Glen Beck is quickly becoming the Oprah of the Right, at least when it comes to books he mentions and approves: they experience a meteoric rise from obscurity to the bestseller list. As part of Beck’s continuing (and cringe-inducing) God-talk, he mentioned a book recently titled, The Greatest Words Ever Spoken: Everything Jesus Said About You, Your Life, and Everything Else by Steven K. Scott. Steven K. Scott is also the author of several other similar sounding books: The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness and The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived: Secrets for Unparalleled Success and Unshakeable Happiness from the Life of Jesus.
Just writing the titles is enough to make you gag.
What’s wrong with these kinds of books? Not least is that they make Jesus a philosopher, a guidance counselor, and a life-coach, when he really is Lord and Redeemer. In many ways, Scott and others like him stand in the stead of Thomas Jefferson who created his own Bible, filled with the teachings of Jesus but devoid of the miracles of Jesus. Jefferson considered Jesus a great moral example but had no time for the rest of the Bible’s teaching on sin, judgment, grace, and recreation.
It’s not surprising that Beck would endorse such a book. It fits perfectly with his emphases on moral revival and self-help patriotism. This is the kind of Jesus that Beck’s “Black Robe Brigade” can get behind. After all, even rabbis and imams can recognize and appreciate a Jesus filled with common sense wisdom about morality, success, and wisdom. Such a Jesus isn’t offensive, but thankfully such a Jesus never walked the earth.
There’s a darker side to all of this. What happens when one attempts to live by the Law, even if it’s dressed up with promises of success rather than threats of judgment? Consider this comment from an Amazon.com reviewer:
Wouldn’t recommend the book. Seller was excellent tho. Lost faith in God and will probably put this book up to resell. Seems like it repeats a lot. Maybe I just read the gospels and many events are recounted each time. If you are a Christian I think you would like having this, I personally have felt like Job much too long and have given up on God’s “favor and blessing”. Better luck to whoever reads this.
God’s favor and blessing aren’t found in unparalleled success and unshakeable happiness, but in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Any attempts to find God’s blessings or general wisdom for living outside of that historical reality will only lead to failure and condemnation.