We live in a day and age where if a candidate for President of the United States (or any office, for that matter) declares themselves a Christian and manages to get a few good conservative Christian leaders in his corner, many in the conservative wing of the evangelical church act as if a candidate is anointed by God, without giving much thought to actual messages conveyed during the campaign.
I am so hesitant to write about politics during Lent, but this year we see a perfect storm of church and state co-mingling to a point that borders on idolatry, heresy, and blasphemy. With the GOP and the Democratic primaries in full swing, and with the ones in my state of South Carolina taking front and center, I’m going to dip my toe in the water and brave some opinions on my blog… imagine that, opinions on a blog?
Despite being smack dab in the middle of Lent, I don’t believe it’s necessarily a bad thing to tackle these issues because our lives as believers should be focused on Christ and his work on the cross and the message he left for us in the Gospels and the rest of the holy scriptures, what we Christians call The Bible.
We are citizens of the Kingdom of God. And yet, we get so entrenched in the bickering and elections in our earthly kingdom. I’m guilty of that. I admit it. But it’s something that I’m working on and I’ve had a paradigm shift in my thinking about politics.
I ran across a video and article the other day that left me aghast. And I have MANY strong feelings about it. Ask my husband – I ranted for quite a while after watching the video. I’m not going to share all of them here, as some are more partisan. What I do want to share is directed to those who claim to be Christ-followers.
Glenn Beck, conservative icon and talk radio host, was in South Carolina stumping for GOP candidate Senator Ted Cruz. Go ahead, watch the video:
I deeply and honestly hope that there were a few statements in that speech that bothered you. If not, I’ll tell you what bothered me.
First of all, Beck is setting himself up as a prophet. He lists several world events that supposedly he predicted and was ridiculed for. First of all, he wasn’t alone in predicting the the rise of Islamist extremists in the Middle East who hope to establish a caliphate. Before he even started focusing on it, there were books on the subject making the rounds. It is common knowledge that Islamic fundamentalists believe it is their destiny to be united under a central political and religious ruler. Secondly, he alone wasn’t declaring the housing bubble would burst. I remember plenty of market watchers urging caution in that area for years before the collapse. I can’t verify his 9/11 claims because I didn’t hear his show in 1999, as he was a NYC only host then, but I know I listed to him constantly in the days following 9/11 (when he was in Tampa and first being syndicated) and I don’t recall him saying, “I was right, I was right.”
But you see, he wants to be seen as someone with a prophetic voice and he’s trying to gain validity with the crowd. Why? Because it’s good for his business and good for his candidate. It’s his thing. He’s sees himself as a voice crying out in the wilderness.
What does the Bible say about someone claiming to be a prophet?
I John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Also we have these words in II Peter.
II Peter 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
I’m not looking to get in a doctrinal debate, but the LDS Church (Mormonism) to which Beck belongs is NOT orthodox Christianity, as the evangelicals in his audience should be able to tell you. With what you know about Glenn Beck and his faith, does he pass the test from the Spirit that “Bible believing, evangelical” Christians would expect?
But that’s not really the worst thing about his speech.
It’s when Beck says this:
“Ask our dear Lord to show you who the man is that has the integrity, who has the connection, who will fall to his knees at the Resolute Desk, who, before he acts, doesn’t think of a poll but looks to the Constitution and the holy scriptures; our Bible and the Constitution both come from God, they are both sacred scriptures!”
Listen, there is nothing wrong with praying for guidance about voting, I suppose. There is nothing wrong with wanting a leader who has integrity and will find solace in prayer. And yes, we do want leaders who will stop with the polls and uphold and defend the Constitution. (But seriously, as a jaded aside – any politician who makes it to the White House is going to live and die by internal polling – it’s the name of the game in DC these days and don’t kid yourself that it’s not going to happen if your chosen candidate wins).
What bothered me more than anything else in Beck’s speech is when he says the Constitution and the Bible are both sacred scriptures and both divinely inspired. Now, I get why he says that – he’s Mormon. Unlike the orthodox Christian denominations who affirm that the Holy Bible is the only sacred and divinely inspired words of God, Mormons allow for other divine scriptures, such as the Book of Mormon.
