'Glenn Beck': The Roots of Social Justice

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 18, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: America, we are talking to you tonight about social justice. And I have to tell you that I'm really torn right now — it's why I had about an hour's sleep the other night, because I feel like nobody is exposing any of this stuff. But I also feel like I'm not — that's not what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to be talking to you about just correct principles and getting back in the flow of God. I don't care what God it is that you worship or what church you go to. We just need to get back in to correct principles.

Tonight, I'm going to be joined for the rest of the hour by Peter Lillback, president of the Westminster Theological Seminary and author of a book I just found last week, "George Washington's Sacred Fire."

You didn't know I was going to talk about this.


BECK: Yesterday, it was like 475,000 on Amazon.com. I think it was two or three when I checked.

LILLBACK: Up to two now. Thanks to you. Boy, I'll tell you, you're the best publicist in town.

BECK: This is — America, this is a book that every house should have. Buy this book. It is an avalanche of information. It so discredits all of the scholars and it's amazing. Best — best book on faith and the founding I think I've ever read.

Then Jerry Falwell, Jr. is here. He is chancellor of Liberty University.

Jerry, are you a doctor of —


BECK: You're an attorney. But are you a doctor of anything?

FALWELL: Juris doctor.

BECK: Oh, I'm a doctor.


FALWELL: We were honored to have you at Liberty University.

BECK: No. I know, sir. And it was a —

FALWELL: Best commencement we've ever had.

BECK: Thank you very much, sir.

OK. I wanted — let's start at the beginning.

And, Peter, maybe you can help me. Just on — first of all, never happened — this is not in any founding document, social justice or any of that stuff, right?

LILLBACK: The phrase "social justice" cannot be found in Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

BECK: OK. It also isn't — it's not found in the Bible.


BECK: OK. Give me the origins of social justice.

LILLBACK: Well, let's start in the context of Westminster Seminary. The man who started the school where I'm the president, J. Gresham Machen, wrote a book that revolutionized the 20th century. It was called "Christianity and Liberalism."

And basically what he said is, is that liberals claim to be Christians, they use all kind of Christian vocabulary, but they give them different meanings. And that Christianity and liberalism are two different religions.

And that is the core of what you deal with now, really, a century after Dr. Machen started Westminster Seminary. The words are Christian, but they have been redefined.


LILLBACK: Justice is a biblical word. That social justice is taking away each individual getting his due. Instead, what they're saying is a whole class needs to get its due. And a class structure system is really a result of Marxist thought.

BECK: OK. Who is Reverend Harry Ward?

LILLBACK: Reverend Harry Ward was one of the founders of the ACLU. He was a Methodist minister, allegedly, and for some 20 years, he claimed to be a Methodist. And then, finally, he was exposed under oath that he was really a communist.

And so, it's really fascinating that people can wear the hoods of religion. That's where we get the word "falsehood" — putting on the robe of religion and the hood and it's really a fake. Here was a man claiming to be a Methodist minister when, really, he was an overt communist in his thinking.



LILLBACK: And he was the father of the ACLU. One of the founding fathers of the ACLU.

BECK: And father of the social justice movement, or the Social Gospel Movement.

LILLBACK: Well, let's put it this way: Going back into the late 1800s, there were others that were wrestling with social problems.

BECK: Right.

LILLBACK: And we think of the name Washington Gladden or Walter Rauschenbusch. These were great theologians that were trying to address problems of orphanages and lack of education.

BECK: Right.

LILLBACK: And there have always been social problems that need to be addressed and they were calling the church to do it.

But what had happened is that they begin to lose focus in the truth of the Bible. They stopped believing — as you called it — the individual character of salvation. Instead of one coming to the cross to find Jesus Christ as a crucified, buried and risen savior, the one who saved sinners, they started to turn to society. And they said salvation is when the society feeds you, when it gives you clothes, when it gives a better hospital.

BECK: Right.

LILLBACK: When it keeps your house from burning.

Now, all of those things were good, but that's not the gospel. Those are implications of the gospel.

And what liberalism did is that it said, we no longer can believe in Jesus as God or Jesus crucified and risen and coming again. We can't believe that. So, what we've done is we kept all the language and we've changed its meaning.

And that is social justice thinking: It's liberalism in the cloak of Christianity. That was Dr. Machen's fundamental insight.

BECK: Let me ask you this, America: Does it sound crazy? I mean, you've just seen. I just showed you a minute ago — the jobs bill was a jobs bill because they knew you wouldn't buy the stimulus bill anymore. This is all progressives do. Change the language over and over until they find something where it fits in and locks in with you.

You unfortunately haven't had anybody expose all of this stuff in a mainstream way. And so, it's just gotten out of control. And your churches are in dire, dire danger. You — well, let me ask you this: Your university churns out a lot of ministers I'm guessing.

FALWELL: About 15 percent of our 8,600 graduates are going into the ministry.

