This page has moved to a new address.

Social Gospel? Beck Should Read the Prophets, John the Baptist, and Jesus

Think Christianly: Social Gospel? Beck Should Read the Prophets, John the Baptist, and Jesus

Monday, March 15, 2010

Social Gospel? Beck Should Read the Prophets, John the Baptist, and Jesus

Darrell Bock has a thoughtful post on Glenn Beck's recent comments:

"I am in Israel but am reading about what I see as a strange controversy in the USA. It is Glenn Beck's call for people to leave church's that preach a "social gospel", but then goes on to discuss social action and issues of justice as if to do so is unbiblical. The confusion is that these are NOT all the same thing. Let's be clear: the gospel is NOT about doing social work. The gospel is not doign social work, but that fdoes not mean social work is irrelevant ot those who embrace the gospel. Social work can be a witness for the gospel or real evidecne of a proper response to God, a product of the gospel. The roots are in the Prophets, such as Micah 6:8.

He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the LORD really wants from you:
He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,
and to live obediently before your God.

Or try John the Baptist. In Luke 3:10-14 when he is asked to explain what repentance is that is ready for the Lord to come he says:

So the crowds were asking him, “What then should we do?”
John answered them, “The person who has two tunics34 must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise.”
Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
He told them, “Collect no more than you are required to.” Then some soldiers also asked him, “And as for us—what should we do?” He told them, “Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay.”

To turn to God means I relate to other peopel differently.

Or try Jesus' words to his audience (Matt 5:14-16):

You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden.
People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.

Or the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:5-9:

And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.” So he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully. And when the people saw it, they all complained, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I now give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household, because he too is a son of Abraham!

Something about Zacchaeus's heart was right in showing concern for the poor. Jesus commends the attitude. So let's not let Christian virtue get captured in ideological political rhetoric of cultural wars that take people away from the call of the gospel to be socially sensitive. Let's be sure we read and listen to the prophets John the Baptist and Jesus. May political commentators giving advice to members of the church be sure and read their Bible first and not oversimplify what God asks of people who serve him. Yes, the gospel is about salvation of the soul, but service to the world and caring for justice and the poor grows out of responding properly to God. Once again what some want to make either-or is actually a both-and when bibically defined. Let's not villify with political associations of communism or socialism a concern and compassion Jesus asks of people who love their neighbor....(more)"

Sound advice.Now good intentions don't always translate into the outcomes for the oppressed or poor that we desire. That is why it is about more than giving money to a good cause. See these three helpful works on this point. But it appears that Beck has a confused understanding of the Good News of God and what that means for all people.

When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves by Corbett and Fikkert

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

Money, Greed, and God by Jay Richards

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Kyrsten said...

Dear Mr. Morrow,

Thank you so much for your post on social justice in the Church. We at "Let's Change Haiti" appreciate your work, especially as we are fighting on the same side in the battle for justice.

As you know, one of the ways to help ensure victimization of men, women and children decreases is by teaching them with a skill-set that enables them to provide for themselves and lead healthy, sustainable lives. We are raising funds to support on-the-ground relief organizations that are doing just that, in Haiti.

Partners In Health has paired "Let’s Change Haiti" – an international change collection/fund-raising campaign pioneered by college students – with a matching donor to support one of its on-going, sustainable projects in Haiti.

The project is called Zamni Agrikol, Haitian Creole for "Partners In Agriculture," and was founded in 2002 to fight child malnutrition and promote farming sustainability through empowering local farmers. Both of these needs have intensified since the earthquake.

Zanmi Agricole has three sustainable components:

1. Local production of therapeutic foods Nourimanba and Nourimil to treat and prevent malnutrition.

2. Operation of a farm and contracts with local farmers to grow crops to make these foods.

3. Medical assistance for the poorest farming families whose children are being treated at Zamni Lasante medical sites.

The match is a dollar for dollar match for up to $25,000, giving Let’s Change Haiti the opportunity to raise up to $50,000.

Along with on-the-ground change collection, "Let’s Change Haiti" enables online donations here and directly through Partners In Health. Campaign progress updates are available through social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

We invite you to share "Let's Change Haiti's" campaign on your Web site, with family, friends, coworkers and your church, or please feel free to make a donation to help support Zamni Agricole. It is a project that is transforming the lives of individuals and families who have a high likelihood of being victimized.

Thank you so much for your work and passion in being a voice for those who don't have one. Please contact me if you would like more information on "Let's Change Haiti".

Our fund-raising campaign is entering its final week, so please don't hesitate to get in contact with me or give, inviting others to do the same, as soon as you are able. Every penny counts.


Kyrsten Skulborstad
Director of Media Relations, "Let's Change Haiti"



April 8, 2010 at 5:24 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home