Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Gospel of Beck

I don't know much about Glenn Beck. He strikes me as a Rush Limbaugh clone -- someone who knows how to say outrageous things in order to get ratings. After all, that is what talk radio is all about -- getting ratings.

Recently, Beck made the comment that if your church preaches a gospel of social justice, to "run as fast as you can." He said that social and economic justice are "code words" for communism and Nazism.

I agree with the newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts who wrote that "the gospel according to Beck is missing the red words." I personally don't want anyone running away from our church. But I would be an unfaithful minister of the Word if I was to fail to call us to social justice. It is one of the main themes of Scripture, maybe best summed up with these words from Matthew 23: 23: "but you have neglected the more important matters of the law -- justice, mercy and faithfulness." Scripture even tells us that justice is more important than the offering of ritual worship!

When the Israelite (and Scripture) spoke of justice, it was not in the legal sense that we might think of -- administering a right judgment in court. Rather, it was about caring for the marginalized.

There are obviously many strengths to American capitalism. But that is not to say it is perfect. And one of its weaknesses is that it dehumanizes those who are "lesser." The assumption is that their condition is their fault. Sometimes, that is true. But not always. And mercy would still call upon us to care for them all. Not to enable, but to empower. I believe that as a nation, this is not just an option. I believe God will hold us accountable to that.

I like the way Pitts ends his column. He writes: "(Beck) thinks we should flee the church that preaches social and economic justice? I think you should flee the one that does not."


Anonymous said...

I like Beck ... alot .... but I certainly don't agree with him. Standing on it's own, the statement is insensitive and hard-hearted. I certainly can't defend it. But, as with anyone, I would like to hear Beck's explanation of the statement before passing judgment on him from someone else's commentary.

Rick Ross said...

I would like to hear how he would explain such a statement, too. I had actually read about this in several sources. I don't feel like my comments passed judgment him as a person, other than to say he states things in sensational ways -- like Limbaugh.

Kyle R. said...

I would like to expound upon several thoughts here, but do not have the time. But I would like to gently point out that there is no such thing as a true "gospel of social justice." There is simply the true gospel of Jesus Christ, which because of that gospel, motivates his followers to life of justice and mercy and faithfulness.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Rick.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you as well Rick. I think our country would be a much better place if we as a society were not so self-centered. Jesus calls us to help the less fortunate, but more often we judge their circumstance and blame them. I wish more people could look beyond themselves and see there are people in need who Jesus has called us to serve.

Anonymous said...

Most of Beck's commentary has to do with government involvement in our lives. I believe that churches and christians are absolutely called to make a difference in social issues. I would, however, be wary of a church that looked to the government to make this stand in it's name. It is my personal calling as a Christian to spread that message or quietly serve, not the governments.

yankeestom said...

Rick, most sources that write about Beck take him entirely out of context. I would recommend that you look into what he actually has to say on this subject. Beck is very devout (a mormon, I believe) and talks almost every day about the need in our country for a return to faith, hope, and charity. His remarks on Social Justice were directed at those churches that pervert the term and support the government being the primary means for implementing it.

If we let the government take our money and be charitable with it for us, I think we're missing the point of charity. That is what he was getting at. I think if you listened to him a little bit rather than take commentary on him at face value, you would have a much different opinion of him.

Rick Ross said...

I have apparently hit on a nerve by commenting on Beck's statement, as many are trying to convince me of my need to listen to him. I still think what he said is without defense -- regardless of the context.

I don't listen to any political pundits, and don't plan on starting to. I am really not interested in politics in general. I am passionate about caring for the "least of these."

We are to be invested in another kingdom, and it has managed to weather many political climates through the ages. My advice would be that we all spend more time on kingdom issues than political ones.