Friday, March 12, 2010

Um, Glenn....hate to break this to you...

Glenn Beck has caused something of a controversy over something he said. Nothing new there. This time the controversy is coming from Mr. Beck's call for Christians to "flee" churches that advocate "social justice". Here is Glenn 'splaining himself (emphasis added):

GLENN: For the love of Pete. Marx started in 19 1848. All of this stuff started percolating, all of Nietzsche comes along, everything, it's redistribution of wealth. I've told you this, the progressive movement started with people like Woodrow Wilson whose father was a preacher! They perverted Christianity! "The concept is that Christians should not merely give to the poor but also work to correct unjust conditions that keep people poor." Yes! You're exactly right. We should as Christians do that. But then there's that added little step of having the government do it, not you. "Many Christians consider it a reoccurring theme in scripture. Mr. Beck himself is a convert to Mormonism, a faith that identifies itself as part of the Christian family but nevertheless rejected by many Christians. Philip Barlow, Arrington professor of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University said one way to read the book of Mormon is a fast track on social justice." Yes, that is one way to read it.

A couple of problems here. First, Glenn can’t speak in this way “We should as Christians do…” Just like I can’t say “We should as Norwegians” or “ we should as NBA players”, Glenn has no place in speaking of our common solidarity in Christ when we don’t believe in the same Christ.

Second, while I would certainly discourage someone from being associated with a local church that was committed to “social justice” (defined as government programs that use confiscatory taxation and coercion to enact wealth redistribution ), I am far more concerned with people fleeing a church that teach that God was once a man, that men can become gods, that polygamy is an everlasting commandment and that Jesus Christ and Satan are brothers. Glenn Beck has the level of standing to give advice to Christians as a Muslim, Hindu or atheist. Christians need to be discerning and recognize that whatever merit Mr. Beck's political rantings might have, he is lost in a pseudo-Christian cult and none of his religious advice is worth a hill of beans.

Glenn, if anyone should be fleeing their church it is you!

Breaking out the really big guns!

I mentioned on Facebook that we had a fresh set of missionaries over last Friday. They called kind of out of the blue and since they were both new they noticed our name on the “board” and wanted to touch base. We of course asked them to come over! After a few delays, we scheduled a Friday evening meeting and they arrived on schedule. What was a little different was the (much) older man who was accompanying them, the local mission President.

Dealing with a mission President is a far different matter. Unlike the younger missionaries, he has many years of experience in dealing with questions and was quite slippery. In fact, during much of the conversation you would have thought he was an orthodox Christian believer because he has mastered the ability to affirm truths of the Bible. What is difficult about it is that I know that the mormon church means something completely different but it was hard to pin him down. I recognize that his answers were a mix of dishonesty and evasion but in a limited time it was hard to really dig in. An interesting challenge, it was mostly interaction with him and one of the missionaries. The other guy didn’t say a word and mostly just played with one of our cats for an hour and a half.

So that was interesting but now those same two missionaries are coming over tonight. They seemed a little lost last week. Maybe it was having the mission president accompanying them. Anyway, these two are something of a blank slate. We have typically had at least one missionary each night who had been there before, so now we have two fresh guys who we haven’t worked with. I am looking forward to really digging into some stuff tonight but keeping it narrowly focused. Since the mission president was quick to affirm everything I was saying, perhaps tonight I will ask why they have a separate church. If you already agree with everything I say, just come be part of a Christian church. That will give us the opportunity to talk about the priesthood and prophets. You can be sure I will be busting out Hebrews 1: 1-2 if we go that way!