Princess Marie's GraveAmerica needs reviving, but it won’t happen through politics or rallies held in the name of unity, service, justice or cultural involvement by Christians. Revival means “life from the dead” (Romans 11:15). It is God’s work alone: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deut. 32:39).

Talk show host Glenn Beck continues to try and take personal credit for bringing a “Third Great Awakening” to America. Last weekend, Beck sponsored a series of events in Dallas emphasizing service and culminating in a rally called “Restoring Love” at Cowboys Stadium. Previously, a “Restoring Courage” event was held in Israel in 2011 and “Restoring Honor” took place in Washington, D.C. in 2010. The latter was attended by hundreds of thousands of people.  Friday’s rally had about 40,000 in attendance, according to Beck.

Beck’s website headline states it plainly:

“Witness the Third Great Awakening!” – Glenn Beck Brings the Movement of Peace and Freedom into a New Age.”

Before we examine Beck’s claim about the 3rd Great awakening, we should briefly talk about what historians call the First and Second Great Awakenings in America.

The first revival (1730s-1740s) is mostly associated with two well-known Calvinists: Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Unlike Beck, these two men were orthodox Christian ministers whose sermons—by God’s grace—converted unbelievers to faith in Christ alone, and were not intended to have them join preachers and others in “getting back the country,” or to participate in some other cultural reform movement. Although the long-term benefit of an emphasis on revival movements may still be debated within the church, and a few excesses may be found here and there during the era, the hallmark of this revival was definitely faithful, biblical and evangelical preaching of the gospel of grace.

The results of the Second Great Awakening (1790-Early 1800s) seem to be more mixed. Certainly fine preaching by men such as Asahel Nettleton was used by God for great eternal benefit.  However, much of the fruit associated with others in the movement appeared to go sour, as an emphasis on man-made salvation resulted in the increase of false religions such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and The Unity School of Christianity.  This era also saw widespread acceptance of the “new measures” of Charles Finney, which essentially rejected the work of the Holy Spirit and sovereignty of God in salvation in favor of crowd manipulation and emotion-based appeals.  Man-centered conversions became the norm, rather than the preaching of the cross and a gospel of grace.

This brings us to Glenn Beck. Like all humanist religions, Beck’s syncretism depends on man. During his keynote speech, Beck said:

“This whole event is about you. We did this for you…. The elderly, the lonely, those who are afraid. We said to them: Be not afraid! For we are with you and we will be your shelter—shelter from the storm.”

Where is God in all this? For sure, it is not the one carrying the microphone.

Beck never mentioned Jesus Christ during this call to revival, but the Scriptures teach that we must “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).

No great awakening can come from such events; they rather lull the one who imbibes to more spiritual drowsiness. Real revival is not about politics, nor is about picking ourselves up by the bootstraps. It is about turning from our sins to the only Savior of the World, Jesus Christ.

14 comments
  1. Cast ye! I feel certain that writing ill does not necessarily fall in to place either. Do you know what is in his heart? Come alongside people who do good things, for whatever reason and YOU praise god for them.

    1. Christians cannot be silent when God is mocked or “replaced.” when genuine moves of God’s spirit are counterfeited by either false religion or false politics.


      Do you know what is in his heart?”
      Of course not, I do know what is on his lips. He claims to be able to bring a third great awakening without the work and gospel of Christ, which is demonstrably wrong, from the Word of God.

      1. Beck absolutely did not claim that and he never would. He believes that all of his steps are guided by his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I have heard him say it several times.

      2. Subscribe to HIS website, then watch the event. If you do it with an open heart and mind, it will make sense. Otherwise, you are blindly casting stones

      3. I am a subscriber. I do not need to watch the whole event. Beck has been clear on his philosophy that we should put aside religious differences between Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Catholicisma, and Mormonism to try a bring about a third great awakening.  Am I supposed to be open-minded about whether truth matters?

        If you could point me to a place where Beck says that there is only one way to God (through the shed blood of Jesus Christ), I might reconsider.

  2. I think a talk show host presumes too much and understands too little if he believes rallies can bring spiritual revival particularly without Christ. We have a lot of spirituality going on now, indeed every one is very spiritual. What is needed is a revival of true faith in Christ.

  3. I think you should go back and listen to his opening speech he gave on Thursday night. Jesus Christ was mentioned, which is your premise for why this movement will fail.

    You should do better homework next time, your embarrassing.

    1. Share a link Evan, if you have one. Mentioning Jesus and then inviting Mormons, Imams and Rabbis to lead the way isn’t the same thing as recognizing the gospel is the only way to bring about an awakening.  Who preached the gospel? 

  4. It seems strange that a Christian would criticize another Christian for attempting to motivate people to love and serve each other. Is that not what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about?

    1. No, it isn’t Mr Cook. The gospel is what God has done for us, not what we do for God. Get that right, then we can talk about our good works. Beck also confuses works with grace.

      True good works are done as a result of a great awakening and do not cause it. Then these works will be done primarily in secret, not with tears shed because the press wasn’t there to report it as Glenn has been daily lamenting. 

  5. I was at the entire 3 day event Mr. Shedlock; were you? The event was full of life changing acts of kindness and expressions of love.  The message of Christ was indeed shared but in a manner to attract the unchurched.  It has motivated me to get out and be less selfish and help the community more and share the Gospel with others than at any other time in my life.  God is using Glenn in a mighty way contrary to your opinions related in the article.

    1. Thank you for participating, Brett. 

      I was not there. I am basing my column on Glenn’s own reports.

      My dispute is not with any acts of kindness. My dispute is with the Glenn’s claim you can have an awakening without the gospel or in direct denial of the gospel. Jesus did not sugar-coat his message to reach the unchurched. What is the gospel, Brett?

  6. I think that you can use the Savior’s words to evaluate Mr. Beck’s motives  “…by their fruites ye shall know them.”
    Matthew 7 King James Version (KJV)
    7 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

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