An Open Letter to My Pastors on Glenn Beck

Dear Pastors Benton, Filson, and Teller:

I know it has been a few weeks now since the big Glenn Beck rally in Washington. Most of the conversation about it has centered on Beck’s Mormon faith. But that is not what prompts me to write to you. What prompts me to write is a statement Beck made on August 30 in an appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s show, when he cheerfully celebrated that “240 pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams on stage all locked arms saying the principles of America need to be taught from the pulpit.”

As I’ve continued to think about this statement, I’m moved to write today and say “thank you” for not being one of them. Thank you for your faithfulness in preaching Christ from the pulpit, not “the principles of America.” Thank you for leaving that to others and reserving the sacred desk at our church for preaching, in the last few weeks, about the once-for-all sufficient sacrifice of Christ, about the privilege we have to approach God in prayer as Father, about Christ as the Wisdom of God, about Christ as the most valuable Treasure in the universe, worth trading everything to have.

I love my country and certainly I have concerns about where it is headed. But I also know that “this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31). I know—as you quote it week-by-week—that “all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever” (1 Pet. 1:24-25; cf. Is. 40:6-8).

So thank you for continuing to preach the word of the Lord and present the beauty of Christ, and for not being so short-sighted to preach the “principles of America.” You keep calling me to love Christ more than my country, more than anything, and this is the word I need most to hear.

  • Cindy Udall

    Amen! Amen! And again I say, Amen! I echo this to my pastors too! Oh that every church had such faithful men in their pulpits!

  • Mary @ The Writer’s Block

    Oh, Nancy! What a wonderful sentiment, indeed. I echo your message and I am SO GRATEFUL that YOU are my Bible study teacher and WE have the blessing of instruction, encouragement, and admonition from these wonderful ministers of the Gospel at Christ Pres in Nashville! :) Amen.

  • David

    Great letter. While I agree with about 85% of what comes out of Glenn’s mouth, there are times where he goes too far. It isn’t the responsibility of the church to keep America, American, it’s the responsibility of the church to keep the Gospel, the Gospel! Social issues will fall into place with evangelism, almost every revival historically has changed the social pattern of the country it swept through. TGC keeps me encouraged. Keep up the great work.

  • Brian Kinney

    Thank you, Nancy, for your thoughtful message to our beloved pastors. I agree with you that we should hear preaching based on scriptural principles, not whatever it is that Glenn Beck is promoting. When I preached, I was always careful to avoid anything remotely political, even though Congressman David MacIntosh and many very conservative members of the church were in attendance. We preach God’s Word, not man’s.

  • Wesley Walker

    Well put. On top of this I think preachers and teachers proclaiming the message of Christ will do more for the country then them hijacking the gospel.

  • Dianne Tant

    this is awesome true Nancy..thanks for sharing it.

  • Richard

    Amen, Nancy. Thank you. I sent a copy of your letter to my pastor and thanked him as well for being faithful to the Gospel in his preaching. Your words are tremendous in this mixed-up climate of idols we make to politics and power.

  • Lori Ennis

    I think you have reminded me to be thankful for the leadership at my church as well. I’m writing my appreciation for them and their love of the Word and desire to preach it at all costs immediately!!

  • Arlie Thompson

    Jesus taught love not hate, which is what I hear from the Glen Beck’s and the so called Christian right.

    • Mavis

      Wow Arlie. You seem to have either missed the point of this blog or are just spamming it. And that’s Ok, except this diatribe about ‘hate’ is so terribly boring and passe. Could you post an ad for viagra or maybe an inheritance in Nigeria instead?

      • Jenny

        Why are you so mean?

    • Judy Harrison

      I agree wholeheartedly with you Arlie! Some Christians are Conservatives. Some Christians are Liberals. Some Christians are on the fringe of both. We are all Children of God. We may have different political. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about our country. I don’t need the likes of Glenn Beck. I just need Jesus!! Amen!!

  • Ellen Faulks

    So true! The principles of America can help govern, but cannot give life. They cannot heal our soul or land, pierce our soul in conviction of sin, change our hearts of pride to humbleness, or lift us out of the pit and put a new song in our heart. Praise God for His Word. Thank you to pastors/teachers that give us words of life each week.

  • Joseph Simmons

    Thank you Nancy. Recently I listened to a message from DA Carson in which he talked about the need for Christians, when looking for answers to the issues we face, to look vertically rather than horizontally. Our help is found in God not in Glen Beck or any other talking head.

    • Sam

      Joseph, that is exactly what Glenn Beck has been espousing; look to God for your answers. He has suggested: pray on your knees, repent, stop lying, ask God for direction, get on His side instead of asking him to get on your side. Pretty vertical I would say.

      • Jeffrey

        The only problem is that the god of Glenn Beck is not the God of the Scriptures.

        • jun

          amen!, was thinking the same

        • Meg

          Wow. That’s a pretty judgemental statement. I would be scared to say that.

          • paulyD

            Meg – in all humility, I ask you, what do you mean when you use the term judgemental? if you mean passing absolute judgement of someone’s eternal state, as only God can do, then obviously Jeffrey’s statement wasn’t that.

            If you mean using discernment to state that someone’s position, belief or practice is wrong according to the objective truth of God’s written word, then yes, Jeffrey is being judgemental.

            we are so scared of “judging” or being “judgmental” in our culture today yet we make judgement calls all the time.

            Even your statement was a judgement call, “Wow, that’s a pretty judgemental statement”

            aren’t you being judgemental of Jefferey?

  • Paul

    Thank you for this important reminder. My question for everyone following this is how (if at all) should the church involve itself in politics? Certainly as individual Christians we should be in the public square, but what about our local churches and even denominations? I agree that the message from the pulpit should be Christ, but does that mean our churches should completely remove themselves from the public square? I’m curious what others think.

    • David Zook

      Churches should not remove themselves from the public square. If so, slavery may still abound. The church was instrumental with the issues of womens rights, voting rights and even Prohibition.

      Starting 10-15 years prior to the revolution, the colonial pastors preached from Exodus that King George was a tyrant, much like Pharaoh, and the colonies needed to be freed from the political, legal, economic, and social injustices that the colonies were enduring under King George’s reign. The churches were a key part in freeing America from the oppression of King George.

      From the pulpit pastors should skillfully speak, when appropriate, on how the Gospel brings justice to the injustices of this world. Then as a “church”, that is a body of believers, we bring that hope of what Jesus has already done for us into the world of politics and government.

    • AllenD

      This is a good article I read about how the Church should approach culture and politics.

  • Reggie in Milwaukee

    I think many people are overreacting to Christians joining in Beck’s march. I didn’t attend Beck’s march, nor do I watch his show (I’ve watched him a handful of times). But as I understand it, this was not a proclamation of an ecumenical gospel – it was a call to Americans to celebrate and defend religious liberty. While we must never compromise on our proclamation and stand for the Gospel, we also have to recognize the danger of being so afraid to mix with and find common interests with non-believers, that we have no meaningful impact or opportunities to earn an opportunity to share the Gospel with others who share many of our common convictions.

    • Stan McCullars

      Reggie, You may want to find the video or read some quotes from it. It was most definitely a proclamation of an ecumenical gospel.

      If nothing else, listen to this podcast.

      Money quote: False religion is infinitely worse than bad politics.

      • Mavis

        How do we separate false religion from bad politics? Is that even possible? When has it ever been done?

  • Pingback: Nancy Guthrie Writes to Her Pastors Regarding Glenn Beck, Politics, and Jesus | Pastoral Musings()

  • Edward Hara

    The reason that this country is in the trouble it is in was shown precisely at the Glenn Beck rally. There is no touchstone of Truth in America, therefore, we have become a completely divided country.

    Nancy, how do you know that your pastor is telling you the Truth? How do you know that perhaps some other Protestant or Fundamentalist pastor has it more right than yours? There are as many gospels as there are Protestant churches, and as many ideas of what constitutes Truth as there are men to interpret the Bible.

