Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Is Glenn Beck my brother?

I got into a “discussion” with someone regarding Glenn Beck and the individual in question threw down the “don’t judge” card and referenced the “remove the beam/plank in your own eye first” passages in Matthew and Luke. So that raised an interesting question for me. Is Glenn Beck my brother? If he is not, what is he?

I have made no secret of my concerns about Glenn Beck. Not because of his politics because frankly I don’t know that he believes anything he says. My concern as I have stated often is that Beck attempts to integrate himself into the church by downplaying the very dramatic issues with mormonism and playing up patriotism, nationalism, moralism and economic conservatism. To listen to Beck you would think mormonism was just a slightly variation on orthodox Christianity when it in fact is a completely pagan religion more akin to Norse mythology than Christianity. I don’t know if Beck is covering up his differences because he is trying to infiltrate the church or if it is purely driven by money. Some combination of the two is likely. Regardless, many otherwise well-meaning church going American conservatives find more kinship with a politically conservative unbelieving wolf than they do with a politically liberal fellow born-again follower of Jesus Christ. That is a serious issue.

Back to my question. First, what did Jesus actually say in the “remove the plank from your own eye” account. Here it is:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
Something that I believe gets missed all the time here is that Christ is speaking here of seeing a speck in your brothers eye. Three times in these verses He references “brother”. Now I may be missing the nuance but it seems that Jesus is speaking somewhat narrowly here. Likewise the point here is not “never judge” because Jesus also talks about removing the log from your own eye so that you can see your brother’s eye clearly. So when we apply this to how we are to live our lives, these events are applicable to the relationship between fellow believers.

That brings us to the second question. Is someone like Glenn Beck my brother? What did Jesus say…

Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”(Luke 8:19-21)
So who does Jesus say are our brothers and sisters? Those who hear and do the word of God. Likewise we read that those who are regenerate are adopted into the family of God. My brothers and sisters are not those who I agree with politically, they are those God has elected, regenerated and adopted into His family.

One more Scripture. Paul doesn’t seem really interested in judging those outside of the church:

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
Since people like Beck are unbelievers, shouldn’t we ignore them and concentrate on getting our own house in order? We certainly have plenty of need to get our house in order but that doesn’t preclude any of us from warning fellow believers about false prophets and ravening wolves who seek to weasel their way into our midst. When someone tries to pass himself of as “one of us” but is proven to be a false professor we don’t have an option here. I have no access to Glenn Beck otherwise I would call on him to repent. I do have a platform to address a small part of the church and in that capacity I think it is perfectly appropriate and necessary to warn the church about an evil person in our midst. That might strike you as an especially harsh statement. Is Glenn Beck really an “evil person”? Well if we define an evil person as someone who does evil and if we would qualify trying to lead God’s people astray with false and blasphemous teaching as being inherently evil, then yes I can’t see how we can view him any other way. There is a difference between someone who is lost and being led astray and someone who is leading people astray.

Jesus, Peter, Paul and John warned the church repeatedly about those who outwardly seek to appear as a follower of Christ but who are really false prophets, false brothers, ravenous wolves. They come in all shapes and sizes from Harold Camping to Jim Jones, Thomas Monson to David Koresh, Glenn Beck to Charles Taze Russell. Regardless they all have something in common: they pervert the Gospel for their own benefit.

The Bible, I believe, makes a distinction between the lost and false prophets and wolves. I try hard not to judge an unbeliever for acting in ignorance like an unbeliever. How exactly should we expect those who are outside of Christ to act? Now someone who is a false prophet, a wolf trying to integrate himself among the sheep to deceive and scatter them? That is a whole different proposition.

I am fully aware of my own failings and they are many and varied. My awareness of my own failings and those areas where I have a log in my eye have nothing to do with warning the Body about those who seek to sneak in and spread lies and dissension among the people of God. My sincere hope is that God saves Glenn Beck out of mormonism just as He saved me. Until that happens and as long as Beck seeks to lead people astray, I will warn anyone who wants to listen to see him for what he is, a false brother and someone that we should have no fellowship with, no matter how much he calls for a strong national defense and lower taxes.


Aussie John said...


I know little about the fellow, but enough to applaud your article.

In this country there is an attempt,even amongst some churches(?), to broaden what calls itself "Christianity" to be all embracing of anyone who believes in a god. Sovereign, Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth, is included in the pantheon, and just one of the players.

Bean said...

I think you are on to something. This past weekend I went to church with my youngest daughter, she chooses not to be Catholic, she attends a local non-denominational church, she invited me to go with her. I went, it was pleasant, and I would go with her again. I am pleased that she is on the Christian journey, and know that she will benefit from her experiences.
Would I go to three different groups in one day, probably not, but this Sunday I attend Central Christian with Emily, took her home, then went to my Secular Franciscan (secular in that we are an order, but we are not nuns or brothers) monthly fraternity gathering for fellowship and food with my Catholic brothers and sisters.
It was a very pleasant Sunday!

Bean said...

I did not mean to post this comment under the Glen Beck post. OOPS :)

Arthur Sido said...


In America there is such a blurring of the lines between American patriotism and the church that the two become indistinguishable. For many people, making the right noise about "God bless America" is sufficient to label someone a Christian.

Arthur Sido said...

Bean, I wondered what that had to do with Glenn Beck but now I figured it out. I have been to Central Ministries as well for a conference.

Bean said...

Interestingly a local Mennonite college, Goshen College, never sang the national anthem, last year they started singing at sporting events, they tried it for a year and the board decided to drop it. The local news channel had an article on their website about it, the hostility in the comments posted was shocking. So much for freedom of speech. Christianity is putting God first in your life, not country.