Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beck’s America

I must say I was impressed with the turn out at Glenn Beck’s Restore America rally at the mall in DC yesterday, but I’ll also admit, I’m a bit uncomfortable.  The event has all the earmarks of the early days of the Moral Majority – a well meaning conglomeration of Catholics, Evangelicals and others seeking a moral high ground for America in a political context.  Beck’s “get back to God” falls into this category in my humble opinion, but it also begs an important question or two: “Which God?”  “Whose God?”

Some time ago I was confronted with the very well thought out and well written Manhattan Statement.  Frankly, for me, it has all the right ideas.  But those who sign the statement claim to agree with one another on some basic tenets of faith, and the unfortunate thing about the Manhattan Statement is that some of the signers really do not agree about the nature of God, though they claim to, so in good conscience I could not sign it , and though one of my most favorite Christian authors,, Chuck Colson, endorses the Statement, another of my most favorite Christian writers, R. C. Sproul, could not and did not, and for the reasons I have also come to.

So if I can’t sign something as excellently thought out, comprehensive, well written and in the right direction on all matters social and political as the Manhattan Statement, I find myself all the more at odds with the very broad, very generic “get back to God” theme touted in DC yesterday.  In fact, it gives me kind of a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because I see so many who, with good intentions, are getting swallowed up in something so shallow.  And when it dissipates, they will be disillusioned.

Beck is a Mormon, and as a Christian I say Christ was the God-Man sent by the Father, foreshadowed in the Old Testament as the “Son of Man” as mentioned in the Book of Daniel; Immanuel and the suffering servant in the Book of Isaiah.  Mormons do not agree with Christ’s claim to diety, that as Christ claimed, “Before Abraham, I Am,” and that Christ was / is the God-man, the Second Adam, who paid humanities debt with His own flesh and blood and justified His flock.  We are millions of miles apart on tenants of faith, though we may have agreement about culture, social issues, government intrusion, taxes, but let’s be honest, we do not agree on who is God.

So I’m a bit uncomfortable about Beck and those flying under his flag right now, including Sarah Palin.  Oh it’s nice to hear public figures make professions of faith in public, it encourages their fans to do likewise, but give me Billy Graham for that kind of thing. 

I know this is a departure from the many of my compatriot conservatives with whom I find myself in general agreement on the tactical issues, but let’s just agree to disagree about this fundamental, strategic concept for conservatism in America.  My God is a lot bigger than what Beck and co. are making Him out to be.  He is not a vague moral choice.  He is God.  And don’t mess with Him.  Don’t use Him like this please.  He just might not like it, and might let you know in some of the ways He showed it in His word.  Be careful with this.

When you have your rallies, I might smile wryly as I hear the ideas with which I may have some agreement, and perhaps chuckle embarrassingly a bit when I hear something hollow said about a generic god, and you might find the likes of me going along for the ride for now.  But let’s be clear, as the President would say in a his typical patronizing manner, I am not one of you.  I march to a different Drummer, and if and when the going gets us into the slough of despond, I will not be standing with you on getting back to God.  Your God is too small.

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