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First of all I have no idea which ‘big evangelical’ was recently on the phone with Beck, but clearly it must have been someone who is in the public spotlight more than others. We could probably make s few guesses, that’s not the issue here. What frustrates with in this audio clip is Beck’s faulty understanding of the nature of theology. He clearly has no idea what theology is. Read again what he said here:
“I had a conversation off-air with a big evangelical recently. And he said “you know, if I’m going to come on your show, it’s important for me to point out the differences between our religions. “And quite honesty I almost hung up the phone. I was like…. but I didn’t. And the reason why I almost hung up the phone was because I thought “Are you really this small? Are you really this small? Do you see what’s happening to us right now?” Nobody cares what my religion is. Nobody really cares what your religion is. What they want are ‘are you putting your principles in action right now? What demonstrates me- don’t talk to me. Don’t preach to me, demonstrate to me. Who are you? What do you believe? What are you doing about it right now? Do you know why 20-something’s don’t go to church anymore? Because church doesn’t do anything. You gonna sit here and talk about it, are you gonna talk about the things that change lives, or you gonna do the things that changes lives. Don’t talk to me about theology. Talk to me about God in practice. How can I be a better man. How can I survive today?”
So, according to Beck’s thinking he ‘doesn’t want to hear about theology when he goes to church’ because ‘it doesn’t do anything’ and is ‘the reason 20-something’s have stop attending church.’ Rather than hearing about theology Beck wants to hear someone talk to him about ‘God in practice, how he can be a better man, and survive today.’ He would rather see someone demonstrating God than speaking about God.
Put together the pieces here. To Beck theology is not practical, and is the reason many people have left the church today, therefore he doesn’t want to hear it. Beck wants to be a better man and wants to survive today and thinks the way to those things is through hearing someone talk to him about ‘God in practice.’ Not good thinking at all Beck. Why?
Theology is the only thing that can make anyone a better man. Theology is the only thing that can help anyone ‘survive today.’ What Beck really wants is to hear someone talking, not preaching, about so called ‘God in practice.’ He wants to see someone living the example of godliness rather than hearing a sermon probably because sermons are too convicting and we don’t have to think deeply about someone’s ‘example.’ Even more what Beck clearly doesn’t understand is that in making this statement against theology, he is being theological because he is making a statement about God and what His Church ought to be doing. Is that not a theological statement with theological implications and consequences? This is foolish. It’s identical to ‘wanting to be free’ to state he what believes without having to hear someone challenge him in response. Most if us would call this…arrogant.
Jesus would rebuke Glenn Beck for refusing theology and doctrine and yearning for something practical in it’s place as if theology weren’t practical. Interestingly that the disciples got rebuked for the same thing in John 14:4-14 for seeking something more practical than the Words Jesus told them. Jesus called them out for it, and Beck ought to be called out as well.