But Beck is even beyond many of his fellow Mormons when he goes out on the limb and says that the Constitution comes from God and is sacred scripture.
And then, in the video, the crowd broke into applause. The crowd at a supposedly evangelical church, the MorningStar Fellowship Church in Fort Mill, SC, applauded when Glenn Beck declared the Constitution to be sacred scriptures.
Friends, let that sink in. Is the Constitution sacred scriptures? While you might argue it’s a very good governing document, it is not scripture and it is not sacred. It is not to be worshiped and it is not to be venerated as such. That, Glenn Beck, is idolatry, to declare the Constitution as inspired from God.
Glenn Beck is pedaling idolatry, blasphemy, and heresy. Plain and simple. And the church, the body of believers at MorningStar Fellowship Church, applauded at that statement. (Although, I shouldn’t be surprised. Their minister, Rick Joyner is also a self-proclaimed prophet that declared the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 would lead to marital law in America, among other bad or vague prognostications.)
And then Glenn Beck goes on to say:
“You must be an evangelist for the Constitution of the United States. This is your last call, America. Stand, stand for the man I believe was raised for this hour, Ted Cruz.”
No, sir. I must not. I am not to be an evangelist for the Constitution.
There is only one thing that I have been told to go into all the world and preach to all the people. And that sir, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The good news that the the kingdoms of this world WILL fall away and that one day all knees will bow and proclaim Jesus Christ is King of King and Lord of Lords. That this King, this great Lord of all, loved me so much that he came and defeated evil on the cross of Calvary so that I can be a joint heir of the Kingdom of God with Christ.
Let’s really think about the claim that I should be an evangelist for the Constitution. On the surface, sure, you might be able to explain it away as simple rhetoric, but words have power, words mean something to authentic living because what comes out the mouth proceeds from the heart (Matt 15:18). So, let’s examine Beck’s preposterous claim. I’m to be an evangelist for the governing document of my country, the Constitution, that Beck says is sacred scripture.
Friends, is the Constitution of the United States a perfect document? No. Not by any means. It had to be amended multiple times to clarify its meaning. It’s a document that in the Bill of Rights declares the state won’t sanction any one religion. At one time the Constitution declared that slavery was legal and that black lives were only worth 3/5ths of white lives. And women were not seen as equals, instead having to fight for their right to vote up until 100 years ago. The Constitution is not divine, it does not espouse the sentiment to love your enemies, instead it authorizes the government the right to war. Does the Constitution match the words and actions of Jesus Christ? Does it make the least of these the greatest? Is the servant equal to the master?
The Constitution merely establishes a worldly kingdom. No, the Constitution of the United States is certainly not divine, it’s far from perfect (being honest here), and it certainly isn’t sacred scripture. Declaring the Constitution divine, sacred scriptures, and equal to the Word of God is nothing more than the marriage of two heresies: Glenn Beck’s extreme Mormon eschatology and Ted Cruz’s Christian dominionism.
My heart is heavy for the American church. This Glenn Beck speech is just one of the many symptoms that show the body of believers is looking toward an Earthly savior, a political messiah of sorts, that will lead our country to greatness and restore our land to the Christian nation so many desire. The calls of the church during this election year are hollow and missing the forest for the trees, just like the Israelites of old that demanded a king to fix their broken people and the Jews of the inter-testamental period who twisted their scriptures to proclaim a political messiah was coming soon, and then missed the arrival of the actual Messiah.
Be careful this election. When candidates aplenty claim they are running because God told them to, examine those claims carefully. Which one actually heard God correctly? When someone tells you a particular candidate is chosen or anointed by God, that should be a warning sign. Be wise to whom you listen and to whom you are trusting for advice. Yes, by all means vote your conscious and who you feel best represents your beliefs and worldview. But be wise. I hope we all can agree that what Glenn Beck is pedaling is heresy pure and simple.
(Disclaimer: All opinions and thoughts on mandilivingston.com are solely mine.I speak my mind, say what I think. So, these statements are mine alone and do not represent any official statements or beliefs of the ministry of Trinity Church Summerville where I currently serve on staff. I may or may not follow typical church party lines, and my pastor’s cool like that; he’s okay with people have their own opinions. Peace!)