    Only when we have one Church with one divinely ordained pastor will this country be able to mend. That is, if it is still around.

    • Stan McCullars

      Edward, You stated There are as many gospels as there are Protestant churches.

      Your lack of knowledge in this area is apparent.

      You also stated Only when we have one Church with one divinely ordained pastor will this country be able to mend.

      That is a completely unbiblical idea. Note the plural below:

      And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers… (Ephesians 4:11 ESV)

    • Mavis

      God forbid. And thankfully He has.

  • Edward Hara

    Stan — in a covenant there is only one covenant body with one covenant head, not thousands. Jesus died to provide the New Covenant in His Blood for the Church (SINGULAR). Until the Protestant Rebellion, there was only one Church with one single head on earth. You are reading into the verse you posted, as if the plurality of elders, bishops, etc. means that there was some form of Protestant division in the Early Church and there were numerous “churches” instead of one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Body called The Church.

    The Church is the BRIDE (note it is singular) of Christ on earth. Following the analogy, a man does not have more than one bride, does he? Jesus has one Church on earth. Not many. One. And yo are not in it.

    • AllenD

      Edward, am I correct in assuming you are Catholic? It seems you think the Protestant churches are not legitimate and that the only true church is the Catholic church. I do not think that is true.

      My understanding of how the Church works is there are many who are called to be pastors of their own flocks (just as there are many bishops and elders) but they are all under the authority of Jesus Christ. And that makes the Church one church, not many.

      I agree with Stan. I can’t imagine how a global church would work with just ONE pastor. That guy would go nuts with so many Christians to minister to!

      • Edward Hara

        Since Jesus established one Church, then how can any other body be legitimate? In the OT, there was only one Church (Psalm 22:22; Heb. 2:12). The parables of Jesus mention only one Church. Christ died to provide to Himself a Church, His Bride, also called “The Body of Christ”. How then do you find more than one Church when every reference to the Church in Scripture is singular?

        Yes, the parishes of the Church are all under the authority of Jesus Christ, however, since He was leaving, He handed the keys of the Kingdom to Peter and appointed Him Prime Minister with an office of authority over all parishes that would ever spring up from the evangelistic work of the Apostles and their disciples.

        When I was a Protestant, one of the things I wrestled with was trying to sort out who was preaching the Truth. Many “pastors” on radio and TV made claims that in essence stated that if you didn’t believe just as they taught, you were surely bound for hell. And all those teaching that claimed they got their doctrines from the Bible alone and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet there is no agreement among them.

        Contrast this with the unbroken teaching of the Church over 2 millenia. There has been no change in the central act of worship — The Eucharist. It is still taught to be the Body and Blood of Christ, just as Jesus told His Apostles. Baptism still removes sin and saves, just as Acts 2:38 teaches. The structure of the Church remains the same. Contrast this to the chaos which is Protestant doctrine. And who is the father of confusion?

        How does one man rule over a global church? The same way that one man rules over a global army. Delegated powers. All being on the same page. It is easy to rule when all your delegated officers all hold the same views rather than each thinking he is a law unto himself.

        BTW — This delegation of power is the same covenant structure found in the OT. It works from the top down. The pope is over the bishops and should be able to laicize a disobedient bishop. Bishops rule their diocese, using the Catechism of the Church, the canons of the councils, and all that is de fide teaching to rule. And priests rule over their people. It is really a beautifully simple system of delegated authority.

      • Edward Hara

        One last comment. By your baptism, you have been covenanted into the New Covenant which God has made with the Church, the replacement for National Israel (Matt. 21: 33-46). Despite your not recognizing the authority over you, your baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit still did what God promised it would do — remove your sins (Acts 2:38) and place you in to Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). Thus, even though you don’t acknowledge it, you are part of the Church by dint of that baptismal rite which God gave to the Church as the covenant making ritual of the New Covenant.

        I hope you might come into the fullness of the Faith someday and enjoy all the wonderful benefits of it!!!

        • laura

          Edward, I have two words for you, bro:

          Over-realized eschatology.

          There IS only one true church, one Bride, one Savior, one Faith, one Baptism. But that church is neither synonymous nor co-terminous with the Roman Catholic church nor any other visible institution. When Christ returns to restore all things, the church visible will be identical to the church (now) invisible). You’re mixing up the “already” and the “not yet.”

          If the Roman Catholic church is the only true church (a claim shared by your “rebellious” brethren of the Eastern Orthodox church as well), where do we see it doing the task of the church — to go into all the world, preaching the Gospel and making disciples? Not just swiping confused converts from Protestant churches, not just baptizing babies and calling them “Catholic,” but preaching the actual Gospel and seeing actual regeneration take place.

          I am a Catholic — a true Catholic in the real sense of the word, a member of God’s church which IS united IN CHRIST, though it may appear for a time to be pressed, persecuted, struck down, scattered, small, and insignificant.

          As to your little swipe about the Protestant “Rebellion” (haha), nice try. When the Roman church started selling forgiveness (or absolution, or a Get-Out-Of-Purgatory-Free card, or whatever semantic games you want to play to say that’s not what they were really doing), it abandoned the Gospel and became a false church. Departing from apostasy after decades of attempted reform from within is hardly “rebellion” or “schism,” my friend.


        • jun

          Edward, just as I thought, you are Roman Catholic. But I’m wondering what are you doing here in the gospel coalition site? Could it be because the Roman church isn’t preaching the Biblical truth? I believe that’s it. Mind you, the reason why I can say this is that I was a Roman Catholic before I became a Christian. I pray that just as the Lord took you out from your protestantism, He would also take you out of your Romanism, and cause you to be born again and be a Christian.

          • Edward Hara

            No. Not ROMAN Catholic. Byzantine Catholic. Or, just Catholic, if you prefer.

            What I am doing here? I am hoping that perhaps there are some here who, like I was years ago, are thirsting to find the original Faith which was given to the Apostles. I am willing to show that Faith to anyone who wishes to listen and learn, but it is difficult, since there are so many distortions of what constitutes true Christianity. There are also many who are afraid of listening to the Truth since they have been told that they will lose their souls if they believe the same things that the Apostles taught (that’s ironic, isn’t it?).

            My hope for you is that you might find a hunger for the Truth and that it would lead you out of the heresy you are in and into the glory of the Church which Jesus founded upon St. Peter and gave to the Apostles.

            Here’s something to think about: do you realize that had you been born in the 12th century, there would only be one Church with one set of teachings that you would belong to? You wouldn’t have a choice of denominations offering you your personal choice in music, worship, and doctrines.

            • Phillip Mayberry

              Sure you would have a choice in the 12th century! Peter Waldo did! Of course, he was fortunate enough to get the chance to actually read the Scriptures instead of just listen blindly to the authorities…

              The real question is whether or not we would be willing to die for the gospel like those in the middle ages who Protested the idolatries of Romanism before there was a Protestant Church.

              The fact is that we all have access to the Scriptures today: most of the time they collect dust on our shelves… but access all the same. Consequently, we ought to look at the WORDS of the apostles in order to discern the FAITH of the apostles. Like the words of Matthew in Matthew 1:25, which denies the perpetual virginity of Mary so clearly… Don’t you think so, Edward?

              Hope you have a good day!

    • Stan McCullars

      If only the Pope and his underlings would read and obey the Scriptures…

      • Edward Hara

        The Catholic Faith is obedience to the Scriptures. There is no evidence that prior to 1517 any of the Christians practiced any form of Protestantism/Anabaptistry. This lack of evidence goes all the way back to the Apostles and what they taught.

        It was shocking to me to come out of my little Calvinist cocoon and do some actual reading of what the first Christians taught and believed. The more I read, the more I realized that there was only one Faith which had continued these teachings through the centuries. The big help to me was understanding the covenant and how it works. Once that is properly understood, the whole of the Catholic Faith makes complete sense.

  • Phillip Mayberry

    Interesting comments. As for the truth, and how we can know it: we must check out the things that our pastor says by comparing them with the Word of God. Naked claims to authority betray the weakness of the claimant’s position… be he pope or pastor.

