Unmasking Progressive Christianity

When I wrote an earlier piece about the accusations that were flying over Glenn Beck’s ‘social justice’ quote I made a couple misjudgments. First of all, I misjudged the extent of the dishonesty behind the attacks. It turns out that the version of Glenn Beck’s quote that is circling the net has been selectively edited.

Here’s the version that you’ll find:

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!

Here’s what Beck actually said:

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, if I am going to Jeremiah Wright’s church.

It’s no surprise that the reference to Jeremiah Wright was scrubbed. No one wants to take on the job of defending the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but if Beck’s accusers (like Jim Wallis) can convince people that Beck was “attacking the very heart of our Christian faith” they have an opportunity to strike back against progressivism’s #1 enemy. And if they have to help the truth a long a little bit, what’s the problem? (You know, except for the list. It’s still #9.)

My second misjudgment was the size of the can of worms we’re dealing with here.

Beck has it in for progressives and they have been feeling the heat. Glenn Beck’s ratings are through the roof, he’s the biggest single force behind the Tea Party movement, and his show led to Van Jones’s forced resignation. So there’s no doubt that progressives have it in for the man.

When he made the now infamous statement they thought they had finally spotted a weak spot. Reverend Jim Wallis led the charge to attempt to turn Beck’s base against him by casting him as anti-Christian.

The problem is that this attack on Glenn Beck has the potential to backfire in catastrophic ways because it’s based on quote-scrubbing and doublethink. The New York Times is (surprise, surprise) taking Wallis’s doublethink and running with it:

In attacking churches that espouse social justice, Mr. Beck is taking on most mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, black and Hispanic congregations in the country — not to mention plenty of evangelical churches and even his own, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Really? This is a snipped from Glenn Beck’s broadcast this morning:

I’ve told you this, the progressive movement started with people like Woodrow Wilson whose father was a preacher! They perverted Christianity! “The concept is that Christians should not merely give to the poor but also work to correct unjust conditions that keep people poor.” Yes! You’re exactly right. We should as Christians do that. But then there’s that added little step of having the government do it, not you.

The portion that is in quotes is from Rev. Wallis. Reverend Wallis puts this benign, lovable definition of the term forward as though Glenn Beck had attacked it. Glenn Beck never attacked the idea that “we should work to correct unjust conditions that keep people poor”, and now he’s on record that he supports that concept.  (He just doesn’t call it ‘social justice’.) What he attacked is the idea that we should have the government enact and enforce those corrections.

This is what really explains the level of vitriol being hurled at Beck. Not only do progressives hate him already, but they are terrified that he’s going to expose ‘social justice’ for what it really means. Beck is right.  They’ve been perverting Christianity while no one was watching, but he’s about to shine a spotlight on them. In fact, he’s already started. On Thursday’s program he introduced America to Father Coughlin. Right up until the time when FDR had the plug pulled, Coughlin was the biggest voice in American radio. He was also a virulent anti-Semite and an extreme progressive who (like all progressives of the time) made apologies for Hitler and Mussolini. He backed FDR until he decided FDR wasn’t going far enough. Want to guess what his slogan was? “Social Justice.” Want to guess what his magazine was called? Social Justice. Care to guess what his organization was called? The National Union for Social Justice. Getting the picture?

So far this cancerous form of social justice has survived beside the benign version for two reasons.  First of all Christians prefer to emphasize unity. But more importantly: no one was making an issue of it. And so no one bothered to check. Well it’s time to start checking.

Father Coughlin wasn’t some isolated incident. The idea of social justice is inextricably tied up with progressive Christianity. What are some differences between progressive Christianity and mainstream Christianity? So glad you asked:

Many, if not most, Progressive Christians believe that the Bible is not the literal word of God. While all Progressive Christians recognize Jesus Christ, some view him not as the only way to God, but one of many ways, continuing the Christian modernist paradigm. Inclusiveness and acceptance is the basic posture of Progressive Christianity.

