How Right is Your Conservative Commentator?
August 18, 2008
Those who host conservative radio shows are less likely to be pressured by PC watchdogs but all of them occasionally take leave of reality especially when it comes to theology. Let's look at some examples.
From the stinging replies of Americas "culture warrior," Bill O'Reilly, to the sardonic humor of Glenn Beck and all in between there is a lot to be desired.
It may be naivetÃ© as in President Bush's remark about Islam being a "peaceful religion" or it may just be that after all, they are only political commentators and not avowed conservative theologians. In either case, some who are only slightly above novice theologians have to cringe from time to time at what they have to say.
In O'Reilly's Culture Warrior he notes that he must leave all judgment about sin to the deity (pg. 179). No problem with that but then he indicates that he sees no problem with gay couples raising children. As with all others, he offers a chance for the Catholic Church to explain their reasons for the negative positions they hold about children in such unions. It still might be easier to get the Pope to come on the "Factor" than Barack Obama but I doubt he is going to accept the offer if one is made.
The biblically grounded use the Bible as their ultimate authority under what is known as the belief in the "plenary verbal" method of biblical inspiration. In short that means that every letter, word and phrase was chosen explicitly by God. Catholic theology allows for ex-cathedra which in essence says that the Pope can speak in Christ's stead through something called apostolic succession. Then there's Bill O'Reilly's view. He is right about a lot of things and always interesting but for those of us who trust God's word only scripture is endowed with intrinsic infallibility.
I don't need to say what the Bible says about homosexuality again but if I did the fastest way to get the information would be to check the rhetoric on the gay sites where the blogs are always in full steam and much is always being said against those words.
Then along comes Glenn Beck with his feisty and often gut splitting raw humor and sarcasm, until he starts praising ministers like Osteen and Warren. Both are well intentioned icons of the day but once again the best bet for biblical truth is still the Bible itself, not the surmising of an icon.
Beck graduated from Sehome H.S. and O'Reilly often reminds his viewers that he is an alumnus of Harvard University so it is safe to say we should not expect theology that reflects an education from Dallas Theological Seminary from either of the aforementioned. What we might hope for is that someone explains to Glenn that for millions of conservative Christians around the nation the mega church darlings are part of the problem (apostasy) not the solution.
Being interviewed between stops and found at an airport, Rick Warren was lauded by Beck for his shear "brilliance" as he wrapped up the question of what he planned to ask the candidates Obama and McCain at his upcoming forum.
Warren said he planned to ask them the question of how they see the Constitution of the United States. Do they view it as "carved in stone" immovable and rigid, or is it "a living" document open to interpretation.
It is the old "open to interpretation" aspect of the question that causes the greatest concern. For the politically conservative it is that very question that makes us look for Supreme Court judges who are willing to take the constitution at face value. Among the biblically conservative it is the same reason we look for leaders who will take the Bible at face value.
For well over 35 years I have been reproving those who virtually ignore every word in the Bible under the guise that it is after all a book that is open to all sorts of interpretations. Nonsense! It would be almost impossible to line up the major 24 translations of the bible and choose a passage that after reading every translation would not say exactly the same thing.
Hiding behind an open interpretation clause when it pertains to God's word is shaky ground at best. The Apostle Peter addressed the silly notion that just anyone could see just anything they wanted to in scriptures when he said "Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." (2 Pet 1:20) But even if Peter had been silent who would dare trust the most well intentioned preacher or commentator, conservative or not, if you couldn't take God at His word?
Michael Bresciani is the publisher of American Prophet.org since 2005. The website features the articles and reports of Rev Bresciani along with some of America’s best writers and journalists, news and reviews that have earned the site the title of "The Website for Insight." Millions have read his timely reports and articles in online journals and print publications across the nation and the globe. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
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