    Your idea of one head is correct, according to Ephesians 5:23: “Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (also Col. 1:18). Please consider the following: 1) This verse says that there is one head; not many. 2) The head that is named is Christ, not a man on earth (the pope). 3) At the time of this writing, Christ was not on earth, and yet he (not Peter) is still called the Head of the church.

    Therefore, the Biblical writers know nothing of apostolic succession, or any other head besides Christ himself. Any man who claims headship on earth is a usurper to Christ, or at the very least goes beyond what Paul writes in this verse. If Paul names Jesus as the head, what right do we have to go beyond Paul and name any man as the head?

    Please consider this, and do not allow your mind to be clouded by emotionalism.

    • Edward Hara

      Indeed we must follow the Bible in all things rather than the teachings of men. It really is an issue of interpretation, isn’t it? So when you see that the very first Christians believed certain things that you don’t believe, then you should ask yourself why you don’t do these things anymore when they were taught by the Apostles.

      The Catholic Faith is found in the Sacred Scriptures. So is the Mormon Faith, the JW Faith, the Protestant Faith — in fact, every cult and faith out there can refer their beliefs to the Scriptures. The real test then is this — what was believed from the beginning? And there is no evidence at all in any of the writings of the Early Fathers that they believed what Protestants believe today. Honest evaluation would mean that you admit that prior to 1517, there was but one Faith and one expression of that Faith.

      The key to finding the Catholic Faith in the Scriptures is a proper understanding of the 5 principles of the Covenant of God as laid out by Ray Sutton in his book THAT YOU MAY PROSPER. While Sutton makes the usual mistake of treating the covenant as a contract rather than a covenant, his principles are completely sound and when applied to the Bible, show us the Catholic Faith.

      • Phillip Mayberry

        Respectfully, if the Catholic faith is found in the Bible, why are you recommending an extra-biblical “key” as necessary to understand HOW the Catholic faith is found in the Bible? Try interacting with the Scripture we are talking about, rather than jumping to tradition. You will find, as I laid out above, that Christ is the only head of the Church, and not the pope.

        Also apply the same to other articles of Catholicism that we “PROTEST” such as the celibacy of the priesthood. The Bible says Peter was married (1 Cor. 9:5). If your first Pope was married, how can you find this article of the Catholic faith in the Scriptures? The Scriptures say Mary was not a perpetual virgin (Matt. 1:25): need I say more?

        When you say that all these faiths are found in the Scriptures, you bring out the real difference between Christianity and the cults: for only Christianity holds as the rule of their faith the Bible ALONE. Unless I am persuaded by the Scriptures and sound reason, and not by popes and counsels that have so often contradicted each other, I will not change my position.

        As for prior to 1517, the only thing that I will admit is that the true faith was suppressed successfully by the sword of the church, by the fires, and by the torture of the inquisition. But the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, as Tertullian said. That which Hus and Jerome of Prague died for in 1415 grew up into the Reformation in 1517. Check out also Peter Waldo in 1100’s as well…

        An honest study of the issues without bias will show you that the catholic faith has been departed from by the Roman Catholic Church, to the degree that a Reformation was necessary in order to preserve the doctrine of Christ, and the authority of Scripture. Your church did not even allow the common man to own the Scriptures before the Reformation, and did not officially recommend the Scriptures until 1965. Again, please consider these things, especially my original question. Let our interactions be on the grounds of Scripture, not on what someone else says ABOUT Scripture…

        • Edward Hara

          Respectfully, your post shows great ignorance and presuppositional blindness. The Covenant is not an “extra biblical key” as you posit. It is the HEART of the Bible. One theologian, whom I cannot remember offhand, is quoted as saying that the Bible is a book of covenant. Seeing that the word “covenant” appears over 280 times throughout the Bible, I would say that he has hit it on the head. Therefore, since we are people of the covenant, you MUST understand how a covenant works to avoid such nonsense as “once saved — always saved” and other fond Protestant inventions that were never taught prior to 1517.

          In our Reuthenian Catholic Church, priests are married. Same with the Melkites, the Copts and many of the other 23 rites of the Catholic Faith. Celibacy is not a doctrine. It is a discipline which the Roman rite has placed upon the priesthood of their rite.

          If you are going to accept that Christ Jesus is the Son of David and therefore the physical and real King of mankind who was promised to David, then you have to go back to David to see how the shadows and types work with him to understand how a kingdom works. Peter is the prime minister of the Kingdom on earth. No kingdom can be without leadership. Jesus would not leave and not leave a chief shepherd over His flock to give them guidance. Look at the fruit of Protestantism wherein every little storefront pastor thinks himself the sole mouthpiece of God and listens to no one else. Is chaos, doctrinally and morally, of the Lord? Learn kingdom and covenant principles and you will not be able to say what you said.

          The same goes for the place of the Queen Mother in the Kingdom of David. Learn what Her place and role is in the OT and you will understand the Blessed Virgin Mary. Learn what it means to be espoused to another and you will not make foolish statements such as Mary not being ever virgin. No man ever allows his wife to sleep with and give affection to another, and the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, for it was He Who placed the Baby within Her.

          I can and will interact with anyone here on the basis of Scripture to prove the Catholic Faith. Anyone who wishes such correspondence may write me at I was a PCA Calvinist for 13 years. For me to convert to the Catholic Faith means that I had to seriously study the Faith and answer all those objections for myself. I can do the same for anyone here who has an open heart and a teachable spirit.

          • AllenD

            Just a few thoughts:

            All of the pastors I’ve met do not think they are the sole mouthpiece of God. They all humbly teach from the Word of God and even learn from others and invite others to come teach.

            Also, from all the time I’ve spent in the Bible, I haven’t seen anything that suggests that Mary is married to the Holy Spirit. How do you see that in the Bible?

            • Edward Hara

              Allen —

              If you will write to me at, I will share some thoughts with you on the issue of our Lady being the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. This was the consensus opinion of the early pastors of the Church.

      • laura

        Nope. The Mormon “faith” is not in the Scriptures. The JW “faith” is not in the Scriptures. In fact, they’re repudiated by the Scriptures. That’s what those early pastors were doing at those councils you hold in such high regard — they were applying the Scriptures to the issues of their day. We accept their decisions because they agree with the Scriptures, not vice versa.

        “It really is a matter of interpretation, isn’t it?” Yep, the Holy Spirit’s interpretation. And the Holy Spirit testifies to Christians about the truthfulness of the word of God. Not the councils, the popes, or the institutional church.

        And hold up, are you trying to tell me that you’re a member of a rogue, unrecognized RC church? ;) Irony of ironies.

        • Edward Hara

          Laura — Both Mormons and JW’s are adept at showing their “faith” from a KJV. Obviously you have had scant interaction with them at your doorstep. It is a matter of proper interpretation.

          As for the Holy Spirit showing the Truth to believers — He showed it to the Apostles and they went out and taught the world. The result was a Church that was so unified in having one belief (and not 30,000 like today’s Protestant chaos) that it was eventually referred to as “katholicos” or universal. No matter where on the planet you went that the Church was, you would find the same thing being taught, and aberrations from that teaching met with councils which condemned heresies from little sideshow sects.

          You insult the councils of the Church. Well, then, suppose you, being so smart, show me where you find a description of the two natures of Christ? Surely, as wise as you are, you can find it in ….. oh, three or four minutes, tops? Or perhaps you can summerize from sola scriptura the Monophysite and Monothellite heresies. There must be a scripture in the Bible somewhere that discusses these issues in detail, right?

          Oh oh, I know…..suppose you show me from the Bible which books are supposed to be in the Bible? I’d like to find that list which states all 73 of the books. Is it in 1 Timothy or Ephesians?

          Why don’t you just put away your Bible anyhow, since it is a Catholic book which came from the Council of Carthage. You don’t wish to be reading papist trash like that, now do you?

          Your ignorance is breathtaking, lady.

          • AllenD

            Why can’t we all just get along?

