Sunday, May 20, 2012

Glenn Beck & Tim Ballard Need to Repent: The Divinization of America and Anglo Israelism Repackaged

I just watched a clip from Glenn Beck's show on his network GBTV. For those who don't know, Glenn Beck is an American commentator who has risen to fame through his analysis of current events; which most often includes themes related to global economic collapse, world war III, and the belief that we are at a tipping point in world history in which there will be a restructuring of the global situation from what we have known it to be up to this point. Beck is LDS (Latter Day Saint), or Mormon in orientation; and it is his commitment to this kind of belief structure that informs his particular kind of Americanism ('Nationalism'), and interpretation of current events. He often collaborates with known Evangelical Christians, and thus has a rather hybrided (from a pure Mormon eschatology) view of prophetic history according to Scripture (in other words he seems to mix Dispensational Premillennial Zionism with his Mormon end times expectations).

Back to the clip I just mentioned, here it is:

In the past, Beck has hinted, for the discerning listener, at the idea that he believes America has ties to ancient Israel (which is exactly what Joseph Smith taught; i.e. that the Mormon's were the descendents of King David, etc.). So with this belief, it is fitting that he would hearken to ideas about the founding of America which believed that America was the 'New Israel' (which is really just post-millennialism gone awry and to its logical conclusion); indeed, there were many founding Fathers of America who believed this (just read Noll's, Hatches', and Marsden's 'The Search For Christian America'). But Glenn (from all appearances), and one of his most recent guests take this even further than many of these founding Fathers. Glenn's guest, Tim Ballard (who I believe is also Mormon, he is a graduate of Brigham Young University), argues in his recently released book, The Covenant, One Nation Under God: America's Sacred Connection with Ancient Israel, that the American Founders were the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That is, that these American's, in fact, are blood descendants of ethnic Israel. Ballard's thinking is only a reiteration of what has been called British Israelism, or Anglo Israelism (read about it here). In a nutshell, this is the belief that the lost 10 tribes of Israel, after the scattering and captivity from the Assyrians, migrated to parts of Western Europe and the British Isles; it is this genealogy, that Anglo Israelism taps into for their argument that the founding Fathers of America believed themselves to be fulfilling prophecy by founding America, or the New Israel. Ballard takes this literally, and gives this belief divine sanction, in his book (from what I can surmise); here is what is written about his book in a blurb at his website:

[T]o be clear, this book is not about America's ties to the Jewish State formed by U.N. edict in 1948 called “Israel” but rather, the text hearkens back to the period of 720 B.C. to the Northern Kingdom of ancient Israel who with her Ten Tribes were scattered by the Assyrians into the "North” land of Western Europe, Great Britain and Scandinavia, who inherited by virtue of birth and bloodline, the right to invoke "the Promises made to the Fathers."

Except for a very few cases, every freedom-loving patriot in modern times (regardless of his birth nation) has already tasted of the blessings which flow from the "just and holy principles" upon which America was founded. Could it be that America was designed to be much more than simply another political entity among many?  Could it be that her founders understood and endeavored to teach the rising generations exactly what it would take to preserve those blessings forever?

As a nation we have both honored and breached the Covenant at various times in our history and have been blessed or suffered as a result, this book is written to leave all without excuse. We have within our grasp the freedom to sacred and ominous power to choose to honor or to violate the terms of the Covenant and surely as a nation, we will live or die by the consequences of that choice. [full quote taken from here]

So really, this is nothing new. British Israelism has been around for along time; indeed, it was a touchstone teaching for the former Worldwide Church of God, through their founder Herbert Armstrong (the WWCG has now renounced their teacher's former teaching, and have become quite orthodox under the new name Grace Communion International---indeed, much of their leadership follows the teaching of Thomas Torrance, and I have some of them reading right here at the blog :-). 

Anyway, Glenn Beck and Tim Ballard are out to lunch; we all know that the Apostle Paul taught that the 'Seed' and promise was all in reference to Jesus Christ (not any lost nations, or even one nation); at least that's what Paul clearly argues in his little epistle to the Galatians. 

Glenn Beck and Tim Ballard need to:

  1. Convert to orthodox, historic Christianity.
  2. Read their Bibles for all their worth.
  3. Take some Christ-centered biblical interpretation classes (hermeneutics).
  4. And repent of their divinization of America, and recognize that Jesus alone is the homoousion person who brings nature and grace together in his one divine person!  
Here is the trailer video to Ballard's book:


  1. Hi Bobby
    Thanks for all your blogs, sometimes I need to re-read them in order to grasp what you are saying. Also wanted to let you know that I was also one of those who participated in Herbert Armstrong's teaching, hoever am glad I stayed through all the changes and am continuing to be a close friend of Grace Communion International.

    1. Hi John,

      Great to hear from you. I am so happy to see where GCI has taken most of the World Wide Church of God, and I'm glad you are one of those who are a part of this new movement (and that the Torrances have such a pivotal role in shaping GCI theology and leadership!).


    2. Kudos! I have touched upon Glenn and British-Israelism (as well as the weird Brit-ification of American culture) in this post. I have done studies that completely take apart Brit-Is theory. Admittedly, it's not hard to do, but it is hard to amass enough evidence to convince "true believers" -- which I used to be one of. (I was in Garner Ted's group, Church of God International, and while by no means wrong in all their doctrines in my view, this one is a huge error.)


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