Progressive Christians tend to focus on issues of social justice, rather than proselytizing efforts to convert others, as conservatives and mainstream Evangelicals tend to emphasize.

I want to make something clear. As a devout Mormon I follow our Articles of Faith, including number 11:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

If progressive Christians want to believe there are alternative paths to salvation besides Christ, or that the Bible is not the Word of God, or any other such thing, that is fine by me. It is their God-given right to believe as they see fit, and it’s a right I’m grateful our nation has enshrined in law.  I won’t ever try to force my beliefs on progressive Christians, but I also won’t stand to see them try to enforce their beliefs on me or on anyone else, and that is exactly what they are trying to do when they advocate a form of ‘social justice’ that includes using government power to redistribute wealth.

Jesus taught us to love one another and to “Come, follow me,” but last time I checked he never tried to have Caesar make failure to do so a crime.  All question of religious freedom aside, I simply don’t believe that’s good policy. I’m going to oppose progressive policies no matter where they come from because they are bad policies, and that’s the end of it.

I’m not going to try and inundate this post with a stream of additional examples of progressive Christianity and their perverted version of social justice at work.  Glenn Beck has staff for that, and I’m hopeful that now that his mind is on the topic he’ll set them to work.

But I do want to say one more thing: I am genuinely saddened to see so many good-hearted Christians be led astray by the likes of Reverend Wallis.  There are so many gentle souls who have no idea what Glenn Beck really said.  They read the New York Times or any of the small religious blogs, and all they see is that Beck for some reason decided to haul off and assault Christianity.  I hope that many of them will be able to realize that there’s something fishy going on, but from the reading I’ve done it seems that plenty of them are being fooled.

After all, if their church teaches “social justice” in the truly Christian sense of the word then they most likely aren’t really aware of the mutant version spreading throughout Christianity.  That’s the one reason I wish Beck would have been more careful in his original comments, and I hope that he will try to be clear from now on.  On the other hand, no matter how clear he tries to be, plenty of progressive Christians will be ready and willing to chop up his quotes and deliberately misrepresent them as long as they can get away with it.

So don’t let them get away with it.  You’ve all got friends and family who’ve heard about this story.  Everyone should make up their own mind on what to believe, but they can only do that if they have the facts.  And since the mainstream media isn’t going to provide those facts, it’s up for us to do their job for them.

Progressives think this is an opportunity to go after Beck, but they are betting on a lie.  They are betting they can misrepresent Beck while keeping their own mask firmly in place.

Me?  I never bet on a lie.

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Comments

  1. Randy Wills says:

    Another great article by Robert Wallace. I couldn’t agree more with his perspective on this issue.

    As I have said previously, the Progressives (as well as the purveyors of the “Prosperity Gospel”, such as Joel Osteen) have co-opted authentic Christianity and dressed it in such terms as “social justice”. We Christians, above all others, want “social justice” and prosperity for all, but we first want individuals to understand that there is no justice or peace apart from the Prince of Peace. It will not come from the hands of unregenerate man – or government; it will only come from Him, one individual at a time.

    Randy

  2. John Thornton says:

    Conservatism’s return to the forefront of our country’s ideals will be poisoned by you idiots who think that you and your congregation can ever agree with every other idiots’ congregation’s moral values. I don’t need a god to tell me what the Constitution says and either do you, so STOP TRYING. It’s been 2000 years since Christianity branched off of Judaism, and it’s been branching and dividing well meaning peoples ever since. This country does not need gods, it needs men of moral character grounded in our Constitution.

  3. sharon says:

    I gave up on Glenn completely last week, when he most definitely mistakenly called Geert Wilders a fascist. He knows better, or should, so what is up with that. I appreciate what Glenn has brought to the forefront, but He has nothing to say that I am interested in. The arrogant man apparently thinks he is all that and a bag of chips… of course just my opinion.