            But more seriously, come on guys! How old are we? Can’t we discuss something like adults (I’m assuming we are all adults here). I love how the Gospel Coalition can be a place where discussions on important issues can take place. But we gotta keep our heads on straight. Let’s get rid of the attitudes and hate, and actually talk about the important issues we are disagreeing on. For Christ and his name’s sake yea? Remember, that’s what unifies us, Jesus Christ =)

            • Edward Hara

              Yeah, you’re right, Allen. I let Laura’s snide attitude get to me and I responded in kind, which I really shouldn’t have done. I know better than that.

              Ah well, back to the Confessional!

          • laura

            I did not insult the councils of the church. I have great respect for all who have gone before me in the faith, from Adam to my parents. But if you claim that the council of Carthage (or any other human gathering) somehow created the Scriptures, brother, you are undermining the authority of the Holy Spirit and of Christ himself. The truth is that God’s people recognized the Scriptures immediately when they received them, because they (collectively, not just individually) have the Holy Spirit indwelling them and the presence of Christ among them. In addition to Christ’s presence and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling, you are demanding a human gathering’s seal of approval as well?

            Peter, at the end of his second letter, calls Paul’s writings “scripture.” Paul quotes Jesus’ words scripture. How did Peter know that Paul’s writings were Scripture if that wasn’t decided until Carthage? How did Paul know that Jesus’ words were Scripture without a Council to tell him?

            Where do you suppose the Councils got their information about the monophysite and monothelite heresies? Or the Arians? Or the Sabellians? Did they conjure it from thin air? Did they simply apply reason and opinion? Did they just “decide” to teach what we now call orthodoxy? Did they know at the time that their decisions were infallible and binding on all future generations simply because they were the right Council of pastors? And how do you know that they got it right at all unless you compare it with Scripture? What if Arianism is right and we’ve been wrongly worshiping Jesus this whole time?

            What if, just what if, God has ordained that the scriptures are plain enough that even ordinary men like the men at the Councils can interpret it rightly against heresies? I submit with great confidence that the Scriptures themselves contain all we — both now and in the time of the Fathers — need for life and godliness.

            • Edward Hara

              Laura — The Epistle of Clement was read in the Church at Corinth and was considered to be of divine origin. If, as you so spuriously say, everyone just “knew” right away which writings were scripture and which were not, why then was it necessary to have a council even discern this? There were literally dozens of writings such as the Epistle of Clement which were looked upon as being of divine source, with many more that claimed to be by their authors.

              There is nothing about either Monophisitism or Monothellitism in the Scriptures. Where do you get the idea that one “just look at the scriptures” and apply reason?

              If ordinary men can interpret the scriptures without the aid of councils or other writings, would you kindly tell me why there are so many different and competing Protestant doctrines, all claiming to have scripture as their source and all claiming that they are led to believe such by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

              Let me know when you are ready to come out of your “sola scriptura” dreamworld, okay?

              PS Where does scripture teach “sola scriptura” and where does scripture itself say which books are to be included in the canon? You just don’t want to admit that someone else might be closer to and more clearly led of the Lord than you and have authority over you. Which was, of course, the whole problem with the Protestant Rebellion in the first place.

            • Phillip Mayberry

              Clement’s epistle was NOT considered Scripture by the early Church, Edward: come on! It was written to the Corinthian Church, and therefore read by the church, but the letter itself has never been held to the level of Scripture. Be careful: your own Church has seen the necessity of distinguishing between Scripture and uninspired writing. We both know the criteria used was not arbetrary, and consequently Clement’s letter has not ever been considered inspired by either himself or the Church.

              Although he DID understand Justification by faith alone: “All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

              Clement also wrote of the Phoenix and thought it was a real bird (chapter 25). if that’s not enought to show you that his epistle wasn’t inspired…

              Clement also believed in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but not that his letter was inspired. Instead, he does what we wish Roman Catholics today would do: commend their readers to the Scriptures: “Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you.” (Chapter 47).

              Neither does Clement write in his own name, but rather in the name of the Church of Rome, himself being one of several presbyters. The plural address is found throughout the letter: seems like Clement considered himself an elder; not a pope…

  • Kristin

    What good is it to keep turning our government over to the secularists and humanists? Where is there a good example of that in our (American/Puritan)history OR the Bible? This looks like another excuse for the church to do NOTHING. That is why men like Beck will continue to rise up and feed the immense need the people have for a good, moral leader.

    • Gwendolyn

      Not only is history replete with the church doing nothing, but in too many cases it HAS been active in government, unfortunately usually on the wrong side. Actually, doing nothing and saying nothing is taking a stand for nothing.

  • Sharon Fulton

    Dear Nancy, I understand your sentiments, but so often we assume what we feel is truth instead of what God has said. I must disagree with some of your comments.
    Man does not get to declare what is holy, set apart, sacred. God alone has declared what is Holy. Therefore there is no sacred desk or pulpit. Actually, the “church” building you refer to is not the church. We, those who stand by faith in Jesus the Messiah are the “ecclessia.”
    If the gathering together of believers is not the appropriate place for “family” discussion and instruction in righteousness, then where?
    God has allowed us to live in a country where the government is dependent upon citizen participation. As long as we still have the freedom to exercise our rights under the Constitution, we must, as good citizens and Believers, stay involved the political process.
    God has used our country and form of government to bless so many others around the world. It has offered protections that have enabled the spread of the Gospel. We cannot stand by and allow evil men to take these protections away as long as God’s hand of blessing is over us.
    I am not ecumenical, and did not attend the Beck rally, but I did hear him give testimony to the fact that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ – alone. As long as the “pastors” of this country are neglecting the call for national repentance, how can we criticize a citizen of our country for doing so?

    • Tad

      “God has used our country and form of government to bless so many others around the world.”
      God has also used our country and government to cause alot of pain to alot of people.
      but that is beside the point. I would agree with you if Glen Beck did three things differently:
      1. Defined Coming back to God as repentance of sin and placing full trust in the God-man Jesus Christ.
      2. Meant the same thing by God that the Bible does. (Mormons are not monotheists)
      3. If he didnt attach political significance to his statement about coming to God.
      God is not a republican, Are we sure that Jesus wants us to vote republican? Outside of the issue of Abortion where are we protecting innocent life, can we really say that all republican policy is better than democratic?
      He conflating of conservative politics and coming back to Jesus is a big problem.

  • SunnyJ

    This is a classic case of taking his words out of context. He went on to explain what he meant. He said, “We should teach people correct principles – that your rights come from God … practice treating your brother as yourself (follow the golden rule) … have Firm Reliance on Divine Providence.” In other words – TEACH THEM THE BIBLE! In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of churches are failing because they aren’t teaching & living The Word. How can any Christian deny that God is working through Glenn? He is planting a seed in America to seek God & find out what that means. Don’t you get it? John 4:35 Jesus said “…I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” Seems to me that some people need to humble out & rejoice that God is working! Glenn NEVER tries to convert people to mormonism! Watch his show & hear for yourself what he really believes before you make false assumptions about who he is. And while you’re at it I would suggest studying the parables in Matthew 13 (esp. verses 24-30 & 36-43). Jesus made it clear that we are not to pull up the weeds that grow with the wheat because in doing so you may root up the wheat with them. He also says that the angels will separate the believers from the unbelievers – NOT us. Here is a great link to watch Glenn speak very clearly about what he thinks of Mixing Big Government and Religion.

  • Lurker #59

    Glenn Beck is tying himself in with the Reconstructionist / Dominion movements. You can see such thinkers (such as David Barton) influence on what he is speaking about and it is also why he is drawing such support amongst certain Protestant denominations and leaders. Beck’s Mormonism is a distraction because that is not what he is preaching. If Beck is preaching a false gospel, that false gospel is the Reconstructionist / Dominion movement, not Mormonism.

  • Michael

    Another comment thread has jumped the shark after only 8 comments!

    Great letter, Nancy.

