Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ungrateful Church Leaders Hammer Glenn Beck

In the wake of Saturday’s Restoring Honor Rally and the now-famous “Gods Geese Flyover, radio host and author Glenn Beck is coming under fire, not only from the expected liberal/progressive/socialist/communist community, but also from conservative and progressive church leaders, many of who have instructed their own flocks to pay no attention to such supposed “signs from God”. Echoing the Huffington Post and other liberal weblogs, they cry, "It was only a flock of geese...." Expect Sunday sermons to include instructions from the pulpit to turn off the charismatic Beck's radio program. Church leaders apparently fear that Beck, the self-proclaimed “rodeo clown”, is planning to lead their flocks astray.

“Well isn’t that special?”

For most of my life, I have been reading scripture, especially the prophetic passages in Ezekiel, Daniel, Matthew and the Revelation. I have studied the Biblical ‘signs of the end’ and wondered how some of them would ever come to pass in America, the land of the free and home of the brave. For a long time, it seemed we were just grinding along the same old same old year after year with nothing new happening. I wondered when God would send the Holy Spirit upon his children and call them out of Babylon at last. I wondered when Satan would make his move to take over the governments of the world as was foretold would happen at the end.

Then, with breath-taking speed, signs that the end is coming began to happen right before my eyes. I heard people everywhere saying, “It’s time. Jesus must be coming soon.” Jesus Himself said that when we saw the signs we would know His coming is soon and that just before the end, He would call us to come out of Babylon and He would come for us.

When God calls "Come out of her my people," I believe He will call people from every faith, nation, kindred, tongue and tribe. We’ve all, in every denomination, give some lip-service to the idea that we aren’t the only ones God will save, but we figure most of them will belong to our brand of faith at the very least.

So when we see apparently leaderless Christians and people of good will banding together and calling for a return to God, obedience to His law and not the law of man and they are doing it without their church’s head guys at the head of the line, it is not surprising that church leaders would yelp. You betcha the leaders of denominations are going to be upset that this funny little Mormon guy is out there calling for a revival and more people are responding than you can count (if you try to tot up the TV audiences who sat glued to their televisions for hours on Saturday). They are as upset as the Republican leadership is over the Tea Parties and that whole unruly, out-of-control gang of conservatives.

Leaders don't like their followers thinking for themselves or paying attention to someone else. Of course, they will find something sinister in what’s going on. After all, it’s not their idea. It’s not some thought they jotted down in their notebook on an airplane to Chicago:

Let’s see….

1. Lube the car
2. Take the dog to the Vet
3. Start a revival
4. Pick up dry cleaning

I've been carefully listening to Glenn Beck for more than a year now and find nothing sinister in his message. His call on Saturday was a call to faith in God whatever you conceive him to be in whatever church you worship.

The Baptist* leaders ought to complain the least about Beck. They should be downright grateful. Beck actually told half a million Christians (many of them Baptists) that they ought to pay tithe to their churches. Most pastors, especially congregational churches like the Baptists, are afraid to give that sermon because they know they will lose half their congregation or better by the next Sunday. Beck’s challenge to his audience was, “If you believe, give your church 10%.” Oddly enough it was a tax increase that the notoriously anti-taxation crowd responded to enthusiastically. Beck, in effect, just gave most Baptist ministers a pay raise without them having to risk their jobs!

Ungrateful is what I’d call it.

I’m just telling you what I think….

Tom King – Tyler, TX

*P.S.   I know it's not just the Baptists that are squealing, it's just that Baptist Seminary President, Dr. Russel Moore, got pretty vocal right out of the gate.  He's not alone, of course, but Russel Moore called the Restoring Honor Rally "scandalous".  I wonder if he even watched any of it?  He makes assumptions about what was said at the rally that weren't warranted.  His article, published by the American Family Association, sounded more like "Wait for me, I'm your leader," than anything else; a lament, the theme of which is that traditional church leadership hasn't been able to kick up a decent national revival for years.

Glenn is, I think, doing the right thing. I may disagree with his theology, but I figure God will take care of our theological differences when it is important to do that. A group Q&A at the Pearly Gates ought to take care of it. 

Russell Moore would also disagree just as vehemently with my theology if I were to have given the keynote last weekend. Only an "official" Baptist at the mike on Saturday would have done for Doctor Moore. I think he's being really short sighted.

In the meantime, the call is "Come out of her my people." That's what I heard at Saturday's rally.  It was a clear call to me and I'm proud to say that my church has been preaching that particular sermon for better than 150 years. I'm just glad it's beginning to get a little volume to it and I welcome anyone who will sound the call whatever their faith, creed, nation or culture. Glad you guys are catching up.

And while I sympathize with the fears of leaders like Moore, I'm not worried. God is a lot bigger and more powerful than we sometimes give Him credit for and He makes a whole lot better leader than do the guys in the $500 suits and the plastic hair!

Again, that's just one man's opinion.



Digital Publius said...

Do you really believe this Tom? Wow!

Tom King said...

Yes, I, in point of fact, do believe that God makes a better leader than the guys in the $500 suits and the plastic hair!