Monday, September 06, 2010

Blind to the Forest for the Trees

Peruse the internet and read some of the online discernment blogs. You will see many of them take an easy mode of discernment as they reveal Glenn Beck’s Mormonism and claim it is an apostate view of true Christianity. Duh? And the Earth is the third planet from the sun. My sarcasm is meant to help you see just how far they have missed the point even while making a lot of theological noise. To make discernment hay over the unscriptural nature of Mormonism is easy and requires very little discernment at all. They are correct in condemning the actions of some evangelicals who now suggest that Mormons can be saved. It is one colossal mess.
But these discernment sites are missing the elephant in the room and the root cause of this particular and deadly compromise. I do pray that this situation will eventually lead them to reassess their own stand on a very prominent deception, and one in which most of them are held captive. It is nationalism. As one commenter here accurately observed, nationalism began with Constantine. Nationalism is the love and allegiance to any country, and it always leads to compromise, moralism, and unholy alliances. And in the case of American nationalism, it has even led to a teaching of divine superiority and favor upon this particular nation. And when I have confronted other believers about the Scriptural validity of such teachings I have often met with carnal and even vicious responses. I have touched the golden calf.
The issue of accepting Mormonism has been leveraged by nationalism, plain and simple. If Glenn Beck was a Frenchman, no one would have even considered the issue at all here in America. But because Beck is a rabid patriot, and because he lifts up the “founding fathers*”, and because he desires to repair the nation he loves, many evangelicals are willing to overlook his Mormonism and even embrace his personal salvation regardless of his doctrinal teachings. Nationalism has caused compromise and even grievous alliances that have begun a road to complete apostasy and evangelical collapse. But the discernment blogs have recoiled at Beck’s Mormonism and now positioned themselves again as protectors of the Holy Grail, but they remain completely blind to the underlying cause and the deep deception that continues to envelope them.
When a drop of water hits your head it is easy to shout about the water. But it is quite another to find the leak from which the water came. Two major spiritual shifts will occur because of this new wave of nationalism and inter-religious cooperation and passion. Many will succumb willingly to this deception and their patriotism will lead them deeper into compromise and gospel dilution. Some will hopefully be awakened to the deception they had embraced for many years. If you are in the latter group, I exhort you to come out fully, but guard against self righteousness and judgment toward others personally. The fact that Beck is a Mormon will be used of God to help his followers see the error of their ways. But many will attack Beck’s Mormonism and they will feel as if they are being discerning when in fact they are shooting at the wrong target altogether.

* It is noteworthy that many who castigate Roman Catholics for calling their priests "father" have no difficulty calling other men "fathers".


Ken Silva said...

"You will see many of them take an easy mode of discernment as they reveal Glenn Beck’s Mormonism and claim it is an apostate view of true Christianity."

Your seeming perfection aside, and since you sent this link to me, I'll tell you that Mormonism is not an apostate form of Christianity; it never was Christian in the first place.

If you were in counter-cult evangelism, then you'd be as surprised as I am at how many people today don't know that Mormonism is a non-Christian cult.

Rick Frueh said...

Semantics, and really not the actual point of my post. I acknowledge your expertise (genuinely) in cults, but nationalism is a cult as well.

Anonymous said...

Yes, brother Rick, the root problem is nationalism, an unholy love or loyalty to a romantic fantasy of a "christian nation." Coupled with Sacralism, also called constantinianism, church people confuse the city of God with the city of man, not holding to a two kingdom theology, but believing the church's mandate is to take dominion over cultures and governments. In efforts to "take back America", many unholy alliances are made and many anti-biblical actions are defended and endorsed.
I am fully aware that sacralism is the default setting of the American christian scene, that two kingdom theology is quite the minority view right now, but nonetheless, it is the apostolic and historical view held by the Church.
It is important that you are pointing this out and calling brothers and sisters to examine this issue, and to come fully out as the Lord leads us in His Truth. It is good that you are pointing out the terrible consequences of continuing down the path of nationalism.
It may be that a Mormon "leader" is judgment on those who are going that way, and merciful judgment if it causes some to be shocked into asking, "How did we get here?"
Dear Mr. Silva: Probably Rick did not intend to slam you or your fine ministry in his post, but rather to alert people to the underlying error of nationalism and culture wars that some "discernment ministries" themselves are in. No, Mormonism is not orthodox and yes, it is a cult. Thank you for your efforts to inform and teach about this.