  4. Robert Wallace says:

    John-

    I’m not sure why you’re so angry. I don’t expect my congregation to agree with everyone else. As a Mormon growing up in the Bible Belt I know exactly where my own faith diverges from other Christians. And I’m fine with that. There’s absolutely no reason that I can’t disagree in good faith with my evangelical and Catholic friends and yet come together in unity on the principles of the US Constitution. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? The values our nation was founded on are so fundamental that they can be a point of agreement between all kinds of Christians in addition to people of every faith including atheists, agnostics, and other secularists.

    This isn’t an attempt to find perfect unity. It’s calling out progressives wherever they can be found.

    Sharon-

    I’m perpetually confused by folks who get angry at Glenn Beck over some individual comment he said. If you’re looking for someone who can talk 20 hours and never disagree with you, why don’t you just listen to yourself talk?

    Beck gets things wrong. I disagree with him from time to time. So what? The thing that matters to me is simply this: I believe Glenn Beck is sincere, Glenn Beck is competent (not perfect), and I believe he does more good than harm.

    Where would the conservative opposition to Obama be without Glenn Beck today? If you don’t want to listen to the guy because he took a swipe at your pet sacred cow I think you’re just cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    But hey, it’s your call.

  5. Randy Wills says:

    To John Thornton.

    I assume that I am one of “you idiots”, and I would just like to ask you, how is that “God? We don’t need no stinking God” thing working out for you and the world that we see every day in the media?

    But there is one thing that we agree on. This country doesn’t need “gods”; it needs just one God. That would be the One that the Founders alluded to throughout the founding documents. We already have a few million self-worshipping “gods” in the form of persons such as yourself, each with their own little kingdom of 1.

    Randy

  6. Watch em scurry says:

    Anybody that isn’t listening to, or quits listening to Beck is going to end up way under informed. He’s my 21st century Paul Revere. He’s the ‘kitchen light’ on the progressive cockroaches. I have a thing or two I disagree with him on, not to be brought up in this room again by me out of cowardice, but I need the info he is bringing.

  7. Gail B. says:

    It DOES look like the (new) Progressives could come up with some NEW ideas or material, instead of using the old that can be researched and exposed, doesn’t it? But, I suppose the present-day Progressives figure that if it worked before, it should work again on those who aren’t old enough to remember that far back. Communism is the takeover of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–to fill selected elites’ pockets.

  8. Gail B. says:

    Watch em scurry–

    AMEN!!!

  9. PP says:

    John,
    You said we need men of moral character, so I am wondering, upon what do you base your ideas of morality? Is it an objective source? And if not, upon what basis would you defend your subjective morality superior to anyone else’s view of morality?

    Randy,
    +1

    Scurry,
    I agree.

  10. PP says:

    Oh, and Robert… excellent piece!

  11. Ima SoBelle says:

    Thanks, Robert, for this well-done piece. I watched that show of Beck’s and was totally blown away by everything he documented. Taking words out of context and/or leaving out sentences and phrases tells me that if you have to lie (which is what they are doing), you have a very weak or non-existent argument. Did they really think no one would check the source? Unfortunately, there are many that never do check and fall for things such as this. Whipping up anti-Beck sentiment to me is a sign that he is stepping on toes big-time. I don’t always agree with him, but I sure do appreciate all of the research he does and generally learn a great deal from his shows.

  12. Syd B. says:

    If you would like to see the fascinating and incriminating background of Rev. Jim Wallis, Obama’s faith advisor, have a read here: http://newzeal.blogspot.com/

    Scroll down to the second article: “Obama 100″ The connections to Marxism are astounding.

  13. Randy Wills says:

    Thanks, Syd B., for your reference to the “newzeal” blog posting. It give an accurate profile of Jim Wallis, but there are others who are linked to this progressive “Christian” movement. Perhaps a little closer to the “center” is the “Emergent Church” movement with Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo (too bad, because there was a time that I realy admired Tony), and others. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I believe (I need to go back and check my reseach) that Brian is the brother of Peter McLaren, who is an avowed Communist on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education.