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  • Jenny

    Why can’t we hear “Christ from the pulpit” and also learn about the principles of America? Why do Christians, especially those from denominatons which consider themselves intellectually superior, create false dichotomies? Why is feeling smug and living in an insular world considered “Christian” at all? It certainly isn’t what is taught in the Bible, and it certainly wasn’t the example Christ provided to us regarding how we should live. There is more, much more, to the Christian walk than a large library and belonging to the “right” church. Frankly, when the church cannot bring itself to preach the Bible as if it is actually applicable to this time, rather than as a tired series of unrelated morality stories, it deserves to be as irrelevant as it’s become. We can always count on the reformed for a negative response to any effort on the part of simply anyone to do anything at all except sit on our pews feeling superior. Thank God for flawed people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who are not coralled by either moral perfection, nor a 501(c)(3) tax exemption.

    • laura

      “Go ye therefore into all the world and make Patriots of all creatures, baptizing them in the name of the Founding Fathers, the Sons of the Revolution, and the Holy Declaration of Independence.”

      Nope, not in my Bible.

      Why name-call instead of addressing the issue at hand? All you did was say that you’re right and we’re wrong and if we disagree with you we’re “smug” and “insular” and “irrelevant.”

      I also find it outrageously offensive that you insinuate that, if pastors aren’t teaching the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh (!?!) brand of Patriotism from the pulpit, it renders their preaching (or maybe the Scriptures themselves — couldn’t quite make that part out) tired and moralistic. Talk about false dichotomies!

      • Jenny

        Set your emotion aside for a moment and read my post again. In your anger, you’ve mischaracterized most of what I said.

        • threegirldad

          I don’t think she mis-characterized what you said in the least. That’s just a dodge on your part. And what on earth are *you* doing talking about someone *else’s* anger? Perhaps you need to read your own comment again, rather than tell someone else to.

          • Jenny

            I’m not dodging anything and what I said was certainly mischaratized. Neither you, nor the sophmorically sacastic writer before you, read even the first sentence of my post correctly.

            I’m not angry, by the way, just disgusted. I stand by every assertion I made, and thank you both for so aptly illustrating and bolstering a portion of my case.

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  • Stephanie

    Amen and thank you for your letter!

  • David Pitman

    Sentimentally nuanced but Scripturally naive. If pulpits avoid world views the gospel has NO context

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  • Ken Pierce

    I am not at all a fan of Glenn Beck, and am appalled by his civil religion rally, and that many evangelicals joined in.

    That said, I would not be a faithful pastor if I did not speak to everything from the context of the Scriptures, and that includes what Jesus has to say to the civil sphere. He is Lord of this world as well as the next.

  • Ken Pierce

    By the way, Corty Cooper, the founding pastor of Christ Presbyterian is one of my friends and chief influencers in ministry –especially on how to address politics from the pulpit.

  • Tim Bayly

    False dichotomy. Pastors aren’t limited to choosing between joining hands with Glen Beck or redemptive-historical preaching. There’s a third way that, although opposed by the elders of most tall-steeple reformed churches and the seminaries they support, takes its inspiration from Scripture and our church fathers across the centuries. It preaches the holiness, justice, and wrath of God, and not simply His grace, grace, grace…; the eternity of Hell torments, and not simply Heaven’s glory; it doesn’t limit its exposition of God’s providence to healings, but also sickness, death, floods, earthquakes, and terrorist bombings; it doesn’t quote Jesus’ plea, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” without also quoting His state-specific warning, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    Which of our churches or presbyteries would suffer Calvin or Luther or Edwards or Machen or Lloyd-Jones in our midst?

    Thank you, Brother Ken. He is Lord of this world–of Jackson, Bloomington, and Nashville–and faithful ministers of His Word and Sacraments will always suffer at the hands of those who wish to keep the sacred desk broken and tame.

    Glen Beck is a threat to reformed pulpits?

    Not in a thousand years.

    The real danger today is pastors taking money to preach faith without repentance; to cram endless amounts of grace down the throats of men who have never heard of God’s holiness and law. If Mrs. Guthrie must publicly exhort men, she’d do better to focus her efforts here.

    • David Pitman
    • Jenny


    • cnh

      Wow Tim, I never would have thought you’d come out in support of Beck like this. I must say I am amazed…and just think, you and Mrs. Guthrie are in the same denomination. So, for you, as long as someone goes after your “pet projects” they are alright regardless of how much they blur the understanding of sound doctrine? You think that the “principles of America” can and ought to be preached along with the Gospel? (you called it a false dichotomy, after all.)

      Oh, and love your parting shot at Mrs. Guthrie…uh-oh, you were taught by a woman! Gasp!

      • Tim Bayly

        >>I never would have thought you’d come out in support of Beck like this.

        I’ve never listened to, watched, read, talked to, or even sat on a porch swing with Glen Beck. There’s not a hint of coming out “in support of” the man in anything I’ve ever said or written.

  • John

    Old Testament prophets spoke loud and clear to Kings and subordinate rulers as did John the baptist. Paul preached the Gospel to rulers. Jesus spoke to governments as well as individuals. Every pastor worth his salt should speak on the curent evils in government as well the sins of indivuals. Those who govern will answer to God according to Scripture and pastors should speak directly and clearly to them.

  • Mark S

    I spent many years in churches that would turn every Lord’s Day closest to Independence Day into worsh…er, celebrate America Sunday, with every Patriotic song from the hymnal.

    I have been thankful and glad in recent years to be in, and have the opportunity to hear services from Reformed congregations that will take time to thank God for our country and its many blessings, but overtly and exclusively worship the Creator rather than the created thing.

    Related to a certain energetic media figure and his religion, we as Christians do not treat America’s founding documents, as great as they are, as addenda to Holy Scripture. I have heard people who I knew were Mormons at political meetings who seem quite obviously to consider the back cover of Scripture to remain open to include at least said documents as well as speeches by US founding fathers.

    • John

      Christians and Christian leaders do nothing more important than worship God but they are to do more. Much of what we do that glorifies God is in the world done before the world and is a visual and verbal witness to the World.
      John 8:12Then Jesus spoke again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
      Matthew 10:25-28 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.
      27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

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  • Dan

    Very insightful artical. I am a pastor who does not fellowship with false religions and so I am against this rally as Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked with non-believers” in Second Corinthians 6. Of course, on the other hand, we aught not to be afraid of calling civil leaders to repent and submit to King Jesus: “kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way (Psalm 2 which speaks of civil leaders).” However, I have a challenge, how many of you who say amen to this artical would also question the basic principles of our country which NEVER defined God as Triune, NEVER accepted Christ as the King whom God has set to reign, and NEVER clearly defined the true protestant religion (which would be neccesary in order to truly understand who Christ is). Let’s face it, that coalition of Christians, Rabbis, Muslims and Roman Catholics at the rally didn’t look much different from how our country has functioned historically. To me what Glenn Beck is doing is truely American. But how can we be truely American in this sense without sacrificing true, historic, biblical protestantism. When we say with Kuiper that there is not a single square inch over which Jesus Christ doesn’t cry out, “it is mine,” what about the civil government? All of us are required by King Jesus to fight for His crown rights, yes, even over “free” America, because no nation is free from Christ’s reign. America aught to be Protestant not ecumenical!

    • Sam

      America ought to be Protestant?… I am near speechless at this statement.

      • Dan

        Just to clarify, Sam, what I mean by Protestantism is Biblical Christianity as rediscovered by the Protestant Reformers and carried on by such faithful groups as the English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters. Often, when we try to promote “Biblical Christianity” without defining what we mean, it can mean anything to the reader so that is why I clarify.

        The point is, in order for a nation to truly embrace Christ as King, they must do it within the correct framework of thinking (Protestantism) because 1) the true Gospel (rightly defined) should be countinenced by the civil government (since the primary reason for the Kingship of Christ is to apply His wonderful finished work to His elect and we always want to he on His side. RIGHT? I hope so.) and 2) other religions which are not Protestant can rob Christ of His Kingly glory (like the Roman Catholic Church by putting the pope in His stead, even having a history of exulting itself over civil authorities).

