Love him or hate him, most likely you’ve got an opinion. He doesn’t produce fence-sitters. That fence is POINTY, baby. You’re going to fall on one side or the other pretty quickly if you spend any time listening to his show or watching him on the telivizzle.
And believe it or not, the rest of this post will have nothing to do with politics. So you can exhale.
At the end of August I posted “glenn beck: the new voice of evangelical christianity” as a follow-up to his non-political/spiritual revival pro-America rally on the national mall on August 28, 2010. My main point was to say that I’m growing increasingly uncomfortable with Glenn’s religious rhetoric, because he’s a Mormon, and therefore means something very different when he claims to be “listening to the voice of God” or leading us to “do the will of God.” We believe in and follow different Gods, me and Mr. Beck. Therefore, I urged my fellow evangelicals to listen if you must, but exercise discernment… it’s dangerous ground.
The post generated some good discussion at the time, but I just received a new comment today, and it was a good challenge.
The gist was this: “I’m confused. You seem to often call for unity between churches. Mormons believe Jesus is the Son of God, too, right? How come we shouldn’t listen to Glenn Beck, then? Should we not listen just because he’s a Mormon?”
Fair question. Here was my response:
I understand your confusion. Let me clarify a few things…
First, I’m not saying no one should listen to Glenn Beck simply because he is a Mormon. I love to listen to Dennis Prager, for example, and he’s Jewish. There is wisdom to be found in all kinds of people, and truth is truth… meaning, if I say the sky looks blue, and The Pope says the sky looks blue, and Christopher Hitchens says the sky looks blue… we are all saying something true. Our philosophy or religious affiliation doesn’t make it any LESS true when Chris the atheist says it. Right? So, Glenn Beck’s Mormonism, per se, doesn’t necessarily disqualify him from my listening list.
What I am uncomfortable with – and that’s putting it mildly – is Glenn Beck’s increasingly bold “spiritual leader” talk. He throws around phrases that indicate he believes he is doing the “will of the Lord,” and that he speaks for God and is encouraging people to do His will. He SAYS the name Jesus, but his belief is very different than mine. My caution is to listen critically, and be very careful not to confuse his Mormon “word from the Lord” with the authority of the ACTUAL Word of God, given to us in the Bible.
Now, to briefly clarify the difference between my calls to the church for unity around the core doctrines of the Christian faith, and my stiff-arming of Mormonism, it is important for you to understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a cult. It is NOT in any way a branch of the Christian church, like Baptists or Lutherans or Methodists. Nope. Mormons are often wonderful people, productive citizens, kind to their neighbors, and raising good kids in strong families. I’m not saying they are “bad” people – any more than you and I are sinful people – in the way that EVERY soul on the planet is born corrupted by sin. But they tend to be “good people” all the same. Even so, Mormonism is a false religion that diverges from Christianity in several KEY ways.
Christian core doctrine has remained grounded in the Word of God and been basically unchanging for 2000+ years. Cults change their core doctrine often – when it becomes necessary to do so. There have been about 4,000 changes to the Book of Mormon since it was first published in 1830, and some BIG ones to boot. They have changed their stance on Polygamy, for one. And they now support the religious equality of African Americans, which required a huge change in their doctrinal positions.
Mormonism is poly-theistic (many gods) and Christianity is monotheistic (ONE God). They believe God the Father was once a man who *progressed* to God-hood. We believe God is the unchanging “I AM.” They believe the Trinity is actually three separate gods… we believe in the three-in-ONE. They also believe that we, as humans, can progress to God-hood status. This is the FIRST LIE from the Garden of Eden, when the serpent told Eve, “You can be like God…” All of the sin of the world followed that lie and it’s line of reasoning. It is the CORE poison of the human soul.
Mormons believe Jesus is the child of God the Father and a heavenly Mother, and that he was born incomplete and had to *progress* to God-hood status in the spiritual realm. They deny the incarnation of Jesus in the womb of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ unchanging nature as God and His condescension and virgin birth are foundation truths Christianity is built upon. While Mormons DO believe that Jesus is God’s only Son, their understanding of what that means and the very nature of God and Jesus as our Savior is a mess – and dangerous, theologically.
Mormon’s see Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden as a noble act, enabling man to become mortal – a key step forward in the process of attaining deity status. They believe that Jesus atonement basically grants everyone salvation and immortality, whether we believe in Him or not. There are many, many other important differences, as well.
This stuff is important. Mormons market themselves as another Christian option. But it is not at all Christian. We have no reason, of course, to treat Mormons with disrespect, OR to disregard everything they say simply because of the religion. However, I WILL disregard anything they say with “the authority of the Lord” behind it. Glenn Beck’s Jesus is NOT my Jesus. Therefore, when He speaks about the “will of God,” I know he’s not listening to the same voice of God that I am. Therefore… I turn him off.
“mormons are christians, too, right? :: glenn beck might be right… and wrong” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.