The Intellectual And Spiritual Wanderings Of American, Conservative, Evangelical Christians: Or, Why I Do Not Listen To Glenn Beck.

To begin, I have several confessions to make. First of all, I listen to talk radio. Not every day, but several times a week. I like Rush Limbaugh. Maybe because I understand his humor. I do not hang on every word, but I appreciate another perspective than network news. I listen to several other radio talk show hosts depending on when I am driving in the truck. That said, I do not listen to Glenn Beck. I use to, but not now.

I think Glenn Beck is an expert on American history, and insightful in American politics. I agree with many things Beck says. I also think he and his radio show crew have a great time. Sometimes they are hilarious. But, except for occasional short segments transitioning to or from other shows, I do not listen. My problem is a problem of Christology and eschatology.

First the Christology; on Glenn Beck’s Facebook page he states:

I am a born again LDS Christian who teaches Gospel Doctrine in my church, speaks about God and Jesus more than any other main stream radio or television host in the last 70 years, who also studies the Torah with rabbis on a regular basis and met today with the Dalai Lama. [smile emoticon.]

Glenn Beck does sound more like a televangelist than a radio talk show host. And, the times I have listened to his program he is constantly calling for prayer, revival, and for Christian unity. In the above quote he is obviously proud of his ecumenical spirit. He often invokes Christ’s name in his pleas. He is quiet passionate about God and Jesus.

The conundrum is his adherence to the “Gospel Doctrine in my church.” The LDS Christ was once a man, just a man, not the 100% God/100% man of the Bible and the historic creeds of the Christian faith. The gospel according to Glenn Beck’s LDS teachings is not the redemptive work of God through Christ and the cross. The LDS gospel teaches salvation through obedience to the teachings of the LDS church. The LDS Jesus was a man as we are; and if we avail ourselves of baptism in a Mormon Temple, marry in a Mormon Temple, spend two years as a self-supporting LDS missionary, earn and maintain a “Temple Recommend”, and in general work your way through life you will experience exaltation. Your eternity will consist of becoming a god, like Jesus is now, and becoming a god, along with your wife (wives) to another world. I am sure some Mormons may say I don’t have it exactly right, but I am correct in the fact the LDS does not use the word “gospel” as the Christian Church does. The Christ of the LDS is not the Christ I worship and serve. Therefore, to hear Glenn Beck evoke Christ and claim a unity on spiritual grounds is unacceptable.

Glenn Beck is well informed concerning Shiite eschatology. This branch of Islam contents the twelfth and final Imam will come for the final reckoning. As Beck has made clear, the danger of a nuclear Iran is the fact that Iran’s leadership believes they can hasten the twelfth Imam’s return by starting a nuclear war. Just as the hijackers did not hesitate to fly planes into buildings on 9/11, Iran’s leadership will not hesitate to start Armageddon. Their eschatology (doctrine of end times) drives their thinking. Securing the return of the twelfth Imam and earning their place in Paradise is worth it all.

In the same way we need to understand LDS eschatology. The LDS church is similar to historical Christianity in regards to the return of Christ. However, Mormons place a greater emphasis on the end times, the cataclysmic events preceding His return, and the need to prepare for those preliminary events. You might say, Christians believe the same. I am basically a Pre-Tribulation supporter. I am not rigid and can even go for a Mid-Tribulation Rapture. However, if I am wrong, that is OK. I do not spend a lot of time preaching about the events of Revelation. I think it is largely written to the people who will experience it. I do not stockpile large supplies of food as LDS encourages.

It might be wise to stockpile food supplies and doing so is not a bad thing. However, that eschatology is apparent in the Glenn Beck Show’s tone. I get depressed when I listen to Beck for any length of time. Beck expects the worse. Every show I have heard is a litany of coming disasters. I do believe America will be judged and receive the consequences as we continue to move farther from our Founder’s moral base. However, I am also a student of revivals and believe God will have another great harvest before He shuts this all down. Therefore, in the midst of all the crazy (and sick) things occurring in our world, God is still in control.

Can I, as a conservative Christian, work with people of like morals and values? Yes. I will be happy to work with people of all faiths to stop abortion, sex trafficking, and other societal sins. I have had, and still have, friends of various beliefs, including LDS. However, there is a line that cannot be crossed. After 9/11 there was a ecumenical “worship” service in New York led by Oprah Winfrey. I would not have participate in that service if invited. Would I attend a community gathering honoring the victims? Yes. Actually, I have less problems with Oprah because she doesn’t present herself as a Christian, and that is the rub. Beck thinks he is.

In the last year Glenn Beck has promoted various events with a spiritual emphasis. He is calling “Christians” to unite. He has spoken from the podiums of various Christian churches. He presents himself as a “Born-again Mormon.” Unfortunately, many Christians now see Glenn Beck as a prophetic voice like a modern day Dwight L. Moody. They are not only trusting him for political advice, but spiritual direction. When I invite anyone to speak in the church I pastor, or attend a spiritually focused event, I best consider who is leading the movement.

Can I accept Glenn Beck, or any other Born-again Mormon as a brother in Christ? Yes, on one condition. To accept Christ as Lord and Savior requires me to reject all other ways of salvation. I pray for the day Glenn Beck denounces the “Gospel Doctrine [ of the LDS] church” as a false gospel and Jesus Christ and His substitutionary, propitiatory sacrifice as the only means of salvation. No one can accept the gospel piecemeal. What it means to be a Christian is not determined by other religious groups or someone desiring to adapt elements of Christian doctrine within his own religious framework.

       I am in agreement, we probably are in “the last days”. Therefore, I need to remember 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Peter 2:1, and other passages in which I am warned of the danger of false teachers. Do not expect them to identify themselves as anything other than Christians. I also consider the warning of Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)
15  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16  You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20  Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The people of this passage will be stunned when they are cast out. They thought they were Christians. I am sure others also thought the religious workers were Christians.

In closing I might as well kick the dog on my way out. I would have made some comments about the way Christians are jumping on the political bandwagon of people like Donald Trump because they like his bluntness, but I have said enough for now.

 

 

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One Response

  1. Dr. Brown,
    I have just finished your article on Glenn Beck, and I could not agree more. I used to listen to his show almost daily until I began to notice many of the same ideologies he promotes that you speak of in the text. I read somewhere that Beck was indeed an evangelical Christian prior to being converted to Mormonism by his wife. I am not sure of the validity of the story, but by all accounts, it really makes little difference in terms of where he stands now, he has been deceived in either regard. I no longer listen to his show, because, in my opinion, he promotes many of the same ideals that are an enormous part of our post-modern society and I can not bear to think that so many well meaning American Christians are being indoctrinated into his worldview. I enjoyed your message, and hope to have it graded within the week…lol.

    In Christ,

    Brady
    EVAN525-B03

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