvin in the Public Square as well as Calvin on Culture I started feeling that part of aspiring to be a theologian involves applying God’s word to politics.

Don’t worry I’m not as obsessed with Calvin as it might sound, there’s just been a great supply of books recently published on Calvin’s thought, which is intensely biblical when it comes to issues that are confronting us in the public square.

I’ll go so far as to say this. If you are politically minded, and you are not trolling Calvin’s writings and analyses of them, you are doing yourself a great disservice.

There I said it.

But, back to Beck.

I’m sure more will be said in the coming days about the rally in DC this past weekend, and hopefully there will be thoughtful interaction with it. I’m afraid though the tendency will continue to either wholeheartedly jump on board, or disdain Beck’s mere existence.

Putting some good biblical thought into the matter though, Russell Moore is somewhat wary of the foundations Beck is building on and concludes God, the Gospel and Glenn Beck with this nugget:

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.

And there will be a new generation, in America and elsewhere, who will be ready for a gospel that is more than just Fox News at prayer.

In a different vein is Brett McCracken’s admission that he would rather not reckon with Glenn Beck’s existence, but realizes a thoughtful response is needed:

The significance of this man’s apparent following–I mean, just look at the ratings of his various TV and radio shows–demands that we take him seriously. Unfortunately, almost every commentary, tweet, or passing remark I’ve read about Beck since the rally has been either completely sarcastic, pointlessly angry, or simply dismissive. The discourse surrounding Beck by his many critics is as infantile and unhelpful as the man himself.  Beck is not going anywhere and his followers will not diminish by us simply pointing at the whole thing and calling it preposterous.

Also worth noting are some thoughts offered here by someone not on board with Beck, but who attended the rally.

To be honest, I have yet to come to my own conclusions on Glenn Beck as a political force. I am certain we agree on some things, but certainly not on everything.

My initial response to him is to note that he is a Mormon, which is a far cry from a Calvinist and that diminishes my hope in the solutions he may offer. What I mean by that, is that he may have some sound political ideas, but he will never be building them off of the right foundation.

And then there is his rhetoric, which I think everyone can at least agree is somewhat inflammatory. It is what helps him build a movement (as preaching to the choir always does), but it also what alienates people opposed to him, or even those like myself, inspecting the view from atop the fence.

For the same reason most non-Christians (and even many Christians) are disdainful of hardcore Calvinists, it seems Beck is quite the polarizer.

Either you hate, or you love him.

But either way, it seems you have to at least deal with his ideas. Glad to see some people are doing it, but hoping for more constructive dialogue to follow.

What do you think?


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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

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