        How far are we willing to go in following our glorious Savior and Lord who spared NOTHING to purchase our redemption? Do we value freedom over Christ’s glorious rule?

        • Edward Hara

          Protestantism is heresy. It is not biblical Christianity and it has no history prior to 1517 and the Protestant Rebellion. Do you remember what scripture says about rebellion? As the sin of witchcraft.

          Jesus died to reestablish the covenant kingdom which Adam forfeited by his sin. He reigns as King now, not in some future eschatological rapturist fantasy. He has left the running of His Kingdom to His second in command, St. Peter.

          You nicely understand that Christ as King is to rule over all nations. The Apostles went out to establish His Kingship over all the nations, and until the rebels of Protestantism fouled things up, the Church which Jesus left under the authority of the Bishop of Rome indeed was ruling over kings. Your grasp of history is extremely truncated and you need to do a serious study of how this rulership worked itself out in ways like the Catholic Peace of Europe in which the Holy Father forbade war between Catholic countries.

          You also need to study to see that there is no evidence whatsoever that the so called “gospel” which the Protestants developed in the 16th century was ever preached prior to the Rebellion. If you have any evidence to the contrary, you may produce it, but I have seen none as of yet.

          • AllenD

            The gospel that I put my faith in is the one found in the Bible that talks about forgiveness of sins and Jesus taking our sins upon himself. Is that the gospel you are referring to? If so, that gospel is all over the Scriptures.

            • Dan


              I don’t know if you were asking me or Edward so I will give my answer.

              Yes, that is my Gospel! We are justified by faith alone (Genesis 15, Habbakuk 2:4, Romans 4…) in Christ alone, who is the all sufficient Savior! But I also believe that that faith is never alone but produces good works and repentance (James 2, Romans 6), without which no one will see the Lord.


            • Edward Hara

              Allen — The “gospel” of Protestantism, in different forms of course (as many forms as there are denominations) teaches the strange and unbiblical idea of forensic justification, or justification by faith alone. That is not Gospel. That is presumption on the mercy of God and not in line with covenant principles. It also comes from a horrible mistranslation of the Greek in Romans 4.

              Salvation is a free gift. The Council of Orange declared as much and Trent reaffirmed this. It is by GRACE ALONE and not of any works we can do that we are saved. But the idea that we are justified in a forensic sense was never known to the Church until Luther began it. Our justification is in the form of a covenant relationship. Simply put, if I am in Christ, I am justified. But unlike the idea that I am forever declared legally justified so that no sin I do can ever separate me from Christ, a relationship can be broken, and needs to be repaired by means which are ordained to the covenant relationship. In our covenant, that restoration is that we present to God the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ (aka The Mass)so that the covenant relationship is restored and renewed.

              Protestant professor of theology, Ray Sutton, in his book on the covenant, THAT YOU MAY PROSPER, has made this principle quite clear. Upon reading this book, I began to realize (from the book of a Protestant no less!!) that the teaching of forensic justification did not square with the covenant principles of justification and therefore must be false.

              Any “gospel” which teaches that you can find justification in a manner which is not covenantal is a false “gospel”. You do not “accept Jesus” and find justification. You are baptized into the New Covenant and into Christ (Rom.6:3)for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). When you break your covenant relationship with Christ, you offer a Sacrifice to pay for that sin and renew the covenant. And any “gospel” which states that you “accept Jesus” and you have an immediate and irrevocable passport to Heaven is just an outright lie. In all of his epistles except Philemon, St. Paul warned his converts against falling away from Christ and losing what they had gained. That hardly sounds like “once saved — always saved” to me.

          • Dan


            Actually, I believe that Protestantism is the true heir of the early church. My belief in this is tantamount to the belief (which I am sure you would share) that the Christian Church is the true continuation of the Old Covenant Church. The comparison is helpful because the Jews have an APPEARANCE of continuation but when you look at what the Old Testament teaches, it is not an ACTUAL continuation, the Christian Church is the ACTUAL continuation. Your accusation that we are a rebellion is just about as convincing as the Jews trying to tell Christians that the Church was a rebellion against the already established order. Let me ask you a question, why did the Jansinists protest the excesses of the Councel of Trent? Because it went too far from what Augustine taught. This was a movement within the Church of Rome! When compared with Scripture, Roman Catholic doctrine is shown to be false. Is the Pope the head of the church just because Jesus said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church”? In the Greek, the word for Peter is petra which means little rock and the word for rock is petros which means big rock. So it is clear that Jesus is not saying that He will build His church upon Peter, but upon something bigger in CONTRAST to Peter, such as his confession that Jesus is the Son of God. Perhaps it is all of the apostles including Peter which doesn’t present a problem since it could just mean that they were the ones whom Christ used to communicate the doctrine to the Church. However, it is clear that it is not just Peter whom Christ is refering to even if him at all.

            Also, even if it were Peter, how do you know that he has a successor? Maybe it is just Peter with no successor. Furthermore, how do you know the sense in which he is supposed to be that rock? Is it really supposed to be the bishop of Rome? You see, even if that passage did mean that, your application of it to the Papacy is an unneccesary inference.

            The Reformation was a development upon the orthodoxy which the early councils had established. Let me give you an esample. You say you believe that Jesus is fully God in accordance with Nicea (325) and yet you add on to the sufficiency of His sacrifice (assuming you are truly Roman Catholic) by human works (the mass, indulgences…). Yet Jesus had to be God in order to satisfy divine justice! It says in Revelation 14 refering to sinful men that “the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever,” because that is what sin deserves since it is a violation of God’s law (which is a reflection of His most holy nature) and so those outside of Christ will never fully pay their debt but will be punished forever. So how could have Christ been a “propitiation” (Romans 3, First John 2:2), to satisfy devine justtice, unless He were fully God? He did finish the work as is shown by His saying it on the cross, “it is finished,” and his resurrection from the grave “for our justification” (Romans 5). “He shall see the travail of His soul and be satified” (Isaiah 53:11). So Christ finished the work, a work which could never have been finished by mere man, (though, of course, His human Nature is neccesary as well because he had to represent humans). My point: If you truly are commited to Nicea, you will be commited to the Reformation because the reformation CLEARLY defined what it MEANS that Jesus is God in light of our salvation. That is, He payed the price which we could never pay! Also, He fully finished it. We don’t need indulgences, the Mass, penence… Why? Jesus Christ was a sufficient sacrafice! You believe in Nicea? Show it by becoming a protestant because the Church of Rome, while paying it lip service to it, has implicitly rejected it by denying the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrafice. This is idolatry.

            I could say more but I don’t have the time.


            • Edward Hara

              This is getting too long. You are wrong on all counts and if you honestly want an answer, come debate me at

            • Edward Hara

              I see you still haven’t responded to my challenge.

              You know, it’s strange to watch Protestant reactions to a Catholic who actually KNOWS the Faith and can defend it from scripture. I get either

              1. Pejorative, insult, and straw man arguments which do not answer the presentations I make.

              2. Denial of the Greek in the scriptures, such as when I show from PROTESTANT BIBLE DICTIONARIES that the meaning of the Greek word “logizomai” in no way supports Calvin’s weird theory of “forensic justification”.

              3. Just plain old ignored.

              None of which are suitable debate techniques. Once in a great while I do get a substantive response from scripture rather than to be called a “papist” or some other insult, but the scriptures that are given are usually taken out of context of the rest of the chapter or pulled out as a single verse trying to prove that which the rest of the Bible will not support.

              Guess you weren’t up to it, eh?

