Monday, March 8, 2010

American Freedom is NOT Synonymous with Christian Freedom

I do not watch Glenn Beck, nor will I.  I have nothing against the guy; I just choose not to spend my time watching Fox News or CNN.  I keep up with the news but have little need for 24/7 news.  Recently this little gem from Beck came to my attention.  (HT: Christ and Pop Culture)
"I'm begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!"
There are three things that I want to address with this quote. 
1. If Beck means that you should leave a church that is more concerned with social and economic justice than with the gospel then I agree.  Partly.  I say partly because a liberal church that has forsaken the gospel but is concerned with “social justice” is not really a church it is a group of people gathered together to create social change.  That is good, that is okay, but it is not what a church is meant to do.  But I also say that I partly agree because the Church does not have the option of making social justice an “either/or”: As in, "either you preach the gospel or you are concerned with social justice".  Could it be that preaching the gospel entails a concern for social justice; not at the expense of the gospel but because of it.

2. I want to provide a caveat and say that I may be making a wrong connection with what I am about to say.  It is possible that I totally misunderstand Beck and I am making a connection that is really not there.  You decide.

I hear from certain Christian circles a lack of compassion and desire to help those in other nations under the guise of “we need to help our own first”.  (Read this article).  The problem with Beck and many pundits is they think our “right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” is granted to us by the Constitution.  It is the American right, they say.  That is the problem.  The Founding Fathers understood that these rights were given by God to all men.  They were only acknowledging that which is already true.  This is not an American right—this is a Creation right.  Therefore, it is not just the guy living in New Jersey that has this right it is also the guy living in New Zealand.

Call me a flaming liberal if you will but our concern for social and economic justice extends outside the borders of America.  Of course social and economic justice does not mean that everyone has the right to make themselves rich, but that is another topic.

3. Beck is exposed by his very first sentence, “your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them…”  This is NOT our right.  A rather unfortunate result of the Protestant Reformation is that somehow we got the ridiculous idea that we can “read the passages” and “preach the passages” of Scripture how we “want to”. 
Perhaps governmentally speaking we do have the right and should have the right to exercise our freedom in religion.  But if you transfer that belief to hermeneutics and even the judgment of God you do not have that right.  I do not have the freedom to read the Bible however I please.  Freedom is found in truth and obedience.

Okay I’ve opened up a ton of different topics…I’ll stop there.  If I have even been coherent enough to foster discussion…I would love your responses.

Showing once again why he is a million times more wise than I, Dr. Mohler weighs in


  1. Very good points. I would go farther than I think you do here in saying that the whole conception of "rights" is not a biblical concept at all. In fact, as Alasdair MacIntyre shows in his book, After Virtue, the whole concept of human rights is an Enlightenment effort to ground morality in something other than the Word of God. The biblical picture of morality does not come from the imperative to respect the "rights" of others, but from the imperative of obeying the will of God. From a biblical standpoint, the only right anyone has is the right to receive the wages of sin.

    You say you would love my responses, so let me offer one more: given the strong proselytizing tendencies of the Mormon church, I'm rather wary of one of its members telling anyone to leave their church.

  2. Milton,
    Great point. I agree completely. The inalienable rights that we have are really not "rights" at all...they are grace. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Also a good point about him telling people to leave their churches. Where are Mormons on this whole "social justice" thing? Any idea?

  3. That's a good question, and I really don't know the answer. In my rather limited experience on that topic with my Mormon friends and acquaintances I haven't run across any official LDS position on these kinds of matters. In general, Mormons seem to be more concerned with obeying the government than with rallying for social change--although that's obviously not the case with Glenn Beck.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...