BECK: OK. Are you seeing — overall in America, church-wide, faith- wide — are you seeing an increase or decrease of parishioners in the last 25 years in America?

FALWELL: In the conservative churches, there has been growth. In the mainline churches — National Council of Churches — there has been — it shrunk.

BECK: Rapid decline?


BECK: OK. If you look at it overall, where you mix everybody in, rapid decline.


BECK: My theory is, because somebody asked me today, why would they do this, Glenn, with social justice? Why would they do this? My theory is
— and I'd love to hear your thought on this — is that they are already indoctrinating our children: There is no God. God is not playing a role. Churches are — and so it's already dying, but there is still gas left in tank. There's gas left in the tank with, you know, those of us who grew up in a different era where we looked at God.

These people are using the last bit of gas in that tank and they're burning it through, because we will become the Church of England or what the churches are in Europe, which is — they're empty.

FALWELL: I think it might be more insidious than that. When I read over the president's report last night on his faith-based initiative, it sounded more like a takeover — like we have seen with the banking industry, like with the auto industry, with like, health care.

And the reason I say that is because the word "partnership" was in there probably every other sentence.

BECK: OK. Hang on. When we come back, I want to finish this thought. And I also want to bring you back to George Whitfield and what do we do on this, next.


BECK: America, I know we have election primaries going on today and everybody is thinking how do we fix things politically, and I — that is all-important. But I'm telling you things are so far out of control, if we don't fix ourselves and get right with a higher power we're in trouble.

Peter Lillback is the author of "George Washington's Sacred Fire." You must buy this book. And Jerry Falwell Jr., chancellor of Liberty University is with me. And we're talking about social justice because now, we have the EPA according to the faith-based initiative.

They're going to merge the EPA with churches and then offer them money to help green their churches, et cetera. It's insidious.

FALWELL: Oh, when I hear the Obama administration talking about eliminating the charitable deduction, it just makes me suspicious that the next step is to take the place of the church.

Even when George Bush introduced his faith-based initiative, many of us were skeptical, because even though his goal was to let religion and private associations help the poor because they could do it more efficiently than the government, there are still those strings that come with the government assistance and so we shunned it.

We have a home for alcoholics that we've operated for 60 years, a home for unwed mothers — we never took a penny.

But this proposal goes beyond that and it reminds me of what King George was doing in Colonial Virginia. He required all the citizens of colonial Virginia to be members of the Anglican Church, to pay tithes to the church and he appointed archbishop of the church. So he was helping God. He was doing something good — supposedly. But the real goal was power over the citizens and the State of Virginia.

Thomas Jefferson, after the Revolution, seized all the properties that the church had bought up and sold them. But we didn't change the law until 2002. We filed a federal lawsuit, because even until 2002, churches in Virginia could not incorporate because Thomas Jefferson wanted to make it impossible for government to ever use the church as a tool of tyranny again.

BECK: See, Peter, this is the interesting thing. And this is what I love about your book, because anybody who — if you say that George Washington was a deist, about this much of your book is covering all his words.


BECK: I mean, everything that — there is such a distortion of what is going on. And they were — when they said in the one reference of notes in Virginia, the one reference of separation of church and state, it was protect people from an out-of-control, government-controlled church, right?

FALWELL: Protect the church from the government —

BECK: Right. It was —

FALWELL: Not the other way around.

BECK: Right. It was to protect the church from the government and the citizens from a government-run church. And that's what we are getting into now.

How — you know, when you got here, the guy you were traveling with today — he said to me beforehand — he said that you just got an e-mail from some pastor that said, "I'm getting so many calls about your book because people listen to my radio show or watched television last night. And I said read the book and get one for your pastor. He said, "I will not read a book that Glenn Beck recommends."

How do we get — I mean, am I wrong to say we need to reach out to our pastors and have them decide: Do you stand for individual rights or collective rights?

LILLBACK: Well, first of all, Glenn, let me say this, my book was like 500,000 on the list of Amazon. And it's number two now after you've commended it.

BECK: Right.

LILLBACK: So you have quite a sweeping influence on our culture. And I hope your influence will really impact our culture in this area, and that is we need to remember what the scriptures say about justice.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the state owns property or that the church owns property. What we teach our students is to follow what the word of God says. And you had the Book of Acts up a little bit earlier.

If you go to Acts chapter five, there is an extraordinary story where the Apostle Peter is dealing with Ananias and Sapphira, who had sold their property, brought the money to the church. And if you remember the story, they were struck dead.

And the reason is that they had claimed to give 100 percent of their proceeds and they kept back a lot for themselves. They were lying to the church, lying to God, lying to the Holy Spirit.

But listen to what the apostle Peter says — this is the CEO of the church. He said: When you had that land was it not yours? Before you sold it, was it not your property? Why have you lied to God?

In other words, Peter makes it absolutely clear: We have no right to your land. We have no right to your property. You willingly took and sold it and gave it. Your crime is you lied about what you did.