    Cool bunch, these guys. Just all shades of the same color.

    Randy

  14. Rick M. says:

    Robert,

    I don’t disagree with what you have to say concerning Glenn Beck but Mr. Beck has been double dealing here. Ever since fox news got into bed with the Saudis their tone has been “side” with the muslims. Of course they don’t do it on minor issues but on bigger issues fox news and the likes of Glenn Beck are bowing to their new masters. Glenn Beck was for finding out and questioning the eligibilty of Obama before he was against it and he has changed his tune. The same rings true of the 9/11 truth controversy. Having said this I still like Beck and I listen more carefully to what he is saying. I think we have a duty and a right to critize Glenn Beck as well. He has been too hypocritcal on too many issues. I also believe that with little exception all in the media are being told to keep their mouths shut concerning the Birth Certificate issue. I think we are owed the truth as Americans as to Mr. Obama’s eligibilty. Right now he hasn’t given any information concerning his natural born citizenship nor his college records, baptismal and many ot her things that a “normal” President would have no problem providing the American people. So, why does Obama refuse ? Good Day

  15. Linda B. says:

    This was an excellent piece Robert and you captured not only what is going on with the attack on Chrisianity and Beck, but also the mode of operation of the Progressives and those who would subvert this country. This is also what is happening in every aspect of our lives as the plan is now in place and the people have infiltrated every organization to gain control of this country.

    I think the scariest thing is the linkage between Christianity as advocated by the Progressives and government. This would eliminate the separation of Church and State. It would enable the government to dictate what is preached or not preached from the pulpit. It would mean control of the most important area of freedom and independence – the right to worship as each individual sees fit. I also believe it violates God’s laws. Let me explain. From the beginning God made it clear He would not interfere with man’s free will. Now, if God does not interfere in man’s free will than those who do are negating His actions. This is evil. This is suppressing, molding or denying a human beings’ inherent right – free will. I believe this is what the progressives are really after as are all those who want and did want to control the world…Hitler, Napoleon, Mussolini, Barack Obama. Yes, Obama since he wants to do his own will and disregard the predominant will of the people. One has to chose to be kind and giving to his fellow man, but you cannot make him. You can only show him the error of his ways by example and words. If you use force or render his will invalid, you are just as bad as he is.

  16. Robert Wallace says:

    Rick-

    “Ever since fox news got into bed with the Saudis…”

    I don’t know how many large organizations you’ve worked for, but the kind of group cohesion required to pull off a conspiracy like this is unheard of. You have to suspend reasonable belief in human nature to believe that a scheme like this would be possible, which is one of the fundamental failings of conspiracy theories.

    “Right now he hasn’t given any information concerning his natural born citizenship nor his college records, baptismal and many ot her things that a “normal” President would have no problem providing the American people.”

    You honestly think that in America we should be able to require baptismal records from anyone? I don’t care if you’re the President of these United States or the president of the local school board, *no one* should be expected to put up with that kind of invasion. And for what it’s worth, I’d be really curious to see how many past presidents have handed over documents like this.

    If I someone demanded to see the paperwork on my baptism I would tell them exactly where they could put the paperwork.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Rick M that is a losing battle in here, no matter the stench of secrecy rising off this man in the White House. We can just hang on and see if history will prove us right for our wonderment with this camouflaged candidate.

  18. LJ says:

    Great article Robert. I am Catholic and frustrated that so many of my fellow Catholics through ignorance, willful or otherwise, cannot see that Catholic social teaching does not prescribe anything like the leftist agenda of the current power triumvirate of Pelosi, Reid and Obama. And there are those Catholics whose agenda is to deliberately distort or oppose Catholic teaching to support their radical leftist ideology, their true religion.

    Glenn Beck may be a lot of things but on this one he has kicked over a few barrels and exposed a lot of rats in the ship. There are a lot of Father Coughlins (with or without the anti-semitism) in the ranks of the social justice movement today and they tend to intimidate the ignorant. True Catholic social justice is accompanied by the principle of subsidiarity, which when understood looks a lot like the way the founders of America envisioned the government of the people. But de-centralization is an enathema to the leftists and so they ignore or try to obscure that part of Catholic teaching.

