Glenn Beck didn’t do his homework

Photo credit: / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: / CC BY-SA

God never punishes us.  That’s what Glenn Beck said on the radio on Friday, November 9.

There are some who classify him as a right-wing nutter.  I listen to his show (obviously) from time to time whenever I’m in the car between 9 am and noon.  I listen because he can be very funny.  He and his team make some good points as well, though I don’t agree with everything.

Somebody I had coffee with last week noted his own propensity to challenge the validity of everything he heard.  He was apologetic. I assured him that his approach was a good thing as long as his purpose was to search for Truth instead of making truth fit his desires.  I told him that because I’m the same way, and I’ve learned that this approach is far better than to just accept everything someone tells you.

Beck’s message was that everything negative that our Father allows to happen to us is for our good. God loves us, so he wouldn’t punish us.  I wish I could find the transcript so that I could quote him.

Beck is Mormon, and I don’t pretend to know the full extent of the differences between our faith and theirs. I know that they don’t believe that Jesus is God.  Maybe his Bible is different with regard to Hebrews 12:5-9 as well, particularly verse 6:

For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. (NLT)

Photo credit: peasap / / CC BY

Photo credit: peasap / / CC BY

Can’t be any more clear than that.  Beck’s reasoning may have sounded right, but it wasn’t biblical.  He was partially correct in that everything God allows Christians to go through is for our own good.  That makes it more confusing because truth lined up next to error makes us lean toward believing the error as well.

So, what’s the big deal? Great question. The Bible is God’s self-revelation.  He wants us to see him as a loving Father.  He wants us to know that his love for us goes so deep that he would rather punish us so that we can become the people he wants us to be than to let us drown in ineffectiveness and spiritual mediocrity.

It’s the opposite of what Beck preached: God does punish us because he loves us. Flippant adherence to Beck’s reasoning distorts your understanding of the True God, and He doesn’t like that.

My point about being careful with regard to Beck’s religious comments are obvious to many, but I wonder how many Christians who listen to Beck said a quiet amen that day. It’s easy to be led astray by people we may have come to agree with and admire. I urge you to be careful about forming what you believe about God outside of sound Biblical teaching.

It’s more than okay to check up on what you’re hearing about God. You’ll be like the Bereans, who had a pretty good rep:

Now these Jews [Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11, ESV)


6 thoughts on “Glenn Beck didn’t do his homework

  1. I didn’t hear what Beck said, but my response is that there is a difference between chastising and punishment. Chastising is done in love, to teach God’s child to learn and grow spiritually. So yes, He does chastise, and I would agree that He causes all things, even chastisement, or discipline to work for the good to His own. Punishment is not towards the good of the individual. He will punish those who don’t know Him in eternity.

    • It probably comes down to interpretations of words, I suppose. That verse in Hebrews that I’ve quoted used the word “punish”, but the NIV has “chasten”. defines “chasten” as, “To inflict suffering for moral improvement.”

      But, you bring up a good question: How do God’s actions in this regard towards people outside his family differ from His actions towards those who follow him? Sounds like a great word study that I wish I had time for.

      Thanks for your thought, Margo.

  2. Define punish? See i believe the evils in the world are not god at all. They are mans free will. God gave us free will which is capable of extremely cruel and evil things and also of great and good things.

    Did god play a part in the gang rape and beating of a 14 year old girl. What sin could she have done deserving of such a punishment? See this would be where we differ. I believe god so perfect he actually gave us choice and free will. Everything from that day forward that was evil was mans choice.

    Did god play a role in that rape? Yes he saved my life that day. He made the policeman find me, he protected me by making my body slow down enough they thought they killed me. But was he responsible for or did he condone the actions of that day. Not a chance in hades.

    Least that is my thoughts I’d love to hear yours.

    • You’re right on the mark, Michelle. Nothing evil can come from God (1st John 1:5). He didn’t play a role in that rape or any other. That is the result of sin that the human race brought into the world. We don’t differ on this because I don’t believe that everything bad that happens comes from God.

      When I ground my child it’s a punishment, but I am not doing something bad in the process. She may not like it, but my action is good because she needs correction (bad grades, attitude, poor behavior, whatever) more than she needs to have fun. If I didn’t love her I would never ground her (or him, of course).

      I believe in free will too. A result is that bad things happen to good people. God doesn’t like when that happens one bit. It brings up that age old question of why does God let bad things happen. If he didn’t, that would be heaven . . . and we aren’t there yet. His plan is still in process.

      Your perspective on that awful day is a credit to you, Michelle. It’s great chatting with you on this stuff.

  3. Great post! I completely agree on the importance of not swallowing everything you hear without checking it against the truth of scripture. It can be very easy to be led astray by words that sound good and right, but aren’t. This is especially true when something that is false is paired with biblical truth. Everything needs to be checked against the light of scripture. I think it’s all too common for people to believe everything they may hear from an admired or well known source without checking to see if scripture backs it up.

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