Jim Wallis is a welfare statist who has spent his career promoting the Left's new Social Gospel to evangelicals, all in the name of the Bible. Here is the Social Gospel, in one sentence: "Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote."
I have had a department devoted to him for years.
Now Glenn Beck is after him. Wallis will get his 15 minutes of fame . . . and then some.
His show should now be in the same category as Howard Stern. Stern practices pornography and Beck denies the central teachings of Jesus and the Bible. So Christians should stop watching the Glenn Beck show and pray for him and Howard Stern.
Having indulged in this scurrilous rhetoric, Wallis then sent Beck a letter.
In fact, on Friday, I sent Glenn a letter proposing that the two of us sit down together and have an open and public discussion on what social justice really means and how Christians are called to engage in the struggle for justice. I said, "let's make this a civil dialogue and not engage in personal attacks on each other — which is never helpful in trying to sort out what is true. So let's talk about the heart of the matter."
In short, "no personal attacks . . . from now on! I am allowed to tarnish your reputation. You, however, must not respond in kind. Agreed? Not to agree would indicate that you are not a fair, impartial analyst."
This is a standard liberal ploy. I have seen it repeated over and over. First, vilify your target in full public view: "Glenn Back = Howard Stern." Second, in private, be oh-so-civil, as if nothing had happened. Third, request a "public dialogue" — a standard theological liberal strategy to get publicity for the Party Line in front of a large audience, with the liberal — a minority viewpoint — positioned as an equal.
Liberals operate in terms of OPM: other people's money. They also operate in terms of OPA: other people's audiences. They have trouble surviving on their own. Theological liberals did not build independent churches with their own money, 1885—1960. Instead, they infiltrated the theological seminaries that trained the pastors. Then, decade by decade, the graduates took over the pulpits. I have written a book on their strategy: Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church. It's free. Click here.
Wallis' outfit, Sojourners, is a typical example of this strategy: persuade conservative evangelical churches to adopt the Social Gospel. It isn't working. His total audience is about the size of two big-city First Baptist congregations. Liberal mainline denominations have been shrinking since 1960.
Liberal talk radio is an example of a liberal venture that is self-funded. Air America went bankrupt in January.
Beck is no fool. He knows what Wallis is trying to do. It will not work this time. He responded on his radio show on March 15.
So Jim, I just wanted to pass this on to you. In my time I will respond — my time, well, kind of like God's time, might be a day, might be a week to you, I'm not sure. But I'm going to get to it in my time, not your time. So you go ahead and you continue to do your protest thing, and that's great. I love it. But just know — the hammer is coming, because little do you know, for eight weeks, we've been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it's going to be hammering hard and all through the night, over and over. . . .
Wallis says that Beck's response "disappointed me." Indeed!
There is an old slogan, "Never get into a fight with anyone who orders printers' ink by the barrel." Today, the threat is video clips posted on the Web.
Wallis will soon find out what video clips can do.
Wallis finally overplayed his hand by attacking Beck. Beck is responding to a mean-spirited personal attack, not initiating an attack. This will make all the difference in terms of Beck's positioning. Wallis' strategy will backfire. He is at last dealing with an expert in digital media.
Wallis has always played his patented "I'm just a concerned New Testament Christian" routine when infiltrating conservative churches. The far-Left political operative side of his background is not known by his present-day constituents. Beck is going to blow Wallis' cover.
As soon as those videos go onto YouTube, pastors will hesitate to invite him to speak. They will know that there will be members in their congregations who will have seen the videos. He is about to become a very hot potato. So is any evangelical pastor who invites him to speak. It will only take two or three of them to be dismissed from their pulpits by outraged congregations for word to spread. The pastors' price of bringing him in to speak will be much higher than his fee.
Economics has a law: "When the price rises, less is demanded."
He will get invitations from shrinking mainline liberal Protestant churches, in which the average member's age is 63. But that is not suitable to his agenda, which has been one of leading the evangelicals back to the Social Gospel.
I have waited for this day for over a decade. It can't come soon enough for me.
May the video clips roll!
March 25, 2010
Copyright © 2010 Gary North