But Peter believed in individual property rights. Why? Because the Ten Commandments, which you remember you said children aren't allowed to read them anymore in our schools. Out Supreme Court says they're too dangerous. Well, they're dangerous for socialistic government.

You know why? Because the Eighth Commandment says, "Thou shall not steal." That means you have a right to your property. God says you own it. And if you put it in its positive form, "Thou shall not steal" means you are to preserve your property and the property of your neighbor.

BECK: You should run — no, seriously, you should run for office.


Back in just a second.



BECK: America, we're back talking social justice with Peter Lillback, author of "George Washington's Sacred Fire" and Jerry Falwell, Jr., chancellor of Liberty University.

The reason why we're talking about this is because the faith- based initiatives with Barack Obama is now being merged with the EPA. That doesn't sound spooky at all. This is a partnership of government and church. This is what our Founders warned us against.

And quite honestly, I don't think most parishioners know, because many of them grew up — I mean if you're Catholic. There is a split in the Catholic Church — those who mean it in the Marxist way and those who don't.

And so the parishioners might have been growing up around it and didn't even notice it and so they don't know. Some people in the church, who are running the church, may not even really know in some cases.

So what do parishioners — what should parishioners do going into their church?

FALWELL: Remind the pastors that Jesus taught personal charity. He also taught the parable of talents. He gave us the parable of talents where the master had three servants and he condemned the one who didn't invest his talents in the marketplace. He praised the one who went out in the marketplace and earned money and succeeded. It sounds like free enterprise to me. But our students at Liberty —

BECK: Are you saying Jesus was a capitalist?

FALWELL: That one parable sure sounds like it. But it just — we have 50,000 online students, 12,000 resident students at Liberty, and they're all training to go into different professions.

But last year, they donated 674,000 hours of community service to our little town of Lynchburg, Virginia. When they graduate, our concern is that if the government takes the fruits of their labor, they won't be able to give, to help the poor, to obey Jesus' commandments, to spread the gospel around the world.

That's why I'm concerned as a chancellor of a university, as a father of three. And I really think that that's what parishioners need to say to their pastors is we are the ones that are supposed to carry out Jesus' commandments, not the government.

The government, if you trust them to do it, they'll bungle it. It's the church's job. Don't abdicate to the government.

BECK: Do you think that we're in real trouble? I mean, we were talking before we went on the air about George Whitfield. Here's the show just talking about George Whitfield. Most people don't even know who that is.

This guy taught the difference between individual liberty. Can you do that? Can you tell me the difference between collective rights and individual rights? That was George Whitfield. That is huge in America.

LILLBACK: Well, basically, one of the great messages that George Whitfield brought is that everybody has a soul. Everyone stands alone before God. It's like 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd."

And when he preached, and by the way, he had a voice that could be heard by 30,000 people at one time. Ben Franklin literally walked around the Philadelphia streets to see how far George Whitfield's voice could go. It could fill a city. So he had a booming voice.

And he said, You must be born again as an individual. You need to have a personal relationship with God. Is the Lord your shepherd?

And when you bunch everybody together as a group, it means that the collectivism says you don't have to worry about yourself before God.

And then, the next step is, not only is your soul not right with God, but then, all that you do is tied in with the big movement.

BECK: OK. Back in just a second.


BECK: America, a Congressman launched an attack on me today. I think it's like an investigation. They are attacking — what are you guys so afraid of? They are attacking every which way they can.

It is important that you watch these shows and you take notes and you do your own homework. You must further this work.

Peter Lillback is here. He is the author of "George Washington's Sacred Fire," and Jerry Falwell Jr., he's the chancellor of Liberty University.

And we're talking about social justice because they're now merging faith and government together. I just asked you what it is that we are facing as churches. What is ahead of us? What is our choice?

LILLBACK: I would like to tell all of your listeners and Glenn, you personally, that you need to put your signature on the Manhattan Declaration. Chuck Colson spoke to me about this some months ago and he said, "Would you help me sign it?"

And I had the privilege of being one of the first 100 signatories. And basically, he said this — we need to bring together the movement of people across this country who are willing to die for what they believe in. And the things that are being challenged where the government is going to come to force us out of the convictions are the sanctity of life, our definition of historic marriage and our resounding commitment to protect rights of conscience of religious liberty.

If we don't stand boldly for this, there will be no real church, no free speech. There will be no "Glenn Beck" show.

BECK: I will tell you I have heard that from some of you. Do you agree with that?


BECK: I have heard that from so many religious leaders. I mean, you know, when religious — big religious leaders are reaching out to me and saying we have to put all differences aside on everything — please, you know we're in trouble. Where do you find it? Do you know? Real quick?

LILLBACK: Francis Schaeffer developed the word "co-belligerent," which means people that fight together against a common enemy. And the Manhattan Declaration expresses that. You can find it on the Web site.


LILLBACK: Manhattan Declaration.

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