    Theologically you and I are far apart but just as Mormons, Catholics and other Christians cooperated in California on Prop 8 (and Mormons took a lot of the heat from the “tolerant” left on that one) I appreciate your stance for truth here in the political realm even when it indicts my own fellow Catholics who cravenly use the Catholic faith as a cover for their radical leftist agenda.

    Glenn Beck has made a lot of them squirm. Good for him. This debate needs to be out in the open air, because much as they demand it from the right, the left has never believed in the separation of Church and state.

  19. JAN says:

    “During those times many will be deceived.” Personally, I believe the only way to prevent being deceived is through a relationship with the Prince of Peace. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can discern what is truth and what is not. “To those not of the faith it is foolishness.”

    As far as Beck is concerned, when people want to write him off for a particular comment I wonder about their own perfection. Are they so perfect that they expect perfection at all times of others? I tend to look at a person’s actions as they are a good testimony of their thoughts and what’s in their hearts. I don’t always agree with what Beck says but I don’t always agree with what many of my friends or family say. I don’t write them off though. If there is a question on something he stated I test it against scripture and I pray about it. I tend to believe his heart is in the right place. I remember reading about a young boy named David who wronged God in so many ways, yet his heart always longed to be reconciled to his Maker. Perfection on this side of eternity will never be recognized by any of us, don’t put those expectations on Beck. Accept him for the human individual he is and take what you do agree with and discard the rest.

  20. Alexander says:

    Robert,
    When one wishes to run for an elective office of any kind, an individual must provide verification of ‘qualification’ for that office. This is not an invasion of ones privacy but rather acknowledgement to the voters of eligibilty. One must qualify, just as a Dr’s credentials are verified before they are allowed to practice publicly. Further, just as there are ‘levels’ of qualification for individuals from a drivers license to a pilots license etc., there is a higher level of proof required for an individual running for a specific elected office. (Just try to be ‘appointed’ to a planning or zoning board and see the ‘confict of interest’ and financial forms to complete for yourself AND spouse etc.) To date no one has seen the original qualifying Birth Certificate of our elected president and he has spent a million dollars plus to keep it that way. I guess as they use to say in Russia…some comrades are more equal than other comrades. As a note, that “certification of live birth” won’t get you to a drivers license in Hawaii today (they want the real birth certificate). Either the US Constitution is the ‘Law of the Land”…or anarchy. Choose!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Alexander,
    Even the enlistees of this Commander-In-Chief showed theirs to enlist.
    He may have one, he may not, and he is too pompous to just cough it up.
    That’s really all that needs to be said about this communist-raised youngin.
    We are seeing the results of electing a weather underground hugging, pot smoking 60′s radical.

  22. PUT UP OR SHUT UP... SHUT UP says:

    HONOLULU – Birthers beware: Hawaii may start ignoring your repeated requests for proof that President Barack Obama was born here.

    As the state continues to receive e-mails seeking Obama’s birth certificate, the state House Judiciary Committee heard a bill Tuesday permitting government officials to ignore people who won’t give up.

    “Sometimes we may be dealing with a cohort of people who believe lack of evidence is evidence of a conspiracy,” said Lorrin Kim, chief of the Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Planning, Policy and Program Development.
    So-called “birthers” claim Obama is ineligible to be president because, they argue, he was actually born outside the United States, and therefore doesn’t meet a constitutional requirement for being president.

    Hawaii Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued statements last year and in October 2008 saying that she’s seen vital records that prove Obama is a natural-born American citizen.

    But the state still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama’s birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii, Kim said Tuesday.
    A few of these requesters continue to pepper the Health Department with the same letters seeking the same information, even after they’re told state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest. Responding wastes time and money, Kim said.

    Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

    The issue coincides with Sunshine Week, when news organizations promote open government and freedom of information.

    “Do we really want to be known internationally as the Legislature that blocked any inquiries into where President Obama was born?” asked Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R-Kaneohe-Kailua. “When people want to get more information, the way to fuel that fire is to say, ‘We’re now going to draw down a veil of secrecy.’”

    Nobody at the hearing questioned the fact that the president was born in Hawaii.

    Attorney Peter Fritz asked why the state would pass a law punishing repetitive requests for open records. Instead, the state could simply say it would only answer each person’s question once.

    If the measure passed, the state Office of Information Practices could declare an individual a “vexatious requester” and restrict rights to government records for two years.

    The committee will schedule a vote on the measure, said Chairman Jon Riki Karamatsu, D-Waipahu-Waikele.
    ___

  23. Rick M. says:

    The battle continues ! Robert yes “since foxed news got into bed” with the Saudis. Yes they have! The battle for the “Identification” of this President will go on. Robert your being closed minded when I said baptismal record. Your remark reminds me of a Liberal. I was using that as an example of one of the many records he could release and has not. Robert Obama is in my humblest opinion is a fraud. He has misled 53% of the voting population. I believe and there is no doubt in my mind that he is not a ” naturally born citizen” key word naturally born! Obama has admitted that himself in his book. He is a Usurper and those that continue their denial of the facts are screwing America! This issue of his eligibilty will not go away and those of you who continue to believe otherwise need to prove otherwise. There is no valid BC of Obama anywhere. The one on fact check was a phoney and proven as such. Of course you dont hear that. Denial keeps us from understanding, correcting what is wrong with this situation. I’m rambling sorry.. P.S. A murderer with half as much circumstantial evidence than the evidence against Obama would be convicted!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Rick M is right.

  25. Stay the course Rick says:

    1) “Columbia University will not divulge whether the “alleged” diploma issued was in the name of Barry Soetoro or Barack Hussein Obama. No public record exists regarding the diploma.”

    2) “Obama alleges he attended Columbia in 1982, 1983. But, the investigators have been UNABLE to turn up a single shred of written documentation for the years 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 that show where Obama appeared on a school roster, register, faculty memo, bulletin board, school awards, dean’s list; where Obama’s name appeared in a yearbook, club record, fraternity record, extra curricular activity member roster, student newspaper, student radio or TV activity; where Obama appeared in any records as a worker, employee, laborer in or about Columbia University; where Obama enrolled in any sports activity or program.”

    3) “As a graduating senior in 1983 he does not appear in any Political Science (his major) or Graduating Class yearbook or invitation records.”

    4) “There is absolutely no documentation of any kind to show Obama attended, lived, worked or played at Columbia University during the investigated 4 years.”

    5) “Interviewed professors, college employees, students (who were at Columbia during the years in question) have failed to turn up a single person that can remember Obama. This is irrefutable evidence. Think about your own situation if Obama had attended your college? A “now-famous” person went to your school? Many would be able to say, “Of course I remember.” At Columbia, not a single person has been able to say he or she remembers Obama.” [7]

  26. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Sam, gimme a break. All of those assertions are backed up by Internet rumor run wild so much that people searching for points of contention–when this administration is certainly giving enough as it is–have deemed it true.

    It’s all circumstantial, Sam. All of it. The people behind spreading the rumors have been caught in lies in the past. They’ve been caught putting words in the mouth of Chief Justice John Roberts … you think they won’t put words in the mouth of some fabricated school administrator?

    Let it go. This man’s failed presidency is single-handedly destroying his party and exposing liberalism for what it is. Let it happen, for crying out loud!

  27. Sam says:

    The country is going down faster than he, Jeff, unfortunately.

  28. Brother kenya spare a dime says:

    And I ain’t coming at it from the angle of having a really sweet way to get rid of him, it just makes no sense to me… it smells. I love ya Jeff but I am with Rick on this one. I may be the cat that curiosity kills, but “MEOW” damn it.

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