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Glenn Beck, Social Gospel and the Spammish Inquisition

Posted By Mark Meed On March 14, 2010 @ 9:58 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

Like him or hate him, you have to admire Glenn Beck’s ability to take a Louisville Slugger to one beehive after another, with Winnie-the-Pooh like indifference to the consequences. The common thread, largely lost on his critics, is that these are all Progressive beehives. Beck’s concern about the Obama administration, Democrats, Republicans, and, for all I know, The Fraternal Order of Water Buffalo’s, is the extent to which they have been infiltrated by Progressive ideology, which he sees as the great cancer on the Republic. You can agree with this or not but that should be the focus of the argument.

Of course, it never is. Instead we get professional dyspeptics – whose business it is to be more or less perpetually offended – defending positions not under attack, against an enemy that doesn’t exist.

Witness (no pun intended) Peg Chemberlin’s feel-good piece of the week Christians: “Run As Fast As You Can” From The Church Of Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck’s recent statement that people should “run as fast as you can” and leave any church that mentions “social or economic justice” is nothing short of a call for his listeners to disregard central tenets of their faith because they do not conform to Mr. Beck’s political ideology. …

He is advocating that they abandon the full Gospel message in favor of a hollow idol, and he is doing so for worldly gain.

Thank Heaven that Rev. Chemberlin – President, National Council of Churches of Christ and member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships – performs all her good works on a volunteer basis and has no ideological axe of her own to grind, so we don’t have the taint of hypocrisy to undercut her finger-wagging.

Mr. Beck claims that messages of social and economic justice are Trojan horses being sneaked into our churches … Before he goes too much further down that rhetorical path, I would urge Mr. Beck to take some time reading his Bible.

Well gosh, Peg, I will if you will.

Probably the only thing funnier than an atheist pronouncing on matters of faith is hearing  a Social Gospel apologist do the same thing. At least when an atheist pastes together Bible passages like a ransom note you don’t feel like some seminary owes you a refund.

Fact is, unless you cherry pick a verse here and there, like using the Year of Jubilee to make the inane argument that God is actually a redistributionist, the full Gospel message is pretty clear. We, the body of believers, are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, care for the widows and orphans, and do unto the least of our society as we would do unto Christ. We are not called to engage the state as a middle-man in the vain hope that some fraction of our money will trickle down – through the corruption and waste – to the truly needy.

But now that you mention it, I do recall a bunch of statists and plunderers oppressing their people in the name of Yahweh, and note that Jesus spent a good part of those selfsame Gospels smacking them upside the head.

Fact is, the Social Gospel movement was wholly birthed out of the Progressive movement in the late nineteenth century as a bizarre chimera of Christianity and Hegelian Utopianism.

Social Gospel embraced evolutionary theory (although not it’s ’survival of the fittest’ determinism) and saw orthodox religion as insufficient for the times. Social Gospel posited evolution as a divine plan for rational social advancement, and suggested that it become possible, through an empowered central state, to realize the Christian hope that ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Social Gospel adherents considered it to be their mission to fulfill in this life the New Testament’s call to bring about the perfect kingdom of God.

- Pestritto and Atto , “American Progressivism”, 11

The father of Social Gospel, Walter Rauschenbusch, was fairly direct on the matter of redistributionism.

We shall have to resocialize property, made to serve the public good, either by the service it uses render to the public welfare, or by the income it brings to the public treasury. .. Socializing property will mean that instead of serving the welfare of a small group directly, the public welfare only indirectly, it will be made more directly available to the service of all.”

- Rauschenbusch, “Christianizing the Social Order”, 419-20

That would be what Glenn Beck was on about, and the professional “Christians” talking trash and boycotts to secure favor with the current Caesar should consider that if the Book is true, Beck is the least of their problems.


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