            • Phillip Mayberry

              To Edward, for Dan with my compliments:

              Logizomai: 1) reckon, calculate- a. count, take into account (Ro. 4;8; 1 Cor. 13:5; 2 Cor 5:19; 2 Tim 4:16. CREDIT (emphasis mine): Ro. 4:3f, 5f, 9, 11; 2 Cor. 12:6; jam 2:23. – b. evaluate, estimate, look upon as, consider Acts 19:27, Ro. 2:26, 9:8, 1 Cor. 4:1; 2 Cor 4:1, 2 Cor 10:2b. Class Lk. 22:37 – 2) Think (about), consider, let one’s mind dwell on John 11:50, 2 Cor 10:11, Hb 11:19. Propose 2 Cor. 10:2a, Reason, make plans 1 Cor. 13:11. _ 3) Think, believe, be of the opinion Ro. 2:3, 3:28, 14:14, 2 Cor. 11:5, Phil 3:13, 1 Pet. 5:12

              -from BAGD…

              In Romans 4:3, the word appears in the aorist passive 3rd singular. This shows clearly that the righteousness credited to Abraham was completely PASSIVE on his part, happened one time in the past, and was the result of Belief (episteusen earlier in the verse).

              Speaking of debating techniques, not being up to the challenge, and 3. “just plain being ignored”, I still challenge you to open your bible and deal with Matthew 1:25. It’s just one Scripture Edward: don’t you have time to look at it? Stop bringing up the Greek if you refuse to interact with it. Don’t try to bully people into buying snake oil in a debate. The lexicon above shows clearly that logizomai in its PRIMARY definition supports Calvin’s “weird theory” (which he got from the weird theory of Paul).

              Let me make it convenient for you: “(Joseph) knew her not UNTIL (Gk. Heos) she gave birth to a son, and he called his name Jesus.”

              heos is a temporal conjunction, which limits the time in which Joseph did not know Mary. It shows clearly that, once the time delimited of “not knowing” was complete, he DID know her.

              Here are a few examples, just to make it easy for you to understand.

              1. “I did not sleep with my wife UNTIL we were married.”

              2. “I did not drink wine UNTIL I read in the Scriptures that Jesus drank wine.”

              3. Jesus laid in the tomb UNTIL he was resurrected.”

              4. The bodies of believers rest in their graves UNTIL the resurrection.”

              Every time you use the word UNTIL, maybe you will be convicted of your denial of the Scriptures…

  • Phillip Mayberry

    To be fair to Edward, “petros” is the gk word for Peter, and “petra” the word translated “rock” in MT 16:18. Not a big deal, just clarifying…

    Peter seems to hold to the idea that Christ is the foundation of the church in 1 Pet. 2:5-8.

    Edward will play fair if you treat him charitably… although I am still awaiting an answer about Matthew 1:25, which clearly teaches that Joseph knew Mary sexually after she gave birth to Jesus, her son.

    The big issue here is whether we will hear the voice of the Scriptures above the voices (and there are many) of fallible men speaking contrary to the Scriptures.

    Don’t you just love this format, where we can get so far off the original subject, and yet are still tollerated by the moderator?

  • Patti

    Those with eyes cannot see, those with ears cannot hear. Look at you all, coming out against a man who is doing nothing more than asking people to “get back to God”, regardless of the faith you practice. Tell me exactly where the harm is in that? He has never said what party to vote for, just vote for HONEST people. There is something inherently evil about your crusade against Glenn Beck.

    • Phillip Mayberry

      Hey Patti,

      Have you considered that the quote you reference about not having eyes and ears occurs in the context of people who all believe in God? I mean, Jesus says that the Jews who rejected him were blinded by God so that they would not see (John 12:39-40). Surely both parties believed in “God” and yet one was called blind. I find this ironic because it brings out the danger of following a generic god, and shows the harm of equating all “faiths” as though they are on the same level. The harm of Glen Beck’s god and message is simply that people can’t “get back to God” unless they get back to the true God.

      I mean, Aaron made a golden calf and called it Yahweh, but that didn’t make it truly the God of Israel. Surely you would say it was a problem if a politician equated a golden calf with the Living God, right?

      And that’s really it. This is not a crusade against Glen Beck: I happen to like him and think he is witty most of the time. The issue is that he is equating our God with other faiths, especially Mormonism. Unfortunately, as long as he rejects the true God, he is the one without eyes and ears, and we are simply warning people not to be confused by his false Jesus, which Paul also commands us to do (Gal. 1).
      Never said what party to vote for? Hmm… How many democratic tea party members do you know?

      Anyway, I hope this finds you well. I know it may sound strange, but the Bible is actually harder on those who name the name of Christ and present a false god, or relegate the gospel as optional, than it is on those who simply reject the faith outright. In other words, taking the Lord’s name in vain is not just an expletive…

      Grace and peace-

    • Dan


      We as Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to God so that is why we don’t encourage such a vague view of God. I encourage you to embrace Christ as He is the only Savior. He says (and these are His own words even though they contradict what you wrote), “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)


  • Jerry Lingle

    Thank God for Glenn Beck!

    Please don’t be so narrow minded,or so heavenly minded that you are NO earthly GOOD!

    Please pray for more people to emerge with the courage of Glenn Beck, even in our pulpits across America.

    I pray for Glenn and his family-please join with me christians.

    • Phillip Mayberry

      I’ll pray for him too! That he be converted to the saving gospel of Christ, and repent of his false gospel of Mormonism. The most important thing in the Bible is the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and risen (1 Cor. 15:1-3). It’s impossible to be truly heavenly minded and NOT be doing good to those on earth. Nancy is concerned that that which we need most (the gospel) is being supplanted in the pulpit with broader principles. Below are a few quotes about heavenly mindedness and earthly mindedness for your consideration, if you are a believer. Grace and peace!

      Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

      Colossians 3:1-2

      1. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

      Matthew 7:12-15
      13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

      15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

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  • Michael Seifert

    I apartly agree with this, but there are some things I want to mention. I agree that churches should be preaching the gospel. Here are some things, the Revolutionary War probably would not of happened if it were not for the pulpit. One pastor actually recruited all the men in his congregation to fight in the war. The pastors were news reporters, political pundits, and spiritual leaders. Back in the 1600s, the pulpit was the means a local community got its information. Alot of the “Principles of America” are Christian principles. So, if your going to preach on the principles of America, the gospel is needed. America was founded on it.

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  • Dave Taylor


    Good as far as it goes, and as a counterweight to being too earthly-minded, something anyone could put on the fridge as a reminder.

    But there were pastors and ministers prior to the American Revolution who did both, preached the things you value as well as political principles, and IMO they succeeded.

    I find some of Beck’s views of American history a little unconventional and IMO lacking in support. And I think that anyone who follows him needs to be vigilant about absorbing some of his spirit (i.e., attitude). I ran into the same problem in the pro-life movement more than 20 years ago.

    We can be salt, but there is more than one way to lose your saltiness and end up being fit for nothing useful.

  • Edward Hara

    In re: Mr. Mayberry’s accusations:

    1. I DID deal with Matthew and the perpetual virginity of Mary. It is foreshadowed in Ezekial 44: 1-3. Mary is the Temple of the Lord spoken of in this passage in Ezekial.


    “But Matthew 1:25 states that Joseph had no relations with Mary until she bore a son. Wouldn’t that imply that he knew her afterward?”

    Before you move on to this objection, notice that the verse in question has changed. You have presented scriptural and historical evidence to support the Church’s interpretation. If the person that you are speaking with leaves Matthew 13:55 to rest, it may be a sign that he sees the incompleteness of the “brethren of the Lord” argument. This is a good sign, so follow his lead—so long as the conversation stays on topic. Zealous Protestants will have any number of objections to the faith, and, if you hope to make any progress, take only one topic at a time.

    Now, does Matthew’s use of “until” mean what your friend says it does? Not necessarily. The Greek word for “until” (heos) does not imply that Mary had marital relations after the birth of Christ. In 2 Samuel 6:23, we read that Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child “until” the day of her death. (Rest assured that she didn’t have any children after that day, either.) Hebrews 1:13 and 1 Timothy 4:13 are similar examples.

    When we interpret any passage, we must consider what the author was trying to say. Matthew’s intent here is not to explain what happened after the birth of Christ. He is only concerned with the fact that Joseph and Mary had no relations before then. It is the virgin birth, not later siblings, that Matthew is concerned with.