Steve said...


Good to see you dispense with the capitalization of "Founding Fathers" we usually see. It's a small point: but one in which I suspect the (nearly-literal) deification of that group of men is fostered.

I think you've well characterized nationalism as a cult, a false religious system. I think we'd agree as well that the default "patriotism" of the American Church is primarily nationalism.

What thoughts on Godly love of country, such as John Knox' "Give me Scotland or I die !"

In Jesus, Steve

Radiance said...

While there is EVERYTHING wrong with idolatry of a nation and putting nationalism before allegiance to Christ --> I still do not see what the big deal is about wanting to acknowledge, cherish, and preserve the blessings GOD has graciously bestowed to our nation.

There is much to condemn about our country yes, but there is also much to be thankful for and promote: among them being our racial and ethnic diversity, women's rights, the resources we provide to missionary activity, to adoption activity, etc...These are the kinds of things that set our nation apart from much of the world and to suggest that our nation has only been a force for evil and a tool for Satan sounds self-righteous and indulgent.

How nonsensical it is to continue to use the very freedoms we so undeservingly have blogging away about what's wrong with people who DO value their temporal freedoms.

Throughout American history, the *common grace* of GOD has been at work through both believers and nonbelievers alike in the founding of our nation, in the abolition of slavery, in the civil rights movement, etc...The LORD has given us much to appreciate about our nation and its progress even amidst our continuing faults and mistakes. Regardless of their true intentions, even "heathen" Hollywood actors do charitable deeds!

Sure go ahead and explain away the "good" things about repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia, about the "blessings of persecution" in places where millions die and enter eternity every year without ever having had the chance to open up a Bible or the intellectual freedoms to question the dogmas of their theocratic government...but I for one, am grateful to the LORD for allowing me to live in this country, and I know that with this great gift, comes great responsibility, especially toward those who are not quite as fortunate to live in liberty.

If anything, the Beck rally promoted a far healthier political and religious climate than what the Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson brand of "moral majority", "rapture-ready", "non-dispensationalists need not apply" brand of politics promoted.

I am all for a healthy, pluralistic cooperation among faiths (and people of no faith for that matter) to stand together for the common good, for freedom. The real question is: how am I going to USE my freedom to help advance the kingdom of Christ?! That's between me and the is not a political matter.

Anybody should be able to join the Republican or Democrat Parties, not just Christians! And Christians have every right to contribute to the political discourse of this nation. The direct end of politics and political activity is not the salvation of souls, yet certain political principles are worth upkeeping as an extension of our committment to a Biblical worldview and for the sake of Gospel-centered activities to thrive.

Anonymous said...

Radiance, you are correct about how much the USA has been blessed and how much good has been done by and through her. We are thankful and we do acknowledge that. We agree that disciples of Christ can participate in government for the common good. I do not see the author of the original post suggesting that America has been a force only for evil. But the error is in confusing the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of this world, in using the means and methods of the powers of this world to try to "promote" or "advance" the Kingdom of God. Unless a man be born again, he cannot (even) see the kingdom of God. Another error is revising and romanticizing the founding and the history of this nation as if it has special divine sanction above other nations.

Rick Frueh said...

My view is that America is no different than any other nation, except Israel as it pertains to the future. And I do not believe we can have a foot in one kingdom and a foot in another.

Nationalism, the love and allegiance to any earthly nation, is at odds with the gospel and the kingdom of God. I personally believe that particpation in a fallen system designed to manipulate the outward man is compromise.

And usually those who are politically active do so in order to promote their own freedom, enhance their own personal wealth, and generally for the enhancement of all areas of their particular lives.

very rarely are people leveraging political freedom for the benefit of others and the detriment of themselves. Or in other words, a reflection of the cross.

Onesimus said...

I have seen this issue being discussed elsewhere and many of the viewpoints merely confirm the fact that America has been turned into an idol that many freely worship. The myth of America's christian roots is prospering, giving a form of legitimacy to the national idolatry.

Some people here have mentioned God's blessings upon America. I would question that to some extent.

So often the things we term as "God's blessings" are in fact the weeds and thorns that choke the word of God in our lives and make us unfruitful.