    3. The Greek word LOGIZOMAI is an ACCOUNTING TERM and it means that you count what is really there. Most Greek words do have secondary meanings. However, look at what the PROTESTANT Blue Letter Bible Lexicon posts in regards to LOGIZOMAI.

    1) to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over
    a) to take into account, to make an account of
    1) metaph. to pass to one’s account, to impute
    2) a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight
    b) to number among, reckon with
    c) to reckon or account
    2) to reckon inward, count up or weigh the reasons, to deliberate
    3) by reckoning up all the reasons, to gather or infer
    a) to consider, take into account, weigh, meditate on
    b) to suppose, deem, judge
    c) to determine, purpose, decide

    This word deals with reality. If I reckon (logizomai) that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers more to fact than supposition or opinion.

    Do you see this last part, Phillip? DEALS IN REALITY — not in some fantasy that the Reformers made up to support their heresy. When Abraham acted in faith, he was RIGHTEOUS and God counted it as such (LOGIZOMAI) just as an accountant counts what is really there.

    I forget one other Protestant debating technique, which Phillip has nicely demonstrated for me — refuse at all costs to admit that you are wrong, even in the face of evidence, and search desperately for something — ANYTHING — upon which to grasp so that you don’t become a papist. Right, Phillip?

  • Phillip Mayberry

    Oh Edward: now you are just being silly and demonstrating the weakness of the Catholic belief system. I love the way you are running to obscure texts in the LXX to refute the obvious statement in Matthew 1:25!

    Clearly, the word takes on an idiomatic meaning in 2 Samuel 6:23- the time of no childbearing is limited by her life. In Matthew, it is limited by Mary’s first pregnancy.

    Your “answer book” is clearly designed to circumvent and overthrow the clear meaning of Scripture at every turn, and I laugh it to derision. The idea that Mary is the temple of the Lord in Ezekiel 44 is troubling to say the least. Have you read the rest of the chapter? Are we supposed to believe that the temple is not Mary after verse 3? I mean, if it continues to be Mary, we are getting into some pretty sick stuff. Does Mary have another “gate” to enter in by in verse 4? I hate to ask the question, but your Catholic speculations in the first three verses beg it to be asked. If the first three verses are sexually descriptive, what about the rest of the chapter? It’s the same temple, you know…

    This is why I reject Romish opinions: they make someone dependent upon the word of man to interpret the Word of God. I don’t have to search desperately: I just cling to the plain meaning and reading of the Scriptures.

    Catholic dogma, on the other hand, is silly when you consider how it turns the literal meaning of the text on its head. In every instance it wants you to believe the LEAST likely explanation of every verse in question!

    It tells you that the brothers and sisters of Jesus, mentioned in the gospels and Acts are not REALLY Jesus’ brothers. It tells you that Mary and Joseph never REALLY knew each other intimately, when the Scripture says that they did. All this Scripture twisting is for the sole purpose of supporting the Roman doctrine of the idolatrous elevating of Mary.

    You say I can’t admit that I am wrong. OK. How about this: will you admit that you were wrong when you said that Protestant Lexicons know nothing of the definition of crediting via the use of Logizomai? I showed the contrary above, and specifically with regard to Romans 4:3.

    Blue letter Bible? I might as well cite a Catholic children’s book in order to prove that “Catholics believe such and such!” But that, my friend, would be a straw man argument… Try a scholarly lexicon, not something online! Look at UBS #3781 (“credit”); Friberg Lexicon #17401 (“Charge or credit to someone’s account”); Louw-Nida 57.227 (“charge to one’s account”); or Thayer’s #3230 (“to impute”). While you might argue about the validity of these definitions, you cannot deny that they are there. That was my point.

    As for Romans 4:3, the most natural reading of the text is that the act of BELIEF is said to be credited to him AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. This is the only thing that works linguistically. It is not Abraham that is righteous in this text, but rather his faith is credited to him as righteousness. The verbal idea inherent in the aorist passive only works if God is doing something active at a point in time. That which he is actively doing is crediting Abraham’s faith as righteousness.

    If you love your works righteousness doctrine, good luck at the Judgment. Your rejection of the gracious crediting of righteousness through faith alone has caused your church to invent Purgatory, indulgences, and so many other inventions. I will rest in Christ alone, for I am destitute of any righteousness apart from him.

    Thanks for finally addressing the text: you had previously not addressed it. Ridiculous speculations about metaphorical meanings of Ezekiel 44 are not the same as addressing the text linguistically. Surely even you can see the weakness of your answer regarding the meaning of “until” in Matthew 1:25. Matthew is recording historically how long Mary and Joseph refrained from intercourse. Hebrews 1:13 is quoting a poetic genre found in the Psalms-Psalm 110:1 (yet it too shows how long the seating will take place); 1 Tim. 4:13 demonstrates the desire of Paul for the church addressed until he comes, when the activities in this verse will give way to his teaching personally.

    Matthew 1:25 contains the normal use of the word “until”, and there is no reason to suppose otherwise. Matthew writes this verse to explain why and for what extent Mary and Joseph refrained from their marital duty and blessing of intercourse. He shows that they did so for a special and limited length of time, surrounding a special event. After this, they refrained from their fast and celebrated the marriage bed: I thought you understood the Covenant!

    In the end, Edward, I am taking the obvious reading of the text above a dubious one that depends on speculation and obscure definitions. I’ll stick with clear Scripture: you cast your lot in with tradition and fables, if you must. Now, we have both addressed the text, and are in disagreement. I have no compelling reason to believe that your interpretation is correct. It would be silly for you to say that my case has no merit, since again, I am holding to the primary definition of “until” and your case is built on metaphorical abstractions in non-didactic genres.

    I guess you would have me flush my mind down the toilet and submit to the ever changing opinion of Rome, huh? Sorry, I believe that the Bible was written plainly, not cryptically.

    Due to our different convictions, and that this post was originally about Glen Beck, I am going to refrain from commenting anymore. I am quite sure people are tired of our debating in their inbox!

    Perhaps we can talk again sometime. I pray that you would repent of your loyalty to man, and return to the faith once delivered to all the saints, contained in Scripture alone.

    In Christ,


  • Ken B. Godevenos

    Thank you for sharing this blog Nancy. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) has many things good things about it — but I believe that it goes beyond its own intentions some times. For example, it claims to exist to unite evangelicals by agreeing on things that are central to the Gospel of Christ. And yet, through posts like yours above, it goes beyond that itself. Whether or an evangelical pastor preaches the “principles of America” from his pulpit or not, is not a fundamental “central truth” to Christianity.

    Now to your post. Two things: I believe you seem to forget that the original principles of America are indeed based on and founded in, Scripture. Secondly, I believe that PAUL especially in Ephesians (1:1 ff.) is asking us to both be “saints who are at Ephesus (in this world, in this culture, in this nation) and who are faithful in Christ Jesus (sons and daughters of the living God).” And he goes on to state that God equips us “with every spiritual blessing in (all) the heavenly places” to do so “in Christ”. The rest of the chapter, especially verses 15 following are about how we are to use those blessings here on earth — he’s not talking about heaven.

    So, I agree with Glenn Beck on this one. We have failed our children and grand children because we have not made the Gospel of Christ relevant to their current situation where they live, study, and work.

    — Ken Godevenos.

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  • Cynthia Doney

    Yes! Thank you.

  • Ken Godevenos

    I do agree with your observation and position. Interesting that just yesterday I took a position that a Christian denomination should not have in its name a “national identity” such as “Canadian Reformed Church”, etc. To do so would, in my view, be somehow detracting from the global power of the Cross and could be somehow perceived as being exclusive.

    However, it is possible, I believe, that one could do both what you want your pastors to do and what Glen Beck may be suggesting if — and I believe this is true — American founding principles are indeed based on and reflective of God’s principles for living and community.

    — Ken Godevenos,Toronto,

  • Nicole Gray

    A rousing “amen” American’s greatest need is for its citizens to have a new heart!